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 15, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Man Arrested In Fatal Stabbing Of Woman Found Dead In Sylmar Home By Her Family
A 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing of a woman found in her Sylmar home last week, officials said Tuesday. Virginia Cantero, 36, was found dead in the home along the 14500 block of Lyle Street about 11:30 p.m. Sept. 7, according to the LAPD. The victim's husband and daughters had been in Mexico and found her when they returned, family members previously told KTLA. Detectives determined the she was “the victim of a violent homicide,” and Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner records indicate Cantero, who also went by the last name Luna, was stabbed in the neck. Investigators believed Cantero had been dead for “at least several days,” an LAPD official said. On Saturday, Alejandro Balsells was arrested by Santa Monica police. He was booked on suspicion of homicide and his bail was set at $2 million, police said. Relatives said the victim and her husband were separated and her death could be connected to a domestic incident, possibly involving the victim's boyfriend. Police, however, did not comment on the relationship between the victim and the suspect, nor did they provide any information about a motive. KTLA 5

Suspects Arrested In Shooting Outside High School In South LA
Police arrested a juvenile suspect and an unknown number of "co-conspirators" wanted in connection with a shooting outside Santee High School just south of downtown Los Angeles that left one student injured. School police reported the shooting at about 2 p.m. on Sept. 2 near the school, located at 1921 Maple Ave. One student was shot in the leg while he was on the football field. An additional gunshot victim was found down the street from the school at the intersection of Maple Ave and 36th Street, near Maple Primary Center. Both Santee High School and Maple Primary Center were placed on lockdown as officers conducted a perimeter search for the shooter. LAPD detectives investigating the shooting found video evidence from several surveillance cameras in the area and social media posts at the time of the altercation, according to a police statement. The investigation led detectives to identity the shooter "and co- conspirators," who were taken into custody at about 10:40 p.m. Friday. FOX 11

Councilman Seeks $25K Reward In UCLA Student's Sexual Assault
Councilman Paul Koretz Tuesday introduced a motion to create a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a man who sexually assaulted a female UCLA student as she slept in her apartment near the campus. The crime occurred at about 4 a.m. on Aug. 27 in the 11000 block of Strathmore Drive, according to the LAPD. “The suspect … entered a bedroom where one of the female residents was sleeping and sexually assaulted her as she slept,” an LAPD statement said. “The victim awoke and confronted the suspect, who ran from the apartment and fled the area in a vehicle that was parked nearby.” The vehicle was described as a gray, late-model four-door Ford Fusion. If passed, the motion would provide the offer of a reward for six months from the date of the reward's advertisement by the City Clerk. Anyone who provides information that leads to the person's identification, apprehension and conviction would receive the $25,000. At a news conference on Sept. 1, police released a composite drawing of the man, described as white or Hispanic, between 30-40 years old, about 5-feet-10 inches tall, with a medium build. He had a close-cropped beard.

Armed Man Robs Clothing Store In Broad Daylight On Melrose In Fairfax District
Just one week after a group of outdoor diners were robbed at gunpoint on Melrose Avenue in Fairfax, a second such brazen daylight robbery has occurred on the same stretch of Melrose. The robbery occurred at a clothing store at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 7800 block of Melrose Avenue. According to Los Angeles police, when the masked suspect entered the store, he was approached by an employee who assumed he was a customer. However, the suspect instead pointed a handgun at the employee, gave him two white trash bags and told him to fill them up with clothes, shoes and cash. The employee complied and the suspect ran away, police said. This comes after two armed men robbed a group of people while they were dining outdoors at Le Creme Cafe in the 7300 block of Melrose Avenue in the late afternoon hours of Sept. 7. The suspected getaway driver, identified as 23-year-old Quioness Wilson, was arrested the following day. However, the two armed robbers remain at large. The LAPD has released surveillance video of Tuesday's robbery. Anyone with information should call LAPD detectives at 213-922-8217. CBS 2

Man Arrested Outside Ariana Grande's House After Allegedly Pulling Knife At Singer's Security
Being a star has its ups and downs, but the latter can sometimes be life-threatening. In such an instance, a 23-year-old man was arrested Friday after he showed up outside of Ariana Grande's house and brandished a knife when security asked him to leave, a TMZ exclusive report said. The accused, identified as Aaron Brown, allegedly arrived at the “Positions” singer's Hollywood Hills home in Los Angeles at 2 a.m. and demanded to see her. However, when her security tried to make him leave, he flashed a knife at them. The guards immediately called the Los Angeles Police Department, who arrived at the scene and arrested Brown, TMZ reported. It is unclear whether Grande was present at home during the encounter. Following the incident, the 28-year-old singer filed for a temporary restraining order against Brown, which has been granted. On a later hearing, it will be decided whether the restraining order needs to be extended or not. International Business Times

Man Arrested In June 2020 Shooting Brought Back To Las Vegas From LA
A man arrested in Los Angeles in connection with a June 2020 shooting in Las Vegas was brought back to the valley in September to face a murder charge. Las Vegas police said on June 18, 2020, an AMR ambulance driver reported the shooting to police. The employee said he saw a man approach the passenger door of an SUV near Las Vegas Boulevard and Bonanza Road, then shoot the person in the front passenger seat. Moments later, a Kia Sportage was seen at Valley Hospital where a man and woman dropped off the victim. The victim, Dariane Lincoln, died minutes later. The couple in the vehicle, identified as Avondre Kelly and his girlfriend in Kelly's arrest report released Tuesday, took off. The pair fled Las Vegas to Los Angeles, police said, where they abandoned his girlfriend's vehicle. Inside, police said they found blood in the vehicle and evidence of clean-up. They were arrested in August 2020 by the Los Angeles Police Department. Both Kelly and his girlfriend told police they didn't see Lincoln's shooter, however video surveillance and witness statements led police to charge Kelly in the case. Kelly's next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 14. FOX 5 Las Vegas

FBI's Hunt Continues For Tarzana Couple Convicted Of $18 Million COVID Fraud
The FBI's hunt continued Tuesday for a Tarzana couple who allegedly cut their ankle tracking bracelets and went on the run while awaiting sentencing for their roles in an $18 million COVID-19 relief fraud case. Facing the possibility of years behind bars, Richard Ayvazyan and his wife and co-defendant Marietta Terabelian removed their location monitoring devices and absconded from pretrial supervision together on Aug. 29, according to the FBI. The following day, a Los Angeles federal judge signed bench warrants for the couple's arrest. It's believed that Ayvazyan and Terabelian are traveling together. Newly issued FBI wanted posters for the pair state that Ayvazyan "is known to abuse drugs.'' Terabelian has worked in the past at a children's hair salon, the document shows. The couple drive a white 2004 Toyota Camry with California license plates 5JYK335, according to the FBI. Ayvazyan, 43, Terabelian, 37, and two relatives were found guilty in June of scheming to submit fraudulent loan applications under which they and others obtained more than $18 million in Paycheck Protection and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program funds they used to put down payments on luxury homes in Tarzana, Glendale and Palm Desert and purchase jewelry and other high-end items. They were scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 4. ABC 7

Woman, Boyfriend Arrested In Torture, Killing Of 7-Year-Old Girl In Hawthorne
A woman and her boyfriend have been arrested for allegedly torturing and murdering a 7-year-old girl in Hawthorne, officials say. Ida Helen Brockman, 30, and her boyfriend, Malachi Xavier Whalen, 29, were arrested Friday on felony charges in connection with the child's death. Court papers identify the victim as Amaiya D. and do not specify her relationship to the suspects, but noted they were responsible for her "care and custody." Both Brockman and Whalen are charged with murder. Whalen is facing additional counts of torture and assault on a child causing death and Brockman is facing a count of child abuse resulting in death. Authorities are requesting $2 million bail for each suspect. An arraignment had been scheduled for Tuesday but was postponed until Sept. 23.  ABC 7

Jury Begins Deliberations In Robert Durst Murder Trial
A jury began deliberating Tuesday whether to convict Robert Durst of murdering his best friend, a killing that the prosecution argued was committed to cover up an earlier crime to which his friend was a witness: the death of Durst's wife, who vanished nearly four decades ago and has never been found. The jury's verdict would bring to a close a nearly five-month trial and settle many of the suspicions that have shadowed Durst, 78, heir to an enormous fortune derived from his family's Manhattan real estate portfolio, for half of his life. Jurors filed out of the courthouse Tuesday afternoon without reaching a verdict. Durst's wife, Kathie, disappeared in 1982. His best friend, Susan Berman, was found dead in her home in 2000, shot once in the back of the head. In 2001 the police found pieces of Durst's next-door neighbor, Morris Black, washed ashore on Galveston Bay in Texas. Durst has admitted dismembering the body after Black was killed in what Durst described as a struggle over a gun. For the last five months, Los Angeles County prosecutors have made the case that Durst subjected his wife to emotional and physical abuse before killing her in 1982. Los Angeles Times

Online Scammers Are Using Social Media And Venmo To Target Victims
Social media use and online shopping have both skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, with phones, tablets and devices serving as our way out when we couldn't physically go outside. But now, an online scam is using the logo of popular mobile payment app Venmo as bait on social media, as scammers use some of the digital content and payment features we utilize as their way inside your wallet. Steve McFarland of the Better Business Bureau of Los Angeles says this is just one example of scams making the rounds now. "Now all of a sudden, you're seeing some really realistic advertising, some really realistic solicitations for you to click on scams," McFarland said. "So it's a new way, a new vehicle for scammers to reach out." The scam appears on Instagram's platform, and hooks victims by telling them they've won $750 in a Venmo giveaway. Those who click on it learn a costly lesson, McFarland says. "You have to pay an agency fee or supply some information," McFarland said. "And sometimes they're asking for gift cards, they need you to wire funds or even Venmo funds to get your Venmo prize, which doesn't make sense." Similar scams are also popping up in text messages, promising cash for taking a Venmo survey. "The scammers are developing artwork, logos, terms and phrases and technology to make it look like they are legitimate," McFarland said.  NBC 4

Nearly $2M In Stolen Merchandise Seized In SoCal Organized Crime Ring Bust
Four people were arrested and close to $2 million in merchandise stolen from dozens of Southern California stores was seized in a bust on an organized crime ring last month. California Highway Patrol reported Monday that security with TJX Companies Inc. – the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods — discovered that their stores across Southern California were being repeatedly hit by a group of shoplifters and contacted the CHP Border Division's Organized Retail Crime Taskforce. Investigators traced the stolen goods to a mobile home in Midway City in Orange County. On Aug. 31 they raided the home, where they discovered “stolen merchandise packed nearly floor to ceiling,” CHP said in a news release. CHP investigators also discovered four self-storage units linked to the home with even more stolen merchandise. All the merchandise still had the store tags in place. The stolen merchandise was valued at a little over $1.9 million. CBS 2

Illinois City Imposes Curfew After 7 People Are Shot, Including A Child
City leaders issued a plea Friday for an end to gun violence in the wake of a shooting Thursday that left seven people wounded — including a young child — and spurred a manhunt that lasted into the early morning, culminating with three arrests. East St. Louis Mayor Robert Eastern III also announced a curfew will take effect at midnight Friday and run until 6 a.m. each day as part of a bid to curb criminal activity. The curfew will last indefinitely, he said during an afternoon press conference. Thursday's shooting happened about 4 p.m. The Illinois State Police said seven people, including a child, who city officials said was either 3 or 4 years old, were shot in the area of Martin Luther King Drive and North Sixth Street. They were hospitalized, but their conditions weren't released. A manhunt for the gunmen ended early Friday with the arrests of three suspects in the basement of a partly demolished building. Police swarmed the area in a search for the shooters. More than 10 hours later, at 2:30 a.m. Friday, officers about a block from the crime scene arrested three people in the 600 block of St. Louis Avenue. No details have been released about the suspects or a possible motivation for the shooting. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Shocking New Details About Chicago Mom Who Allegedly Killed Her 12-Year-Old Son Over Missing SD Card
Shocking new details were released on Sunday after a Chicago mother was charged with murdering her own 12-year-old son. Prosecutors said that on Saturday morning, Fallon Harris, 37, confronted her son, Kaden Ingram, 12, about the location of SD card she had removed from her car on Friday night. Video from inside their home in the South Chicago neighborhood allegedly shows Harris threatening him with a gun. When he could not give her the card, she shot him once. He was left conscious and crying. She then went to answer the phone, and walked back to her son, asked for the card again, and when he said he didn't know where it was, she shot him again, prosecutors said. This shooting is caught on video. Kaden collapsed on the kitchen floor and died a short time later. She allegedly told police that she had killed her son and showed them the silver revolver she had used to do it. Family members told police that she had been acting paranoid and complaining that people were out to get her. She has a concealed carry license.  FOX 11

Public Safety News

Preliminary Magnitude 3.0 Earthquake Strikes Near Sylmar
A magnitude 3.0 earthquake rattled the San Fernando Valley Tuesday evening, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The USGS reported the epicenter of the quake between Sylmar and Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley, about 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles. The quake struck just before 6 p.m. near Sylmar with a 3.79 mile depth. Over 300 people reported having felt the shaking, according to the USGS “Felt Report.” No injuries or damage were immediately reported. NBC 4

Thousands Of LA City Workers Request Exemptions Or Fail To Respond To Demand For Vaccine Proof
The City of Los Angeles says thousands of its employees have failed to respond to a demand for proof they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have requested an exemption on religious or medical grounds. Vaccination reporting data for every City department was released by Mayor Eric Garcetti's office after the NBC4 I-Team first reported Monday that thousands of LAPD employees indicated they intended to request religious exemptions to avoid a mandatory vaccination. “Every City employee is required to provide their vaccine status, and the deadline has passed. Anyone who hasn't given us that information must do it now,” Garcetti said in a statement. The City extended its first deadline from Sept. 7 to Sept. 13, and still thousands of City workers have not provided vaccination proof or filed an exemption request, including 7,846 Department of Water and Power employees, 3,997 Recreation and Parks employees, 3,856 police employees, and 1,553 fire employees. Out of 57,476 city workers the data shows 5,183 have requested religious exemptions, and 2,651, or 51% were filed by LAPD employees. The City was still negotiating Tuesday with labor unions to work out disciplinary procedures for employees who either fail to report or refuse to be vaccinated, a senior City official said.  NBC 4

California Coronavirus Cases Dropping, CDC Says
California's coronavirus transmission rates are dropping, a hopeful sign amid a summer surge fueled by the Delta variant, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state's coronavirus transmission level has fallen from “high” to “substantial,” the second-highest tier as defined by the CDC. As of Tuesday night, California is the only state that has fallen into this category, as has Puerto Rico. The CDC's scale evaluating coronavirus transmission levels categorizes states as being in one of four tiers: the worst — high — is color-coded as red; followed by substantial (orange), moderate (yellow) and low (blue). California is “the only large state to improve from red to orange COVID-19 community levels of transmission,” state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said in a tweet Monday night. She credited relatively high vaccination rates, as well as indoor masking practices, in helping drive down new coronavirus infections. Los Angeles Times

Local Government New

Los Angeles City Council Approves Plan Aimed At Deterring Street Racing
The Los Angeles City Council passed a motion Tuesday aimed at curbing illegal street racing by adding deterrents at common locations of races. The motion was introduced by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who noted that street racing typically happens in areas with wide, straight roads that have low levels of traffic and easy access to freeways and major roadways that allow participants to quickly disperse. Traffic calming measures - such as street humps, rumble strips, raised center medians, curb extensions and traffic circles - could be engineered in these areas to deter racing, Rodriguez's office said. The motion, which was seconded by Councilman Bob Blumenfield, instructed the Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Street Services, the Los Angeles Police Department Street Racing Task Force, the Bureau of Engineering and the Los Angeles Fire Department to collaborate on a report with recommendations for such measures that could be implemented in areas with frequent illegal street racing. ABC 7

LA City Council Considers Prohibiting Protests Near Target's Home
The Los Angeles City Council will vote Tuesday on an ordinance that would ban protests within 300 feet of the target's residence. The policy was developed at the request of city council members after anti-vaccination activists showing up at two of their homes at the end of last month. The motion was introduced by Council President Nury Martinez and Councilman Mitch O'Farrell on Aug. 31. Two days earlier, an anti-vaccination protester at a Santa Monica rally shared the addresses of council members and encouraged people to go to their homes if they vote yes on a proposed ordinance that would require at least partial proof of vaccination before entering most indoor public spaces. After the rally, protesters, gubernatorial recall candidate David Alexander Bramante, showed up at the homes of Martinez and O'Farrell. Martinez said people who want to protest elected officials should go to their offices, not their homes. Speaking from City Hall on Monday during an unrelated news conference, Mayor Eric Garcetti similarly said that it was important to protect the rights of private citizens, including neighbors of public officials and people who live with public officials. He added that some of the “darkest chapters” in the U.S. involve people targeting private homes. CBS 2

LA City Council OKs Street Engagement Strategy For Anti-Camping Law
The Los Angeles City Council approved a street engagement strategy Tuesday to accompany its sweeping ordinance to restrict sleeping and homeless encampments in certain areas of the city. The ordinance went into effect on Sept. 3, but enforcement was limited to accessibility obstructions pending the city's approval of the street engagement strategy. Under the engagement framework, which was approved 14-0, each council office will have at least three engagement teams to deploy to areas chosen for the ordinance's enforcement. The teams will assess the encampments, determine how long engagement will take place, collaborate with city and county departments, as well as nonprofits, and connect encampment residents with services and interim and permanent housing placements. Each council office will have control over deployment for their engagement teams and additional teams will be geographically based, with one in Hollywood, one in the Civic Center, one in the Broadway/Interstate 110 corridor and four in Skid Row. WestSide Current

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: