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 8, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Mother's Death In Sylmar Home Possibly Linked To Hollywood Pursuit, Police Say
Authorities are investigating whether the death of a woman at a home in Sylmar late Tuesday night is linked to a pursuit and crash in Hollywood. At around 11:30 p.m., Los Angeles police were called to the home in the 12900 block of Lyle Street on a report of a mother in her 30s who was not conscience or breathing. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her name was not immediately released. Police have released no information on the cause of death. Extended family members at the scene told CBSLA early Wednesday morning that the victim and her husband, the father of her three children, had separated. The father and the children were returning from an out-of-town trip when they found her dead. The family said it is believed she had been with a boyfriend prior to her death. Investigators also confirmed that a car is missing from the home. “There's a vehicle that is missing from the home, we have not determined if that is connected,” LAPD Det. Christine Moselle told reporters. Moselle also confirmed that detectives are looking into whether a pursuit Tuesday night in Hollywood involving a stolen Acura is possibly linked to the death. CBS 2

4 Hospitalized After Car Slams Into Koreatown Homeless Encampment
Four people were hospitalized after two cars collided in Koreatown early Tuesday morning, sending one vehicle careening into a sidewalk homeless encampment and trapping a person underneath the car, authorities said. A silver Toyota Corolla traveling east on 5th Street collided with a white Dodge Dart at the intersection with Virgil Avenue around 6 a.m., slamming the Dart into the encampment, said Capt. Erik Scott, a public information officer with the Los Angeles Fire Department. The Dodge struck a large palm tree and pinned a man who was sleeping on a couch on the sidewalk, Scott said. The man was alert and speaking when emergency responders arrived, he said. Firefighters used a massive apparatus known as Heavy Rescue 3 to hoist the vehicle and free the man, who was transported to a nearby trauma center, officials said. “Fortunately this was not a fatal incident,” Scott said. The life of the man who was sleeping on a couch likely was saved because he was “higher off the ground, and [the couch provided] some additional cushion and protection around that individual,” he said. Los Angeles Times

Bonin Recall Campaign Reaches Halfway Point In Signature Collection
With a little more than two months to go, the Recall Bonin 2021 campaign says it has collected half of the necessary 27,387 signatures needed for a recall election. Bonin was served with a recall notice on June 15. The campaign has until November 10 to gather all needed signatures. Councilmember Mike Bonin has pushed back against the recall efforts citing an "extravagant waste of taxpayer dollars" and party politics as reasons not to move forward with the recall. In a statement issued after being served recall papers, Bonin said the campaign is right-wing forces and constituents who have fought to stop housing, shelter and services for the unhoused in the coastal neighborhoods, "leaving people to die on the streets." Venice residents Nico Ruderman and Katrina Schmitt, who have been heading the recall efforts, say they are lifelong Democrats who voted for Bonin in the past. "We have Democrats as well as Republicans. We have committed independents. We have conservatives, liberals and moderates, and the reason we can string together this unique community of constituencies is because of the core values we can all agree upon. Mike Bonin has been our councilman for nearly a decade and presided over increased homeless encampments, rising crime and this notion that LAPD needs to be defunded versus supported in these trying times when you couple the impact of the pandemic and COVID-19," said both Ruderman and Schmitt.  WestSide Current

Delivery Driver Saves Toddler Wandering In Traffic In Dead Of Night
A California food delivery driver is being lauded as a hero after video showed him hopping out of his vehicle to save a toddler running across a busy road at night. "I'm not the hero," driver Gerson Tavares said of the incident, which was captured on his dashcam. "God is the hero." Tavares jumped into action on Sunday evening in Van Nuys during his last delivery for the night, after he spotted a 2-year-old boy wearing a diaper running across Burbank Boulevard, KCAL/KCBS reported. Tavares said he waved his arms to stop other drivers who might not have noticed the young boy, and was able to stop traffic. Tavares's son, Igor Tavares, said that his father is a hero for risking his life to save the boy. The boy was returned to his home after Los Angeles police tracked down his family, and an investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services was launched. Tavares said the boy may have been distracted by a game tablet during the incident.  FOX News

Man Accused Of Setting Dog On Fire At A South Los Angeles Park
It could have been prevented. That's what many people are telling FOX 11 about the burning of a live dog at a South Los Angeles park on August 22. That day, a witness called 911 reporting a man tying a dog to a fence and then lighting the pet on fire. The LAPD has arrested 24-year-old Brandon Jerold Smith, who according to family and friends, has known the dog for years. It was the family's dog, says Serena Prentis, who has a child with Smith. Prentis says she left the house after Smith started acting violently towards her and animals. "He was posting burning birds on his live feed," she says, explaining she moved in with her sister and was trying to get a restraining order. Her sister, Stephanie, explains that they actually went to law enforcement with videos Smith had supposedly posted of himself shooting a gun at fences with dogs on the other side. Both women say they tried to buy the family dog, which they called Hennessy, away from Smith. But he refused. Smith is now in custody, booked on felony animal cruelty charges. If anyone has any information on the case, they are asked to call 213-972-7843. FOX 11

LAPD Investigating Armed Robbery on Boardwalk
The Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Division is investigating a robbery that took place on the Venice Boardwalk. It happened around 5:00 p.m. Monday at 1800 Ocean Front Walk. Police say two suspectes, one said to be armed with a gun, stole a $10,000 luxury bag that had $800 worth of marijuana in it. No one was injured.  WestSide Current

Lockdown Lifted Following Reports Of Armed Inmate At Downtown LA Jail
An hours-long lockdown at a jail in downtown Los Angeles was lifted after reports of a possibly armed inmate, authorities said. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, deputies received reports of an inmate with a gun Tuesday afternoon, prompting the department's men's central jail to go on lockdown. The lockdown was lifted by Wednesday morning. No injuries were reported, sheriff's officials said. FOX 11

Officials Locate Missing 78-Year-Old Man Last Seen In West Hollywood; Silver Alert Deactivated
An at-risk 78-year-old man who had gone missing in West Hollywood was found Tuesday after authorities activated a Silver Alert. The California Highway Patrol asked for the public's help in locating Abdul Zaheri, who had last been seen at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday near the intersection of North Laurel Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. “Thank you to everyone involved in his safe return,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a news release. Sheriff's officials said Zaheri has Alzheimer's disease and high blood pressure. Authorities did not release information on how or where Zaheri was found, and no further details were immediately available. KTLA 5

Growling Airline Passenger Cited For Unruly Behavior On Flight From LAX
A Las Vegas man who berated a flight crew and passengers and growled like a dog on an American Airlines flight Monday from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City has been cited for public intoxication and disorderly conduct. Video shows the man standing and confronting a flight attendant at the front of the plane. The flight attendant can be heard telling the man to return to his seat and sit down. Once seated, the man growled like a dog while taking his mask on and off his face, displayed the middle finger and swore at flight attendants, later yelling “God bless America” and screaming “Joe Biden!” according to video taken by fellow passenger Dennis Busch. Busch also wrote on Facebook that the man verbally targeted an Asian woman, saying she and her companion “didn't belong here.” "He began by yelling at the Asian woman in front of me to sit down when she was standing to deal with a back issue," Busch said. "He proceeded to tell multiple flight attendants that she and her companion 'didn't belong here.' NBC 4

Grand Jury Transcripts Show Adult Film Actor Ron Jeremy Used Celebrity Status To Meet Women, Who He Then Raped And Sexually Assaulted
Adult film actor Ron Jeremy leveraged the novelty of his celebrity to meet and often isolate women who he raped and sexually assaulted, using the same tactics for years, according to grand jury testimony from 21 women that was unsealed Saturday. “Wouldn't it be funny if we got a picture and an autograph from him?” one woman, identified only as Jane Doe 8, said she remembered telling her friend when they saw Jeremy in 2013 at a West Hollywood bar and grill. He would sexually assault her minutes later, testified the woman, one of several who said their attacks came in the same small bathroom. “I was like, wow, you know, this is Ron Jeremy, I mean, I was kind of impressed. I'm like he's — I don't want to say ‘celebrity,' but you know, he kind of was,” said another woman, Jane Doe 7, when Jeremy came to the door of the Hollywood hotel room she was sharing with friends, where the porn actor would rape her soon after, according to her testimony.  KTLA 5

Compton Murder Suspect Who Was Caught By Tik Tok Tips Going To Trial
Two mothers in pain, from one murder that's torn apart families and cut short the life of a young woman who dreamed of graduating from college and running her own business. "I hope he remembers my daughter's face, every single minute of his life," Susana Salas told Eyewitness News outside court Tuesday. "I hope he rots in jail and never hurts nobody else." Susana Salas' daughter, Daisy De La O, was murdered outside her family's Compton home in February. Her ex-boyfriend, Victor Sosa, is charged with her killing. He's pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. On Tuesday, L.A. Superior Court Judge Kelvin Filer found there is sufficient evidence against Sosa to proceed to trial. Eyewitness News first brought you the story of this unusual case in July, after an army of "TikTok detectives" helped track down accused killer Sosa in Rosarito, Mexico where he was working at Papas & Beer bar and nightclub. LASD homicide detectives tracked every lead, while Daisy's friends blasted photos of Victor Sosa onto TikTok and Instagram. One of those tips cracked the case and led to Sosa's arrest in Mexico on July 2.  ABC 7

Possible Road Rage Leads To Car Crash, Shots Fired In Santa Monica
A possible road rage incident Monday led to a vehicle crash and shots fired that left one person with a graze wound, but the gunman remains at large. The incident took place in the area of Yorkshire Avenue and Pico Boulevard about 1:20 p.m. , according to Santa Monica police Lt. Rudy Flores. Responding officers found that the suspect and his vehicle were both gone, Flores continued. Witnesses told officers that the suspect had rammed their vehicle from behind in a possible road rage incident. When the victims got out of their car, the suspect fired several shots at them leaving one person with a graze wound to the knee, Flores said. That person was taken to a hospital for treatment. The suspect was described a white man, about 20 to 25 years old. He is about 6 feet, 1 inch tall, with a thin build. He has tattoos on the right side of his face and was wearing a blue-and-white long-sleeve sweater, gray or tan pants and white shoes, Flores reported. His vehicle was described a newer model black Mercedes-Benz four-door sedan. Anyone with information on this suspect or his vehicle was asked to call Santa Monica Detective Haro at 310-458-2256 or the watch commander at 310-458-8427. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Actor Who Faked HBO And Netflix Deals To Plead Guilty In $650 Million Ponzi Scheme
Zachary Horwitz, an actor in low-budget horror and science-fiction movies, has agreed to plead guilty to running a massive Hollywood Ponzi scheme. Horwitz, 34, admitted in court papers that he duped investors into giving him more than $650 million for fictitious movie deals with HBO and Netflix. While Horwitz repaid much of the money in order to lure victims into investing more, he also spent large sums of it to finance his “lavish lifestyle,” according to his Sept.1 plea agreement with the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. Horwitz acknowledged that he has failed to repay $231 million. The agreement calls for Horwitz to plead guilty to one count of securities fraud at a hearing on Oct. 4. Prosecutors indicated in court records they will ask U.S. District Judge Mark C. Scarsi to impose a hefty sentence in light of the huge sum Horwitz swindled. Los Angeles Times

SoCal Man Pleads Guilty In Cross-Border Kidnapping Case
A Los Angeles-area man pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge for his involvement in a ring that collected ransom from people whose family members had been kidnapped in Mexico. Francisco Hernandez Martinez, 20, of Vernon entered his plea to conspiracy, a charge carrying a penalty of up to five years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Sentencing is set for Nov. 22. The ring pretended to offer assistance to people who wanted to cross the border but instead held them for ransom and sometimes demanded additional money after receiving payments, federal prosecutors said. Prosecutors said Hernandez and other members of the ring picked up ransom payments from relatives at stores throughout the area. Hernandez admitted to collecting $19,000 in May at a Walmart store in Paramount from the husband of a woman kidnapped in Mexicali, according to his plea agreement. He also admitted to receiving $26,000 in June at a Target store in South Gate from a relative of two kidnapped family members. Edgar Lemus, 23, of Vernon, and Junior Martinez, 23, of Watts are also charged in the case. They are expected to go on trial in November.

Veteran NYPD Cop Kills Himself In Queens Home
An NYPD officer killed himself inside his Queens home on Tuesday, police sources said. The 49-year-old cop was found dead inside his Glendale residence at about 4 p.m., according to police sources. It was not immediately when or how the officer took his own life, but sources said he did not shoot himself. He was an 18-year veteran of the department and worked for the Brooklyn North Evidence Collection unit, sources said. The veteran cop is believed to be the third NYPD officer to commit suicide this year. Police Officer Rory Dahill, 34, shot himself inside his Manhattan apartment on April 28. On April 5, Deputy Inspector Denis Mullaney shot himself in the head inside a department vehicle in Queens. In 2019, 10 cops took their own lives, which was double the rate of past years. The crisis led the department to create a new confidential suicide prevention program called “Finest Care” that offers free treatment from NewYork-Presbyterian psychiatrists and psychologists. Under the program, cops can seek help anonymously at the hospital system. A similar system has existed for the LAPD for decades, and Chicago and Houston have programs like it as well. New York Post

Video: New York Cops Stand On Cruiser To Rescue Fire Victims
Standing on the roof of a police cruiser with red and blue emergency lights flashing at their feet, Cheektowaga police officers helped pluck four people and a little dog from the second floor of a burning house early Friday. "We got you! We got you!" the officers can be heard shouting on their body camera footage as they coaxed each person over the railing of the balcony and helped them down onto the cruiser, while two other officers helped them down to the ground. Officers William Cookfair, Brendan Tomasulo, Joshua Donovan and Jeffrey Scaglion were responding to a call about a house fire on Preston Road at about 12:20 a.m. Friday. Dispatchers told them that the fire was in the lower part of the house and the people were trapped upstairs. Video from the officers' body cams show what happened next. The officers race to the front and side of the building. "How do you get up top?" an officer can be heard yelling. An officer tries to open the front door and smoke pours out. "Ah dude," he said. A woman in a nightgown who is outside says: "They can't come down the stairs." Next, an officer pulls a police cruiser right up alongside the house underneath the balcony. Two officers climb on top of the patrol vehicle. "Come on over here," an officer says to the people on the balcony. "We'll get you this way." The Buffalo News, N.Y.

Public Safety News

Firefighters Extinguish 3-Story Blaze At Boyle Heights Church
Firefighters on Sunday night swiftly extinguished a blaze inside a three-story church in Boyle Heights, officials said. The fire at Iglesia Bautista del Este de Los Angeles at 206 South St. Louis St. was reported about 8 p.m., Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Nicholas Prange said. Seventy-one firefighters responded to the scene and knocked down the fire in 30 minutes, Prange said. All three floors of the church burned. No one is believed to have been in the church when the fire began and no injuries were reported, Prange said. The cause of the fire remained under investigation on Sunday night. Los Angeles Times

LAFD Investigating Half-Acre Fire Near Ballona Wetlands
The Los Angeles Fire Department is investigating a fire that that burned more than a half an acre near the Ballona Wetlands. A grass fire started near Culver Blvd and Nicolson Street around 2:10 p.m., according to LAFD. Five fire companies, including engines with water, were called to the area, according to LAFD. It took crews about an hour to put the fire out. This is not the first fire to cause damage to sensitive ecological area. A fire that may well have been started by someone in one of the encampments burned five acres of the wetlands on March 23. Fire officials said it took nearly two hours and 54 firefighters to stop the brush fire. While working to put out the fire, officials said they could not access a fire hydrant during the emergency because a camper parked near it blocked access. We asked if firefighters had similar issues for Sunday's fire and were told that access to water is always an issue in areas such as the wetlands. City Council District 11 candidate Traci Park has taken a stance on the growing number of RVs and encampments that are visibly damaging portions of the environmentally sensitive area.  WestSide Current

Flex Alert Issued For Wednesday As High Temperatures Threaten California's Electric Grid
A statewide Flex Alert has been issued for Wednesday as above-normal temperatures and high energy demand threaten California's electric grid. The alert will be in place from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday in an attempt to avoid power disruptions and rolling blackouts, the California Independent System Operator, which runs most of the state's electric grid, said in a news release Tuesday. “With above-normal temperatures in the forecast for much of California and the West, the power grid operator is predicting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use,” the ISO said. Very warm to hot weather is expected to persist across Southern California throughout the week, according to the National Weather Service. “Dangerously hot conditions” are expected in the Antelope Valley through Wednesday, the NWS said, and a heat advisory is in place there through Thursday. A heat advisory is also in place in the eastern San Fernando Valley from Thursday through Saturday, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department said. And, a heat alert will be in place for the western San Fernando Valley and eastern San Gabriel Valley on Friday. KTLA 5

Local Government News

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Announces Three New Senior Leadership Staff Members
Mayor Eric Garcetti Friday announced new members of his senior staff, naming Mary Hodge as deputy mayor of the Mayor's Office of City Services, Kevin Keller as deputy mayor of the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, and Alex Comisar as director of communications. "The breadth and depth of experience of these three leaders make them the right people to continue our recovery from the pandemic and steer our city toward a future of equity, resilience and prosperity," Garcetti said. "From delivering on our back to basics agenda to record job creation and economic growth, these three individuals have the track record and institutional knowledge to excel in these roles, and I am proud to welcome them into these new positions." Garcetti is expected to leave office early, having been appointed to a U.S. ambassadorship in India by President Joe Biden. The mayor said during an unrelated news conference on Aug. 23 that he expects to be mayor for "some months still" as he awaits the U.S. Senate confirmation process. Hodge, who currently serves as deputy chief of staff, will oversee 15 departments involved in the city's transportation network, infrastructure and neighborhood services. 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: