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

March 10, 2020
Law Enforcement News

Honolulu LEO Killed In Ambush Remembered As ‘Rock' Of Community
Crowds of more than a thousand people gathered at Kamehameha Schools’ Bishop Memorial Chapel and outside Honolulu Police Department headquarters Saturday for final salutes to fallen police Officer Kaulike Kalama. Kalama, 34, is remembered “as a local boy who loved Hawaii and serving his community as a police officer,” said Ohana Baptist Church pastor Wayne Surface, who spoke during a morning funeral on the Kapa­lama campus. The service was followed by a motorcade that took Kalama’s ashes past Honolulu Police Department headquarters on Beretania Street for a final roll call ceremony. Surface described him as a “quiet hero” and “rock” whose strength supported those around him. His family knew him as a devoted husband to his wife, Kaohi, and father to his 14-year-old son, Kaumana.

Man Shot To Death On Ventura Boulevard In Woodland Hills
A 27-year-old man was fatally shot Monday outside his apartment in the Woodland Hills area, and police were seeking the suspect or suspects responsible for the crime. Officers were sent to the 20500 block of Ventura Boulevard about 4:30 a.m. in response to a report of a shooting and found the victim, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Witnesses told detectives that the man walked outside his apartment and then soon after returned, yelling: “I was shot.” One of his roommates called 9-1-1. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. His name is being withheld until his family is notified. No arrests were reported, and no suspect description was available. Anyone with information about the case was encouraged to contact Detective Castro at 818-374-1925, or during non-business hours, 1-877-LAPD-24- 7.

Barbershop Owner Killed In South L.A. Shooting
Police Monday continued to investigate the deadly shooting of a barbershop owner who was killed inside his own shop in South Los Angeles, officials said. The call to the Los Angeles Police Department came in around 8:30 p.m. Sunday reporting a man down at Morris Barbershop located on Vernon and Sixth avenues, near Leimert Boulevard. It is believed the caller and the victim were related. Arriving LAPD officers found the barbershop owner suffering from at least one gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His name has not been released by authorities and was described as a 37-year-old man. A description of a suspect or suspects was not available. 

LAPD Releases Photo In Ongoing Search For Killer In Pico-Union Shooting
Homicide detectives released a suspect photo Monday in hopes of generating leads as they continue their search for a killer who gunned down another man in Los Angeles’ Pico-Union district earlier this year. Eric Ernesto Perez, 48, died in the attack, which took place about 7:30 p.m. along Alvardo Street at Olympic Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department and L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner. No city of residence for Perez was listed in coroner’s records. A report of a “victim down” led officers to discover Perez lying on the sidewalk, suffering from a gunshot wound, police said. Detectives learned the two men were walking when the killer passed Perez on the sidewalk, police said. The suspect stopped, turned around and shouted at Perez, who turned around to face him.

Grandfather on Jog Attacked, Stabbed by Homeless Man in Studio City
A 70-year-old grandfather jogging along the Los Angeles River in Studio City says he was followed and stabbed by a homeless man Sunday morning. Leonardo Di Pierre said he was jogging near Whitsett Avenue and Ventura Boulevard around 8:30 a.m. when he noticed a homeless man was following him, so he walked to the parking lot of of a nearby Christian Science Church to try and get help.

3 Children Injured, Woman Suspected Of DUI In North Hills Head-On Crash
Three young children were injured after a suspected DUI driver slammed into another vehicle in North Hills, police said. The crash occurred in the 15200 block of Nordhoff Street at about 11:45 p.m. Monday. A white Toyota Sequoia was travelling between 60 to 80 mph and going eastbound on Nordhoff toward Sepulveda Boulevard when it swerved into incoming traffic and crashed head-on with a SUV, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Three children were in the Toyota - twins between 4 to 6 months old and a child between 2 to 3 years old. Each were transported. The children suffered injuries described as moderate to serious, and one of the twins was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center in serious condition. LAPD said the driver of the Toyota, a 23-year-old woman, was suspected of driving under the influence and transported in unknown condition. The driver of the SUV was also transported with minor injuries.

LAPD Seeks Other Victims Of Culver City ‘Psychic’ Accused Of Grand Theft
Detectives are searching for additional victims of a woman who ran a psychic reading business in Culver City, where she allegedly preyed on vulnerable people, telling them they were cursed to scam them out of money. Leslie Lee, 42, was arrested on suspicion of grand theft involving at least three victims, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a Monday news release. She used rituals involving eggs to determine the “extent of the curse” the victims supposedly had, then asked for hefty sums of money for “curse removal work,” according to the release. Lee promised to ultimately return the money, but she never did, investigators said. One of the cases involves a Hollywood woman Lee met years ago. The psychic gained her trust over the course of eight years, and convinced her she was afflicted with negative energy that was adversely impacting her life, LAPD said.

Hawthorne Man Pleads No Contest To Killing Motorcyclist In Road Rage Crash
A 26-year-old Hawthorne man pleaded no contest Monday to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon in a road-rage crash that left a motorcyclist dead in Gardena in 2017. Oscar Villa was originally charged with murder in the death of Jaylen Ramon Bell Maxwell, 22, of Los Angeles, and is set to be sentenced March 30. His plea was negotiated with prosecutors, according to a spokesman for the District Attorney's Office who did not know the agreed-upon sentence. Villa was driving near Western Avenue and Gardena Boulevard when he got into an altercation with Maxwell, according to testimony presented at a Jan. 16, 2019, hearing in which he was ordered to stand trial. Villa followed Maxwell as he drove away and ran over the motorcycle before crashing into a building, according to Deputy District Attorney Ryan Gould. Villa was arrested that day by Gardena police and has remained behind bars since then on $2 million bail, jail records show.

Prosecution Wraps Up Opening Statement In Murder Trial Against New York Real Estate Heir Robert Durst
Opening statements concluded Monday in the trial against New York real estate heir Robert Durst, who is accused of killing his longtime friend, Susan Berman, in 2000. The defense is set to begin giving its opening statement Tuesday morning. Durst, 76, is charged with murdering Berman in her Benedict Canyon home. Prosecutors told the jury Thursday that Berman was killed because she told Durst she was prepared to speak to New York investigators about the still unsolved disappearance of his wife, Kathie Durst. In the second day of the prosecution’s opening statements, Deputy District Attorney John Lewin said Berman lied to Durst, telling him she had been contacted by and planned to speak with investigators looking into his wife’s 1982 disappearance.

Man Gets 3 Years In Prison For Scamming Elderly By Posing As Grandkids Needing Cash
A 29-year-old man was sentenced Monday to 41 months behind bars for his role in a fraud scheme that duped elderly residents of Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties into believing their grandchildren were in danger in foreign countries and immediately required cash. Clifford Kirstein, a Canadian citizen, pleaded guilty last year in Los Angeles federal court to a wire fraud charge, admitting his role as a phone scammer who made calls to victims while impersonating a grandchild in desperate need of cash. U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney described the offense as a “very cruel, heartless scheme causing great distress to elderly victims.” The judge ordered that Kirstein was liable, along with his co-defendants, for $56,258 in restitution to be shared between seven victims.

2 Men Sentenced To 1 Year In Jail, 5 Years Probation For Engineering Fraud Spanning 50 Cities
Two men were each sentenced to one year in jail Monday after being convicted of hundreds of counts of forgery and grand theft in a wide-ranging case of engineering fraud spanning seven Southern California counties. Wilfrido Rodriguez, 48, and Reuben Gutierrez, 45, were found guilty in November of more than 200 counts each in the fraudulent scheme related to their work for an engineering firm in Rolling Hills Estates. In addition to one year in jail, the two were sentenced to five years of probation. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigators say that between 2003 and 2014, Gutierrez and Rodriguez prepared fraudulent structural engineering plan set pages, structural observation reports and structural calculation sets in the name of their former employer, Palos Verdes Engineering. Rodriguez had worked as an engineering drafter and Gutierrez was an architectural designer at the firm, but neither were licensed architects or civil engineers, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Public Safety News

19 Coronavirus Cases In LA County With First Possible Case Of Community Transmission
Long Beach officials confirmed early Monday evening the city's first three cases of coronavirus. The city, which has a health department separate from the county, says the patients are two men and one woman. This brings the overall total to 19 cases. Earlier, Los Angeles County public health officials announced two additional cases within the county. One of the two cases was reportedly an individual with known travel history to Japan. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said that they have not been able to identify a known source of exposure for the second individual, meaning it could be the first case in the county that may have been transmitted through the community. "There are no known public exposure locations related to these cases at this time," Public Health wrote in a press release.

Coronavirus Cases In California Rise To 133: Here Is What You Need To Know
The number of people in California with the coronavirus increased to 133 cases Monday as the impact continued to ripple across the state. The toll included the state’s second confirmed death, a woman in her 60s in Santa Clara County. Last week, a man in Placer County who had been on the Grand Princess cruise ship also died. Oakland became the center of the California fight, as officials took passengers off the boat and sent them to regional medical facilities or quarantine at state military bases. 

Local Government News

LA County Leaders: Jails Only A ‘Last Resort’
The numbers in L.A. County are staggering, leaders say: 9% of the population is black, but blacks comprise 29% of people in county jails, Hispanic or Latinx people make up 49% of the population, but they are 52% of the county’s incarcerated population, and Black and Latinx women are 49% of the county’s population are women. But they make up 75% of the women in the county’s jails. All this in a massive incarceration system leaders say is a relic of another era, destined only to be more costly and less healthy for the county over the long run. That’s why a seismic shift in L.A. County’s jail system is coming, if a team of leaders and community advocates see their vision realized. That vision will be a focus on Tuesday as the Board of Supervisors considers approving “Care First, Jails Last,” a county roadmap that seeks to make incarceration “a last resort,” and puts treatment — whether it’s mental health or battling addiction — ahead of it.

City Atty. Mike Feuer Says He’s Running For L.A. Mayor
Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer jumped into the 2022 mayor’s race Monday, announcing his candidacy for City Hall’s top office and creating a fundraising committee. Feuer, 61, becomes the highest-profile politician to take steps to replace Mayor Eric Garcetti, who will be forced out because of term limits. A former L.A. City Council member and state legislator, Feuer filed paperwork to begin fundraising one day after the city’s campaign window opened. Feuer, a Democrat, said in an interview with The Times that tackling homelessness and affordable housing issues would be among his top priorities if elected mayor. “Public service and helping people is at the core of who I am,” Feuer said. “And I want to bring the values of service, integrity, standing up for people, changing the world, to the mayor’s office.”

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: