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

February 12, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Homicides In L.A Were 34% Higher In January Compared To January 2020
The number of homicides reported in Los Angeles was 34% higher in January compared to the same month last year, despite overall crime in the city decreasing by 20%, according to a report released Thursday. Almost 90% of January’s 39 homicide victims were male and Hispanic or Black, according to a report produced by Crosstown, a nonprofit news organization based out of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was “particularly deadly” with five reported homicides, the report said. In 2020, one homicide was reported that day. The most homicides in January occurred in South Los Angeles’ Green Meadows neighborhood, where four victims were reported. The second-highest was in Boyle Heights, where three people were killed. The increase in homicides for January follows a trend experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, 350 homicides were reported in Los Angeles, a 36% increase over 2019, Crosstown reported. LAPD Capt. Paul Vernon said last year officers were reassigned from areas with a high number of violent crime reports because they were needed for alternate duties related to COVID-19 and anti-racism demonstrations in May and June, according to Crosstown. Chief Michel Moore said more officers will be reassigned to high-crime neighborhoods starting Sunday, Crosstown reported. 

CHP Officer, Two Others Seriously Injured By Suspected Drunk Driver On The 10 Freeway Near DTLA
A California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer and two other people were seriously injured Thursday in a multi-vehicle crash that prompted the closure of the westbound 10 Freeway near downtown Los Angeles. Paramedics were sent to the freeway near Normandie Avenue at 10:43 a.m., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The CHP officer was on the freeway attempting to clear an earlier accident when a suspected drunk driver sped along the shoulder, to get around traffic, and hit another vehicle. "A Nissan Altima driving at high speeds, within the left shoulder was passing traffic and ended up collided with the CHP motorcycle. The motorcycle was then pushed into the officer, the officer was then pushed into the vehicles that were on the freeway," stated CHP officer Roberto Gomez. The driver and his passenger ran from the Altima. According to CHP, a couple of Good Samaritans ran after the driver. The suspect was then arrested. The CHP officer, along with the tow truck driver and one other person were transported to the hospital. 

Man Beaten To Death On West Hollywood Street, Suspects At Large
Authorities believe a man who was found dead on a West Hollywood street early Friday morning was likely the victim of a violent assault. At around 12:30 a.m. Friday, Los Angeles police officers who were on patrol in the area were flagged down to the victim in the 8500 block of Melrose Avenue. The victim, a man in his 50s, died at the scene, according to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. He was not identified. At the same time that LAPD officers had discovered the victim, L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies had also been called to a fight near a bar at the corner of La Cienega Boulevard and Melrose Avenue. Deputies learned that some patrons from the bar had gotten into a fight outside the bar that may have involved the victim. It appears the victim may have been repeatedly stomped or kicked in the head, a sheriff’s department spokesperson said. No arrests have been made. The suspects were only described as a Hispanic woman and a Black man. Sheriff’s detectives are canvassing the area for security video and possible cell phone video that could aid in the investigation.

A Mother’s Search For Missing Son Leads To Dark World Of A Marijuana Dispensary
Juan Carlos Hernández went to work one afternoon and never came home. He was one of 3,781 people reported missing last year in Los Angeles. Many were found or reappeared when they were ready. Others, suffering from mental illness or addiction, slipped away from family and joined the growing ranks of homeless people living on city streets. And some of the cases began with a missing persons report but ended with a murder charge. Hernández’s mother knew in her gut something wasn’t right when her son didn’t return from his job at a marijuana dispensary. She did the only things she could: She called the police and she started looking. She taped her son’s face on thousands of bus stops and light posts. The search would take her to homeless encampments on skid row, to the steps of City Hall in protest, to remote corners of Southern California and to the dark underbelly of the city’s marijuana industry. The not knowing propelled her. As she did every morning before leaving for work, Yajaira Hernández peeked into her son’s bedroom around 5:30 on Sept. 23. His bed was empty and still made up. Also gone, she realized with mounting alarm, was her gray Honda Civic, which her son had driven the previous day to his job at a marijuana dispensary in South Los Angeles. It wasn’t like her son, a 21-year-old student at El Camino College who hoped to transfer to USC to study engineering, to stay out all night and not tell her. And he knew she needed her car to get to work. His phone was off. Her gut told her something was wrong.

Man Named Person Of Interest In Kristin Smart Cold Case Arrested In San Pedro For Alleged Gun Violation
A man named as a person of interest in the 1996 disappearance and unsolved death of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Kristin Smart was arrested in San Pedro Thursday after he was found with a gun, police said. Paul Flores was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession with a firearm around 9:45 a.m. on the western edge of San Pedro, in the area of Summerland and Western avenues, said Officer Tony Im, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department. Flores has a previous felony conviction for driving under the influence, according to KSBY in San Luis Obispo. Police did not provide further details on the circumstances of Flores’ arrest Thursday, and it’s unclear how or why officers originally made contact with him. Flores, a San Pedro resident, is considered the sole person of interest in Smart’s disappearance, and no suspects have been named. The 19-year-old college student was legally declared dead in 2002, but her body has not been found. Flores was a classmate of Smart’s at Cal Poly SLO, and he was the last person to see her before she vanished 24 years ago after they left an off-campus party together.

Inmate Who Walked Away From Los Angeles Reentry Program Facility Apprehended
A 28-year-old with multiple felony convictions who walked away from a Male Community Reentry Program facility in Los Angeles was taken into custody Thursday in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of South Los Angeles. Miguel A. Chacon was apprehended about 5 p.m. by special agents from teams with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Office of Correctional Safety in Rancho Cucamonga and Los Angeles. Chacon was taken to the California Institution for Men. Chacon had walked away from the facility Friday, and agents from the CDCR’s Office of Correctional Safety were dispatched about 7:30 p.m. to locate and apprehend him. His case has been turned over to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for possible criminal charges. Chacon was received by CDCR from Los Angeles County on Dec. 29, 2015, to serve nine years for first-degree burglary, a second strike, with an enhancement for prior felony conviction of a serious offense. Chacon was transferred to the Male Community Reentry Program on Nov. 12 and scheduled to be released to parole in November.

Bloody Stabbing Murders Of Two Innocent Victims At Pacoima, South LA House Parties: High Court Rejects Appeal
The California Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of a San Fernando Valley man convicted of the stabbing deaths of two men at house parties in Pacoima and South Los Angeles within a nearly five-week period. On Wednesday, the state’s highest court denied the defense’s petition seeking its review of the case of Jesse Alexander Cardoza of Arleta, who was convicted in January 2019 of first-degree murder for the Oct. 29, 2016, killing of Victor Garcia, 22, and second-degree murder for the Sept. 24, 2016, slaying of Martin Kennedy, 18. The jury also found true the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, along with an allegation that Cardoza personally used a knife. Cardoza stabbed Garcia in the neck in an unprovoked attack as the victim tried to help people disperse and to diffuse tensions among other party-goers as a house party in Pacoima was closing down, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. A month earlier, Cardoza was among a group of people who attacked Kennedy after a house party in South Los Angeles. Cardoza stabbed Kennedy in the back of the head and in the back, killing him, prosecutors said. T

2 Men Arrested In Hawthorne Mortuary Burglary, Possibly Linked To More
Authorities arrested two men for allegedly burglarizing a mortuary in Hawthorne and are working to see if they are linked to two similar break-ins in the area. The arrest was made shortly after Hawthorne officers responded to a call of a burglary on Feb. 9 at 2:45 a.m. at a mortuary in the 13800 block of Hawthorne Boulevard. After investigating and realizing the business had been burglarized but the suspects fled - and knowing that another mortuary had been hit just three days earlier - police decided to check up on another mortuary in the area. When officers showed up about 3:15 a.m. at the mortuary in the 4200 block of Broadway Avenue, they found two men inside with flashlights. Officers surrounded the building and when the two men came out, they were ordered to stop. One surrendered, while the other tried to flee but was quickly caught. Police identify the suspects as Elias Dominguez, 39, and Edwin Jimenez, 26, both believed to be transients. They were both arrested on burglary charges. Officers are now working to determine if the same two men were responsible for the burglary earlier that night at the other mortuary, as well as the one on Feb. 6 in the 3900 block of Marine Avenue in Lawndale.

Asian American Communities Being Targeted By Hate Crime, Unprovoked Attacks During Pandemic
Asian American communities across the country are seeing more unprovoked and violent attacks during the pandemic. A man was arrested for a series of random attacks on Asian Americans in the Chinatown neighborhood in Oakland, California, including the attack of a 91-year-old elderly man that was captured on surveillance video. Authorities said the elderly man was shoved to the ground by 28-year-old Yahya Muslim. Muslim is facing charges of assault and great bodily injury. Nearly 3,000 cases targeting Asian Americans have been reported nationwide since the start of the pandemic. "What's happening now in Oakland, in New York and other parts of the country is just echoing what was happening last year and what's even worse now is seniors being targeted," said Telly Wong, the Campaign Director for Wash The Hate social media campaign. Wong helped launch the Wash The Hate campaign in March after a surge in incidents. "Wash The Hate was to really generate greater awareness about the violence being perpetrated against members of the Asian American community as a result of COVID-19. A lot of crimes, and especially hate crimes within this community, are underreported or misreported and we just wanted to start creating more dialogue out there about this issue," he said.

Public Safety News

Vaccine Shortage In LA Leads To Distribution Confusion
The City of Los Angeles says it’s out of the Moderna vaccine it uses at five of the city’s supersites, including Dodger Stadium. But the city as a whole is not out, just the city’s supersite function. This comes a day after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, "[By Thursday] the city will have exhausted its current supply of the Moderna vaccine." For some, those words were as shocking as the news that Dodger Stadium and four other local super sites will close until after the President's Day holiday. Also shocking, the Mayor says the number of vaccine doses LA received to provide at those supersites for a whole week was what they would normally use in a single day. He said, "That is unacceptable." This week, the City of LA got 16,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. That's down 90,000 from last week and 29,000 from two weeks ago. Willem Henning, the District Pharmacy Manager for Vons and Albertsons, says "There is a shortage of Moderna vaccine."

LA County Adds 3,489 New COVID-19 Cases, 160 Deaths; Health Officials Warn Against Gathering For Holiday Weekend
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Thursday reported 3,489 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 160 deaths, bringing countywide totals to 1,158,619 cases and 18,658 deaths. Of the new deaths reported, 39 people who died were over the age of 80, 58 people were between the ages of 65 and 79, 33 people were between the ages of 50 and 64 and 11 people were between the ages of 30 and 49. Two deaths were reported by the city of Pasadena and 12 by the city of Long Beach. Health officials said that hospitalizations have decreased by more than 1,000 patients in the last week, with 3,772 COVID-19 patients currently admitted, 29% of whom were being treated in intensive care units — though it’s still four times higher than the pre-surge admissions seen between mid-September and late-October. And while key metrics continued their decline Thursday, health officials warned that another surge could happen if people gather for the upcoming Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day holidays.

Coronavirus Variant First Seen In Los Angeles Has Spread Around The World
The coronavirus variant first seen in Los Angeles in July now accounts for about 44% of new infections in Southern California and more than a third of new infections throughout the state, researchers reported Thursday. In addition, the variant has spread across the United States and to six countries around the globe, according to the study in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. It “remains uncertain” whether the genetic changes that characterize the fast-moving variant have improved its ability to transmit from person to person, or to make people infected with it sicker, a team from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles acknowledged in the JAMA report. But the virus’ rapid propagation in California is a cause for some concern, they wrote. The homegrown variant is distinct from other versions of the virus present in the U.S., including the B.1.1.7 strain from the United Kingdom and the B.1.351 strain from South Africa. But like those new strains, this variant is defined by several mutations in the virus’ spike protein, the “docking mechanism” the virus uses to latch on to human cells.

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: