LACP - NEWS of the Week
on some LACP issues of interest
NEWS of the Week
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles is but a small percentage of the info available to the community policing and neighborhood activist. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view. We present this simply as a convenience to our readership.
"News of the Week"  

August 2019 - Week 4
Terri Lanahan
Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.

Odessa, Texas

Gunman kills 7 in a rampage that started with a West Texas traffic stop

by Faith Karimi and Ed Lavandera, CNN

Seth Ator has been identified as the shooter involved in the Odessa and Midland shootings on Saturday, according to multiple federal and local law enforcement officials.

A man who was pulled over by Texas troopers shot at them with a rifle and sped away, setting off a terrifying rampage that ended with seven victims and the shooter dead, police said.

After he opened fire with what police described as an AR-type weapon during a traffic stop Saturday in Midland, the gunman drove on the streets and the highway, spraying bullets randomly at residents and motorists, police said.

He then hijacked a postal truck and ditched his gold Honda, shooting at people as he made his way into Odessa about 20 miles away. There, police confronted him in a movie theater parking lot and killed him in a shootout.

Twenty-two people were also injured, Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said. They included a 17-month-old girl and three law enforcement officers, hospital and police officials said.

It's unclear why police pulled over the unidentified gunman or what his motive was. Gerke described him as a white male in his 30s but declined to provide additional information.

The attack during the busy Labor Day weekend put people on edge in a state where a gunman killed 22 less than a month ago at a Walmart in El Paso, about 285 miles west of Odessa.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs said his agency responds to Texas frequently. He said the FBI is "here now almost every other week supporting our local and state partners on active shooters. We're almost every two weeks an active shooter in this country." A man prays outside of the Medical Center Hospital Emergency room in Odessa, Texas, on Saturday.

The death toll rose to seven Sunday morning. Those fatally shot were between 15 and 57 years old, Gerke said.

Police have not named most of the victims. One of them was Mary Granados, 29, who was working as a mail carrier for the US Postal Service, according to her twin sister, Rosie. Granados was at the end of her shift when she was shot and killed.

Rosie said she was on the phone with her sister when she heard her scream.

"It was very painful. I just wanted to help her and I couldn't. I thought she had got bitten by a dog or something. I tried calling her name and she wouldn't answer," she said.

The US Postal Service declined to comment.

The Ector County school district in Odessa said one of its students was among those killed.

The wounded 17-month-old was airlifted to University Medical Center in Lubbock, where she was in satisfactory condition, hospital officials said.

Shooter grabbed his rifle, pointed it at troopers

The incident began about 3:15 p.m. (4:15 p.m. ET), when two troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety stopped a lone driver westbound on Interstate 20 in Midland, authorities said.

Before the vehicle came to a complete stop, the man grabbed a rifle, pointed it out of his rear window and fired toward the troopers' patrol unit, wounding one of the troopers, said Lt. Elizabeth Carter of the Department of Public Safety. Texas police and sheriff's deputies surround an area behind Cinergy theater in Odessa after reports of shootings Saturday.

The shooter then drove west into Odessa and continued firing through the city and around shopping centers, the police chief said.

He abandoned his vehicle, stole the mail truck and shot at more people as he headed toward the Cinergy movie theater, where he exchanged fire with officers in the parking lot and was killed.

One wounded law enforcement officer is a trooper from the Department of Public Safety and the other two are from the Midland and Odessa police departments. The trooper is in serious condition and the officers are in stable condition. Police and sheriff's deputies surround the area behind the Cinergy movie theater in Odessa, Texas.

"At this point I can tell you we do not believe -- we do not believe -- there's any connection to any domestic or international terrorism," the FBI's Combs said.

A witness describes shootout with officers

Alex Woods said he drove up to the movie theater about five minutes before the shootout and saw several police vehicles with flashing lights.

"There was just police everywhere and there was a bunch of people behind the theater in the field walking and next thing you know this gunfire is going off," he said. "I hear a pop, so, I flip the camera to where the theater's at and I just see a bunch of gunfire going off."

Woods said he saw the officer walk up to the mail van and fire into it, describing the incident as surreal.

"I believe that is when the shooter was killed," he added. "It just all happened so quickly."

Mike Barrett said his friend was shot and hospitalized with injuries.

"He was on the way home, him and his wife (and) he got shot," Barrett said. "It went through the door of the car and shot him right in his side. ... His wife was just covered in blood."

New Texas gun laws to go into effect Sunday

The shooting happened hours before a series of firearm laws go into effect in Texas, where four of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history have happened.

The new measures will loosen gun restrictions and allow weapons on school grounds, apartments and places of worship. After the shooting Saturday, Democratic presidential candidates issued statements calling for gun reform.

"Our hearts are with Midland, Odessa, and everyone in West Texas who has to endure this again. ... We need to end this epidemic," Texas native Beto O'Rourke tweeted.

Julián Castro, another Democratic presidential candidate, said the shootings will continue if no action is taken. "We have to be more honest with ourselves. This is going to happen again. And again," he tweeted.

Vice President Mike Pence said he and President Donald Trump are determined to work with Congress "to address and confront this scourge of mass atrocity in our country."

Sunday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott commented on the frequency of high-profile shootings in his state since he took office.

"I have been to too many of these events," Abbott said.

Abbott named several similar incidents: the Dallas shootings that killed police officers, then Sutherland Springs, then Santa Fe High School, then El Paso and now Odessa/Midland.

"I am heartbroken by the crying of the people in the state of Texas. I am tired of the dying of the people of Texas. Too many Texans are in mourning. Too many Texans have lost their lives. The status quo in Texas is unacceptable, and action is needed," Abbott said.



Victim of Clergy Abuse in Pennsylvania Receives $2 Million Settlement

by Jacey Fortin

A man who was sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest in Pennsylvania received $2 million in a settlement with the Erie diocese that the priest was a member of, the victim's lawyer said on Tuesday.

The priest, David L. Poulson, pleaded guilty in October to two felony charges for sexually assaulting one boy and trying to assault another. In January, he was sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.

According to the office of Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania's attorney general, Mr. Poulson assaulted one of his victims 20 times in church rectories between 2002 and 2010 and had the victim talk about the abuse in confession with him.

Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer for that victim, who received the settlement, said his client preferred not to be named.

The Diocese of Erie said in a statement on Tuesday that it “stands behind the settlement in the interests of justice and recognizes the harms suffered by this victim.”

This is the first settlement to follow a criminal case after a grand jury issued a searing report in August. It found that bishops and other church leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it.

The report, which covered six of the state's eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, was the broadest examination by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

But since it was issued, the attorney general's office has criminally charged only two of the Pennsylvania priests who were named as offenders — Mr. Poulson and John T. Sweeney, of the Diocese of Greensburg. Both pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison.

Of the other priests listed, those who are still alive have been protected from criminal charges because the statute of limitations has expired.

State law allows victims of abuse as children to bring civil suits until they turn 30. Criminal complaints must be filed by the time the victim is 50. Those rules leave the majority of abuse survivors, who came forward later in life, with no legal recourse.

Mr. Garabedian noted that in 2002 — the same year that The Boston Globe published an investigation into widespread abuse in the Catholic Church — the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted its “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” to outline norms for the safety of minors.

“Yet my client was abused from 2002 to 2010, so obviously the norms were not effective, if they were put in place at all,” he said. “History has taught us that the Catholic Church cannot be effectively self-policed.”

Mr. Garabedian also said that leaders of the Erie diocese did not do enough to protect children even though Mr. Poulson was known to be potentially dangerous.

In its statement, the diocese said that its leaders had no knowledge of this case until last year and pointed to past statements issued by the diocese and its bishop, Lawrence T. Persico.

“Indeed, as publicly documented, both the district attorney and the attorney general involved in this case recognized the diocese's full cooperation, noting that this victim's report was handled properly,” it said.

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania have debated whether to allow more victims of criminal abuse to come forward by changing or abolishing the statute of limitations, or by opening up a temporary window so past victims would have a chance to press criminal charges.

The attorney general's office supports these measures, but changing the law would depend on the Republican-controlled state Legislature.

Lawmakers who support a bill to open up a window have been struggling to pass it in the face of staunch opposition from opponents. They include the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, which has argued that “this proposal would, in effect, force the people who make up an organization like the Catholic Church today defend themselves against a crime that was committed in their parish, school or charitable program years ago.”


Dept of Justice


L.A. County Man Arrested on Federal Complaint Charging Him with Transporting Teenager Across State Lines to Engage in Prostitution

by Nicola T. Hanna - United States Attorney, Central District of California

SANTA ANA, California
– A Los Angeles County man has been arrested on a federal criminal complaint charging him with transporting a teenage girl in interstate commerce so she could work as a prostitute in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona.

Christian Alexander Augustus, 23, a.k.a. “Sir Ceeco,” was arrested in Stockton on Tuesday. He made his initial appearance in United States District Court in Sacramento on August 28, and was ordered detained pending trial. He remains in federal custody in Sacramento and will be transferred to this district at a later date to face the charges against him.

According to an affidavit filed Monday with the criminal complaint in this case, the victim was a 16-year-old runaway from Orange County who met Augustus in Los Angeles in December 2018 and he had been her trafficker until she fled from him in July 2019. Prior to the victim fleeing, Augustus allegedly took her to Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Las Vegas and Phoenix, where she worked for him as a prostitute and would give him all the money she made. Augustus forced the victim to work on the streets and advertised her services on the internet, the affidavit states

The victim said Augustus would beat her for not bringing him enough money and later for attempting to flee, according to the affidavit. The victim said when she tried to flee Augustus in Phoenix on July 1, he beat her so severely that she suffered two black eyes, a bruised rib, and swelling to face, the affidavit states. The victim fled Augustus on July 8 and said he later contacted her and threatened to kill her and her family, according to the affidavit.

If convicted of the charge, Augustus would face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

A complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter was investigated by the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF), which is comprised of local law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California. The Stockton Police Department and the Stockton HSI office provided substantial assistance to this case via their arrest of Augustus on Monday.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jake D. Nare of the Santa Ana Branch Office.

The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force core mission is to use a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach toward the goal of combating human trafficking in Orange County, making the recovery of juvenile victims its top priority.


from: Ciaran McEvoy, Public Information Officer


Dept of Justice


Santa Fe Springs ‘Shotcaller' and Mexican Mafia Member Convicted of Racketeering, Narcotics Offenses, and 2016 Murder of Rival Gangster

by Nicola T. Hanna - United States Attorney, Central District of California

– A Mexican Mafia member and “shotcaller” of the Santa Fe Springs- and Whitter-based Canta Ranas street gang has been found guilty by a federal jury of multiple crimes resulting from his control of a wide-ranging racketeering criminal enterprise, including the murder of a rival Mexican Mafia member at a San Gabriel Valley restaurant.

Jose Loza, 40, the lead defendant in a 2016 federal grand jury indictment charging 51 Canta Ranas members and associates, was convicted Thursday afternoon of 12 felonies. Canta Ranas is a multi-generational criminal enterprise engaged in murder, attempted murder, assault, extortion, money laundering, and drug distribution.

Specifically, the jury found Loza guilty of one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, four counts of engaging in violent crimes in aid of racketeering (VICAR), one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, three counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of money laundering conspiracy.

United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips has scheduled a December 16 sentencing hearing, at which time Loza will face a mandatory sentence of life in federal prison stemming from his conviction for the murder alone.

According to the evidence presented at Loza's month-long trial, Loza implemented the orders of David Gavaldon, an imprisoned senior Mexican Mafia member who was himself a long-time member of the Canta Ranas street gang and who was not charged in this case as he is serving a life-without-parole sentence in Pelican Bay State Prison. Gavaldon exerted control over Canta Ranas and other gangs in Whittier, Santa Fe Springs, Riverside, and Stockton, and he received compensation in the form of “rent” or “taxes” generated by drug trafficking and other offenses committed in gang territory, according to trial evidence.

In addition to implementing Gavaldon's orders, Loza murdered Dominic Gonzales, a fellow Mexican Mafia member who was marked for death by the prison gang after he was perceived as encroaching upon the territories of other Mexican Mafia members. During the April 19, 2016 incident at a restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley community of Basset, Gonzales was shot six times, including to the head and chest, his bodyguard was severely wounded, and an innocent restaurant patron was wounded, receiving six gunshots to the abdomen, back, buttocks, and legs. 

In what's believed to be a first-time occurrence, Loza as well as other Mexican Mafia members and high-level associates of the prison gang, including a death row inmate from San Quentin, took the unusual step of testifying about the gang's existence, activities, and power both inside and outside prison systems.

Prosecutors have secured more than 40 convictions so far in this matter, which is the result of Operation Frog Legs. During the course of that three-year investigation, law enforcement seized 51 firearms and made several narcotics seizures, including nearly one pound of methamphetamine seized during the execution of search warrants after Loza murdered the other Mexican Mafia member.

Loza's accomplice in the 2016 murder, Leonardo Antolin, 25, of Whittier, pleaded guilty to five felonies in this case and has agreed to a prison sentence of 33 years to 40 years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 23.

Operation Frog Legs is the result of an investigation by the Southern California Drug Task Force, which is led by the Drug Enforcement Administration as part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiative. The Task Force members that participated in Operation Frog Legs were U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigation, the Whittier Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Office of Correctional Safety, Special Service Unit.

This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carol Alexis Chen, Chief of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section, and Assistant United States Attorneys Victoria A. Degtyareva and Kathy Yu, also of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section.


from: Ciaran McEvoy, Public Information Officer


Dept of Justice


O.C. Physician Assistant Arrested on Federal Charges Alleging He Wrote Opioid Prescriptions to Drug Dealers without Medical Need

by Nicola T. Hanna - United States Attorney, Central District of California

SANTA ANA, California
– A physician assistant who practiced at a Fountain Valley clinic was arrested today on an 11-count federal grand jury indictment charging him with conspiring to issue prescriptions for the highly addictive opioid painkiller oxycodone, without a medical purpose, to drug dealers in exchange for cash, knowing the drugs would be sold on the street.

Raif Wadie Iskander, 53, of Ladera Ranch, was arrested at his residence this morning. He is scheduled to make his initial court appearance this afternoon and he also will be arraigned on the charges in United States District Court in Santa Ana.

According to the indictment, from October 2018 until April 2019, Iskander wrote prescriptions for “patients” he had never met or examined, including an undercover law enforcement officer. Iskander allegedly provided to drug brokers multiple paper prescriptions that he had signed, but with the patient names left blank, to be filled in by the drug brokers later.

In exchange for cash, Iskander wrote fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions to co-defendants Johnny Gilbert Alvarez, 39, a.k.a. “M.J.,” of Santa Ana, and Adam Anton Roggero, 36, of Costa Mesa, who sold the prescribed drugs on the street as well as to an undercover officer, the indictment alleges.

All three defendants have been charged with one count of conspiracy. Iskander also has been charged with two counts of intentionally distributing oxycodone without a medical purpose. In addition to the conspiracy charge, Alvarez faces felony counts of illegally distributing methamphetamine, fentanyl, and oxycodone. Roggero also has been charged with two felony drug distribution counts.

If convicted of all charges, Iskander would face a statutory maximum sentence of 60 years in federal prison. Alvarez would face a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment.  Roggero would face a statutory maximum sentence of 60 years in prison.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Costa Mesa Police Department, and the California Department of Health Care Services.          

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rosalind Wang of the Santa Ana Branch Office.


from: Ciaran McEvoy, Public Information Officer


Dept of Justice


Orange County Man Sentenced to 17½ Years in Federal Prison for Selling Counterfeit Opioid Pills Laced with Fentanyl

by Nicola T. Hanna - United States Attorney, Central District of California

SANTA ANA, California – A Santa Ana man who admitted his role in a scheme that used fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to manufacture and sell counterfeit pharmaceutical pills designed to look like brand-name oxycodone pills was sentenced this morning to 210 months in federal prison.

Wyatt Pasek, 22, who lived in the penthouse of a luxury high-rise in Santa Ana until his arrest last year, was sentenced by United States District Judge James V. Selna.

Pasek – who used in the moniker “oxygod” when soliciting customers in online marketplaces, and posted images and videos of himself to social media platforms under the moniker Yung10x – pleaded guilty last November to participating in a narcotics-trafficking conspiracy, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and money laundering.

Pasek “caused highly toxic drugs to be mixed into counterfeit pharmaceuticals at a clandestine laboratory in a highly populated residential and commercial area, the Newport Beach Peninsula, and sold the drugs in massive quantities for approximately one year,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.

According to court documents, Pasek and two co-defendants obtained fentanyl and a similar drug called cyclopropyl fentanyl through internet from Chinese suppliers, used a pill press to make counterfeit pills, and distributed the narcotics through the mails, often arranging sales through a darknet marketplace. Pasek also sold the counterfeit pills in hand-to-hand transactions.

The other two defendants in this case – Duc Cao, 22, of Orange, and Isaiah Suarez, 23, of Newport Beach – also pleaded guilty and were sentenced earlier this year by Judge Selna to 87 months and 37 months in federal prison, respectively.

“The defendants in this case played a direct role in fueling this nation's opioid crisis,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “The use of powerful drugs such as fentanyl in counterfeit pills intentionally made to look like less-lethal opioids demonstrates a complete disrespect for human life.”

When the three defendants were arrested in April 2018, authorities seized a pill press lab in Suarez's apartment, along with bags that contained nearly 100,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills, hundreds of bogus Xanax pills, nearly six kilograms of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, and bundles of cash.

During a six-month investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Costa Mesa Police Department, authorities recovered blue pills stamped “A 215” that resemble 30 mg. oxycodone pills. In the weeks leading up the arrests in this case, investigators intercepted 20 packages that were being sent to Pasek's customers.

“Had federal agents not intercepted these packages, they would have resulted in substantial counterfeit opioids containing fentanyl and fentanyl analogues to be distributed to New York, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Georgia, Utah, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Alabama, and Nebraska,” according to the sentencing memo.

Pasek, who has three prior drug-related convictions, apologized during today's hearing. “I know I have affected countless [people],” he said. “I can't even imagine how much damage I have done.”

As part of his plea agreement, Pasek agreed to forfeit to the government a number of items seized in relation to his arrest in April 2018: more than $21,000 in cash; jewelry, including a Silver Royal Offshore watch with diamonds, and a gold and diamond Bitcoin necklace; two gold bars seized from his mother's residence; and thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency/Bitcoin he possessed in his Blockchain wallet.

This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS Criminal Investigation, the Costa Mesa Police Department, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations, the United States Marshals Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brett Sagel of the Santa Ana Branch Office.


from: Thom Mrozek, Director of Media Relations


Dept of Justice


Ex-Chairman for Christian Science Church in Los Angeles Arrested on Indictment Alleging $11.5 Million Bank and Wire Fraud

by Nicola T. Hanna - United States Attorney, Central District of California

– The former chairman of the board for the Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, of Los Angeles was arrested today on a federal grand jury indictment charging him with fraud for stealing more than $11 million in church money and using it to purchase a home, a membership at Disneyland's exclusive dining club, and other personal expenses.

Charles Thomas Sebesta, 54, of Huntington Beach, is expected to make his initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles. Sebesta has been charged with six counts of wire fraud, five counts of bank fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

According to the indictment unsealed today, Sebesta was hired in 2001 as the church's facilities manager and ultimately joined the church in 2005 and served as its local chairman. In this capacity, he had control over the church's financial assets and operations, including at least five of its bank accounts, the indictment states.

From at least August 2006 through December 2016, Sebesta allegedly caused the church to make checks and other payments to fictitious companies for which he had opened bank accounts, as well as to accounts in his own name and in the names of his family members. To further conceal these payments, Sebesta allegedly forged a church member's signature on numerous checks drawn against the church's bank accounts.

In the fall of 2008, Sebesta oversaw the sale of church property in Hollywood for approximately $12.8 million, and he siphoned a significant majority of the proceeds for his personal use, including purchasing a home with $2,019,000 in cashier's checks drawn from church bank accounts, the indictment alleges. Sebesta falsely recorded his thefts in church records as “donations,” as well as environmental remediation and other payments to fictitious companies which Sebesta named so that they appeared legitimate, the indictment states.

In June 2010, Sebesta allegedly used stolen church funds to purchase a membership at Club 33, Disneyland's exclusive dining club, where he hosted high-profile entertainment companies, including professional sports teams, and their employees.

In 2009 and 2010, Sebesta allegedly wired $1.86 million and $309,622 in church money toward his own personal tax accounts in order to generate overpayment refunds to himself from the U.S. Treasury and the California Franchise Tax Board, respectively.

Among other concealments and deceptions, the indictment also alleges that Sebesta deceived fellow church members and others by creating fictitious email accounts, including in the name of a prominent real estate executive, whom Sebesta impersonated to further his scheme.  

In total, Sebesta stole at least $11,438,213 of church assets and also stole $34,032 from a private high school that also employed him, according to the indictment.

If convicted of all charges, Sebesta would face a statutory maximum sentence of more than 250 years in federal prison.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter was investigated by the United States Secret Service.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Adam P. Schleifer of the Major Frauds Section.


from: Ciaran McEvoy, Public Information Officer


Law Enforcement News - Fri 8/30

Photos Released In Search For Hit-and-Run Driver Who Struck LAPD Officer In Florence
Investigators released a surveillance photo Thursday in their hunt for a hit-and-run driver who struck a police officer in the Florence neighborhood of South Los Angeles this week. The driver fled the scene and did not stop to render aid following the crash on San Pedro Street around 10:20 p.m. Monday, the L.A. Police Department said in a news release. LAPD Officer Mike Martinez had pulled over a suspected stolen vehicle just south of 61st Street and was investigating when a minivan hit him coming from the other direction, officials say. Martinez said he was rolled up onto the van's hood as it continued into the intersection; when the officer rolled off, the driver sped away. Martinez said the driver “definitely knew that the 200-pound Hispanic policeman on top of his hood didn't belong there.” The driver was last seen heading north on San Pedro Street. The officer suffered injuries to his elbow, wrist and knee, but elected to visit his doctor rather go to a hospital. The minivan is described as a Toyota Sienna or Dodge from the late '90s or early 2000s with two-toned gray paint — dark gray on top, light gray on bottom — and a black-painted hood. The driver is a Latino man with short black or gray hair between the age of 28 and 50, police say. As with any hit and run in the city, a reward of $50,000 is tied to information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

LAPD Officer Testifies Gunman Was Shooting At Police
A man charged with getting into a gunbattle with pursuing officers that resulted in a Trader Joe's assistant manager being shot by police had fired first at officers during a car chase and then again after a traffic collision in front of the Silver Lake store, a Los Angeles police officer testified Thursday. During a court hearing for Gene Evin Atkins, Officer Sinlen Tse identified the 29-year-old defendant as the man who had shot at him and his female partner during the July 21, 2018, chase and after Atkins allegedly crashed into a car near the Trader Joe's store. “When he came out (of the car) he pointed a gun at us and began firing,” the officer said of the aftermath of the collision. “I returned fire in order to defend myself.” The officer testified that he initially shielded himself from the gunfire by using his the driver's side door of the patrol car as cover and that he subsequently moved to a wall that was about four feet high because it provided better coverage. He said the officers stopped returning fire after Atkins went inside the store, but said he subsequently heard a gunshot hit a pole near the officers. “We knew that the suspect was firing at us from inside the Trader Joe's,” the officer said, noting that officers had not returned fire during the chase.

Father Of 2 Gunned Down In South Los Angeles Neighborhood
A father of two, who had another baby on the way, was gunned down on a residential street in South Los Angeles Thursday morning. Two suspects were seen fleeing from the scene. A police SWAT team surrounded and searched a nearby home thinking one of the suspects inside, but they say after entering the home they did not find him there. The shooting happened on Flower Street near 75th Street Thursday morning. Police say the victim was standing outside his car when he was shot and killed. Witnesses saw two men, believed to be in their 20s, fleeing from the scene. The victim is described as a man in his 30s who had two children and another baby on the way. Distraught family members were at the scene. A motive for the shooting remains under investigation. Streets in the area were expected to remain shut down for some time as the investigation continues.

Los Angeles Police Hunt For Man Believed To Have Shot Security Guard Near Metro Station
Los Angeles police were searching Thursday night for a man believed to have shot a security guard near the Hollywood and Western Metro station, according to preliminary reports. The shooting occurred at 9:23 p.m. at the southeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue, said Officer Tony Im of the Los Angeles Police Department. The armed suspect, described as a Latino man in his early 20s who is 5-feet-10 and 150 pounds, was wearing a white hoodie and white shorts and was last seen headed south on Western Avenue from Hollywood Boulevard. The guard was taken to a hospital in unknown condition, Im said.
Los Angeles Times

Crash That Left Driver Dead In Pico-Robertson Possibly Due To Street Racing Or Road Rage: LAPD

A driver died Thursday morning when his vehicle slammed into a building in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood in what police said could have been a street racing or road rage-related incident. The crash happened just before 6 a.m. on Pico Boulevard near South Crest Drive. Los Angeles firefighters arrived quickly but the driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim's identity and age has not yet been released. A building at the corner was seen with a hole in the wall where it was struck by the vehicle. The car was traveling westbound on Pico Boulevard when the driver lost control and crashed into a building, which appears to be vacant and was unoccupied at the time, Lt. Lonnie Tiano with the Los Angeles Police Department's West Traffic Division said. No one else was injured. Later described by police as a dark blue 2015 Infiniti Q70L, the car was driving at a high rate of speed just as a gray SUV was also speeding westbound along Pico at the same time, according to LAPD. The driver of the SUV never stopped and continued driving, police said.

Report of Gunman In Winnetka Area Home Was Swatting Hoax, Police Say
What police said turned out to be a false report of a man with a gun prompted officers Tuesday to surround a home in the Winnetka area near Woodland Hills. Officers responded about 8:30 p.m. to a report of a man with a gun inside a home in the 8000 block of Oso Avenue, between Roscoe Avenue and Saticoy Street, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Mike Lopez said. By 9 p.m., it was determined that the call was a so-called "swatting" hoax aimed at triggering a law enforcement response.

Woman Charged With Murder For Exposition Park Fire That Killed 2

A Los Angeles woman was charged Thursday with two counts of capital murder for allegedly setting a fire at an Exposition Park boarding house that killed a caretaker and her brother. Khala Swasey, 24, described by prosecutors as a former resident of the home that burned, is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 30 in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on two counts of murder stemming from the Aug. 22 fire in the 1000 block of West Leighton Avenue. The murder charges include the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder during the commission of an arson, opening her to a possible death sentence. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty. Firefighters sent to 1084 W. Leighton Ave. about 12:45 a.m. Aug. 22 found a building engulfed in flames, and they received reports that people were still inside the burning structure, according to Nicholas Prange of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Police Departments In SoCal, Nationwide Partner With Ring To View Doorbell Cam Footage
Amazon's Ring doorbell is partnering with more than 400 police departments across the country to monitor neighborhoods. Ring released an official map showing the police forces that have joined their network. There's about 17 listed locally from Ventura to Orange County, including police departments in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pomona, Torrance and Westminster. Police can now directly request videos recorded by homeowners. Privacy advocates fear the program may threaten civil liberties and are calling for oversight and public discussion on the matter. Ring released the following statement Wednesday in an announcement on the new feature: "Neighbors and local law enforcement have achieved amazing results by working together through the Neighbors app, from getting stolen guns off the streets to helping families keep their children safe, and even recovering stolen medical supplies for a diabetic child. Every member of a community plays a vital role in making neighborhoods safer, and we're proud that our users can decide how exactly they want to contribute to those conversations. We've also been thoughtful about designing how law enforcement engages with the Neighbors app to ensure users always stay in control of the information they share, and that their privacy is protected."

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Returns To San Pedro With $38.5 Million In Seized Cocaine
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Robert Ward returned Thursday morning to San Pedro after a 50-day mission with 2,800 pounds of cocaine – valued at $38.5 million – that was seized in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The mission was the first for the 154-foot-long Robert Ward, which was commissioned about six months ago, Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll said. During the mission, the cutter's crew seized or disrupted an estimated 6,558 pounds of cocaine in all. Disrupted cocaine is, for example, when smugglers dump it into the ocean and the Coast Guard can't retrieve it before the drug sinks. Of that, 3,000 pounds seized on the cutter's first-ever drug bust, on July 16, was placed onto another cutter, Steadfast, and brought ashore in San Diego. Three suspects were detained. On Aug. 22, the crew found 1,500 pounds of cocaine drifting in the ocean, which had been abandoned by smugglers when they realized they were being tracked. The remaining 2,000 or so pounds were also abandoned by smugglers, but Coast Guard officials were unable to retrieve those bales in time before they sank in the Pacific.
Los Angeles Daily News

Public Safety News

Woman Rescued From San Pedro Cliff Fall Left In Grave Condition
A woman who was rescued Thursday after falling from a cliff in San Pedro was left in grave condition, authorities said. She fell about 70 feet from the cliff's highest point to the rocky shoreline below near 4102 South Pacific Ave., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Authorities were dispatched to the scene around 4 p.m. Paramedics managed to reach the woman on the ground by 4:10 p.m. and authorities said she was conscious but unable to move. A helicopter was soon sent to the area and the woman was hoisted to safety by 4:45 p.m. First responders were taking the roughly 50-year-old victim to a nearby trauma center as she suffered severe head trauma, authorities said. She was also being treated while being flown in the chopper. The circumstances surrounding how she fell remain under investigation and no other details have been released.

What To Know As California's Peak Fire Months Loom
California fire officials have learned through hard experience to temper their optimism. Having just endured more than a decade of rampaging fires — 14 of the 20 most destructive fires in state history have occurred since 2007 — fire bosses say this year the glass is half-full. “We've got a few things going for us at the moment,” said Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire, the state firefighting agency. “We still have a snowpack. Our upper elevations haven't dried out. Because of that, we are able to continue our fuel-reduction projects. Yes, this year featured a wet winter — usually good news for fire officials. But so did 2017, one of the state's wettest winters in half a century and one of the most devastating years for wildfire. Clearing and cutting has helped eliminate some of the brush and trees that fuel the flames. But California's forests are still clogged with 147 million dead trees, and counting. And the late-winter rains encouraged the growth of grasses and other highly combustible plants. Cal Fire battled 164 fires across the state in the third week of August, many of them small. History shows that September and October, with their hot, fierce winds, are the worst months for fire.

Local Government News

A Reseda Parking Lot Is Open For People Living In Their Cars. So Far, No Complaints, Councilman Says
A Reseda parking lot is now open to homeless Angelenos who live in their cars. Tacked between three buildings occupied by L.A. City Councilman Bob Blumenfield's office, the West Valley Regional Branch Library and an LAPD station, the parking lot offers a safe space for those who live in their cars. The site has access to a bathroom and wash station. Under the program, for the past four weeks about five cars have been parking there every night. Not everyone is allowed to stay overnight in the parking lot, though. Only participants of the “safe parking” program who signed up for its services can park their cars at the site. The effort is a collaboration between Blumenfield's office and a privately operated “safe parking” program that helps connect services with people who are living in their cars. In Los Angeles County, there are over 15,700 of them. Blumenfield said he was inspired to bring the program into his district — which includes communities in the West Valley — after visiting a “safe parking” program in Koreatown about a year and a half ago with City Councilman Joe Buscaino. “It was a good thing as one of many different ways to help with homelessness,” he said.
Los Angeles Daily News


Law Enforcement News - Thur 8/29

9/11 Attacks Claim More LEO Victims
Multiple officers have passed away in recent months due to health complications that were a direct result of responding to the 9/11 terror attacks. Sergeant Jeffrey Cicora, 54, died August 10. Police Officer Raymond Harris, 52, died August 4. Lieutenant Robert Jones, 55, passed away June 15. Detective Christopher Cranston, 48, died July 20. According to ODMP, three of the LEOs died from cancer developed as a result of responding to Ground Zero. Jones died from complications of surgery required to treat an illness he developed during his work at Ground Zero. The deaths come during a summer of renewed attention on the ongoing health struggles of many first responders who bravely assisted in the search and recovery efforts in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Detective Luis Alvarez, one of the faces of the push for Congress to permanently extend the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund, appeared before Congress alongside comedian Jon Stewart and many other first responders in a powerful rebuke of the politicians' inaction. Alvarez died shortly after the visit, which garnered national attention.

Man Fatally Shot In South LA Marijuana Dispensary, 2 Detained
A man was fatally shot this morning inside of a marijuana dispensary in the Florence section of South Los Angeles — and two people were detained. Officers responded around 1 a.m. to reports of a shooting inside of a marijuana dispensary in the 8100 block of South Broadway near 81st street. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Two people, who police said were part of the investigation, were detained. Police said a preliminary investigation determined that the suspect was inside of the unidentified business and fired several shots that struck the victim, who was not immediately identified. It was not immediately clear if the two detained were suspects, or if there were other suspects at large.

Driver Flees Scene After Plowing Into Thrift Store In Pico Union
Police are searching for a hit-and-run driver who they say plowed into a thrift store in Pico Union early Wednesday morning. Los Angeles police responded to the 2600 block of West Pico Boulevard at about 1 a.m. By the time officers arrived, the driver and the vehicle were gone. Debris, items from the store and a stop sign was seen scattered on the ground. Authorities describe the car as a dark blue sedan.

LA Man Charged With Capital Murder In LA Skid Row Burning Death
A Los Angeles man accused of intentionally setting a tent ablaze on skid row, killing a homeless man, was charged Wednesday with capital murder. Jonathan Early, 38, scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom in connection with the death of Dwayne Fields, 62. The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Early. Early allegedly set the tent ablaze near Sixth and San Pedro streets on Monday night and was taken into custody a short time later. Fields died the following morning as a result of his injuries. Police have not disclosed a motive for the attack, which remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Division and the Los Angeles City Fire Department's Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section.
Los Angeles Daily News

City Shuts Down Illegal Cannabis Dispensary In South Los Angeles
Authorities have shut down an unlicensed cannabis dispensary in South Los Angeles. The city says the crackdown is aimed at deterring other illegal operators. Los Angeles police served a search warrant and closed the illegal dispensary located at 8931 S. Broadway. City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents the area, said his district has "far too many illegal dispensaries.'' "We have over 70 illegal dispensaries in our district and dozens are still listed on platforms like Weedmaps,'' Harris-Dawson said. "Illegal dispensaries poison our neighborhoods and their own customers by operating dangerous, unregulated businesses. Additionally, these illegal actors make it difficult for legal dispensaries to operate successfully, including Cannabis Social Equity Program participants.'' "Shutting down these persistent offenders will help to create more opportunities for legal cannabis businesses to contribute to their communities and the city while draining resources from the illegal market,'' said Cat Packer, executive director of the city's Department of Cannabis Regulations.
FOX 11

Man Caught On Video Smashing Car Windows With Rocks In Mid-City Gets 4 Years In Prison: DA
A man who was captured on video throwing rocks at vehicles, damaging several, as he walked along a busy street in the Mid-City area earlier this year has been sentenced after reaching a plea deal in the case, prosecutors announced Wednesday. Emmanuel Moncada, 32, pleaded no contest on Wednesday to felony counts of attempted carjacking, assault and throwing an object at a vehicle with intent to do great bodily injury, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said. He was sentenced to four years and two months in state prison, and ordered to pay restitution to at least a dozen victims, according to a DA's office news release. The incident happened on Venice Boulevard near Fairfax Avenue on the afternoon of May 21. Moncada was walking up and down Venice when he started throwing rocks at passing vehicles, shattering several windows, prosecutors said. Cellphone video obtained by KTLA showed the shirtless man walking in the middle of the street, hurling rocks at several cars as traffic was stopped. He could be seen repeatedly throwing a rock at a Metro bus, damaging the windshield. Moncada then targeted another bus that was stopped at the curb, its doors open. He grabbed the large rock and boarded as frightened passengers fled at the behest of the driver.

Hearing Set For Man Charged In Deadly Gunbattle Outside Trader Joe's In Silver Lake
A hearing is set to begin Wednesday to determine if a 29-year-old man will have to stand trial on murder and other charges stemming from a chase and gunbattle last year that resulted in the fatal shooting of a Trader Joe's assistant manager by pursuing police officers in Silver Lake and a subsequent standoff inside the store. Gene Evin Atkins is charged with 51 counts, including the July 21, 2018, slaying of Melyda Maricela Corado, who was fatally wounded in front of the store in the 2700 block of Hyperion Avenue. Along with murder, the charges against Atkins include attempted murder, attempted murder of a peace officer, assault on a peace officer with a semiautomatic firearm, kidnapping, fleeing a pursuing peace officer's motor vehicle while driving recklessly, grand theft of an automobile, discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, false imprisonment of a hostage and mayhem.

Big Rig Driver Flees South Toward L.A. After Stabbing 2 Other Truckers In Fresno: CHP
A truck driver was at large Wednesday after stabbing two other truckers in a possible road rage incident in Fresno, officials said. The violence broke out after one of the drivers pulled over around 7:30 a.m. to check on his load along southbound Highway 99 near Herndon Avenue, at the northern tip of the Central Valley town, according to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Salas. The suspect driver pulled in behind him and got out of his big rig to confront the first man. A scuffle ensued, Salas said. While they were fighting, the brother of the first man — hauling his own load — pulled over behind the suspect's truck. Salas said that's when the assailant pulled out a knife and began stabbing the first trucker, then his brother. An off-duty deputy arrived on scene while they were being stabbed and produced a firearm, which prompted the attacker to get into his big rig and flee, Salas said. The man was last seen heading south on Highway 99, toward Los Angeles. Both brothers sustained multiple stab wounds and were taken to the Community Regional Medical Center for treatment. They were expected to survive, Salas said.

Deaths Caused By Drivers Running Red Lights At 10-Year High
The number of people killed by drivers running red lights has hit a 10-year high, and AAA is urging drivers and pedestrians to use caution at traffic signals. In 2017, the latest figures available, 939 people were killed by vehicles blowing through red lights, according to a AAA study of government crash data. It's the highest death toll since 2008 and 28% higher than in 2012. AAA says two people are killed every day in the U.S. by drivers who don't stop for the signals. “Drivers who decide to run a red light when they could have stopped safely are making a reckless choice that puts other road users in danger,” David Yang, executive director of AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety, said Thursday. AAA isn't sure why the numbers are on the rise or why they have increased at a far higher rate than overall U.S. roadway deaths. Since 2012 the overall number of highway fatalities rose 10%, far short of the 28% increase in red-light running deaths.

Local Government News

Case Closed: Judge Keeps Restrictions On Downtown L.A. Homeless Sweeps
A legal settlement restricting the city from clearing homeless encampments on skid row has survived a court challenge, but the judge said business owners could file a separate claim if they can show that the agreement has adversely affected their property. U.S. District Judge S. James Otero in Los Angeles rejected a petition filed in July by downtown property owners and residents and the DTLA Alliance for Human Rights to block the settlement. Otero said the settlement, which the city reached in April, closed the case. “The court concludes that it lacks jurisdiction over the litigation,” Otero wrote in the ruling Tuesday. The decision stems from a lawsuit brought in 2016 by homeless individuals and advocates who accused the city of using camp cleanups to drive homeless people out of the squalid downtown district. Later that year, the judge ordered the city to stop confiscating and destroying homeless people's property on skid row and surrounding streets, unless it was crime evidence, contraband or an immediate threat to public safety or health. The city's settlement this year with homeless people and advocates incorporated the limits that the judge set in 2016. The city also agreed to store all confiscated property and make it available for pickup within 72 hours, or if it consists of medication, medical equipment, sleeping bag or blankets, within 24 hours.
Los Angeles Times

L.A. Considers Allowing Police To Remove People From High-Rise Fire Zones
A Los Angeles City Council committee Wednesday approved a draft ordinance that would give law enforcement the authority to order homeless people out of encampments located in brush areas on high-risk fire days. “The implications … are dire in fire zones, particularly on red-flag days,” said Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who chairs the council's Public Safety Committee and co-authored the proposal with Councilman Bob Blumenfield. “There are inherent threats that we must mitigate and provide safety for all individuals.” The zones that will be marked off limits would be “Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones,” which are mapped by Cal Fire. Officials said most of the San Fernando Valley is within those zones, but they are limited by the state as to how large the zones can be. Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority representatives said they would normally not advocate for the removal of homeless people from public spaces, but in this case it's about their safety as well.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Welcomes 4th Annual LA Fleet Week To San Pedro

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued the city's official LA Fleet Week welcome Wednesday, Aug. 28, at the Battleship Iowa in San Pedro. The fourth annual Labor Day festivities open on Friday, Aug. 30, and run through Monday, Sept. 2, at the Port of Los Angeles, at Harbor Boulevard and Swinford Street. Six active-duty Navy and Coast Guard ships will be in port for first-come, first-served public tours between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. The event will also feature music (Cheap Trick is featured Friday night in a free concert expected to draw several thousand), food, demonstrations, an aerial show, a Navy parachute team and contests. Admission is free. Garcetti first announced — also from on the Battleship Iowa — that Los Angeles would join the Navy's Fleet Week event roundup in November 2016. It has quickly become the town's largest annual tourist draw, bringing an estimated 250,000 to the waterfront over the course of four days in 2018.
Los Angeles Daily News


Law Enforcement News - Wed 8/28

Texas Trooper Dies Months After Being Shot At Crash Scene
A state trooper has died more than four months after he was shot while investigating a vehicle collision in South Texas. The Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement that Trooper Moises Sanchez died Saturday after suffering head injuries when he was shot April 6 in Edinburg. Authorities say Sanchez was investigating a vehicle collision but couldn't find one of the drivers. They say he then found Victor Alejandro Godinez nearby and was shot. Department Director Steven McCraw says the 49-year-old Sanchez "demonstrated great strength and bravery as a Texas trooper." Authorities say charges of attempted murder against Godinez will be upgraded to capital murder. Godinez, of Edinburg has been jailed since the weekend of the shooting. A message left Sunday with his attorney was not immediately returned.
Associated Press

Pedestrian Fatally Struck While Crossing Street In Vermont Square; Driver Sought
Police are searching for a hit-and-run driver who killed a pedestrian in the Vermont Square neighborhood of Los Angeles early Wednesday morning. The crash occurred about 1:30 a.m. as the victim was crossing Normandy Avenue near West 51st Street, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Elaine Morales said. The victim, identified only as a man, was struck by a vehicle traveling southbound on Normandy Avenue, Morales said. The man was not in a marked crosswalk when he was struck and was sent flying into two parked vehicles, LAPD Officer Clarence Perkins said. He was located between the parked vehicles and pronounced dead at the scene, Morales said. The driver fled the scene in an unknown vehicle. Detectives are searching the area for surveillance video and witnesses.

LAPD Makes Arrest In Boyle Heights Hit-And-Run That Injured Bicyclist

Tips from the public led to the arrest Tuesday of a 23-year-old driver who allegedly struck and injured a bicyclist in Boyle Heights and fled the scene. The arrest of Luis Rayaflores came a day after police released video of the head-on collision, which occurred about 10:30 p.m. Thursday on Whittier Boulevard near Calzona Street. Rayaflores knew why Los Angeles Police Department Detective Juan Campos turned up at his Canoga Park area home and admitted to being the driver, the detective said. Rayaflores, who was licensed and insured, said he fled because he panicked after hitting the bicyclist, according to Campos. Rayaflores was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and was being held in lieu of $80,000 bail, Campos said. Tips received after the video was released to media outlets led to the vehicle and suspect, according to Campos, who said Rayaflores had also seen the collision video on the news.

After A Deadly Hit-and-Run In North Hills, The Suspect Jumped On A Bus And Fled Deep Into Mexico, Police Say

The suspect in the deadly North Hills hit-and-run in June bought a bus ticket two hours after the crash and then fled to the southernmost tip of Mexico in an attempt to escape charges, authorities said on Tuesday, Aug 27. When Los Angeles Police Department detectives went to the home of Maritza Lara after the June 16 crash that killed one man and injured several of her own passengers, she was already gone, Sgt. Nicholas Sinclair said. Family members drove her to the Greyhound station in downtown L.A., where she purchased tickets for herself and her four children. Investigators said they were told the family was on their way to Calexico, a small city that is 120 miles east of San Diego and on the U.S.-Mexico border. But U.S. Marshals later found Lara had travelled all the way to a town near the Mexican border with Guatemala. She was arrested in Mexico on Aug. 17 and deported back to the U.S. two days later. Lara now faces charges of murder, driving under the influence, and felony hit and run, authorities said. Sinclair, a detective with LAPD's Valley Traffic Division, said bottles of rum and beer were found inside the Lexus that Lara was driving at the time of the crash. Marijuana was also found in the vehicle.
Los Angeles Daily News

Former Marine Arrested After Hourslong Standoff In Reseda
A former Marine was arrested after a nearly seven-hour standoff in Reseda Wednesday morning. The suspect's landlord contacted authorities on Tuesday night around 10:30 p.m. reporting his tenant who lives in a converted garage fired his gun. In addition, the landlord said his tenant had been behaving 'strangely,' by acting "paranoid" and "hearing voices." Arriving officers responded to the home in the 18900 block of Cantara Street, near the intersection of Roscoe Boulevard and Wilbur Avenue. The suspect refused to come out of the home prompting a SWAT team with the Los Angeles Police Department and crisis negotiators to be called to the scene. The standoff lasted well into the night and into the early morning hours as the suspect refused to exit the home. The suspect called 911 several times throughout the night and admitted to dispatchers he had fired the shot. He also reportedly admitted to using meth. The suspect came out of the home after police used tear gas around 5:30 a.m. He was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital for psychiatric evaluation. 
FOX 11

Intoxicated Transient Being Chased By Officers Jumps Onto 101 Freeway, LAPD Says
A reportedly intoxicated transient walking in the street in East Hollywood jumped off a 101 Freeway overpass and died while being chased by officers, Los Angeles police said. The transient was walking in traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard when two officers began chasing him, the Los Angeles Police Department said. It was not immediately clear if the man was killed by the fall off the Santa Monica Boulevard overpass onto the 101 Freeway or by being struck by a vehicle, police said. The fall temporarily shut down all southbound lanes and backed up traffic. There was a significant backup starting near the Santa Monica Boulevard overpass. Around 10:40 p.m., two lanes of the 101 Freeway were reopened, but the death investigation was ongoing and expected to carry on for several hours. There was no estimate into what time the remaining lanes would reopen.

Police Investigate Possible Swatting Call At Winnetka Home

Police were investigating a possible swatting call at a home Tuesday night in the 8100 block of Oso Avenue in Winnetka. The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a call around 8:30 p.m. of a shooting inside the home. A fire engine was on the scene and an ambulance was heading to the scene after getting calls of a person shot. According to initial reports, the family later called police to say that there was nothing of the sort happening in the home and that nobody from the home made the call. The family was evacuated from the home, and police searched the two-story home. “It was a fake call,” said a man who lives in the house. “They got inside my house, and they checked. And it's clear.” The family was able to return back to their home shortly after being evacuated. Police are investigating the incident as a possible swatting call.

Missing Venice Man's Burned Body Found In Joshua Tree; 2 Women, Man Charged With Murder: Authorities

Three people, including the victim's stepdaughter, have been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the death of a missing Venice man whose burned body was found in a dry lake bed in Joshua Tree earlier this month, officials said Tuesday. The victim, 72-year-old William Webb, had been reported missing out before his body was found, according to LAPD Officer Jader Chavez. Webb was killed on Aug. 15, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. His charred remains were found near Sunway Road and Rosehedge Avenue the following morning. Evidence located at the scene prompted homicide detectives to begin investigating, authorities said. Three people were subsequently arrested and charged with murder in connection with the man's death, according to the DA's office. The criminal complaint identifies the suspects as Haena Worthing, 44, of Marina del Rey; John Schiefer, 38, of Nipomo; and Shavonne Webster, 40, of Winchester, Indiana. The DA's office alleged that Shiefer and Webster used a hammer to kill the victim, according to the complaint.

Southern California Man Surrenders In $14M Movie Scam

A Southern California man who allegedly scammed $14 million from investors by falsely telling them their money would be used to produce a feature film has surrendered to federal authorities. The U.S. Attorney's Office says Tuesday that 41-year-old Adam Joiner is charged with wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. It wasn't immediately known if the Manhattan Beach resident has an attorney. Prosecutors say Joiner used fake documents and forged signatures to raise millions from investment firms in South Korea and China for a project called "Legends." The fake film was to be an anachronistic mash-up of legendary and historical figures from nineteenth century America — including Davy Crockett, Calamity Jane and Paul Bunyan. Joiner allegedly told investors that Netflix had agreed to distribute the picture.

Convicted California Arsonist Faces New Fire Charges

A man already in prison for arson is facing new charges that he set fires as a diversion to burglarize fire stations in Southern California. Prosecutors contend that 21-year-old Christian Saddler of Hesperia caused more than $5 million in damage. The Orange County Fire Authority on Tuesday announced new charges against Saddler, a onetime member of San Bernardino County's Fire Explorer program. Authorities say Saddler set fires to divert crews in order to steal cash and personal items from Orange County stations. KTLA-TV reports that one fire spread to a Santa Ana apartment building where families slept. They escaped without injury. Authorities say they suspect Saddler also set fires in San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties. Saddler currently is serving five years for arson and burglary involving other cases.
Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

LA Bars Could Stay Open Until 4 A.M. Under State Bill, But LA Council Says No Way
A proposal that would allow bars in select cities to remain open until 4 a.m. should be cut off, Los Angeles City Council members declared Tuesday as they passed a resolution opposing the bill pending in Sacramento. “I'm looking to my council colleagues to support this resolution as a critical vote for public safety,” said Councilman Paul Koretz, who authored the resolution. “This is a bill that puts not only consumers of alcohol in danger but all the innocent bystanders that will suffer, if it passes. “… Today's resolution is an opportunity to tell Sacramento legislators the people of Los Angeles are not guinea pigs in an experiment likely to kill and maim many of its residents,” Koretz said. The bill, SB 58, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would create a five-year pilot program beginning in 2022 that would allow bars to remain open until 4 a.m. in Cathedral City, Coachella, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palm Springs, Sacramento, Fresno, San Francisco and West Hollywood. Existing law prohibits the sale of alcohol from 2 to 6 a.m. The City Council passed the resolution 10-2.
Los Angeles Daily News