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

February 1, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Buscaino Joins Calls To Recall DA Gascón Because He's ‘Not Doing' His Job
Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino joined the calls to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón Monday. Buscaino posted a video to Twitter Monday morning with the caption, "Today, I am endorsing the recall of District Attorney George Gascón." "I believe in criminal justice reform. I believe in providing additional services and rehabilitation. But what George Gascón is doing is not that," Buscaino said in the video. "He's letting criminals out of prison early and offering lenient sentences. He's not doing the one job he was elected to do by the people of Los Angeles — prosecute crime." A recall petition was approved last Thursday. Those hoping to remove Gasón from office now have until July 6th to collect signatures from 10% of registered voters in Los Angeles County in order for the issued to be included on the ballot in the November election. This isn't the first time opposition has attempted to oust Gascón from office. Organizers failed to collect the requisite signatures by an Oct. 26 deadline. Buscaino and other critics blame Gascón's policies on a recent spike in crime in the region, including smash and grab thefts and follow home robberies. FOX 11

Man Arrested In Deaths Of Two Women During Night Out In LA Denies Sexually Assaulting Four Others
A Beverly Hills man who was arrested in connection with the deaths of a model and her friend last year pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he sexually assaulted four women in alleged attacks dating back as far as 2010. Deputy District Attorney Catherine Mariano told Superior Court Judge Victoria B. Wilson the charges involve allegations that David Brian Pearce, now 39, drugged and subsequently raped the alleged victims — who are named in the charges as Jane Doe 1 through 4. Mariano added that Pearce is "still being investigated" for the Nov. 13 death of model Christy Giles and the subsequent death Nov. 27 of Hilda Marcela Cabrales-Arzola. The judge declined defense attorney Jacob Glucksman's request to lower bail for Pearce from $3.4 million to $100,000, saying that she has to assume the truth of the charges and that she believes he is a "threat to public safety." Pearce's lawyer told the judge that one of the alleged victims "was silent for 11 years" and that the District Attorney's Office had initially declined to file charges involving the alleged crimes against two other women. He contended that a bag of cash found along with a passport in his client's car was from a recent trip to Las Vegas, and said there's been "no effort to flee or anything of that nature." FOX 11

Victims Drive To Hospital After Being Shot Outside West L.A. Hookah Lounge
An investigation is underway after two people were shot outside a hookah lounge in West Los Angeles early Monday morning. Police responded to a shooting call at 1:40 a.m. near the Byblos Mediterranean Restaurant and Hookah Bar located in the 1900 block of Westwood Boulevard. Investigators learned that two gunshot victims had called authorities after driving themselves to UCLA Medical Center, the Los Angeles Police Department stated. There was no further word on the conditions of the victims. Video from the scene showed multiple shell casings left in the street outside of the restaurant. Westwood Boulevard was closed between La Grange Avenue and Missouri Avenue during the investigation. Authorities have not released a description of the gunman or gunmen, or any vehicle that may have been involved in the incident. KTLA 5

Driver Run Over After Taking Off From Hit-and-Run Crash
In Chatsworth, Investigators Say Two separate investigations are underway in Chatsworth after a hit-and-run driver was hit by a vehicle. According to investigators, a driver was driving recklessly before he crashed into a freeway sign near the on-ramp to the 118 Freeway from Topanga Canyon. After the crash, investigators say the driver jumped out of the car and took off running. That's when officials say he was hit by another driver. The suspected hit-and-run driver was rushed to the hospital with severe injuries, according to police. Both the Los Angeles Police Department and the California Highway Patrol are investigating.  ABC 7

Developmentally Disabled Woman, 46, With Epilepsy Goes Missing in Koreatown
Authorities are asking for the public's help in locating a missing 46-year-old woman who was last seen in Koreatown. Muriel Vallejos-Flores was last seen about 12:40 p.m. Wednesday in the 900 block of South Harvard Boulevard, near Olympic Boulevard. Vallejos-Flores, who is developmentally disabled with epilepsy, lives in Koreatown, according to the California Highway Patrol. Vallejos-Flores also struggles with depression and requires someone nearby due to her active seizures and takes seizure medications. She primarily communicates in Spanish. Vallejos-Flores was described as a 5-foot, 3-inch tall Latino woman weighing 147 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing gray sweatpants and a black hoodie. Anyone with any information regarding Vallejos-Flores' whereabouts is urged to call the Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center at 800-546-3976 or the Los Angeles Police Department's Olympic Station at 213-382-9102. CBS 2

UCLA Cancels In-Person Classes After Ex-Lecturer Appears To Threaten Mass Shooting
UCLA canceled in-person classes Tuesday after a former lecturer and postdoctoral fellow sent a video referencing a mass shooting and an 800-page manifesto with “specific threats” to members of the university's philosophy department Monday. Several emails from department leaders and obtained by The Times inform students and faculty that Matthew Harris made threats toward the philosophy department and people in it. In some of the emails, sent over the course of Monday evening, department heads recommend moving to virtual learning, and multiple instructors did so, alerting students that in-person classes would be canceled. A campus alert sent shortly after midnight stated that authorities didn't have “specific information” Harris was in California. “Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, all classes will be held remotely tomorrow, Feb 1,” according to the alert. “We will keep you updated on developments.” Sherrilyn Roush, UCLA's philosophy department chair, had told faculty members to avoid holding in-person classes “until Harris' location is determined,” the Daily Bruin reported. Los Angeles Times

Man Found Shot To Death In Lynwood
A man was found shot to death in Lynwood Monday evening. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies were called just after 7 p.m. to the 3200 block of Oakwood Avenue, near the Glenn Anderson (105) Freeway, on reports of the shooting and found the man dead at the scene, according to Deputy Morgan Arteaga of the Sheriff's Information Bureau. His name was withheld pending notification of his next of kin. No suspect description was provided. Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at .

Sheriff's Deputies Investigating Discovery Of Body On LA Street
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies were investigating the discovery of a man's body on Holmes Avenue on Sunday. Authorities were dispatched to the unincorporated area of Florence-Firestone near Watts just after 4:15 p.m. When they arrived, they found the body of a man who had previously deceased inside of a vehicle, which had crashed into another parked vehicle on the side of the road. A report from the Sheriff's Information Bureau detailed that, “CHP officers and fire personnel observed that a male Hispanic in his mid- to late 40's was driving south on Holmes Avenue when he collided with a parked vehicle and was unresponsive. When they removed him from the vehicle, they found that the man was suffering from a wound to his upper body, but it was unclear whether it was a gunshot wound or a stabbing wound. The man's identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, and an investigation has been launched. Authorities did disclose that there was no weapon found at the scene, and no suspect information was available in the homicide. Anyone with information on this death was asked to call the LASD's homicide unit at (323) 890-5500. CBS 2

Man Who Died Near Watts Was Homicide Victim
A man pulled unresponsive from a vehicle that crashed into a parked vehicle in the unincorporated Florence-Firestone area near Watts Sunday was the victim of homicide. The crash was reported at 3:14 p.m. in the 9100 block of Holmes Avenue, near East 92nd Street, according to Deputy Tracy Koerner of the Sheriff's Information Bureau. “CHP officers and fire personnel observed that a male Hispanic in his mid- to late 40's was driving south on Holmes Avenue when he collided with a parked vehicle and was now unresponsive,” Koerner said. “They removed him from the vehicle and saw that he was suffering from either a stab wound or gunshot to the upper torso. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.” There was no murder weapon at the scene and there was no suspect description, he said. Anyone with information was asked to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 800- 222-8477.

Family Demands Answers After Father Is Killed In Triple Shooting At South Gate Bar
Gustavo Martinez's family describes him as an entertainer, big-hearted and a loving family man. "I can tell you that my brother is the proudest father that I know," said Miguel Martinez, Gustavo's brother. Shortly before 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 22, authorities say they found a man dead inside a bar on Tweedy Boulevard in South Gate. The family confirmed it was Gustavo. Gustavo was one of two men who were fatally shot that night; another one was wounded. There are no further details on them at this time. It was a bar Gustavo went to often. According to family members, it's within walking distance to his home. According to homicide investigators with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, an altercation took place in the parking lot of the bar, resulting in gunfire. The family has set up a  GoFundMe  for funeral services. "My brother was a very loved person by everybody in the community," said Adriana Ruiz, sister of Gustavo. Now, his family is hoping the community can help them in seeking justice. They're asking anyone with information about the case to contact the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. ABC 7

DTLA Man Sentenced To 48 Months In Prison For Credit Card Scheme
A Los Angeles man was sentenced Monday to 48 months in federal prison for his role in a scheme to fraudulently obtain American Express credit cards and use them to purchase more than a half-million dollars in goods at luxury stores. Trace Jevon "Million Dollar" Jones, 33, was also ordered to pay $521,128 in restitution to American Express, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Jones, who was a transient living in downtown Los Angeles when he was arrested in 2019, pleaded guilty in September 2020 to one federal count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to prosecutors, between roughly November 2016 and July 2018, Jones led the scheme to obtain the credit cards and make unauthorized purchases at high-end retail stores. Jones and his co-conspirators stole credit cared information and other personal information of actual American Express account holders. The group used that information to convince American Express to send out replacement credit cards in the victims' names. NBC 4

California Fire Captain, 47, Shot And Killed While Responding To Fire
A Stockton fire captain has died after being shot while responding to a fire Monday morning, police said. Capt. Max Fortuna, 47, died Monday morning after being shot while battling a dumpster fire in the area of Aurora St. and Washington St. "As firefighters were extinguishing that fire, gunshots were heard, and the fire captain of Engine 2 had been struck," Stockton Fire Chief Rick Edwards said at a news conference. A 67-year-old man has been detained in connection with the shooting. Authorities said that a firearm was located on the scene. What led to the shooting was not immediately clear. Fortuna leaves behind his wife and two adult children, officials said. "Captain Fortuna served the Stockton fire department for over 21 years and leaves behind a wife and two grown children," Stockton Fire Chief Rick Edwards said at a news conference.  FOX 11

2 Indiana Deputies Killed In Crash While Driving To Call
The Carroll County Sheriff's Office is in mourning after two of its deputies were killed in a crash early Saturday. The deputies were en route to assist with a traffic stop when their vehicle went off the road and struck a utility pole, according to the Indiana State Police. The driver was identified as Deputy Noah Rainey. His passenger, Jail Deputy Dane Northcutt, was doing a ride-along and off duty. Both deputies were pronounced dead at the scene despite life-saving efforts, according to the release.  PoliceOne

FirstWatch Reports Sudden, Sharp Increase In Cyberattacks Against Public Safety
Public safety data experts are reporting a sudden and sharp increase of cyberattacks against public safety targets on Saturday, January 29, 2022. According to an email alert from FirstWatch attacks are ongoing against 911 Centers, Public Safety agencies, telecom operators, local governments and medical facilities. "We are aware of at least 16 active cyberattacks happening at this moment," Todd Stout, FirstWatch founder & president, wrote in the email alert. "Departments need to contact their IT administrator immediately to check the status and security of their computer systems," Mike Taigman, FirstWatch improvement guide, said. "Don't wait until Monday morning. Call now." "This email is to give our partners and friends a heads-up to immediately monitor your IT systems even more closely than you normally would," Stout wrote.  PoliceOne

In Wake Of Deadly Shootings, NYC Mayor Says He Might Hire More Cops
As New York City reels from a series of shocking crimes, Mayor Eric Adams says he may hire more police officers. “If we need to hire more, darn it, we're going to hire more, and nothing is going to get in the way of that,” he told WABC in an interview that aired Sunday. The Democratic mayor said before taking that step, he'll analyze “how we are deploying what we have” and assign officers “sitting behind the desk” to patrol duty. Since Adams took office at the start of the month, the city has seen five police officers shot — two of them fatally — and horrifying acts of violence like the Jan. 15 killing of Michelle Go, who was pushed to her death at the Times Square subway station. President Joe Biden is set to visit Manhattan on Thursday to discuss gun violence policy with Adams. “He gets it,” the mayor said of the president. “I believe with his help, we're going to stop the flow of guns.” Last week, Adams unveiled his strategy to end gun violence. Measures include bringing back a controversial plainclothes unit of the NYPD, a step he promised on the campaign trail last year. New York Daily News

Public Safety News

Pasadena Fire Captain Saves Woman, Dog From Burning East LA Duplex
An off-duty Pasadena fire captain with Sunday plans to watch the NFC Championship game ended up rescuing a woman and a small dog from a burning duplex near his East Los Angeles neighborhood. One person was hospitalized, said Franklin Lopez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “Los Angeles County Fire personnel on-scene praised him for saving the victim's life,” said Lisa Derderian, spokeswoman for Pasadena. Firefighters have not yet determined what started the fire in the 3800 block of Dozier Street which started just after 10 a.m. The woman's daughter told Pasadena Fire Capt. William Basulto that two of their three dogs died in the fire. On Sunday, William Basulto was taking his father, 73-year-old Trinidad Basulto and his 26-year-old son, Ryan Basulto, to watch the game between the Rams and the San Francisco 49ers. He paid for tailgate parking too. Los Angeles Daily News

L.A. County Continues To Report Decline In Coronavirus Cases But Officials Urge Caution At Events
Los Angeles County health officials Saturday reported that the recent surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Omicron variant was abating but urged people to continue to take precautions, especially in light of upcoming events that could further spread the virus. The county recorded 21,709 coronavirus cases Saturday, a 45% decline from a week ago when there were 39,117 cases, the public health department said in a news release. The daily positivity rate also fell below 10% for the first time since Dec. 23, and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 dipped below 4,000 for the first time since Jan. 12, officials said. There were 3,998 COVID-19 patients in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Friday, a decline of nearly 10% from two weeks before, when there were 4,386. The county reported 73 new deaths Saturday, bringing the total number of people who have died from the pandemic in L.A. County to more than 28,800. Weekly average deaths have increased by nearly 161% over the past 14 days, according to the Los Angeles Times coronavirus tracker. Los Angeles Times

CDC Warns Against Traveling To Mexico Amid High Risk Of COVID-19
The CDC is warning U.S. residents to avoid traveling to Mexico amid a high risk of contracting COVID-19. On the scale managed by the CDC, Mexico went from level 3, which means "high", to level 4, which means a "very high" risk. “Avoid traveling to Mexico. If you must travel to Mexico, make sure you are vaccinated and up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations before you travel,” the CDC said on their website. The advisory points out that even when American travelers are fully vaccinated, there is still the possibility of contracting and spreading the virus. Specifically, the recommendations they cite are: make sure you are vaccinated and up to date on your COVID-19 shots before you travel; Even if you are up to date on your coronavirus vaccinations, you may still be at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19; anyone age 2 and older should wear a properly fitting face covering in public spaces; and follow all the requirements and recommendations of the Mexican health authorities. In recent reports, according to the Ministry of Health, Mexico reported 13,926 new COVID-19 infections to accumulate 4,930,069 cases, in addition to 131 deaths to total 305,893 deaths. NBC 4

Local Government News

LA Councilman Introduces Measure To Ban Homeless Encampments
Homeless encampments would be banned under a ballot measure introduced by Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is running for mayor. The language for proposal was submitted to the L.A. City Clerk on Friday, according to the Safer Streets L.A. campaign. The City Clerk and the City Attorney will review it before organizers are given the green light to collect the required 65,000 signatures to place it on the November ballot. The ballot measure calls for the mayor to submit a plan to achieve functional zero homelessness within three years, and if goals are not met, the salaries of the mayor, city attorney and Los Angeles City Council members would be reduced, according to the Safer Streets L.A. campaign. Once adequate levels of temporary emergency shelter are produced by the city, the ballot measure, if approved, would ban camping in all public areas. In the interim, camping would be banned within a 1,000-foot radius of temporary shelter locations. Buscaino is seeking a petition to get the measure on the November ballot after the council rejected his motion to get a ballot measure banning encampments and prioritizing temporary shelter. 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: