Law Enforcement News
LA County Election Results: Vote Counting Prolonged By Last-Minute Mail Ballots
With several critical races from Tuesday's election still undecided and resolution possibly days or weeks away, Los Angeles County officials said Wednesday the extended timeline is necessary due to the standard surge of last-minute vote-by-mail ballots received on Election Day. Following the release of the semi-official vote tally early Wednesday, races including Los Angeles mayor, Los Angeles County sheriff, county supervisor and Los Angeles Unified School District board seats remained too close to call, pending a count of all remaining outstanding ballots. The delay has prompted some frustration at the length of the vote-counting process. The Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office on Wednesday sought to explain the reasoning behind the delay. On social media, the office posted a photo of extensive stacks of vote- by-mail ballots that were received from the U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday. The office was also sorting through an undetermined number of such ballots that were submitted at the last minute at drop boxes and vote centers.
Man Arrested In Mexico In Fatal Shooting In North Hollywood
A man was arrested in Mexico and was in custody in Los Angeles Wednesday for allegedly killing a man and injuring another in a shooting at a hookah lounge in North Hollywood. The crime occurred around 12:15 a.m. Oct. 25 in the 13000 block of Victory Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Vardan Dzhandzhikyan, 54, was arrested Friday in the Tijuana area by personnel from the LAPD-FBI Fugitive Task Force, in conjunction with the FBI Legal Attache, the LAPD reported. Dzhandzhikyan was booked Saturday at the Valley Jail in Van Nuys on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, and was being held on $2 million bail. His next court appearance was tentatively set for Nov. 30 at the Van Nuys courthouse. Witnesses told police the shooter entered the hookah lounge and began arguing with one of the victims, and at some point drew a gun and shot him. The second victim was shot when he attempted to intervene, police said. Both victims were taken to a hospital, where one was pronounced dead. The name of the fatally wounded man, who was 50, has not been released.
Two Men Killed By Vehicle While Walking In Mid-City
Two pedestrians were hit and killed by a vehicle Wednesday near the Mid-City area of Los Angeles. The crash was reported at about 5:50 a.m. in the 2500 block of South Robertson Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The Los Angeles Fire Department said paramedics arrived at the scene to find the men were "sadly both beyond medical help." The names of the two victims, reported to be men in their 60's, have not been released. The driver remained at the scene, according to LAPD. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Police Seek Suspects In 10 Mailbox Burglaries In Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks
Authorities are seeking the public’s help in finding the suspects involved in at least 10 mailbox burglaries at apartment complexes in the Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks areas since August. “Detectives believe a ring of suspects may be working together and will continue to commit these crimes until they are identified and apprehended,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement. “The suspects gain access to the mailboxes using stolen postal service keys, self-made keys, or a screwdriver,” police said. “They often work in groups of two, with one acting as a lookout and helping carry out the stolen mail in bags.” Police released security images of the suspects — eight men and one woman, with some wearing masks. Investigators say they believe one man was involved in at least half of the crimes. Police asked that anyone with information about the case to contact Van Nuys detectives at 818-832-0029 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-222-TIPS or at lacrimestoppers.org.
LA Daily News
Man, 61, Reported Missing In Westmont Area Of South Los Angeles
A 61-year-old man was reported missing in the Westmont area of South Los Angeles Wednesday. Dennis Chavez was last seen in the area of Denker Avenue and West 102nd Street, near Jesse Owens Park, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Chavez is Hispanic, 5-feet-6 inches tall and weighs 135 pounds, with brown eyes and gray hair. He also has sleeved tattoos on both of his arms. Anyone with information on his whereabouts was asked contact the LAPD Missing Persons Unit at 213-996-1800. Calls made during non-business hours or on weekends can be directed to 877-527-3247. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at lacrimestoppers.org.
Cell Phone Video Captures Fight Breaking Out On LA Metro's Blue Line
The fight videotaped on the Metro’s Blue Line is violent. What started it? The man who recorded the incident on his cell phone, Edgar Nuñez, doesn’t know. Nuñez uses the train and buses regularly and extensively from east of the 405 Freeway to Beverly Hills where he works in one of the hotel kitchens. "It’s gotten bad," he says. Nuñez explained he started posting videos on an Instagram page to let people know how bad things have gotten. Now, we’ve seen videos of incidents on metro trains before, but this one goes on for a while. The conductor does stop at one station but the fight continues through two stops, and even goes onto the platform. "I never saw security show up," says Nuñez, adding that authorities were alerted. One of the people in the fight pulls out a Taser and uses it repeatedly. Nuñez says the man also had a screwdriver, pepper spray and another taser, shuddering when we wonder what would have happened if he had a gun, and used it.
Human Skeletal Remains Found In Culver City During Inspection Of Empty Water Pipeline, Police Say
Authorities Wednesday announced that remains found over the weekend in Culver City were of human origin, and an investigation was underway. The remains were discovered at about 8:45 a.m. Saturday by Metropolitan Water District employees near Venice and Sepulveda boulevards, and officers were notified, the Culver City Police Department reported. "The officers met with the Water District employees, who explained that while inspecting an empty water pipeline, they found skeletal remains," police said in a statement. Police said the Los Angeles County coroner's office confirmed the remains to be human. The investigations was being handled in a coordinated effort between Culver City police detectives and the coroner's office. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call Culver City Police Sgt. Edward Baskaron at 310-253-6316, or the watch commander at 310-253- 6202.
Two Armed Robbery Suspects Arrested In Beverly Hills After Traffic Stop
Two suspects in an armed robbery in Culver City were arrested Wednesday in Beverly Hills after one of them fired a shot from inside the vehicle after it was stopped by police. Beverly Hills police officers stopped a vehicle at approximately 4:30 p.m. in the 200 block of North Beverly Drive, near Wilshire Boulevard. Lt. Gregg Mader told City News Service. Police learned the two suspects inside the vehicle were suspects in an armed robbery and after they stopped the vehicle a single bullet was fired inside the vehicle, Mader said. Officers then used less than lethal weapons in order to compel one suspect to get out of the vehicle and the suspect was arrested by officers, Mader said. The second suspect refused to leave the vehicle and officers brought a police dog to the scene. After a brief standoff the second suspect then left the vehicle and was taken into custody.
Chase: Suspect Rams Police Cruiser, Steals Vehicles During Violent Pursuit Through LA, OC
A man rammed into sheriff's cruisers, sideswiped cars and stole multiple vehicles during a desperate attempt to get away in a long and dangerous chase through the streets of Los Angeles and Orange counties on Wednesday. At one point, the suspect was seen ditching one stolen vehicle, and bursting into a family's home to try to hide. The family members and their pets were home and fought with him in the driveway - one even brandishing a knife - after he stole the keys to their utility truck. He smashed through their front gate and took off yet again. During another dramatic moment, the suspect was pinned in against a gated driveway by a police vehicle. Rather than give up at that point, he hit reverse on the stolen vehicle and smashed into the cruiser again and again, eventually creating enough space for him to swing around and flee again.
Mississippi Police Find Decapitated Body After Dog Seen Carrying Severed Arm
Police in Mississippi's capital city found a decapitated body after receiving reports of a dog carrying a severed human arm, authorities said Monday. The body was discovered Saturday in Jackson in an abandoned house in the woods, Jackson Deputy Police Chief Deric Hearn said in a news release. The body's arm was recovered on a street near the abandoned house but the head hadn’t been located as of Monday morning, Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart told WAPT-TV. The victim appeared to be male, the coroner said. “That is a very graphic and brutal picture. The mutilation of a body, my reaction is one of disgust, is one of concern," said Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba at a Monday news conference. “It's not something you grow accustomed to. it's never something you want to grow accustomed to.” Authorities declined to release the name of the victim or more details surrounding the case Monday amid an ongoing investigation. Hearn told the news station that this case is Jackson's 117th homicide of the year.
Tennessee Man Threatens To Commit Uvalde-Type Mass Shooting After Pursuit
A man was arrested and held on $10,000 bond after playing a 90-mph cat-and-mouse game with deputies on a Tennessee interstate and threatening to commit a Uvalde-type mass shooting. According to Action News 5, police observed 21-year-old Christopher D. Caldwell’s black Lexus weaving between vehicles and cutting off cars on the interstate while traveling at 90 mph. Action News 5 reported Caldwell appeared to be “taunting deputies” with risky vehicle maneuvers as he attempted to elude them. Police eventually caught up with Caldwell after he was forced to stop for traffic, placing him inside their patrol vehicle. While in police custody, Caldwell began a conversation with the deputies, informing them multiple times that “once he gets out of jail, he would put on his tactical gear and would be on the news,” according to Action 5. The man also told officers that he would, “commit the next Dallas shooting ... something like Uvalde in Texas.”
Public Safety News
Fire Damages Boarded-Up House In Westlake Area
A fire damaged a boarded-up house in the Westlake area Thursday, but no one was hurt. Firefighters sent to the 700 block of South Hartford Avenue at 6:44 a.m. extinguished the flames on the second floor of the two-story building in 18 minutes, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Four people were found inside the house, the fire department reported. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
Los Angeles County, State See Spike In COVID Hospitalizations
The number of COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals increased by 52 people to 492, according to the latest state figures, continuing a recent uptick that has health officials concerned about another possible cold-weather surge in transmission. Of those patients, 43 were being treated in intensive care, down 10 from the previous day’s total. The statewide total of COVID-positive patients rose by 99 people to 1,855. Los Angeles County on Wednesday reported 1,662 new COVID-19 infections and 10 additional deaths linked to the virus, bringing its cumulative totals to 3,500,252 cases and 34,032 fatalities since the pandemic began. Daily case numbers released by the county are an undercount of actual infections, since many residents rely on at-home tests and do not report those results to county health officials, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Local Government News
City Council Approves Venice Bridge Home Lease Extension
The Los Angeles City Council approved a lease extension of the Venice Bridge Home despite community pushback. On Wednesday, council member voted on a recommendation by the Department of General Services (GSD) to extend a lease for the ABH located at 100 Sunset Blvd until next July. The ABH sits on a 3.14-acre lot owned by METRO and is only a few blocks from the beach, a stone's throw from an elementary school and in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The ABH cost $8 million to build and an additional $5.6 million to operate for the first three years. The shelter is low-barrier, meaning there are no sobriety requirements. "You rubber stamped the lease renewal without a thought of what it is," stated one caller. "It requires far more oversight then what has taken place. This facility has been a homeless magnet without enforcement of the SECZ rules."
Mitch O’Farrell In Danger Of Losing LA City Council Seat As Soto-Martinez Takes Lead In District 13
As votes continue to be counted in Los Angeles County, the latest numbers indicate incumbent Mitch O’Farrell is losing in the race to maintain his seat on the LA City Council to challenger Hugo Soto-Martinez. As of Wednesday afternoon, Soto-Martinez had 52.26% of the vote while O’Farrell had secured 44.54% of the vote, less than 6,000 votes behind. O'Farrell is seeking a third consecutive term, but Soto-Martinez beat him out in the June primary, winning 41% of the vote compared to O'Farrell's 32%, forcing a runoff. O'Farrell was temporarily appointed City Council President after a racism scandal that rocked City Hall led to the eventual resignation of then-President Nury Martinez. In October, Paul Krekorian was unanimously elected the new City Council President.
Council Approves Funding For Ecological Rehabilitation At Ballona Wetlands
The Los Angeles City Council voted today to fund rehabilitation for the ecological area surrounding the Freshwater Marsh and the Ballona Wetlands in Playa del Rey. The motion was coordinated by the Friends of the Ballona Wetlands and councilmember Mike Bonin. The funds include a transfer of $133,200 of the Council District 11 portion of the Street Furniture Revenue to the Board of Public Works Funds. The Ballona Wetlands once encompassed more than 2,000 acres, stretching from Playa del Rey to Venice and inland to the Baldwin Hills. Now, only about 600 acres of open space remain, and much of that area is highly degraded after centuries of development and abuse, according to The Bay Foundation. Although “No Stopping” and “No Dumping” signs line Jefferson Boulevard, the City of Los Angeles has permitted an extensive RV encampment to flourish over the last 18 months despite providing them with no services, sanitation or security. "We are witnessing Ballona's destruction on a daily basis," CD11 Candidate Traci Park told voters this summer.