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

January 6, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Prop. 47 targeted by Dem, GOP lawmakers
On Tuesday, Democratic Assemblymember Rudy Salas of Bakersfield introduced a bill that, if passed by state lawmakers and a majority of voters, would reverse a key aspect of Prop. 47 by moving the felony threshold for petty theft and shoplifting from $950 back to $400. Indeed, a few hours after Salas unveiled his bill, a group of Republican state lawmakers — including Assemblymembers Kevin Kiley of Rocklin, James Gallagher of Yuba City and James Patterson of Fresno — introduced a proposal to repeal Prop. 47 altogether. CalMatters

Austin judge sets $50k bond for child sex predator after previous judge recommended $1 million
A homeless, convicted sexual predator, arrested in Austin, Texas, for felony sexual assault of a child had his bond set at $50,000 by a magistrate judge in late December, despite a previous judge having earlier recommended a $1,000,000 bond. Low bail set by judges for sexual offenders like Martin leaves Austin officers with "a sense of hopelessness," Berry, who is running as a Republican for a seat in the Texas state legislature, added. Fox News

3 Injured In Van Nuys Shooting: LAPD
Three people were wounded in a shooting in Van Nuys Wednesday night, leaving at least one of them in critical condition, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The three victims, whose names, ages and genders were not released, were shot at about 7:30 p.m. in the 14600 block of Leadwell Street, according to Officer Cervantes. One of the victims is in critical condition, and the condition of the other two is unknown, Cervantes added. No information about the shooter or shooters was available. KTLA 5

Chatsworth Driver Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder In Deaths Of Two Bicyclists
A Chatsworth man has been identified as the driver of a Toyota Tacoma investigators said was involved in a hit-and-run that killed two bicyclists Tuesday evening, Los Angeles Police officials said Wednesday. Nelson Rodriguez, 58, was arrested on suspicion of murder and held on a $4 million bail. The victims have not been publicly named pending family notification, but have been described as a woman in her 30s and a man in his 50s, according to a police news release. Detectives believe Rodriguez was traveling westbound on Plummer Street in Chatsworth when he collided near Lurline Avenue with both bicyclists who were traveling the same direction. He allegedly fled the scene and was involved with multiple traffic collisions before eventually hitting a wall at a nearby intersection, where he was detained by witnesses until police arrived. The LAPD declined to immediately say if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the collisions. The investigation was ongoing. Los Angeles Daily News

LA Area Police, Fire Employees Out Sick Amid COVID Surge
Hundreds of Los Angeles-area police officers, firefighters and emergency responders were sick or quarantining Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19 amid a surge in confirmed cases in the region, according to media reports. More than 500 Los Angeles Police Department employees were out, as well as 201 city fire department workers, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department had 573 employees out, of which were 399 sworn deputies, as of Wednesday. "That's a big chunk of people," Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during a Facebook Live stream. "But that's not close to what we had last year with the Delta variant, so this is good news." LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the newspaper the figures for his agency were well below the peak of cases in January 2021. An LAPD spokesman said the department has not been impacted by the staff reductions. "The department is prepared to make adjustments to our staffing, including the reallocation of human resources in the event it becomes needed, however we are not at that point," LAPD Capt. Stacy Spell told the Times. "We continue to meet the demands needed and will ensure Angelenos' public safety needs are met." FOX News

Man Sentenced To 24 Years To Life In Prison For Crash That Killed Three
A man with a prior DUI conviction was sentenced Wednesday to 24 years to life in state prison for causing a fiery crash in South Los Angeles that killed two young children and their father and seriously injured another child in 2018. Jose Manuel Garcia, 34, of Los Angeles, pleaded no contest last Dec. 3 to three counts of second-degree murder and one count of DUI causing injury within 10 years of another DUI offense. Garcia ran a red light on April 28, 2018 at the intersection of South Hoover and West 76th streets and struck a minivan carrying a family of five, authorities said. The minivan burst into flames, and Juan Reynoso, 34, and two of his children — 5-month-old Sebastian and 7-year-old Emma — died at the scene. Reynoso's wife and then-9-year-old son, Julian, survived the crash, with the little boy suffering major burn injuries and undergoing numerous surgical procedures since then, according to Deputy District Attorney Yoobin Hernandez. The boy, who lost all or portions of nine fingers, received a set of prosthetic hands in June 2019 that had been created for him by a team of engineering students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Exclusive: ‘You're Not A Good DA:' Loved Ones Upset After Gascón Refuses To Charge Woman In Norwalk Crash That Killed Mother And Her Daughter
The cars zipping past his brother's home only remind Juan Zuniga that he is in a world devoid of his best friend. “For somebody to just take her away from me like that — I feel very lost,” he said. On Sunday morning, Zuniga's long-time girlfriend Shannon Alvarez, 50, and her 13-year-old daughter, Ashley, were driving in their Chevrolet Camaro when they were struck by a Dodge Charger at the intersection of Foster and Studebaker Roads. “She would have been so devastated that Ashley passed away,” said Zuniga. “In a sense, I think that maybe God knew that and that's why he took her too.” Much to the dismay of the friends and family of the victims, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office refused to charge a Vegas woman allegedly responsible for a fatal crash in Norwalk that left Alvarez and her daughter dead. According to investigators, 26-year-old Brittany Lopez was driving without a license when she allegedly sped past a red light and collided with two vehicles: the Alvarezs' Chevy Camaro and one other car. Alvarez and her daughter died later that day after they were transported to the hospital. Lopez and the driver of the other vehicle suffered minor injuries. Investigators also believe that Lopez was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the crash, but are waiting for toxicology reports to confirm. Even without the toxicology reports, investigators arrested Lopez for vehicular manslaughter shortly after she was treated for her injuries. CBS 2

Search To Resume For Missing West LA Mother Presumed Dead
The excavation of part of a landfill in Castaic in search of the remains of a woman who disappeared two months ago from downtown LA was expected to resume next week, following delays caused by heavy rains and other logistics issues. Heidi Planck, 39, was last seen on security video with her dog near a high-rise apartment building at 12th and Hope streets Oct. 17, and the LAPD said it appeared she died soon after the video recording was made during an unspecified incident inside the building. Detectives from the Robbery Homicide Division obtained a search warrant for the landfill and began to unearth and search through trash Nov. 29 using excavators, heavy machinery, and hand tools. Several law enforcement sources told NBC4's I-Team that nothing significant had been found to date, and relayed that some investigators -- who've spent day after day raking through tons of trash and debris -- were growing worried they'd missed an important clue. NBC 4

2 Women Tied Up, Held At Gunpoint During Sherman Oaks Home Invasion
Two women were taken away in an ambulance Thursday after being tied up and held at gunpoint during a home-invasion robbery in Sherman Oaks. A housekeeper and her friend at a home on Sherwood Place near Witzel Drive woke up at about 2 a.m. to find at least two armed men ransacking the home, according to police. The women were held at gunpoint and tied up. The men took off about 20 minutes later. The women's cell phones were taken during the home invasion, and they used a Ring camera to get help from the homeowner, who was not at the property at the time. They were taken away from the scene in an ambulance for treatment of minor injuries. Police did not say what else may have been taken from the property. Detectives remain at the scene, combing through surveillance video and looking for leads about the getaway vehicle. CBS 2

Man Taken Into Custody After Barricading In Sun Valley Gas Station
A man suspected of attempting to rob a Sun Valley gas station was taken into custody Wednesday evening after barricading inside the building for more than two hours. Officers responded to the gas station at the intersection of Roscoe Boulevard and Webb Avenue about 3:50 p.m. after receiving a call from a worker who said the man was attempting to steal money from the cash register, police said. The worker fled the scene and locked herself in an employee section of the station before officers arrived, KCAL9 reported. The man barricaded inside the station, but eventually surrendered to police and was taken into custody about 6:45 p.m. His name was not immediately released. No injuries were reported in the attempted robbery.

LA Police Warn Auto Thefts Have Soared To Record High In County, City
Auto thefts have soared to a record high across Los Angeles County and the City of L.A., according to Los Angeles Police. Officials said crooks are targeting certain car makes and models. "We've definitely seen an increase in auto thefts of over 40% for the last two years," said Detective Juvey Mejia with Los Angeles Police. Police said these are the top five types of cars thieves are stealing: 1997 Honda Civic, 1998 Honda Civic, 1999 Honda Civic, 2000 Honda Civic, and 1997 Honda Accord. As for trucks and SUVs, police said these are the top five being targeted: 2001 Chevy Silverado, 2002 Chevy Silverado, 1999 Honda CR-V, 2000 Honda CR-V, and 2001 Honda CR-V. According to police, there's also been a rise with 2010 and 2021 Hyundais and Kias. Police said the cars have one thing in common. "They're locking mechanisms on the doors and on the ignition system there, so easily able to be defeated that the word has spread out. The crooks have figured that out," said Mejia. ABC 7

Help Needed To Find Los Angeles Man Missing Since November
Los Angeles Police Department officials are seeking public help in locating a missing Los Angeles man. Christian Thomas Sanford, 31-years-old, was last seen on November 23, 2021. According to the LAPD Missing Person Report, Sanford is 5-foot, 9-inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information on his whereabouts was asked to contact the LAPD Missing Persons Units at (213) 996-1800. CBS 2

So Many Street Lights Have Been Stolen From The Glendale-Hyperion Bridge, LA Is Taking The Rest Down
Following a series of thefts of nearly century-old bronze street lights from the Glendale-Hyperion Viaduct, the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting Wednesday decided it will remove and try to preserve the remaining lights. Officials first learned of the street lights being targeted on Sept. 13, when three lights were stolen over a span of three nights, according to Elena Stern, public information director for the Department of Public Works. An additional seven lights were stolen as of Sept. 27, and as of Wednesday a total of 22 lights had been stolen, including several in the last 10 days, Stern said. The Bureau of Street Lighting put an additional 18 lights from the bridge into storage as a precaution against future thefts, but about 25 to 35 lights remained on the bridge, according to Stern. She said Wednesday afternoon that officials decided the bureau will remove and try to preserve the remaining lights. Some stretches of the bridge are already equipped with temporary lighting, and officials are working to install temporary lighting on the rest of the span. The Los Angeles Police Department is working with the Bureau of Street Lighting to investigate the thefts. FOX 11

Venice Residents Frustrated Over Homeless Tents Reappearing They're back.
Months after the city cleared out homeless encampments from the Venice boardwalk, neighbors are seeing new tents pop up along the sidewalks and on the beach. Just last summer, hundreds of unhoused people and their tents were removed from large encampments along the Venice boardwalk and moved to supportive housing. Now frustrated residents say they feel they're back to square one. They say homeless encampments have spread throughout the community and many don't feel safe. "It's almost beyond frustration. It's comical," said resident Dave Turner. "The mismanagement of it has not served anyone well." Turner says residents have not received enough help from the city officials. Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents Venice, has faced backlash over his handling of the homeless crisis. Critics accuse the councilman of inaction that they say has led to a growing homeless population in their neighborhoods. In August, as part of a program spearheaded by Bonin's office, more than 200 unhoused people living in a large encampment on the boardwalk were moved into housing. But residents say many of the homeless did not leave. ABC 7

Legally Armed Citizen Thwarts California Smash-and-Grab Attempted Robbery
A legally armed Southern California jewelry store owner thwarted an attempted smash-and-grab robbery by four men. Four suspects entered a jewelry store in Upland last Thursday just after 2:30 p.m. and deployed bear spray on everyone inside, police said. After the owner brandished a legally possessed firearm, the suspects took off in a getaway vehicle waiting outside. No one in the business was seriously injured. While working to identify and apprehend the suspects, investigators were contacted by detectives from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department - Chino Hills Station, who said they had reason to believe these suspects were also responsible for other recent violent robberies in Claremont and Chino Hills. Upland PD also learned that most of the suspects involved in the robbery were associated with a local criminal street gang. At the same time Upland police located the suspects' vehicle, SBSO deputies located multiple suspects in the city of Ontario that were allegedly involved in the aforementioned robberies, including three who were allegedly involved in the Upland attempted robbery. Upland police executed a search warrant at an apartment in Upland, where the fourth suspect was taken into custody. FOX 11

California LEO Recruit Killed In Highway Shooting In Oakland
An Alameda County Sheriff's recruit was killed Tuesday in a shooting along an Oakland highway, according to KTVU. The recruit, who was identified as a 28-year-old male, was driving home to San Francisco after a day of class, police said. He had been expected to graduate in February. Investigators said the man had been shot and then veered into a guardrail. Few details were released and no arrests had been made as of Wednesday morning. Sgt. J.D. Nelson called the killing a “senseless murder.” “You see these stories all the time, sadly,” Nelson told KTVU. "As a guy whose grown up here, it's hard for me to believe all these acts of violence happen, repeatedly, over and over and over again. And today it hit home. And it's just awful.” The recruit was wearing plainclothes and driving his personal car, Nelson said. On Twitter, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office shared a video of the recruit's casket, draped with an American flag. “We are heartbroken and disturbed by this senseless act of gun violence,” the agency wrote. The California Highway Patrol is in charge of the ongoing investigation.  PoliceOne

Burglary Suspect Kills K-9, Stabs Officer Before He Is Fatally Shot
A Seattle police officer fatally shot a burglary suspect who stabbed and killed a police dog and stabbed another officer in the face, the Seattle Police Department said. The Seattle Times reports that the department's K-9 team responded to a report of a man with a machete and knife breaking into a residence shortly after 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Assistant Chief Tom Mahaffey said. The team saw the suspect and began a brief pursuit, Mahaffey said. A few blocks away, an altercation ensued, and the suspect stabbed and killed the police dog and stabbed an officer, he said. Another officer arrived and shot the suspect, who died at the scene. The officer who was stabbed in the face was treated on-site, Mahaffey said. Police did not immediately identify the suspect or the officers. The residents of the home were not physically injured, Mahaffey said. The shooting will be investigated by the Force Investigation Team, the Seattle Police Department said. Representatives of the Office of Police Accountability and the Office of Inspector General also responded to the scene Wednesday afternoon. Officers' body-camera video footage is expected to be released within 72 hours, per department policy.  Associated Press

Public Safety News

LA County Firefighter Critically Injured During Structure Fire In Rancho Palos Verdes
A firefighter was critically injured after a structure fire in Rancho Palos Verdes overnight. The fire was reported in a residential area along Tarapaca Road near the Deane Dana Nature Center, but additional details were not immediately available. The Los Angeles County Fire Department said the firefighter was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. The nature of the injuries was not disclosed. Some police vehicles and fire trucks were still at the scene around 5 a.m. Thursday, but the fire already appeared to be extinguished.  ABC 7

'Flurona' In California: Testing Site In LA County Confirms First Known Local Case
A COVID-19 testing site in Los Angeles County confirmed the first known local case of the "flurona," – a combination of the flu and the coronavirus. Officials at the 911 COVID-19 testing site in Brentwood said a child tested positive for both Influenza A and SARS-CoV-2. In addition, the boy's mother tested positive for COVID-19 the next day. The two had just returned from a family vacation in Cabo San Lucas. However, officials say the other family members tested negative for COVID-19. Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses. "Concurrent infection with more than one respiratory virus is exceedingly common and there is no reason to expect that SARS-CoV-2 should be an exception to this rule. We have seen SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza multiplex test results where both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 were positive," the LA County Health Department stated. "Our new year's resolution was to flatten the curve. And now, simply put, it's now turned into a nightmare. The technicians are fatigued. Sometimes it feels like there's no end in sight," said Steve Farzam, the COO of 911 COVID Testing. The CDC reported that influenza vaccination rates are lower this year than in previous years. FOX 11

Los Angeles County Has The Highest COVID-19 Infection Rates In California; See Where Every Other Region Lands
The vaccine deployment in December 2020 signaled a turning point in the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of May 2021, 40% of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated. But as vaccination rates lagged over the summer, new surges of COVID-19 came, including delta in the summer of 2021, and now the omicron variant, which comprises the majority of cases in the U.S. Researchers around the world have reported that omicron is more transmissible than delta, making breakthrough and repeat infections more likely. Early research suggests this strain may cause less severe illness than Delta and the original virus, however, health officials have warned an Omicron-driven surge could still increase hospitalization and death rates—especially in areas with less vaccinated populations. The United States as of Jan. 4 reached 828,344 COVID-19-related deaths and nearly 56.5 million COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Currently, 62% of the population is fully vaccinated, and 33.4% have received booster doses. Stacker compiled a list of the counties with highest COVID-19 infection rates in California using data from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, with Los Angeles County landing at the top. Counties are ranked by the highest infection rate per 100,000 residents within the week leading up to Jan. 3, 2021. Cumulative cases per 100,000 served as a tiebreaker. KTLA 5

California Extends Mask Mandate Through February 15
Due to the continually rising numbers of positive COVID-19 cases, the state of California has extended the current mask mandate through at least February 15. Along with the length of the original mandate, imposed on December 15 and set to expire on January 15, this extension will now push the mandate through a full two months. The mandate is directed for all indoor spaces, including gyms, salons, movie theaters, restaurants and so on, for everyone — vaccinated or not. California Health and Human Services indicated that the extension comes in large part due to the surge in hospitalizations and Coronavirus infections, especially with the Omicron variant, which is highly-transmissible. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly noted that this extension comes in light of the drastic amount of hospitalizations due to COVID-19, with the numbers reaching over 8,000 on positive Coronavirus patients alone. Overall, there are more than 51,000 Californians hospitalized — both non-COVID and COVID patients — on Wednesday. This number is less than 2,000 off the winter surge totals from 2020. CBS 2

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: