Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch
LA Police Protective League


Los Angeles
Police Protective League
the union that represents the
rank and file LAPD officers

  Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch

Daily News Digest
from LA Police Protective League

August 26, 2019
Law Enforcement News

Illinois Trooper Serving Warrant Dies From Gunshot Wounds
An Illinois State Police trooper died from wounds suffered early Friday while executing a search warrant in East St. Louis. Trooper Nicholas Hopkins, 33, of Waterloo, a 10-year veteran of the force, was wounded during an exchange of gunfire while serving the warrant at an East St. Louis home, said State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly. He later died at a hospital. After the shooting, police surrounded the home and arrested three people. Police remained on the scene throughout the day, uncertain if another suspect was barricaded in the house, according to authorities. The three people arrested were not identified. Police didn't say if anyone else was shot, nor have they revealed the issues addressed in the search warrant. Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith says Hopkins was married and the father of four-year-old twins and an infant daughter.
Associated Press

Pregnant Mother Of 6 Killed In Harbor Gateway Hit-and-Run; LAPD Offers $50K Reward Amid Search For Driver
Los Angeles police on Friday announced a $50,000 reward as they pleaded for the public's help in tracking down the hit-and-run driver who fatally struck a pregnant mother of a six children in the Harbor Gateway area earlier this month. Veronica Hernandez, 45, was hit by the car around 9:50 p.m. on Aug. 4. She died the following day. The victim was collecting recyclables from a recycling container on Alondra Boulevard west of Orchard Avenue when a speeding car tried to pass another car on its right and struck her, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The force of the impact sent Hernandez flying into the air, according to LAPD Detective Ryan Moreno. She landed about 30- to 40-feet away. The vehicle continued eastbound on Alondra without stopping to help the dying woman, Moreno said. LAPD has announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the driver. Vehicle parts were recovered at the scene, leading investigators to believe the hit-and-run vehicle is a dark-colored, BMW 5-Series.

2 Arrested For Possible Robbery At Westfield Topanga Mall In Canoga Park; LAPD Says Shooting Scare Unfounded
A shooting scare at the Westfield Topanga mall in Canoga Park that scattered shoppers and led to panic on social media on Sunday may have been the result of a smash-and-grab robbery, police said. Los Angeles Police Department officers swarmed the mall at around 3 p.m. after people reported hearing gunfire. Dozens took to Twitter to post photos of people hiding in the mall, and warned others to stay away because of an active shooter. Police swarmed the mall, but found no evidence of a shooting, officials said. However, officers arrested two people on suspicion of robbery. “Preliminary information is a possible robbery, but the investigation is still ongoing,” LAPD officials said on Twitter. They said there would continue to be a large police presence at the mall as officers searched the building, and that residents should avoid the area. It wasn't clear what about the robbery spooked so many people. But shoppers said hundreds fled the mall or sought out hiding places in stores. 
Los Angeles Daily News

Suspect Arrested In Hit-and-Run Crash That Killed A Father Of Two On Father's Day
The suspect in a Father's Day hit-and-run car crash that left one dead and four injured in North Hills is in police custody after fleeing the country, police said Sunday. Los Angeles police said Maritza Joana Lara, 27, fled the country after the fatal crash and was located in Mexico. More details will be provided at a news conference scheduled for Tuesday, authorities said. Lara is accused of running the red light at Parthenia Street and Haskell Avenue, ramming into the driver's side of a Nissan Murano driven by 48-year-old Francisco Hernandez Rivas, and then fleeing the scene, authorities said. Police have released video showing the fatal collision, in which the driver plows into an SUV, lifting the vehicle up and sending it flipping into a parked truck before it slams into a tree and lands on its roof in the front yard of a home in North Hills. The driver of a white Lexus strolls away from the wreckage, walking on a sidewalk past a large white cross in the parking lot of a church and occasionally looking back at the crash site. Rivas, a father of two, was pronounced dead at the scene, and four passengers in the Lexus were taken to a hospital. Empty beer cans were found in the vehicle that authorities say Lara was driving. Lara has a prior DUI conviction, police said.
Los Angeles Times

Authorities Search For 15-Year-Old Critical Missing Teen
Authorities asked for the public's help on Sunday to find a 15-year-old teen who went missing from Chatsworth. Serena Granillo was last seen On August 23, 2019, around 7:40 a.m., Ms. Granillo was dropped off at school in the 6800 block of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and that was the last time she was seen or heard from. Granillo is described as a 15-year-old Hispanic female with black hair, brown eyes. She stands 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs around 205 pounds. Granillo was last seen wearing a green jacket, black shirt, and black pants. Her family has attempted to locate her and are concerned that she has not been found. Anyone with information on her whereabouts was asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department's Devonshire Division or 911.
FOX 11

LAPD Investigating Possible Hate Crime After Trans Women Removed From DTLA Bar
A group of LGBT people are alleging that they were kicked out of a popular downtown Los Angeles bar Friday night after being subjected to transphobic slurs. A cell phone video from Friday night does not show the exchange of slurs the victims say were directed at them from a couple inside Las Perlas, located in the 100 block of East 6th Street. But, they say, following threats of violence, the Las Perlas staff asked them all to leave. However, the trans women were the only ones taken out by force, according to the alleged victims. Cell phone video provided by Khloe Rios, one of the women involved in the incident, captures two people being removed by force. Her friend, Jennifer Bianchi, is forced out by what appears to be a bouncer. The women say they were out with their colleagues from Bienestar Human Services, a non-profit that works with the LGBT community. They had just finished representing Bienestar at the "DTLA PROUD" event at nearby Pershing Square. They say a man and woman began shouting transphobic slurs at them, and they are angry with the bar because, they say, the people who yelled at them were not forcefully removed.

Previously Convicted Serial Arsonist Arrested In Connection To String Of Suspected Intentional Fires Set In Studio City
A man was taken into custody Friday in connection to nearly a dozen possible arson fires throughout Studio City. Officials were investigating roughly 11 fires that started near each other between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Crews responded to a reported structure fire in the 11300 block of West Ventura Boulevard, which ultimately turned out to be a dumpster fire, officials said. "One of them was next to a gas station, so we could have had explosions. All these things make this a significant threat to the community," LAFD Capt. Another fire broke out in the 3900 block of Eureka Drive. The suspect has only been identified as a previously convicted serial arsonist. The LAFD arson and counter terrorism division was called to the scene. "We're still very early in this investigation, there's still more work that has to be done to confirm the identity, to confirm that all these fires are indeed connected and to determine how they were all started," Leonard said. No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported.

CBP Seizes 52,000 Firearm Parts Illegally Imported From China At Los Angeles, Long Beach Port
Federal officials say they've seized more than 52,000 firearm parts that arrived illegally from China at the Los Angeles and Long Beach port. The parts — sights, stocks, muzzles, buffer kits and grips — arrived in three shipments and had a combined value of more than $378,000, US Customs and Border Protection said Thursday in a news release. The parts arrived over a period of three months and were bound for a legitimate US-based gun parts seller and distributor, agency spokesman Jaime Ruiz told CNN. The United States restricts imports from countries with which it has an arms embargo, including China. The US imposed an arms embargo after the deadly 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. “This seizure is an exceptional example of CBP officers and import specialists vigilance, commitment and keen focus in enforcing complex arms embargo regulations,” Carlos C. Martel, the CBP's director of field operations in Los Angeles, said.

Under Regulators' Noses, An Online Market For Homemade Gun Silencers Is Booming
SD Tactical Arms calls them barrel shrouds. Hawk Innovative Tech says they're solvent filters. Prepper's Discount sells flashlight tubes. But with a few hours and a little elbow grease, all of these products become the same thing: gun silencers. Silencers, otherwise known as suppressors, are among the most highly regulated gun accessories in the U.S. Under federal law, consumers must apply for a license to purchase them. The process involves paying a fee to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and submitting to extensive screening. It can take more than a year to get an answer. Americans eager to skip the wait, though, have a shortcut: tap one of the dozens of online retailers selling de facto suppressor parts and build their own. Even a search for “solvent traps” on Amazon returns a page of unrelated items useful in silencer construction, such as automobile fuel filters. A spokesperson from Amazon refused to comment for this story, but emphasized that all the products sold on the site were legal.
The Trace

Public Safety News

Girl, 17, In Grave Condition After Fire Rips Through South LA Home
A teenage girl was fighting for her life on Sunday after a fire tore through a house in South Los Angeles. Those flames broke out on 52nd Place just east of Hoover Street just after 1 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived, they rescued the girl from inside her bedroom. She was unresponsive at the time, and sustained burns over more than half of her body. She was said to be in grave condition. The girl's grandfather who also lives inside the home was also injured while trying to rescue her before firefighters arrived. Two other women live inside the home, identified as the girl's mother and grandmother. Both managed to escape the flames. Family members told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter the teen victim has burns over 60 percent of her body. It remains unclear how many smoke detectors were inside the home. When firefighters arrived, they indicated that no smoke detectors were going off at the time. The cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation.

Local Government News

L.A. City Council Bids Farewell To Greig Smith — Again
Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith left his district's seat Friday for a second time, soon to be replaced by Councilman-Elect John Lee. Smith was appointed to the Council District 12 seat in January after former City Councilman Mitch Englander resigned last fall to join a sports and entertainment company. “I think it was appropriate to let you know that you will be missed. It's been an honor to serve with you twice,” Council President Herb Wesson told Smith. “And somewhere, someone is going to write a crazy little history book and there's going to be a footnote that there was one crazy guy who left and came back and got out unscathed.” Smith said he was appreciative of the compliments from fellow council members, but he quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his farewell speech. “Thank god, I'm free at last,” he said. “It has been an honor to work with all of you. We did a lot of good things and took care of a lot of business.”

Two Metro Expo Line Stations Reopen After Months Of Construction; Blue Line Work Continues
Two Expo Line stations in downtown Los Angeles that had been closed for two months due to construction work reopened to the public Saturday. The Pico and Seventh Street/Metro Center stations had been closed since June 22 as part of an ongoing improvement project on the northern portion of the Metro Blue Line, which shares track with the Expo Line at the two affected stations. “The reopening of the two Expo Line stations in downtown Los Angeles is a step forward as we strive to complete the New Blue Improvements Project,” Metro Board Chair and Inglewood Mayor James Butts said. “I want to thank the Expo Line riders for their patience during this construction process.” Metro had been providing shuttle buses to take passengers between the Seventh/Metro and LATTC/Ortho Institute stations. The Blue Line is undergoing a $350 million modernization project that began in January to improve reliability, enhance safety and improve the customer experience, according to Metro officials.
Los Angeles Daily News

About the LAPPL Formed in 1923, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) represents the more than 9,900 dedicated and professional sworn members of the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPPL serves to advance the interests of LAPD officers through legislative and legal advocacy, political action and education. The LAPPL can be found on the Web at: