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

December 14, 2020
Law Enforcement News

North Carolina Police Officer Killed In Shootout
A North Carolina police officer was killed early Friday during a confrontation with an armed suspect, police said. Mount Holly Police identified the deceased as 25-year-old Officer Tyler Herndon. “It is with heavy hearts that we share that our brother Officer Tyler Herndon passed away as a result of injuries sustained from this morning's shooting,” the agency wrote in a Facebook post. According to police, officers were responding to a break-in in progress around 3:30 a.m. Officers and an armed suspect exchanged gunfire, killing Herndon and wounding the suspect. Police say 24-year-old Joshua Funk has been charged with murder. No other officers were injured in the incident. Three officers are on routine administrative leave as the investigation continues, the agency said.

Police: Delaware LEO Shot, Critically Wounded; Fugitive Killed
A Delaware police officer was wounded and a fugitive suspect from Pennsylvania shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire at a Delaware motel, authorities said Friday. The wounded officer, 38, is a member of the Milford Police Department and was assigned to a fugitive task force. Attorney General Kathy Jennings said the task force had located the suspect and was trying to capture him Thursday evening at an Econo Lodge in Rehoboth Beach when the suspect opened fire. “The suspect was killed in the firefight,” Jennings said in a statement. The wounded officer, a 13-year veteran, was in critical condition, according to Delaware State Police. Authorities said the suspect was a 37-year-old man from Reading, Pennsylvania, who was wanted for attempted criminal homicide. His name has not been released. A handgun was found at the scene, according to state police.

Father And Daughter Who Escaped Gunfire In Wilmington Concerned About Increase In Violent Crime
A father and his four-year-old daughter became victims of crime in Wilmington when they were returning to their home in October. Ricardo Medina said on October 1 he was celebrating his birthday but when he was dropping off his daughter Alina and her great-grandmother gunfire erupted. Medina said he believes the shooters were targeting him and his family. It's a memory that is locked in Medina's head. Medina, Alina and her great-grandmother were able to escape the gunfire and called 911. Police came and investigated the crime. The numbers of shooting victims in Los Angeles are skyrocketing. Statistics show shootings increased more than 30% and homicides increased more than 25% this year compared to last year. Detective Nathan Kouri from the South Bureau Homicide Division is seeing the trend firsthand. "I think it's alarming and I know everyone here, our homicide investigators, the increase is noticeable obviously, and we notice it in the increased workload, the increased stress," said Kouri. Kouri said there were 98 murders at this time last year and this year, there are 128. "There's an increase in homicides in the South Bureau, we're at about 30 percent. It's not just exclusive to the South Bureau though," he said.

Battle brews as LAPD inspector general mulls broad review of officer discipline process
A legal battle is brewing around one of the most secretive aspects of city government — disciplinary hearings for police officers — as the Los Angeles Police Department’s inspector general mulls a broad review of the process and the police union promises to block him at the door. According to Inspector General Mark Smith, his office is developing plans to begin monitoring police Board of Rights proceedings to identify “inconsistencies” in board decisions, “inequities” in the process and other ways the system might be improved to ensure “just outcomes for all stakeholders.” In response, Robert Rico, general counsel for the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said Smith is welcome to audit the disciplinary process by collecting information on case outcomes, but would face a serious legal fight if he tried to send his staff into the hearings.

Man Who Fatally Shot Partner In Front Of Their South L.A. Home In 2017 Arrested In Mexico: FBI
A man who shot and killed the mother of his then 2-year-old child in front of their South Los Angeles home in 2017 has been arrested in Mexico, the FBI announced Saturday. Officials in Mexico detained Andres Zambrano, a 30-year-old Compton-born man, while he was eating at a restaurant in the Colima area on Friday, according to U.S. officials. Zambrano had been wanted for the killing of his partner on March 16, 2017 in the 11600 block of Towne Avenue in the Green Meadows neighborhood. LAPD officers at the time described the victim as Zambrano’s wife, who they said was shot on the sidewalk and pronounced dead at a hospital. Zambrano drove off after the incident, police said. He was charged with murder and a warrant was issued for his arrest four days after the shooting. Zambrano had stated that he would flee to Mexico or Chicago, where the known gang member and convicted felon had ties, according to a wanted poster by the FBI. The bureau listed him as one of its “ten most wanted fugitives.” Detectives asked federal officials for assistance in locating him and worked with Mexican authorities to learn of his whereabouts, leading to the man’s arrest. Zambrano was deported from Mexico and returned to L.A. Saturday evening.

Suspect Who Struck Patrol Car Arrested After Chase From Koreatown To Buena Park
A suspect who led police on a high-speed chase from Koreatown to the front lawn of a home in Buena Park had crashed into an Los Angeles police patrol car during a street takeover, authorities said Saturday. The officers responded at 11 p.m. Friday to reports of street racers at Seventh Street and Western Avenue, according to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department. When they arrived, they were surrounded by a number of vehicles and a large group of spectators, police said. Some spectators began smashing the rear side windows and kicking the body of the patrol car and several opened the driver’s door and threw items inside. As the officers broadcast a call for help, one driver attempting to get away intentionally struck the right front of the patrol vehicle, causing damage and prompting a pursuit, police said. The suspect, later identified as Thomas Myron, 25, hit speeds of more than 120 mph during the chase while driving without headlights before stopping near the Knott Avenue exit in Buena Park and running into a neighborhood south of the freeway about 11:30 p.m.

Meet The LA Native Who Overcame Homelessness To Become A Sergeant With The LAPD
Letisia Ruiz's path to becoming a sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department was not typical or easy. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, she is one of 12 children who grew up less than a mile from LAPD headquarters. "I ran away from home at a very young age. I was 12 when I ran away. Didn't return back home, but I kept a good relationship with my parents," said Ruiz. In middle school Ruiz dropped out. At 15-years-old she became pregnant. It was then she began to find her way, after moving into a transitional home for single mothers. She eventually graduated high school with honors. "In my senior year I had a bad experience with law enforcement and that enlightened me into a career with law enforcement, which I never thought about before," said Ruiz. Ruiz also endured homelessness, but was able to find a permanent home and attend college. "It was difficult. I was part of the system, the welfare system, the Section 8 system, and I utilized it to my advantage to provide a better life and future for my child at the time," said Ruiz. It was while attending Cal State L.A. that she applied to the LAPD. In 2005 she was hired, patrolling the same streets where she once helped her mother sell tamales. Sgt. Ruiz's journey is one she shares with others, in the hopes of inspiring them. "It doesn't matter what your circumstances are, you just have to have the drive and desire to get to where you want to be," said Ruiz.

More Than 5,000 Pounds Of Fireworks, Firearms Seized In Florence-Firestone Neighborhood; Man Arrested
Officers arrested a man and seized thousands of pounds of fireworks along with illegal firearms in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood of South Los Angeles, police said Saturday. Detectives on Friday detained Erik Ramos, a 30-year-old L.A. resident, after a traffic stop near the 1200 block of E. 91st Street, according to the Long Beach Police Department. On the same day, drug investigations and vice detectives with the agency served a search warrant in the area and seized illegal firearms and more than 5,000 pounds of fireworks, Long Beach police spokesperson Allison Gallagher said. “All fireworks are illegal in Long Beach and we will continue to work year-round on enforcement,” the Police Department said on Twitter. He was booked into jail Friday on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon in his vehicle and possession
of dangerous fireworks.

FBI Reassembles Shredded Plan For 2015 San Bernardino Terrorist Shooting
Thin strips of paper, remnants of a handwritten diagram with notes that Rafia Sultana Shareef fed into a shredder just after the Dec. 2, 2015, San Bernardino terrorist attack, have been reassembled like a puzzle by federal investigators to provide a new account of the shooters’ planning for the siege that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others at the Inland Regional Center. Corona resident Shareef, 66, also known as Rafia Farook, is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 28 in U.S. District Court in Riverside after pleading guilty in March to one count of destruction of evidence. Prosecutors are not alleging that Shareef knew about the attack in advance. The terrorists, Shareef’s son Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, died in a gun battle with police hours after the late-morning attack. At the time, it appeared that they took the answers to important questions with them. But a sheet of paper that the radicalized Muslims left behind, with scrawls on both sides that included drawings of the IRC conference room and a to-do list for the week before the attack, appears to answer some of those questions five years later.

Zodiac Killer Cipher Is Solved 51 Years After It Was Sent To Newspaper
A coded letter mailed to a San Francisco newspaper by the Zodiac serial killer in 1969 has been deciphered by a team of amateur sleuths from the United States, Australia and Belgium, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday. The cipher is one of many sent by a killer who referred to himself as Zodiac in letters sent to detectives and the media. He terrorized Northern California communities and killed five people in the Bay Area in 1968 and 1969. According to code-breaking expert David Oranchak, the cipher’s text includes: “I hope you are having lots of fun in trying to catch me. ... I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradise all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me,” the newspaper reported.

New Jersey Cops Won’t Face Penalty For Making Too Few Arrests Under New Bill
New Jersey lawmakers advanced a bill Friday to prevent cops from facing demotion, discipline or pay cuts just because they didn’t arrest more people. A department would be barred from considering the number of arrests made or citations issued when evaluating an officer’s overall performance, under a proposal (S1322) approved 6-0 by the state Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. Current law allows those statistics to be one of the factors considered when officials weigh promotions, demotions, dismissals, discipline and salaries. Police “are all too often pressured to write more tickets to increase revenue and help municipalities balance their budgets,” state Sen. Shirley Turner, D- Mercer and one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a statement. Other departments have been accused of having secret arrest “quotas,” she said. “These policies, whether written or unwritten, have fallen hardest upon low-income individuals and people of color,” Turner added. The bill would still allow arrest and citation statistics to be tracked. The proposal must pass the full Senate and Assembly before it can head to the governor’s desk.

50 States, 50 Police Heroes: How Cops Made An Impact In 2020
We all needed a hero in 2020. As the year brought a seemingly endless onslaught of unprecedented challenges, law enforcement stepped up through acts of heroism – big and small – to create some good in a year that desperately needed it. From providing aid to the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic to throwing birthday parades for kids stuck at home, we’ve rounded up one act of police heroism from each of the 50 states – just a small sample of the excellent work LEOs do every day across the country. Alabama: SRO creates interactive reading, singing, magic videos for homebound children. Deputy James Sellers was one of many cops who took to the internet to help keep kids stuck at home during the pandemic learning and engaged – and help lighten their parents' load, as well! Alaska: Anchorage cop helps pup find new home. A police officer in Anchorage helped a dog find a new home after spotting the animal running in the middle of traffic. Arizona: Cop adopts girl he comforted while working child abuse case. Officer Brian Zach stepped up when child services couldn’t find any family for the 4-year-old. Arkansas: SRO goes viral for daily prayer outside school. Officer DeAndra Warren prays each day for the students, administrators and staff he works alongside.

Public Safety News

LA County Reports 12,731 New COVID-19 Cases, 4,009 Hospitalizations
Los Angeles County reported 12,731 new cases of COVID-19 and 29 additional deaths on Sunday, as the number of county residents hospitalized with the coronavirus surpassed 4,000 for the first time. The new numbers bring the county's totals to 525,486 cases and 8,298 fatalities since the pandemic began. The number of hospitalizations rose to 4,009, an increase from 3,850 on Saturday, and 21% were in intensive care units. "Our daily case numbers are unlike any we have ever seen in our county and reflect extraordinarily high rates of community transmission; activities we were able to do just a few weeks back, now present far too much risk for virus transmission,'' the Los Angeles County Health Department said Saturday. Last week was record-shattering by all key public health indicators. A month ago, the five-day average of cases was 2,134: On Saturday it was 10,034 -- an increase of 370%. The five-day average of deaths one month ago, was 12: It was 62 as of Saturday. During that same span of time, hospitalizations increased by more than 300%.

COVID-19 Vaccine Clears Key Hurdle In California And Much Of The West
The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech cleared another hurdle in California on Sunday, when a working group of scientists and experts endorsed its safety. The group, representing California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, reviewed the vaccine separately from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which on Friday issued emergency use authorization. The group made its recommendation to the governors of the four states Sunday morning, officials said in a news release. The move paved the way for vaccines to be distributed across California. Los Angeles International Airport’s Twitter account said Sunday night that the first batch had arrived in L.A., with more to follow this month and in January. “With shipments of the vaccine soon on their way to California,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement, “we are working hand-in-hand with local public health officials to get the vaccine out to the first phase of recipients.” California’s first allocation of about 327,000 doses is being sent mostly to acute-care hospitals to be administered to healthcare workers, although some counties have said they will also send a portion to skilled nursing facilities. The vaccine isn’t expected to be available to everyone who wants it until the spring.

Local Government News

Los Angeles Metro To Debut Ride-Share Service, Bus Routes This Weekend
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has introduced its first phase of the NextGen Bus Plan and its Metro Micro project, both set to officially launch on Sunday. NextGen, an overhaul of Metro’s bus network, is designed to speed up bus trips, provide more frequent trips to the bulk of the system’s riders and improve reliability and accessibility. Metro Micro, a ride-sharing service, will use vans and small vehicles operated by Metro in select zones. The ride-share service will allow riders to plan entire trips with both Metro Micro and their bus or train ride in real-time, using a single mobile app, internet browser or Metro’s call center. “Our mission is to create a world-class transportation system for Los Angeles by giving Angelenos a wide array of convenient, reliable and affordable transportation options to get where they need to go,” Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti said. “With NextGen and Metro Micro, we are rolling out two key projects in our pursuit of a city and region defined by greater mobility and expanded prosperity for every rider, commuter and resident.”

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: