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

March 8, 2022
Law Enforcement News

20-Year-Old Man Killed In North Hills Strip Club Shooting
A man is dead after an alleged dispute over a parking spot turned violent outside a strip club in the San Fernando Valley overnight, police say. The shooting was reported outside the Synn Gentlemen's Club, located near the intersection of Roscoe and Sepulveda boulevards in North Hills just before 2:00 a.m. Authorities identified the victim as 20-year-old Gabriel Isiguzo. Preliminary reports indicate Isiguzo went to the club to pick up his girlfriend who works there. Isiguzo then allegedly got into a dispute with the suspect in the club's parking lot when the suspect opened fire, striking Isiguzo multiple times before leaving the scene. Isiguzo was rushed to a hospital where he died from his injuries. Investigators were working to determine whether the dispute between Isiguzo and the suspect was over where the victim parked. A description of the suspect was not available and investigators were trying to get a license plate number from the club's cameras. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the LAPD.  FOX 11

Clues Sought Into Mother's Day Slaying Of Single Mom Of Two
One week before Mother's Day 2021, an early Sunday morning on Eubank Avenue in Wilmington, the silent is shattered by multiple gunshots and the sound of a vehicle speeding away. It was just after 4 a.m., but the lifeless body of 43-year-old Monica Molina wouldn't be discovered for two more hours. The single mom of a 14-year-old daughter and 24-year-old son, Molina worked in advertising for the Daily Breeze. LAPD South Bureau Homicide detectives say they can't fathom the reason behind her death – mistaken identity? Random? They aren't sure. It was Molina's 24-year-old son who called 911. “I just woke up to my neighbor saying my mom is dead in the driveway right now,” he told the operator over the phone. “We heard shots like at 4:20 in the morning.” The 911 operator tries to tell the son how to begin CPR but he's distraught, saying there was no use, that she was already gone. “It's heartbreaking, something you never imagine that can happen. Devastating. Not just to us but she left kids, she's a sister, best friend, a person in the community who everybody loved," says Molina's sister Marcia Gutierrez. "It's not just us, it's the community that's suffering, too.” LAPD Detective Aaron Harrington says detectives don't have much. "Some cases are just difficult," he said. "The hardest part about this is the lack of surveillance video.” The early hour of the crime, police say they don't have any witnesses. But by using ring video cameras up the street and following the sound of gunshots and timing, they were able to key into surveillance video further from the scene, believing the suspect vehicle was an early 2000s model Toyota Tacoma, silver and with four doors. NBC 4

LAPD Seeks Drivers In 3 Hit-and-Run Incidents That Left 2 Dead, One Seriously Injured
Los Angeles police are asking for the public's help in finding drivers involved in three separate hit-and-run incidents that left two people dead and one seriously injured. The most recent incident occurred at 2:30 a.m. Saturday in Koreatown, police said. A 22-year-old man on an e-scooter was traveling east on Western Avenue when he was struck by a blue Dodge Caravan heading north on Olympic Boulevard. A second vehicle heading south then struck the man and dragged him several feet, officials said. The driver of that vehicle, which police did not describe, fled the scene. Fire paramedics pronounced the 22-year-old man dead on the scene. The driver of the Dodge Caravan remained at the scene, police said. No drugs or alcohol were factors in the deadly crash. Meanwhile, police continue to search for the driver who struck and killed 32-year-old Joshua Brown in the Baldwin Hills area early Friday. A vehicle was traveling north on La Cienega Boulevard around 1:28 a.m. when it “struck a male pedestrian who was lying down on the crosswalk at Obama Boulevard,” police said in a statement. The vehicle, which police did not describe, failed to stop and render aid to the victim, whom Los Angeles County coroner's officials later identified as Brown. Detectives are trying to determine how Brown got onto the roadway and how many vehicles struck him. Los Angeles Times

Person Shot, Wounded A Block From Hollywood Walk Of Fame: Officials
A person was shot one block off of the Walk of Fame in Hollywood Monday night, officials said. The shooting occurred shortly before 10 p.m. in the 6500 block of Yucca Street, according to Officer Madison of the Los Angeles Police Department and Nicholas Prange of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The victim, whose identity was not immediately available, was transported to a local hospital from the scene, Prange said. At the time the ambulance responded, the victim was conscious and breathing, Madison said. KTLA 5

2 Suspects Sought In Armed Home-Invasion Robbery In Studio City; LAPD Investigating
Police are searching for two men suspected in an armed home-invasion robbery in Studio City Monday. The crime was reported about 8:30 a.m. in the 4200 block of Babcock Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. No injuries were reported, police said. According to officials, the men fled in a silver BMW 5 Series sedan. Descriptions of the suspects were not immediately available. A handgun was used in the crime, detectives said. Anyone with information on the case is urged to call 877-527-3247 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477. ABC 7

Lululemon Bandits: Repeat Offenders Arrested For Stealing Over $6,000 In Leggings
A pair of repeat offenders are accused of stealing over $6,000 worth of leggings from the same Lululemon store in Calabasas. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Lost Hills Station posted an image of the pair on Facebook, stating that on Jan. 28, the male and female duo concealed forty pairs of leggings in their personal bags and left the store without paying for the merchandise. The pair returned to the same Lululemon on Feb. 16 and concealed an additional fifteen pairs of pants in their personal bags and once again, left without paying. Lost Hill Sheriff's detectives worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to identify the suspects. Both were detained by the Burbank Police Department. Lost Hill Sheriff's deputies arrested the suspects and they were both booked for grand theft and organized retail theft. Their names were not released. In California, any property theft with a value of $950 or greater is considered grand theft. FOX 11

Man Shot To Death In East Los Angeles Bedroom In Possible Gang Murder
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies Sunday are continuing their investigation into the possible gang related shooting death of a man in East Los Angeles. The shooting was reported at 2:50 p.m. Saturday in the 600 block of South Woods Avenue, near East Sixth Street, according to Deputy Alejandra Parra of the Sheriff's Information Bureau. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, Parra said. When deputies responding to a medical rescue call arrived, they found the man inside a bedroom, suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. No information was available on the suspect or circumstances of the shooting, but it is being investigated as gang related, Parra said. Anyone with information was asked to call homicide detectives at 323-890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

2 SoCal Men Sentenced To Prison For Hate Crime Attack On Turkish Restaurant In Beverly Hills
Two Southern California men will be serving time behind bars for a hate crime attack on a family-owned Turkish restaurant in Beverly Hills back in 2020. William Stepanyan, 23, of Glendale was sentenced Monday to five years in federal prison, and Harutyun Harry Chalikyan, 24, of Tujunga was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Both pleaded guilty in October 2021 to one count of conspiracy and one count of committing a hate crime. The crime occurred at the Cafe Istanbul, in the 300 block of South Beverly Drive, about 8 p.m. on Nov. 4, amid escalated tensions in Turkish and Armenian communities in response to a war breaking out between Armenia and its Turkish-backed neighboring country, Azerbaijan. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Stepanyan and Chalikyan, who identify as members of the Armenian American community, targeted the restaurant because they considered it symbolic of Turkey, and when they arrived, "stormed inside, threw hard wooden chairs at the victims, smashed glassware, destroyed a plexiglass barrier, and overturned tables." They also threatened to kill the victims, said the DOJ. ABC 7

Woman Shot And Killed In SUV At Stoplight In Commerce
A woman was fatally wounded while inside an SUV that had stopped for a red light at an intersection Saturday morning in Commerce, authorities said. The shooting victim, a woman in her 30s, was behind the wheel of a late model, mid-size SUV that had stopped for a red light at the intersection of Telegraph Road and Garfield Avenue, where a man fired several rounds into the vehicle, the Sheriff's Information Bureau reported. A detailed description of the shooter was not immediately available. The woman was able to drive the SUV a short distance to a convenience store. Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies responded at 1:24 a.m. to the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Telegraph Road, north of the 5 Freeway, said Deputy Miguel Meza of the Sheriff's Information Bureau and found the woman inside the convenience store suffering from gunshot wounds. Paramedics rushed her to a hospital, where she died. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323 890-5500.  Anonymous tips can be called into Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at . NBC 4

Man Arrested For Attempted Murder in Front Of Santa Monica Salvation Army
Police arrested a 29-year-old man for stabbing someone multiple times in front of a Salvation Army early Monday morning. According to the Santa Monica Police Department, officers responded to the Salvation Army off of Fourth Street to investigate an apparent assault with a deadly weapon. A witness identified Michael Montgomery as the suspect. Police said the witness saw Montgomery strike and stab the victim multiple times. The victim pleaded with the suspect to stop. Montgomery responded by kicking and dragging the victim. SMPD soon detained Michael Montgomery in the area of Fourth Street and Colorado Avenue and found a folding knife on him. Officers found the victim in front of the Salvation Army and rendered first aid until fire crews arrived. The victim was suffering from multiple stab wounds and was transported to a local hospital. The victim is still in critical but stable condition. CBS 2

Convicted Santa Monica Rapist Enters Sanity Phase Of Trial
A Los Angeles jury that found 42-year-old Dylan James Jensen guilty on seven counts that included rape, sodomy and sexual battery will now decide if he was insane when committing the acts. Jensen was homeless when he broke into a 68-year-old woman's apartment at the border of Venice and Santa Monica and raped her at knifepoint on the early morning of June 4, 2018. Jensen's' attorney will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jenson meets the definition of insane when committing the crimes to prove an insanity defense. In California law, the legal defense of insanity means that you cannot be found guilty of a crime if you were legally insane when you committed it. Under California's insanity defense, you are considered legally insane if you either did not understand the nature of your criminal act, or did not understand that what you were doing was morally wrong. Drug-related mental conditions cannot be used in an insanity defense. During the first phase of the trial, jurors heard testimony from a Los Angeles County psychiatrist who had treated Jensen for his prolonged addiction to methamphetamines and depression. WestSide Current

Pimp Of Underage California Teen Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison
A 26-year-old Stockton man was sentenced to more than a dozen years in federal prison Monday for pimping a teenage girl from Southern California to Nevada and Arizona. Christian Alexander Augustus pleaded guilty in July of last year to a count of transportation of a minor in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution and criminal sexual activity. U.S. District Judge James Selna sentenced Augustus to 151 months in federal prison. Augustus took the teen from Los Angeles County to Las Vegas for prostitution in April 2019, and also pimped her from December 2018 to July 2019 in Los Angeles and Orange counties to Las Vegas and Phoenix, according to federal prosecutors. The man's "egregious conduct victimized a minor by causing her to engage in sex with unknown customers purely for defendant's financial benefit," prosecutors said in court papers prior to the sentencing. "The seriousness of the offense is furthered by (Augustus') use of violence in this case. (Augustus) was repeatedly violent with the minor victim in order to maintain the control needed to continue to have the minor victim work for his financial benefit." FOX 11

Huntington Beach Officer Killed In Helicopter Crash To Be Honored With Procession, Memorial Service Tuesday
A procession and memorial service will be held Tuesday for Huntington Beach Police Officer Nicholas Vella, who was killed in a helicopter crash while responding to a priority call last month. The procession will begin at the Huntington Beach Police Department at 7 a.m. and is scheduled to end at the Honda Center at about 8:30 a.m. Drivers are urged to plan for possible traffic impacts along the 405, 55, 5 and 57 freeways. The procession will also travel along the following streets in Huntington Beach: Goldenwest Street, between Yorktown Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway; Pacific Coast Highway, between Goldenwest Street and Magnolia Avenue; Magnolia Avenue, between Pacific Coast Highway and Talbert Avenue; and Talbert Avenue, between Magnolia Avenue and Brookhurst Street. The memorial service will be held at the Honda Center, located at 2695 East Katella Avenue in Anaheim at 10 a.m. A livestream of the event can be watched on the city of Huntington Beach's YouTube channel. Vella, 44, was killed on Feb. 19 when the helicopter he was riding in crashed into the waters off Newport Beach. KTLA 5

Death Sentence Ordered For Man Who ‘Executed' San Diego Police Officer
A San Diego man was sentenced to death Friday in the 2016 shooting death of San Diego police Officer Jonathan "J.D." De Guzman, who was gunned down behind the wheel of his patrol car. Jesse Michael Gomez, 58, did not react upon hearing the sentence. He was convicted last year of first-degree murder and a special-circumstance allegation that Gomez knowingly killed a police officer. Gomez was also found guilty of attempted murder for shooting De Guzman's partner, and of being a felon in possession of a firearm. "He executed a police officer," Superior Court Judge Frederick Link said before issuing the sentence. "He didn't kill or shoot a police officer. He executed a police officer." It's the first death sentence handed down in San Diego County in a dozen years. De Guzman's widow, Jane De Guzman, sat with her hands folded and eyes closed as she listened to the judge speak. Earlier in the hearing, she spoke tearfully of the trauma of the loss of her husband, father to their two children. "I hope you realize what you have done," she said to Gomez. "I do not understand how you could take someone's life without thinking of their family." San Diego Union Tribune

$1M Bail For Man Accused Of Shooting 2 Chicago Officers At Hot Dog Stand
A judge ordered a $1 million cash bail on Sunday for a South Side man accused of opening fire on two Chicago police officers and wounding both after his handgun fell to ground in front of one of the officers. Kailon Harris-Caldwell was absent from his bail hearing Sunday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, having been hospitalized for back pain after his arrest, authorities said. Harris-Caldwell, 24, of Chicago's Burnside neighborhood, faces two counts of attempted murder of a police officer after he allegedly shot two uniformed officers after an encounter outside the Original Maxwell Street hot dog stand in the 3800 block of West Harrison Street early Friday. Prosecutors sought a petition denying bail for Harris-Caldwell, but Judge Kelly Marie McCarthy left the question for a judge at a future court hearing, citing the state law that criminal defendants must be present at hearings where bail is denied. During the hearing broadcast on YouTube, prosecutors echoed the narrative of the shooting as first given by police Superintendent David Brown, saying that Harris-Caldwell dropped a handgun with an extended magazine while he was standing in line in front of one of the officers. After picking up the weapon, he quickly fired at that officer, grazing him in the head, according to Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Papa. As he ran from the scene, Harris-Caldwell fired on the second officer, who was seated in his police vehicle, striking him in the leg, Papa said. Chicago Tribune

Public Safety News

Boy Suffers Traumatic Injuries In Sylmar Mountain Bike Crash: LAFD
A boy believed to be about 10 years old was injured in a bicycle crash in Sylmar, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. The boy was involved in a mountain bike crash and reportedly fell shortly after 6 p.m. in the 12400 block of Valley Vista Way, according to Nicholas Prange of the LAFD. The boy was injured, and though his condition is not known, Prange said he suffered traumatic injuries. Aerial footage from Sky5 showed him being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. KTLA 5

Firefighters Knock Down House Fire In Valley Village
Firefighters knocked down a house fire at a one-story single family home in the Valley Village area early Monday morning. The Los Angeles Fire Department sent 32 firefighters to the blaze, which started burning around 5:10 a.m. Heavy flames were visible for miles. The fire at the home on Vantage Avenue took around 23 minutes to knock down, according to the LAFD. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation.  NBC 4

L.A. Coronavirus Cases Continue Decline But Hot Spots Remain
Coronavirus transmission continues to decline in Los Angeles County after the months-long surge driven by the Omicron variant, with the county health department on Saturday announcing just 1% of tests performed daily are coming back positive. But some hot spots remain, with outbreaks reported at multiple correctional and law enforcement settings. L.A. County public health officials on Saturday reported 1,382 cases of the virus and 48 related deaths. The seven-day average of new cases has dropped nearly 61% over the last two weeks, according to The Times' coronavirus tracker. There were 792 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals as of Friday, a decline of about 47% from two weeks before, when there were 1,502 patients. The declines have enabled county public health officials to lift the countywide indoor mask mandate and stop requiring vaccination verification to attend outdoor mega-events or indoor bars and nightclubs. Still, some pockets of infections persist. Los Angeles Times

LA County Still Urges Mask Wearing, Though Mandate Is Gone
Los Angeles County's health director has continued urging residents to wear masks, even though they're no longer required in most indoor settings, saying they still offer strong protection against COVID-19 transmission. “Although masking is not required, both the state and our Public Health Department are strongly recommending masking, regardless of vaccination status, in indoor public spaces,” Ferrer said in a statement released Monday. “And those who are at elevated risk, or who live with someone who is at elevated risk, should wear a well-fitting respirator, as they provide the best protection against COVID-19. “COVID-related illness can be quite dangerous for many, since even those initially experiencing relatively mild illness can go on to develop long COVID. Taking sensible precautions remains the best way to keep everyone as safe as possible.” The county lifted its indoor mask mandate for most locations on Friday, following the state's lead. But the masks are still “strongly recommended” by the state and the county. Masking is still required in higher-risk settings, including health care facilities, transit centers, airports, aboard public transit, in correctional facilities and at homeless shelters and long-term care facilities.

Local Government News
Los Angeles Reducing Speed Limit By 5 MPH On Many City Streets
The Los Angeles City Council approved a proposal from the Department of Transportation
to reduce speeds by 5 mph on more than 177 miles of city streets. The proposal was approved on Feb. 22. The proposal was previously advanced by the council's Transportation Committee on Feb. 15. On Tuesday, the council unanimously adopted an ordinance amending the Los Angeles Municipal Code to change the speed limits on the proposed streets. The ordinance next needs to be approved by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who previously expressed support for the change. Once approved, the ordinance will take effect a month after its publication. "I am thrilled to be able to restore saner speed limits to 177 miles of city streets," Councilman Mike Bonin, who chairs the committee, said last week. The change, which is aimed at preventing deadly accidents, was made possible following the passage of Assembly Bill 43, which took effect this year, giving cities more control over their speed limits. It was introduced by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale. FOX 11

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: