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

October 15, 2021
Law Enforcement News

New Details Emerge After LAPD Officer Is Shot At In South LA
Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Robert Marino provides new details after an officer was shot on his way to work. FOX 11 Video

Prison Gang Member And Associates Charged with Murdering Inmate In DTLA
A federal grand jury Thursday returned a superseding indictment charging three Pomona-area gang members and prison gang associates with murdering an inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown L.A.. The expanded indictment alleges Jose Valencia “Swifty” Gonzalez, 39, Carlos “Popeye” Gonzalez, 38, and Juan “Squeaks” Sanchez, 28, all of Pomona, killed the victim on June 28 last year at the direction of prison gang member Michael “Big Mike” Lerma, 65, also of Pomona, who is also charged with the murder. The murder by means of “lethal force” was ordered in retaliation for the inmate's failure to pay off a drug debt to the prison gang, according to the indictment, which identifies the victim by the initials S.B. The defendants previously were charged with conspiring to violate racketeering laws related to the prison gang's control of drug sales in Pomona and surrounding areas, and included a separate conspiracy to murder, a kidnapping and a carjacking, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

DA's Union Alleges Gascon Appoints Unqualified Outside Candidates
The union representing Los Angeles County deputy district attorneys has filed a legal action to prevent what they maintain is the hiring of unqualified people -- including some from the Public Defender's Office -- by District Attorney George Gascon to fill open positions for which veteran prosecutors are more qualified. The Association of Deputy District Attorneys brought the petition Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Gascon and the District Attorney's Office, asking a judge to order the defendants to refrain from hiring public defenders or other candidates deemed unqualified under Civil Service rules for the deputy district attorney grade positions of 2 through 5. The union also asks that Gascon and his office not take any actions to invalidate any candidate eligibility lists while the current petition is pending and while appeals are being heard to contest Gascon's hiring earlier this year of former longtime Deputy Public Defenders Alisa Blair, Tiffiny Blacknell and Shelan Joseph. A representative for the District Attorney's Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Blacknell and Joseph were hired for grade 4 positions and Blair to a grade 3 slot although none took and passed competitive exams as required by Civil Service rules and the County Charter, the petition states. WestSide Current

Officials Investigate Deadly Crash On 170 Freeway In Sun Valley
One person was killed in a two-vehicle crash on the southbound 170 Freeway in Sun Valley Thursday morning, officials said. The crash occurred around 5 a.m. near Roscoe Boulevard, according to the California Highway Patrol. The name of the victim was not immediately released. Three lanes were blocked while an investigation was conducted into the circumstances of the crash. FOX 11

Man Seriously Injured By Hit-and-Run Driver While Riding Scooter In South L.A.: Police
A 55-year-old man was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Central-Alameda on Thursday, and the Los Angeles Police Department is looking for the perpetrator. The man was struck at about 10:38 a.m. while riding a scooter headed north on Hooper Avenue near the intersection with 48th Place, police said. While the scooter rider was traveling, a Honda Civic made an “unsafe left turn” onto 48th Place, striking the scooter, police said in a release. The man collided with the rear bumper of the Civic and was ejected onto the pavement, while the Honda's driver — a woman with red hair — momentarily paused before leaving the scene without helping the man or providing their information, police said. The man, whose identity had not been released pending notification of his relatives, was taken to a local hospital by the Los Angeles Fire Department. He is in critical condition in the intensive care unit, officials said. The Civic, believed to be a 2012-2015 model, has tinted windows, chrome tires and a rear spoiler, and it may have damage to the rear bumper. The vehicle had no front plate, police said. Anyone with information can contact Detective Calvin DeHesa at 213-833-3713 or . KTLA 5

LAPD Searching For 77-Year-Old Miriam Sanchez Missing From Lincoln Heights
The Los Angeles Police Department is seeking the public's help in locating a 77-year-old woman who suffers from dementia and went missing in Lincoln Heights.Miriam Sanchez was last seen on October 10 at 5 p.m. in the 200 block of Humbolt Street in the Lincoln Heights area. She is described as a Hispanic female with blonde hair and green eyes. She is 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 125 pounds. Sanchez was wearing a blue flower shirt, blue pants, a brown booth and a pink sandal. Her family is concerned for her well-being. Anyone with any information about her whereabouts is asked to contact LAPD Missing Persons at 213-486-0260. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). CBS 2

Woman, 38, Reported Missing In Koreatown
Police Thursday were searching for a 38-year-old woman who was last seen in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles. Yoona Park was last seen Sunday in the area of South St. Andrews Place and West Second Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Park is Asian, 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on her whereabouts was asked to contact the LAPD Missing Persons Unit at 213-996-1800. Calls made during non-business hours or on weekends can be directed to 877-527-3247. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at .

Authorities Looking For Justin Ricardo Jauregui, Man Missing from East Rancho Dominguez
Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is asking for public help in looking for an East Rancho Dominguez man, Justin Ricardo Jauregui, who has been missing since October 7. Jauregui is a 31-year old Hispanic male, who was last seen in the 15000 block of Rancho Dominguez around 2PM. He is 6'0" tall, around 230 pounds, bald with hazel eyes, a goatee and a tattoo on the back of his head that says “COMPTONERO 3.” He was last seen wearing black “Vans” shoes, a black t-shirt and gray jeans. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is encouraged to contact the LA County Sherriff's Department Missing Person's Detail at (323) 890-5500, or you may provide information anonymously with “Crime Stoppers” at (800) 222-TIPS (8477). CBS 2

Robert Durst Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murder Of Best Friend
Robert Durst, the New York real estate heir, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of his longtime friend two decades ago. Durst, 78, was convicted last month in Los Angeles Superior Court of shooting Susan Berman point-blank in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home just before Christmas 2000. The bitterly fought murder trial of Robert Durst stretched over the better part of two years. "Now that the jury has found whodunnit, the punishment is quite clear," Loyola Law School Professor Laurie Levenson said. "I'm not sure there's a lot more left for (the prosecutor) to say." The trial began in March 2020 and was adjourned for 14 months as the coronavirus pandemic swept the U.S. and courts were closed. It resumed in May with the jury that reached its verdict Sept. 17. Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, was Durst's longtime confidante who was preparing to tell police she provided a phony alibi for him after his wife vanished in New York in 1982. Kathie Durst has never been found. Robert Durst has never been charged with a crime related to her disappearance. FOX 11

Hit-And-Run Driver Wanted In Crash That Left Glendale Father Krikor Kassabian With Devastating Injuries
Help is needed Thursday to track down the driver in a hit-and-run crash that severely injured a Glendale father. Krikor Kassabian, 44, was struck by a car just after midnight on Oct. 1 in the area of Chevy Chase Drive and Glenoaks Boulevard, right outside his home. The car that hit him did not stop, and the driver did not try to help him. Kassabian was right outside his home when he was struck, and his wife heard the collision and ran out to help him, his sister Lisa Kassabian said. Her brother, who remains hospitalized in the ICU in critical condition, was severely injured – his right arm was severed at the shoulder, both his legs were shattered, and his spine was fractured and dislocated. He has undergone three surgeries in 13 days and has many more surgeries in his future, she said. “It is nothing short of a miracle that my brother is still alive, but he will never be the same,” she said. “None of us will.” The suspect vehicle was described as a silver or gray 2019-2020 Kia Forte that will likely have major damage to the front end. A $25,000 reward is available for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this crash. Anyone with information about the vehicle or the crash can contact Glendale police. CBS 2

Resentencing Due For Convicted Pimp In Child Sex Trafficking Case
A previously delayed resentencing hearing is expected Wednesday for a self-described “cross-country pimp” from Gardena whose 40-year federal prison term for forcing girls to work as prostitutes was vacated by an appeals court. Laron Darrell “Birdd” Carter, 44, was convicted five years ago in Los Angeles federal court on 14 counts of sex trafficking related to minors. In November 2018, a federal appeals court reversed the convictions on two counts and vacated the sentences on all counts for technical reasons. The court subsequently dismissed the two outstanding charges after the victim failed to appear for the retrial. Prosecutors are asking U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips to resentence Carter to life behind bars. The defense is asking for 15 years, which would call for Carter's release in six years due to the more than seven years he has spent in federal custody and time off for good behavior. Evidence at trial showed that the Crips gang member trafficked girls as young as 13 and subjected some of them to beatings, which included victims being punched in the face and whipped with a belt. Carter's conduct spanned a decade as he prostituted the seven minor victims and transported them from California to Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Washington, D.C., and Nevada, prosecutors wrote.

Man Saved From Near-Death Fentanyl Overdose Arrested In Deadly DUI Crash Hours Later
A Southern California man has been arrested on suspicion of causing a fatal DUI crash that occurred just hours after he left a hospital for treatment of a fentanyl overdose, authorities said Thursday. Kyu Chen, 61, died in the crash around 4 a.m. on Sept. 27 in Irvine. She was on her way to work when her Prius was broadsided by a Mercedes driven by a 21-year-old man named Luis Marcial Diaz of Irvine. Officials accuse Diaz of running a red light at Sand Canyon Road and Irvine Center Drive in the City of Irvine. Prosecutors said the man was coming from a hospital after being saved from overdosing on fentanyl. "Instead of taking that near-death experience to heart, he continued to engage in incredibly dangerous behavior and it cost Mrs. Chen her life,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. The defendant was arrested Tuesday and remains jailed on more than $1 million bail. If convicted as charged, he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life. The defendant had a previous DUI arrest in Huntington Beach in 2019. "Drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in California can be given what is known as a Watson advisement that informs them that if they kill someone while driving under the influence they can be charged with murder," the Orange County District Attorney said in a news release. NBC 4

N.Y. Prosecutors To Seek Charges Against Robert Durst In 1982 Disappearance Of First Wife
Prosecutors in New York will seek criminal charges against Robert Durst in connection with the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathie McCormack, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation. The Westchester County district attorney's office will convene a grand jury within the next few weeks to weigh charges against the 78-year-old, who was convicted of murder in Los Angeles last month, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media. During a five-month trial in Inglewood, L.A. County prosecutors repeatedly invoked McCormack's disappearance as the motive behind Durst's decision to gun down his close friend, Susan Berman, inside her Benedict Canyon home in 2000. Police have long believed that Durst killed McCormack in 1982 and that Berman placed a phone call that obscured the timeline of her disappearance. The Westchester County district attorney's offices and Durst's lead defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.  Los Angeles Times

North Carolina Police Chief Pledges More Patrols, Cameras To Tackle Rise In Violent Crime
In response to an uptick in violent crime, Raleigh police will conduct more patrols and install more cameras in parts of the city seeing "repeat calls of violence," Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said Wednesday. Patterson spoke about her strategy for tackling violent crimes like homicides and aggravated assaults during a news conference outside the Raleigh Police Department's Northwest District. She also discussed the number of crimes that occurred between July 1 and Sept. 30, as part of a new initiative to share and analyze crime statistics every quarter. Patterson was named the new police chief this summer and was sworn in Aug. 12. Wednesday was her first quarterly crime briefing. Raleigh saw 12 homicides during the third quarter of 2021, up from the nine homicides recorded in the third quarter of 2020, and four during the same period in 2019. "I believe what we are experiencing with homicides, unfortunately, is part of a disturbing national trend based on increases in gun violence that is leading to lives being lost," Patterson said. Four of the 12 homicides occurred at bars, nightclubs or sweepstakes locations, Patterson said, and that has prompted police to "look more closely at the activity at these locations and the kind of people that are attending them." The News & Observer

Public Safety News

LAFD Responds To Two Rubbish Fires Early Thursdsay Morning
The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a rubbish fire at the intersection of Abbot Kinney Boulevard and Electric Avenue early Thursday morning. The fire was called in by someone passing by around 4:03 a.m., according to the LAFD. Engine 63 was called to the fire. It took firefighters about 30 minutes to put the fire out. A large homeless encampment is located at the location of the fire. Crews were then called to a rubbish fire 45 minutes later at the 4200 Block of South Lincoln Boulevard, according to LAFD. No further details are available for either fires.  WestSide Current

Fire Crews Prepare Ahead Of Red Flag Warning And High Fire Danger
Firefighters have been working to get ahead of the first red flag warning of the fall for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Strong Santa Ana winds, hot temperatures and low humidity are expected to arrive Friday. While fire crews have made good progress on the Alisal fire burning for a fourth night in Santa Barbara County, this latest warning could cause additional problems. “We can see really explosive fire behavior when you align that wind with that continuous fuel bed and topography that's difficult to get into and engage,” Robert Garcia, the Angeles National Forest Fire Chief, said. The Angeles National Forest has already shutdown Chaney Trail in Altadena, which leads to many popular hiking spots because of the red flag fire weather. “It's frustrating when the trail's closed, but I see a lot of people up here who aren't very smart about what they're doing,” runner Jay Fisher said. Fisher, who runs in the area often, said it would be a shame to see another wildfire sparked by irresponsible behavior. CBS 2

70,000 Californians Have Died From COVID-19
COVID-19 has now killed 70,000 Californians, illustrating the pandemic's still-deadly consequences even as its latest wave recedes. While that overall death toll is the highest in the nation, other large states have seen cumulative death rates over the course of the pandemic that far surpass California's. The Golden State's cumulative pandemic fatality rate — 178.5 deaths for every 100,000 residents — is the 35th-highest. By comparison, rates are 284.4 in New York, 278.2 in Florida, 240.5 in Texas and 235 in Pennsylvania, according to data compiled by The Times. Nonetheless, the scale of California's loss is staggering — equivalent to emptying an entire mid-sized city such as Palo Alto, San Clemente, Camarillo or Lynwood. “It's heartbreaking to know that we still have so many premature and largely preventable deaths each week as a result of COVID,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said during a recent briefing. Since June 20, the start of summer, the coronavirus has killed roughly 7,000 Californians. As of Thursday, the overall death toll in the state is 70,010. Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

L.A. City Council Members Push For Measures To Monitor And Prevent Heat-Related Deaths
Members of the Los Angeles City Council are urging new measures to protect residents from extreme heat, citing a recent Los Angeles Times investigation that revealed the state has failed to adequately address the health dangers of worsening heat waves or accurately count heat-related deaths. City Councilman Paul Koretz introduced a motion this week directing the city's Emergency Management Department, among other actions, to report back on the status and cost of a surveillance system to track “when and where heat-related deaths are occurring, the identification of vulnerable populations in those locations, and the development of plans to minimize to near-zero deaths related to heat.” Koretz said in an interview that his motion was inspired by The Times' reporting and made him realize that “people are dying from the heat, and we're really not focused on it.” The reason, at least in part, is due to a lack of information on where to focus government resources to reduce the death toll. “We really now can see what's coming, and we'd be idiots not to act to prevent it,” he said. Extreme heat is one of the deadliest consequences of global warming. But in a state that prides itself as a climate leader, California chronically undercounts the death toll and has failed to address the growing threat of heat-related illness and death, the Times investigation found. Los Angeles Times

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: