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 31, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Woman Fatally Stabbed In Harbor City Area
A 60-year-old man was taken into custody after a woman was stabbed to death in the Harbor City area early Wednesday morning, authorities said. Deputies responded to the 800 block of Sepulveda Boulevard around 3:20 a.m. and found a woman suffering from stab wounds to the upper torso, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials said in a news release. The 59-year-old stabbing victim was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene. She has not been named. A man “who is believed to be the suspect” was detained by deputies, the Sheriff's Department said. Authorities did not name the man and his relationship to the woman was unknown. It's also unclear what motivated the attack. The stabbing remains under investigation and no further details were immediately available. KTLA 5

Resident Opens Fire When Two Men Break Into His Beverly Grove Home
Police are seeking two men wanted in a break-in at a home in the Beverly Grove neighborhood of Los Angeles. Officers responded at approximately 1:20 a.m. to the 8000 block of Burton Way regarding a report of shots fired. The resident said he heard noises outside the condo and looked through the door peephole to see two men. The man said he grabbed one of his guns as the men kicked down the door. He opened fire as one of the men entered the home, he said. It was not immediately clear how many rounds were fired. "I was afraid for my life," the resident said, adding that the men appeared to be hiding something, possibly a weapon. The men escaped without taking any property. Detailed descriptions of the men were not immediately available. No injuries were reported. NBC 4

Man Arrested After Deadly Shooting Of Female Roommate In El Sereno
A man was arrested Wednesday after the deadly shooting of his female roommate in El Sereno, officials said. Authorities were initially working to determine whether the victim's death was the result of a homicide or an accidental shooting. The Los Angeles Police Department received a call around 10:25 p.m. about a shooting that occurred in the 5300 block of Hyde Street, located near the intersection of Alhambra and Warwick avenues. The victim, described only as a 25-year-old woman, was found on the balcony of an apartment complex with a gunshot wound to her neck. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators later determined the suspect and the victim were roommates. However, their relationship is unclear. LAPD detectives were canvassing the area for witnesses and surveillance footage. The suspect's name has not been released.  FOX 11

3 L.A. Men Arrested In Fillmore On Suspicion Of Stealing Catalytic Converters
Three men from Los Angeles were taken into custody in Ventura County Wednesday morning on suspicion of stealing catalytic converters from parked vehicles. The three men were arrested in Fillmore around 2:45 a.m. after Ventura County Sheriff's deputies responded for a report of a catalytic converter theft that had just happened on the the 1000 block of King Street. Deputies spoke to a witness at the scene who described two vehicles they saw speeding away from the crime scene. Deputies searched the area and were able to stop one of the vehicles that matched the witness's description on the 200 block of B Street. Inside the vehicle, deputies found three men as well as burglary tools, floor jacks and illegal drugs. A floor jack was reported left behind at one of the crime scenes, the Sheriff's Office said. Authorities took the men, identified as Luis Zepeda, 36, Ernesto Carbajal, 31, and Pedro Martinez, 32, into custody. Detectives believe the men are part of a catalytic converter theft ring out of Los Angeles. Investigators were also able to locate four other victims of catalytic converter thefts in the area. KTLA 5

Two Men Plead Not Guilty In Bell Gardens 14-Year-Old's Rape
One of two men suspected in the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl in Bell Gardens pleaded not guilty Wednesday to rape and other charges. Robert Nunez, 41, is charged with one felony count each of forcible rape of a child victim over 14 years, forcible oral copulation of a minor victim over 14 years and false imprisonment by violence. Co-defendant Jaomir Perez, also 41, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the same charges. The alleged sexual assault occurred early last Thursday morning at an undisclosed location, according to Lt. Dano Neslen of the Bell Gardens Police Department, who described the crime as "horrific." The girl told police she was coerced into a garage by a suspect later identified as Nunez, a Bell Gardens-area transient, according to a police statement. Nunez and a second suspect tied her up, then Nunez raped the girl at knifepoint, Neslen said. Police circulated Nunez's photo and sought the public's help to find him, and Nunez was arrested near a homeless encampment in Long Beach on Monday morning, according to Fox11 and police. "At 8:15 (a.m.), Long Beach P.D. was notified by an anonymous citizen that had seen our previous press release and suspect photo (who) ... reported a sighting of accused rapist Robert Nunez in the LA River area near Long Beach Boulevard and the 710 Freeway,'' Neslen said in a statement. NBC 4

Homeless Man Arrested In 2 Failed Santa Monica Carjacking Incidents
The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) arrested a homeless man who tried to rob two people in two different locations Monday. Police say that officers were called to investigate a robbery at the 76 Gas Station located at 1776 Cloverfield Boulevard around 9:55 p.m.. Officers met with the victim who told them that he was pumping gas when a male approached him and threatened him with violence while demanding his car. The suspect then went into the victim's vehicle but was unable to start it because the key was not in the ignition. The suspect then grabbed the victim's cellular phone and fled, according to police. Just a short time later, at around 10:05 p.m., police received a call of a robbery that had just occurred in the parking lot of the Ralphs Market located at 1644 Cloverfield Blvd. Officers met with the victim, who said she was seated in her vehicle when a male opened her car door, threatened her with violence before grabbing her and attempting to forcibly remove her from the car, according to police. During the struggle, police say the suspect ripped the victim's cellular phone out of her hand and fled. Police say the suspect in this incident matched the suspect's description in the first incident. WestSide Current

Jury: Jensen Sane During Rape, Sodomy of Santa Monica Woman
After an almost eight-month trial, it took a twelve-person jury just fifteen minutes to find that Dylan James Jensen knew what he was doing when he raped a Santa Monica woman in an hours-long ordeal in 2018. In December of 2021, the jury found 42-year-old Jensen guilty on seven counts that included rape, sodomy and sexual battery. On Tuesday, the jury determined Jensen was "legally sane" when committing all acts. Jensen was homeless and high on methamphetamines 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. During the sanity phase of the trial, Jensen's attorney had the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jensen met the definition of insane when committing the acts. 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 as a defense. WestSide Current

Brutal Attack After Drag Event In Pasadena Sparks Hate Crime Investigation
An attack early Friday near a Pasadena bar is being investigated as a hate crime due to comments reportedly made by the assailants. Six victims were attacked around 2:30 a.m. in a parking lot behind ix Tapa Cantina, a restaurant and nightclub on bustling Colorado Boulevard, according to the Pasadena Police Department. Lt. Bill Grisafe, a spokesperson for the department, said victims reported multiple men instigated the violence and that it was unprovoked. The night of the attack, ix Tapa Cantina was holding its weekly drag night, bar owner Jack Huang said by phone Wednesday. Ix Tapa, located in the city's popular Old Town area, began hosting the event about six months ago, and Huang said it draws a large LGBTQ crowd. “It's very sad that this kind of stuff is still going on,” Huang said. “It just makes you really, really upset and sad.” Huang wasn't at his establishment at the time of the altercation, and heard the events from staff secondhand — including a report that one of the guests was “severely injured.” Three men detailed the harrowing incident in an interview with KABC-TV Channel 7, showing graphic photos of their bruised and bloodied faces. Diamond Gonzalez, of El Monte, told the outlet that he was struck from behind and that the blow “knocked me out cold.” Los Angeles Times

Aiden Leos Freeway Shooting: Couple Charged With Murder Of 6-Year-Old To Go To Trial
A Costa Mesa couple charged with the murder of 6-year-old Aiden Leos in a freeway shooting last year will go to trial, the Orange County District Attorney announced Wednesday. Marcus Anthony Eriz, 25, and Wynne Lee, 23, are set to be arraigned on April 12 in the death of Aiden Leos, who was shot as his mother drove him to kindergarten on May 21 in Orange County, southeast of Los Angeles. Eriz - who is currently being held without bail - has been charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of shooting into an occupied vehicle, and one felony enhancement of the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury and death. Lee - who was released on electronic monitoring - has been charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact and one misdemeanor count of having a concealed firearm in a vehicle. According to accounts from the mother and witnesses who stopped to help her, another car cut her off and she responded with a hand gesture and the car slipped in behind her and someone inside fired a shot through the rear of her car. FOX 11

Stronger Sentences For Fentanyl Dealers Face Uphill Battle In State Legislature
On the same day that state legislators shot down one bill to increase penalties for selling fentanyl, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Noris pitched another that would send the worst fentanyl dealers to prison for 20 years to life. But Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Beach, acknowledged that even with the rise of synthetic, cheap fentanyl — sparking a wave of drug deaths nationally and in Southern California — her bill, AB 2246, faces an uphill battle getting through the Assembly Public Safety Committee. “We know it's going to be a tough fight,” Petrie-Norris said. For several years, bills that would stiffen penalties on fentanyl dealers have hit a brick wall in Sacramento from lawmakers wary of repeating mistakes seen during the “War on Drugs” era. Tougher sentences, many note, did little to deter traffickers, and unequal sentencing patterns too often targeted people of color. Legislators have been loathe to pile on sentencing enhancements that they fear will perpetuate those imbalances. Petrie-Norris held a virtual news conference Tuesday, March 29, to promote her bill even as a similar proposal, AB 1955, by Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove, was being rejected by the public safety committee on a 4-2 vote. The committee will allow Nguyen to amend her bill and bring it back. OC Register

Lobbyists Found Dead In Northern California Home; Son Arrested After Standoff
Authorities in Placer County are investigating the deaths of two lobbyists whose bodies were found inside a home after a standoff Monday with their son, who was shot by sheriff's deputies after he ran out of the residence while armed with a handgun. The lobbyists were identified Tuesday as 67-year-old Kathryn Lynch and 80-year-old Gerald Upholt, according to the Placer County Sheriff's Office. Dennis Lynch, their 19-year-old son, is suspected of killing them, deputies said. Authorities did not say whether Kathryn Lynch and Upholt were married or had some other kind of relationship. The Golden State Bail Agents Assn. said Tuesday that she was a longtime lobbyist for the organization. “We're really shocked that this happened,” said Albert Ramirez, the organization's president. “She was a great advocate for crime victims. She tried to make sure the government looked out for crime victims. It's a great loss to the whole community.” Upholt was also listed as a lobbyist in state records from the 2010s. A Mercury News article from 2013 quoted him as a lobbyist for the California Assn. of Firearms Retailers. Los Angeles Times

California AG: Agents Seized 1,500 Illegal Guns In 2021
A surge in gun purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic, including those bought by people who are prohibited from having firearms, prompted state law enforcement last year to mount an aggressive push to seize nearly 1,500 weapons through a unique California program, authorities said Wednesday. Agents investigated more than 6,600 people in 2021 through the Armed and Prohibited Persons System, known as APPS, according to a report released Wednesday. Of the 1,428 firearms seized last year, 826 were listed in the database but 602 — including 39 so-called ghost guns — were not. The only-in-California registry cross-matches databases to find people who legally purchased weapons but are now banned from ownership because they have been convicted of felonies or a violent misdemeanor, or have a history of domestic violence or mental illness. State and local authorities then can move to seize the weapons under the program, which began in 2006. The state Department of Justice's efforts were hampered by the pandemic during the first half of 2021 but agents were able to return to previous productivity levels after in-person contact restrictions were lifted in June, according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta. FOX 11

California Governor Rejects Parole For Manson Family Member
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday blocked parole for Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, reversing a panel's recommendation that she be freed after spending a half-century in prison. Van Houten, 72, “currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison at this time,” Newsom said in his parole review. It was the fifth time that a California governor has rejected her release. Her attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, disputed that view and said the decision will be appealed in court. He accused Newsom of rejecting parole because he is worried about “his political future” and noted that Van Houten has a spotless prison disciplinary record. “We're not fighting (over) Leslie being a good person. She's proven that through her actions for half a century,” he said. Van Houten is serving a life sentence for helping Manson and others kill Los Angeles grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in August 1969. Van Houten was 19 when she and other cult members fatally stabbed the LaBiancas and smeared the couple's blood on the walls. The day before, other Manson followers, not including Van Houten, killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others. In his rejection letter, Newsom noted that Van Housen had undergone therapy, earned educational degrees and taken self-help classes in prison and had shown “increased maturity and rehabilitation.” But Van Houten also has “gaps in insight” that continue to make her a danger to society, Newsom said. Associated Press

'A Very Dangerous Situation': 3 Buffalo Officers Shot During Pursuit
Police radio transmissions captured some of the chaos on the streets of Buffalo on Tuesday evening during a wild car chase in which three officers and the fleeing motorist were shot. “I'm hit! I'm hit!” a voice believed to be that of an officer is heard saying as sirens wailed in the background. Minutes later comes another urgent voice: “They're still shooting. Multiple officers hit!" Only one of the three officers struck by gunfire remained hospitalized Wednesday as investigators reconstructed the pursuit, which wound through city streets for more than 20 minutes with the gunman firing at officers from the moving vehicle. The driver of the car also was in the hospital after being shot and wounded by police at an intersection in front of a police station, where the chase ended. No bystanders were hit by the flying bullets, which authorities said was remarkably lucky. Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the chase began around 6 p.m. when a motorist who had been pulled over in traffic suddenly drove off. As police pursued, the vehicle slowed to let someone out. After the passenger exited, gunfire started coming from the car. PoliceOne

Video: Officer Pinned Between Cars During Shootout; Second Officer Shot
Two Chicago police officers were injured during a West Side traffic stop Monday night and one of those officers shot and wounded a man who had been in the vehicle that was pulled over, according to police. The two officers are part of a tactical unit and were assigned to patrol the Harrison District which includes the West Side Lawndale neighborhood, police said in a statement. At around 9:15 p.m. those officers “were conducting a traffic stop” in the 3000 block of West Polk Street, officials said. Authorities did not provide a description of the vehicle that was stopped, the reason for that traffic stop or additional information about any alleged infractions. According to Chicago police, a man in the vehicle that was stopped “drove the vehicle in the direction of the officers” as they approached the stopped car, “pinning an officer between the squad car and vehicle.” Officials said “an exchange of gunfire ensued,” during which “an officer and the (man) were both struck.” Police did not say who fired their gun first or which of the two officers shot the man. The police shooting will be investigated by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, or COPA, as is customary. “Both officers were transported to an area hospital, where one of the officers is being treated for a gunshot wound to the hand and the other for an injury to the right leg. The officers are reported to be in fair condition,” according to the police statement. Chicago Tribune

82% Increase In Wrong-Way Drivers In 2022, Says Utah Highway Patrol
A deadly trend has the Utah Highway Patrol on their toes. According to FOX 13, the agency has reported an 82% increase in wrong-way drivers in 2022. So far this year, the UHP has seen 20 wrong-way crashes, eight of them fatal. “We've tried to make sure we're in the right place at the right time," Sgt. Cameron Roden told FOX 13. "But we can't predict when and where these are going to happen.” Roden says most of the wrong-way crashes happen late at night and under the influence. “Majority of these crashes are impaired drivers," said Roden. "This is something that can definitely be avoided. If we can get those people to make a change, find another ride home, and hopefully we can make a change and turn around this trend that we've been seeing." To help address this problem, the UHP created a new taskforce with the Utah Department of Transportation. Mitch Shaw, a UDOT spokesperson, says one idea is new signage lower to the ground. “With lower signage, when they're impaired, they could be slumped over, kind of looking down," Shaw told FOX 13. "Maybe, hopefully, the lower signs catch their eye.” PoliceOne

Public Safety News

Firefighters Rescue Man Who Fell 30-Feet In Westwood
Los Angeles Fire Department units are transporting a man who fell about 30 feet from a rooftop of a building located on S. Sepulveda Blvd. in Westwood. It happened around 2 p.m. Wednesday. The male was secured to a backboard as firefighters established a litter basket operation to safely bring him to the ground and take him to the hospital. The identity of the patient has not been released. The extent of his injuries are unknown at this time.  CBS 2

Local Government News

LA City Council Lifts Proof Of Vaccination Mandate
The city of Los Angeles lifted its proof of vaccination mandate Wednesday. The mandate required patrons to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter many indoor establishments and large outdoor events. The city council voted 13-1, with Councilman Mike Bonin dissenting, to lift the vaccination mandate. The measure passed with an urgency clause, meaning it will take effect as soon as the mayor signs it and it is formally published by the City Clerk's Office. Without the urgency clause, the measure would have remained in effect for another 30 days. The city mandate 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. 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: