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 31, 2021
Law Enforcement News

L.A. County Deputy Hospitalized After Shooting In Lynwood; Suspect In Custody
A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was hospitalized after a shooting Monday evening in Lynwood, authorities said. The shooting happened about 7:20 p.m. near 112th and Lorraine streets, said Deputy Eric Ortiz, a spokesman for the department. The deputy had responded to a robbery in progress call on the border of Lynwood and Compton, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation. Sheriff Alex Villanueva told The Times that the robbery suspects were identified by victims who flagged responding deputies down. Deputies followed the suspects and the suspects opened fire, Villanueva said. The sheriff confirmed one suspect was in custody and another remained at large Monday night. A source with knowledge of the investigation told The Times one of the suspects abandoned a black truck and fled on foot. The source said the wounded deputy was taken to St. Francis Medical Center and was alert, the source said. “The deputy is out of surgery and doing good,” Villanueva said. Los Angeles Times

Man Fatally Wounded When Verbal Dispute Escalates Into Shooting
A man was killed Sunday when an argument near the outskirts of the city of Vernon escalated into a shooting, authorities said. The dispute between two men occurred a little after 2:15 a.m. in the 2300 block of East Washington Boulevard, the LAPD's Media Relations Section reported. One of the men was taken to an area hospital, where he later died from his injuries. It was not immediately known if the shooting was gang related.

LAPD Still Searching For Leads In Ballona Encampment Shooting
The Los Angeles Police Department is still looking for any information linked to a recent shooting at the RV encampment at the Ballona Wetlands. On August 18, a shooting at the homeless encampment left four men hospitalized. The Los Angeles Police Department dispatched officers to the encampment near the Ballona Wetlands on Jefferson Boulevard, between Culver Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard after receiving numerous calls regarding the shooting. Police believe the shooting could be linked to the theft of an ATM machine on Ocean Front Walk. If anyone from the public has additional information or was a victim call LAPD at or (310) 482-6334. Or, Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at . Westside Current

Video Gives Clearer Picture Of Fatal LAPD Shooting On Hollywood Boulevard
A man holding a butane lighter with a pistol-like grip was fatally shot by two Los Angeles police officers on Hollywood Boulevard last month after they ran up on him with the belief that he had a gun and he raised the lighter in their direction, video of the shooting shows. Prior to the shooting, a 911 caller had described the man, identified as 48-year-old Matthew James Sova, as “screaming and harassing people” with “what looks to be a pistol in his hand,” according to a 911 recording that accompanied body-worn camera video released by the LAPD Sunday. The shooting occurred about 11:20 a.m. on July 15, directly outside a McDonald's near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. It sent tourists scattering from the scene and shut down the busy commercial corridor to pedestrian and vehicle traffic for hours. The officers fired at least five rounds at Sova as three bystanders on the sidewalk watched from feet away, the video shows. As Sova slumped to the ground, he dropped the lighter while maintaining his grip on a black folding knife that he also had in his hand, it shows. “Man, why?” said one of the officers just moments later, as he and his partner handcuffed Sova. The two officers were identified as Christopher Tabela and Isaiah Galvez.  Los Angeles Times

Authorities Look For Prisoner Who Walked Away From LA Facility
Authorities Monday sought public help to find a prisoner who walked away from a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facility in the Los Angeles area over the weekend. Derbert Pineda, 32, was discovered missing from the Male Community Reentry Program facility at about 7 p.m. Sunday, according to the CDCR. Pineda is 5-feet-6 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a gray shirt and gray shorts. He was serving a four-year sentence for vehicle theft with prior vehicle-related theft convictions, a second strike, the CDCR reported. He was scheduled to be released in October. The Male Community Reentry Program allows eligible offenders committed to state prison to serve the end of their sentences in a reentry center, and provides them the programs and tools necessary to transition from custody back into the community. Anyone who sees Pineda or who knows his whereabouts was urged to call their local law enforcement organization or 911. NBC 4

Karen Mendoza Ruiz Of Colombia Last Seen Near The Grove In Mid-City; Now Missing A Week
A woman from Colombia remains missing Monday, about more than a week after she was last seen near the Grove. Karen Mendoza Ruiz is from Colombia and is visiting Los Angeles, according to the LAPD. She was last seen on foot the evening of Aug. 22 in Mid-City, near the Grove at 4th Street and Fairfax Avenue. Police say Ruiz did not have a phone, identification or money, and speaks Spanish only. She is described as a 35-year-old Hispanic woman, 5-foot-5, 120 pounds, with blond/brown hair, and hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing a black sweatshirt, blue jeans, black shoes, and a black/flower print scarf. Anyone with information about Ruiz's whereabouts can contact the LAPD's missing persons unit at (213) 996-1800. CBS 2

Detectives Seek Help Identifying Man Who Breached Security At LAX By Posing As Custodial Worker
Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's LAX Crime Task Force, are seeking the community's help in identifying a suspect who breached airport security and entered the airfield at Los Angeles International Airport. The incident happened around 1:10 a.m. on May 18. According to the LAPD, the suspect entered a restricted area at LAX after posing as a custodial worker to pass through security. He changed clothes before entering the airfield. When confronted, the man ran away and was able to evade authorities by climbing an airfield fence to escape. The suspect was described by the LAPD as a "light-skinned male, 25 years old, with brown hair, brown eyes, approximately 6 feet tall and 165 pounds." During the incident, the suspect wore a black hooded jacket with grey stripes on the arms and the number "84" on the front left chest area. The suspect also wore a yellow work vest, blue jeans, and black shoes with a white stripe. He was also seen wearing a checkered blue flannel long sleeve shirt. Anyone with information about this incident was urged to call LAX Crime Task Force Detective Jacobus at 424-750-0912 or Detective Nolan at 310-908-7438. FOX 11

Traquan Bell Of Compton Arrested In Series Of Downtown LA Jewelry Store Robberies, Thefts
A Compton man has been arrested in a series of jewelry store robberies and thefts in Downtown LA and police believe he may be responsible for other crimes. Traquan Bell, 32, of Compton, was arrested Friday in Costa Mesa. He is being held without bail. According to the LAPD, Bell is suspected of snatching $31,075 worth of jewelry from the owner of a jewelry store in the 600 block of South Hill Street on March 23, then crashing through the store's glass door while running away. In a July 8 robbery, Bell allegedly took $40,000 worth of gold chains. Less than a month later, police say Bell walked into another store in the same block as the other stores that had been robbed and took $77,1770 worth of jewelry on Aug. 2. Detectives believe Bell may have been behind other robberies and grand thefts in the area are seeking information or more victims who may have information about other possible crimes. Anyone with information can call Central Robbery Detective Brian Richardson at (213) 996-1875. CBS 2

Ex-Chair Gets 11 Years In Prison For Stealing $11M From His L.A. Church
The former chairman of the board of a Los Angeles church was sentenced Monday to nearly 11 years in federal prison for stealing more than $11 million in church funds, prosecutors said. Charles Thomas Sebesta, 56, pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud and bank fraud, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release. He's been in federal custody since his arrest in August 2019. A judge on Monday also ordered Sebesta to pay nearly $11.5 million in restitution to his former employer, the Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, of Los Angeles. The church hired Sebesta in 2001 as its facilities manager. He joined the church four years later and ultimately served as chairman, giving him control over financial assets and operations, including bank accounts. Prosecutors said Sebesta made payments to bank accounts in the name of fictitious companies he created, as well as to accounts he held in his own name and in the names of his family members and a female companion. After he oversaw the sale of church property for approximately $12.8 million, prosecutors said Sebesta stole a significant majority of the proceeds for his personal use. At one point he purchased a home with more than $2 million in cashier's checks drawn from church bank accounts, prosecutors said. KTLA 5

Trio Charged With Staging Auto Accidents On Los Angeles County Freeways
Three people who allegedly purposely caused accidents on Los Angeles County freeways — including some in which motorists were severely injured — to collect money from insurance companies were charged Monday with assault with a deadly weapon and insurance fraud. Eduardo Retana, 25, Ausencio Gomez, 46, and Victor Valle-Diaz, 55, all of Los Angeles, are set to be arraigned Tuesday in a San Fernando courtroom, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. The case stems from 15 accidents involving 21 alleged victims — some of whom suffered severe injuries, according to the District Attorney's Office. Insurance fraud companies were allegedly defrauded of nearly $330,000, according to the District Attorney's Office. Retana is charged with 11 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 10 counts of insurance fraud, while Gomez is charged with 10 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and nine counts of insurance fraud and Valle-Diaz is charged with eight counts of assault with a deadly weapon and four counts of insurance fraud.

Brothers From Los Angeles, Alhambra Seen Breaking Into U.S. Capitol During Jan. 6 Riot Agree To Plead Guilty
Two brothers from Los Angeles County seen among the masses breaking into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 have agreed to plea guilty to a federal charge stemming from the riot. Kevin Cordon, 33, of Alhambra and Sean Cordon, 35, of Los Angeles both signed guilty plea agreements within a few days of each other earlier this month, according to records of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. Both were arrested and charged, with breaking into the Capitol and attempting to impede an official proceeding, on March 10. An FBI agent tracked down both men after they were seen in a video interview, just outside the Capitol on the day of the riot, posted to a Finnish news website. The video shows the reporter talking to Kevin Cordon, who was wrapped in an American flag with blood on his forehead, according to an affidavit by an FBI agent. The affidavit also said Sean Cordon could be seen in the video's background. “We're standing up and we're taking our country back,” Kevin Cordon told the reporter. Los Angeles Daily News

3 Out Of 4 Women Released On $0 Bail After Allegedly Stealing $10K In Merchandise
Glendale Police have arrested four women for allegedly stealing over $10,000 of merchandise from various stores at the Americana at Brand, authorities said Monday. The thefts were reported on Aug. 21 around 5 p.m. Patrol officers located a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle description in the area of Central Ave. and Lexington Dr. and initiated a traffic stop, but the vehicle fled initiating a pursuit. The driver, later identified as 24-year-old Memory Yearby of Seattle, Washington, ultimately yielded along Fairmont Avenue where a felony stop was conducted. Officers contacted Yearby and the other three passengers, 28-year-old Jaquena Wilson of Los Angeles, 29-year-old Earnetra Turner of Auburn, Washington, and 35-year-old Ravenna Woods of Seattle, Washington. When officers searched the vehicle, they found several retail store bags, clothing, shoes, and a device used to remove security sensors. Over $10,000 of merchandise from various stores was located in the vehicle Yearby was driving, Glendale Police said. Yearby , Wilson, Turner, and Woods were all arrested for grand theft and petty theft.  FOX 11

No Death Penalty For Poway Synagogue Shooter
The Rancho Peñasquitos man charged in the hate-crime attack at a Poway synagogue that killed one woman and injured three others will not face the death penalty in federal court, prosecutors said Monday. In a terse one-sentence court filing, prosecutors with the Department of Justice said they will not seek the execution of John T. Earnest, 22, in connection with federal charges filed in the wake of the April 27, 2019 attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue. The court filing means Earnest will not face the death penalty in either federal or state court. He pleaded guilty to state charges of murder and attempted murder on July 20 in a plea bargain in which San Diego County Dist. Atty. Summer Stephan agreed not to seek state execution. Under the terms of that deal, Earnest will be sentenced to life without possibility of parole, as well as 121 years to life and an additional 16-year term. He is scheduled to be sentenced in San Diego County Superior Court on Sept. 30. Meanwhile, the status of his federal case is unclear. In June, Earnest sign off on a conditional agreement to plead guilty in the federal case, which was then forwarded to U.S. Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland. Los Angeles Times

Hundreds Mourn New York State Trooper Who Drowned In Lake
Hundreds of law enforcement officers — from as far as New Mexico — and dignitaries poured into Schenectady Monday for the most somber of occasions: the funeral services for the line of duty death of New York State Trooper James Monda. An 18-year state police veteran who lived in Rotterdam Junction, Monda was 45. “A day like today is just a sad day for us as an organization, in addition to the obvious, which is a sad day for his family," New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen told reporters outside Schenectady's St. John the Evangelist Church, where Monda's services were held. Monda, a member of a marine patrol in Princetown's Troop G, died Aug. 22 working a marine detail on Great Sacandaga Lake. For reasons that remain under investigation, Monda went into the water with diving gear at the boat launch and did not resurface. The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y.

FBI: Man Who Opened Fire In Texas Police Station Possibly Inspired By Foreign Terrorists
Investigators are looking into whether a Texas man was inspired by foreign terrorists when he killed a Lyft driver in a Dallas suburb and later opened fire in the police station of another suburb where officers fatally shot him. Police said Imran Ali Rasheed ordered a Lyft in his home city of Garland Sunday then fatally shot the driver, Isabella Lewis. Her stolen car was found a short time later outside the police station in the neighboring community of Plano, where Rasheed began shooting in the lobby before being shot by officers, police chiefs in both cities said at a Monday news conference. Matthew DeSarno, special agent in charge of the FBI's Dallas office, said investigators believe Rasheed acted alone but that the 33-year-old left a letter indicating he “may have been inspired by a foreign terrorist organization." He did not offer more specifics on the letter and declined to identify the group. DeSarno said Rasheed was the subject of a counterterrorism investigation from 2010 to 2013, when the case was closed after agents determined Rasheed did not currently pose a threat. PoliceOne

Public Safety News

LAFD's Fire Hog Motorcyclists Roll Out Cross-Country Ride To Honor First Responders Killed On 9/11
The sun-painted edges of the early morning shone bright red as more than 50 members of the Fire Hogs Motorcycle Club, mostly retired firefighters from the Los Angeles Fire Department, mounted their Harley-Davidson motorcycles to begin a nearly 3,000-mile cross-country journey to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas and Fire Hogs Motorcycle Club president Jack Wise were on hand to kick off the ride at about 6:30 a.m. at the Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center in Elysian Park. With the largest surviving section of the World Trade Center Towers as a backdrop, LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas spoke to the group. “We will never forget 9/11, especially on the twentieth anniversary of that tragic day,” he said. Los Angeles Daily News

L.A. County Warns Against Using Livestock Dewormer Ivermectin To Treat COVID
Los Angeles County officials on Monday urged residents not to use veterinary formulations of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, warning that the anti-parasite drug could lead to unintended negative health consequences. “Per Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Ivermectin is NOT a proven way to prevent or treat COVID-19,” the county said in a Facebook post. “Veterinary formulations intended for deworming in large animals such as horses, sheep, and cattle can be highly concentrated and result in overdoses when used by humans.” The county encouraged anyone who experiences symptoms after ingesting ivermectin, or a product that contains it, to contact the poison control hotline by dialing 800-222-1222. Side effects can include gastrointestinal effects, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, fast heart rate and low blood pressure. But the dewormer drug can also lead to more severe symptoms, such as tremors, seizure, hallucinations, confusion, coma, loss of coordination and balance, and decreased alertness. KTLA 5

Multiple California Wildfires Prompt Evacuations, Threaten Homes
Multiple wildfires burning across California are creating misery for the state's residents as they spur evacuations, threaten homes and spew noxious smoke into the air. The fight against the Caldor fire burning near South Lake Tahoe took a turn for the worse Sunday, when officials said fire activity was “more aggressive than what was anticipated.” The majority of South Lake Tahoe was placed under mandatory evacuation orders Monday. Strong winds fueled spot fires and flareups that saw gains slip away, as containment of the 177,260-acre fire dropped from 19% on Sunday morning to 14% by Monday morning. More than 20,000 structures are threatened by the fire. Acreage and containment updates for the Caldor fire were not available from state fire officials Monday night. “A couple of days ago I really felt we were turning a corner with it,” operations section chief Eric Schwab said Sunday, noting that the fire had been creeping eastward at a pace of about half a mile each day. Los Angeles Times

All National Forests In California To Temporarily Close Due To Wildfire Crisis
The U.S. Forest Service announced Monday the temporary closure of all National Forests in California due to the ongoing wildfire crisis and to better provide public and firefighter safety. The closure will be in effect from Aug. 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. through Sept. 17, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. “We do not take this decision lightly, but this is the best choice for public safety,” said Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien. “It is especially hard with the approaching Labor Day weekend, when so many people enjoy our national forests.” By temporarily reducing the number of visitors in national forests, officials hope to minimize the likelihood that visitors could become entrapped in the forests and decrease the potential for new fire starts as forecasts show that conditions this season are trending the same or worse as we move into late summer and fall. More than 6,800 wildfires have burned 1.7 million acres across the state, according to the U.S. Forest Service. This order does not affect the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, which is not in the Pacific Southwest Region. Citizens with specific questions within their area should consult their local forest website or social media pages for more information. NBC 4

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: