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

April 20, 2020
Law Enforcement News

LAPD Detective Who Was Critically Ill With COVID-19 Is Released From Hospital To Cheers From Medical Staff, Police
A Los Angeles Police Department detective who was hospitalized in extremely critical condition with the novel coronavirus was discharged Friday and greeted by loud cheers from hospital staff. Detective Michael Chang left Providence Saint John’s Health Care Center in Santa Monica around noon, according to a hospital news release. Dozens of people — including family members, hospital staff, and police personnel — were on hand to applaud him as he was escorted out in a wheelchair, video from the scene showed. He was clad in blue scrubs and his face was covered with a mask as he left the facility. The detective hugged his sons and kissed his wife for the time since he was diagnosed with COVID-19 about a month ago. Uniformed LAPD officers also showed up in full force to salute and thank the doctors, nurse and staff at Saint John’s hospital.

Chief: Man Ambushed 3 Texas Officers In His Home, Killing 1
A man who killed one Texas police officer and wounded two others before killing himself was wearing body armor and waiting to ambush them when they arrived at his home in response to a domestic violence call, authorities said Sunday. The attack Saturday in San Marcos, a city 45 miles (72 kilometers) northeast of San Antonio, left 31-year-old Officer Justin Putnam dead and two other officers in critical but stable condition, the city's interim police chief, Bob Klett, said at a news conference Sunday. “He was prepared, ready for them to come in and started shooting immediately, and there was nothing they could do to escape the gunfire,” said Klett.

New York Sergeant Dies Of COVID-19 Complications
A veteran Sands Point police sergeant has died after contracting COVID-19, becoming the first known Long Island police officer to succumb to the virus, the police department announced Sunday. Sgt. Joseph Spinosa, of Hicksville, died Wednesday at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola after testing positive about two weeks earlier for both the coronavirus and pneumonia, said Sands Point Police Chief Thomas Ruehle. He was 52. "Everybody loved Joe," Ruehle said Thursday, reflecting on his colleague. "He was just excellent. He was extremely squared away. He knew all this stuff. He knew what he was doing, very level-headed and always made the right decisions. It will be impossible to replace him." Ruehle said it's unclear how Spinosa contracted the novel coronavirus, but his passing will be counted as a line-of-duty death, the first in the 100-year-history of the department, which has 20 officers. With Spinosa's passing, now there are just 19.

Two More LAPD Employees Test Positive For Covid-19
Two more Los Angeles Police Department employees have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, authorities said Saturday. That means a total of 63 LAPD employees have tested positive, according to Jessica Kellogg, public information officer for the Emergency Operations Center. Twenty-two LAPD employees have recovered and returned to full duty. One remained hospitalized. All the others are at home and recovering. There were no new cases of COVID-19-positive Los Angeles Fire Department employees, keeping that number at 20, she said. Eleven have recovered and returned to work and none are hospitalized, Kellogg said. The remaining nine are isolated and recovering at home.

Studio City Shooting Leaves 3 Men Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide, Police Say
A shooting that left three men dead at a Studio City apartment building is being investigated as an apparent murder-suicide, authorities said. The shooting was reported about 11:30 p.m. in the 11000 block of Aqua Vista Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Authorities say a 47-year-old man shot and killed two men in their late 60s. The suspect, who was related to one of the victims, then walked into the living room and used a shogun to take his life. According to investigators, the incident may have stemmed from a domestic violence incident though the motive is still under investigation.

Man Found Dead In Sun Valley, Homicide Suspected
A homeless man was found dead Saturday from an apparent homicide in Sun Valley, authorities said. The death was reported just before 2 p.m. at Saticoy Street and Laurel Canyon Boulevard, according to Officer F. Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations Center. The 39-year-old man appeared to have been fatally stabbed, Gonzalez said. No suspect information was available, he said.

One Dead, Woman Arrested After Crash In South Los Angeles
A woman was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter for allegedly running a red light Sunday in South Los Angeles and triggering a three-vehicle crash that killed a female motorist, a police sergeant said. The crash occurred about 3:45 a.m. in the area of Century Boulevard and Olive Street, said Sgt. Philip Ibarra of the Los Angeles Police Department’s South Traffic Division. The motorist, a woman in her 30s, failed to stop for a red light while going northbound on Olive Street at Century Boulevard and struck two vehicles, Ibarra said. One of those two vehicles struck a light signal and the motorist in that vehicle was ejected from her car. She died at the scene, he said. The motorist who initiated the crash was sent to an area hospital with complaints of pain, he said. Other charges might be pending because police believe she was driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, Ibarra said.

Gathering Of 100 People In South LA Spurs Massive Police Presence, Arrests
A huge police response in South Los Angeles late Friday night led to a number of arrests, though the immediate charges stemming from those arrests were not known. The LAPD says that more than 100 people were at a party on a roof of a building, prompting officers to respond to the scene and call for back-up. At least 50 officers responded to the scene, and several people ran, spurring officers to search the area. It’s believed that several people were arrested. There were no reports of anyone being hurt.

Porch Pirates Taking Advantage Of New Coronavirus Delivery Rules, LAPD Says
A warning from police: the coronavirus emergency may be making it easier for porch pirates to strike. The LAPD says that during the pandemic, many delivery drivers have been told not to touch door knobs, gate latches or other surfaces frequently touched by other people. As a result, many drivers are leaving packages on the ground closer to the sidewalk, rather than walking them past gated fences to leave on a porch. As a result, thieves have easier access and a quicker getaway. That's apparently what happened during one recent incident in LA's Melrose district. Police say on Saturday, April 11 a man apparently followed a delivery driver and stole packages along the route. Doorbell video captured at least one of the thefts, showing the suspect drive up by slowly in a late 1990s Mercury Mountaineer to a home where a package had recently been delivered.

2 Arrested In California On Suspicion Of Possessing Stolen Cars Released On $0 Bail Order Due To COVID-19
Authorities say two people who were arrested on suspicion of driving stolen vehicles in San Bernardino County have been released on a statewide $0 bail order. The first arrested occurred at 9 p.m. last Thursday along Interstate 40 in the city of Needles. It was there that authorities conducted a traffic stop on a car and arrested Jose Miguel Herrera-Solano, 31, of Hesperia on suspicion of being in possession of a stolen car. The second arrest occurred just before 9:45 p.m. Saturday in the area of J Street and Bailey Avenue. It was there that authorities conducted a traffic stop of a car and detained Jewelianna Kubitz, 21, of Cathedral City. Kubitz was subsequently arrested on suspicion of being in possession of a stolen car. Both suspects were transported and booked into Needles jail and released pending later court dates.

Police Nationwide Report ‘Increase In Lead Feet' On Empty Roadways
As millions of Americans remain at home during the coronavirus pandemic, many states are seeing an increase in reckless driving on now-empty roadways nationwide. Drivers in New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., have racked up thousands of tickets in the absence of traffic jams. Automated speed cameras issued nearly 25,000 speeding tickets citywide on March 27, nearly double the amount issued daily a month earlier, according to data the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a non-profit group, released last week. “Now that the streets are empty, the Fast & Furious wannabes really think they're living in a video game,” New York City Councilman Justin Brannan wrote on Twitter, adding that the sounds of racing cars and motorcycles “have become a scary lullaby.” Police nationwide have reported an alarming surge in drivers clocking speeds close to – and sometimes surpassing – 100 mph.

Public Safety News

New Coronavirus Testing Sites To Open This Week In L.A. County
A handful of new COVID-19 testing sites are coming to Los Angeles County this week, as officials continue to ramp up efforts to ensure residents of lower-income areas have access to the tests. County Supervisor Hilda Solis said Sunday that new sites will open Monday in Bell, Montebello and in downtown Los Angeles near MacArthur Park. The Bell location will be located in a city-owned parking lot at 6480 Atlantic Ave., the Montebello site will be at Beverly Hospital at 309 W. Beverly Blvd., while the downtown site will be at Good Samaritan Hospital at 1225 Wilshire Blvd. Also Monday, a new drive-up testing site will open at PIH Health Whittier Hospital at 12401 Washington Blvd., according to County Supervisor Janice Hahn.

L.A. County Reaches ‘Very Sad Milestone’ As Coronavirus Deaths Rise
Los Angeles County on Saturday ended a grim week in the battle against the coronavirus, announcing 81 new deaths and setting another record for single-day fatalities. Deaths have increased significantly in the last week in Los Angeles County, even as there are growing signs that the number of new coronavirus cases across California is beginning to level off and decline in some places. The county already accounts for a disproportionate number of coronavirus deaths in the state. In the last week, deaths among L.A. County residents have roughly doubled and now stand at more than 570, said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director. “Today marks a very sad milestone for our county,” Ferrer said in a statement Saturday. “We are reporting the highest number of COVID-19 deaths for any one day since the beginning of the pandemic, and our deepest condolences go out to each and every person grieving the loss of their loved ones.”

Uptick In Fire Deaths And Serious Injuries Reported In L.A. County As People Stay Home
The number of residential fires causing serious injury or death has increased as people shelter-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Los Angeles County Fire Department warned on Friday. The announcement comes after three people, including a minor, died in two residential fires in Los Angeles County on Thursday. Nearly two dozen firefighters were sent to the 1100 block of East Franklin Avenue in Pomona about 10:35 a.m. Thursday for an apartment fire, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Two girls were trapped in their bedrooms, with the front door blocked by fire and the windows blocked by furniture and an exterior-mounted window air conditioning unit, according to fire officials. One of the girls died at the scene, and the other was rushed to a hospital in critical condition, the fire department reported.

Suicide, Help Hotline Calls Soar In Southern California Over Coronavirus Anxieties
When Carolyn Levitan answered the phone, she heard the voice of a man having a full-blown anxiety attack about possibly having contracted coronavirus. He was speaking rapidly. He was worried he had it, and feared giving it to family members. He wondered if it would be alright for him to pet his dog. And then he worried about dying and leaving behind family because he knew others who had died from the virus. These are the types of panic-stricken calls Levitan has been taking as crisis line director at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in Los Angeles. Didi Hirsch is one of three centers in the nation that takes calls on the suicide hotline as well the national Disaster Distress Helpline that operates around the clock to help victims of natural and man-made disasters deal with emotional and mental health issues. In February, Levitan and her colleagues — 70 full-time staff members and 215 volunteers — took 22 calls on the suicide and disaster helplines related to coronavirus. In March, that number soared to 1,800 calls — more than an 8,000% increase.

California Surpasses 30,000 Coronavirus Cases; 1,146 Deaths Confirmed
Just a day after the Bay Area’s deadliest Saturday during the coronavirus pandemic, state officials confirmed California surpassed 30,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. As the virus continued to spread and threaten the state’s 39.7 million residents, new numbers compiled by this news organization show 30,754 people are confirmed to have COVID-19 and 1,146 have died, up from 29,348 confirmed cases and 1,050 deaths at the end of Friday. The news came just hours after it was reported that state health officials had found COVID-19 cases on dozens of Bay Area nursing homes. The startling state figures show that 34 nursing homes in seven Bay Area counties have confirmed cases of coronavirus. Of the 1,224 skilled nursing facilities in California, 261 have reported one or more COVID-19 cases by either a resident or staff member as of Friday. But nurses and medical staff aren’t the only essential workers getting sick across the state.

Local Government News

Garcetti: L.A. Is ‘Under Attack’ And Will Need To Furlough Thousands Of City Workers
Mayor Eric Garcetti warned Sunday that the economic downturn facing Los Angeles will be more painful than the 2008 recession, requiring cuts to government programs and the furlough of thousands of city employees. In a remarkable State of the City address, one that comes five weeks into the shutdown of many businesses, government buildings and other facilities, Garcetti declared that the city is “under attack” from the coronavirus and the economic fallout that has come with it. “I’ve never before hesitated to assure you that our city is strong,” he said. “But I won’t say those words tonight. Our city is under attack. Our daily life is unrecognizable. “We are bowed and we are worn down. We are grieving our dead,” the mayor continued, choking back tears. “But we are not broken.” The mayor’s remarks represented a jarring break from previous State of the City speeches, when he offered overwhelmingly uplifting messages. In this year’s address, Garcetti offered a series of grim signposts about the city’s immediate future: joblessness, a collapse in hotel reservations and a 95% drop in passenger air travel — all products of the coronavirus outbreak.

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: