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

July 18, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Prosecutors Union Blasts Gascón For Appeal Of Ruling On Prior Strikes
The union representing Los Angeles County prosecutors has blasted District Attorney George Gascon for his plan to appeal a court ruling that blocked one of his directives preventing prosecutors from alleging prior-strike allegations in criminal cases. “Last month, a unanimous Court of Appeals panel reminded George Gascon that `he is an elected official who must comply with the law, not a sovereign with absolute, un-reviewable discretion.' He obviously disagrees with that basic premise,” according to a statement from the Association of Deputy District Attorneys. The appeals court ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the association challenging directives Gascon issued the day he took office in December 2020. Last year, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant ruled largely in favor of the association, saying Gascon cannot issue a blanket order telling prosecutors to ignore laws the ADDA contends were designed to protect the public, including three-strike allegations and sentencing enhancements. A three-judge panel of the California Second District Court of Appeal largely agreed in a 71-page ruling last month, stating in part that “voters and the Legislature created a duty, enforceable in mandamus, that requires prosecutors to plead prior serious or violent felony convictions to ensure the alternative sentencing scheme created by the three strikes law applies to repeat offenders.”

Two Suspects Arrested In String Of Deadly Robberies At California 7-Eleven Stores
Authorities said on Friday that they've arrested two suspects for the series of deadly robberies at 7-Eleven convenience stores across southern California. The crime spree occurred in various California counties over 5 hours. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer announced the arrests of Malik Donyae Patt, 20, and Jason Lamont Payne, 44, at a press conference on Friday. The alleged attacks took place on July 11, the convenience store chain's anniversary. Seven 7/11 stores were attacked in Orange County, California leaving three dead and three wounded. "We are grateful that the Orange County District Attorney has announced local law enforcement has apprehended suspects related to the recent violent incidents," 7-Eleven said in a statement. The attacks prompted the company to urge its stores to close as a safety precaution. The image of one of the men was captured on surveillance, which showed the suspect's face partly covered by a mask, was widely shared. 7-Eleven also offered $100,000 for anyone providing information about the attacks leading to an arrest. Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton says a fatal shooting that occurred on July 9 was linked to the series of attacks at 7-Eleven stores two days later. FOX News

San Pedro Shooting: Man Found Dead In SUV
There are many unanswered questions as police investigate a murder in San Pedro. Investigators say the man was shot last night, but didn't turn up at the hospital until eight hours later. Police say the actual shooting happened at 14th Street and Mesa late Thursday night. Neighbors told ABC7 they heard six to seven gunshots around 10 p.m. "We received a call of shots fired ... Officers responded. They didn't find any evidence of any shooting, they drove around and called communications but didn't receive any additional information and they left the location," said LAPD Capt. Adrian Gonzalez. "This morning a little before 7 in the morning they receive a second call of a shooting victim arriving at the hospital." That hospital was Little Company of Mary Medical Center. It's just over a mile away from where the shooting happened. The black vehicle parked in front of the emergency room had at least one apparent bullet hole on its driver's side. Police set up a canopy over that SUV as homicide investigators examined it for evidence. The person who died at the hospital was not immediately identified. ABC 7

Granada Hills Biker Killed In Hit-and-Run Crash With Pickup Truck
A 30-year-old man riding a motorcycle was struck and killed by a hit-and-run vehicle in Mission Hills, authorities said Sunday. The vehicle was described as a dark-colored, possibly black, long-bed pickup truck, the Los Angeles Police Department reported. The motorcyclist was identified as Freddy Perez of Granada Hills, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office. The truck was going westbound on Rinaldi Street at about 11:45 p.m. Saturday when it collided with the biker in the westbound lanes of traffic, west of Sepulveda Boulevard, police said. The truck continued westbound on Rinaldi onto the southbound San Diego (405) Freeway without stopping. Paramedics pronounced Perez dead at the scene. LAPD Valley Traffic Division detectives urged anyone with information regarding the crash to call them at 818-644-8115 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Man Arrested In Police Pursuit Charged With Murder In Venice Killings
A 28-year-old Los Angeles man has been charged with murder in the deaths of a young couple who were found in Venice, LAPD officials said Friday. Abelardo Bon was charged Tuesday in the April 15 murders of Brandon Neal and Courtney Johnson, both 31 years old. Police say Neal lived at the home in the 1100 block of Berkeley Drive, but Johnson was a visitor when she was killed. The couple was found with apparent gunshot wounds at about 4:50 p.m. that day. At the time, police did not release details about how they had died. Bon was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer after allegedly leading LAPD Southeast Division officers in a pursuit on May 19. At that time, West Bureau Homicide detectives identified Bon as the suspect in the Venice murders. He is being held on $2.3 million bail and is scheduled to make his next court appearance Monday. CBS 2

LAPD Issues Community Alert Following Recent Street Robberies
The Los Angeles Police Department is warning some communities to be on alert in light of recent street robberies and follow-home attacks. The Police Department issued what's called an “Area Safety Bulletin” Saturday, warning that victims have been followed in areas like Melrose Avenue, the jewelry district in downtown, certain nightclubs and even high-end businesses throughout Los Angeles. Police say the robbery targets are usually wearing expensive jewelry — including watches or necklaces — or even carrying designer handbags. Other victims are being targeted for the cars they're driving. Just this week, at least one Los Angeles Police Department officer opened fire on a pair of robbery suspects in the Fairfax District who were attempting to steal a man's Rolex watch. In Tarzana, a homeowner opened fire on four would-be robbers who entered their home. No property was stolen and no injuries were reported during that incident. Police are urging residents to avoid becoming victims by always being aware of their surroundings, avoid flashing expensive items in public and record any suspicious activity they might witness. If you do fall victim to a robbery, police say to cooperate and comply with your attacker's demands. Do not resist, but instead call 911 and write down everything you can remember about your assailant. KTLA 5

Mexico Captures Infamous Drug Lord Rafael Caro Quintero, Still Wanted In LA
Infamous drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, who was behind the killing of a U.S. DEA agent in 1985, was captured Friday by Mexican forces nearly a decade after walking out of a Mexican prison and returning to drug trafficking, according to the Mexican government's national arrest registry. Caro Quintero remains under indictment in Los Angeles for the crime. Caro Quintero and co-defendants were indicted in May 1987 in Los Angeles federal court on conspiracy and racketeering charges related to the kidnapping, torture and murder in Mexico of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena. The brutal murder marked a low point in U.S.-Mexico relations. Caro Quintero, the former leader of the Guadalajara cartel, had since returned to drug trafficking and unleashed bloody turf battles in the northern Mexico border state of Sonora. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has maintained that he is not interested in detaining drug lords and prefers to avoid violence. FOX 11

Millions Of Dollars Of Jewelry Stolen From Armored Truck Destined For Pasadena
Millions of dollars worth of jewelry on its way to a jewelry and gem show at the Pasadena Convention Center was stolen from an armored truck in northern Los Angeles County. "It's all fine jewelry, very high tagged, and it's just gone," said a jeweler who did not want CBSLA to share his name. He said that he's one of the victims of the armored truck heist that included one of a kind pieces. The high-end jewelry was last seen at a trade show in the San Mateo Event Center last weekend. Sunday night, merchandise belonging to 18 different jewelers was loaded onto a Brink's truck destined for the convention center in Pasadena. "Sunday you had merchandise. Today, you don't have anything," the jeweler said. The victims are part of the International Gem and Jewelry Show. On Friday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed it's working with the LA County Sheriff's Department on the case, but the jewelers haven't been able to get a straight answer from Brink's.  CBS 2

Southern California Men Who Operated Ghost Gun Business Plead Guilty To Federal Charge
Two Southern California men who operated an unlicensed business that made and sold ghost guns have pleaded guilty to a federal charge, authorities said Friday. Travis Schlotterbeck, 37, of Fountain Valley and James Bradley Vlha, 29, of Norco admitted that they took custom orders for AR-15-type firearms in pistol and rifle variants, according to the U.S. attorney's office for the Central District of California. The privately made firearms lack serial numbers and cannot be traced. “The scheme was based at two Bellflower businesses controlled by Schlotterbeck called Sign Imaging and Live Fire Coatings,” prosecutors said. “Neither the businesses nor the defendants had a federal firearms license to engage in the manufacture or sale of firearms.” The men, who had been scheduled to go on trial next week, each pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of conspiracy to engage in the business of manufacturing and dealing in firearms without a license, prosecutors said. Schlotterbeck also pleaded guilty to one count of selling a firearm to a convicted felon after he sold an AR-15-type rifle to a confidential informant while being aware that the person was previously convicted of a felony, prosecutors said. Los Angeles Times

Man Gets 40 Years For Mailing Bombs To Colorado, Cop In Revenge Plot
A Bay Area man was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in federal prison for making homemade bombs and mailing them to law enforcement, resulting two people being injured in explosions. Ross Gordon Laverty, 61, was convicted in 2020 of mailing bombs to a retired Alameda officer and a corrections officer. Both the bombs exploded and injured those who opened them, but neither victim was Laverty's intended target, according to authorities. In one case, a bomb injured a person who simply shared the same name as Laverty's target and was misidentified. In another case, the retired sergeant's wife opened a package and threw the bomb just before it blew up. Both bombs were sent in 2017. Prosecutors say Laverty researched things like “deadliest booby traps ever created” as well as his intended victims' homes. U.S. District Judge William Orrick handed down the sentence Thursday afternoon. “My heart goes out to the innocent victims of these horrific acts,” Northern California U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds said in a news release. “Ross Laverty not only injured the victims, he put mail carriers and handlers and numerous others at risk of serious injury and death. The public must be protected from such reckless, violent crimes.” Bay Area News Group

Public Safety News

LAFD Knocks Down Small Brush Fire In Sylmar
Los Angeles city and county firefighters and personnel from the Angeles National Forest have stopped the forward progress of a small brush fire Saturday in Sylmar that charred an estimated one acre of grass. The blaze along the Foothill (210) Freeway between Bledsoe and Polk streets was reported at 4:07 p.m., according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. Firefighters from Los Angeles County and Angeles National Forest have now been released from the scene, Humphrey said. LAFD personnel will remain on scene to do mop up work, he added. No injuries were reported and no structures were threatened, Humphrey said. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

A New Fast-Spreading Coronavirus Subvariant Found In L.A. County: BA.2.75 Los Angeles County is already in the
grips of a coronavirus surge fueled by the Omicron subvariant BA.5, but yet another worrisome strain that's causing concern in India has also been found locally. Designated BA.2.75, the subvariant is being monitored by the World Health Organization. As of Thursday, six cases had been identified in the U.S., including two in California, with one of those in L.A. County, according to county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “It does appear to have additional mutations that facilitate spread and evade immunity,” she said during a briefing. “And it's been spreading fairly rapidly across India.” Scientists are exploring whether the emergence of BA.2.75 could eventually prolong or exacerbate the existing surge now being fueled by BA.5 — another highly infectious member of the Omicron family. “Whenever there's an identified new variant of concern, or in this case, a lineage that's under monitoring, we do need to proceed with caution, as it takes time to better understand the risks that may be posed by this newly mutated virus,” Ferrer said. Los Angeles Times

988 Mental Health Hotline Now Available To Anyone In Crisis
A new suicide prevention hotline went live on Saturday, providing a place to call for anyone dealing with a mental health crisis. The number to the suicide crisis hotline is 9-8-8. The new three-digit number is easy to remember and instantly connects callers with operators who can help with crisis counseling and other important services. The hotline is billed as an alternative to calling 911 for people experiencing mental health emergencies. Trained Los Angeles County mental health counselors answered urgent calls on the first day of the launch. "The hope is that ultimately one day 988 is as ubiquitous as 911 so that people know in a mental health crisis if somebody needs to speak with somebody, they can call that number from anywhere in the country and reach someone 24 hours a day," Shari Sinwelski, Vice President of crisis care for Didi Hirsch mental health services. CBS 2

Local Government News

‘Horrified': L.A. City Council Members Call For Action On Overcrowded Animal Shelters
Two L.A. city councilmen called Friday for more resources for the city's struggling animal shelters following a Times article about crowded kennels, shelter dogs that go for weeks without walks and staffing shortages. “Angelenos deserve the services we pay for,” said City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, whose South L.A. district includes Chesterfield Square Animal Services Center. “We expect animals to be treated humanely and require the city to do better.” Chesterfield Square is the most crowded of the city's six animal shelters and houses some 300 dogs, some of whom face long confinement periods. The city relies on hundreds of unpaid volunteers to walk and exercise the dogs, but volunteers say that they can't keep up with the influx of animals. At the same time, staffing shortages are hurting the department. Animal Services lost more than 20% of its workforce through a program that encouraged older city employees to retire. It was launched in the first year of the pandemic in 2020 when it wasn't clear that federal funding would be available. 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: