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

November 24, 2020
Law Enforcement News

‘We’re Having 4 Shootings Per Day’: LAPD Chief Moore, Community Activists Call For End To Uptick In Homicides
Lawanda Hawkins’ only son Reggie was killed in 1995. For the past 25 years, she had turned her pain into purpose — co-founding the group Justice for Murdered Children — and on Monday she spoke out about the current surge in violent crime in the city of Los Angeles. “These are lives, and no one is saying nothing,” she said. “There’s no protest, there’s no demand that this stops? We need more assistance.” Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Police Department reported its 300th homicide of the year — a number that hasn’t been seen in more than a decade. “We’re seeing street gangs and street violence,” Chief Michel Moore said. “Many times over little petty matters and just the sense of chaos that is in some of these communities.” Moore said most of the violence was happening in Central and South L.A. and believed the spike in violence could be attributed to the loss of jobs, despair and the fact that many students are not in school. “We’re having four shootings per day, and that number, in the early part of this year, was two,” Moore said.

LA's Staggering Murder Rate Linked To Gang Shootings And Violence Against Homeless
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Monday the city has counted its 302nd murder in 2020 as the result of a steady increase in street violence since the summer, when long-running gang feuds reignited, leaving dozens dead and injured. "I'm very, very concerned, it's a 25% increase in homicides, it's a 30% increase in shooting victims," Moore said. Los Angeles has ended recent years with far fewer than 300 murders, and the increase in street violence has run against an overall crime reduction during the first half of 2020. At least five people were shot to death over the weekend ending Nov. 22, including a 17 year old killed while riding a motorcycle in the LAPD's Southeast Division and an 80-year-old woman murdered in the Northeast Division. At least 25 others survived being shot, and Moore said much of the violence appears unprovoked and inexplicable. "When we looked at people that are being shot, and those who are losing their life, they're people within our poorest communities, the communities that are already been impacted tremendously by this pandemic," he said. "We're seeing gang involvement, we're seeing street gangs in street violence, many times over," he said. "Little petty matters and and just the sense of chaos that is in some of these communities." An old gang feud in South Los Angeles was blamed by LAPD officials for a cycle of retaliatory attacks in August, September, and October. Some of the more recent shootings may be linked to those exchanges.

Man Fatally Shot In Boyle Heights
A man was fatally shot Monday afternoon in Boyle Heights, but details were sketchy. Officers were dispatched at 2:46 p.m. on a report of shots fired in the 3200 block of East Fourth Street, near Concord Street, according to Officer Tony Im of the Los Angeles Police Department. The victim, whose name was not immediately released, died at the scene. He was about 40 years old, police said. The suspect, described only as a male, walked up to the victim and shot him, Im said, but a motive was unclear.

One Injured In San Pedro Shooting
One person was taken to a hospital in unknown condition Monday evening with injuries sustained in a shooting in San Pedro. The shooting was reported in the 100 block of South Mesa Street, near West First Street, about 9:15 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Police Department. A motive for the shooting and description of the shooter or shooters were not immediately available. The age, gender and name of the victim were not disclosed.

Armed Suspect On The Run After Leading Police On Chase, Abandoning Car At Pershing Square
An armed suspect is on the run after leading authorities on a high-speed chase and then leaving their car inside a parking garage Monday night. Earlier in the evening, authorities were in pursuit of an erratic driver in the East Los Angeles area. The pursuit lasted more than 45 minutes, with the suspect driver traveling along one-way roads in the wrong direction multiple times, traveled along roads and freeways at speeds over 90 mph and came close to hitting a bicyclist while making an illegal u-turn. The suspect got away after leaving their car inside a parking garage at Pershing Square and then running from the scene on foot. Officials have not released the identity of the suspect driver. Police did not specify where the pursuit started and what prompted authorities to approach the suspect in the first place.

LAPD Takes Down Reseda Arson Suspect At Scene — And Photographers Were Right There
Firefighters knocked down a fire Saturday inside a room of a Reseda house that spread to part of the attic, and police arrested an armed suspect who returned to the scene of the blaze — and news photographers who were there for the fire captured images of the suspect takedown. The fire was reported at 7:04 p.m. Saturday inside a home on the 19000 block of Gault Street, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said. The department sent 34 firefighters to the scene and put out the flames in about 15 minutes, Humphrey said. The fire started in one room of the 1,684-square-foot home, then spread to a small portion of the attic, he said. No injuries were reported, Humphrey said. The fire appeared suspicious and police officers later arrested a suspect, Humphrey said. Los Angeles police officers took down and arrested a man who was armed with a knife on his belt. A news photographer captured images of officers tackling the man and securing the knife as they took him into custody. No further information was available.

Great Grandmother Dies After Being Struck, Dragged By Westlake Hit-And-Run Driver
A 76-year-old woman has died after being struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing a street in the Westlake area early Monday morning. The 76-year-old great grandmother was crossing Miramar Street, near Union Avenue, just before 6 a.m. Monday when she was hit by a Toyota sedan, according to Los Angeles police. The woman somehow got wedged in the car and dragged about 15 feet before freeing herself, police said. The driver sped away, leaving the woman lying in the street. She was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital, where she passed away Monday night, police confirmed to CBSLA. She was identified as Kuen Ham. The suspect vehicle was described as a four-door tan-colored 2000 to 2010 Toyota Corolla. Surveillance video of the car has been released. There was no immediate description of the driver.

Juveniles Injured In South L.A. Hit-and-Run
Two juveniles were injured, one sustained life-threatening injuries, Monday evening in a hit-and-run crash in South Los Angeles. The crash occurred at 50th and Main streets, according to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Traffic Division, which did not disclose a time for the accident. Police described the suspect vehicle as a four-door Honda with front end damage. The ages, genders and names of the victims were not disclosed.

Masked Crime In LA Spikes In The Age Of COVID-19
A new report has found that masked crimes in Los Angeles have risen drastically amid a climate in which face coverings have become the norm in public settings. Numbers collected from Los Angeles Police Department records by USC’s nonprofit Crosstown initiative found that between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, there were 1,164 crimes which occurred in which a suspect was masked. During the same period in 2019, there were only 200 such crimes, per Crosstown. That marks an increase of 482 percent. 27% of the masked crimes were burglaries, and 22% were robberies or attempted robberies, Crosstown reports. 11% involved assault or assault with a deadly weapon. The highest number of masked crimes occurred in June, with 205. The neighborhood accounting for the highest number of masked crimes is Westlake, with 61. Hollywood, which saw no masked crimes during the same period in 2019, has had at least 27 so far this year, Crosstown found.

2 Charged After Body Of Missing College Student From South L.A. Found Buried In Mojave Desert
Two people have been charged after the body of a slain 21-year-old college student from South Los Angeles was found buried outside Barstow nearly two months after he went missing, prosecutors said Monday. Ethan Kedar Astaphan, 27, of San Gabriel faces one count of murder while Sonita Heng, 20, of Harbor City was charged with a count of accessory after the fact, according to a Los Angeles County District Attorney’s news release. The victim, Juan Hernandez, was last seen on Sept. 22 leaving his home for work at VIP Collective, a cannabis dispensary in South L.A. His family reported him missing when he didn’t come home. Less than a week after he vanished, someone contacted the family and tried to extort money from them for his safe return, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Believing Hernandez was likely the victim of a crime, police called the FBI for help in the case, according to LAPD. On Nov. 15, Hernandez’s body was found buried in a shallow grave along Afton Canyon Road east of Interstate 15, in a remote area of the Mojave Desert between Barstow and Baker.

1 Killed, 1 Injured In Shooting Near South Los Angeles
One man was killed and another was injured in a shooting near South Los Angeles on Monday afternoon. The shooting happened at around 1:40 p.m. in the 1900 block of Nadeau Street, near Bell Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. The first victim, who died at the scene, was shot in his upper body and officials said the other man is being treated for a gunshot wound to the leg. Both men were only described as being in their 20s. The sheriff’s department had no description of the suspect, and urged anyone with information about the shooting to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Those wishing to report anonymously can call 800-222-TIPS.

19-Year-Old Woman Killed In Westmont Shooting
A woman shot to death in the unincorporated Westmont area of Los Angeles was a Hawthorne resident, authorities said Sunday. Michelle Diaz was 19, according to the coroner's office. The shooting was reported at 7:24 p.m. Saturday in the 1400 block of West 106th Street, said Deputy Grace Medrano of the Sheriff's Information Bureau. "When deputies arrived, they found a female adult suffering from a gunshot wound to the head,'' Medrano said. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, she said. No suspect information was available, Medrano said. Homicide detectives conducted an on-scene investigation, she said. Anyone with information was asked to call homicide detectives at 323-890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

LA County Gets $500K Grant For Human Trafficking Prevention Program In Schools
The Los Angeles County Office of Education has been selected as one of eight agencies nationwide and three in California to develop a program to prevent human trafficking victimization. The Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education demonstration program is among the first federal programs specifically designed to build resiliency to human trafficking in children and youth, LACOE officials said. LACOE has been awarded $561,358 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families for three years to implement the program in partnership with the nonprofit iEmpathize. As many as 30,000 children in the U.S. are involved each year in human trafficking, according to LACOE officials, and the FBI has designated Los Angeles County as one of the nation's main trafficking hubs. Children and youth make up an estimated 50% of victims and are particularly susceptible to human trafficking, especially those who have experienced prior abuse or housing and economic instability.

Glendale Man Gets 7 Years In Federal Prison For $5M Bank Fraud Scams
A Southern California man was sentenced to federal prison Monday for bilking banks out of nearly $5 million by racking up expenses on illegally obtained credit cards, including cemetery plots, liquor and Rolex watches, prosecutors said. Mikayel Hmayakyan, 43, of Glendale, was sentenced to seven years in prison. He pleaded guilty in June to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. He also was ordered to pay nearly $5 million in restitution. Hmayakyan and others swindled more than 20 banks by obtaining credit cards using their own or phony identities. After running up the cards to their credit limits, the schemers restored the credit lines by submitting payments from accounts with insufficient funds or through other fake accounts, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office. The charges included dozens of watches and other jewelry items, nearly 40,000 liquor bottles and plots at Forest Lawn cemetery, prosecutors said.

Drive Sober Over Thanksgiving Holiday, CHP Warns Ahead Of Increased Enforcement
Drive safe and sober during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend or face consequences, the California Highway Patrol warned Monday. The agency will initiate its annual Thanksgiving "maximum enforcement period" beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday, when all available officers will deploy to catch drunk or drug-impaired drivers, speeders and other traffic violators. The MEP will conclude on Sunday night. "This year has presented us with many unforeseen challenges, but safety is still our priority,'' CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. "If you choose to travel this Thanksgiving, our goal is to help motorists arrive at their destination without incident." Officers from the Riverside, Blythe, Beaumont, Indio and Temecula CHP stations will be on inland freeways, highways and unincorporated roads, looking to snare scofflaws. Ray noted that this year's traffic volumes will undoubtedly be lower because of the public health lockdowns, but people will still be in transit, paying visits and going about their business.

Public Safety News

LA County Reports 6,124 New Coronavirus Cases, Shattering Record Again
Shattering a record set just last week, Los Angeles County public health officials reported 6,124 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, Nov. 23, setting the stage this week for a potential new Safe-at-Home order. Monday’s statistics pushed the county’s five-day average caseload of infections to more than 4,500, with a staggering 22,667 new cases reported since Thursday. More than 840 of the cases were reported as healthcare workers, reflecting the higher rate at which they are engaging with the exploding number of infected patients. Hospitalizations, too, are posting dramatic increases, up to 1,473 on Monday — the highest since August — representing a major increase from a month ago when daily hospitalizations were around 730 and falling. Eight new deaths were reported Monday, bringing the county’s total since the pandemic began to 7,446. The county’s total number of cases is now 370,636. Officials said that 1,500 of Monday’s caseload, however, were part of a reporting backlog, according to Barbara Ferrer, director of public health.

New Stay-Home Order Looms For L.A. County As COVID-19 Cases Soar To New Highs
The specter of another COVID-19 shutdown is looming over Los Angeles County, as a record-high number of daily coronavirus cases Monday pushed the region over its self-set threshold for issuing a new stay-at-home order. The strong possibility of more restrictions comes as health officials and epidemiologists expressed increasing alarm at the unparalleled pace of increased cases in L.A. County and throughout the state. California is now on pace to see its cumulative death toll double just before spring, from the more than 18,700 deaths currently tallied to more than 37,000 by March 1, according to model forecasts by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. A Times analysis on Monday found that the average daily number of coronavirus cases over a five-day period has more than tripled since election day. COVID-19 hospitalizations have doubled since mid-October, from 730 on Oct. 18 to 1,473 on Sunday.

Travelers To Los Angeles Will Have To Sign Quarantine Form Starting Wednesday
Travelers coming through Los Angeles International and Van Nuys airports and Union Station beginning Wednesday will be required to sign a form acknowledging California's recommended 14-day self-quarantine in response to rising coronavirus rates. The form will be available at, Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a coronavirus briefing Monday. Garcetti urged people to not travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, not even to go across town because of how widespread COVID-19 cases have been that it's too dangerous at this time. Garcetti said he is confident the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which is slated at Tuesday's meeting to discuss coronavirus-related restrictions and closures, will make the right decisions. "I know this is not popular with everybody, but if we don't take these actions now, when will we?" Garcetti said.

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: