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 9, 2022
Law Enforcement News

LAPD Investigating An Alleged Hit-And-Run On Police Cruiser
Sky9's Desmond Shaw reports over South LA, near Central Avenue and 28th Street, where LAPD is investigating what appears to be an attempted hit-and-run on a police cruiser. One person was transported to the hospital in unknown condition. Yahoo! News

Family Desperate For Answers After Man Killed In Car-to-Car Shooting
A heartbroken family in North Hollywood is searching for answers, after a man was killed during a car-to-car shooting on Feb. 28. Erik Brown, age 35, was an active member of the Los Angeles events industry, according to family and friends. He's remembered for his kind spirit, sense of humor and his dedication to the music and arts community. But just one month after celebrating his birthday in January, he was killed in what police are calling a car-to-car shooting. Family and friends believe it was a random shooting, and they hope his Saturday memorial will help raise awareness and lead police to a suspect. The Los Angeles Police Department told NBC4 that they're searching for at least two men, who were in a gray-colored sedan when they pulled up next to Brown while driving and shot at him "several times." The shooting occurred at 3:30 a.m. Monday morning, according to the LAPD, on Fulton Avenue in North Hollywood. No arrests have been made in the investigation, the LAPD said, but Brown's brother and sister are confident that, with the help of the community, police will find the gunman.  NBC 4

LA Police Commission Forwards Report Into 2021 Police Shootings To Council
The Los Angeles Police Commission Tuesday reviewed a report requested by the City Council on all shootings by LAPD officers in 2021 — a year that saw the highest number of such shootings since 2017 — and sent the report to the council's Public Safety Committee. Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who chairs the committee, had introduced the motion — citing the Dec. 23 shooting of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta, who was fatally struck by a bullet fired by an officer at an assault suspect inside a Burlington store in North Hollywood. The Public Safety Committee will review the report at some point. The motion requested a report with an overview of all 2021's shootings, including the status and timeline of the investigations into them and the findings of non-compliance with the LAPD's use-of-force policy as compared to findings for the previous five years.

3 Arrested In Connection With Tarzana Home Invasion Robbery: LAPD
Three men have been arrested in connection with a Tarzana home invasion robbery on Sunday, the Los Angeles Police Department announced. The robbery of a short-term rental in the 4300 block of Gayle Drive took place just before 3:30 a.m., when four robbers entered the home's rear door and awakened the occupants to demand jewelry, police said in a news release. At least two of the robbers were armed, and one victim was “severely beaten by the suspects during the invasion” before the robbers made off with jewelry and other valuables. Later on Sunday, three men were arrested in connection with this robbery: 34-year-old Deja Childress of Ontario, 32-year-old Savion Jefferson of Los Angeles and 27-year-old Terry McGee of Los Angeles. Police seized six handguns and an assault rifle as well, they said, though there was no mention of the status of the fourth suspect. Two of the suspects were linked to other similar crimes, including a robbery in North Hollywood on Nov. 29, 2021, in which the victim was shot in the foot and a follow-home robbery and home invasion in Atwater Village on Feb. 13, police said. Detectives are investigating to see if these suspects are connected to other robberies. KTLA 5

3 LAPD Employees Fired For Non-Compliance With City's COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
Three LAPD employees have been fired for violating the city's mandate to get vaccinated against COVID-19, or receive a religious or medical exemption, according to LAPD Assistant Chief Dominic Choi. Seven more employees face termination, and a total of 14 personnel – 13 sworn and one civilian – have been found out of compliance with the vaccination mandate, Choi told the Police Commission on Tuesday. About 83% of the department is fully vaccinated, 0.4% is partially vaccinated, and 16.2% is not vaccinated at all. More than 2,000 exemptions are pending, Choi said. But with case rates dropping and mask mandates relaxing, City Councilman Joe Buscaino – who is running for mayor – is calling for the city's employee vaccination mandate to be repealed. On Friday, Buscaino said he believes “it should be a matter of personal choice and that we should respect our employees' civil liberties and allow the to make their own personal medical decisions.” The mandate for city employees to be vaccinated was approved by the City Council on Aug. 18. Employees were required to be inoculated against COVID-19, or request a religious or medical exemption, by Dec. 18. CBS 2

'Selling Sunset' Star Christine Quinn's Home Targeted By Would-Be Robbers
"Selling Sunset" reality TV personality Christine Quinn said Friday a pair of armed would-be intruders attempted to break into her Hollywood Hills home overnight, an encounter she called "the most horrifying moment of my life." In a video posted on her Instagram page, Quinn said she and her husband — businessman Christian Richards — and son were asleep when they were awakened by noise outside their bedroom. Without identifying Quinn as the victim, Los Angeles police said they responded to a call of an attempted break-in around 1:40 a.m. in the Hollywood Hills. Two suspects fled the scene before entering the residence, and officers took an "attempted robbery" report. Police did not release descriptions of the suspects, but Quinn posted still images from her home's security cameras, showing two suspects wearing masks and hoodies covering most of their faces. She said she plans to post higher-quality photos from additional security cameras.  FOX 11

Woman, 70, Reported Missing In Canoga Park
A Silver Alert was issued Tuesday on behalf of a missing 70-year-old woman diagnosed with dementia who speaks limited English who was last seen in Canoga Park. Taisa Rassoho was last seen about 5:50 p.m. Monday in the area of Parthenia Street and Independence Avenue, according to the California Highway Patrol, which issued the Silver Alert at the request of the Los Angeles Police Department. Rassoho is Russian, 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a black long-sleeve shirt, gray pants, black shoes and a green beanie. Anyone who knows of Rassoho's whereabouts was asked to call 911. The Silver Alert program was established by the CHP to issue and coordinate alerts involving the unexplained or suspicious disappearance of elderly, developmentally disabled or cognitively impaired individuals.

Man, 25, Shot To Death During Baby Shower In Hawthorne
Authorities are investigating after a 25-year-old man was shot to death during a baby shower in Hawthorne. The shooting was reported at a home in the 3900 block of West 118th Street shortly before midnight Monday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. Hawthorne police officers found the victim on the ground in the backyard suffering from numerous gunshot wounds to his upper body. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. Witnesses told investigators the victim was in an argument with another young man who produced a handgun, shot the victim several times and fled, the department said. The suspect was described as a man in his early 20s, but no detailed description of the suspect was released. Detectives are still processing the scene, canvassing the area and conducting interviews with additional witnesses. Additional details were not immediately available. FOX 11

Abandoned RV In Granada Hills Vandalized, Spray Painted With Swastikas, Hate Speech
Residents in a Granada Hills neighborhood woke up to find that an RV, which has been abandoned near their homes for months, was vandalized and spray painted with swastikas and hate speech. The abandoned recreational vehicle is quite an eyesore and neighbors told CBSLA that its been parked on the street, facing the wrong way with tags that expired in 2011 and tickets on the windshield dating back to October. Neighbors living on Petit, in Granada Hills, didn't want to show their faces on camera, but said that officials have done nothing for months despite the many complaints. The person whose home the RV has been parked in front of said the vehicle does not belong to them and that they've been calling about authorities since September to have it removed. The Los Angeles Police Department said they are investigating the vandalism and a possible hate crime, but officers said no one in the neighborhood they've spoken with thinks the speech was targeted at them. CBS 2

Gardena Man Arrested In 1994 Desert Hot Springs Cold Case Stabbing Death
In 1994, Cheri Huss was found stabbed to death in her Desert Hot Springs apartment in a case that went cold for years. Investigators found her stabbed multiple times and bitten by the attacker. They also found evidence that Huss fought off her attacker, which caused him to bleed and leave blood at the scene. After conducting some tests, investigators determined that the blood and saliva left belonged to a male. For years investigators tried to find a match the DNA left at the crime scene. Eventually, Huss' case went cold with no leads. The Riverside County Regional Cold Case Team, which is led by the District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation, began working on the case. In February 2022 the team made a break. They used forensic genetic genealogy to identify 48-year-old Sharron Eugene Gadlin as a person of interest in the crime and found out that he lived in Thousand Palms in 1994 -- about 12 miles from the Huss' apartment. The cold case investigators were granted a warrant to obtain a saliva sample from Gadlin on Feb. 14. A few days later on Feb. 18 they received confirmation from the state Department of Justice lab that the sample was a match to the DNA collected at the crime scene of Huss. Investigators arrested Gadlin in Gardena and charged him for the murder of Huss. NBC 4

Lancaster Woman Among 3 Charged In $30 Million Hospice Fraud Scheme
A Lancaster woman was arrested Tuesday on federal charges stemming from a scheme that allegedly bilked Medicare out of more than $30 million for hospice services often provided to patients who were not terminally ill. Callie Jean Black, 63, Dr. Victor Contreras, 66, of Santa Paula, and former Pasadena resident Juanita Antenor, 59, who remains at large and is believed to be in the Philippines, were named in a 14-count indictment unsealed Tuesday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Black and Contreras pleaded not guilty following their arrest Tuesday and were granted release on bond. Antenor owned two hospice companies that billed Medicare and Medi-Cal for unnecessary services or services that were never provided, prosecutors allege. Contreras, who was on probation imposed by the California Medical Board while he was allegedly part of the scheme, provided fraudulent certifications for some of the patients, including some he claimed to have examined but never actually saw, according to the indictment filed in Los Angeles federal court. FOX 11

Woman, 86, With Dementia Reported Missing In Lancaster
Authorities Monday sought the public's help to find an 86-year-old woman with dementia who was reported missing in Lancaster. Morjorie Chung was last seen about 3 p.m. Wednesday at her home in the 44200 block of Kingtree Avenue, near the Antelope Valley Medical Center, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy Lizette Falcon. Chung is Black, 5-feet-7 inches tall and weighs 168 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on her whereabouts was asked to contact the LASD Missing Persons Unit at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be called into Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online. CBS 2

Sherri Papini Released On $120,000 Bail After Being Charged With Faking Kidnapping
Sherri Papini, a Shasta County woman accused of faking her kidnapping in 2016 in an incident that made national headlines, was released from jail Tuesday evening. A one-page order, signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremy Peterson at 3:20 p.m., granted Papini's pretrial release on $120,000 bail. Video shot by the Sacramento Bee shows her leaving Sacramento County Main Jail shortly before 5 p.m., running as reporters chase her. Papini was met by five family members who surrounded her to block camera views as they took her to a vehicle, the Bee reported. Papini and her family did not make a statement, according to the Bee. The 39-year-old was arrested Thursday and charged with lying to federal agents in faking her abduction and defrauding a California victim compensation fund of more than $30,000 meant for therapy and other costs. She faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. As a condition of her release, Papini will have to undergo psychiatric treatment and surrender her passport. During Tuesday's virtual detention hearing, Peterson agreed with her attorney that she wasn't a flight risk or a threat to the community. In arguing against Papini's release, Assistant U.S. Atty. Veronica Alegria said that when FBI agents tried to arrest her last week, “she screamed ‘no' and ran away from them and resisted arrest.” Papini's attorney said she was running toward her children. Los Angeles Times

1 Missouri Officer Killed, 2 Others Wounded In Shooting; Suspect Dead
One Joplin police officer and a suspect have died after a shooting Tuesday in the southwest Missouri city, police said. Two other Joplin officers remain hospitalized, one in critical condition and the other in serious but stable condition, Assistant Police Chief Brian Lewis said in a news release. The officers responded to a disturbance about 1:30 p.m. outside a store at the Northpark Crossing shopping center. Shots were exchanged and two officers were injured, he said. The suspect stole a police car and fled, police said, before wrecking the car and fleeing on foot. Officers chased him to a street near an apartment complex and residential area in central Joplin. That is where another officer and the suspect were struck by gunfire. Lewis said a third scene was involved in the investigation, but he did not provide additional details. Police plan to hold a news conference Wednesday morning to provide more details. Associated Press

2 Chicago Officers ‘Ambushed' While Picking Up Food, Police Superintendent Said
Two Chicago police officers were shot and wounded early Friday by a gunman who dropped a handgun while waiting in line at a restaurant with one of the officers, picked it up and opened fire, police said. The suspected gunman was captured nearby and the officers were taken to a hospital, Chicago police spokesman Tom Ahern said on Twitter. Their injuries were described by police as non-life-threatening and they were listed in fair condition, police said. Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown told reporters that the officers "were ambushed" by the gunman, who fled following the shooting but was quickly caught by other officers. The shooting happened around 3:30 a.m. at the Original Maxwell Street hot dog stand on the city's west side as the gunman and one of the officers waited in line, Brown said. "The offender had ordered his food and was in line in front of the officer," Brown said. "The offender reached in his pocket to pay for his order, a gun fell out of the offender's waistband. "The officer noticed the gun falling out, but before they could take action, the offender grabbed the gun, picked it up and began immediately shooting at the officers," Brown said. He said the shots struck the officer, who was standing near the suspect, while that officer's partner, who had been sitting inside a squad car, was also struck when the suspect fired at least three times into the car. Associated Press

Video: Florida Trooper Crashes Head-On With Drunk Driver To Protect Road Race
A woman crashed into a Florida Highway Patrol vehicle Sunday morning after failing to stop for multiple road closure signs in place for the Skyway 10K race, troopers said. Kristen Kay Watts, 52, from Sarasota, was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence resulting in serious injury after she drove onto a portion of northbound Interstate 275 that was closed for the Skyway 10K race and crashed nearly head-on into a trooper's SUV, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Watts was driving a 2011 BMW 335i north on Interstate 275 at a high rate of speed about 8:45 a.m. Sunday when she approached a road closure for the race and failed to detour onto U.S. 41 as directed, troopers said. Instead, Watts drove through multiple traffic cones and other barricades with state officers present. Officers tried to pull over Watts but she continued driving north, troopers said. Watts then came upon two Florida Fish and Wildlife officers guarding the northbound toll plaza and failed to stop. Two Florida Highway Patrol troopers in separate vehicles drove south in the northbound lane to intercept Watts and protect the thousands of race participants still on foot on the Sunshine Skyway bridge. Both patrol vehicles stopped. Tampa Bay Times

6 Teens Arrested In Iowa School Shooting That Killed 1, Hurt 2
Authorities arrested six teenagers, including a 14-year-old, in a shooting outside a school that killed a 15-year-old boy and seriously wounded two teenage girls, Des Moines police said Tuesday. The suspects are each charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in the Monday afternoon shooting on the grounds of East High School, near Des Moines' downtown, about a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) from the Capitol. Police said gunshots fired outside the school came from several shooters from multiple vehicles. Police named the suspects as Octavio Lopez, 17; Henry Valladares-Amaya, 17; Manuel Buezo, 16; Romero Perdomo, 16; Alex Perdomo, 15; and Nyang Chamdual, 14. All are from Des Moines. Police said in a Facebook post that the 15-year-old killed, who was not a student at the school, was the intended target of the drive-by shooting. The other two shot were females aged 16 and 18, who both attend East, and were simply bystanders caught in the shooting, police said. Associated Press

Public Safety News

4 Injured After Fire Breaks Out At 'Karate Kid' Apartment Complex In Reseda, Authorities Say
Four people were injured after a fire broke out at an apartment complex in Reseda that may look familiar to move buffs. It happened at the South Seas apartment complex on West Saticoy Street at around 11:30 p.m. on Monday. Firefighters were able to contain the fire in about 15 minutes. The Los Angeles Fire Department says paramedics treated four people and took two others to the hospital. Their conditions were not immediately released. There was some smoke damage in several units, according to authorities. The building was used as a filming location for the 1984 martial arts film "The Karate Kid." It was the apartment Daniel LaRusso moves into when he moves to L.A. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. ABC 7

California Surpasses 9 Million Coronavirus Cases, Equal To Nearly 1 In 4 Residents
California has reported a total of 9 million coronavirus infections, fueled by this winter's Omicron surge. The overall case count, tracked by The Times, is now larger than the combined populations of San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties and is the equivalent of nearly 1 in 4 Californians testing positive at some point during the pandemic. Even more stunning is how rapidly the caseload has ballooned since the arrival of the hyper-infectious Omicron variant late last year. Of the 9,001,924 total cases that had been compiled as of Monday, 3.9 million — 44% — were reported since Dec. 1. In fact, half of California's 9 million confirmed cases occurred in the last six months. It has been more than 25 months since California's first cases were publicly reported. But the torrent of infections has since slowed to a trickle. Over the last week, California reported an average of 4,587 new coronavirus cases per day — down 61% from two weeks ago. At the height of the Omicron surge, the state's daily case count topped 123,000, by far the most of the pandemic. After topping out at 2,200 cases a week for every 100,000 residents, California is now recording 82, which is considered a “substantial” rate of transmission. Some experts say the risk of infection is dramatically reduced once an area falls into the “moderate” category: below 50 cases a week for every 100,000 residents. Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

LA's Proof Of Vaccine Requirement For Indoor Spaces, Large Outdoor Events May Come To An End
With the county easing its COVID-19 masking and vaccine-verification rules, Los Angeles City Council will vote Wednesday on ending the city's mandate requiring proof of vaccination to enter many indoor establishments and large outdoor events. The city ordinance, which went into effect Nov. 8, requires people over age 12 to show proof of vaccination before patronizing indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment and recreational facilities, personal care establishments and some city buildings. The law also requires people to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend outdoor events with 5,000 or more people. The motion, which will be considered at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, was introduced by Council President Nury Martinez. It essentially calls for rolling back the requirements, although individual businesses would be permitted to voluntarily require proof of vaccination from patrons. If the motion is passed by the full council, the city attorney will be instructed to prepare a new ordinance and bring it back to the council for a final vote. FOX 11

Los Angeles City Council Votes To Condemn Putin's Actions Against Ukraine
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution condemning the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin in waging war against Ukraine. The resolution, which also urges international divestment of holdings in Russia, passed on a 14-0 vote. A similar resolution was passed unanimously Tuesday by the Orange County Board of Supervisors. It encourages the county to sever ties with any Russian-backed bank or financial institution. The county currently doesn't have any direct investments in Russia. In Los Angeles, members of the City Council expressed support for Ukraine, denounced “horrific acts against humanity” and expressed concern that history is repeating itself. “What's happening in Ukraine right now is close to home for me,” Councilmember Paul Koretz said. “My mother's family fled Kyiv a hundred years ago to avoid the Russian pogroms, and I've been sick to my stomach seeing the photos of innocent men, women and especially children who have been murdered in this invasion,” he said. Koretz also said it was important to support LA's Russian communities and businesses. KTLA 5

LA Councilman Says City Has ‘No Direct Authority' Over North Hollywood Swap Meet Closure
For the second day in a row, vendors protested on Lankershim Boulevard over the closure of the North Hollywood swap meet, which is set for the end of March when the lease on the property ends. "It's sad that all of these people ... this is their only income," said Kathy Palomar, a vendor at the swap meet. "They have nowhere to go anymore, and some of them have more than 30-something years here, and it's not OK for them to kick us out just because they want to." Store vendors are upset, claiming they only received a 30-day notice to vacate the building. They say they've been told the owners want to tear everything down and put up new buildings. "We try to keep the place open for longer because they only give it to us 30 days advance," said Catarin Gil, who sells products at the swap meet. "I don't think that's fair. I've been here 22 years, by myself, and also other people been here like the last 32 years." The swap meet is home to a wide variety of businesses that have long served the Latino and immigrant community in the area. Some of the businesses have been operating for decades. ABC 7

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: