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 7, 2022
Law Enforcement News

LA County Firefighter Dies After Being Pulled From Burning House In Rancho Palos Verdes
A Los Angeles County firefighter has died from critical injuries he suffered while battling a house fire in Rancho Palos Verdes, officials announced Thursday. He has been identified as 47-year-old Jonathan Flagler, who had been a firefighter for 21 years - first serving 19 years with the city of Vernon and then moving to the county agency in October 2020. He is survived by his wife Jenny and two sons, ages 15 and 13. "I join with the Flagler and LACoFD families in mourning the sudden passing of Fire Fighter Flagler," said Interim Fire Chief Anthony C. Marrone. "It is always a tragedy to lose one of our own in the line of duty. Fire Fighter Flagler made the ultimate sacrifice; his bravery and courage will never be forgotten." The fire was reported around 3 a.m. in the 30700 block of Tarapaca Road, according to the L.A. County Fire Department. The residents of the home were already outside when crews arrived and moved in to put out the flames. During a press conference, officials said the fallen firefighter was pulled out from inside the burning home. "The smoke and the fire overcame my member. He put out a mayday for assistance from the other firefighters that were at scene and they were able to quickly locate him, rescue him and then start the life-saving procedures," Marrone said. ABC 7

LA Fire And Police Departments At Staffing Levels ‘Needed To Keep Angelenos Safe,' Mayor Says
Los Angeles' police and fire departments remain at adequate staffing levels to keep residents safe, despite hundreds of personnel quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19, Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference Thursday with the city's police and fire chiefs. The Los Angeles Police Department, which has about 9,500 sworn officers, currently has 505 officers at home quarantining after testing positive for the virus, Garcetti said. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said the average recovery time for LAPD employees to return to work is about three weeks. Only one of the employees off-duty with the virus is hospitalized, however, and that person is in "extremely grave'' condition, Moore added. The Los Angeles Fire Department, with a total of nearly 3,800 employees, has 299 sworn and civilian personnel off-duty due the virus. A few weeks ago, only about 24 employees were off-duty due to COVID-19, LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said. Despite the surge in COVID-19 cases across the county and within departments tasked with ensuring public safety, Garcetti said Angelenos shouldn't worry that the police and fire departments are unable to respond to calls for service. "Both LAPD and LAFD have maintained staffing levels that are needed to keep Angelenos safe. Let me repeat that, we've maintained staffing levels to make sure you, your family, our communities are safe,'' Garcetti said. NBC 4

Los Angeles Mansion Burglarized, Occupants Zip-Tied as Home Ransacked
Two house-sitters were zip-tied by three masked, armed robbers who ransacked a multi-million dollar mansion in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley overnight Wednesday, according to reports. The women work for a social media influencer who was in New York at the time. The homeowner also shares custody of a child with a well-known record producer who has worked with celebrities like Beyoncé, according to FOX 11 in Los Angeles.  Fox News

Police Arrest 27-Year-Old Illinois Homicide Suspect On Venice Boardwalk 
The Los Angeles Police Department Beach Unit Arrested a dangerous Illinois fugitive late Wednesday. Police say Gregory Hopkins, 27, of Carbondale IL, was arrested on homicide charges at Ocean Front Walk and Sunset Avenue on January 5 at 11:30 p.m. Investigators with the Carbondale Police Department said Hopkins killed his 26-year-old wife Gloria Hopkins. According to police, Gloria's body was discovered at her home after a welfare check earlier this week. Investigators determined Hopkins fled from Carbondale and traveled to Venice. The LAPD Beach Unit arrested Hopkins on Wednesday.  WestSide Current

Actor Robert Mosca Killed In New Year's Day Argument In NoHo
A working actor was murdered as the New Year kicked off following a confrontation in North Hollywood. Friends are speaking out as police hunt for the killer. As investigators continue to process any clues that could reveal who killed 50-year-old Robert Mosca, his friends are trying to process how. The Philadelphia native worked on "Dr. Ken" as an extra, and on "The People vs. OJ Simpson" in pursuit of his Hollywood dreams. "He was not one of these people that sat around waiting for the phone call, like he was out there every day, every other day, trying to make things happen," said one of Mosca's friends, Brian DiLoreto. Mosca's life was tragically cut short just over an hour after the start of 2022 near Vineland Place and Sarah Street in North Hollywood. The Los Angeles Police Department says a person went up to Mosca and the two people he was with. At some point, Mosca and that individual confronted each other and then that person stabbed Mosca, according to police. Friends don't believe he knew the homicide suspect and say they wouldn't be surprised if his life ended with the same values as to how he lived. ABC 7

Terrified Beverly Hills Residents Flock To Buy Guns From City's Only Firearms Store As LA Crime Soars Thanks To Woke DA's Policies
As Long Angeles crime spirals out of control, even some of the city's wealthiest residents have flocked to Beverly Hills' only gun store to buy firearms to protect themselves and their belongings. Beverly Hills Guns first opened by appointment only in July 2020, and has seen upscale residents from Santa Monica to the Hollywood Hills increasingly in a panic following some high-profile smash and grabs and violent home invasions in recent weeks, Los Angeles Magazine reports. Many are self-proclaimed progressives who've never even held a gun before, but who've been so spooked by soaring crime in the famously wealthy enclave that they've decided to arm themselves. Some have also discussed more elaborate security measures, such as armored cars, safe rooms and bulletproof glass inside their homes, after some celebrities, including a star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and a BET host were stalked by robbers into their homes. Jacqueline Avant, 81, a philanthropist and the wife of music legend Clarence Avant, was also killed in a home invasion robbery and shooting earlier this month. 'Everyone has a general sense of constant fear, which is very sad,' said Beverly Hills Guns owner Russell Stuart. 'We're used to this being like Mayberry.' He was referring to the peaceful fictional town from The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD.   The Daily Mail

Could Jeffrey Dahmer Have Killed An Eau Claire Porn Actor? A Filmmaker And Los Angeles Detective Are Re-Examining A Possible Connection.
Could infamous Milwaukee serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer have committed one more unconfessed mutilation murder? After a new witness responded to a true crime podcast, a filmmaker and a detective in Los Angeles have been re-examining Dahmer's possible connection to the unsolved death of a gay porn actor last seen on Halloween weekend 1990. "Is there a trail of Dahmer to LA? Has it been exhaustively checked out? No," says the filmmaker, Rachel Mason. "We have one person in L.A. saying he was here." Eau Claire native William Newton moved to Los Angeles in the mid 1980s. He performed in gay porn videos as Billy London and was a regular at Rage, a nightclub at the center of West Hollywood's gay scene. He was last seen at Rage on Oct. 28, 1990. The next day, a transient found parts of Newton's dismembered body in a trash bin about 3 miles down Santa Monica Boulevard. He was 25. On the 30th anniversary of Newton's murder, it was featured on the L.A. podcast. The hosts solicited any information that might restart the investigation. Ron Wheeler contacted the show, and later police. Los Angeles Police Department cold case Detective Jim Lamberti said Wheeler recounts talking with an attractive stranger from the Midwest at Rage before noticing the man leave with Newton. When Dahmer's face was all over the news after his arrest about a year later, Wheeler told Lamberti, he recognized him as the man who left with Newton. Yahoo! News

An Infamous Heist Revisited: One Mystery That Remains Unsolved
A task force made up of Los Angeles police detectives and agents from the FBI and IRS was able to recover only around $5 million from the theft, mostly in the form of homes, cars and other valuables. Authorities surmised that the rest was either spent at gambling tables in Las Vegas or burned because the culprits realized many bills had numbers that easily could be traced. “Unfortunately, despite their extraordinary efforts, over $10 million is still unaccounted for,” then-U.S. Atty. Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in 2001, four years after the robbery. “I encourage anyone with information about these funds to contact the FBI.” Allen Pace III was sentenced to 24 years and two months in federal prison for the brazen heist. Pace was also ordered to pay back the millions he and his five accomplices stole. U.S. District Judge Lourdes Baird characterized the sentence as “a very long time, a very serious sentence,” saying that she wanted to punish Pace for showing no remorse and for denying that he was behind the robbery. Of the sentences given to all the convicted robbers, Pace's was the longest. Erik Damon Boyd of Buena Park was sentenced to more than 17 years. The others received between eight and 10 years. Eugene Lamar Hill Jr., who had rented the U-Haul used in the crime, also offered prosecutors the names of a lawyer and his former paralegal who were subsequently indicted on charges of money laundering. The pair were accused of writing more than 50 checks totaling more than $1.4 million on behalf of two suspects for investments and of laundering money used to make down payments on homes. Los Angeles Times

Jury Begins Deliberating Fate of Felon Accused Of Shooting, Paralyzing Man
Jury deliberations got underway Thursday in the trial of a convicted felon accused of shooting a possible gang rival during a dispute outside a Moreno Valley bar, leaving the victim partially paralyzed. Travis Mitchell Hicks, 30, of Los Angeles could face more than 30 years in state prison if convicted of the 2018 attack in front of the S Bar & Grill in the 23500 block of Sunnymead Ranch Parkway. Hicks is charged with attempted murder, firearm assault, being a felon in possession of a gun and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations — including an allegation of committing an assault resulting in paralysis of the victim. On Thursday, the prosecution and defense delivered their closing statements, after which Riverside County Superior Court Judge Stephen Gallon sent jurors behind closed doors to weigh evidence from the nearly two-week trial at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta. According to a trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney Phillip Joo, on the night of Feb. 16, 2018, the defendant went to the S Bar & Grill with a male friend and two women, including one identified by the initials “M.S.” The four encountered the victim, identified in court documents only as “A.B.,” a reputed member of the Wild Flaxx street gang in Moreno Valley.

Search For Couple Caught On Camera Hitting Redondo Beach Restaurant Owner In Dine-and-Dash
A restaurant manager at Ragin Cajun Cafe in Redondo Beach was recovering after security video shows him being struck by a car following a dangerous confrontation. The owners of that restaurant say it started after the diners left without paying their bill. Police were investigating the caught-on-camera incident as an assault with a deadly weapon. The owners of Ragin Cajun Cafe say they're known for their big portions, so when a couple showed up Monday afternoon and ordered a lot without staying long, owner Lisa Hodges said something wasn't quite right. "They ordered a few items, about $90 worth of food, and soon after they asked for some to go containers and they asked for their check," Hodges said. "What happened was they decided to dine and dash." Hodges said when the manager realized they didn't pay their bill, he hopped over the hedge to confront the couple, who was already in their car. The restaurant's security camera captured the manager standing in front of what appears to be an older model burgundy sedan. Seconds later, video shows the car strike the man. "Instead of them reversing or moving around him, they hit the gas pedal and hit him, and carried our manager about a good 30 feet to PCH. And thankfully, there was no cross traffic because he could have been thrown into PCH," Hodges said. NBC 4

Officials Want To Close More Coastal Parking Lots Overnight To Curb Crime
A new plan is in the works to close parking lots at dozens of coastal parks and beach areas overnight in hopes of reducing illegal activities there. City of San Diego officials believe it will reduce problems with late-night parties, illegal bonfires, gang activity and unauthorized camping. The parks and parking lots, which span from La Jolla to Ocean Beach, would either be physically closed by installing new security gates or posted with signs announcing the overnight closures. As the San Diego Union-Tribune reports, the Mission Beach and Mission Bay Park areas are of particular concern for officials, where they say unruly gatherings can lead to violence. Last month, an 18-year-old was shot and badly wounded during a party by the bay. In September, officials installed new lighting and increased patrols in the area near Belmont Park after a string of violence. Some local parks already have overnight restrictions, but the city will need approval from the California Coastal Commission in order to add new ones to the list. If it does, hours of the closure would either be from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. or from midnight to 6 a.m. FOX 5 San Diego

FBI Still Searching For Many Involved With Capitol Insurrection
On Jan. 6, 2021, hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump broke through police lines and stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing a panicked evacuation of top political leaders and threatening the country's peaceful transfer of power. The violent attack was an act of domestic terrorism, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Approximately 140 members of law enforcement suffered injuries in the attack, many at the hands of rioters wielding pepper spray, metal pipes and American flags fashioned into clubs. Those injuries included brain damage and crushed spinal discs. Five people ultimately died during or soon after the riot, though not all their deaths have been directly attributed to the events that day. One woman, Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed by Capitol police. More than $1.5 million of damage was done to the Capitol building. In public comments and court documents, the Justice Department has roughly put the cases into three categories: 1. Those who conspired over days, weeks and even months to attack the Capitol. 2. Those who allegedly violently attacked police, often with the use of weapons. 3. The remainder who breached the building as part of the mob, but did not commit other crimes. To date, 52 defendants have been charged with conspiracy. And 176 defendants have been charged with violence. Los Angeles Daily News

Video Shows Desperate Shootout That Wounded 2 NYPD Cops
Newly released NYPD body camera footage shows a pair of cops' fierce struggle with a Bronx gunman that ended with both officers shot. “Call a bus (ambulance)! I'm shot!” Officer Robert Holmes screamed after he wrestled suspect Charlie Vasquez to the ground during the frantic 20-second skirmish on E. 187th St. and Beaumont Ave. in Belmont on Nov. 24. “I'm shot too!” Officer Alejandra Jacobs screamed, gun still in hand, body camera video shows. Vasquez is on the ground, moaning. “My arm!” Jacobs screams. “Where are you shot?” Both cops were hit once and Vasquez was struck multiple times during the 8:10 p.m. confrontation. The NYPD has not confirmed if one of the cops was hit by friendly fire during the clash. The two officers were called to the location on a report of a man with a gun seated on a stoop outside the building. When they arrived, they found Vasquez sitting on the fenced in stoop. He was unnervingly quiet, his hands thrust in his pockets as police approached, the video shows. Holmes opened the gate and asked Vasquez to take his hands out of his pockets but instead the suspect pulled a handgun and opened fire. Vasquez fired off six shots as he and Holmes brawled down the stoop and onto the sidewalk. As shots ricocheted off the sidewalk, Jacobs squeezed off five rounds at the struggling Vasquez and Holmes, surveillance video and the newly released body camera footage show. New York Daily News

Public Safety News

Los Angeles County Reports Record-Breaking 37,215 Daily New COVID Cases
Los Angeles County on Thursday reported 37,215 daily new COVID-19 cases, the highest number of daily new cases reported throughout the pandemic. However, health officials say that because the new Omicron variant causes less-significant symptoms, the case numbers are no longer the focus of concern. Instead, most experts believe the focus should instead be on COVID-19 hospital admissions. And those aren't climbing as fast. While much slower than the drastic rise in cases, hospitalizations also continued to rise in the county on Thursday, with 2,661 residents currently hospitalized with COVID-19, causing a large strain on the hospital systems. Just Wednesday, FOX 11 confirmed that 52 out of 62 hospitals that LA City Fire dispatches to are currently on diversion, closed to new patients due to lack of hospital beds and staffing. The strain on the hospitals caused County Supervisor Holly Mitchell on Thursday to plead to the public not to go to the emergency room or urgent care for COVID-19 testing. "This is a public health crisis," she said. The county on Thursday also reported an additional 30 deaths attributed to the virus. FOX 11

L.A. County's At-Home COVID Test Kit Program Paused As Lab Workers Call Out Sick; New Option To Be Announced
Los Angeles County's free, at-home testing kit program is being temporarily paused Wednesday due to lab workers calling out sick with COVID-19, authorities said. The L.A. County Home Test Collection program — which offers nasal swab kits by mail to county residents who have COVID-19 or are exposed to the virus — has been receiving some criticism online for delayed deliveries and limited supplies. Some online users have reported visiting the website to order a test kit and seeing a message saying “limit reached.” Asked about the message, L.A. County Department of Health Services said there is a daily cap of 4,000 home test kits per day to make sure the kits are sent, received and processed in a timely manner. The program initially began as a temporary service in 2020 and was relaunched amid another major surge in demand for testing over the holidays in late 2021. KTLA 5

Los Angeles, Rancho Cucamonga To Get First Electric Fire Trucks In North America
Los Angeles and Rancho Cucamonga will get the first electric fire trucks in all of North America, with L.A. intending to put its in Hollywood this year, and Rancho aiming to base its in a new fire station set to open in late 2023. “This will be the future of firefighting,” said Assistant Chief Wade White with the Los Angeles Fire Department. They will be produced by Austrian manufacturer Rosenbauer and be the first trucks to incorporate an all-electric drivetrain. Still, each will come with a small diesel engine, just in case. Currently there are only three such fire trucks — the model is call Revolutionary Technology — in the world. One is in Berlin, another is in Amsterdam and Dubai has the third. The base cost for a Rosenbauer RT is $900,000. With the added bells and whistles the two Southern California fire agencies want, their electric fire trucks will each cost just under $1.3 million. The fire truck's design will catch viewers' eyes. From the front, the truck retains the traditional look. But from the side one might mistake it for a city bus. Los Angeles' will feature the agency's traditional red coat of paint, while Rancho Cucamonga's will be white like the rest of the city's fleet. Los Angeles Daily News

L.A. Officials Hope Omicron Surge Among Public Safety Workers Fades As Fast As It Rose
Following a major spike in coronavirus cases among Los Angeles' public safety workers — including a fivefold increase in the LAPD just in the last week — city officials are ramping up overtime, canceling some leave and eyeing additional contingency plans in order to maintain critical services. They are also banking on added relief from an equally swift decline in cases in weeks to come — a hope based on early evidence elsewhere in the world that the highly contagious Omicron variant that is sweeping L.A. may subside as quickly as it surges. “There's no evidence that shows us, anywhere else in the world that's gone [through an Omicron wave] earlier, that this is something that lasts for months,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a Thursday news conference at a downtown fire station where he was flanked by his police and fire chiefs. Garcetti specifically cited signs that the Omicron wave has receded quickly in South Africa, where the variant was first identified, and said if that trend holds true in L.A., “we will see this surge peak maybe as early as the end of this week or next week, and it should come down pretty rapidly as well.” Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

Ron Galperin Seeks State Controller's Seat, Jumps Out Of LA County Supervisor Race
Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin said this week he is leaving the county supervisor's race to pursue the state controller's seat, citing the “tremendous difference” he believes he could make in that role, both locally and across the state. His experience as a city controller makes him someone who can jump into the state job, and “actually do it on Day One,” Galperin said in an interview on Wednesday, Jan. 5. “I see this as an opportunity to take my experience and the work that I've done and to really do that for the whole of the state of California,” he said. He decided to make the switch after he “came to realize that the way that I can make a tremendous difference in Los Angeles, in the city, in the county and for the whole of the state of California, is through the job of state controller,” he explained. The state seat is being vacated by termed-out Controller Betty Yee. Galperin is joining a race that already includes two Democrats — Malia Cohen, who serves on the Board of Equalization, and Monterey Park Councilwoman Yvonne Yiu — as well as Lanhee Chen, who is Republican and a former policy advisor for Republican candidates. Galperin says he is endorsed by Yee, who earlier had also endorsed Cohen. Los Angeles Daily News

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: