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Nov 2023
Authorities Announce Charges In The Deaths Of An Off-Duty LAPD Officer And A Passenger Due To A Crash In Northridge
Law Enforcement News

Authorities Announce Charges In The Deaths Of An Off-Duty LAPD Officer And A Passenger Due To A Crash In Northridge

The driver accused of killing an off-duty Los Angeles Police officer and his passenger during a high-speed crash in Northridge is facing charges that include two counts of murder, it was announced Thursday. According to police, 20-year-old Brian David Olivarez, allegedly ran a red light while driving under the influence at a speed of 100 mph on Nov. 4. He is now facing charges that include murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI and a drug-causing injury. The suspect is being held on $4.025 million bail at the Van Nuys Jail, according to county jail records. Authorities identified the deceased as LAPD Officer Darrell Cunningham and his passenger, 31-year-old Jorge Soriano. Both were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiners Office. The crash occurred at about 1 a.m. in the 18000 block of West Roscoe Boulevard when the officer's Infiniti was struck by a BMW. Officer Darrell Cunningham and his passenger died at the scene. The officer, who had just less than five years on the job, is survived by a fiancée and two sons, ages 3 and 6. He worked out of the department's West Los Angeles station.


LAPD Union Sues The City, Saying Officers Are Owed Three Months’ Worth Of Raises

The union that represents rank-and-file officers in the Los Angeles Police Department filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the city on Thursday, saying that pay increases approved by the City Council in August still have not arrived. In the 10-page lawsuit, the Los Angeles Police Protective League said its nearly 9,000 members are owed more than three months worth of raises — and have been given no assurances about when that back pay will show up. Instead, City Controller Kenneth Mejia and City Administrative Officer Matt Szabo have blamed each other for the problems with the city’s payroll system, the union said. The council signed off three months ago on a four-year package of raises and benefits that, over the life of the agreement, is expected to add about $1 billion in salary costs to the LAPD. Raises and other financial incentives contained in the agreement were retroactive to July 16. Tom Saggau, a spokesperson for the Police Protective League, said the union expected that its members would receive two weeks worth of raises in their next paycheck, which goes out next week. At the same time, officers have begun reporting that certain bonuses are not being included in those checks, Saggau said. Union leaders have begun demanding that the city pay interest on the back pay that is due for the period between July 16 and Oct. 21. They also contend that the problems stem from the city’s long-delayed effort to move its workforce into a new payroll system, known as Workday.

Los Angeles Times

Man Accused Of Driving Into California Law Enforcement Recruits, Killing 1, Is Charged With Manslaughter

A man accused of driving an SUV into a group of law enforcement recruits who were on a training run last year in Southern California has been charged in connection to the crash that left one trainee dead and others injured, prosecutors said. Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, 23, faces two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and nine counts of reckless driving on a highway causing a specified injury, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday. The charges come nearly a year after the incident near Whittier, California, in which authorities say Guiterrez drove in the wrong direction on November 16, 2022, and hit the running recruits, who were from various California law enforcement departments. Gutierrez hit about two-dozen recruits, nine of whom were critically injured, according to the district attorney. One of the injured trainees, Alejandro Martinez, 27, died of his injuries in July, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said. Gutierrez surrendered to authorities Thursday, was cooperative and has been released on bond, his attorney, Alexandra Kazarian, told CNN. Kazarian said Gutierrez fell asleep while driving to work on the day of the crash, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. At the time of the crash, Gutierrez showed no signs of impairment and blew a zero in a Breathalyzer test, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. Gutierrez was arrested shortly after the crash but was released that month, according to records that indicated the initial complaint was insufficient to hold him.


Los Angeles Surveillance Video Captures Man Dropping Large Object In Dumpster Where Headless Body Found

A white SUV pulls into an Encino, California, parking lot, a man gets out and opens the trunk, and then struggles to place a large object in a dumpster -- which appears to be the same dumpster where police later recovered a headless body, surveillance video provided to Fox News Digital shows. He appears to stumble with the object, which is wrapped in plastic, and he drops it in. An LAPD spokesman said he was not aware of the video, but that wouldn't mean investigators had not reviewed it. The provider of the video said it had been turned over to police before police made an arrest and that a witness in the parking lot took a picture of the SUV's license plate, which was also given to police. Police have said that evidence at the scene led them to the home of 35-year-old Sam Haskell IV, about 3.5 miles away. He is the son of a Hollywood executive and an actress beauty queen, who police arrested on suspicion of murder after a homeless man made the grim find while searching through the dumpster around 6 a.m. Wednesday. Homicide detectives found additional evidence in the Coldstream Terrace home where he lived with his 37-year-old wife, Mei Haskell, her parents and their three children.

FOX News

Gunman Sought Following Deadly Shooting Of Security Guard Near Hyde Park Dispensary

An investigation is underway in search for the gunman who killed a security guard Friday at a cannabis dispensary in Hyde Park. The shooting was reported shortly after 6 p.m. in the 6600 block of Crenshaw Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. There, the security guard of a cannabis dispensary was gunned down for reasons still under investigation. The deceased was identified as 27-year-old Francisco Alonzo. Police say the victim was possibly involved in a confrontation with the gunman during the "commission of a robbery." The gunman was described as a 25-year-old man who fled from the scene. The investigation is ongoing.


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Pedestrian Killed In Wilmington Crash; Driver Arrested

A woman was killed when she was struck by a vehicle while walking on a street in Wilmington, authorities said Saturday. The crash occurred at 7:45 p.m. Friday at G Street and George De La Torre Jr. Avenue, according to a desk officer at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations Center. The vehicle was westbound on G Street when it struck the 41-year-old woman, the officer said. Paramedics took the woman to a hospital where she was pronounced dead, the officer said. The driver remained at the scene and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the officer.


Police Increase Patrols Around South LA High School After Man Approached Female Students In His Truck

Over the past week, three different South Los Angeles female high school students have reported that a man, unknown to them, has approached them as they walked to or from school, asking them to get in his pickup truck. The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the incidents and has increased patrols around Augustus F. Hawkins High School on W. 60th Street. The man is described by LAPD as Hispanic, 30 to 40 years old, and driving a light gray Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. Police say they are working with the high school and are urging parents, students and the community to be on the lookout and report any suspicious activity. Anyone with information is asked to contact 77th Street Area Police Station at (323) 786-5077. 


2 California Women Accused Of Stealing $10,000 From A Sephora Store

Two women are accused of stealing $10,000 worth of items from a Sephora store in Alhambra. According to the Alhambra Police Department, the two women allegedly targeted the Garfield Avenue location of the store and left in a gray Nissan. Shortly after the alleged theft, Alhambra PD pulled over the suspects not far from the area. Police ended up arresting Adrian Burton, from Victorville, and Tanganique Bendard, from Compton, for the alleged theft. 

FOX 11

1 Austin Officer Killed, Another Wounded In Shooting; 2 Civilians And Suspect Also Dead

An officer with the Austin Police Department was killed and another was wounded in a SWAT situation, KVUE reports. The shooting happened around 4:30 a.m. and started with a disturbance and potential hostage situation inside a house, the report states. A SWAT team was called to the scene and nearby homes were evacuated. "I am heartbroken and praying for the family of the officer who we have lost and for [a second injured] officer and his family as we lift him up and hope he is OK," Mayor Kirk Watson said at the hospital. Watson's chief of staff said the officer who was killed was a member of the SWAT team and the wounded officer was going into surgery. Two people were also found dead inside the home, and the suspect was shot and killed, according to the update. KVUE reports this is the first time in a decade an Austin Police Department officer was killed in the line of duty. 


Florida Deputies Struck Intentionally By Man Driving Car Recovering After Surgeries, Sheriff Says

Two Florida sheriff's deputies remained hospitalized Friday after surgeries for injuries they suffered when a man intentionally plowed into them with his speeding car, authorities said. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a video message that deputies Carlos Brito, 39, and Manny Santos, 31, “are on a long road to recovery” after suffering severe leg injuries. The sheriff's office posted a photo of Chronister with a smiling Santos and his wife in a Tampa General Hospital room. “These deputies' lives are changed forever,” the sheriff said. The two were answering a call Thursday from a woman who said her son, 28-year-old Ralph Bouzy, was acting irrationally and kicking in doors at their home in Brandon, a suburb east of Tampa. When the deputies arrived, Bouzy took off in his car and then quickly raced back down the residential street and struck them, Chronister said. He was arrested outside the home by another deputy who used a stun weapon to subdue him. Bouzy is charged with attempted murder of law enforcement officers and will remain in custody until at least Wednesday when a bail hearing is scheduled, a judge ruled Friday. Court records did not list an attorney who could speak for Bouzy, who had been arrested previously for three felonies and 14 misdemeanors and has expressed hostility toward law enforcement, Chronister said.

Associated Press

Public Safety News

Hazmat Team Responds To Report Of Chemical Fumes Near LA Live, More Than 30 Workers Evaluated

A hazmat team responded to an area near L.A. Live in downtown Friday afternoon after a worker became ill from fumes emanating from a 55-gallon drum, according to authorities. The 55-gallon drum located at 11:58 a.m. at 1168 LA Live Way was moved into a parking structure for cleaning when an employee complained of general sickness from fumes coming from unknown contents inside the drum, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The hazmat team was dispatched to the area to investigate the contents of the drum, which was later determined to be non-hazardous. The area was also surveyed and deemed safe. Authorities said people in the area may notice a smell due to the quantity spilled, but it's not hazardous and poses no public safety concern.


Massive Fire Leads To Indefinite Closure Of 10 Freeway In Downtown Los Angeles

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Saturday night, following a massive fire that shut down part of the 10 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles. The affected stretch of freeway is set to be closed until further notice, officials said. The blaze was first reported early Saturday around 12:30 a.m. at a pallet yard underneath the freeway near East 14th and Alameda streets. The flames quickly spread to neighboring storage yards and engulfed both sides of 14th Street underneath the 10, eventually melting some of the freeway’s steel guardrails and damaging firetrucks, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. More than 160 firefighters from 26 companies and a helicopter responded to battle the blaze. Three nearby buildings were saved by fire crews, but there was still severe damage across the freeway. A homeless encampment underneath an overpass was forced to evacuate as flames engulfed the area and chunks of supporting concrete columns collapsed.


Local Government News

L.A. Mayor Launches A New Strategy To Boost Housing Production

For nearly a year, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has placed a huge emphasis on the need for low-cost housing, ordering city agencies to tear down bureaucratic hurdles that slow the approval of new, affordably priced apartments. On Wednesday, Bass expanded that effort, signaling that she is also interested in lifting obstacles for at least some market-rate units — particularly if they are located within projects that include some affordable housing. The proof of that shift was Executive Directive 7, a mayoral order that calls for a fresh look at the city’s “site plan review” process, which requires that developments with 50 or more net new market-rate housing units undergo an environmental analysis. For real estate developers, site plan review is one of the more reviled elements of the city’s planning process. In many cases, that review can be the difference between applying for over-the-counter permits at the Department of Building and Safety and going through a public process that consumes six months or more, said attorney Dave Rand, who has represented an array of developers at City Hall.

Los Angeles Times

About the LAPPL: Formed in 1923, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) represents more than 8,900 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.

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