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 17, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Man Run Over, Dragged 15 ft. By Car In Downtown LA Hit-and-Run
LAPD is investigating a hit-and-run that left a man injured in downtown Los Angeles Monday. It happened around 8:40 p.m. as the man was crossing eastbound on Main Street between Olympic Boulevard and 11th Street, police said. According to police, the man was crossing in the first lane of northbound Main when an unknown car hit him and knocked him to the ground. The man started crawling towards the east sidewalk of Main Street, and was hit by a dark-colored 4-door car. He was dragged about 15 feet before becoming free from the car, police said. Both cars did not stop to help the man, officials said. Police are reminding drivers involved in a crash to pull over and stop if safe to do so, call 911, and remain on scene. Anyone with information is asked to call 213-833-3713 or 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  FOX 11

Gascón Recall Effort: Signatures On Track For July Deadline, Campaign Says
The Recall DA George Gascón campaign announced Wednesday it has collected over 125,000 signatures, which is on track to meet the July 6 deadline for submission. To qualify to be on the ballot, the recall must collect 566,856 signatures from registered Los Angeles County voters (about 10% of total current registered voters). If successful, the recall would likely appear on the Nov. 2022 ballot. Last week, Senior Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys Maria Ramirez and Victor Rodriguez announced a lawsuit against District Attorney George Gascón, alleging they were reassigned because they complained about certain policies. Lawsuits complaining of Gascón's policies were also filed last year by Shawn Randolph, former head deputy for the Juvenile Division, and Lesley Klein Sonnenberg, former assistant head deputy of the Family Violence Division. A new effort to oust Gascón from office began in December, just months after a similar recall campaign fell short. Recall organizers must collect 566,857 signatures from registered voters in Los Angeles County by July 6 to force a recall vote. The city councils of more than 30 cities in the county have issued "no confidence" votes involving Gascón. FOX 11

Man Wounded In Canoga Park Shooting, Officials Say
A man was shot and wounded late Wednesday afternoon in Canoga Park, officials said. The victim, who was not identified and whose age was not provided, was shot near the intersection of Vanowen Street and Canoga Avenue shortly after 6 p.m., according to Officer Maldonado of the Los Angeles Police Department and Nicholas Prange of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Police did not have a description of the suspect, who was last seen running north from the scene, Maldonado said. An ambulance was requested for the man, who was conscious and breathing when officers arrived, Maldonado added. KTLA 5

Suspected DUI Driver Arrested In Chatsworth Pursuit Crash That Injures 3
A man who police say is suspected of driving under the influence, crashed into two cars in Chatsworth early Wednesday morning after a pursuit on the 118 and 405 freeways. Police began pursuing a black BMW whose driver had been driving erratically on the 118 Freeway and then on the 405 Freeway at 12:30 a.m., said Officer Rosario Cervantes of the Los Angeles Police Department. The driver then got off the freeway at Woodley Avenue and collided with two vehicles near Chatsworth Street and De Soto Avenue about 12:36 a.m., Cervantes said. CBS 2 reported that one driver was taken to a hospital in an unknown condition after Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics removed him from the vehicle. The suspected DUI driver and a passenger were also taken to a hospital, and the driver was reportedly arrested, but Cervantes could not confirm that. A third driver appeared to be uninjured. The collision closed several streets in the area for several hours. Los Angeles Daily News

Stolen Car Crashes In Westlake; Teen Inside Uninjured, LAPD Says
A car stolen in Westlake was stolen with a teenager inside and crashed by the thief Tuesday night, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The black Honda was stolen at 8:15 p.m. in the 100 block of South Alvarado Street, according to Officer Madison of the LAPD. The thief took the car with a 17-year-old still inside, and though the Honda crashed and the thief fled the scene, the teen appears fine, Madison said. A perimeter has been set up to try to find the thief, Madison added. KTLA 5

LA County Men Charged With Multiple 7-Eleven Store Robberies
A federal grand jury Wednesday charged two Los Angeles County men in an indictment alleging they committed multiple armed robberies of 7-Eleven stores and another business during a six-week crime spree. Kyle Richard Williams, 25, of Inglewood, and Colin Powell Lacey, 28, of the Hyde Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit interference with commerce by robbery. Lacey is also charged with four counts of robbery while Williams is charged with two counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The defendants, who are in federal custody, are expected to be arraigned on March 24 in Los Angeles federal court. According to the indictment, from mid-November to Dec. 30, 2021, Williams and Lacey traveled together by car to businesses — usually 7-Eleven convenience stores — to commit the robberies. Williams allegedly entered the stores, brandished a semi-automatic handgun at employees and demanded money. Lacey allegedly waited in the vehicle parked outside the stores.

Man Who Started Fire In Homeless Encampment Gets Mental Health Treatment, No Prison Time
A man who ignited a 2019 brush fire when he threw a lighted firework into a homeless encampment was spared from prison by a judge Wednesday. Daniel Nogueira, 28, faced the possibility of more than a decade behind bars for starting the blaze. But Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kerry White agreed with Nogueira's attorney that the case should be resolved by placing Nogueira into a mental health treatment program. The attorney, Alan Jackson, had argued that Nogueira has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly referred to as ADHD, and that the condition makes it difficult for him to control his impulses. Greg Risling, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said prosecutors had opposed the idea of diverting Nogueira's case because they believed he posed an “unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.” Jackson acknowledged during a court hearing Wednesday that Nogueira used “extremely bad judgment” when he threw the firework, which prosecutors also described as “a mortar,” out a car window as he rode down Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock in August 2019. But Jackson claimed Nogueria was merely engaged in “horseplay” and did not intend to set a fire. Los Angeles Times

Crime In West Hollywood Up 137%: LASD
Crime in West Hollywood is up 137% from the same time last year, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. In February 2022, nearly 250 “Part One” crimes — which include acts of murder, rape, burglary, aggravated assault, arson and human trafficking — were reported, compared to 105 incidents in February 2021. “The only reason why you're gonna come this far, into this neighborhood, is because either a) you believe you're gonna get away with it, or b) you're not gonna get punished for it and the stats are showing that,” security expert Russell Stuart, owner of Force Protection Agency, said. He adds that the criminals are getting younger, and he believes the gangs are sending them because L.A. District Attorney George Gascon is not punishing minors. KTLA reached out to the DA's office for comment. West Hollywood's mayor and City Council told KTLA they didn't want to speak on the matter until after they get their Public Safety Update at their next meeting Monday night.  KTLA 5

San Fernando Valley Man To Plead Guilty To Illegal Gun Sales
A North Hollywood man has agreed to plead guilty to acting as an unlicensed gun broker by selling 16 rifles and handguns — many without serial numbers — as well as various accessories, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Tuesday. Arthur Muradyan, 32, will enter his plea to the federal charge of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license on a date to be determined. Muradyan also agreed to plead guilty to distributing methamphetamine for selling nearly a pound of the drug to an undercover operative, federal prosecutors said. Muradyan “willfully offered to, and did, sell firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition, including: machine guns; semiautomatic firearms with large capacity magazines; firearms bearing no legitimate manufacturer's mark or serial number — commonly referred to as “ghost guns”; and unregistered and unserialized short-barreled rifles,” he admitted in his plea agreement. Many of the guns had been trafficked from Las Vegas and sold to an informant working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives last year.

Thieves Nab 3 Catalytic Converters In Lakewood Within Hours
Thieves nabbed three catalytic converters in Lakewood within hours in early March, authorities said. The thefts occurred in the early morning hours of March 5 in the southern Los Angeles County city, according to a social media post by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department's Lakewood station. “This series of incidents is very disturbing and is something that the city of Lakewood and our partners at the Lakewood sheriff's station are focusing on intently,” said Bill Grady, a spokesperson for the city. The city “is 100% committed to bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.” Investigators told KABC-TV Channel 7 that the thefts all occurred near the 4500 block of Lomina Avenue. Every car comes equipped with a catalytic converter, which is made with precious metals that reduce the vehicle's toxic emissions, outputting less harmful exhaust such as carbon dioxide. During the COVID-19 pandemic, theft of the devices skyrocketed. According to a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Department, the only information available about the Lakewood incident is a video posted to YouTube purporting to depict the robbery of one of the devices by multiple people wielding baseball bats.  Los Angeles Times

Woman Pleads Not Guilty In Bogus COVID Vaccine Cards Case
A Whittier-area woman arrested last year for allegedly possessing and selling counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine cards pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge. Charlene Bohorquez, 31, is charged with one count of deceptive document crime, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Bohorquez was arrested Nov. 5 by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and released later that day, according to jail records. Detectives had received information from U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations personnel regarding “the importation of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine cards shipped from China into the United States,” the sheriff's department announced last year shortly after the woman's arrest. Sheriff's officials said the bogus cards were being sent to Bohorquez at an address near Whittier, leading to the search last Nov. 5 of the home, which turned up “dozens” of bogus vaccine cards and other evidence.

Man Charged In Malibu Campground Slaying Ordered Out Of Court After Outburst
A man charged in the killing of a research scientist from Irvine, who was shot while camping with his two young daughters in Malibu Creek State Park, was ordered out of court Wednesday after an obscenity-laden outburst. Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo told Anthony Rauda before he was removed from the hearing that he did not have the authority to file motions on his own behalf, including a request for a change of venue in the trial, because he has a defense attorney and is not representing himself. "The court will not entertain any of those motions at this time,'' the judge said. Rauda, 45, is set to go on trial in September on a charge that he murdered 35-year-old Allergan scientist Tristan Thomas Beaudette, who was shot at about 4:45 a.m. on June 22, 2018, while sharing a tent with his then 2- and 4-year-old daughters, who escaped injury. Rauda is also facing 10 counts of attempted murder -- Beaudette's daughters are among the named victims -- along with five counts of second-degree commercial burglary involving a series of crimes dating back three years. "You'll be seeing me before that ... You sure will,'' Rauda said of the September court date. NBC 4

SoCal Man Missing After Boat Found Abandoned In Mexico With Dog, Belongings Still Onboard
A man from Marina Del Rey is missing after his sailboat was found abandoned off the coast of Mexico with his belongings and dog still onboard. Bill Austin, described by family and friends as an experienced sailor and captain, spent the last few months in Mexico following a sailboat race. He was supposed to head home last week, but hasn't been heard from since Thursday. One of his friends said they last had a conversation on Wednesday and Austin indicated that the winds were bad and the seas were rough. Over the weekend, his boat was discovered washed up on the shore north of Loreto. While concerned, Austin's friends and family are hopeful that he'll be found. "There's several little islands and there's definitely a lot of beach and coastline within the 20-mile radius that he could end up...," said Scott LaMay, who described his friend as a "good survivor." Mexican authorities are using boats and aircraft in their search for Austin, a member of the Pacific Mariners Yacht Club. One of his daughters is already down there looking for him and another is on the way. ABC 7

CHP To Ramp Up Patrols Ahead Of St. Patrick's Day The California Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County will be on the lookout for impaired drivers celebrating St. Patrick's Day Thursday. CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray advised those planning on celebrating to use a ride share service or other means of transportation. “If you plan on drinking alcohol on St. Patrick's Day, do not rely on luck … use a ride share service, public transit or a taxi to ensure you reach your destination safely,” Ray said. “Not having a plan in place if your celebration includes the use of alcohol can result in a crash, jail time, injuries or even death.” Ray said three people were killed and 76 people were injured statewide due to DUI crashes last St. Patrick's Day. Meanwhile, 211 people were arrested by CHP on suspicion of DUI. “Alcohol is not the only substance that can cause impairment,” Hill said. ” Cannabis, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and illegal drugs can all lead to a DUI.” Anyone who sees a suspected impaired motorist is urged to call 911. CBS 2

After 62 Years, Girl Identified In 1960 Arizona Cold Case
On July 31, 1960, the remains of a little girl were found in the desert in Congress, Arizona. Investigators said her remains had been burned one to two weeks before she was found. 62 years later, Yavapai County investigators can finally give "Little Miss Nobody" her name back. The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office announced during a news conference on March 15 that the remains have been identified as Sharon Lee Gallegos. Gallegos was first reported missing after being kidnapped from Alamogordo, New Mexico when she was 4 years old. According to a statement that officials with YCSO released following the news conference, Gallegos was abducted from her grandmother's front yard on July 21, 1960. "The Alamogordo Police Department and the FBI searched for the little girl, but were unable to find her or the suspects, who were said to be in a 1951 or 1952 dark green Plymouth," read a portion of YCSO's statement. Gallegos' remains, according to officials, were found in an area called Sand Wash Creek in Congress, Ariz. on July 31, 1960. FOX 11

1 Of 2 Washington Deputies Wounded During SWAT Arrest Attempt Dies
One of two Pierce County Sheriff's deputies wounded in an exchange of gunfire as they tried to arrest a man south of Tacoma, Washington, has died, authorities said Wednesday. Dominique “Dom” Calata, 35, died following Tuesday's shootout in Spanaway, according to a statement from the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs. “Please pray for Dom and for all that knew him and love him,” the statement on the law enforcement group's Facebook page said. The News Tribune reports Calata was taken to St. Joseph's Medical Center in Tacoma after the shooting. He had been with the sheriff's department for more than six years and was in the National Guard. Before that, Calata served five years in the U.S. Army. He graduated from Pacific Lutheran University, was married and had a 4-year-old son. The other deputy was identified as Rich Scaniffe, 45. Scaniffe was in serious condition after undergoing surgery at the St. Joseph Medical Center. He is expected to survive. Scaniffe has been with the department for 21 years. He is a patrol sergeant assigned to the Mountain detachment and commander of the SWAT team. Scaniffe is married and has a daughter in elementary school, officials said. Associated Press

‘Fentanyl In Everything': 4 New Hospitalizations Days After Florida Spring Breakers OD
Rescuers are deeply troubled by what one is calling a cluster of fentanyl cases popping up in the Fort Lauderdale area after 10 people at two homes were hospitalized because of the potentially lethal drug fentanyl in a matter of three days. Fentanyl is deadly. Even a few granules the size of salt from a shaker could kill you. Four men were hospitalized Sunday after a medical emergency involving fentanyl, the Broward Sheriff's Office said Monday. Two of the men were found in respiratory arrest in the 1600 block of Southwest 40th Terrace in unincorporated Fort Lauderdale, Battalion Chief Michael Kane said. Detectives found “drug residue” at the residence, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office. Testing determined the substance to be fentanyl. As of Monday afternoon, three of the men had been released from the hospital. The men are ages 39, 30, 28 and 26, the Sheriff's Office said. Four U.S. Military Academy cadets from West Point were among six people who overdosed on fentanyl-laced cocaine at a rental home Thursday in Wilton Manors. The cadets were on Spring Break. One of the cadets is on the football team. South Florida Sun Sentinel

108 Arrested In Florida Human Trafficking Sting
A crackdown on human trafficking has culminated in 108 arrests, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said last week. Multiple law enforcement and anti-human trafficking organizations helped with the success of a six-day undercover sting called “Operation March Sadness 2.” According to the press release, undercover detectives identified prostitutes and their potential buyers with the intent to identify and free any victims who had been forced into prostitution. Detectives also identified and investigated suspects believed to be preying on children. The detectives then arranged meet-up locations where the suspects were arrested. “The arrests of a human trafficker and four child predators alone makes this whole operation worthwhile,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “Our goal is to identify victims, offer them help, and find and arrest those who are profiting from the exploitation of human beings. Johns fuel the trafficking and victimization. Where there is prostitution, there is exploitation, disease, dysfunction and broken families.” Notable arrests included a 32-year-old woman suspected of human trafficking and four suspected child predators. PoliceOne

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