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

February 4, 2020
Law Enforcement News

‘It Was An Ambush': Deputy's Body Camera Takes Bullet In Shadowy Attack Near Santa Clara County Reservoir
Late Friday night, Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputy Sukhdeep Gill was on routine patrol near the Uvas Reservoir when he pulled his SUV over and got out to take a look around. Not long after, he noticed a car approaching where he was standing on the side of Uvas Road, in unincorporated Morgan Hill. As it got closer, its headlights suddenly vanished. Four gunshots quickly followed, with one round hitting Gill squarely in the chest. Fatefully, the bullet hit Gill's body-worn camera, which itself was backed by his standard-issue body armor. Dazed but still alert, he fired two rounds from his service pistol at his now-fleeing attacker. “Shots fired! Shots fired!” Gill told emergency dispatchers, according to a recording released by the Sheriff's Office. As dispatchers tried frantically to get more information from Gill over the radio, they were met with silence: He had apparently fallen down an embankment. After two long minutes, he had made it back to the roadway, adrenaline still pumping through his veins. Gill gave the dispatchers signs of life, saying, “I think I was hit,” into his radio.
Mercury News

To Keep Cops In The Community, A Shuttered LAPD Jail In San Pedro Reopens

For nearly a decade, the jail in San Pedro stood vacant and shuttered. Television crews filmed inside on occasion, and police cadets asked to use it on Halloween. But it had no real inmates. Sgt. Catherine Plows of the Los Angeles Police Department's Harbor Division often walked through the jail — which is connected to the station – to flush toilets and punch some buttons, trying to keep it alive. “We watched it for 10 years, just rotting,” she said. “It sat very tomb-like for a long time.” Without the jail, her division's officers would drive 15 ½ miles on the crowded 110 Freeway to book suspects in South L.A.'s 77 th Street Regional Jail. The trips took hours from time that could be otherwise spent patrolling or responding to radio calls. But not for much longer. After years of lobbying by community members, the 16,250-square-foot facility will open Feb. 16. “This was demanded by the residents in the Harbor area community,” said L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino, a former police officer in the Harbor Division whose district includes the jail. “We wanted to make sure the street cops are in our area and not being pulled away every time they have to make an arrest.”
Los Angeles Times

Statewide Fundraiser Planned For Family Of Sheriff's Detective Amber Leist
A statewide fundraiser will be held today at participating California Pizza Kitchen locations to benefit the family of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Amber Leist, who was struck by a vehicle and killed last month after helping a woman cross a Valley Village street. "Amber's commitment to service is a reflection of what the men and women of the sheriff's department do every day," Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a memorial for the 12-year veteran of the sheriff's department. Leist is survived by her parents, siblings and 17- and 20-year-old sons. Tuesday's fundraiser is being held in partnership with The Fallen Heroes organization, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that assists the families of fallen peace officers and firefighters. To participate in the fundraiser, people can present a flier from The Fallen Heroes organization or simply mention the fundraiser to their server, said Tom Gallinatti of The Fallen Heroes. "California Pizza Kitchen will donate 20 percent of participating guests' food and beverage checks to Police and Fire: The Fallen Heroes to support the family of Detective Leist," Gallinatti said.

Video: Road Rage Incident In Front Of Mid City Elementary School Caught On Camera
Two drivers got into a physical altercation Monday in an apparent road rage situation in front of a bunch of terrified elementary school children in Mid City — and it was all caught on camera. The violence unfolded at about 7:41 a.m. outside of Crescent Heights Elementary School as parents were walking their children to the campus about 15 minutes before the start of school. “This is an emergency, there's a road rage,” Davina Loscalzo can be heard saying in the video. “He's hitting the person in the car.” Loscalzo captured the violent scene as she was taking her daughter to school. “He gets out of his car, and breaks the window,” Loscalzo said. “There's children walking, and he's still hitting the person driving the car,” Loscalzo said in the video. The suspect has not been identified or arrested, but police say he was driving a gray four-door Honda Accord. Anyone with information about the incident was asked to call police.

Authorities Searching For Inmate Who Left Reentry Program
A man serving a five-year sentence walked away from a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reentry program facility without authorization Monday. Officials realized about 10:30 a.m. that Orso Wesley, 34, had left the Male Community Reentry Program facility in Los Angeles, and conducted an emergency search, according to the CDCR. Wesley, who was serving a five year sentence for second-degree robbery, is described as 5-feet-7, 187 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, CDCR reported. He was transferred to the reentry facility from Calipatria State Prison in November, and he was expected to be released on parole in December, according to CDCR. Authorities encouraged anyone with information about Wesley's whereabouts to contact law enforcement or call 9-11.

Man Sentenced To Five Years In Pursuit, South L.A. Standoff
An ex-convict who led police on a pursuit and then barricaded himself inside a South Los Angeles apartment for several hours with his 2-month-old infant was sentenced Monday to five years in prison. Juan Manuel Zamora, 25, pleaded no contest last month to one count each of fleeing a pursuing peace officer's vehicle while driving recklessly, possession of an assault weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon and unlawful possession of ammunition, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. His sentence was part of a negotiated plea with prosecutors. Police officers responding to a call tried to stop Zamora's vehicle June 28 in a parking lot at South San Pedro Street and East Washington Boulevard, but he drove away, according to Deputy District Attorney Kristopher Gay. Zamora hit a police vehicle as he fled, leading officers on a chase in which he crashed his car into a traffic pole. He then ran inside an apartment and barricaded himself with the infant before surrendering to police several hours later, Gay said.

Ex-Chair Pleads Guilty To Stealing $11 Million From L.A. Church

Former chairman of the board for the Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, in Los Angeles pleaded guilty Monday to federal criminal charges of stealing more than $11 million from the institution, officials said. Charles Thomas Sebesta, 55, of Huntington Beach, made false payments from the church's bank accounts and siphoned off proceeds from the 2008 sale of the church's prominent Hollywood Boulevard flagship to buy himself a home, according to a news release from the United States Attorney Central District of California. Sebesta pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud affecting a financial institution and one count of bank fraud on Monday. He has been in federal custody since August. For at least a 10 year period from Aug. 2006 to Dec. 2016, Sebesta made payments into bank accounts under his name, names of his family members and to accounts under fake company names, officials said. He also forged a church member's signature on several checks to help conceal the fraud.

California Bill Would Examine Hunting Licenses In Gun Sales

A lawmaker proposed legislation Monday that would require closer scrutiny of hunting licenses like the one used by a teenager charged with opening fire at a synagogue last year. The suspect, John T. Earnest, was issued a hunting license, but it was not set to go into effect until about two months after the shooting in April at the Chabad of Poway near San Diego. Earnest is charged with killing a 60-year-old woman and injuring three others, including the rabbi and an 8-year-old girl. Earnest, age 19 at the time, picked up the weapon the day before from a San Diego store. Having a valid hunting license is the only way someone under 21 who isn't in the military or law enforcement can legally buy a weapon under state law. Democratic Sen. Anthony Portantino of La Cañada Flintridge said the gun store did not adequately check to make sure the hunting license was valid. His SB914 bill would require both the retailer and the state Department of Justice to check the validity during the 10-day waiting period after gun buyers purchase the weapon and before they can pick it up.
Associated Press

Public Safety News

LA County Health Officials Outline Plans To Prevent Spread Of Coronavirus
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials Monday outlined the latest plans to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus that originated in China, and which has been contracted by at least one person in the county. As a result of the situation in China, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency to allow local, state and federal officials to fully coordinate responses in partnership with public health departments, emergency management teams, airports, health care professionals and first responders. According to the World Health Organization, the novel coronavirus epidemic has claimed at least 360 lives in China, exceeding the death toll of the severe acute respiratory syndrome -- SARS -- outbreak of 2003. More than 17,000 infections have been documented in China. Updates about the coronavirus will be posted on the county website at, and on DPH social media accounts @lapublichealth. 
FOX 11

20 SoCal Firefighters Returning After Battling Deadly Australian Wildfires

Twenty Angeles National Forest firefighters will return to Los Angeles on Wednesday after spending almost a month battling the raging wildfires in Australia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday. The firefighters were deployed on Jan. 6 to assist the Victoria Rural Fire Service, according to the USDA's Nathan Judy and Forest Service spokesman Andrew Mitchell. "All of us on the forest, and I know their families are proud of the hard work our dedicated firefighters accomplished while in Australia,'' said Robert Garcia, Angeles Fire Chief. "We look forward to hearing and learning from their experiences while abroad." The firefighters will be reunited with loved ones at the Los Angeles Fire Department's Station 5 on Wednesday morning after flying into Los Angeles International Airport, Judy said.

Local Government News

L.A. Leaders Weigh A New Idea To Halt Rent Hikes: Force Landlords To Sell Their Buildings
Los Angeles leaders have relied on different strategies for slowing the growth in housing prices — limits on rent hikes in older buildings, new restrictions on Airbnb and incentives for developers who build affordable housing. Now, City Councilman Gil Cedillo has another idea for keeping rents low in his district: Force a landlord in Chinatown to sell its building to the city. On Friday, Cedillo announced plans for having the Board of Public Works — the agency that oversees sidewalk repairs, street repaving and the construction of bridges — use its power of eminent domain to acquire a 124-unit apartment building from landlord Thomas Botz. Cedillo said the strategy is needed to keep 59 units of affordable housing inside the building, known as Hillside Villa, from switching over to market rate prices. A 30-year agreement to keep rents low between the property owners and city expired in 2018 — and attempts at reaching a new deal have fallen apart.
Los Angeles Times

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: