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

April 5, 2021
Law Enforcement News

A Young Talent Killed, A Neighborhood Fed Up, And A New Flashpoint In L.A.'s Homeless Crisis
During a somber memorial in a Beverly Hills park Friday night, Albert Donnay beamed through tears as friends, fellow musicians and co-workers remembered his 31-year-old son, Gabriel “Gabe” Donnay. Gabe was whip smart, incredibly talented and deeply compassionate, they said — including toward those with mental health issues, which he struggled with himself. The memorial was several nights after Donnay's tragic killing in his own backyard in nearby Beverly Grove, where he was stabbed by an intruder who police said was living out of his car and who neighbors had reported hopping fences before the attack. Now, with the help of a loudspeaker balanced atop a park grill, Albert Donnay begged those gathered around him to use his son's memory to force change. “Gabe would challenge us to find some way to move the world ahead from this,” Albert Donnay said. “We are not the first or the last to lose our child to senseless violence, but it won't stop unless we figure out a way to do it.” On Saturday night, another crowd — some of Gabe's friends again, but also dozens of neighbors — gathered in front of the home where the attack occurred, in the 6600 block of Maryland Drive. They lighted candles and placed flowers near the front gate, then listened as Craig Brill, 54, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1996 and had interacted with the suspect before the attack, spoke up about the neighborhood's fears and frustrations. Brill said homeless encampments had grown out of control in the area during the pandemic, with people suffering from mental illness living in squalor and regularly burglarizing nearby properties. This new status quo, he said, was inhumane to the homeless people and unfair to the neighbors — and now, in the eyes of many neighbors, had led to a young man's killing.
Los Angeles Times

Hunt For Hit-And-Run SUV Hollywood Killer: Victim Run Down By Three Vehicles, Only Two Stop
A pedestrian was struck by three vehicles and killed in Hollywood, and police Friday sought public help to find one of the motorists, who fled the scene. Paramedics sent to Wilton Place and Santa Monica Boulevard about 9:45 p.m. Thursday took the man to a hospital, where he died, according to the LAPD. The man was crossing outside of a crosswalk when he was hit by three vehicles, including a white SUV that kept going. The other two motorists remained at the scene and were interviewed by officers. “Drivers are reminded that if they become involved in a collision, they should pull over and stop as soon as it is safe to do so, notify emergency services, and remain at the scene to identify themselves,” police said in a statement. A standing reward of up to $50,000 has been offered by the city of Los Angeles for information that helps police solve a fatal hit-and-run. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call detectives at 213-473-0234.

LAPD Hosts Easter Toy Giveaway In Pacoima
LAPD hosted an Easter toy giveaway at Pacoima Charter Elementary on Friday, providing residents with baskets filled with Easter eggs, candy, toys and beverages, in addition to school supplies.
KTLA 5 Video

Mother Seeks Justice In Heart-Breaking Plea After Son's Tragic Death
A Mid-City family is still grieving and seeking justice for the death of Steven Lopez, who was shot and killed three years ago while riding his bike. Imagining losing a loved one can send pains to the heart, but this mother and daughter had to live through it a few years back. Flavia Hernandez says she was crying and screaming for God to save her son. “I was crying, I was screaming,” Hernandez said. Her 22-year-old son, Steven Lopez, was shot while riding his bike just feet from his home doorstep. The LAPD West Bureau Homicide Detective John Lamberti is charged with finding out why. This happened back on March 18, 2018, in the Mid-City area of LA. “It's been three years, and I'm still basically at the same place I was two weeks into this investigation. Steven deserves better than that,” Lamberti said. Investigators know some specifics, but there's a lot more they don't know. The surveillance video shows at least two people jumping into a getaway car driven by a third person. Lamberti has a good grasp as to what happened in those moments but what investigators are lacking is actually finding these suspects. “What I'm lacking is the identification of the people who were responsible for this,” he said. There is a $50,000 reward for information in this case. Anyone with information can even get the money and remain anonymous. Anyone with information is urged to call 1-800-222-8477.

Woman In Custody After Violent Standoff With Police At MacArthur Park
A woman is in custody after she was involved in a violent standoff with police at MacArthur Park Friday afternoon. The Los Angeles Police Department responded to a call of a woman with a gun. Prior to the arrest, officers set up a perimeter around the area as the woman isolated herself from everyone else by swimming to a nearby island. LAPD said at one point in the afternoon, one of the officers opened fire but it is unclear if any of the shot(s) hit the woman. No officers were injured from the scene. Officials did not say what the woman will be charged with.
FOX 11

3 Men Arrested For Trespassing After Altering Iconic Hollywood Sign With Cow's Head: LAPD
For the second time in two months, the Hollywood sign has been altered — this time with the image of a cow's head placed over the first “o.” Three men in their 20s were arrested Friday after allegedly hanging the image on the iconic sign, according to the LAPD. In February, six people were arrested after making the sign read “Hollyboob.” Capt. Steve Lurie, commander of the LAPD's Hollywood Division, said police were called just before 11:30 a.m. Friday after the men were spotted in the area around the sign, which is surrounded by Griffith Park but inaccessible to the public and privately maintained by the Hollywood Sign Trust. “They were caught on surveillance cameras and then arrested and they'll be booked at Hollywood Station for misdemeanor trespassing,” Lurie said.

Two Taken Into Custody At UCLA For Setting Fires After Loss In National Semifinal Game Of The NCAA
Two men were taken into police custody Saturday night in Westwood for their role in off-campus vandalism in which fires were set after UCLA's overtime loss to Gonzaga in a national semifinal game of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The Daily Bruin reported at about 9 p.m. that UCLA students were setting fire to chairs on Roebling Avenue. The students then walked south on Kelton Avenue but were blocked by police at Strathmore Drive, near Veteran Avenue, according to the Daily Bruin. Officers contained the crowd and held rubber bullet guns while the crowd dispersed. The Beverly Hills Courier showed video on its Twitter account of two young men wearing handcuffs and being walked by officers toward police cars. The names of the arrestees were not immediately released. Officers at the Los Angeles Police Department's Operations Center said at 10:45 p.m. that the officers assigned to the campus had left. 
FOX 11

Homeless Man Booked On Murder For Fatal Hit-and-Run In Brentwood
A homeless man is booked on murder and assault with a deadly weapon after Los Angeles County deputies say he ran over another homeless man on Sunday. according to Fox 11 News. The homicide happened just after midnight at the homeless encampment outside of the Veterans Administration Bridge Home in Brentwood. Investigators say one of the men, Pedro Flores, 34, got in his vehicle and ran over a 51-year-old man, dragged him more than 200-yards, killing him. They say Flores hit another homeless man in his mid-30's, who is hospitalized but is expected to be ok. Officers found the driver a few blocks away, chased him in a short pursuit and caught him. Flores is being held on $2 million dollars bail.
Venice Current

Highlighted Social Media Post

Man Fatally Shot In Willowbrook Area Of South Los Angeles
Detectives Saturday evening were investigating the shooting death of a man in the unincorporated Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles. The shooling was reported at 6:56 p.m. in the 1200 block of East 121st Street, said Deputy Alejandra Parra of the Sheriff's Information Bureau. The victim was taken by paramedics to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Parra said. No further information was immediately available.

Beverly Hills Store Let Criminals Stash Guns, Drugs And Cash In Vault At Strip Mall, Prosecutors Say
When federal agents descended on a Beverly Hills strip mall last month, it took them five days to seize the contents of hundreds of safe deposit boxes inside a store called U.S. Private Vaults. On Friday, the government revealed why it was so interested in the seemingly mundane business wedged between a nail salon and a spa: It was laundering money for drug dealers and letting them stash guns, fentanyl and stacks of $100 bills in security boxes that were rented anonymously, prosecutors alleged. In an indictment against U.S. Private Vaults, Inc., the U.S. attorney for Los Angeles accused the company of marketing itself deliberately to attract criminals, saying it brazenly promoted itself as a place customers could store valuables with confidence that tax authorities would be hard-pressed to learn their identities or what was stored in their locked boxes. To access the facility, customers needed no identification; it took just an eye and hand scan to unlock the door. “We don't even want to know your name,” it advertised, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors also allege that an owner and employees of the company were involved in drug sales that took place at the business and helped customers convert cash into gold in amounts that would avoid suspicion.
Los Angeles Times

Man, 76, Goes Missing At LAX
Authorities on Sunday asked for the public's help in locating a missing 76-year-old man who was last seen at Los Angeles International Airport. Michael Sneed was seen last just after 2 a.m. at Terminal 4 of LAX. He was wearing a black jacket, black shirt, gray pants, and blue shoes. Sneed is in a wheelchair. Sneed is 5'8 and weighs around 140 pounds. He wears glasses. His family is very concerned for his well-being as he suffers from kidney failure. Anyone with information about Sneed's whereabouts was asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Missing Persons Unit at (323) 890-5500.

2 Men Facing Charges For Allegedly Assaulting Couple Riding Scooters In Santa Monica
Two men are facing assault charges for allegedly attacking a couple in Santa Monica last weekend, officials announced Thursday. Just before 11 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to the 1700 block of Ocean Avenue to investigate a report of an armed robbery, the Santa Monica Police Department said in a news release. A couple told police they were riding scooters when three men accosted them. During the encounter, one of the men allegedly lifted his shirt and showed what appeared to be a handgun in his waistband, the couple told officers. Two of the men began to physically assault the male victim, and one of the men snatched a cellphone from the female victim and threw it to the ground, preventing her from calling for help, according to investigators. The suspects then fled the area. Nothing was stolen from the victims, police said. Shortly after, officers located two men, who the victims identified as the suspects who assaulted them. The pair, identified as Lavonn Shawn Johnson and Treyton Thomas Halfman, both 21-year-olds from Wisconsin, were taken into custody.

Opioids Consumption Deaths Increase During COVID-19 Pandemic
The pandemic has made 2020 the nation's deadliest year ever for drug overdoses with a record 81,000 people overdosing during the lockdown. “I became addicted to opioids and cocaine and eventually started using fentanyl,” said a Santa Clarita, California man who asked to be identified only as Joe. Joe is one of the thousands of Americans who fell deep into drug addiction during the pandemic. He had already been hooked on painkillers following an injury, but during the lockdown, he started using the synthetic, cheaper opioid - fentanyl - which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. “Toward the end of my addiction I was just smoking it straight,” he said. In February, Joe overdosed, and he had to be brought back to life by paramedics using Naloxone, also known as Narcan, a nasal spray that reverses the effects of opioids. “You put it up one nostril and pump it, and it's super simple to use,” said Captain Justin Diez, with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. Diez's deputies are now routinely using Narcan when they respond to calls. “For people who were already struggling before, the pandemic just amplified what we've seen,” said Austin Dave, a filmmaker documenting substance abuse during the pandemic. The CDC says fentanyl-related deaths in the U.S. were up 27% over the past year.

Public Safety News

Firefighters Take 4 Hours To Extinguish Fire At Commercial Structure Housing Marijuana Grow Operation In South L.A.: LAFD
About 170 firefighters took four hours to extinguish a fire that largely destroyed commercial structures housing a marijuana grow operation in South Los Angeles Saturday afternoon, officials said. The fire at 8730 Crocker St. in the Green Meadows neighborhood in South L.A. was first reported around 2:20 p.m. as an outside fire to the rear of a one-story commercial building, according to a LAFD alert. By 2:45 p.m., the fire dubbed “87th Place Fire” had escalated to a “major emergency” incident as flames entered the structure, at first described as a housing furniture manufacturing business. Fire officials said the location “at first appeared to be solely an expansive furniture manufacturing business, but also now appears to have housed a marijuana grow operation.” By 6:23 p.m., firefighters had extinguished the “stubborn” fire, LAFD officials said. A series of commercial structures with a common roof were largely destroyed in the fire. It's unclear whether other businesses operated at the location.

Pair Of Quakes Strike South LA, Rattle Southern California
Two earthquakes struck the South Los Angeles area on Monday morning and were felt across Southern California, waking up many residents. The first was a preliminary 3.3-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Lennox neighborhood at 4:15 a.m. with a depth of 12 miles. The second, a preliminary 4.1-magnitude tremblor, hit the same area at 4:44 a.m., also with a depth of 12 miles. According to USGS, the quake was felt in areas such as Playa del Rey, Santa Monica, Redondo Beach, and Torrance. "The M4.0 that just happened was under Lennox, CA, near Inglewood. Very deep at 20 km, so everyone is at least 20 km away. Would have been felt by most people awake in LA. Movement was thrust, probably not on any mapped fault," renowned Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones said in a tweet. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. While there are many variables involved, geologists say damage does not usually occur until the earthquake magnitude reaches somewhere above 4 or 5.
FOX 11

Improving Coronavirus Stats Continue As LA County Rolls Into Orange Tier
Los Angels County will ease its coronavirus restrictions at one minute after midnight, joining Orange County in enacting looser regulations now that both are in the orange tier of the state's monitoring system. That means movie theaters, restaurants, churches, museums, zoos and aquariums can go from 25% to 50% of capacity, while gyms will be increased from 10% to 25%. Card rooms and family entertainment centers can resume indoor operations at 25% of capacity. The county will still enforce certain rules that are more strict than what the state allows. Most notably, bars that don't serve food — which are being permitted to reopen outdoors only — will only be able to operate from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a required 8-foot distance between outdoor tables. And although state guidelines allow a lifting of all capacity restrictions on retail establishments in the orange tier, Los Angeles County will impose a 75% limit for grocery stores and other retail operations, while “strongly” recommending they remain at 50% of capacity until April 15 to allow time for more workers to get vaccinated.
Los Angeles Daily News

Updated LA County Travel Advisory Planned To Be Issued Monday
An updated travel advisory and guidance for Los Angeles County is planned to be issued Monday in response to new federal guidance, Los Angeles County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said. It was not clear if the revised county guidance will fully align with the new guidance issued Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that stated people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely travel domestically. “You do not need to get tested or self-quarantine if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months,” CDC officials said. “You should still follow all other travel recommendations.” Los Angeles County requires travelers who enter or return to the county from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 10 days. The new guidance does not eliminate the requirement to be tested for COVID-19 before or after travel if their destination requires it.

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: