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 24, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Los Angeles robberies involving firearms up 44% and are becoming more violent, police chief says
Robberies in Los Angeles involving a firearm have increased 44% this year, the city's top cop said Tuesday, who noted that authorities are seeing an increase in the level of violence used during such crimes and that those wearing expensive jewelry could be targeted by thieves. The message from LAPD Chief Michel Moore confirmed what many residents and business owners already suspected amid a crime surge and uptick in robberies in general.  "This increase in gun crimes should be a stark reminder of the dangers our residents face every day," the union's board of directors said in a statement to Fox News. "It is incomprehensible that during this gun crime epidemic that the Police Commission would enact a policy to curtail legal car stops, stops that take guns off our streets. Angelenos are fed up and this election we hope they will vote for candidates that care more about residents than criminals." Fox 11

Woman Shot In Hail Of Gunfire In Exposition Park, Vehicle Riddled With Dozens Of Bullets
A woman was rushed to the hospital after being struck in a hail of gunfire in Exposition Park Tuesday night, just blocks from USC. Officers responded to the area of 41st Drive and Vermont Avenue at about 9:30 p.m. and found a victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, Los Angeles Police Department said. She was conscious and breathing as she was put in the ambulance. She was described as being in her 30s. "The person is blessed to survive something of this magnitude," said LAPD Sgt. Craig Orange. AIR7 HD video showed a white 4-door vehicle riddled with bullets as dozens of shell casings laid on the ground next to it. Investigators say they believe the victim was sitting in the passenger seat of the parked car when it was ambushed, but it's unclear who was in that driver's seat. At about 9:48 p.m., a man was seen placed in handcuffs by police. It was not immediately known if that individual was connected to the incident. Police say the shooter took off in a late model 4-door white sedan with tinted windows, last seen driving west on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard towards Normandie Avenue. It's unclear if the victim and shooter knew each other. The investigation is ongoing. No further details were immediately known. ABC 7

5 Suspects Terrorize Restaurant In Mid-Wilshire, Attacking Workers And Taking Cash Register
The search is on for a group of suspects accused of terrorizing a restaurant in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood. The Los Angeles Police Department responded to a call from the 6000 block of San Vicente Boulevard at around 9 p.m. Tuesday. Officers at the scene were told five suspects went inside the restaurant and started attacking the workers inside. The suspects eventually took the cash register and ran off from the scene. One of the five suspects was described as wearing a yellow hoodie. Officials did not provide specific details of the suspects. As of Tuesday night, no arrests have been announced in the dangerous incident. The restaurant robbery comes hours after a Beverly Hills jewelry store was targeted by a group of suspects in a smash-and-grab robbery. While there is unknown as of Tuesday night that both incidents could possibly be related, the Beverly Hills incident also involved five suspects.  FOX 11

Man Shot To Death Outside Torrance ‘Hi N Dry' Bar
A man in his 50s was fatally shot outside a bar in Torrance during an argument early Wednesday, and his alleged killer was arrested. The shooting occurred at about 1 a.m. outside the Hi N Dry bar at 182nd Street and Crenshaw Boulevard, according to Sgt. Mark Ponegalek of the Torrance Police Department. The victim was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, Ponegalek said. His name was withheld, pending notification of his relatives. A man in his 50s was arrested on suspicion of committing the shooting, Ponegalek said. His name was not immediately released. A firearm believed used in the crime was recovered by police. According to the preliminary investigation, the men were involved in an argument that escalated into the shooting, Ponegalek said. Traffic was routed away from the area while an investigation was conducted. Anyone with further information on the killing was encouraged to call the Torrance Police Department at 310-328-3456. NBC 4

Video From Assault On SLCPD Officer At Airport Shows Bystander Stepping In To Help
Video released on Monday shows two separate incidents of police officers being attacked at Salt Lake City International Airport recently. In the video of the February incident near TSA, you'll notice a traveler step in to help the officer. That person is Enrique Rodriguez. He was visiting Utah from California at the time. It turns out he is a retired former law enforcement officer. He told FOX 13 News that he served 12 years with the Los Angeles Police Department and a smaller department in southern California. When he noticed the suspect resisting, kicking and breaking free from the officer, his instincts took over. "That's not a normal action for a normal person. I don't know anything what's going on with that gentleman, but that's not normal activity. When something like that happens, you have to think the worst to be prepared to handle any situation that arises." Backup officers arrived moments later. The SLCPD said they are grateful Rodriguez was there to help. They added that the suspect never breached security. FOX 13

2 Arrested In Glendale For Possessing Ghost Gun, Stolen Driver's Licenses, Credit Cards, Drug Paraphernalia
The Glendale Police Department found a loaded ghost gun, potentially stolen credit cards and driver's licenses, and drug paraphernalia in a late-night traffic stop on Thursday, resulting in two arrests, the department said in a news release. Mesrop Konanyan, 38, of Los Angeles, and Nareh Shamirian, 27, of Glendale, were pulled over by GPD officers near Central Avenue and San Fernando Road for “an equipment violation” just before midnight. When officers approached the car, they “saw drug paraphernalia in plain view,” police said. Officers searched the vehicle and found a loaded ghost gun — a firearm without a serial number, making it untraceable — and six credit cards and two driver's licenses that belong to other people. Konanyan, a convicted felon, was arrested for possessing a firearm and ammunition as a prohibited person, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle and violating his parole. Konanyan, who was arrested twice in 2021 on felony charges, is being held on bail of $115,000 at the Men's Central Jail, according to jail records. He was due to appear in Glendale Municipal Court on Wednesday morning, though jail records did not provide the results of that hearing. KTLA 5

Santa Monica Police Looking For Driver In 2021 Deadly Hit-and-Run
The Santa Monica Police Department is looking for the driver of a vehicle that fled the scene after hitting and killing a pedestrian in November 2021. It happened on Nov. 13, 2021, around 8:05 p.m. near the intersection of 10th Street and Pico Boulevard. When police arrived on scene they found a 58-year-old man suffering from “massive trauma” after being hit by two cars. The man was declared at the scene. The first vehicle that hit the man drove off. The driver of the second vehicle remained at the scene, police said. The suspect vehicle has been identified as a white Ford Mustang, possibly a 2015 model. The vehicle is believed to have sustained a broken right front windshield and damage to the front driver's side. Security footage of the deadly hit-and-run was posted on the police department's Twitter page Wednesday. The suspected driver is believed to have either lived nearby or visited the area often, police said. The Santa Monica Police Department is asking anyone with information about the deadly hit-and-run to come forward and contact them at 310-458-8426. KTLA 5

Woman Arrested In Mexico On Suspicion Of 2015 Killing Of Her Husband In Victorville
A 40-year-old woman was taken into custody this month on suspicion of shooting her husand to death in 2015 in Victorville, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department announced Monday. Leticia Smith had evaded arrest for nearly seven years after her husband, Antoine Smith, 35, was found dead of gunshot wounds in the couple's Victorville home in May 2015. The couple's two daughters also went missing during that time but were found safe in Mexico with their mother, officials said. The investigation began after multiple people contacted the Sheriff's Department on May 10, 2015, saying they had not heard from Antoine for several days. “Friends and co-workers became increasingly concerned after they received text messages from Antoine's cellphone number, which were not consistent with Antione's messaging style,” the Sheriff's Department wrote in a release. On May 11, a missing-person report was filed with the department, and a welfare check of the home in the 13000 block of Brynwood Street was performed the following day. After Antoine's body was discovered, investigators identified Leticia as a suspect and uncovered evidence that she had fled to Mexico with the two girls. Los Angeles Times

Authorities Announce 7 Arrests In Drug Trafficking Ring Inquiry
Authorities in Ventura County seized more than $230,000 worth of fentanyl and methamphetamine and arrested seven people after an investigation into a major drug trafficking ring, officials announced Tuesday. Homero Diaz, a 24-year-old Bakersfield resident and the suspected ringleader, was arrested March 16 and faces one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Los Angeles field division. Six other suspects — Manuel Martinez, 24, of Ventura; Apolinar Mena, 30, of Compton; Francisco Placencia, 28, of Compton; Antonio DeJesus Santana, 31, of Riverside; Jesus Varela, 28, of Torrance; and Jaime Gomez Lopez, 27, of Compton — were arrested the same day and face the same charge, authorities said. Federal and state officials also seized about 50,000 fentanyl pills and 45 pounds of methamphetamine from the suspects' vehicles. Local and federal authorities have increasingly clamped down on the distribution of opioids such as fentanyl as deaths from the powerful drugs have climbed nationwide. Los Angeles Times

Woman Charged With DUI, Vehicular Homicide In Deaths Of 2 Pennsylvania Troopers, Citizen
Pennsylvania State Troopers on Tuesday announced the arrest of the 21-year-old driver who authorities say fatally struck and killed two state troopers and a civilian on I-95 early Monday. Authorities have charged Jayana Tanae Webb, of Eagleville, with three counts of third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle, and a battery of DUI-related charges for her role in the three deaths, state police said. As family and colleagues continued to mourn the fallen troopers and man, prosecutors must now piece together what led to the deadly crash, which happened after Troopers Martin F. Mack III and Branden T. Sisca were dispatched to assist a man walking on the southbound highway near Lincoln Financial Field around 12:45 a.m. Monday, officials said. As Mack and Sisca were trying to detain the man, Webb attempted to pass the parked state police SUV while driving at a high speed, fatally striking all three men. In a release Tuesday, state police identified the deceased civilian as Reyes Rivera Oliveras, 28, of Allentown. The impact of the crash threw the victims over the median. Witnesses attempted to perform CPR, but all three were pronounced dead on the scene. Webb stopped her vehicle in the shoulder nearby and remained on scene, officials said. Philadelphia Inquirer

Bodycam: After Texas LEO Killed Working At Mall, Cops Fatally Shoot Suspect
Last month, a Texas deputy constable was fatally shot while working an off-duty security job at a Houston mall. New bodycam video released Tuesday shows the aftermath, including when responding officers shot and killed the suspect. On Feb. 23, Deputy Neil Adams, 62, was shot by a suspect who managed to grab the deputy's gun in a struggle, according to KHOU 11. Bodycam video shows Houston Police Officer Mohammed Nasser running through the mall past shops and kiosks while asking shoppers for directions. After a few minutes of chaos and confusion, Nasser finds the suspect, 35-year-old Czyz Harrison. “Drop the knife!” Nasser yells repeatedly as Harrison walks toward him. Bodycam and mall surveillance video show Harrison lunging at Nasser. Nasser and a second Houston police officer, Officer Tallal Salameh, open fire. Harrison gets up, despite being shot, and starts to walk away. An officer uses a TASER and Harrison falls to the ground again. Harrison was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Investigators said Harrison was holding a knife, according to the report. Adams worked as an environmental officer with the San Jacinto County Constable's Office, according to earlier reports. He was remembered as good man who worked hard to take care of his family. PoliceOne

Public Safety News

Rancho Palos Verdes House Fire That Killed Firefighter Started From Electrical Problem, Official Says
An electrical problem caused the house fire that cost a Los Angeles County firefighter his life in Rancho Palos Verdes in January, a fire official said on Wednesday, March 23. The fire stemmed from electricity in a wall, Los Angeles County fire Capt. Raul Ramirez said. Fire officials declined to elaborate on Wednesday, March 23, with one saying that was because the fire was still under investigation. Jonathan Flagler was one of the Los Angeles County firefighters battling the blaze when he was overcome with smoke and fire while inside of the home in the 30700 block of Tarapaca Road. Flagler, 47, died at the hospital shortly after. The homeowners have described waking up around 2 a.m. on Jan. 6 to the sounds of fire alarms beeping, then seeing smoke when they rushed outside. A few weeks later, hundreds of firefighters, friends and family members gathered to honor Flagler during a memorial service in Los Alamitos. The San Clemente family man is survived by his wife and two teenage sons. Flagler was a firefighter for 21 years, serving 19 of them with the Vernon Fire Department before joining the Los Angeles County Fire Department in 2020 when the county took over fire services for that city. Los Angeles Daily News

Person Dies After Getting Trapped Beneath Service Train
A person who got trapped under a service train used for construction of the Purple (D) Line in the area 711 S. La Brea Ave. has died. Crews with the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the Mid-Wilshire scene around 5:20 p.m. and attempted a rescue. Sky2's Desmond Shaw reported that it may have been a construction worker at the site. It is unclear how the person became trapped, though an investigation is underway.  CBS 2

Omicron Deaths And Cases Hit Southern California Harder Than Rest Of State
The winter Omicron surge hit Southern California harder than any other part of the state, a Times data analysis found, again underscoring the region's vulnerability. The data — from Dec. 1, when the state's first Omicron case was confirmed, through Monday — help paint a more complete picture of Omicron's rampage throughout California and demonstrate how the pandemic's pain continues to be unequal. But the figures also lend further credence to what health officials have long maintained: that the surest way to stave off the worst ravages of the coronavirus is through robust vaccination. The widely vaccinated and boosted San Francisco Bay Area, for instance, noted the lowest hospitalization and death rates in the state during the recent surge by the coronavirus variant, despite having the second-highest case rates. Conversely, rural Northern California's death rate was roughly the same as Southern California's, even though the latter's case rate was more than twice as high. Boosting vaccination rates, health officials and experts say, is all the more pressing given the widespread relaxation of other measures — namely mask mandates — that had been imposed to help stymie the virus' spread. Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

Race For LA Mayor: Top Candidates Answer Issues On Crime, Homelessness, COVID
The race is on to find the next mayor of Los Angeles. Several candidates are eyeing the seat that was held by Eric Garcetti for the past eight years. Among those running are U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, Los Angeles City Councilmen Kevin de Leon and Joe Buscaino, City Attorney Mike Feuer and billionaire developer Rick Caruso. The candidates took part in a live debate hosted by FOX 11, The Angeles Times and the Dornsife Center for the Political Future Tuesday night. The candidates were asked a number of questions focusing on hot topic issues facing Angelenos, such as homelessness, housing, the economy and much more. The primary for the 2022 Los Angeles mayoral election will take place June 7, with the top two finishers squaring off in the general election Nov. 8.  FOX 11

LA Tentatively Approves Ordinance To Lift Vaccine Mandate For Indoor Businesses, Outdoor Events
The Los Angeles City Council tentatively approved an ordinance to lift its mandate requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter many indoor establishments and large outdoor events. Councilman Mike Bonin was the only dissenting vote on Wednesday. The ordinance required unanimous approval on its first reading to take effect right away. It will now return to the council March 30, when it needs a simple majority vote to receive final approval. 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. On March 9, the City Council voted 12-0 to approve a motion introduced by Council President Nury Martinez that essentially calls for rescinding the requirements, although individual businesses would be permitted to voluntarily require proof of vaccination from patrons. That motion requested the city attorney to prepare an ordinance to rescind the mandate. ABC 7

City Council To Consider Motion To Revitalize Van Nuys Civic Center
The Los Angeles City Council passed a motion Tuesday aimed at revitalizing and adding green spaces to the Van Nuys Civic Center plaza, in an area that has been designated as having a high need for park space. The motion was introduced by Council President Nury Martinez on Jan. 11 as part of a legislative package intended to break the cycle of poverty and build a livable city. It passed 12-0. “A key opportunity to add more green space is the plaza that sits within the Van Nuys Civic Center. The plaza is surrounded by government offices including the Braude Building, Van Nuys City Hall, the James C. Corman Federal Building and several courthouses,” stated the motion, which was seconded by Councilwoman Nithya Raman and Councilman Paul Koretz. “The Van Nuys Civic Center should be re-imagined as a vibrant new public spaces that serves nearby office workers and residents during the day and can also be used for special events and programming,” it continued.

LA City Council Passes Resolution To Protect 1 Million Acres of Land In California
The Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution Wednesday to support a federal legislative package aimed at protecting more than 1 million acres of public lands in Los Angeles, Northwest California and the Central Coast. The Protecting Unique and Beautiful Landscapes by Investing in California (PUBLIC) Lands Act, introduced by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla in May 2021, would designate an additional 600,000 acres of California land as wilderness, including 30,000 acres in the San Gabriel range, as well as more than 853 miles of California streams as new wild and scenic rivers, including 45 miles in the San Gabriel area. One of three bills within the package, the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act, would expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by more than 109,000 acres to include part of the western Angeles National Forest. It would also create a National Recreation Area along the San Gabriel Valley foothills and the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River corridors. That bill aims to increase equitable access to public lands for the 17 million people in the Los Angeles County area, which is one of the most park-poor, densely populated and polluted areas in the nation. NBC 4

LA Councilmen Introduce Motion To Expand City's Adaptive Sports Programming
Los Angeles City Councilmen Mitch O'Farrell and Paul Krekorian introduced a motion Tuesday aimed at creating a citywide sports program in Los Angeles inclusive of people with physical disabilities. “I know firsthand how transformative access to sports and athletics can be,” O'Farrell said. “I want to make sure that Angelenos of all physical abilities are able to fully use city recreational facilities and participate in sports programming across Los Angeles. Today, we're moving one step closer to ensuring greater equity across our recreation system,” added O'Farrell, who used to compete in tennis and gymnastics. If the City Council approves the motion, the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Department on Disability will be instructed to develop a citywide adaptive sports program. The departments will also issue recommendations for physical accessibility infrastructure improvements for existing facilities or those in development.

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: