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 10, 2022
Law Enforcement News

LAPD Officers Pull Pilot From Plane Seconds Before Train Crash In Dramatic Video
The Los Angeles Police Department late Sunday released footage that showed police officers pulling a bleeding pilot to safety just moments before a barreling train collided with his plane stuck on the tracks. The crash occurred at about 2 p.m. in Pacoima. The Cessna 172, a single-engine airplane, landed on the Metrolink Antelope Valley line train tracks, Fox 5 San Diego reported. Rescue crews arrived at the scene and managed to extricate the plane's pilot seconds before a speeding train collided with the plane. The video showed officers from the LAPD's Foothill Division attempting to free the pilot on the railroad tracks at San Fernando Road and Osborne Street. The pilot was bleeding heavily from an injury to his head and officers pulled him about 15 feet from the plane before impact. The police department credited the "heroism and quick action" the officers took to save the man. The report said the pilot's identification was not immediately released, but he was rushed to a regional trauma center for treatment. He was the only person on board. The Cessna 172 crashed around 2:10 p.m. shortly after takeoff from Whiteman Airport in the San Fernando Valley community of Pacoima, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Photos from the scene showed the single-engine plane came to a stop with its left wing and nose touching the pavement along the railroad tracks. FOX News

Confessed Child Molester Could Serve Little Or No Time; Prosecutors Furious At LA County DA
It happened on New Year's Day 2014. James Tubbs walked into a woman's restroom at Denny's in Palmdale and hid in a stall. When a 10-year-old girl walked in by herself, he grabbed her and sexually molested her. "The assault went on until someone walked into the restroom and scared him off. He fled from the restaurant, and he went unidentified for several years until a cold DNA hit identified him as someone who was arrested in the state of Idaho," said LA County Deputy District Attorney John McKinney. During his time on the run, McKinney says Tubbs amassed a lengthy criminal record that included assaults with deadly weapons and convictions. In 2019, Tubbs was brought back to Los Angeles for prosecution on the sexual assault of the 10-year-old girl. Despite his criminal background and the sexual assault, which Tubbs admitted, he may end up serving very little time if any at all. While Tubbs is now 25, at the time of the assault, he was 17 just a few days shy of his 18th birthday. LA County District Attorney George Gascón has a policy of not charging anyone under 18 as an adult. "What is happening is our district attorney is ushering him right out the door, back onto the streets of this county and God knows where else he might roam. It's madness, it makes a mockery of our criminal justice system," says McKinney.  FOX 11

Hundreds Died In L.A. Traffic Crashes In 2021. Is Vision Zero A Failure?
Mayor Eric Garcetti's goal of ending traffic deaths by 2025 looks increasingly unattainable following another year of rising fatalities and injuries caused by motorists. According to Los Angeles Police Department data through Dec. 25, 289 people were killed in traffic collisions last year, 21% more than the same period in 2020 and 19% over the same period in 2019. A total of 1,465 people were severely injured, a 30% increase over the same period in 2020. The LAPD defines severely injured as needing to be transported from the collision. The city's streets are increasingly dangerous for pedestrians in particular, with 486 being severely injured by motorists — a 35% increase over 2020. Pedestrian deaths rose 6% to 128. The numbers frustrate transportation advocates, who've long argued that Vision Zero — a program to end traffic deaths unveiled in 2015 by Garcetti — is underfunded and given a low priority by the mayor and City Hall leaders. “We're nowhere near it,” said John Yi, executive director of Los Angeles Walks, of the goal of zero deaths. “This is a leadership failure at the city level.” While 2021 data are still being analyzed, residents of L.A.'s underserved communities are disproportionately killed in traffic crashes, according to the Department of Transportation. The “greatest risk intersections” through Dec. 25 were San Pedro Street and Washington Boulevard in South L.A., Florence Avenue and Vermont Avenue in South L.A., Oxnard Street and Van Nuys Boulevard in Van Nuys and Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, according to the LAPD. Los Angeles Times

Taco Bell Employee Fatally Shot By Gunman After Apparent Argument At Drive-Thru In South LA: Police
A gunman opened fire Saturday night in a drive-thru at a Taco Bell in South Los Angeles, killing an employee, authorities said. The shooting occurred shortly before 11 p.m. at the fast-food restaurant near the intersection of Century and Avalon boulevards, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson said. The victim was shot in the torso with a semiautomatic handgun after an apparent argument, according to investigators. Emergency responders arrived to find the employee - identified by family members as 41-year-old Alejandro Garcia - unconscious and not breathing. Relatives who spoke with Eyewitness News on Sunday said the dispute started over what they believe was a fake $20 bill. They say Garcia was working the night shift at the restaurant alongside his son. The argument started when the son allegedly refused to accept what appeared to be a counterfeit $20 bill from the suspected shooters. Garcia leaves behind three children. Family members say he worked at the restaurant one night a week to earn extra money for his family. Meanwhile, two suspects were being sought in connection with the shooting, described only as males between 20 and 25 years old. ABC 7

LAPD Continues Search For Murder Suspect After Pursuit Through San Fernando Valley
Los Angeles police were involved in a dangerous high-speed pursuit tonight of an attempted murder suspect on freeways and surface streets in the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood, but lost the suspect vehicle. The pursuit began in the Encino area just after 6:30 p.m., according to the LAPD. Police and two TV news helicopters lost track of the suspect when the car exited the Golden State (5) Freeway on Sierra Highway, near the border between Mission Hills and Santa Clarita, the LAPD reported. The search was called off at 7:09 p.m. Speeds exceeded 140 miles per hour on the freeways, according to NBC4. The suspect got on and off the 5 Freeway at times and onto surface streets in the Sylmar and Mission Hills areas It was reported that police have possibly identified the suspect but information about that person was not released. There were no details immediately available about the attempted murder that prompted the chase. It was unknown who the registered owner of the vehicle is. The car is a black Dodge Charger with Texas license plates. NBC 4

In El Sereno, Homicides Increase Amid Fears Of Gentrification
Last summer, something other than COVID-19 began to trouble Eddi Ortiz. Two Los Angeles Police Department detectives stopped by his coffee shop, Holy Grounds Coffee and Tea. They were investigating a shooting and wanted to review video footage from the security cameras. Ortiz obliged but felt unsettled. He was often hearing about cars and businesses being broken into — and now, another shooting. Ortiz's informal tally was confirmed by police statistics. Crime was getting worse in El Sereno, a tight-knit, majority-Latino section of Los Angeles wedged between Lincoln Heights, South Pasadena and Alhambra. Gun violence and homicides have skyrocketed citywide in the last two years, mirroring a surge across the nation thought to be linked in part to the social instability from a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. In 2021, Los Angeles recorded nearly 400 homicides, the highest toll since 2007, though still well below the peaks of the early 1990s. In El Sereno, eight people were killed last year — a marked increase from two or three in each of the last seven years, according to data compiled by The Times from L.A. County coroner's records. Most of the homicides were gang-related, police and city officials say. “It seems like a low number, but when you take into account that El Sereno is small in comparison to other parts of the city, it's significant,” Ortiz said of the recent killings. As elsewhere in the city, an increase in firearms, including “ghost guns” lacking serial numbers, has helped fuel the violence. Los Angeles Times

San Pedro Resident Still Shaken After Car Plows Into His Home Friday, Killing The Driver
Police said speed may have been a factor in a deadly San Pedro crash, where car plowed into a home Friday night at the intersection off West 26th Street and South Pacific Avenue, killing the female driver and startling those inside the house. Neighbors said they heard the car speeding down the street moments before it crashed into the home, causing significant damage to the structure. Mark White said he was sitting in his home last night, on the couch around 9:30 p.m., when he heard a loud crash, and was then thrown off his couch as a Kia Niro SUV slammed into his front room. A day later, White said he's still shaken. “It hit, threw me this way. The couch came this way…it was upside down,” he said. After the impact, White said he attempted to check on the driver, who was not responsive. “Me and another guy were trying to pull stuff away to see if the person in the car was alive or not. We didn't get to. The gas line was broke,” he said. Firefighters and paramedics were called to the home and found the car wedged into the building. The female driver of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene. CBS 2

Driver In Custody After High Speed Pursuit Through San Fernando Valley
The Los Angeles Police Department was in pursuit of a silver vehicle through the San Fernando Valley Sunday night. The driver was seen traveling at high speeds through Chatsworth, Winnetka and finally coming to an end in Tarzana. The LAPD airship was tracking the pursuit overhead before police units got behind the vehicle. The driver was seen driving on the opposite sides of roads and at one point coming to a dead end where he made a U-turn. The pursuit came to an end when the driver collided with the sidewalk, spinning out of control and crashing onto a nearby fence. He complied with officers and was taken into custody. The pursuit came to an end on Reseda Boulevard and Paseo Nuevo Drive in Tarzana. No other details were immediately available. NBC 4

Man, 63, Reported Missing In East Hollywood
Police sought the public's help to locate a 63-year-old man who was reported missing Friday in the East Hollywood area of Los Angeles. Gabriel Navarrete was last seen near Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center located at 1300 N. Vermont Ave., according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Navarrete is Hispanic, 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs 183 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on his 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 .

At Least 5 Wounded In Shooting At South LA Party, Suspected Gunman Killed
At least five people were wounded when a gunman opened fire at a party in South Los Angeles Sunday night. The gunman was also shot and killed. The shooting occurred at approximately 10:40 p.m. in the area of South Hill and West 35th streets. According to Los Angeles police, the gunmen exited a car, approached the party and opened fire into the crowd, hitting several people. One of the party attendees then returned fire, striking the suspect, police said. The suspect then got back in the car, drove away, and crashed a few blocks away, at Hill and 32nd streets. He was taken to a hospital by ambulance, where he died, police said. His name was not released. At least five people believed to be at the party were wounded in the shooting and transported themselves to local hospitals, police said. The extent of their injuries was unknown. It's unclear if police have identified the person who returned fire on the suspect. There was no word on a motive. The exact circumstances of the shooting were still unclear. CBS 2

One Man Dead In Compton Shooting, Shooter Remains At Large
A man was fatally shot Friday in Compton. Sheriff's deputies responded at approximately 12:57 a.m. to the intersection of Compton Boulevard and Lime Street, where they found the victim was shot in the chest, said Deputy Miguel Meza of the Sheriff's Information Bureau. Detectives discovered the man was transported to a hospital by a private vehicle. The man was pronounced dead at the hospital. His name was withheld pending notification of next of kin. A motive for the killing was unknown. No suspect information was available. Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to contact the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Man Fatally Shot In Unincorporated Gardena
Sheriff's detectives were investigating the shooting death Sunday of a man in an unincorporated section of Gardena. The shooting was reported at 1:17 p.m. in the 15600 block of South Avalon Boulevard, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy Eva Jimenez. The man died at the scene. His name was withheld pending notification of next of kin. A motive for the shooting was unknown. No suspect information was available. Anyone with information on the incident was asked to call the LASD's homicide unit at 323-890-5500. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477. Los Angeles Daily News

5 Charged In Smash-and-Grab Robberies In San Bernardino County
Five people described as Los Angeles County gang members or associates have been charged in connection with smash-and-grab robberies at San Bernardino County jewelry stories, officials announced Friday. Jahaad Crawford, 30, Dalon Laflora, 29, Gerald Francis Kay, 30 and Jonathan Ivory Williamson, 36, were arrested Dec. 30 on suspicion of a robbery at an Upland jewelry store. They were eventually charged with second-degree robbery, according to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office. During an investigation, officials determined that Laflora and Kay, along with 29-year-old Alek Emling were allegedly involved in a Chino Hills jewelry store robbery on Nov. 27. Those defendants were also charged with second-degree robbery. All five face an allegation that they are “known gang members or associates of Los Angeles County criminal street gangs,” officials said. Prosecutors also allege the robbery was committed with the intent to promote criminal conduct by gang members. LaFlora, Kay and Williamson were previously convicted of felonies in San Bernardino and L.A. counties, officials said. They face special allegations for prior felony convictions. KTLA 5

Colorado Officer Shot In Exchange With Gunman Is Released From Hospital
A Lakewood police agent, who was shot in an exchange of gunfire with a man who allegedly killed five people in Denver and Lakewood, was released from the hospital on Thursday as dozens of supporters clapped and cheered. Agent Ashley Ferris was shot on Dec. 27, in the Belmar area, in an exchange of fire with 47-year-old Lyndon McLeod. Ferris, who was shot in the abdomen, returned fire and killed the shooting spree suspect, according to police. Ferris, a U.S. Army veteran, acknowledged and thanked hospital staff members who lined the halls, clapping and cheering, as she left being pushed in a wheelchair. As she exited the building Ferris pulled back a COVID-19 facemask and flashed a broad smile. Dozens more supporters, including fellow officers, continued the exuberant show of affection. Ferris, sitting in a van, waved and said: "Thank you guys!" A handmade sign held by a person in the crowd thanked Ferris, proclaiming that she is a "Hero." Ferris is now "back into the arms of her family & friends," Lakewood police said on Twitter. "Thank you #AgentFerris for your strength & heroism." She will continue in her recovery efforts. Denver Post

Watch: Florida Deputies Rescue Woman From Flaming Car
Pasco County Sheriff's officials have released dramatic body camera video showing deputies rescuing a woman who was trapped in a burning car after a traffic crash. The crash occurred just after midnight Dec. 29 on the Suncoast Parkway on the State Road 52 overpass. The driver was trapped inside the car, which hung partially over a guardrail and was on fire. Responding deputies, who arrived before fire-rescue, used three fire extinguishers to bat down the fire, then found the woman and tugged her out amid heavy smoke. “Is someone in there,” one deputy asks as he approaches the scene. Later, he asks: “Can we break the door down?” Moments later, someone says: “I got an arm.” The woman is pulled out of the car moments later. Sheriff's spokesperson Amanda Hunter said the woman was taken to a hospital in stable condition. “We share video of this rescue to show the dangers our deputies face each shift,” the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post of the video. “We're proud of their selfless efforts to ensure the driver made it out of the car alive.” Tampa Bay Times

It's Official: Gun Deaths Hit An All-Time High In 2020
The number of gun deaths in America hit an all-time high in 2020, owing mostly to an increase in homicides, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 45,222 people died of gunshot wounds — a 14 percent jump from 2019 and the largest year-over-year rise on record. The  data , published late last month on the CDC's interactive WONDER database, demonstrates that the pace of gun violence in the United States is accelerating quickly. Firearm injury is now the 13th leading cause of death, eclipsing car crashes for the fourth year in a row, and by a larger margin than ever before. CDC mortality data is derived from death certificates collected at the state level. The age-adjusted gun death rate in 2020 was 13.6 per 100,000 people — the highest since 1994. The steep increase in gun deaths was driven largely by homicides, which spiked 35 percent between 2019 and 2020. Guns were used in a greater proportion of homicides than ever before: 79 percent, up from 74 percent in 2019. Suicides, meanwhile, remained relatively steady. Over the last decade, suicides have accounted for more than 60 percent of gun deaths, but made up only 57 percent of gun deaths in 2020. As in years past, people of color bore the brunt of American gun violence: 42 percent of firearm homicide victims in 2020 were Black males between the ages of 15 and 34, a group that accounts for only 2 percent of the population. Gun homicides of Black women jumped 51 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.  The Trace

Public Safety News

Large Fire Breaks Out Near A North Hollywood Gym
A large fire broke out at a North Hollywood commercial building Friday night. The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a call in the 6100 block of North Laurel Canyon a little after 10:45 p.m. SkyFOX was over the scene as the fire torched the building adjacent to a Gold's Gym there. More than 70 firefighters have responded to the large blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation. FOX 11

LA County Firefighters Knockdown Second Alarm Strip Mall Fire In Santa Clarita
A strip mall fire in Santa Clarita on Saturday afternoon prompted a large response from Los Angeles County Fire Department crews. They engaged with the blaze on West Lyons Avenue at around 4:45 p.m. 10 fire engines and four trucks were on the scene of the fire, which was declared a second alarm fire. Crews knocked down the fire just prior to 5:30 p.m. There are no repo rted injuries. Authorities are now investigating the cause of the fire, which was primarily located on the second floor of the strip mall. CBS 2

LA County Again Breaks Single-Day Record For COVID Cases With 45,584
Los Angeles County set another daily record with 45,584 positive COVID-19 cases Sunday, continuing a winter surge in transmission driven by the omicron variant. On Friday, health officials reported a then-record 43,712 new infections, and on Saturday they said the county had seen more than 200,000 confirmed COVID cases over the past 7 days, the highest number in one week since the beginning of the pandemic. The record numbers seem driven in part by increased testing. The county's rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 20.6%, up from 20.4% on Saturday, but down from 22.7% last Monday. Overall, 10,317,000 individuals have been tested, with 18% of people testing positive to date, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The department also reported an additional 13 deaths associated with the virus Sunday, bringing the county's cumulative totals to 1,967,443 cases and 27,785 fatalities since the pandemic began. The deaths may reflect an undercount in weekend reporting. ABC 7

Despite Omicron Variant, L.A. County Is Seeing Fewer Critically Ill Patients Compared To Last Winter
Despite an unprecedented spike in cases fueled by the Omicron variant, Los Angeles County hospitals are seeing far fewer critically ill coronavirus-positive patients than they did last winter. Officials emphasize that the healthcare system still faces serious challenges because so many people are being infected, and it's unclear how close the Omicron wave is to peaking. L.A. County ambulance services and hospitals also are contending with coronavirus-related staffing shortages as more of their workers become infected. But the early data seem to reflect the experience elsewhere — that Omicron, while far more transmissible than the previously dominant Delta variant, also tends to cause less severe symptoms, especially in those who have been vaccinated and boosted. This week marked the one-year anniversary of the most difficult period of the pandemic locally, when the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in L.A. County soared to its all-time high: 8,098, on Jan. 5. The number of people in intensive care peaked at 1,731 three days later, at a time when hospital morgues were overflowing. KTLA 5

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: