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 7, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Restorative Justice Or Justice Denied? With D.A. Gascón, Teens Tried As Adults Get A Second Chance
When he saw a Los Angeles police detective walking toward his mother's doorstep this year, Guillermo Orellana feared the worst. The sight called him back to 2013, when the same investigator pulled Orellana's mother aside in a hospital room and delivered a grim message: his younger sibling, Kevin, had been stabbed to death by two brothers on a Reseda handball court in what police would term a gang-related killing. Now the detective was telling the Orellana family that one of the brothers — a teen at the time of the murder — would probably be resentenced as a juvenile due to a combination of a change in California law and newly elected L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón's policy of refusing to try teens as adults. The defendant, who had been sentenced to 16 years to life in 2015, will now probably be released before 2022. “They killed my brother. We're not going to get him back,” Guillermo Orellana said. “Now it makes you feel like they're doing it again.” In 2016, California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 57, a sweeping criminal justice reform bill that barred prosecutors from trying juveniles as adults without a judge's approval. That same law allowed previously convicted juvenile defendants whose cases were directly filed in adult court to retroactively seek what is known as a transfer hearing, in which prosecutors have to convince a judge the defendant should have been tried as an adult. If a judge rules such a case should have been tried in juvenile court, then those previously convicted defendants are resentenced to far shorter prison terms, as defendants in juvenile court cannot be held past the age of 25. Los Angeles Times

Man Found Shot Dead In Parking Lot After Party In Panorama City
A 30-year-old Hawthorne man was shot dead Sunday morning while attending a party in a commercial area of Panorama City, authorities said. Officers were flagged down at about 1:20 a.m. by citizens regarding a shooting in the 14600 block of Titus Street, the Los Angeles Police Department reported. They found Walter Morales lying in a parking lot suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Arriving paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. Detectives later learned that Morales had attended a party at the location, and discovered casings of different gun calibers at the crime scene. Detectives were in the process of obtaining video evidence from several surveillance cameras at the location. LAPD Valley Bureau homicide detectives urged anyone with information regarding the homicide to call them at 818-374-1925 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477. NBC 4

Man Killed In Early Morning Shooting Pico Union
A man was shot to death in the Pico Union neighborhood early Monday morning. The shooting occurred at 4:20 a.m. in the 1300 block of South Berendo Street, just off West Pico Boulevard. Los Angeles police arrived to find a man in his 20s dead at the scene from a gunshot wound to the head. The victim was not immediately identified. There was no suspect information and no immediate word on a motive. It's unclear if the shooting was gang-related. CBS 2

Man Critically Wounded In Shooting Outside South LA Store
A man was shot outside a store in the Vermont-Slauson area of Los Angeles Saturday and was hospitalized in critical condition. The shooting was reported at 3:20 p.m. in the 700 block of West 60th Street, according to Sgt. Rick Rodgers of the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Street Station. The 29-year-old man got into an argument with another man, who “pulled a gun and fired one shot,” Rodgers told City News Service. The victim suffered a chest wound, was rushed to a hospital and into surgery. The suspect fled the scene, the sergeant said. Possible witnesses to the shooting did not cooperate with investigating officers, Rodgers said.

Three Dead Of Overdose Early Saturday Morning In Venice, Including Comic Fuquan Johnson
Three people died early Saturday morning in Venice after overdosing, reportedly on fentanyl-laced cocaine. Officer Mike Lopez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, said there “was no indication of foul play.” When officers arrived at the scene in the 200 block of Carroll Canal, they found three people dead and one woman who was taken to a hospital. The Los Angeles County coroner's office identified the deceased as Fuquan Johnson, 43, of North Hollywood; Natalie Williamson, 33, of Los Angeles; and Enrico Colangeli, 48, of Medford, Mass. Johnson was a stand-up comedian and a writer on the TV program “Comedy Parlour Live.” TMZ reported that the deceased had taken fentanyl-laced cocaine and that the woman who was taken to the hospital is comedian and actor Kate Quigley. She regularly performs stand-up at venues around L.A. and has appeared in shows such as “The Office” and “Star Trek: Hidden Frontier.” Quigley's agent didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Los Angeles Times

Family Mourns 22-Year-Old Killed In DTLA Road Rage Incident, Pleads With Suspect To Turn Self In
The family of a man who was killed after a car crash in downtown Los Angeles turned into a road rage incident is pleading with the suspect to turn herself in. Grieving family and friends gathered for a vigil Saturday to remember 22-year-old Angel De Marcos Haro. Police say the incident began as a "fender bender" Thursday night at 17th and Broadway. Angel and the other driver stopped briefly and exchanged words but then the woman took off in her car - and Angel gave chase in his. They stopped again at 18th and Figueroa and again engaged in a confrontation. At some point, Angel ended up on the hood of the woman's car as she drove away. She made a sudden left turn at a high rate of speed, throwing him off the hood and into the street. His longtime girlfriend, who was in the car with him, witnessed everything. Police say the suspect is described as an African American woman in her 20s with multicolored hair, and was driving a 2013 silver Kia Optima. Investigators with the LAPD are asking for the public's help tracking her down. ABC 7

LAPD Arrest Sex Assault Suspect; More Victims And Info Sought
Los Angeles police officials are looking for additional victims of a man who was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault after learning he had traveled to other states last year. Deontae Williams, 30, was arrested Sunday, according to the LAPD. Williams is known to frequent several gyms, parks, beaches and malls in and around Los Angeles County. He allegedly approaches lone women, hands them business cards which portray him as a personal trainer, then engages in “inappropriate sexual conduct,” police said without elaborating. Additionally he worked as a masseuse and security guard and traveled to several
other states during the California's COVID-19 lockdown last year, police said. It is also unclear where Williams was arrested and how many women he allegedly victimized. Williams is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and has black hair and brown eyes, police said. Anyone who believes they may have been victimized by Williams or has any additional information about him is asked to call LAPD's Topanga Division detectives at 818-756-4820. KTLA 5

LAPD Chase Of Human Trafficking Suspect Ends In Fatal Crash Near Koreatown
One person was killed and two were hospitalized with critical injuries in a police pursuit of an alleged human trafficking suspect that turned deadly. Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood Division's Vice Unit began a pursuit of the suspect about 11:35 p.m. Thursday, and at 11:45 p.m. the suspect collided with two uninvolved vehicles near Wilton Place and Sixth Street, just west of Koreatown, LAPD Officer Jeff Lee told City News Service. A person in one of the vehicles was pronounced dead at the scene, and two in the other vehicle were taken to a hospital and were in critical condition, Lee said. The suspect, who CBS 2 reported was suspected of human trafficking, was taken into custody at the scene and transported to a hospital in unknown condition. There was no description of the vehicles involved in the collision, and no further details were available. Los Angeles Daily News

L.A. Firefighters, Police Officers Dig In Heels Over Vaccination Mandate
Los Angeles firefighters and police officers who are angry over City Hall's new requirement that employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 are mounting an offensive. Firefighters 4 Freedom, a group of Los Angeles city firefighters, was launched recently “to stop the mandated vaccinations for all city employees as well as the citizens of this great country,” according to its website. “We want to bring education and truth to the people without being censored.” Firefighter John Knox, one of the group's leaders, appeared on a nationally syndicated radio show and compared vaccination requirements for entering businesses to rules imposed in Nazi Germany, warning that freedoms are at stake. “I basically stated in the union meeting that I will not submit to this. I will come to work every day, as long as I'm healthy,” Knox said on “The Kate Dalley Show.” “I will not wear a mask. I'm not going to test. And I will not get a shot.” At the same time, “hundreds” of sworn and civilian Los Angeles Police Department staff have joined Roll Call 4 Freedom, a subgroup of Firefighters 4 Freedom, said LAPD Sgt. Veronica Saucedo. “We are supportive of individual rights, personal choice and for managing our own health,” Saucedo said. She said Roll Call's members are concerned that they will be terminated or fired by the city if they don't get the vaccine Los Angeles Times

Suspected Drug Organization Leader Extradited From Mexico To L.A.
The Mexican leader of a transnational drug trafficking organization arrived in Los Angeles Friday after being extradited from Mexico to face federal charges that he conspired to transport cocaine worth hundreds of millions of dollars from South America to the United States. Angel Humberto Chavez-Gastelum, 47, who was initially arrested by Mexican authorities in November 2018 in Querétaro, Mexico, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles on charges contained in a 22-count indictment that accuses him of being the principal manager of a narcotics enterprise, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Chavez-Gastelum — who has been designated by the U.S. government as one of the world's most-wanted drug traffickers — allegedly controlled a drug distribution network with supply routes that brought cocaine from Colombia into Central America, then to Mexico, with a final destination of the U.S. During the investigation into the organization, law enforcement authorities around the world seized about 7,700 pounds of cocaine, with a potential U.S. street value of $500 million, according to federal prosecutors.

3 Men Suspected Of Thefts Across SoCal Arrested After Pursuit In Huntington Beach
Three people were arrested after a short police pursuit Thursday in connection with an attempted theft outside a Huntington Beach business, officials said. The men were taken into custody after officers observed one of them allegedly stealing money and valuables from a vehicle, as the other two were in a getaway car, the Huntington Beach Police Department said in a news release Friday. But detectives say they believe that all three men are a part of a criminal organization with ties to other recent burglaries and thefts throughout Southern California. The department has been working with local businesses in Huntington Beach to implement proactive theft prevention measures. “Due to these efforts, Detectives received a tip from a local business of a potential theft in advance,” the department said. Officers established surveillance in the area while a police helicopter observed from overhead. Around 2:30 p.m. Thursday, officers in the helicopter witnessed a man stealing what was deemed to be thousands of dollars in cash and valuables from a vehicle in the business's parking lot. Officers descended upon the suspected thief, who then jumped into a waiting vehicle and fled from the parking lot at a high rate of speed, police said. The helicopter followed the vehicle from above as a short pursuit ensued, ending in the suspect vehicle crashing near Edinger Avenue and Fortuna Lane. KTLA 5

California Deputies Seize Over 10,000 Marijuana Plants At Illegal Grows
Sheriff's deputies recently seized more than 10,000 marijuana plants at illegal grows in San Bernardino County rural areas and arrested and cited 12 people. The 13 search warrants deputies served on locations in Hesperia, Piñon Hills, Phelan and Landers were part of "week one" of Operation Hammer Strike, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said Friday. Members of the sheriff's Marijuana Enforcement Team and deputies from several patrol stations conducted the raids Monday through Thursday after receiving complaints about "large outdoor marijuana cultivations in these areas," sheriff's officials said. In total, authorities said deputies took 10,105 marijuana plants, nearly 1,335 pounds of processed marijuana, three guns and more than $30,000 in cash. MET investigators also "mitigated one electrical bypass and eradicated 39 greenhouses," according to sheriff's officials. The 12 people arrested were cited on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis over California's six-plant maximum. Daily Press, Victo
rville, Calif.

NYPD Cops At Ground Zero Still Dealing With 9/11 Emotional Scars
It seems like yesterday: The smell of death, the gray ash that looked like snow, the falling bodies that sounded like bombs as they smashed into the pavement. For the NYPD cops who responded to Ground Zero, sifted through the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island or escorted fallen first responders to the morgue, the memories of Sept. 11, 2001 are as vivid as ever, each officer grappling with their emotional scars in their own way. “If I talk in the third person, like I'm not there, then I can convey the story,' says now-retired Inspector Timothy Pearson. “But to this day I start getting choked up just thinking about it. Because when I do, I see the fear and I feel the fear.” Pearson, then a captain running a housing command based in East New York, Brooklyn, drove in that morning with about a dozen other cops. They were able to escort hundreds of people to safety before the South Tower pancaked and collapsed. But he laments the loss of a friend, Officer John Perry, who ran to the scene from One Police Plaza — where he went earlier that morning to retire — and is still haunted by the sight of those who jumped from the burning buildings out of desperation. New York Daily News

Spiking Highway Deaths Across Nation Prompt Increased Enforcement
The national dangerous driving trend that began with the start of the pandemic last year seems to be continuing unabated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released estimates Thursday that show 8,730 people died on the nation's highways in the first quarter of 2021. That's a 10.5% increase over 2020 and occurred despite a 2.1% decrease in vehicle miles traveled. Federal officials have noted that troubling trend of more fatal traffic accidents occurring with fewer vehicles on the road since the pandemic began in March 2020 because it runs counter to what has happened during previous economic downturns. Usually fewer vehicles mean fewer accidents, but officials say empty roads seem to have empowered more motorists to drive faster, drive drunk, drive distracted and refuse to wear seat belts, leading to deadly results. "These new statistics are another troubling result of the dangerous driving that has plagued U.S. roads since the start of the pandemic," Pam Shadel Fischer, senior director of external engagement for the Governors Highway Safety Association, said in a news release. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Public Safety News

US Navy IDs 5 Sailors Killed In Helicopter Crash Near San Diego
The U.S. Navy on Sunday identified the five sailors who died when a helicopter crashed in the Pacific Ocean near San Diego. They were Lt. Bradley A. Foster, 29, a pilot from Oakhurst, California; Lt. Paul R. Fridley, 28, a pilot from Annandale, Virginia; Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak, 31, from Salem, Virginia; Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns, 31, from Severna Park, Maryland and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker, 21, from St. Louis, Missouri. The MH-60S crashed on Aug. 31 about 70 miles off San Diego during what the Navy described as routine flight operations. It was operating from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. One sailor was rescued after the crash. Five sailors aboard the aircraft carrier were injured but were said to be in stable condition. The Navy declared the sailors dead on Saturday following days of search-and-rescue efforts and switched to recovering their bodies. The cause of the crash is under investigation. FOX 11

L.A. County Sees Decline In COVID-19 Hospitalizations Over Labor Day Weekend
The number of coronavirus patients in Los Angeles County hospitals continued to fall Monday, declining from 1,539 Saturday to 1,480, according to the latest county figures. The latest hospitalization numbers come as vaccination figures in L.A. County have begun to climb again since early July, when the number of new vaccinations hit a low for the summer, according to county data. About two-thirds eligible county residents are fully vaccinated, and about three-quarters have received at least one vaccine dose. The number of people hospitalized dropped under 1,600 Friday for the first time in nearly a month. Health officials  said  the decline may reflect the likelihood that cases among fully vaccinated residents are not as likely as those among unvaccinated people to require hospitalization. Among the nearly 5.3 million fully vaccinated people in the county, less than 1% have become infected with COVID-19 and only 0.02% of those who tested positive were hospitalized, L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Friday. Monday's COVID-19 hospitalization numbers also came as county health officials reported 11 new deaths associated with the virus and 1,540 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county totals to 1,420,560 cases and 25,456 fatalities since the pandemic began. KTLA 5

Mu Coronavirus Variant Recorded In 167 People In L.A. County
A coronavirus variant recently determined to be a “variant of interest” has been detected in 167 people over the summer in Los Angeles County, officials said. The variant now known as Mu was mostly detected in July, according to analyses completed between June 19 and Aug. 21, the Department of Public Health said. Named after the 12th letter of the Greek alphabet, Mu was declared by the World Health Organization as a “variant of interest” on Aug. 30, and was first identified in January in Colombia, the department said. Mu, also known as B.1.621, has since been reported in 39 countries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, has not labeled Mu a variant of interest. Variants of interest are not considered as much of a potential threat as so-called “variants of concern,” which include Delta. Delta is now estimated to comprise more than 99% of the variants circulating in the United States. Los Angeles Times

Warnings Issued At 4 LA County Beaches For High Bacteria Levels
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is warning people about high bacteria levels at four area beaches. People are urged to use caution if they are planning to swim, surf or play in ocean waters at the following locations: Mother's Beach in Marina del Rey; Ballona Creek at Dockweiler State Beach; Inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro; and Malibu Lagoon at Surfrider Beach. The department said the warnings were issued due to bacterial levels exceeding health standards when last tested. A similar warning was lifted for the Santa Monica Pier. Information on beach conditions is available 24 hours a day at 1-800- 525-5662, or online. 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: