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 26, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Killing Of LAPD Officer Brings Scrutiny On One Of L.A.'s Oldest And Largest Gangs
Seven decades ago, Latino youths in South Los Angeles banded together to form a gang. They called themselves Florencia, after the east-west thoroughfare that ran through the heart of their territory. Years of violent conflict over that territory with other gangs lent Florencia an identity and reason for being. Over the years, demographic and social shifts have weakened many street gangs and caused some to die out altogether. Florencia did the opposite, law enforcement officials say, absorbing smaller gangs and expanding their extortion and drug dealing rackets on the orders of its leaders, who are incarcerated many hundreds of miles away. The gang is now at the center of the killing earlier this month of an off-duty Los Angeles police officer. Officer Fernando Arroyos, 27, was shot to death the night of Jan. 10 near the intersection of 87th and Beach streets. Police say he was with his girlfriend, looking at a house that he was thinking of buying, when two men robbed him at gunpoint of his wallet and jewelry. Arroyos and his assailants exchanged gunfire. The officer collapsed in an alley, mortally wounded. Luis De La Rosa Rios, Jesse Contreras, Ernesto Cisneros and Haylee Grisham have been charged in federal court with Arroyos' killing. The three men are members of Florencia-13, according to the FBI. Grisham, the girlfriend of Rios, is described as a gang associate. None could be reached for comment, and they have yet to enter pleas.  Los Angeles Times

Woman Shot In Downtown Los Angeles
Police Wednesday are investigating a shooting in a parking lot in downtown Los Angeles where an innocent bystander was struck. Officers were called at 10 p.m. Tuesday to 899 Francisco St. near the Harbor (110) Freeway where an argument between two people began and one drew a handgun and fired at the other person, said Los Angeles Police Department Officer Lizeth Lomeli. A woman who was panhandling nearby was struck by an errant round and taken to a hospital in stable condition, Lomeli said. The suspects drove away from the scene and no other information was available.

Murder Suspect Leads Police On Pursuit From Ontario To North Hollywood Following Slaying
A man accused of shooting and killing another man in Ontario is in custody after leading police on a chase all the way to North Hollywood. The shooting happened shortly before 11:30 p.m. Monday at an apartment complex in the 1700 block of East D Street, according to Ontario police. Authorities say 31-year-old Gilbert Conorquie, a resident of North Hollywood, got into an argument with the victim in front of a home, and at some point, Conorquie shot the victim several times before fleeing the scene. Officials have not identified the victim, who died at the scene. Responding officers saw Conorquie driving away from the scene of the shooting at a high rate of speed, and refused to stop after officers tried to pull him over, according to the Ontario Police Department. That's when a vehicle pursuit began. Police say Conorquie was eventually taken into custody near Lankershim Boulevard and Miranda Street in North Hollywood, after he pulled over and complied with officers' orders. A gun was recovered from Conorquie's vehicle, officials said. He was booked at the West Valley Detention Center on murder, felony evading, and several weapons charges. Authorities are asking anyone with information regarding this case to call Det. Jeff Zeen at (909) 408-1744 or (909) 986-6711. ABC 7

Pedestrian Fatally Struck By 2 Vehicles In Venice Hit-and-Run: LAPD
A male pedestrian was killed after being struck by two vehicles in a Venice hit-and-run crash last week, officials said Tuesday. The incident occurred about 12:20 a.m. Jan. 21 at Venice Boulevard and Brenta Place, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. A tan car heading west on Venice crashed into the victim, who was standing between the 1 and 2 lanes on the westbound side of the boulevard. The car continued west without stopping, police said. The impact of the first crash caused the victim to travel into the No. 2 lane, where he was struck by another vehicle, a light-colored 2012 Range Rover, police said. The driver of the second vehicle also failed to stop. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Range Rover is described as being a man who is about 20 years old, has dark blond hair, is about 5 feet 4 to 5 feet 10 inches tall and has a thin build. A reward of up to $50,000 is available to residents who provide information leading to the arrest identity, arrest and conviction of the drivers. KTLA 5

LAPD Concerned After Guns Among Items Stolen From Trains In Lincoln Heights
Guns are among the items that have been stolen from cargo containers on railroad tracks in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Monday. “People were … breaking into these containers and stealing firearms, tens of firearms,” Moore told the Police Commission. “That gave us the great concern as a source again of further violence in the city as people were capitalizing on the transport of these containers with having little or no policing or security services there.” Moore said that on Thursday, the day Gov. Gavin Newsom showed up to help bag debris and decry the thefts, the LAPD arrested six people who had been under surveillance for crimes related to the train break-ins. The issue gained national attention earlier this month as images of the debris left on the Union Pacific tracks by thieves went viral. But that did not stop the stealing, Moore said. KTLA 5

Police Arrest Suspect Who Ran Over Woman While Fleeing Downtown L.A. In Stolen Truck: LAPD
A man suspected of running over and badly injuring a pedestrian while fleeing downtown Los Angeles with a stolen vehicle has been arrested, police said Monday. The suspect, Tajon Wright Freeman, was found and arrested in Phoenix last month on local warrants, the Los Angeles Police Department announced. The hit-and-run collision happened Feb. 20, 2021, after the man stole a 2001 Toyota Tundra from the area of Seventh and Figueroa streets and was driving away from the scene. That's when the pickup truck ran over a woman who was was crossing the street at the intersection. The driver kept going, not stopping to render aid to the badly injured woman, LAPD officials said. He later ditched the truck a short distance away. The woman was taken to a hospital with severe injuries. LAPD in September shared photos of the victim in her hospital bed, where she was lying with a broken arm and visible injuries to her face. They said she was discharged from the hospital, but still faces a long road to recovery. DNA evidence left in the stolen truck pointed detectives to Freeman, prompting two felony warrants for his arrest. KTLA 5

Pacoima Woman To Plead Guilty In Drug Case Allegedly Involving Marines
A Pacoima woman is expected to plead guilty Wednesday to a federal drug charge alleging she was part of a conspiracy that distributed narcotics — including oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl — to civilians and members of the U.S. Marine Corps, one of whom suffered a fatal overdose. Jessica Sarah Perez, 25, has agreed to enter her plea to a federal count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court. Perez admitted in her plea agreement that as a member of the conspiracy, she received purported oxycodone pills containing fentanyl and other drugs from a co-defendant, and sold the narcotics to customers. Perez and four others — including two active-duty Marines — were charged two years ago in a 14-count indictment. Lance Cpls. Anthony Ruben Whisenant, 22, and Ryan Douglas White, 24, who are stationed at Camp Pendleton, were arrested Sept. 22, 2020, on the indictment charging one of the Marines and three civilians with conspiring to distribute narcotics to civilians and members of the Marine Corps.

Police Getting Additional Funds To Crack Down On Illegal Street Racing
The Los Angeles Police Department, along with city leaders, said they were going to crack down on street racing who put people lives in danger and disrupt neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley. Authorities have now launched a special enforcement team to breakup this illegal activity. The illegal and dangerous sideshows, where drivers engage in 360-degree turns at full speed, draw large crowds, both in person and online. In many cases, video shows that spectators barely avoid getting hit by the cars. “I have constituents complaining, woken up in the middle of the night by a half-dozen cars going three times the speed limits, screeching around turns in what was otherwise a quiet neighborhood, and this isn't just a quality of life issue. This is an issue of people dying,” said Councilman Bob Blumenfield. Blumenfield, whose district covers the San Fernando Valley, said he is fed up with the street racing. LA City Council approved his request to allocate $100,000 from his office to pay police overtime in an effort to support specialized enforcement against street racing in his district, which covers Woodland Hills, Tarzana, Reseda, Winnetka and Canoga Park. CBS 2

Search For Suspects Who Beat, Robbed UCLA Student On Campus
A search is underway for the suspects who beat and robbed a UCLA student on campus. Campus police released an image of a man they say punched the student Monday afternoon and stole property the student had agreed to sell him. A second suspect confronted the student when he tried to get his property back. A third suspect was driving the vehicle they used to get away - a teal Saturn Aura with the license plate 8EGX642. The student only suffered minor injuries. ABC 7

Ex-DWP Executive Expected To Plead Guilty In Corruption Case
A former top executive of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is expected to plead guilty today to a federal bribery charge stemming from the probe of the city's handling of the botched launch of a DWP billing system. David H. Wright, 62, of Riverside, accepted bribes from a lawyer in exchange for supporting a $30 million, no-bid DWP contract, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Wright admitted in his plea agreement that he accepted kickbacks and participated in ``corrupt schemes'' while leading the municipal utility. The lawyer named in the case, Paul Paradis, has also agreed to plead guilty to a federal bribery count. The cases against Wright and Paradis were the first criminal charges arising out of the investigation into the billing system rollout and subsequent litigation. The failed system led to many customers receiving wildly inflated bills. Wright was the DWP general manager from September 2016 until July 2019, when prosecutors say he was removed from office by Mayor Eric Garcetti after the FBI raided the DWP and the city attorney's office. WestSide Current

SoCal Man Indicted After 39 Sticks Of Dynamite Found At Las Vegas-Area Hotel: Feds
A motorist who noticed a pickup truck and trailer outside a northern Nevada construction company the day before Christmas provided a key clue to the arrest of a California man accused of stealing explosives and driving them to suburban Las Vegas, federal authorities said Tuesday. Evan Ray Atkinson, 38, was arrested Jan. 4 at a hotel in Henderson and indicted Jan. 20 in U.S. District Court in Reno on multiple charges including theft, possession, improper storage and transport of explosive materials, according to prosecutors and court documents. Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou said in a statement that Atkinson was arrested at a Wyndham suites property where court records say federal agents seized 39 sticks of dynamite, more than a mile of detonating cord, fuse lighters and ignition boosters from his hotel room, pickup truck and trailer. The prosecutor and court records did not say what Atkinson allegedly planned to do with the materials. He was arraigned Monday before a U.S. magistrate judge on charges in a six-count indictment that could get him decades in prison if he is convicted. KTLA 5

Teen Charged With Murder After 12-Year-Old San Jose Girl Dies Of Fentanyl Overdose
A 16-year-old boy described by prosecutors as a drug dealer has been charged with the murder of a 12-year-old San Jose girl who fatally overdosed on fentanyl, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office announced. San Jose police arrested the boy on Tuesday. The girl became the youngest person to fatally overdose from fentanyl in Santa Clara County in 2020, according to the DA. The Santa Clara County Coroner identified her as Dalilah Julianna Mederos Guerrero. Efforts to reach her family were unsuccessful and prosecutors told KTVU that her family wished for privacy. Deputy District Attorney Donald Shearer said the girl died on Nov. 14, 2020, shortly after consuming three-quarters of a single pill that she believed was Percocet. "She was clearly looking to put her mind in a different place," Shearer said. "She was not looking for the dangerous effects of fentanyl." The prosecutor added, "Unfortunately, what your drug dealer tells you you're getting and what you get are often two different things." The boy's name was not released as he is a minor. It was impossible to contact him or his attorney as he is a juvenile and proceedings are private unless he is being charged as an adult. Prosecutors said he will be charged as a juvenile.  FOX 11

2nd NYPD Officer Dies, Days After Harlem Shooting
A New York City police officer gravely wounded in a Harlem shooting that took his partner's life last week has also died of his injuries, police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said Tuesday. Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, entered the police academy in October 2018 and was assigned to Harlem's 32nd precinct since November 2019. He made 33 arrests, police records show. “It's with great sadness I announce the passing of Police Officer Wilbert Mora,” Sewell said in a tweet. “Wilbert is 3 times a hero. For choosing a life of service. For sacrificing his life to protect others. For giving life even in death through organ donation. Our heads are bowed & our hearts are heavy." The two officers were fatally wounded Friday after they were called to a Harlem apartment by a woman who said she needed help with her adult son. The gunman, Lashawn J. McNeil, threw open a bedroom door and shot the officers as they walked down a narrow hall, authorities said. A third officer shot McNeil. The gunman, 47, died Monday, authorities said. Associated Press

Suspect Arrested After Tennessee Deputy Found Shot Dead In Her Burning Home
A Tennessee man has been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated arson in connection with the shooting of a Robertson County sheriff's deputy in Springfield, Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. James Jackson Conn, 27, was arrested Monday in Smyrna, Tennessee, about 50 miles southeast of where the body of Patrol Deputy Savanna Puckett, 22, was discovered, officials said in a news release. A motive has not been released. Conn was described as “an acquaintance” of Puckett, officials said. Puckett's body was discovered around 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23, after she missed roll-call for her shift, according to the Robertson County Sheriff's Office. “A deputy went to her residence on Highway 41N in Springfield, Tennessee, to check on her, and found her home engulfed in flames,” sheriff's office officials said. Springfield is about 30 miles northwest of uptown Nashville. “The deputy attempted to make entry into the home, however, was unable due to the extent of the fire. The fire department arrived and made entry into the residence where they found Deputy Puckett shot, and (she) was pronounced dead at the scene.” The Charlotte Observer

Public Safety News

Public Health: LA County ‘Passed The Peak' Of Omicron Cases
Local COVID-19 daily case numbers and the testing-positivity rate are trending downward, indicating Los Angeles County appears to have "passed the peak" of the Omicron variant surge, but virus transmission remains at one of the highest points of the pandemic, the public health director said Tuesday. "Over the past two weeks, fortunately, we've seen a downward trend in cases and the test-positivity rate," Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors. She said the seven-day average rate of new cases in the county was about 310 per 100,000 residents as of Monday, down from 380 per 100,000 residents a week ago. The testing-positivity rate has fallen from about 17% a week ago to roughly 14% this week. "This downward trend is encouraging, and it signals that we're likely to have passed the peak of Omicron transmission and are beginning to see a real decline in newly infected individuals," Ferrer said. FOX 11

California Appears To Pass Peak Of Omicron Variant Wave
California showed signs it turned the corner on the omicron wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with infection rates falling and hospitalizations well short of the overwhelming deluge officials feared a few weeks ago. Over 15,000 people are hospitalized with coronavirus, a huge figure but well short of last January's peak of about 22,000 and half of what officials had feared. Positivity rates are down 15% from earlier this month and the state's projection model shows the number of hospitalizations falling by half, to less than 7,700, in another month. “This omicron spread like wildfire and now it's dropping very rapidly. And that's exactly what we expect,” Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, an epidemiologist at the University of Southern California, said Tuesday. “It's like when a wildfire burns up all the fuel. There's no more fuel to burn and the wildfire goes out.” Intensive care cases take longer to develop, so the peak of about 3,000 ICU patients isn't expected for another week. The number then is projected to fall quickly, possibly below 1,000 by the end of February. The death rate will keep growing, with over 5,000 people projected to succumb in the next three weeks, before it too falls. Associated Press

Local Government News

Basic Income Program Officially In Effect; Provides $1,000 Monthly Payments To Select LA Families
The BIG:LEAP, short for  Basic Income Guaranteed: Los Angeles Economic Assistance Pilot  program, went into effect Tuesday, giving qualified families their first $1,000 installment. The program gives $1,000 in direct cash payments to 3,200 families each month for 12 months with no strings attached. The payments will be unconditional, regular, and direct cash payments to individual participants that supplement existing welfare programs. The families selected had to live in the City of Los Angeles, be at least 18 years old, have at least one dependent child or be pregnant, have experienced a medical or economic hardship related to COVID-19, and have an income level at or below the federal poverty line. For a family of four, the poverty line is an annual income of $26,500. The initiative makes Los Angeles the largest city in the United States to launch a basic income program. It was spearheaded by Councilmember Curren Price of District 9, whose office is partially funding the initiative. "It's going to be a lifeline and it's an opportunity to move beyond poverty, we hope. It's going to be a grand experiment, the largest one in our country so far," said Price. FOX 11

LA City Council May Take Step Toward Halting New Oil And Gas Drilling
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, Jan. 26, will consider taking steps toward halting new oil and gas wells in the city, and eventually phasing out existing oil and gas drilling sites as well. The council will discuss multiple recommendations and potentially direct staff to draw up two ordinances that would eventually phase out such operations entirely. Environmental activists have lauded the proposed bans, saying oil drilling causes lasting health consequences to residents — though oil companies argue the plan would cost jobs. The first ordinance would ban new oil and gas extraction. The second would phase out existing oil and gas drilling operations — but with a catch. Before LA could ban existing production, the city would have to commission a study into how to do that while best protecting the investments of oil companies that would no longer be able to operate in Los Angeles. The council would also have to consider proposed changes to the city zoning code. Both ordinances would go before the council for votes at a later date. The ongoing efforts by the city, however, are just the latest measures in the region and the state tackling the issue of oil production near homes. 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: