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

May 26, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Convicted Child Molester Hannah Tubbs To Face Trial For Unrelated Murder
Convicted child molester Hannah Tubbs – a 26-year-old transgender woman serving a two-year sentence in a Los Angeles juvenile facility – was ordered to stand trial for an unrelated murder charge after finding sufficient evidence. Tubbs appeared during a preliminary hearing Monday at a courthouse in Bakersfield, California, where prosecutors presented evidence that Tubbs beat Michael Clarke with a rock in April 2019, according to the KGET. According to evidence from the Corn County Sheriff's Sergeant. Steven Davis, Tabs, and Clark were part of a “Survivalist Transient Group” and engaged in an argument on the evening of April 20, 2019, at Keysville Campground. Eyewitnesses told Davis that Tubbs and Clark went for a walk, but only Tubbs returned to the campground. Davis testified to Tubbs, who was seen as the “promoter” of the group, “hating” and abusing Clark repeatedly. Witnesses told the sergeant that Tubbs forced Clark to lift a cigarette butt by crawling on his hands and knees. Sheriff's Sergeant Mark Chambles testified that he interviewed Tabs in March 2020, and Tabs told him that it was a man named Chad Mizar who had gone for a walk in the woods with Clark. Tubbs said only Mizar returned to the campsite. Chambles testified that Tubbs eventually told him that he and Clark got into a fight and that he threw Clark into the river, where he fell unconscious. Tubbs, however, gave investigators a different story a few days later, saying that another camper, Joseph Buffalo, allegedly killed Clark by suffocation. PKB News

L.A. Serial Killer Convicted Of Five 2014 Murders Faces Life In Prison
A man who killed five people and injured several others during a months-long shooting spree that stretched from the San Fernando Valley to West Hollywood in 2014 was convicted of all charges Wednesday and will spend the rest of his life in prison, prosecutors said. Alexander Hernandez, 42, was found guilty of five counts of murder with special circumstances, eleven counts of attempted murder and several other offenses following a three-week trial, according to Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Michele Hanisee. Under California law, a person convicted of murder with special circumstances can only be sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors originally sought the death penalty against Hernandez, but District Atty. George Gascón barred his prosecutors from seeking capital punishment after his election in 2020. “A verdict in a murder case is never a triumph, it's just a relief,” Hanisee said. “A relief that the victims can start to move on with their lives.” Hernandez was arrested in August 2014 and accused of going on a five-day shooting rampage that left several people dead in the San Fernando Valley. At the time, police referred to him as a serial killer. His attacks actually started months earlier, when Hernandez shot and killed Sergio Sanchez while driving on the 210 Freeway near Sylmar, leaving the man slumped dead in his car on an off-ramp, court records show. Los Angeles Times

'Too Many Shootings, Too Many Guns': LA Residents Worry In Wake Of CHP Ambush, Texas Shooting
Concerns among local residents were growing Wednesday in the wake of an ambush shooting in East Los Angeles and the deadly shooting that left 20 people dead at an elementary school in Texas. "My ears are still ringing from the gunshots," said one of the crew members of a construction project right next to where California Highway Patrol officers were ambushed during a traffic stop. You can hear dozens of shots from the gun battle that exploded shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. At that time, students at nearby middle and elementary schools were out in the yard. One mother had picked up her daughter and ended up ducking beneath their car's dashboard. Everyone seems to be on edge near the shooting scene. "Between this and the school shooting in Texas, it's really scary," said the man who shot the video, William Walker. He is a father and adds that he has never seen anything like the extended gun battle he experienced Tuesday, and that he worries about his own children, more than ever. Flags fly at half staff at the schools near the East Los Angeles scene, remembering the children who died in Texas, but as one school employee here said off - camera, "It could have been one of these kids, also getting hit by one of the many bullets whizzing around yesterday. Just too many shootings, too many guns, and too many crazy people." FOX 11

City Has No Place To Store Impounded RVs, Says LAPD Assistant Chief
During Tuesday's police commission meeting, the senior staff at the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed they can't begin towing RVs that have lined the streets because there is no place to store them. At the meeting, LAPD Assistant Chief Robert Marino said that while the city has 18 official police garages, the only one that can store large vehicles like RVs is already at full capacity. "One of the things the department is working on is safe sites for these vehicles," he said. The city has been looking for ways to solve this issue after they lifted the pandemic-era ban on towing over a month ago. But as the city continues to search for a place to store all these RVs, Marino said that crime has spiked near the homeless encampments surrounding the RVs. Residents in Marina Del Rey said that several fires have broken out near the many encampments surrounding the area.  CBS 2

Family In West LA Desperately Searching For Missing Man With Autism
A family in West L.A. is pleading for help in finding a missing man with autism. According to family members, Jeremy Hansbrough was last seen on Monday, May 16, though the 29-year-old has been spotted by others. On Thursday, someone reported seeing him near 28th Street and Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica. Hansbrough reportedly takes medication for seizures and doesn't have the medicine with him at the moment. His mother, Michelle Hansbrough, has since filed a police report and has put up posters in an effort to bring her son home. She said he's high functioning, but doesn't communicate with people he doesn't know very well. "If they see his picture, just call 911 or call the number on the poster so we can find him, because the lapse in time, the time people talk about where they saw him and the time that we can get there," said the mom. "So if they keep him talking about jazz. He's a jazz aficionado." If the man isn't found by Friday, there will be a search party on Saturday, according to the family. Anyone with information is urged to contact local authorities. ABC 7

People Are Still Trying To Replicate The ‘Flying Tesla' Stunt In Echo Park
Remember the viral video showing a Tesla flying down a steep hill in Echo Park, narrowly missing homes and sleeping residents? Residents say dangerous copycat stunts are happening, on average, every other week. India Lawrence's house on Baxter Street is about halfway down the hill from Alvarado. A new video making the rounds on social media shows two motorcycles flying through the air and landing yards from her front door, her roof and yard. "If a car goes into our house, we're really in the line of fire," she said. And it's not just her -- a dozen or more of her neighbors at the bottom of the hill are in the "line of fire" as well. She and other residents have counted at least four or five jumps in just the past two months, featuring both motorcycles and vehicles. That's tons of metal flying through the air completely out of control. "It's kind of unreal that no one's gotten hurt yet," she said. The stunts started happening more routinely after video of a Tesla flying above a group of people's heads late at night started going viral. The Tesla goes airborne after speeding the wrong way up the other side of the hill. At the end of the clip, the high-end car can be seen in a crumpled heap after slamming into a couple of parked cars along the way. The driver fled the scene, and, to date, no one has been arrested. NBC 4

3 Girls Hospitalized In Apparent Drug Overdose In Santa Monica
Three teenage girls who apparently overdosed on an unknown substance at an apartment in Santa Monica were hospitalized Wednesday, two of them in critical but stable condition, police said. Santa Monica police and fire personnel were sent to the 2000 block of 20th Street at about 11 p.m. Tuesday on "a report of a possible overdose," said Lt. Rudy Flores of the Santa Monica Police Department. "Three female juveniles, believed to have experienced a drug overdose, were transported to a local hospital by SMFD to be treated," Flores said. "Two of the females have been listed as critical but stable condition and the third is conscious and alert." Further information was not immediately available. The investigation was continuing, Flores said.  FOX 11

Law Enforcement To Patrol For Impaired Motorists Over Memorial Day Weekend
Law enforcement will be out in force for the Memorial Day Weekend keeping an eye out for impaired drivers. The California Highway Patrol's "maximum enforcement period" will begin at 6 p.m. Friday and continue through 11:59 p.m. Monday. All available CHP officers will be patrolling the streets to catch impaired motorists and other traffic violators. "Memorial Day should be a time for honoring our fallen heroes and spending time with loved ones," CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. "It should never be marked by tragedy caused by car crashes. Please buckle up, follow all traffic laws and arrive at your destination safely." Meanwhile, local law enforcement agencies will also ramp up patrols across SoCal. Last year, 979 motorists were arrested by CHP on suspicion of drunk or drug-impaired driving. In 2020, 854 drivers were arrested. In 2021, 35 people inside vehicles were killed in collisions investigated by the CHP. CBS 2

L.A. Man Among 4 Charged In Kidnapping Of Man Found Slain In Vermont
Two more men have been arrested in connection with the 2018 kidnapping of a man later found shot to death in a snowbank in Barnet, Vermont. Serhat Gumrukcu, 39, of Los Angeles, and Berk Eratay, 35, of Las Vegas, were arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiring to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire which resulted in the death of Gregory Davis, of Danville, the U.S. attorney's office for Vermont said Wednesday. Prosecutors said counsel had not yet been appointed for them. Two other men were charged last month. Jerry Banks, of Fort Garland, Colorado, was charged with kidnapping Davis. “Although Banks is not charged with Davis's murder, the government has alleged that Banks murdered Davis,” the U.S. attorney's office said a press release. It was not immediately known if Banks is being represented by an attorney. Aron Lee Ethridge, 42, of Las Vegas, pleaded not guilty in April to a federal charge that he conspired in the kidnapping. Los Angeles Daily News

21-Year-Old Man Arrested, 17 Guns Seized In San Bernardino
A man was arrested and more than a dozen weapons confiscated during a recent traffic stop in San Bernardino. According to officials, an officer pulled over the driver of a U-Haul - later identified as 21-year-old Robert Andrew Medina - on the afternoon of May 22 for several traffic violations. Police said Medina had recently been arrested for a firearms violation. A search of the U-Haul resulted in the discovery of 17 weapons - 7 assault rifles, 9 handguns, 1 shotgun, and 18 high-capacity magazines with assorted ammunition. Officials said one of the weapons was stolen and another had an altered serial number. Medina was arrested on multiple felony weapons violations charges and is currently being held on $500,000 bail. FOX 11

Texas Gunman Warned Online He Was Going To Shoot Up A School, Governor Says
The gunman who massacred 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas had warned in online messages minutes before the attack that he had shot his grandmother and was going to shoot up a school, the governor said Wednesday. Salvador Ramos, 18, used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle in the bloodbath Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. He had legally bought two such rifles just days before, soon after his birthday, authorities said. Investigators shed no immediate light on the motive. Gov. Greg Abbott said Ramos, a resident of the community about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio, had no known criminal or mental health history. But about 30 minutes before the bloodbath, Ramos made three social media posts, Abbott said. According to the governor, Ramos posted that he was going to shoot his grandmother, then that he had shot the woman, and finally that he was going to shoot up an elementary school. Seventeen people were also injured in the attack. Associated Press

Cops: 500,000 Fentanyl Pills Seized In Arizona Traffic Stop
Two women were arrested after about 500,000 fentanyl pills were found in an SUV pulled over for speeding on Interstate 10 in Arizona, police said. The pills that were seized were discovered concealed in collagen supplement bottles on Monday during a search that also turned up a handgun and a large amount of cash, police from the small city of Casa Grande south of Phoenix said in a statement. U.S. overdose deaths have risen most years for more than two decades. The increase began in the 1990s with overdoses involving opioid painkillers, followed by waves of deaths led by other opioids like heroin and — most recently — illicit fentanyl. Last year, overdoses involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids surpassed 71,000, up 23% from the year before. There also was a 23% increase in deaths involving cocaine and a 34% increase in deaths involving meth and other stimulants. Over a two-month period in Arizona late last year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration working with Arizona law enforcement agencies made seizures of more than 3 million fentanyl pills, 45 kilograms (99 pounds) of fentanyl powder and 35 firearms. Forty people were arrested. Associated Press

8-Year-Old Twins Starved, Abused Before One Died At Just 29 Pounds; Mother, Boyfriend Charged
A woman and her boyfriend have been charged in the death of an 8-year-old girl and injuries to her surviving twin sister. The Houston girls were malnourished and physically abused over an extended time, according to court documents. Soledad Mendoza, 29, and Ruben "Alex" Moreno, 29, were taken into custody last week and are both charged with capital murder – under 10 years of age for the death of Melanie Mendoza and two counts of injury to a child for her twin sister. Houston Police say the girl died on the night of December 21, 2020, after she was taken to Memorial Hermann - Memorial City Hospital with multiple injuries and bruises by Houston Fire Department paramedics. Officers responded to a welfare check at the hospital for reports of a deceased child, where they found the victims were grossly emaciated and had signs of malnutrition or starvation and multiple injuries, including chronic rib fractures. Despite being 8-years-old, they both only weighed less than 30 pounds, wore diapers, and were "extremely malnourished and unkempt." Investigators say that there were two other siblings in the household, 7 and 12 years old, who were seemingly in perfect health, including a younger sibling who was physically bigger than the twins. CPS has removed all children from the care of Mendoza and Moreno, including a newborn girl who was still in the hospital at the time of Melanie's death, and have been placed in foster care, court documents say. FOX 11

Public Safety News

Report: LA County Deaths Increased 26% In 1st Year Of COVID Pandemic
During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall number of people who died in Los Angeles County increased by 26% compared to the previous year, and the virus officially ranked as the second-leading cause of death, according to a report released Tuesday. According to the report from the county Department of Public Health, a total of 81,083 deaths were reported in the county during 2020, an increase of 16,566 over 2019. A total of 11,101 — or 67% — of those additional deaths were attributed to COVID-19. The report determined that COVID was the second-leading cause of death in the county in 2020, trailing just behind coronary heart disease, which was responsible for 12,207 deaths that year. The deaths due to heart disease represented a 10% increase from 2019. The other leading causes of death in the county in 2020 were Alzheimer's disease (4,978), stroke (4,026) and diabetes (3,527), according to the report. All of those numbers represented increases from 2019, according to the county.

With California Hit By New Coronavirus Wave, Time To Start Wearing Masks? Limit Gatherings?
As California contends with another resurgence of the coronavirus, what should residents consider doing to protect themselves from infection? Unlike in earlier waves of the pandemic that were marked by defined limitations on what people could do and how businesses could operate, officials have not demonstrated an appetite for renewed restrictions, unless hospitalizations dramatically worsen. But it's still important for residents to take action to reduce their infection risk, experts say — both to avoid potentially serious health consequences and reduce the chance of contracting long COVID, in which symptoms of illness, including fatigue and brain fog, can persist for months or years. California lifted its statewide public indoor masking orders months ago. However, officials have consistently urged residents to use face coverings in public interior settings — including retail stores, restaurants, theaters and family entertainment centers. The California Department of Public Health “also strongly recommends masks on all public transportation and in transit hubs, including bus and train stations, ferry terminals and airports,” according to a statement sent in response to an inquiry from The Times. Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

Los Angeles Watering Restrictions Approved By City Council
Water conservation measures announced earlier this month by Mayor Eric Garcetti were approved by the Los Angeles City Council Wednesday, confirming that outdoor watering in the city will be restricted to two days per week based on street addresses beginning June 1. The restrictions, approved by a 13-0 vote, are more lenient than the one-day limit ordered earlier by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for areas that are dependent on water from the State Water Project. "It's actually less strict than what other neighboring water districts are moving towards, where they're going to just one day a week,'' Garcetti said on May 10 while announcing the measures from an Eagle Rock home where the resident recently installed drought-friendly landscaping. "Angelenos have done more. In the city of Los Angeles, we've done more, so we don't have to see a risk of plants dying or going to one day a week because of all the things we are doing collectively and have done.'' ABC 7

LA City Council Calls For State To Pass Gun Control Bill
One day after 19 children and two adults were killed by a gunman in a fourth grade classroom in Texas, five Los Angeles City Councilmen Wednesday called for the state to pass legislation that would allow private citizens to sue those who sell or manufacture guns. Senate Bill 1327, which is sponsored by Gov. Gavin Newsom, was introduced by Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, and Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge. It passed the Senate on Tuesday and now heads to the Assembly. The bill would allow citizens to file lawsuits against anyone who manufactures, distributes, transports, keeps for sale, offers for sale, gives or lends assault weapons, .50 BMG Rifles, firearm precursor parts or unserialized firearms. It was introduced after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed similar legislation that enables private citizens to seek civil action against people who have abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The resolution in support of the legislation was introduced Wednesday by Councilmen Bob Blumenfield, Paul Krekorian, Mitch O'Farrell, Paul Koretz and Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

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: