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

July 23, 2020
Law Enforcement News

LAPD Officers Injured In Crash In West Los Angeles
Two Los Angeles police officers sustained non-life-threatening injuries in a crash Wednesday evening in West Los Angeles. The accident occurred about 9:20 p.m. at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Butler Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Video from CBS2 showed one officer being wheeled to a waiting ambulance. Both officers were taken to a hospital with moderate injuries, police said. A field sobriety test was conducted on the second driver, but the results were not immediately released by the department. The other vehicle involved ran a red light at the intersection, ABC7 reported.

Amid coronavirus pandemic, LAPD reports 14% increase in homicides compared to last year
Homicides in Los Angeles are spiking this year and the Los Angeles Police Department is checking to see if the coronavirus pandemic is playing a part in that rise. LAPD Chief Michel Moore this week said the city has seen 157 murders so far this year, compared to 138 for the same period last year. That's a 14% rise, but Moore says it's too early to directly connect that increase to the pandemic. The Los Angeles Police Protective League is also hesitant to link the increase in murders to the pandemic, but the union says the rise in homicides as well as shootings may be the result of police defunding efforts. "Now is not the time to be cutting budgets and taking a reactionary approach to these type of things because we're just going to see these crime rates increase," said Robert Harris, a director on the board of the LAPPL. "We're going to continue to see people lose their lives."

As Cuts Begin At LAPD, Chief Tells Troops To ‘Show Your Relevance’
During a recent meeting with officers from the elite but troubled Metropolitan Division, Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore offered support for their crime-fighting mission, but also a warning he’d previously shared with command staff. With significant reductions in the force looming, every unit is under a microscope — and must prove its worth. “Show your relevance,” Moore recalled saying. Officers and the union that represents them have been critical of Moore and city officials in recent weeks, not only for their handling of the protests and surrounding unrest — where dozens of officers were injured — but for what they perceive to be an acquiescence to the department’s critics and a failure by officials to defend officers’ actions. They say they worry about public safety at a time when homicides are up nearly 14% from last year and shootings are on the rise. And they say that little about the path forward is clear to them. “It’s changing so fast. It just seems like every day, something else is going on,” said Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. Lally said a lot of people are talking about defunding the police without a clear idea of what that even means — “they’re putting the cart before the horse.”

Van Nuys Couple Found Dead Had ‘Mutual Agreement’ To Murder-Suicide, LAPD Says
A man shot a woman, then himself, in what Los Angeles police are saying may have been part of a murder-suicide agreement at a home in Van Nuys Tuesday afternoon, July 21. Los Angeles Police Department homicide detectives said they found evidence at the home in the 14200 block of Gilmore Street that the two planned their deaths after entering “into a mutual agreement to end their lives.” “The suspect shot and killed the victim before turning the weapon on himself,” detectives said in a statement Wednesday. “Failing finances and deteriorating health issues appeared to be the primary motives behind the tragic event.” Police did not say what evidence they found that led them to believe the killings were agreed on and planned.

Man, Woman Charged With Attempted Murder In Violent Granada Hills Carjacking
Two people accused of pistol-whipping one man and shooting a second person during a carjacking in Granada Hills Monday have been apprehended. Gilbert Cirino and Anna Kontos, both 29, were arrested Tuesday on attempted murder charges. The carjacking occurred at 9:45 p.m. Monday in the 1000 block of McLennan Avenue. According to Los Angeles police, a man was approached by Cirino and Kontos, who pistol-whipped him, forced him into his own car, and then drove away with him. The man was somehow able to escape and call for help. However, when a second person came to his aid, the suspects pistol-whipped and then shot that second person in the chest, police said. The suspects then ran away. The two victims were taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. They were not identified.

Family Pleads For Information In South L.A. Hit-and-Run That Killed Bicyclist; LAPD Offers Reward
Authorities are offering a $50,000 reward in their search for the driver who fled the scene after fatally striking a bicyclist in the Broadway-Manchester neighborhood of South Los Angeles last month. Melvin “Peanut” Frye, 57, was riding his bike across the intersection of 103rd & Main streets when he was hit by a Dodge Durango around 9 p.m. on June 27, said Los Angeles police Capt. Jon Pinto. Investigators released the first images of the black or dark-colored Durango connected to the hit-and-run Wednesday. “If [the driver] had stopped and rendered aid, we believe that this could have gone a different direction,” Pinto said. “Tragically and unfortunately, the driver of that Dodge Durango decided to continue southbound on Main Street.” Frye succumbed to his injuries at the scene. But his family says they weren’t notified of his death until more than a week later.

LAPD Seeks Additional Victims Of Former Chatsworth Teacher Arrested On Suspicion Of Sexually Assaulting Child
A former Chatsworth teacher has been arrested in connection with the sexual assault of a child last year, and authorities are seeking additional victims. Steven Clark, 48, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of rape, unlawful sex with a minor “and numerous related charges with one identified victim,” Los Angeles Police Department officials said in a news release Wednesday. Clark previously worked as a teacher at Chaminade Middle School in Chatsworth. Police said the crimes occurred in 2019, but did not elaborate on where they took place, nor did they offer any additional details about the victim. Clark’s bail was set at $475,000, police said. Detectives are seeking additional victims who may not have reported similar crimes committed by the suspect.

Man Shot To Death After Fight Breaks Out At Ladera Heights House Party
A man in his mid-20s was killed after gunfire erupted outside a house party in Ladera Heights late Wednesday night. The shooting occurred at 11:30 p.m. outside a home in the 5800 block of Holt Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The victim was attending a party at the home when an altercation of some kind broke out, the sheriff’s department said. The fight spilled out onto the street, where the victim got onto a fight with the suspect, who pulled out a gun and shot him several times, LASD reports. He died at the scene. His name and age were not released. The gunman remains at large. There was no immediate description of the suspect or a motive for what prompted the dispute and the shooting.

Longtime Leader Of South LA Street Gang Arrested In RICO Case
A longtime leader of a South Los Angeles street gang was arrested Wednesday on a federal grand jury indictment alleging he engaged in a decades-long conspiracy to murder rivals, extort local business and distribute narcotics, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced. Paul Gary Wallace, 54, of South Los Angeles was scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles federal court. Wallace is charged with one count each of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and using a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime resulting in death, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. If convicted of all charges, Wallace would face up to life in federal prison and be death penalty eligible.

Suspects Wanted For Setting Long Beach Stores Ablaze With Molotov Cocktails, Causing Over $5M In Losses
Federal and local authorities have released surveillance video of multiple suspects wanted for setting fire to several stores in Long Beach amid the looting that took place during the George Floyd protests back in late May and early June. On the night of May 31, surveillance video captured footage of several suspects approaching the Men’s Suit Outlet at 655 Pine Ave. and throwing Molotov cocktails into the store, the city of Long Beach said in a news release Friday. The building — which housed the Men’s Suit Outlet and four other stores — was destroyed, the city said. The loss from the fire was estimated at more than $5.17 million. The same suspects also threw Molotov cocktails into several other nearby businesses that same night, including a Burger King at 127 W. 4th St., and Pacific Travel Insurance and Income Tax, both located at 951 Pine Ave.

CA Supreme Court Won’t Hear Case Of Man Convicted Of Market Owner’s Murder
The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case of a man convicted of gunning down a South Los Angeles market owner in front of the merchant’s 9-year-old daughter during a robbery about three decades ago. A Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Marcus Lynn Perkins guilty in July 2017 of first-degree murder for the July 24, 1990, shooting death of Timoteo Pena, the owner of Sinaloa Meat and Grocery Market in the 5600 block of San Pedro Street. Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery or attempted robbery. The 42-year-old victim was working in the market with his daughter when he was shot and killed. “I am the little girl he left in that store with her dad,” an emotional Esmeralda Pena told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis B. Rappe just before Perkins was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in March 2018.

Public Safety News

Last Of 12 Firefighters Injured In May Explosion Released From Hospital
The last of 12 firefighters injured in a fiery explosion in the downtown Los Angeles Toy District two months ago was released from the hospital, officials said Tuesday. An update from Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department did not name Capt. Victor Aguirre, but read: "We're grateful that all firefighters injured in the Boyd Street Fire have now been released from the hospital. We're happy to report that three firefighters have already returned to duty and the remainder are all continuing their recoveries.'' The May 16 explosion occurred about 6:30 p.m. while crews were responding to a fire in a single-story building at 327 Boyd St. housing Smoke Tokes Warehouse Distributor, "a supplier for those who make butane honey oil," according to LAFD Capt. Erik Scott. Firefighters had begun an offensive battle inside the building when there was an explosion and multiple buildings became involved, Scott said.

As Cases Mount, LA County Warns Coronavirus Is Far Deadlier Than The Flu
While reporting more than 60 new deaths and 3,000 additional cases, Los Angeles County health officials again pleaded with residents on Wednesday to take precautions against the spread of coronavirus, while also slamming the notion that COVID-19 is no more dangerous than flu. County public health director Barbara Ferrer presented figures showing that during the recent flu season that ran from October to May, 1,521 people died of influenza in Los Angeles County. From January through June alone, 3,402 people died from the coronavirus. "In the first six months of 2020, COVID-19 killed more than twice as many people as the flu did over an eight-month period," Ferrer said. "...Unlike the flu, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 at this time." She also said the virus is on track to be the second-leading cause of the death in the county, behind only coronary heart disease.

LA County To Open Three New COVID-19 Testing Sites Next Week
Los Angeles County will open three new COVID-19 testing sites next week to expand access to "high-need areas" including Montebello, South Gate and Panorama City, it was announced Wednesday. The sites will begin to offer appointments Monday at South Gate Park, 4900 Southern Ave.; Tuesday at Montebello Civic Center, 1600 W. Beverly Blvd.; and Wednesday at 14665 Roscoe Blvd. in Panorama City. By the end of next week, these additional sites will have the capacity to test almost 2,000 residents a day, five days a week, according to the county's Emergency Operations Center. The city of Los Angeles is also continuing to deploy mobile testing units to communities with a high need for testing, and this week the teams are offering testing to residents in the Nickerson Gardens housing development and in the Boyle Heights neighborhood.

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: