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

August 4, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Deadly Hit-and-Run: Suspect Runs Over 91-Year-Old Woman, Drives Away
After Police on Tuesday sought public help to find the hit-and-run motorist responsible for fatally injuring a 91-year-old woman who was walking in an alley in the University Park area near USC. The pedestrian was hit by a pickup truck that was backing up near Ellendale Place and Adams Boulevard about 7 a.m. Monday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Authorities withheld the name of the woman, who died at a hospital, pending notification of her relatives. The woman was hit by the truck while the motorist was "traveling westbound in the alley, backing unsafely," according to an LAPD statement. Investigators released security images of the vehicle, described only as a white pickup truck that appeared to be carrying a load of mattresses, but did not release a description of the female motorist. According to police, the driver got out of the truck "and observed the pedestrian laying on the roadway. The driver moved the vehicle out of the roadway, stood around her vehicle for approximately three minutes, then returned to her vehicle and left the location failing to render aid." A standing reward of up to $50,000 is offered by the city of Los Angeles for information that helps authorities solve a fatal hit-and-run. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call police at 323- 421-2500 or 323-421-2570.
FOX 11

Murdered Mother Of 6 From South LA Remembered In Service
Family and friends said their farewells to a South Los Angeles mother of six who was found dead in her apartment last month. The funeral for Fatima Johnson was held at Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood. Johnson's two daughters found her body, bound and gagged, in her South Los Angeles home on July 1 after she didn't show up for work. No one has been arrested for the murder. "Sucked into a whirlpool of emotions and now the only thing I want is justice," one of her daughters said at the service. "Your strength, your love, your laughter is embedded in all six of us. Baby you are gone, but never forgotten. Your light will forever shine. We're not going to stop until you have justice."

Authorities Identify Man Whose Body Washed Ashore In San Pedro
Officials identified the person whose body washed ashore off the coast of San Pedro on the afternoon of June 21. The body washed ashore eleven days after a man went overboard on a Catalina Island passenger ship traveling from Long Beach to Santa Catalina Island. However, authorities confirmed the two incidents were not related. The Los Angeles County coroner's office identified the man as 31-year-old Jhonathan Flores Escareno. The office said he died of multiple blunt force injuries and that he died by suicide. If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line). 
FOX 11

Man Sentenced For Kidnapping, Trying To Kill Exposition Park Convenience Store Clerk
A man was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in state prison for kidnapping a woman in 2016 from an Exposition Park convenience store and trying to kill her. Jose Caro, 33, pleaded no contest on Friday to one felony count each of attempted murder, kidnapping, assault with intent to commit a felony, criminal threats and stalking, and to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. On Sept. 28, 2016, Caro entered a store in Exposition Park and dragged the female clerk out by her hair and forced her into his vehicle. He had allegedly been stalking her for some time. Caro threatened to kill the 28-year-old woman several times and held a knife to her throat and tried to swing a hammer at her, the DA's Office said in the news release. Caro then drove the woman to a North Hollywood cemetery before she managed to escape two hours later. Officers had responded to a silent alarm that went off at a convenience store. They later arrested Caro after a brief pursuit.

Driver Taken Into Custody In North Hills After Leading Pursuit With Pit Bull Hanging Out Front Window
A driver was taken into custody in North Hills Tuesday afternoon after leading authorities on a pursuit with a pit bull hanging out her driver's side window. The pursuit began after the Los Angeles Police Department tried to stop a reckless driver, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Elizabeth Kravig. The LAPD handed off the pursuit to CHP shortly after initiating the chase. Sky5 was above the scene around 4:30 p.m., as the black Honda Civic was driving northbound on the 405 Freeway. A large pit bull could be seen sticking its head out of the front window during the chase. The car appeared to be filled to the brim with unidentified items, and the trunk was open. The rear tire of the car looked shredded and the side molding on the left side of the vehicle was hanging off as the driver pulled over on the side of the freeway around 4:40 p.m. She eventually got out of the car, barefoot, and walked toward authorities gathered behind her vehicle. The driver left the pit bull in the car. She was taken into custody near the Nordhoff Street off-ramp on the 405 just before 4:45 p.m.

LA Councilwoman Calls For Speed Bumps, Other Street-Design Changes To Halt Illegal Street Racing
A Los Angeles city councilwoman said Tuesday, Aug. 3, that she wanted to rein in illegal street racing using speed bumps, rumble strips and other tweaks aimed at slowing down how fast a vehicle can drive down a road. Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez said in a motion that the traditional method of addressing the ongoing issue of illegal street racing has been “the primary method to curtail this dangerous activity,” but it can be difficult to halt due to the numerous locations racing occurs and the city's limited ability to increase penalties. She is instead proposing that the city take a “proactive approach” by using its ability to redesign streets so that they can interrupt street racing activities such as takeovers and speed events. Illegal street racing is usually confined to a short section of a wide, straight road with low traffic volumes and “easy access to freeways and major arterials that allow participants to quickly disperse,” the motion observed. “These characteristics render traffic engineering techniques, particularly traffic calming measures, an effective and cost-efficient means of deterring illegal racing, since they can be targeted to specific locations.”
Los Angeles Daily News

LAPD To Set Up COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics At Police Stations As Cases Surge
About a week after Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city council announced they would seek to require city employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing, the Los Angeles Police Department is grappling with how to ensure its officers have access to the shots. The plan will involve mobile clinics set up at every community police station, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said at Tuesday's Police Commission meeting. Staffing the clinics will be vehicles and paramedics of LAPD's SWAT teams, in partnership with L.A. County/USC Medical Center. Moore said the mobile clinics would be set up so that all officers and civilian employees have as much access to getting vaccinated as possible. “We are taking every opportunity to remove any barrier of time or place for officers to have access to the vaccines, because this is a lifeline for them,” Moore said. The push to get more LAPD employees vaccinated follows months of stagnating numbers. Garcetti said in a July 27 address that the region was currently dealing with a fourth wave of coronavirus cases: In just a few weeks, thousands of people have been infected, and dozens have died. The number of daily infections surged to a level not seen in months.
Los Angeles Daily News
3 Killed, 2 Hospitalized After High-Speed Multi-Vehicle Crash In Burbank, Police Say
A multi-vehicle crash in Burbank left three people dead and two others hospitalized early Wednesday morning, authorities said. Three cars were involved in the violent collision, which was reported about 12:15 a.m. near the intersection of Andover Drive and Glenoaks Boulevard, according to the Burbank Police Department. The force of the impact sheared one of the vehicles in half. Several parked vehicles were also hit. Three people in a Volkswagen were pronounced dead at the scene, a police spokesperson said. Their identities were not immediately released. A fourth occupant was transported to a hospital, along with the driver of a Kia. The survivors' conditions were unknown. At a news conference near the scene, a police spokesperson said speed was a factor in the crash. No arrests or citations were announced, and an investigation was ongoing.

Robert Durst Trial: Judge Denies Defense's Bid For Acquittal
A judge Tuesday rejected the defense's motion seeking the acquittal of Robert Durst after the prosecution rested its case-in-chief in the New York real estate scion's trial on a murder charge stemming from his best friend's shooting death at her home in the Benedict Canyon area of Los Angeles. Superior Court Judge Mark Windham's ruling outside the jury's presence came one day after he denied the defense's emergency motion for a mistrial in Durst's case – the third such request for a mistrial or an indefinite delay in recent months over concerns about the 78-year-old defendant's health conditions. In an oral motion for a judgment of acquittal, one of Durst's attorneys, David Chesnoff, contended that there was "absolutely no forensic evidence" linking Durst to the December 2000 killing of his longtime friend, Susan Berman, a 55-year-old writer whom he met while at UCLA. Shortly after the judge's ruling, the defense called its first witness, UC Irvine professor Elizabeth Loftus, who studies human memory and is due back on the stand Wednesday morning. The prosecution had wrapped up its case-in-chief by playing an audiotape of Durst's interview with Deputy District Attorney John Lewin and two Los Angeles Police Department detectives shortly after he was arrested in March 2015 in New Orleans.
FOX 11

California's Complicated History With Assault Weapons
The history of California's assault weapons ban is also the story of a cat-and-mouse game between Sacramento and gun makers and owners. Legislators struggled to implement the ban in a meaningful way for years, modifying it repeatedly, long before a federal judge overturned it this summer. The ban is so divisive, in part, because the types of firearms it seeks to keep out of the hands of Californians (like the Colt AR-15) are popular among gun enthusiasts, while also being weapons of choice, time and time again, in some of the most high-profile mass shootings in the country. As things stand today, the future of the ban is uncertain. The tension traces back to January 1989, when a gunman walked into a Stockton schoolyard and fired more than 100 rounds in a span of three minutes, killing five children and injuring 29 others. The gunman, a 24-year-old with an extensive criminal record, used a variant of the AK-47, a semiautomatic rifle first used by the Soviet military. A year later, the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act — California's landmark assault weapons ban — became law. Three decades later, that law remains at the heart of California's debate over how to regulate guns.
San Francisco Chronicle

Polk Sheriff: Disney Employees, Nurse And California Man Among 17 Arrested In Undercover Child Predator Sting
Over a dozen arrests were made after suspects thought they were on their way to meet young teenagers to have sex, but it turned out they were communicating with undercover detectives across several agencies in central Florida. Among those arrested were three Walt Disney World employees, a registered nurse, and a married man visiting from California, officials say. The six-day operation targeted those who use the internet to prey on children, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. In total, 17 suspects face 49 felonies and two misdemeanors. "These are nasty, nasty people," described Sheriff Grady Judd. "We can't even use the words that they used. We obviously can't show the pictures and video clips that they sent to what they thought were 13-year-old little girls and little boys." All but one lived in central Florida. A man, identified as 33-year-old Jarrod Justice, was visiting from Los Angeles, detectives said. "He showed up on vacation but he only needed to buy a one-way ticket because he's not flying back to Los Angeles anytime soon," Sheriff Judd said. "He's married. Mrs. Justice did you hear that? His last name is Justice. That's what we're going to get. Justice for Justice." 
FOX 11

Police Officer, Suspect Dead After Violence Outside Pentagon
A Pentagon police officer died after being stabbed Tuesday during a burst of violence at a transit center outside the building, and a suspect was shot by law enforcement and died at the scene. The Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. military, was temporarily placed on lockdown after a man attacked the officer on a bus platform shortly after 10:30 a.m. The ensuing violence, which included a volley of gunshots, resulted in “several casualties,” said Woodrow Kusse, the chief of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, which is responsible for security in the facility. The deaths of the officer and the suspect were first confirmed by officials who were not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The Fairfax County Police Department also tweeted condolences about the officer's death. Officials said they believe two bystanders were injured. The suspect was identified by multiple law enforcement officials as Austin William Lanz, 27, of Georgia. The officer was ambushed by Lanz, who ran at him and stabbed him in the neck, according to two of the law enforcement officials. Responding officers then shot and killed Lanz. Investigators were still trying to determine a motive for the attack and were digging into Lanz's background, including any potential history of mental illness or any reason he might want to target the Pentagon or police officers.
Associated Press

Ohio Officer Killed In 3-Car Crash On His Way To A Call
A Nelsonville police officer was killed in a three-car crash Tuesday afternoon while responding to a report of gunfire in the Athens County town. Officer Scott Dawley, 43, died in the emergency room of OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital, where he was transported after a crash on East Canal Street near the intersection of Hocking Street. A seven-year veteran of the Nelsonville Police Department, Dawley is survived by his wife and seven children, according to a town spokesman. Dawley was one of several officers responding around 2:30 p.m. to a report of shots fired on the east side of Nelsonville, a town about 60 miles southeast of Columbus. While traveling east on Canal Street toward the location, Dawley was involved in a crash with two other vehicles near the Rocky Boots outdoor gear store. First responders started performing CPR on Dawley at the scene before he was transported to the Athens County hospital, where he later died.
The Columbus Dispatch

Retired North Carolina Cop Finishes 4,200-Mile Bicycle Trip For Police Suicide Awareness
A retired sergeant of Gaston County Police Department has cycled more than 3,600 miles across the United States while raising money to combat suicide in the law enforcement profession. Chris Lowrance retired in December 2020 with 28 years of service to Gaston County under his belt. He was also a volunteer firefighter at New Hope Volunteer Fire Department for 24 years. Following retirement, he served as a school resource officer at New Hope Elementary until beginning his cross-country journey in Astoria, Ore. in early May. On July 15, the former officer was eating breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Berea, Kentucky, ahead of a 70-mile trek. He's now on the last two legs of the 12-segment bicycle route known as the TransAmerican Trail. He expects to reach the end of the TransAmerican Trail, located in Yorktown, Virginia, by the beginning of August. Lowrance's trip has benefitted Blue HELP, a nonprofit working to rid the stigma of discussing mental health in the law enforcement industry.
Gaston Gazette

Public Safety News

West Nile Virus: First Human Case Reported In LA County
For 2021 Los Angeles County Public Health reported the county's first human case of the West Nile virus in 2021. According to the county's announcement Tuesday, a resident from the South Bay area was taken to the hospital for the virus in late July. The patient reported feeling some fever when they contracted the virus and is recovering. Tuesday's announcement comes days after officials announced the first West Nile virus-positive mosquitos were found in Los Angeles County. The positive mosquito samples were collected from mosquito traps in Bellflower (90706), Studio City (91602), and Tarzana (91356), the county reported back in July 22. West Nile virus is spread when a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea, body aches and a mild skin rash, according to the Los Angeles County Public Health. 
FOX 11

Test Finds High Levels Of E. Coli In Echo Park Lake
People are back out having fun on the swan boats and getting soaked under the fountain at Echo Park Lake, but is it safe? Back in March, the Los Angeles Police Department removed hundreds of unhoused residents from the park before closing it for repairs and cleaning. The encampment had grown during the pandemic and, without enough restroom facilities at the park, the lake was often used as a toilet. A report produced by the city and obtained by CBS Los Angeles showed bottles and bags of human waste retrieved from the lake. The report noted that “surely some” of the material had gone undetected and “became dissolved into the water.” Two months after its spring closure, Echo Park Lake was reopened with a full complement of boaters and fishermen visiting the lake daily. City workers even stood in the lake clearing weeds. Shahram Kharaghani, acting assistant general manager of L.A. Sanitation and Environment, assured CBS Los Angeles that the water quality of the lake was good, but he confirmed that the city did not routinely test for bacteria. Water samples collected by CBS Los Angeles were sent to a certified lab to be tested for E. coli, a bacteria found in human waste. One sample came back more than seven times higher than the state water quality standard for E. coli.

LA County COVID-19 Hospitalizations Nearly Quadruple In One Month
Five deaths and 2,361 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by Los Angeles County Monday, and the number of people hospitalized with the virus has nearly quadrupled in the last month. The new infections brought the county's total from throughout the pandemic to 1,305,704. The additional five deaths raised the county's death toll of 24,690. Kaiser Permanente announced Monday it will require COVID-19 vaccines for all its employees and physicians. “The vaccines work. They are effective and we as a health care delivery system want to model for you what a fully vaccinated team looks like,” said Dr. Nancy Gin of Kaiser Permanente. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County is 1,096, compared with 280 people who were hospitalized a month ago on July 2, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

California Sees Significant Rise In Vaccinations As Employers Issue Mandates
California has seen a substantial increase in the number of people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 over the last two weeks, a turnabout that comes as a growing list of municipalities, businesses and venues are moving to require the shots for employees and, in some cases, even customers in hopes of slowing the latest surge. The recent boost is a promising development after weeks of rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations fueled by the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus — a tide officials say can eventually be turned if significant numbers of unvaccinated people roll up their sleeves. Amid this new surge in infections and illness, a growing number of both public and private sector employers are moving toward mandating their workers be vaccinated. Two Los Angeles County supervisors on Tuesday proposed a vaccine verification requirement for more than 100,000 government workers, a day after health giant Kaiser Permanente announced it was making vaccines mandatory for all employees and physicians, as nearly a quarter of its 240,000 employees remain uninoculated.
Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

LA Supervisors Call For Vaccine, Testing Mandate For LA County Workers
Mirroring moves by the state and cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Pasadena, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl will ask their colleagues next week to approve a policy requiring all 100,000 county employees to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing. "We have a responsibility to protect our employees, the residents who depend on them and lead by example," Hahn wrote in a Twitter post Tuesday announcing the motion, which will go before the board next week. If approved, the motion would ask the county CEO, attorneys and Department of Human Resources to develop a vaccination policy for employees within 15 days, requiring them "to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or be tested at least once per week." "To protect the public and increase our vaccination rates, it is important that Los Angeles County have a vaccination policy for its workforce of approximately 100,000 employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and explore the feasibility of requiring contractors to follow this policy as well," the motion states.

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: