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 22, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Family Dog Dies In Clubhouse Avenue Fire; Arson Suspected
"It was yelping so loud--the sound isn't the usual dog sound--it was suffering. It was suffering." A woman who lives behind the home that burned Wednesday morning says they are devastated after waking up to a fire that destroyed a home and took the life of the family dog. "My neighbor picked up a scooter and started ramming into the walls. He was doing all he could to break in and save the woman who lives there and her dog," said Cecily--a neighbor who wishes to have her last name withheld for safety reasons. "The dog kept yelping --and then it stopped." It took 26 firefighters to put out the fire at 31 E Clubhouse Avenue, across from the Westminster Dog Park. The fire started around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 21, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The owner of the home-- a doctor--was working at the time of the fire. Her dog, a husky mix, was home and did not survive the fire. In an email sent to city officials by neighbor John Betz, he said: "The entire neighborhood is devastated. This tragedy could have been way worse than it is." "Had it been a windy night, likely, the fire would not have been contained to this one structure. Plain and simple - an entire neighborhood was threatened, both life and property. This tragedy is the direct responsibility of all of you city officials [on this email thread], especially you [Councilmember] Mike Bonin and you Dexter O'Connel and you [Mayor] Eric Garcetti." Betz said he spoke to a fire investigator on the scene who told him that the [LAFD] initial belief is someone in the alley threw a burning object over the fence. Betz said neighbors have been complaining about the escalating encampments in Westminster Park and along Main Street adjacent to the park for months [now].
Venice Current

Has Homelessness Gotten Better or Worse Since Mike Bonin Was Elected to the City Council?
Hear directly from Bonin's constituents by viewing this video made by them. You be the judge.
View Bonin's Venice

Man, 25, Shot And Killed In Wilmington, Shooter At Large
A 25-year-old man was killed Wednesday in a possible gang-related shooting in Wilmington, and the assailant remains at large. The shooting was reported about 1:40 a.m. in the area of East Sandison Street and Gamble Avenue, Los Angeles police Officer William Cooper said. Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene. His name was withheld pending notification of his next of kin. Police do not have any suspect description, Cooper said. Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to call the LAPD's Harbor Division at 310-726-7700. Tipsters who want to remain anonymous can also call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Investigation Underway After Man Found Fatally Shot In Driver's Seat Of Vehicle In South L.A.
An investigation is underway after a man was found fatally shot in the driver's seat of his vehicle in the unincorporated Athens area of South Los Angeles, officials announced Wednesday. Just before noon Tuesday, authorities learned of a shooting on the 1400 block of West 126th Street, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a news release. Deputies responded to the scene and found a man in the driver's seat of a vehicle, suffering from at least one gunshot wound to the upper torso. There was also a woman in the passenger seat, and she was grazed by gunfire, the department said. The man in the driver's seat was pronounced dead at the scene. He was identified only as a 29-year-old Black man. The person in the passenger seat, identified as a 38-year-old Black woman, was transported to a local hospital where she was treated for non-life threatening injuries and released. The person suspected in the shooting was described only as a Black man. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

17-Year-Old Boy Wounded In South L.A. Drive-By Attack
A 17-year-old boy was shot Wednesday afternoon in a drive-by attack in south Los Angeles, police reported. The shooting occurred about 2 p.m. in the area of West 68th Street and Bonsallo Avenue, where the occupants of a black Audi traveling westbound from Hoover Street opened fire on the boy before fleeing the scene, according to Officer Tony Im of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations division. He said officers arrived at the scene and came upon the injured teen, whose name was not released. He was conscious and breathing at the scene, according to Im. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics took the youth to a hospital for treatment of injuries of unknown severity.

Police Search For Gunman Who Allegedly Fired Shots Near Hollywood Walk Of Fame
Police were searching for a gunman who allegedly fired shots near Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday afternoon, officials said. The Los Angeles Police Department said they received a call just before 12:10 p.m. from someone who stated there was a possible shooting in the 1700 block of Highland Ave. A resident in the area said they heard two gunshots and that the suspect attempted to break into the gate of their apartment complex. LAPD said no one was injured in the shooting. A perimeter has been set up in the area while authorities search for the suspected gunman. A detailed description of the suspect was not available, but LAPD said the suspect was a male wearing an orange shirt. 
FOX 11

Half Of LAPD Personnel Have Gotten At Least One COVID-19 Shot
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said this week that about half the department's personnel had received at least one COVID-19 vaccination, with thousands now fully vaccinated. During a meeting of the civilian Police Commission on Tuesday, Moore said 6,264 officers and civilian personnel out of more than 12,600 had received at least one shot. He said others who had not received a vaccination have had COVID-19 and may have some protection against the virus from resulting antibodies that are naturally created to fight infection. According to recent state data, more than 41% of L.A. County residents 16 and older have received at least one shot, with more than 25% of those residents fully vaccinated. The department's personnel, many of whom work public-facing jobs, had much earlier access to the shots than most members of the general public because of their public safety role. 
Los Angeles Times

Reseda Family Finds Noose On Backyard Tree, Police Investigating Incident As Hate Crime
A family in Reseda called the LAPD to investigate a possible hate crime after they discovered a noose hanging from a tree in their backyard. The family said they have no enemies, are friendly with their neighbors, and have no idea who could have done this. Family members added they are terrified. A hole had been cut in their backyard fence late Tuesday night. They said in the 30 years they have lived in the house, nothing like this has happened before. When asked why they may have been targetted, the family hypothesized that it could be linked to the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial. LAPD officers took the noose off the tree and are investigating the incident as a hate crime. The family said they will install security cameras around their home and plan to cut the tree down. If you have any information on this incident, call the LAPD.

Father Accused Of Helping Son Conceal Kristin Smart's Body Has Bail Lowered To $50,000
The father of the San Pedro man accused of murdering Kristin Smart nearly 25 years ago had his bail reduced Wednesday from $250,000 to $50,000 in connection with the charge that he helped his son conceal her body. Ruben Flores, 80, of Arroyo Grande, was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact of murder last week, at the same time his son, Paul Flores, also was arrested and charged with the alleged murder. After his lawyer argued this week that he was not a public threat, San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Craig Van Rooyen lowered Ruben Flores' bail on the condition that he submit to electronic monitoring, not leave San Luis Obispo County and surrender his passport. Inmate records showed that the elder Flores was still in custody as of Wednesday afternoon. The father and son pleaded not guilty to the charges at their arraignments Monday. There, the elder Flores' lawyer, Harold Mesick, said his client did not pose a public threat because he had no prior criminal history and his medical condition, which requires blood pressure checks and 17 medications.
Los Angeles Daily News

Southern California Man Charged With Hate Crime In Attack On Elderly Asian Couple
A Southern California man accused of punching an elderly Asian couple in an unprovoked attack has been charged with hate crimes, the Orange County district attorney said Wednesday. After an attack on a Korean couple in a park Sunday, Michael Orlando Vivona, 26, of Orange, was surrounded by people until officers arrived and arrested him, according to Orange police. Vivona was charged with two felony counts of elder abuse and two felony counts of battery–hate crime causing injury, and he also faces two felony hate crime enhancements, District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. He's also under investigation in connection with a verbal attack on U.S. Olympic karate athlete Sakura Kokumai at the same park April 1, according to the statement. Kokumai the next day posted video that showed a man threatening her, telling her to "go home" and using the words "Chinese" and "disgusting." Kokumai, who is Japanese American, was born in Honolulu. The attacks come amid an increase in the number of anti-Asian hate crimes in some parts of the country.
NBC News

Southern California Woman Who Mistakenly ID'd Rapper As Boyfriend's Killer Is 2nd Person Arrested In Bay Area Revenge Fatal Shooting: Police
A woman has been arrested in connection with the Bay Area killing of a rapper who she had “wrongfully” identified as the suspect in the shooting death of her boyfriend in Southern California last year, police said Tuesday. Amanda Young, 29, of Torrance is the second suspect taken into custody in connection with a Dec. 19 homicide in San Mateo. Her boyfriend's brother, Isaiah Reupena, 34, was apprehended in Oklahoma earlier this month, according to a news release from the San Mateo Police Department. The victim, Melota Lasi — who performed under the name Cutty Banks — was shot to death at a Wells Fargo parking lot. The San Mateo resident was misidentified as the person who killed Lewis Reupena last August following a “street investigation” involving the suspects, the release stated. Lewis Reupena — Isaiah Reupena's brother and Young's boyfriend — was fatally shot while driving on the 405 Freeway in Seal Beach on the evening of Aug. 29, 2020, the Orange County Register reported. San Mateo police described the deadly shooting as a “road rage incident.” The shooter was believed to have been in a white Mercedes S500 or S550 model, the California Highway Patrol told KTLA after Reupena's killing. A suspect description was not released at the time.

Engravers To Add 394 LODD Names This Year To NLEOMF Wall
On Wednesday, engravers will begin adding names of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C., the NLEOMF announced. This year, 394 names will be added to the memorial, according to the NLEOMF. Those names include officers who died in the line of duty recently, as well as some lost in earlier years but were recently discovered. Of the 394 names, 182 lives were lost to COVID-19, reports the NLEOMF. Currently there are over 22,000 names on the wall. “This year marks the 30th anniversary of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, the only living memorial to law enforcement officers in the nation,” said Pat Montuore, the Executive Director of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, in a statement. “It is with humble gratitude to all those we've lost in the line of duty that we witness each new name as it's engraved on the Memorial. May they rest in peace.” “As the leading authority on line-of-duty deaths, our goal is to ensure that the utmost care is taken not only in vetting and authenticating each name, but that each is engraved on the Memorial to the degree that the integrity is forever maintained,” said Marcia Ferranto, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, in a statement. 

Public Safety News

LA County Needs 80% Of Its Population Vaccinated To Reach COVID Herd Immunity, Official Says
The head of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department says about 80% of Angelenos would have to get the COVID-19 vaccine for the region to achieve so-called herd immunity status. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the L.A. County Public Health Director, said Wednesday that roughly 8 million people would need to get vaccinated before the county reached herd immunity. Through Sunday, 6.48 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in L.A. County, including 2.3 million second doses, which signifies those who are fully vaccinated. “Obviously the numbers I shared today are very encouraging,” Ferrer said in a briefing. “We've got almost 6.5 million doses that have been out there. Over 4 million people that have already had at least one dose. So we're making great progress, but we would say in order to get to herd immunity we're going to need to get somewhere close to 80%.” As the numbers increase, however, vaccine hesitancy will become a larger issue. Ferrer offered a series of statistics to show the effectiveness of the vaccines. She noted that prior to vaccines, roughly one in every 10 county residents were being infected with COVID, while the post- vaccine rate nationally is now roughly one in 13,275. The risk of dying from COVID has gone from about one in 500 to about one in 1 million, she said.

California Coronavirus Variants 20% More Infectious, Resistant To Antibodies, New Study Finds
Two California-bred coronavirus variants are about 20% more infectious than the original virus, according to a study published Tuesday by researchers at UCSF, UC Berkeley and the California Department of Public Health. The study results, published in the journal Cell, support previously released research out of UCSF and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub that had not yet been vetted by peer review. The California variants, known as B.1.427 and B.1.429, are described as one strain in the paper because they are very similar and share at least one key mutation. They are spreading widely across the state and appear to be more transmissible and less susceptible to antibodies produced by previous infection with the virus or by the vaccine, researchers said. The variants became the dominant source of infection in the state as of Jan. 31. Researchers said the variants emerged in California in May. Between September and January, coronavirus cases caused by the variants increased from zero to more than 50%, suggesting increased transmissability compared to the original coronavirus.
San Francisco Chronicle

California's Coronavirus Case Rate Now The Lowest In The Continental U.S.
California's coronavirus case rate is now the lowest in the continental U.S., an achievement that reflects months of hard-won progress against the pandemic in the aftermath of the state's devastating fall and winter surge. The state's latest seven-day rate of new cases — 40.3 per 100,000 people — is dramatically lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3 and edged only by Hawaii, 39.1, over the same time period, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the other end of the spectrum is Michigan, which has far and away the highest seven-day case rate in the nation, at 483 per 100,000 people. Others topping that distressing leaderboard are New Jersey, 269.7; Delaware, 264.1; Pennsylvania, 248.5; and Minnesota, 238.4. Among larger states, the comparable rates over the same time period were 201.1 in Florida and 65.9 in Texas.
Los Angeles Times

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: