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 18, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Driver Being Investigated For Possible DUI After Hitting Parked LAPD Motorcycle In Granada Hills
A driver is being questioned for possible DUI after they allegedly hit a parked Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle. According to LAPD, an officer was in the middle of citing a different driver in Granada Hills when someone hit the officer's parked motorcycle. The officer was not hit by the car when the crash happened. The driver accused of hitting the motorcycle was pulled over and detained shortly after the crash. FOX 11

Man, Woman Arrested In Gruesome Woodland Hills Hotel Slaying
Police on Thursday arrested a man and a woman suspected of killing a 42-year-old man who was found bound and handcuffed in a Woodland Hills hotel last week. Calene Brudek, 52, and Anthony Ostroff, 70, were taken into custody at a residence on Thursday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Brudek and Ostroff, both of the San Fernando Valley, were booked on murder charges, said Steve Castro, a homicide detective with the LAPD's Valley Bureau. Around 5:30 p.m. March 10, LAPD officers responded to reports of battery at a residence on Ventura Boulevard, near the 101 Freeway. Topanga area patrol officers arrived to find a man, identified by the Los Angeles County coroner's office as Jeffrey Howe, on the floor in a room at a hotel. Officials said the man's feet were tied together and his hands were handcuffed behind his back. Strangulation marks were visible on his neck. Paramedics declared him dead at the scene. Detectives learned that the man had been discovered by a security guard and manager of the Extended Stay America location. He had been staying at the hotel since July. By Monday, Castro said they had identified leads on suspects and a motive. Brudek and Ostroff are not related to the victim, Castro said. They know each other, he said, but the exact nature of their relationship wasn't clear. The two are being held on $2-million bail at the Van Nuys Jail, he said. Howe's cause of death is not listed on the coroner's case file, and was deferred pending further investigation. More details about the case are expected to be released next week, officials said. Los Angeles Times

Sherman Oaks Teacher Arrested For Alleged Child Molestation; Additional Victims Sought
Police are looking for additional victims after arresting a teacher at Ivy Bound Academy in Sherman Oaks on suspicion of child molestation. Detectives arrested Samantha Arizabal on Tuesday after receiving a report of alleged ongoing inappropriate sexual conduct while she was employed at the school, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release. Arizabal has been employed at the school since 2020. The investigation was presented to the L.A. District Attorney's Office. Upon reviewing the case, the D.A.'s office filed multiple felony charges against Arizabal, LAPD said. Detectives are asking anyone who may be a victim or has additional information regarding on Arizabal to contact Juvenile Division detectives at 818-374-5415. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-527-3247.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or go to KTLA 5

Police Take Man Accused Of Robbery Into Custody After 8-Hour Standoff In Woodland Hills
A person wanted for several robberies in Southern California was involved in a standoff with police in Woodland Hills for eight hours Wednesday. Once he noticed that he was being followed by police, he fled on foot into a home near Burbank Boulevard and Owensmouth Avenue, according to Lt. Julie Rodriguez of the Los Angeles Police Department. “He barricaded himself, we asked him to come out numerous times and he has refused,” Rodriguez said. Police used tear gas to force the man, who is only described as being in his 40s, to emerge from the home. A second person, a woman who was driving the car with the alleged robber inside, was also arrested, Rodriguez said.  KTLA 5

Driver Of Stolen Mercedes In Custody After Leading LAPD On Chase Through San Fernando Valley
Los Angeles police chased the driver of a stolen Mercedes-Benz through the San Fernando Valley Thursday afternoon. AIR7 HD was over the pursuit shortly before 5:30 p.m. as the suspect was driving on the shoulder of an on-ramp and about to enter the 101 Freeway. There were times when the driver was in the Encino area and driving dangerously, including traveling on the wrong way of congested surface streets. As the driver got back on the 101 in Sherman Oaks, it appeared police stopped chasing the car due to safety, but a helicopter was still following. There were times when the driver was in the Encino area and driving dangerously, including traveling on the wrong way of congested surface streets. As the driver got back on the 101 in Sherman Oaks, it appeared police stopped chasing the car due to safety, but a helicopter was still following. Around 5:45 p.m., the suspect approached the Westfield Fashion Square mall, sped through the parking lot and appeared to have tried to evade police by going inside the multi-level parking structure. LAPD later confirmed the suspect was taken into custody, but further details about the arrest were not immediately released. ABC 7

Safe Deposit Box Company Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering In Beverly Hills
A business that rented safe deposit boxes in Beverly Hills to customers who wished to remain anonymous pleaded guilty Wednesday to money laundering, admitting in federal court that it sought drug traffickers and other criminals as customers who often kept stacks of illegally obtained cash in their personal vaults. U.S. Private Vaults, a Nevada-based company that operated on West Olympic Boulevard, was raided by the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration one year ago. Agents broke open boxes, seizing drugs, firearms and large amounts of gold bullion and cash, as well as other valuables, from about 396 of the rented boxes, according to an indictment alleging three separate conspiracies to violate federal law. Since then, dozens of box holders who denied criminal culpability successfully petitioned U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner to have their property returned.

Man, 22, Arrested In Connection With Culver City Armed Robbery
A 22-year-old man police said has an extensive arrest history was arrested Thursday for allegedly robbing another man at gunpoint in a parking structure at the Westfield Culver City mall. Mathew Loera was identified as one of two suspects in Sunday's robbery where two gold chain necklaces, a Rolex ring and a gold chain bracelet — all valued in total at $3,650 — were stolen, according to Culver City Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Eddie Baskaron. Loera was located at the same mall Thursday morning and arrested for suspicion of robbery. The robbery occurred about 4:30 p.m. Sunday in the fourth level of the mall's parking structure, Baskaron said. “The victim explained that as he left the mall with his girlfriend, he was approached by two suspects, who produced handguns and demanded that the victim give them his jewelry,” police said in a statement. The CCPD had no further details on the second suspect reported in the robbery. Anyone with information was asked to call Baskaron at 310-253-6316.

Investigators Say Bell Shooting Could Be Gang-Related
Sheriff's homicide detectives Thursday are assisting the Bell Gardens Police Department with an investigation of a deadly shooting in Bell Gardens that police say could be gang-related. Officers from the Bell Gardens Police Department responded to a business at 7:54 p.m. Wednesday to a shots fired call at 5845 Florence Ave., near the Long Beach (710) Freeway, said Deputy Miguel Meza of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Information Bureau. During their investigation police learned several people had entered the business in what appeared to be an attempted robbery, Meza said. A gunfight ensued, leaving two men shot inside and several others ran away. Detectives found two men in their teens or early 20s inside the business with from gunshot wounds. One victim was pronounced dead at the scene and the other was taken to a hospital in an unknown condition. There is no suspect or suspect vehicle information. NBC 4

Compton College Baseball Coach Recovering From Wounds Suffered In Shooting Outside His Home
The beloved head baseball coach at Compton College is recovering after he was wounded in a shooting, officials said. A Citizen App video reportedly shows Shannon Williams, known as "Coach Shannon," being wheeled onto an ambulance by paramedics around 7 p.m. on March 13 after being shot outside his home near the intersection of Rosecrans Avenue and Alameda Street. School officials confirm Coach Shannon is recovering after the shooting and that he underwent surgery. Friends of Williams say he was shot in the leg. Former players say Williams has been a positive influence in their lives and started a GoFundMe on his behalf to help cover his medical expenses. According to the school website, Williams has been the head coach at the college for 18 years and holds the record for the most wins in the school's history. He graduated from Cal State Dominguez Hills and holds two master's degrees from Concordia University. No further information was released by authorities. The investigation is ongoing.  FOX 11

California Prison Inmate Suspected In Death Of Cellmate
The death of an inmate at a California prison is being investigated as a homicide and the victim's cellmate is a suspect, officials said Wednesday. Scott Gunter, 59, was found unresponsive Tuesday in his cell at Wasco State Prison, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. Staff attempted life-saving measures but Gunter died about a half-hour later, the statement said. The Kern County Coroner will determine the official cause of death. Gunter's cellmate, Eugene Stroud, is a suspect in the case, prison officials said. It wasn't immediately known if Stroud, 44, has an attorney who could speak on his behalf. Gunter entered the prison on Feb. 23 to serve a two-year sentence for failing to register as a sex offender, the statement said. Stroud is serving more than 25 years on multiple counts including corporal injury on specific persons and making criminal threats, according to prison officials.  FOX 11

Phoenix Officer Shot 8 Times Continues To Make Progress
Phoenix Police Officer Tyler Moldovan continues to recover after he was shot eight times, including in the head, while responding to a December incident. Earlier updates from police said that Moldovan was on life support and “fighting for his life.” Now, Moldovan continues to make miraculous progress, according to . Moldovan's family said the officer has regained some motor abilities and is able to ride a stationary bike, although his right side remains severely debilitated. The officer's wife, Chelsea, says Moldovan is still in a rehab facility but can drive his wheelchair around, according to the report. The shooting suspect, 22-year-old Essa Williams, is scheduled for trial in April.  PoliceOne

Missouri Officer Wounded In Shooting That Killed 2 LEOs Leaves Hospital
A Missouri police officer who was wounded in a shooting that killed two other officers has been released from the hospital. The Joplin Police Department said officer Rick Hirshey, 53, left Freeman Health System in Joplin on Wednesday. Video on KOAM-TV shows hospital personnel lining the hallways and applauding as Hirshey was released. The department said Hirshey, who was wearing a neck brace as he left the hospital, “still has a long recovery period.” Hirshey was wounded on March 8 when 40-year-old Alex Felix shot him through his patrol car window, police said. Hirshey and other Joplin officers were searching for Felix after he fatally shot Joplin police Cpl. Benjamin Cooper, 40, and Officer Jake Reed, 27, during a confrontation at a Joplin shopping area. Another Joplin officer shot and killed Felix after Hirshey was wounded. Police have not discussed a possible motive for Felix's actions. Cooper was laid to rest on Tuesday in a ceremony attended by more than 2,000 people, including many other law enforcement officers and emergency responders. Reed's funeral is scheduled for Friday. Associated Press

Portland Officers Help Save Gunshot Victim's Life With Tourniquet
Two Portland police officers were recently credited with saving a man's life. It was chaos when they arrived at the scene. "All we knew for certain was somebody had been shot," Officer Justin Raphael told KGW. "It was clear that he was in grave condition. He was going in and out of consciousness." Officer Tyler Wyatt said he and Raphael didn't even know if the shooter was still nearby. "We had to make a decision to sacrifice our own safety in those moments and go into this scene to begin to save a life," said Raphael. Both officers carried Individual First Aid Kits, which they immediately pulled out. The man had been shot in the thigh through his femoral artery, according to KGW. Wyatt packed the victim's wound with gauze while Raphael applied the tourniquet. "At one point, he just asked if I'd hold his hand, which was a pretty intense moment," said Raphael. "I did and I just told him, 'Hey, keep squeezing my hand. Stay with me.'" Raphael said he held the victim's hand until he was loaded into an ambulance minutes later.  PoliceOne

NYPD Chiefs To Patrol Subways With Crime On The Rise
Subway riders in the Big Apple may soon see some high-ranking NYPD staff patrolling the subway system alongside beat cops. It's part of a new effort that aims to boost public safety after a rash of subway crime. As of this week, the NYPD will place two chiefs in the subway system for every eight-hour shift, three shifts a day, the New York Daily News reported. The policy appears to apply to the NYPD's 110 chiefs, from deputy chiefs to the chief of department, according to the report. “Each Chief providing coverage is asked to sign into and out of a Transit command at the beginning and end of their scheduled transit patrol tour, check in with the Operations Unit and the Transit Bureau Joint Command Center at the beginning of the tour, ride the trains for the duration of your transit tour and report any conditions to both the Operations Unit and the TB JACC,” reads an internal NYPD memo obtained by the Daily News. Not everyone was happy with the announcement. The police union that represents NYPD chiefs, the Captains Endowment Association, said the move was “the wrong approach.”  PoliceOne

Public Safety News

Crews Find Dead Body Inside Crashed Car In Angeles Forest
The Los Angeles County Fire Department discovered a dead body inside of a vehicle that fell over the side. According to the department, crews received a call about a crashed vehicle near Mount Baldy and Shinn Road in the Angeles National Forest at around 7 p.m. Crews believe the vehicle had been there for “awhile.”  CBS 2

Reseda House Fire Leaves Resident Hospitalized With Burns
A fire severely damaged a house in Reseda Wednesday night, with one resident suffering burns that required hospitalization. Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters responded at 9:43 p.m. to 6951 Corbin Ave., between Vanowen Street and Sherman Way, where they battled flames throughout the 1,194 square-foot residence, said fire department spokesman Nicholas Prange. Information on the injured resident's condition was not immediately available. The fire left five people without shelter and the Red Cross was notified to assist them. It took 35 firefighters 16 minutes to extinguish the flames. The cause of the fire was under investigation. Los Angeles Daily News

Chemical Spill At Atwater Village Facility Caused By Valve Rupture, Officials Say
A hazardous materials incident Thursday morning at an industrial facility sent a massive, pungent cloud into the air above Atwater Village and prompted a response from firefighter-paramedics. Although the incident was initially reported around 8:30 a.m. as an "automatic fire alarm" at Huntsman Chemical in the 4500 block of West Electronics Place, no fire or explosion occurred, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. A large metal vessel was being prepared for packaging/distribution and a small valve broke, expelling gas into the air, the Fire Department said in a statement. The material was later identified as RenInfusion 8610. According to a statement issued by Huntsman Chemical, there was limited product involved and no injuries were reported. The building where chemical spill occurred was evacuated as a precaution, the LAFD said. The Fire Department urged members of the public in the immediate area to shelter in place, closing doors and windows. Those who chose to evacuate were advised to travel south of Electronics Place. ABC 7

Local Government News

Judge Allows Herb Wesson To Rejoin The L.A. City Council — At Least For Now
A Superior Court judge has cleared the way for former Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson to return to City Hall, at least for the time being, saying a civil rights group failed to follow the proper procedure for challenging Wesson's appointment. Judge Mary H. Strobel declined to rule Thursday on whether Wesson is legally eligible to come back as a temporary replacement for Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has been suspended and is fighting corruption charges. Instead, she said the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California and other plaintiffs cannot directly seek a judge's order removing Wesson without first seeking the sign-off of state Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta. Strobel, who worked for the city attorney's office from 1999 to 2002, dissolved the temporary restraining that she issued last month, which had barred Wesson from performing his council duties. She also denied the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction barring him from participating on the council. The ruling provided one more sharp turn in the political journey of the city's 10th District, which stretches from Koreatown to Leimert Park in South Los Angeles. Wesson, who served on the council from 2005-20, said after the hearing that he is pleased with the decision. Los Angeles Times

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: