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 27, 2021
Law Enforcement News

LAPD Looking For Person Of Interest In South LA Fatal Hit-and-Run
Detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department have identified a person of interest wanted for questioning in a fatal hit-and-run in South LA. Javier "Turtle" Garcia, 35, is wanted in connection with the fatal collision of Oswaldo Dominguez-Flores, 55, who was hit by a tow truck around 10 a.m. on Aug. 11 at Broadway and 54th Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. According to police, Flores was crossing Broadway in a marked crosswalk, but was walking against a "Don't Walk" signal when he was struck. He was dragged about 180 feet before he was dislodged from the white "wrecker" tow truck, police said. The driver of the tow truck briefly stopped and fled the scene without rendering aid or identifying himself. Police are asking for the public's help in locating Garcia and the tow truck. Garcia is described as Hispanic, 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weighs 215 pounds and has brown hair and eyes. He may still be working as a tow truck driver, police said. A standing reward of up to $50,000 is available from the city of Los Angeles for assistance in solving a fatal hit-and-run. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Garcia or the tow truck is urged to call 213-833-3713.  FOX 11

Gang Violence Drives Rise In Murder Rates In Some U.S. Cities
Gang shootings are driving an increase in homicides this year in Los Angeles while robberies and burglaries are dropping, an unusual crime pattern reflected in a number of cities across the country. From the start of the year through the first week in August, Los Angeles had 232 homicides, a 22% increase over last year. About 58% of those were gang homicides, a 28% increase over last year, according to police officials.  Deputy Chief Kris Pitcher said pandemic-related shutdowns of city-sponsored and other efforts to stop retaliatory shootings between gang members were a big factor in the rise. “Then you have reprisal after reprisal,” Mr. Pitcher said. Nationwide, homicides rose 21% in 66 of the country's largest cities during the first half of the year, according to the Major Cities Chiefs Association.  Wall Street Journal

Man Pleads Not Guilty To Killing Rite Aid Employee Who Confronted Shoplifters
A 20-year-old man pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder and second-degree robbery charges stemming from the shooting of a Glassell Park Rite Aid employee who was killed while confronting shoplifters. Anthony Lemus of Glassell Park remains jailed on $2.05 million bail. He is due back in court Oct. 6, when a date will be set for a preliminary hearing. The charges include allegations that Lemus personally used a handgun in the commission of the crime. He is accused in the July 15 killing of Miguel Penaloza, 36, who was shot when he tried to stop two young men attempting to steal two cases of beer from the business in the 4000 block of Eagle Rock Boulevard, authorities said. He was shot in the chest and died at the scene, according to the coroner's office. Lemus surrendered July 26 at the Los Angeles Police Department's Central station, police said. A second suspect was still being sought, but no other arrests have been made. NBC 4

Gang Member's Conviction, Death Sentence Upheld For Two Murders
The California Supreme Court Thursday unanimously upheld a death sentence for one of two men convicted in the killings of a fellow gang member and his female cousin and the attempted murders of two other women in the Nickerson Gardens area of Watts more than 17 years ago. Jurors found Donte Lamont McDaniel, now 42, guilty of first-degree murder for the April 6, 2004, shooting deaths of fellow gang member George Brooks, 33, and Brooks' cousin, Annette Anderson, 52, at the woman's apartment, along with two counts of attempted murder involving two other women in the apartment who were shot repeatedly and underwent numerous reconstructive surgeries. The jury also found true the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders. At McDaniel's March 2009 sentencing, Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry said the evidence of McDaniel's guilt was “compelling” and said the jurors' verdicts — including the death penalty recommendation — were “fully supported” by the evidence. Perry noted that McDaniel “recruited” co-defendant Kai Harris to “join him in the murders,” in which the victims were shot multiple times. Harris, now 44, was also convicted of the crimes and sentenced to death.

Driver Speeds Away Hitting Man On North Hills Street, Later Arrested On DUI Charges
A man was severely injured after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of North Hills early Thursday morning. The suspect has since been arrested. The collision occurred just after 1 a.m. in the 15500 block of West Nordhoff Street near Our Lady of Peace Church. According to Los Angeles police, several good Samaritans rushed to help the victim as he lay in the middle of the street. One of those happened to be an off-duty emergency medical technician. He was rushed to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center with severe injuries, police said. His condition was not confirmed. Meanwhile, some time later, California Highway Patrol officers pulled over the suspect vehicle in the area of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Paxton Street. At the time, the CHP officers did not know about the hit-and-run, but stopped the car because it raised their suspicions and they noticed the vehicle had significant collision damage, police said. After contacting the LAPD and making the connection to the hit-and-run, the driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. CBS 2

Van Nuys Man Charged With Attacking Police Officers At Capitol Riot
Federal authorities on Thursday arrested a Van Nuys man who is suspected of assaulting police officers during the violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, officials said. Videos from the riot show a man identified by FBI agents as David Nicholas Dempsey, 34, of Van Nuys, swinging and throwing a metal pole and crutches at officers, as well as spraying police with tear gas at the Lower West Terrace entrance of the Capitol building in Washington D.C., authorities said in court documents. Dempsey, who was arrested at his Van Nuys home after 6 a.m., was charged with use of a dangerous weapon, obstruction of an official proceeding, and civil disorder in addition to assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers. Although Dempsey wore several different outfits during the riot, agents, with the help of open source websites like , focused on his hair in a low man bun, black shirt, dark helmet, goggles, and an American flag gaiter covering most of his face, authorities said. Investigators also noted a distinct yellow cord bracelet, which he wore in other photos, including images where he flashes a white power hand sign. Los Angeles Daily News

Gunfire In West Hollywood Neighborhood Leaves 4 Wounded
Detectives responded to a shooting that left four people wounded in a West Hollywood neighborhood Friday morning. The incident occurred about 4:15 a.m. near the intersection of Fountain Avenue and North Olive Drive, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy Miles said. Investigators said the shooting took place following an altercation between a group of men. No details about what prompted the altercation were immediately available. Video showed paramedics at the scene treating the wounded victims. Three people were initially said to be transported to a local hospital in unknown condition. Authorities later said a fourth person was also wounded in the shooting. No description of the gunman, or gunmen, was given. There was no word on whether the shooting was gang related. KTLA 5

Victim In Critical Condition Following Shooting At Culver City Mall; Suspect At Large
A shooting at a Culver City mall left one person wounded Thursday night, according to authorities. Officers were called around 7:40 p.m. to Westfield Culver City, 6000 Sepulveda Blvd., according to the Culver City Police Department. A 911 caller told dispatchers the shooting happened inside the mall and that a person was hit by gunfire, police said. “The suspects were last seen running away northbound toward the mall exit doors,” police said. Officers arrived and found a person suffering several gunshot wounds, “along with evidence of a shooting,” police said. Firefighters arrived and took the victim to a hospital where he is listed in critical condition, police said. “A search of the mall was conducted for the suspects as well as for additional victims, however none were found,” police said. Further information was not available Thursday night. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Culver City Police Department watch commander at 310-253-6202. Los Angeles Times

Santa Monica Spa Owner Faces Sentencing For Price-Gouging N95 Masks
A Santa Monica spa owner who accumulated N95 respirator masks at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic and then sold the scarce items at up to $15 each — sometimes charging mark-ups as high as 220% — faces sentencing Thursday. Niki Schwarz, 56, owner of Tikkun Holistic Spa, pleaded guilty in January to a federal misdemeanor count of hoarding and price gouging, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Prosecutors are asking for a sentence of three years' probation, plus fines and restitution totaling about $128,284. Schwarz “is a small business owner from an affluent family who took advantage of the fear that gripped our nation at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” prosecutors wrote in sentencing papers obtained by City News Service. More than 270 people fell victim to the scheme, prosecutors say. Schwarz admitted that she began accumulating N95 respirators in February last year in anticipation of a shortage that would be caused by the pandemic. From the beginning of the pandemic until the end of June last year, she accumulated nearly 20,000 N95 masks that had been manufactured by 3M — list price ranging from $1.02 to $1.27 — and Alpha Pro — list price 86 cents, according to papers filed in Los Angeles federal court.

$53 Million Worth Of Fake Designer Products Seized By Officials In LA
Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 39,000 counterfeit designer products coming from China. The counterfeit items arrived to the Los Angeles/ Long Beach seaport in two containerized cargo shipments from China, according to CBP officials. CBP partnered with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations special agents to seize the first shipment on July 19 and a second shipment on July 30. Officials seized sandals, handbags, sneakers, hats, wallets, backpacks, mobile phone cases, and belts bearing numerous registered and recorded trademarks, such as Gucci, Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Yeezy, Versace, Fendi, Balenciaga, Burberry, Chrome Hearts, Nike, Air Jordan, and Ferragamo. According to CBP officials, if the items were genuine, the seized merchandise would have a combined retail price of $53,745,802. "The size of these fraudulent shipments clearly demonstrates the greed and risks transnational criminal organizations are willing to take in order to increase their illicit profits," Carlos C. Martel, Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles said in a statement. FOX 11

Ex-SoCal Music Teacher Sentenced To Prison In Child Pornography Case
A former music teacher who contracted with a number of school districts in Southern California was sentenced Thursday to more than 15 years in federal prison for producing child pornography. John Zeretzke, 62, of Ventura, pleaded guilty in August 2020 in Los Angeles to one federal count of production of child pornography. He previously pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court to six state counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts with minors under the age of 14 years old. He was sentenced in July 2020 in the state court case to 18 years in state prison, a sentence that will run concurrently with his federal prison sentence of 15 years and three months. From December 2016 to February 2017, Zeretzke used a computer and the Internet to communicate with a female minor and coerced her into producing child pornography. The victim did not live in California at the time. Zeretzke “preyed on young, impoverished girls in Third World countries and used his Flutes Around the World program as a means to contact and sometimes take advantage of those girls,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

California's Top Court Declines To Overhaul Death Penalty
The California Supreme Court on Thursday decided to leave the state's death penalty law intact, refusing an entreaty from Gov. Gavin Newsom that would have overturned scores of death sentences. In a unanimous decision, the state's highest court said there was little legal support under state law for overhauling the law, as opponents of capital punishment urged. In fact, the court said, some of the precedents cited by defense lawyers actually undercut their position. Defense lawyers had argued the state's capital punishment law was unconstitutional because it failed to require jurors to unanimously agree beyond a reasonable doubt on the reasons why a defendant should be sentenced to death instead of life without possibility of parole. A decision to impose the death penalty also should be made beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard now used in deciding guilt, the lawyers said. If the court had agreed, hundreds — if not all — death sentences would have had to be overturned because such decisions generally apply retroactively. Justice Goodwin Liu, who wrote the ruling, said some of the cases cited by defense attorneys did not support their position. “If anything,” he said, they suggested “the ultimate penalty determination is entirely within the discretion of the jury.” The court did not reject the constitutional arguments raised by Newsom but said they did “not bear directly on the specific state law questions before us.” Los Angeles Times

Family, Friends Gather To Mourn New Orleans Detective Slain Outside Restaurant
Family and friends of a New Orleans police officer who was shot and killed during a restaurant holdup while vacationing with friends in Houston are gathering Friday to remember him. Officer Everett Briscoe, a 13-year veteran of the force, was dining in the patio area of a Houston restaurant on Saturday with a friend when two men with guns approached diners and demanded their belongings. Patrons were cooperating with the gunmen, witnesses told police, until one of the suspects fired shots before they fled. Briscoe was killed and his friend, Dyrin “DJ” Riculfy, was critically wounded. A reward of $100,000 has been offered to find the shooters, according to WWL-TV. Both Briscoe and Riculfy were members of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club and were taking the trip with club members club, The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported. Briscoe's death has led to an outpouring of sorrow among those who knew him. During a news conference earlier this week to discuss the case, a visibly distraught Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson spoke about how Briscoe was planning to get a criminal justice degree at Southern University of New Orleans, in part to set an example for his eldest son about the value of education. Associated Press

Public Safety News

Firefighters Battle Second-Alarm Blaze At Compton Body Shop
Firefighters were battling a second-alarm blaze Friday at a body shop in Compton. Heavy smoke was spotted coming from A&J Body Shop at the corner of Compton Boulevard and Pearl Avenue at about 6:30 a.m. A second alarm was declared about a half hour later. Video from Sky 2 showed flames and heavy smoke billowing from the building's roof and vents. No injuries have been reported, and the cause of the fire is not known.  CBS 2

COVID-19 Cases Rising Among Unvaccinated Youth, Latinos In L.A. County
Los Angeles County has seen a slowdown in the latest surge in COVID-19 patients headed to hospitals, but it is unclear yet whether it has gotten past another peak, Barbara Ferrer, director of the county public health department, said Thursday. It's “hard to know,” Ferrer said, cautioning that “we have a lot of risk right now” as many people return to their routines and children and teachers go back to school with the highly transmissible Delta variant circulating in the county. Ferrer said coronavirus cases have dropped in L.A. County by about 15% in the past week, but she cautioned that the numbers would remain relatively high as more people get routine testing for the virus. Despite the recent decline, cases have kept rising among unvaccinated children and teens, some of whom are too young to be eligible for the shots. In recent weeks, weekly case rates among unvaccinated children and teens rose from 73 to 307 cases per 100,000, Ferrer said. Los Angeles Times

More West Nile Virus Activity Confirmed Throughout LA County
Ten new mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in Los Angeles County, officials announced Friday. According to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District samples collected from Downey, downtown Los Angeles, Mission Hills, Norwalk, Woodland Hills and Valley Glen tested positive for the virus. The additional positive samples bring this year's total to 19 cases within its service area. To date this year, there have been 15 West Nile virus human cases reported in California, one of which was identified by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. GLACVCD encourage residents to take an active role in reducing the WNV threat in their neighborhoods by: eliminating standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, watering troughs or anything that holds water for more than a week; ensuring that swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained; changing the water in pet dishes, bird baths and other small containers weekly; requesting mosquitofish from the local vector control district for placement in ornamental ponds; wearing EPA-approved and CDC-recommended insect repellent when outdoors where mosquitoes may be present; reporting neglected (green) swimming pools to the vector control district; and sharing this information with others to decrease mosquito populations. CBS 2

California Lawmakers Grapple With Whether To Impose A Statewide COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate
After ceding power to Gov. Gavin Newsom throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, state lawmakers are now considering one of the most politically challenging government mandates yet: requiring Californians to show proof of vaccination to enter many indoor business establishments and forcing workers to get vaccinated or regularly tested. Democratic legislators leading the conversation at the state Capitol believe mandates provide an opportunity to improve vaccination rates and help lessen the effects of the Delta variant spreading through California. But the proposal, which is still in draft form and has not been introduced in a bill, requires weighing serious considerations such as enforcement, costs, implementation, the political will of the state Legislature and how such a sweeping statewide mandate could help or hurt Newsom's chances of beating back a possible recall. Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

LA City Council Voices Support For Single-Payer Health Care Assembly Bill
The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday voted to support a California Assembly bill that would establish a single-payer health care system to cover all residents of the state. “As many of us are eager for Medicare For All to be approved nationally, this is an opportunity for California to lead the way on healthcare as it has led the way on combating climate change, as it has led the way on creating a higher minimum wage here in California,” Councilman Mike Bonin, who introduced the resolution, said. The resolution, if signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, would officially state the city's support for Assembly Bill 1400, which was introduced on Feb. 19 by Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose; Alex Lee, D-San Jose; and Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles. The bill would establish a single-payer health care system in the state called the California Guaranteed Health Care for All program, or CalCare, which would cover all Californians.

LA Committee Delays Motion To Ban Camping By People Already Offered Shelter
The Los Angeles City Council Homeless and Poverty Committee on Thursday, Aug. 26, delayed a vote on whether to advance a motion from Councilman Joe Buscaino to amend the city anti-camping law to include prohibiting any person who has already been offered shelter from lying, sleeping or sitting on any street, sidewalk or public right-of-way. Despite the delay, several people called into the meeting, organized by the homeless advocacy and outreach group Ktown For All, to oppose the motion. “I don't think this ordinance amendment is going to do anything to actually help unhoused people in Los Angeles. It will only increase the amount of citations, arrests and fees incurred by unhoused people, which is an incredible impediment to obtaining housing, employment and the resources that they need,” said a caller who identified herself as Keira. 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: