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

August 3, 2020
Law Enforcement News

Michigan Trooper Dies 3 Weeks After Being Struck By Suspected Drunk Driver
A 33-year-old state police trooper critically injured in a July 10 head-on crash near Saranac has died. State police late Friday, July 31, said that Trooper Caleb Starr had died at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. He was critically injured when a vehicle headed east on Grand River Avenue, west of Nash Highway, crossed the center line and collided with Starr’s westbound cruiser. The crash happened about 10 p.m. About a week after the crash, police said they believed alcohol was a contributing factor on the part of the other driver, a Utah woman who also was critically injured. Starr is survived by his wife, Rachael, and their two daughters, ages 5 and 2. The family lives in Mason.

Man Shot To Death At South L.A. Park IDíd
A man shot to death during a gang-related shooting at a park in South Los Angeles was publicly identified Monday. Antonio Brown, 42, was a Los Angeles resident, according to the coroner’s office. Brown and another man were at Vermont Square Park in the area of 47th Street and Budlong Avenue when they were approached on foot by a man at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. The man fired several shots at them, said Officer Jeffrey Lee of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section. The suspect fled the scene in an unknown direction. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene.

Name Of Gang Shooting Victim Released
The coroner Monday released the name of a 44-year-old man killed in a drive-by shooting. The victim was Damon Harper. No city of residence was available. Police said four people are in custody in connection with the gang-related, drive-by shooting at 5:59 p.m. Saturday in the 800 block of West 104th Place. Two women and a man approached in a vehicle and fired several shots at Harper, said Officer Jeffrey Lee of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, Lee said. No further information was released about the suspects in custody.

73-Year-Old Man Beaten By Group Of Men In South LA Attempted Robbery
A 73-year-old man was recovering Friday after being beaten by a group of men who he said tried to rob him. “I just think it’s terrible that they do this to an elderly,” Monika Ortiz-Garcia, the victim’s daughter, said. “They can’t defend themselves.” Ortiz-Garcia struggled to hold back tears as she described seeing her father, Jose Ortiz, after he was brutally attacked in South Los Angeles Thursday afternoon. Ortiz said he was walking near Manchester and Figueroa when three young men tried to rob him then repeatedly punched and kicked him before fleeing. He suffered injuries to his eye, a broken nose and had several other bruises from the attack. Ultimately, the men left empty handed because Ortiz chains his wallet to his pants before sticking it in his pocket.

Los Angeles COVID-19 Update: LAPD Officers Hand Out Masks, Educate Public
Los Angeles police officers are doing their part to slow the spread of coronavirus, passing out face coverings on Hollywood Boulevard on Sunday morning. The police department says this is an opportunity for officers to educate the public on the importance of wearing a face covering. A handful of other local cities have fines in place for anyone not wearing a mask. And on Sunday, health officials reported 23 additional deaths due to the coronavirus and 1,476 new cases in Los Angeles County. To date, officials have confirmed a total of 192,167 positive cases and a total of 4,692 deaths. Meantime, in an effort to ramp up COVID-19 testing, the city of Los Angeles has deployed pop-up testing centers across the city, including a new one outside the William Mead Homes near Chinatown. Community members can walk up to these sites from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a free test.

LAPD Truck Theft Suspect Abandons Vehicle On Freeway Transition In Downey
Los Angeles police were in the Downey area Monday morning searching for a man suspected of stealing a pickup truck and leading officers on a pursuit south on the Santa Ana (5) Freeway where he crashed on a transition road and ran from the truck. The pursuit of the stolen green Ford F-150 pickup truck began about 3:50 a.m. near the 5 Freeway and Mission Road, said Officer D. Orris of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations Center. It ended on the transition from the southbound Santa Ana Freeway to the southbound San Gabriel River (605) Freeway when the truck crashed and the suspect ran away. A SigAlert was issued shutting down the transition road at 4:22 a.m. but the Number 1 lane was reopened a few minutes later. All lanes were reopened at 5:45 a.m. The status of the search was not immediately available.

Police Chase Suspect With Stab Wound On Southern California Streets
Police arrested a suspect suffering from a stab wound after he led them on a pursuit on Southern California streets Friday afternoon. The incident began near Delano Street and Hazeltine Avenue in Van Nuys when the suspect tried to stab someone. That person then pulled out a knife and stabbed the suspect, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The suspect fled and an officer in his vehicle saw the suspect. A pursuit ensued after the officer observed the wounded suspect, leading police on a pursuit that ended near Sepulveda Place and Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles, police said. The suspect was taken into custody. No additional information was immediately available.

Missing 13-Year-Old Girl Found, LAPD Says
A 13-year-old girl who went missing Saturday from the Jefferson Park neighborhood was found, LAPD Officer Mike Lopez said. She was last seen at 3:50 p.m. in the area of Fifth Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard, according to police.

4 Men Sentenced For Offering DTLA Homeless People Cash, Cigarettes For Voter Fraud
Four men have been sentenced for their roles in a scheme to bribe homeless people on Skid Row in exchange for forged signatures on ballot petitions and voter registration forms. The men were accused of offering homeless people $1 and/or cigarettes to carry out the bribes. The four pleaded no-contest to charges they subscribed a false name to a petition, registered a fictitious person and circulated an initiative containing false or forged names. Two defendants - Richard Howard, 64, and Louis Thomas Wise, 37, received suspended sentences. The other two - Christopher Joseph Williams, 41, and Nickey Demelvin Huntley, 45, got probation. Another codefendant, Norman Hall, 62, pleaded guilty in February to one felony count of circulating a petition with false, forged or fictitious names and was sentenced to one year in county jail.

LA Deputies Searching For Two Missing Kids Believed To Have Been Abducted By Father
Authorities with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office are seeking the public's help in locating two children that were abducted from the County USC Medical Center by a man believed to be their biological father. Anyssa Cortez, 14, is described as a Hispanic girl with black-hair and brown eyes, who stands 4 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 106 pounds. Christopher D. Cortez, 12, is a Hispanic boy with black-hair and brown eyes, who is also 4 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 147 pounds. Anyssa Cortez was last seen wearing a dark green tank top and white shorts with red polka dots, according to Deputy Tracy Koerner with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Information Bureau. Christopher D. Cortez was last seen wearing a white shirt, black sweat pants, and black and white sandals, Koerner said. Deputies want to speak with their biological father, Christopher C. Cortez, 38, who is said to be Hispanic with black hair and brown eyes who stands 5 feet 9 inches tall, and weighs about 185 lbs.

LASD Issues At-Risk Missing Alert For 80-Year-Old Bernice Vann Allen
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is continuing to ask for the public’s help in locating a missing 80-year-old woman who suffers from dementia and disappeared in the View Park-Windsor Hills area. Bernice Vann Allen was last seen near West 48th Street and South Victoria Avenue about 3 p.m. Tuesday, wearing a gray sweatshirt, khaki pants and a brown hat. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff’s Missing Persons Unit at 323 890-5500 or 911. Anonymous tips can also be provided by calling 800-222-8477.

L.A. Judge Postpones Robert Durstís Murder Trial Until 2021
A Los Angeles judge on Friday ordered the murder trial of real estate tycoon Robert Durst be postponed — again — until next year. Durst, 77, was not in the courtroom when L.A. County Superior Court Judge Mark Windham announced that the prosecution and defense team had agreed to the lengthy postponement. The trial will resume on April 12, 2021. Durst is accused of killing his close friend and confidante Susan Berman to allegedly stop her from incriminating him in the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack. The trial was initially suspended in March due to concerns over the coronavirus, after just a few days of witness testimony. It was set to resume July 27 before Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney John Lewin proposed earlier this month that the trial be delayed until next year.

8 Dead And At Least 19 Wounded In Weekend Chicago Shootings
Gun violence continued to plague Chicago, with eight people killed, including a 9-year-old boy, and at least 19 other people wounded so far this weekend, police said Sunday. From Jan. 1 through the end of July, there were 440 homicides in Chicago and 2,240 people were shot, a number that includes those killed, according to the Chicago PD. The latest fatal shooting occurred early Sunday, when two men were killed as they sat in a vehicle parked on Chicago’s West Side. Both were shot multiple times in the head, according to police. The first reported fatal shooting of the weekend occurred Friday evening in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood, where 9-year-old Janari Ricks was playing when he was fatally shot in the chest. Police said the boy was not the intended target. No arrests have been made in that case.

Public Safety News

LAFD Crews Get A Handle On Sunland-Tujunga Brush Fire That Was Threatening Homes
Fire crews stopped the spread of a 10-acre brush fire Friday in Sunland-Tujunga and have hand lines around 40% of the perimeter, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The fire was reported at 1:09 p.m. on the 8100 block of Ellenbogen Street, and was burning at moderate speed in 10 mph winds, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Terrain helped slow the fire’s progress, but authorities warned that a change in the wind could make the fire spread faster. Crews put in place a structural defense on Rhodesia Avenue to protect homes, but no evacuations were ordered, the department said. No injuries or structure damage have been reported.

LA County Reports 1,476 New Cases Of COVID-19, 23 More Deaths
Los Angeles County reported 1,476 more cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional deaths on Sunday, bringing the county's totals to192,167 cases and 4,692 deaths. Both numbers represented a decrease from the previous several days, but officials said new cases and reported deaths are typically lower on weekends as some labs only report on weekdays. Of the new cases reported Sunday, 68% occurred among individuals under the age of 50, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The cumulative total of cases among people between 18 and 49 years old is 60%. "We join in prayer and sorrow with all those experiencing loss during this pandemic and send our wishes for peace and healing," said Barbara Ferrer, the county's director of public health.

L.A. Countyís COVID-19 Hospitalizations Begin To Decline, Possibly Signaling Some Success In Slowing Virus Spread: Officials
Los Angeles County’s health department announced Sunday that the number of residents being hospitalized for COVID-19 each day has dropped over the past week, possibly signaling that actions to slow the spread of the virus are “beginning to have an impact.” “We are hopeful that collective actions taken over the past couple of weeks have allowed us to get back to the work of slowing the spread,” county Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. The good news comes nearly three weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered several businesses to halt indoor operations to curb the spread of the virus. But it’s no reason to return to business-as-usual right away, according to the health director. “It is important to keep in mind that we will need to continue with all the modifications and sacrifices for weeks to come,” Ferrer said. “This is especially true if we want to see our schools re-open for classroom instruction.”

With Fire Season Beginning Amid Pandemic, Hereís How CA Firefighters Plan To Limit Coronavirus Spread
With temperatures soaring and winds gusting, California firefighters may soon face their first significant battle against wildland blazes, but they will also have to contend with the uncertain terrain caused by the coronavirus. Under COVID-19 safety procedures, California fire officials tell CNN they will reduce the size of usually bustling base camps — where hundreds of engines from city, state and federal agencies gather under mutual aid agreements to fight major blazes. “For every large wildfire we build a base camp, our own mini city, so it’s a large quantity of personnel in tight quarters,” said Captain Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department. “It’s a potential breeding ground for the coronavirus.” It’s not uncommon to see 100 firefighters walk through a food line in twenty minutes at the base camps. Given the confined spaces, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Lucas Spelman says his agency will stagger meal times and hand firefighters packed lunches.

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: