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

September 2, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Laura Ingraham In L.A.: Special LAPD Unit Making Impact On Gang Violence, Crime
Laura Ingraham, host of Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle," continued her close-up look at California on Wednesday night, this time examining a special unit of the Los Angeles Police Department that focuses on gang violence. She interviewed LAPD Sgt. Ronald Kingi, a 27-year veteran of the force, who shared how the special unit was able to help transform a Los Angeles park. "A couple of years ago, this park was overrun by Black and Hispanic gangs," Kingi said. "Since we've been here, in 2019, it has changed significantly." A safety partnership created between residents and police helped make the change happen, Ingraham reported. "In one year, we reduced crime, just in this park, 68%," Kingi said. "That's a huge amount." Absence of positive adult role models in the lives of the area's youths is a significant problem that contributes to crime, Kingi told Ingraham. A chance to make a difference helped inspire Kingi to become a police officer, he said. "I grew up where there's a lot of poverty, a lot of gang crime, and I wanted to be a symbol of structure for the children because that's where I see where it's messed up from the beginning." Children at home with nothing to do often leads them to join gangs, he said. "I wanted to stop that," he added. An area of the city called the Grand Corridor is a hotspot for violent crime, where community policing hasn't been helping much, Ingraham reported. And the May 2020 death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis only seemed to worsen relations between community members and police. FOX News

Gang Member Convicted In 2017 Shooting Death Of Whittier Police Officer
A gang member and parolee who killed a man in East Los Angeles in 2017, then opened fire on two Whittier police officers, killing one and wounding the other, was convicted Wednesday of murder and other counts. Jurors deliberated for less than two hours Tuesday before reaching their verdict in the trial of 30-year-old Michael Christopher Mejia. The verdict was read Wednesday morning, with the panel convicting Mejia of two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of attempted murder, carjacking and possession of a firearm by a felon. Jurors also found true special circumstance allegations of murder of a peace officer in the performance of his duties, murder for the purpose of avoiding arrest and multiple murders. Jurors also found true gang and gun allegations. He is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced Dec. 1. Mejia was convicted for the Feb. 20, 2017, killings of Keith Boyer, a 53-year-old Whittier police officer who was the first officer in the city killed in the line of duty in 37 years, and 47-year-old Roy Torres.  CBS 2

In Assassinating My Father, Sirhan Committed A Crime Against America. He Must Not Be Released
My father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was murdered in June 1968 by Sirhan Sirhan in full view of many witnesses, including my mother, some of my father's closest friends and a number of journalists and photographers. There is no question that Sirhan killed my father. On Friday, a two-person panel of the California Board of Parole Hearings determined that Sirhan's request for parole should be approved. I was shocked by this decision. On behalf of my mother and all Americans whose lives were altered by this appalling crime, I condemn this unwarranted recommendation and urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to do the right thing and publicly reject the panel's decision. Justice is not served by releasing a confessed political assassin, a first-degree murderer, who is serving a life sentence for his role in a crime against America. To begin with, the process was flawed. No prosecutor appeared at the hearing, for the first time ever. Because of L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón's policies, no one from his office was allowed to be present at the parole hearing to give voice to the views of the families affected by this crime. Nor did Gascón have the courage to show up to restate the severity of the crime and the reasons so many Americans feel that Sirhan should remain behind bars. With no one representing the D.A., it was inevitable that the hearing would be incomplete. I appreciate very much the expressions of solidarity and sympathy from the L.A. police and so many Americans who hold my father in their hearts.  Los Angeles Times

Man Killed In Drive-By Shooting Identified
Authorities Wednesday identified a 19-year-old man killed in a drive-by shooting in South Los Angeles which police said they believed was gang related. The shooting was reported at 4:14 p.m. Saturday in front of 1742 E. 41st Place, near Long Beach Avenue and the border with Vernon, according to Officer D. Orris of the Los Angeles Police Department's Operations Center. Robert Corona was standing in front of the house when shots were fired from a vehicle that drove up to him, Orris said. More than one suspect was believed inside the vehicle. Paramedics took Corona to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. About 30 minutes earlier, another suspected gang-related homicide of a 20-year-old occurred about 4 miles away in Watts, but there was no indication that the two were related.

California Supreme Court Won't Review Quadruple-Murder Case
The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case of a man convicted of killing his father, stepmother and two half-brothers in their Hyde Park home more than two decades ago, when he was a teenager, and trying to make the shootings look like a murder-suicide. Saulo Cesar Alvarado, now 39, was convicted in April 2018 of first-degree murder for the April 1999 killings of Rudolfo Alvarado, 51, Eva Veronica, 36, and their sons Renzo, 16, and Victor, 4, along with two counts of lewd acts on a child involving a then-underage family member. Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder while lying in wait. He was ineligible for the death penalty because he was 16 at the time. Each of the victims was shot in the head. The murder weapon was placed in Renzo Alvarado's hand to try to make it appear that it was a murder-suicide, according to Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila. Alvarado was charged with the killings in September 2015, after Alvarado's half-sister came forward as a witness. He was extradited from Guatemala, where he had been deported after a 2003 rape conviction. Alvarado was sentenced in May 2018 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy noted then that Alvarado would be entitled to a hearing in 25 years to determine whether he should be released on parole given that he was a juvenile at the time of the shootings.

$50,000 Reward Offered In Sylmar Hit-and-Run Where Driver Dragged Victim's Body To Gas Station
A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a hit-and-run driver accused of dragging the victim's body beneath his car to a nearby gas station before fleeing the scene. The crash was reported shortly before 1 a.m. on Aug. 16 at Hubbard Street and Foothill Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The Los Angeles County coroner's office later identified the victim as 66-year-old Anthony Hurd, whose city of residence was not known. According to the LAPD, Hurd was crossing Foothill Boulevard in the middle of the block, south of Hubbard Street, when he was hit by a gray or silver sedan, possibly a Kia or a Toyota. "The driver of the sedan then entered a gas station driveway area while dragging the pedestrian underneath the vehicle," police said in a statement. "The hit-and-run driver then backed up, turned around and fled southbound (on) Foothill Boulevard without stopping, identifying himself/herself, or attempting to render aid to the pedestrian that sustained fatal injuries." A standing reward of up to $50,000 has been offered by the Los Angeles City Council for information that helps solve a fatal hit and run. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the LAPD Valley Traffic Division at 818-644-8033 or 818-644-8036. FOX 11

LAPD Searching For Man Who Broke Into UCLA Student's Apartment, Groped Her While Sleeping
Police are asking for the public's help finding a sexual predator who broke into a UCLA student's apartment and groped her while she was sleeping. The break-in happened Friday around 4 a.m. in the 11000 block of Strathmore Drive. A college student woke up in her apartment to find a man standing over her and groping her over her clothes. She jumped up and pushed him away and chased him out of the apartment. He was seen driving off in a four-door gray Ford Fusion. Police are concerned there may have been similar incidents in the area and are asking anyone with evidence or tips to come forward. "We really need the public's help in finding this dangerous suspect and predator," said LAPD Deputy Chief Blake Chow. "Because an individual that is bold enough to walk into an apartment at night and sexually assault a female at 4 in the morning is somebody we really need to get off the street." Police released a sketch of the suspect and described him as a white male, around 25-30 years old, with brown hair and short facial hair. He stands about 5 feet 10 inches tall with a medium-heavy build. Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD detectives at (213)473-0447. ABC 7

Alleged Bomb Threat Targets Northridge Mall, Which Is Cleared By Late Afternoon; Man Questioned
A man was taken into custody and being questioned Wednesday for allegedly making a bomb threat targeting the Northridge Fashion Center, prompting a police search of the mall. The man was taken into custody about 12:50 p.m., according to LAPD Officer Tony Im. The suspect's name was not immediately released. Shirley Avenue was closed north of Nordhoff Street near the southwest corner of the mall property while the LAPD assessed the threat. Officers searched the man's belongings but found no trace of a threat and cleared the mall at about 4:40 p.m., said Officer Mike Lopez. The man was being questioned, but the LAPD had not decided whether to arrest him, Lopez said.  Los Angeles Daily News

Woman Testifies R. Kelly Kept Gun Nearby While Berating Her, Forcing Her To Perform Oral Sex In L.A. Music Studio
One of R. Kelly's accusers testified on Wednesday that he kept a gun by his side while he berated her as a prelude to forcing her to give him oral sex in a Los Angeles music studio. “He had a weapon, so I wasn't going to step out of line,” the witness said while recounting the 2018 episode at the R&B singer's New York City sex-trafficking trial. Later in the day, the jury also heard brief testimony from a pastor who secretly wed Kelly and budding musical artist Aaliyah when she was 15 years old. He described publicly for the first time how they wore matching “jogging suits” — each with one pant leg pulled up — for a 10-minute ceremony at a Chicago-area hotel. The previous witness said that at the time she spotted Kelly with a gun, he demanded to know, “How many men have you seen naked?” He also instructed her to act “excited like a puppy” whenever she saw him, adding, “I still have a lot to teach you.” She testified the last time she saw Kelly at a New York City hotel suite, she resisted having sex with him. She said he responded by warning her not to defy him, saying, “I'm a f—-ing legend.” KTLA 5

Defense Rests, Testimony Ends In Robert Durst's L.A. Murder Trial
Robert Durst's marathon testimony over three weeks — in which the ailing millionaire denied killing his wife and best friend but also said he'd lied if he had done so — concluded Wednesday and lawyers rested their cases in the murder trial. The New York real estate heir tried to counter or explain incriminating evidence in three killings that have shadowed him for decades, but was crippled by a cross-examination that the judge said was “devastating” to Durst's believability. It will be up to jurors to weigh his fate. Closing arguments are scheduled Sept. 8 and deliberations are expected to begin a week later. Durst, 78, has pleaded not guilty to murder in the point-blank shooting of his friend, Susan Berman, in her Los Angeles home in December 2000. On the witness stand, he repeatedly denied killing her and said he doesn't know who did. Prosecutors said he silenced Berman because she planned to tell New York authorities that she provided a false motive for Durst after his wife vanished in 1982. They were able to introduce evidence that he killed Kathie Durst, who has never been found, as well as evidence that he intentionally killed a Texas neighbor in 2001. KTLA 5

Santa Monica Man To Plead Guilty In Case Involving Arson At Sushi Restaurant
A West Hills man accused of starting a fire that caused substantial damage to a Santa Monica sushi restaurant during a night of civil unrest last year is expected to plead guilty Thursday to a federal charge. Micah Tillmon, 20, has agreed to enter his plea to a charge of possession of an unregistered destructive device, in particular an incendiary device. The charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Tillmon will be ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $500,000 when he is sentenced, court papers show. The defendant is also facing multiple looting and commercial burglary charges in a complaint filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. However, the federal case is proceeding first. Tillmon allegedly used a homemade incendiary device to set fire to the Sake House at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Fourth Street on May 31, 2020, during a night of apparently organized looting blocks from a protest meant to decry the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis a week earlier.

A Popular Surfing Instructor, QAnon, And An Unspeakable Horror
Matt Coleman lived with his wife and two small kids on a quiet street not far from the Santa Barbara beaches where he surfed. It was where Coleman, 40, was teaching his toddler son how to skateboard, and neighbors often saw his wife walking with their baby girl cradled in a carrier on her chest. Coleman's office was Leadbetter Beach, Campus Point and other spots along the coast, where he operated a surf school and, for years, led a Bible study and surf group. Wetsuits often lay drying on the family's lawn. From the outside, it looked to be an idyllic life grounded in Coleman's abiding Christian faith and deep love for his family. But the seemingly serene existence belied something horrific that took root in Coleman's mind. Badly shaken neighbors and friends have been struggling to make sense of the unimaginable: Earlier this month Coleman fled with 10-month-old Roxy and 2-year-old Kaleo to a Mexican beach town. Shortly afterward, he confessed to having killed his children with a spearfishing gun, U.S. authorities say. Los Angeles Times

California Brothers 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. “This is just the beginning.” In the interview, Kevin Cordon admitted he went inside the building and was hit in the head with a projectile. The FBI said both men were seen in security-camera footage entering the Capitol, with Kevin Cordon wearing the same flag as seen in the interview and Sean Cordon wearing a gas mask. Mercury News

1 Student Killed In Shooting At North Carolina High School
A suspect was taken into custody Wednesday after one student was fatally shot at a North Carolina high school, officials said. Winston-Salem police Chief Catrina Thompson, fighting back tears, told a news conference that Mount Tabor High School went into immediate lockdown as emergency responders, sheriff's deputies and police officers arrived just after noon to search for the suspect, who she said was believed to be a student at the school. The injured student was taken to a local hospital, where he died, Thompson said. The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office announced on its Twitter page that the suspect, who was not identified, was apprehended. No other details were immediately available. Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough Jr., who joined deputies and officers at the school on the initial call, identified the dead student as William Chavis Raynard Miller Jr. Kimbrough said he met with the family at the hospital. Sheriff's office spokeswoman Christina Howell said all other students were safe.  Associated Press

ATF Agents Will Be First Federal Agents To Wear Bodycams
The Justice Department has identified the first set of federal agents to wear body cameras under a new policy that reversed a yearslong ban, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday. The agents, who work for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix and Detroit, will wear the cameras for pre-planned operations like arrests and searches. It is the first step under a Justice Department policy enacted earlier this year that requires all of its federal agents to wear body cameras when executing arrest warrants or searching buildings. The program is being slowly phased in. Last October, the Justice Department formalized a new policy to allow local officers to wear body cameras during joint operations, which had reversed a policy that had strained its relationship with some law enforcement agencies. The issue had previously hit such a boiling point that Atlanta's police chief had withdrawn city police officers from federal task forces over the issue. But even as the Justice Department made these major policy shifts to allow the use of a tool that has been common for years with most local police agencies, there has still been confusion about the process for local task force officers -- and the length of time it will take to actually allow them to be worn in the field. Associated Press

Public Safety News

L.A. County Fire Department Showcases Aerial Resources Ahead Of Intense Fire Season
The Los Angeles County Fire Department on Wednesday showcased two of their aerial resources ahead of what is expected to be a long and intense fire season. The Super Scoopers, on loan from fire officials in Canada, are stationed in Van Nuys as part of a joint collaboration with other fire departments in the region. KTLA 5

LA County Reports 2,277 New COVID-19 Cases Wednesday, With Largest Increase Detected In K-12 Students
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported 2,277 new cases of COVID-19 and 38 additional deaths. More than 5,200 COVID-19 cases have been detected among K-12 students in Los Angeles County over the past two weeks, a number the public health director again called “sobering” today, but she and the county schools superintendent expressed confidence in safety measures being taken on campuses. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the cases are largely being detected thanks to aggressive routine screening tests, particularly within the Los Angeles Unified School District, which now accounts for nearly two- thirds of all the COVID testing being conducting across the county. “We average about 500 cases a day (among students) across L.A. County,” she said. “… The largest portion of those cases are identified through routine screening, and these are really people who are in fact asymptomatic. So it's a sobering number because it's large, but it's actually helpful to be able to identify people who are infected with COVID before they show symptoms and before they have lots of opportunities … to go ahead and spread that virus.”  CBS 2

Changing Winds Provide Hope In California Wildfire Battle
With winds finally turning in their favor, firefighters are throwing all their resources into boxing a California blaze that was scant miles from Lake Tahoe and neighboring Nevada. Three days of fiercely gusting winds had driven the Caldor Fire east through the rugged Sierra Nevada, forcing tens of thousands of people from the region of forests, mountain hamlets, resorts and alpine lakes. The winds were expected to calm heading into the weekend, although the humidity remained low and the eastern side of the vast wildfire was still burning trees and running through explosively dry grasslands into rugged areas hard for firefighters to reach, authorities said. The blaze was also throwing sparks that caught trees and created spot fires up to a mile ahead of the main wall of flames. “We're battling what we can battle and waiting for those winds to subside,” said Stephen Vollmer, a fire behavior analyst for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Even so, the forecast made fire officials cautiously optimistic. Associated Press

Local Government News

Councilwoman Nithya Raman Introduces Motion To Improve City's System For Reporting Hate Crimes
City Councilwoman Nithya Raman introduced a motion Wednesday aimed at improving the city's systems for people who need to report hate crimes, citing the disparity between the number between the number of these incidents reported to law enforcement and the number reported to the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate. “Since 2016, we've seen an unprecedented rise in hateful incidents and rhetoric in Los Angeles, including a 114% increase in reported hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in 2020 alone,” Raman said. “While the city has made great strides in increasing access for city residents to report hate incidents, shortfalls remain in how we take reports and collect data. If we intend to develop meaningful and proactive mitigation strategies, it is critical that we have access to this information.” The number of reported violent crimes against Asian Americans doubled nationally between 2015 and 2018. The Los Angeles Police Department also reported an increase in these crimes in 2020, when 15 hate crimes were reported against the Asian American Pacific Islander community compared to seven in 2019. The total number of hate incidents in 2020 was 24. CBS 2

Los Angeles To Transition To 100% Renewable Energy By 2035 Following Unanimous City Council Vote
The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to have the Department of Water and Power transition to 100% renewable energy by 2035, as well as develop a long-term hiring plan for nearly 10,000 "green" jobs. The 2035 deadline is a decade earlier than the city's previous goal. The motion, which passed 12-0, also directs the LADWP to report every six months on the transition to renewable energy to the City Council's Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice and River Committee. The transition is expected to create 9,500 jobs and include an investment of between $57 billion and $87 billion, but LADWP General Manager Martin Adams noted that much of the investment would overlap with already needed infrastructure replacement. "When this study started three-and-a-half years ago ... the idea was to be where we want to be by 2045. So we have now shaved a decade off that timetable and we know we have a roadmap that will get us to 100% clean energy by 2035," Adams said. "What we are doing is setting the stage for the country and ultimately for the world ...," he said. "I promise you that we are going to take this very seriously and make this happen." FOX 11

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: