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

March 17, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Officer Shot In Face, Gunman Killed By Police During SWAT Situation In University Park: LAPD
A police officer was shot in the face and a suspect was killed in an exchange of gunfire during a SWAT response at a home in University Park Tuesday afternoon, officials said. Authorities initially responded to the 1000 block of West 21st Street around 12:15 p.m. to investigate reports of someone firing a rifle into the air, Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said during a news briefing near the scene. The lot involved contains two residences, a front and a back, and the gunman was in the rear yard. Occupants of the front house are relatives of the man, who gave “varying accounts” of the gunman's mental health condition, whether he was on drugs, and how many guns he had, according to Moore. The suspect barricaded himself in a home and a SWAT team responded. Other family members at the scene were evacuated, the chief said. Authorities tried to coax the man from the home, including sending in recording of his family members pleading for him to surrender. When that was unsuccessful, they decided to use tear gas, Moore said. At that point, the man began firing from the home. It appears a SWAT officer was struck in the face and taken to a nearby hospital, the chief said. The suspect, meanwhile, died at the scene after suffering multiple gunshot wounds.

Gascón Planning To Dissolve Or Severely Downsize LA County DA Hardcore Gang Unit, Sources Say
Major changes could soon be coming to the way Los Angeles prosecutes crimes involving gangs. The changes have George Gascón critics crying foul. Multiple sources within the Los Angeles County DA's Office tell FOX 11's Bill Melugin that Gascón is planning to severely downsize or outright dissolve the office's Hardcore Gang unit, which may happen as early as next month. It's one of the oldest units in the office and it's responsible for prosecuting the most heinous and complex gang-related crimes in the county. On the condition of anonymity, two LA County Deputy DA's in the Hardcore Gang unit confirm to FOX 11 what multiple sources are telling us: that Gascón is planning to disband or downsize the unit in a major way. "What we're hearing is that the Hardcore Gang Unit will be dissolved," said one of the prosecutors. "My understanding is there's going to be a dissolution of the unit either April 1 or April 2," said the second prosecutor. The prosecutors say they feel they've already been hamstrung by Gascón's decision to ban them from using gang and gun enhancements, and they feel that disbanding the unit will be a disaster waiting to happen, given the violent crime surge across Los Angeles. "We can already hear in jail calls and interviews with officers on the street telling us that the gang members are laughing at them, I mean it's undermined the credibility of law enforcement in its entirety," one of the prosecutors told FOX 11.
FOX 11

No Death Penalty For Man Who Allegedly Killed 5 In San Fernando Valley Shooting Spree
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office dropped its bid Tuesday for the death penalty for an ex-con from Sylmar who's charged with killing five people - most of them within less than a week - during a shooting spree in the San Fernando Valley 6 1/2 years ago. Alexander Hernandez is charged with the 2014 murders of Sergio Sanchez on March 14; Gilardo Morales on Aug. 21; and Gloria Tovar, Michael Planells and Mariana Franco on Aug. 24, along with the 11 attempted murders — the bulk of which occurred between Aug. 20-24. Hernandez is also facing 11 counts of attempted murder, eight counts of shooting at an occupied vehicle, three counts of cruelty to an animal, two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon and one count each of discharge of a firearm with gross negligence and possession of ammunition by a felon. The prosecution had announced in 2017 that it was seeking the death penalty against Hernandez, who has remained jailed without bail since he was arrested after barricading himself for about an hour inside a Sylmar residence on Aug. 24, 2014. Shortly after being sworn into office last December, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon issued a series of directives, including one that “a sentence of death is never an appropriate resolution in any case.”
Los Angeles Daily News

LAPD Seeks Public's Help To Identify Brentwood Hit-and-Run Suspect Who Severely Injured Pedestrian
Detectives are seeking the public's help to identify the person responsible for a hit-and-run collision that severely injured a pedestrian in Brentwood earlier this month. Just after 10 a.m. on March 6, the victim was walking northbound on Carmelina Avenue when she was struck by a driver going eastbound on Sunset Boulevard, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release Tuesday. The impact of the crash caused the pedestrian to fall and collide with the roadway. The involved driver exited the car and approached the pedestrian, but then returned to his vehicle. He fled without identifying himself or attempting to render aid as required by law, police said. The female victim, described as “elderly,” sustained severe injuries and was transported to a local hospital by the Los Angeles Fire Department. The suspect vehicle is described as a gray older model sedan. A reward of up to $25,000 is available to anyone who provides information leading to the offender's identification, apprehension, and conviction or resolution through a civil compromise. Anyone with information about the collision is asked to contact detectives at 213-473-0234 or 213-473-0222. 

LASD Seeks Additional Victims Of Man Suspected In West Hollywood Assault
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced Tuesday it is seeking additional victims of a man suspected of committing a sexual assault in West Hollywood. Detectives identified Bryant Guerrero, 34, in a burglary/sexual assault that occurred on Jan. 21 in the 8400 block of Fountain Avenue, near Kings Road. The female victim was sexually assaulted in her home after the suspect broke in. Guerrero was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department on Jan. 23 for an unrelated sexual assault and remains in custody. Anyone with information regarding the investigation or anyone who may have been a victim of Guerrero can contact the LASD's Special Victims Bureau at 877-710-5273 or by email at Anonymous tips can be reported to 800-222-8477 or at .

Authorities Remind Southlanders Not To Drink And Drive
On St. Patrick's Day Authorities Tuesday urged Southlanders not to drive while impaired on St. Patrick's Day and warned that officers will be on patrol to keep roadways safe. “The California Highway Patrol is committed to making California's roadways safe for all who use them,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray. “Remember to buckle up, slow down, don't drive distracted, and never drive impaired. If you chose to celebrate, please do so responsibly by designating a sober driver or making other arrangements to get home safe.” Ray noted that alcohol is not the only substance that can lead to an arrest for driving under the influence. “Cannabis, prescription medications, and illegal drugs can all lead to impaired driving,” he said. Numerous law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County will be on the lookout for impaired motorists, including the El Monte Police Department. “Don't make poor choices and allow yourself to mix alcohol or drugs with driving,” El Monte police Chief David Reynoso said. “It only takes one intoxicated driver to change the lives of many forever.” In 2020, 327 fatal alcohol-related crashes occurred on St. Patrick's Day around the nation, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Featured Social Media

California Sees Sharp Spike In Gun Ownership. Why New Buyers Are Arming Themselves
A surge in gun sales — fueled by economic insecurity, racial and political unrest and the pandemic — isn't slowing down in California, home to some of the strictest gun laws in the country. About 1.17 million new guns were registered in California in 2020, and as many as 369,000 people went through the state's firearms background check process for the first time, according to newly released state data filed in federal court. The numbers are the latest evidence that Californians went on a gun-buying spree last year. It was the most gun sales since 2016. State data shows that 1.28 million guns changed hands that year in California as buyers stocked up on firearms in advance of a host of new laws voters and the state legislature approved that year and amid fears that Democrat Hillary Clinton would win the presidency and pass new gun regulations. The state's report, released Monday as part of a lawsuit in the U.S Southern District of California, shows that reliably Democratic California wasn't immune to the national surge in firearm and ammunition sales that at times left shelves and cases empty at firearms shops across the country. It was the most gun sales since 2016. State data shows that 1.28 million guns changed hands that year in California as buyers stocked up on firearms in advance of a host of new laws voters and the state legislature approved that year and amid fears that Democrat Hillary Clinton would win the presidency and pass new gun regulations.
Sacramento Bee

Florida Police Officer Dies After Being Shot In 2018 Standoff
A police officer who was critically wounded in a 2018 standoff has died, Orlando Police announced Monday. Officer Kevin Valencia suffered critical injuries after he was shot in the head while responding to a domestic violence incident. According to WKMG, Valencia died from complications related to his injuries. “Since that tragic night, Officer Kevin Valencia has been fighting for his life with his family by his side,” said Chief Orlando Rolón in a statement. “It is with deep regret and heartache that I inform you of the passing of Officer Valencia.” Valencia officially retired from the department last year due to his injuries. He was awarded a Purple Heart. At the time, the department had said Valencia was showing  signs of improvement . Valencia leaves behind a wife and two children.

8 Killed In Shootings At 3 Atlanta-Area Spas, One Suspect In Custody
Eight people were killed Tuesday in shootings at three Atlanta-area spas. A suspect has been taken into custody in connection with one of the shootings, and Atlanta police said it is "extremely likely" he is also the suspect in the other two shootings. At around 5 p.m., a shooting at Young's Asian Massage in Cherokee County killed four people, two of whom died after being transported to a hospital, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff's office. A fifth victim was injured and also transported to a hospital. Later, three people were shot and killed at Gold Spa on Piedmont Road in Atlanta. While officers were responding to the scene, they received another call for a shooting across the street at Aromatherapy Spa, where they found another person who had been shot and killed. Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said all four victims from the Piedmont Road shootings were female and "appear to be Asian." The South Korean Foreign Ministry confirmed to CBS News that at least four of the eight victims were of Korean descent. Cherokee County Police identified Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, as a suspect in the Young's Asian Massage shooting. Long was taken into custody Tuesday night in Crisp County, Georgia.
CBS News

There Were 3,800 Anti-Asian Racist Incidents, Mostly Against Women, In Past Year
New data has revealed the number of anti-Asian hate incidents over the past year is greater than previously reported, and a disproportionate number of attacks have been directed at women, NBC News reports. The research released by reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate on Tuesday revealed nearly 3,800 incidents were reported over the course of roughly a year during the pandemic. It's a significantly higher number than last year's count of about 2,800 hate incidents nationwide over the span of five months. Women made up a far higher share of the reports, at 68%, compared to men, who made up 29% of respondents. The nonprofit does not report incidents to police. Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University and the forum's founder, told NBC Asian America that the coalescence of racism and sexism, including the stereotype that Asian women are meek and subservient, likely factors into this disparity. “There is an intersectional dynamic going on that others may perceive both Asians and women and Asian women as easier targets,” he said. The data, which includes incidents that occurred between March 19 of last year and Feb. 28 of this year, shows that roughly 503 incidents took place in 2021 alone. Verbal harassment and shunning were the most common types of discrimination, making up 68.1 percent and 20.5 percent of the reports respectively.
NBC News

Public Safety News

LA County Could Reach Orange Tier In April, Health Department Says
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Tuesday reported 318 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 52 new deaths, bringing countywide totals to 1,210,905 cases and 22,519 deaths. Of the new deaths reported, 16 people were over the age of 80, 21 people were between the ages of 65 and 79, 13 people were between the ages of 50 and 64 and two people were between the ages of 30 and 49. On Tuesday, the county's adjusted case rate dropped from 5.2 new cases per 100,000 people to 4.1 new cases per 100,000 people and the test positivity rate dropped from 2.5% to 2.0%. “Los Angeles County continues to make significant progress slowing transmission,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, said. “Should our case numbers continue to decline, our recovery journey could land us in the less restrictive orange tier in April.”

Local Government News

LA County Supervisors Clarify Guidance On Fines, License Suspensions For COVID-19-Related Violations
As indoor dining, movie theaters and gyms begin reopening under less restrictive health orders, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved new guidance focused on penalizing only the worst or repeat offenders for COVID-19-related violations. The vote, held without any comment by the board, was unanimous. Supervisors Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger had tried last week to pass a motion directing health inspectors not to impose any fines at all on a first visit. Hahn, who co-authored a July motion calling for financial penalties, last week said some fines amounted to "salt in the wound" for businesses struggling to get back on their feet and heavily spending on safety improvements. "I was shocked to hear that businesses received a $500 fine during the first inspection, even when they are working to comply," Hahn said then. Barger said during that earlier meeting that she believes inspectors want to be part of the solution, but they have faced a hostile reception at some businesses. "It is my hope by removing any threat of fining on the first offense, we can develop a collaborative spirit between environmental health (inspectors) and our communities," Barger said.
FOX 11

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: