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 18, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Man Dies In Gramercy Park Area Shootout
A man in his 30s was killed in a shootout with another person in the Gramercy Park area of Los Angeles, police said. The shooting was reported about midnight in the 8700 block of Cimarron Street, near Manchester Boulevard, according to the LAPD. The victim, who police said exchanged gunfire with another person, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other shooter left the scene before police arrived. A description of the shooter was not immediately available. The name of the victim was not disclosed.

Veteran Los Angeles County Sergeant Dies Of COVID-Related Illness
A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who had worked for the department nearly 25 years died from an illness related to COVID-19, the department announced Wednesday. Sgt. Armando Meneses, who died Tuesday, is the second deputy in three days to die of complications from the disease. Deputy Pedro Romo, a 25-year veteran of the department who worked as a school resource deputy, died Sunday. "Sergeant Armando Meneses was a dear husband, father & almost 25 year veteran of our Department," LASD said in a tweet. "He was a truly honorable man with a golden heart. Please keep him and his entire family in your prayers." As of Wednesday morning, 2,856 sheriff's department employees had tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including 1,910 sworn personnel, according to the department's website.

Sex Offender Charged In LA With Abduction And Murder Of Boy Charged Again In OC
Even though a convicted sex offender is charged in Los Angeles with abducting a 6-year-old boy in Anaheim and killing him, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer announced Tuesday he has also charged the defendant for the same crime. Spitzer said he charged Kenneth Kasten Rasmuson, 59, for the July 2, 1981, killing of Jeffrey Vargo, because he is concerned his counterpart in Los Angeles County, George Gascon, intends to drop special circumstance allegations in the case, which would allow Rasmuson to get a parole hearing at some point instead of at least life in prison without the possibility of parole. Rasmuson was ordered to stand trial in Los Angeles in August 2016 on charges of killing Vargo and another 6-year-old boy in 1986. Rasmuson was arrested in March 2015 in Sandpoint, Idaho, after DNA evidence allegedly linked him to the July 2, 1981, killing of Vargo. Construction workers found the boy's body a day after the victim left his Anaheim Hills home to visit a fireworks stand, according to authorities. While Rasmuson was awaiting trial in that case, he was charged with another murder in the April 8, 1986, killing of another boy identified only as Miguel, according to authorities. His body was found in a wash in Agoura Hills the same day he was discovered missing from his home, prosecutors in Los Angeles said. Rasmuson is also allegedly linked to that killing by DNA evidence, prosecutors said. Rasmuson was facing special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and that the killings were done during the commission of a lewd or lascivious act on a child.

City Sues ‘Ghost Gun' Maker Polymer80; LAPD Says More Than 700 Seized Weapons Are Tied To Its Parts
When two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were wounded by a gunman near the Compton Metro station last year, it was seemingly unconnected to a killing of three people during a home invasion robbery in Glendale a year before. There were different assailants and the guns weren't the same, authorities say. But, as investigators would later discover, both weapons were so-called ghost guns, made from kits without traceable registrations or requirements for background checks on purchasers. “The components of those guns were manufactured by a company called Polymer80,” a Nevada manufacturer that has become infamous among police officers investigating shootings, Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer said Wednesday. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said more than 700 ghost guns seized in Los Angeles last year were made from parts bought from that company. More than 300 were seized in South Los Angeles, where homicides soared last year to levels not seen in a decade. Feuer, Moore and City Councilman Paul Krekorian on Wednesday announced the city is suing Polymer80, one of the nation's largest sellers of ghost gun kits and component parts. “Untraceable ghost guns are now the emerging guns of choice across the nation,” Feuer said. “Nobody who could buy a serialized gun and pass a background check would ever need a ghost gun. Yet we allege Polymer80 has made it easy for anyone, including felons, to buy and build weapons that pose a major public safety threat.”
Los Angeles Times

LAPD Seeks Public's Help To Identify Man Suspected Of Attempted Murder In Northridge Carjacking
Detectives are seeking the public's helps to identify a man suspected of shooting a person while attempting to carjack him in Northridge earlier this month, officials announced Wednesday. Around 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, officers responded to a call of shots fired on the 8500 block of Reseda Boulevard, the LAPD said in a news release. They arrived to find a man suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. Officers determined the victim was shot during an attempted carjacking. Paramedics transported the victim to a local hospital, and he is now in stable condition. LAPD released surveillance video of the suspect, showing a masked man going up and down a set of stairs. Police say he is suspected of attempted murder. He was described by authorities as being about 25 to 30 years old, Hispanic and having black hair, measuring around 5 feet tall and weighing 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing a brown plaid long-sleeve shirt, dark pants and black shoes. Anyone with information is urged to call Detective D. Tumbleson at 818-832-0609. 

Man Terrorizes East Hollywood Landlord For Months, Recently Breaking Into Her Home Through Ceiling With Knife
A landlord in East Hollywood tells FOX 11 for the past eight months, she has been terrorized by one of her own tenants who has harassed her repeatedly and attacked her. Alexandra Stone says the man, who is one of her Section 8 tenants, has been arrested multiple times but has always been quickly released. But last week, things took a horrifying and almost deadly turn. The man, identified as Robert Sargsyan, literally came through her ceiling armed with a knife and a hammer. "I'm angry, I'm scared. This is not real," Stone said. "It feels like this is a bad dream that I can't even wake up from. Stone tells FOX 11 her life has been a horror movie since last summer. She stands in front of a gaping hole in her ceiling and $20,000 worth of damage to her East Hollywood home. Sargsyan, who lives in the unit next door to her, frequently banged on her door in the middle of the night. Stone says he has broken her windows and often shows up outside her windows and yells. She says it has happened more times than she can count. Stone says she was able to get the Los Angeles Police Department to issue a restraining order against Sargsyan, but he quickly violated the order in a terrifying way. "On my bedroom window, 4 a.m., knocking. My dog started barking, and he's knocking on my bedroom window with a freakin' butcher's knife!" She said. "So I'm on the phone with police freaking out, crying, like there's a guy with a butcher's knife at my window," Stone added. Stone says LAPD arrested Sargsyan, but was released from custody almost immediately. Stone says that has happened to the troubling tenant at least five times already, while the cases were handled by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office. "It is not the police's fault, they're frustrated, they tell me all the time they arrest him and he's out before they're even able to finish filing the paperwork," Stone said. "I felt like I was basically just waiting for him to kill me."
FOX 11

Woman Arrested, Accused Of Offering To Inject Undercover Officers With Knockoff Botox
Los Angeles Police Department detectives arrested a woman last month after she allegedly offered to inject undercover officers with counterfeit Botox in a downtown hotel room that she'd converted into a makeshift medical office, police said Wednesday. Vivian Espinoza was arrested Jan. 23 on suspicion of furnishing prescription drugs and practicing medicine without a license, the LAPD said in a statement. It's unclear whether she has been charged with a crime. A call to the detectives handling her case wasn't immediately returned Wednesday evening. Police said Espinoza had set up a makeshift medical office in a hotel room in the 400 block of South Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles. She is accused of offering to inject undercover LAPD officers with counterfeit Botox and Juvaderm, an injectable filler used to smooth wrinkles. Samples of the drugs were tested at a laboratory and confirmed to be counterfeit, according to the LAPD. The department warned in a statement that such knockoffs, which aren't subject to the same testing and regulatory oversight as their genuine counterparts, can cause facial paralysis, blindness, infection and other health problems.
Los Angeles Times

UCLA Student Arrested By FBI In Connection With Capitol Riot Following Tip From Another Student
A UCLA student from Costa Mesa has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with the Capitol riot, authorities said. Christian Secor, 22, was arrested at a residence in Costa Mesa Tuesday morning. He made his initial appearance in federal court in Santa Ana that afternoon and was ordered detained with no bail granted. He faces several federal charges including assaulting, resisting or impeding officers and aiding and abetting, civil disorder and aiding and abetting, obstructing an official proceeding, entering and remaining in restricted buildings or grounds, and violent entry and disorderly conduct. According to Secor's arrest affidavit, Secor can be seen on video footage pushing his way past officers attempting to block doors leading into the Capitol, while wearing a red hat bearing the slogan "Make America Great Again." He can also be spotted on the floor of the Senate and sitting in the chair of the presiding officer, while carrying a flag with the words "America First," the affidavit states.
FOX 11

Police Searching For Suspect Who Broke Into Culver City El Pollo Loco
The Culver City Police Department is asking for the public's help in identifying the suspect who broke into an El Pollo Loco restaurant. The incident, which was all caught on surveillance video, happened Feb. 1st at 4:20 a.m. at the restaurant located on 12860 Washington Blvd. Video shows the suspect smashing the glass door and forcing entry into the restaurant. He appears to be holding a handgun while attempting to break into the manager's office. From the video, it appears he was unable to enter into the office so then he fled. Police say this suspect is believed to be responsible for breaking glass doors on nearby businesses. No description of the suspect was given. Anyone with information is urged to call 310-253-6306. 
FOX 11

Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans Continue To Be On The Rise During Pandemic
An 84-year-old grandfather lost his life over what the family said marks another instance of rising hate crimes against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. Vichar Ratanapakdee, of San Francisco, stayed healthy throughout the pandemic, and recently received his COVID-19 vaccine. As he does every morning, he went for a walk through the neighborhood, but this most recent time, Ratanapakdee was assaulted. He was attacked, causing bleeding in his brain, and he later died. A 19-year-old suspect is charged with murder and elder abuse in the attack. “This wasn't driven by economics, that this, this was driven by hate,” said Ratanapakdee's son-in-law Eric Lawson. Ratanapakdee's death is part of a surge in reported attacks against Asian Americans across California during the pandemic. In Oakland, a man walked up behind a 91-year-old man and threw him to the ground — one of more than 20 similar assaults and robberies. Since the pandemic began, Asian American hate incidents in California have risen by 115% in Los Angeles County, 150% in San Jose, and 200% in Orange County, studies show.

Public Safety News

Body Found At Base Of Cliff In San Pedro Area
A body was found Wednesday at the base of a cliff in the San Pedro area. The discovery was made about 10:30 a.m. in the 800 block of West Paseo del Mar, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The area is commonly referred to as Sunken City. Information was not immediately available on the person's identity or gender.

LA County Reports 85% Decrease In Daily COVID-19 Cases, 91% Drop In Deaths
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Wednesday reported 2,394 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and 162 new deaths, bringing countywide totals to 1,171,664 cases and 19,368 deaths. Of the new deaths reported today, 50 people who died were over the age of 80, 55 people were between the ages of 65 and 79, 49 people were between the ages of 50 and 64, six people were between the ages of 30 and 49, one death was under investigation and one death was reported by the city of Long Beach. Public health said the seven-day average number of daily cases has declined by 85% since Feb. 9 to an average of 2,230 cases per day and the seven-day average number of deaths is down 91% from Jan. 10 to an average of 91 deaths per day on Feb. 9. As for hospitalizations, health officials said the average number of people hospitalized decreased 61% between Jan. 8 and Feb. 14. As of Wednesday, there were 2,855 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, 31% of whom were being treated in intensive care units.

LA County Prepares To Expand Eligibility For COVID Vaccines To More Groups, Including Teachers, In March
With millions more people becoming eligible COVID-19 vaccinations in the coming weeks but supplies of the medicine remaining limited, Southern California is facing a "difficult month" meeting demand in March, the county's public health director said Wednesday, but she predicted rosier conditions by April. Barbara Ferrer shared figures showing that vaccination sites in the county are administering doses at a fraction of their overall capacity due to continued shortages in supplies of vaccine. The result is a system that makes extremely difficult for eligible residents -- health care workers and people aged 65 and older -- to make appointments for shots, with demand far exceeding supply. And the situation will dramatically worsen starting March 1, when the county will open eligibility to an array of essential workers -- education/child care workers, including teachers and school staff; food and agricultural workers; and emergency services/law enforcement personnel. Ferrer said those groups are now estimated to include 1.8 million people in the county. The state has also directed providers to make shots available beginning March 15 to any one aged 16 and older with a qualifying underlying health condition that puts them at significant risk of severe illness or death from COVID.

Local Government News

3 LA Council Members Call For Creation Of Youth Development Department To Focus On Enrichment, Job Training
Three Los Angeles City Council members introduced a motion Wednesday to create a Youth Development Department to address the high number of young people living in poverty and being arrested in Los Angeles. The city's youth programs are spread across 26 departments without a centralized approach, and the council members' motion calls for the creation of one department to focus all of its resources on young Angelenos. “Young people deserve a government structured and designed to meet their needs informed by their voice, not outdated preservation of unmeasured programs,” the motion states. “For 50 years, youth development work has operated as a subsidiary of other initiatives. Intervention strategies should not begin upon entanglements with law enforcement, greater investments in diverse early prevention efforts are desperately needed. “Systemic reforms are needed with a singular focus on youth ages 10-25, a population that has been overlooked in strategic investments and programming.”
Los Angeles Daily News

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: