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Law Enforcement News
Man Charged For Allegedly Using Flamethrower Against LAPD
A man who allegedly fashioned a makeshift flamethrower out of a spray-paint can and lighter and hurled it at a police officer during a downtown abortion-rights march was charged Tuesday with two felony assault counts. Michael Joseph Ortiz, 30, was charged with one count each of assault with intent to commit mayhem and assault upon a peace officer or firefighter, along with allegations that he personally used a deadly weapon and that he had two prior convictions in 2016 for resisting an executive officer. It was not immediately clear when Ortiz would appear at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse for arraignment. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore expressed dismay at the act Tuesday, calling it a disturbing elevation of attacks on police officers. “That is a very troubling development and one that we’ll watch closely,” Moore told the city’s Police Commission on. “And I look to the (District Attorney’s) Office … for their help and support in the full prosecution of this individual who was involved in this terrible attack on officers.” Ortiz was arrested during Friday night’s protest, which began as a rally against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down federal abortion protections under Roe v. Wade.
Man, 10-Year-Old Child Found Dead In Chatsworth
A man and a child died after being found unconscious Tuesday night in Chatsworth. The two people were not breathing when they were found inside a parked vehicle on the 21000 block of Plummer Street between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Witnesses said someone pulled the man and child out of the vehicle in an attempt to help them, but both were later determined to have died. Authorities have not identified the two people but said the child appeared to be about 10 years old. The deaths are being investigated as a possible murder-suicide, although details about what happened are limited. “At this point, we suspect that is a possibility. We have not verified anything at this point regarding the nature of the death of the two individuals. This investigation could easily go another direction,” LAPD Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton said. Authorities believe the two did not live in the area, but the vehicle may have belonged to the man. No weapons were found at the scene. Investigators said the incident appears to be isolated and there are currently no outstanding suspects.
Suspect Followed Woman, Tackled Her Into Bushes Before Sexually Assaulting Her: LAPD
Authorities are searching for a suspect who allegedly attacked a woman and sexually assaulted her in the Crenshaw District. It happened Monday around 4:30 p.m. in the area near Somerset Drive and Coliseum Street. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the suspect followed the victim from the MTA station at Crenshaw/Expo and tackled her into the bushes before sexually assaulting her. A bicyclist passing by heard the victim's cries for help and called police. The suspect ran away from the scene and was last seen headed northbound on Somerset Drive. The suspect is described as a man between 20 and 30 years old, about 6'2" tall, and weighing between 180 and 200 pounds. He was wearing a black beanie, t-shirt, black shorts, white socks, and black shoes. He was also carrying a gray backpack. Anyone with information is asked to contact Southwest Detectives at 323-290-2976 or 877-LAPD-24-7.
LAPD, SWAT Engaged In Standoff With Barricaded Attempted Murder Suspect In South LA
Authorities were at the scene of an apparent standoff with an attempted murder suspect in South Los Angeles Wednesday morning. The suspect reportedly barricaded inside of the residence on E. 81 Street in South L.A. at around 1:30 a.m. As the situation progressed, Los Angeles Police Department officers called a SWAT team to the scene for assistance. It was also unclear if any residents in the surrounding area were forced to evacuate.
14-Year-Old Girl Reported Missing In East Los Angeles Found Safe
A 14-year-old girl who was last seen in East Los Angeles has been found safe, authorities announced Tuesday. Amber Celia Mendoza was last seen about 10 p.m. Thursday in the 700 Block of Fetterly Avenue, near James A. Garfield High School, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sought the public’s help to find her. The sheriff’s department announced Tuesday afternoon that Amber had been found safe. No further details were released.
More Victims Possible In Bell Gardens Online Renters Fraud Scheme: Police
If you live in Bell Gardens, you may be a victim of an online renters scheme. Police said the suspect pictured below has allegedly victimized low-income families at 7007 Perry Road since 2021. According to authorities, the victims have lost thousands of dollars in security deposits at the address. No other information was immediately available. If you believe you or someone you know may have been a victim of this online renter's fraud scheme, contact Detective Tamayo at 562-806-7613.
Woman, 57, Reported Missing In Carson
Authorities Monday sought the public’s help to find a 57-year-old woman with diabetes, high blood pressure and lupus who was last seen in Carson. Renee Dalton was last seen about 9:30 a.m. Sunday in the 300 block of east Carson Street, near Carson Park, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Dalton is Black, 5-feet-5 inches tall and weighs 138 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black turtleneck and black pants. Anyone with information on Dalton’s whereabouts was asked to contact the LASD Missing Persons Unit at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at lacrimestoppers.org.
‘An Epidemic Of Hate’: Anti-Asian Hate Crimes In California Jumped 177% In 2021
The number of hate crimes in California rose for the third year in a row in 2021 and included a sizable uptick in the number of anti-Asian crimes, according to a report from the state attorney general. The California Department of Justice released its annual report on hate crimes on Tuesday morning, noting 1,763 reported hate crimes, up 33% from the year prior. Hate crimes against Asian Americans saw another year of triple-digit percentage increases, with crimes increasing 177.5% from 2020 to 2021, according to the report. Over the last year, the number of anti-Asian hate crimes rose from 89 to 247. “Today’s report reflects a grim reality our diverse communities know too well,” California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said at a news conference Tuesday morning. Bonta pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic as giving way to “an epidemic of hate.” Bonta said that hate crimes have increased to a level California hasn’t seen since the spike in the aftermath of 9/11. In 2001, California reported an all-time high in hate crimes as the number of incidents jumped to 2,261.
48 Dead, 16 Hospitalized After Trailer Of Migrants Found In Texas
Forty-eight people died after being abandoned in a tractor-trailer in the sweltering Texas heat, one of the worst tragedies to claim the lives of migrants smuggled across the border from Mexico to the U.S. Sixteen people were hospitalized, including four children. A city worker heard a cry for help from the truck on a lonely San Antonio back road shortly before 6 p.m. Monday and discovered the gruesome scene, Police Chief William McManus said. Hours later, body bags lay spread on the ground near the trailer and bodies remained inside as authorities responded to the calamity. Forty-six people were found dead near the scene, authorities said, and two more people later died at a hospital, said Patti Tanner, a spokesperson at Baptist Health System in San Antonio. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said those who died had "families who were likely trying to find a better life." "This is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy," Nirenberg said.
Video: Distracted Driver Slams Into Colorado State Patrol Car
The Colorado State Patrol is warning drivers to slow down and move over after two patrol cars were hit in less than two days, 9News reported last week. Video from one incident shows the moment a pickup truck crashed into the back of a cruiser. The trooper had stopped to help a stranded motorist and angled their cruiser, with lights flashing, partially into the leftmost lane. The dashcam was mounted on the offending vehicle. Luckily, the trooper and motorist were standing back in the grassy median and were not injured. The driver of the pickup truck suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the report said. Police believe distracted driving may have been a factor. The offending driver is expected to be charged, police said. “Wake up Colorado,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, in a statement. “The slow down or move over law is to protect us, so we can protect you, just as Trooper Barco protected the other motorist in need. Please move over and curb any distraction that takes away from your responsibility to be a safe driver!”
Public Safety News
LAFD Firefighters Douse Highland Park House Fire In 27 Minutes
A fire at a house in Highland Park Monday was extinguished in 27 minutes by 32 firefighters. The fire was first reported to be burning at the rear of the two-story home at 310 Newland St, near Garvanza Park, at about 5:35 p.m. according to Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The firefighters managed to contain the fire to the house and extinguished the flames at 6:03 p.m. A woman who lived inside the home was displaced by the fire and treated at the scene for “minor medical complaints,” Humphrey said. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby Announces His Retirement
Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl L. Osby announced Friday that he is retiring, effective July 30. "I am truly grateful for the amazing 38 years I have spent protecting the lives, property and environment of the residents of Los Angeles County, especially the last 11, in which I had the honor of serving as fire chief of the premier fire department in the nation, if not the world,'' Osby said. Osby was initially appointed to head the department by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in February 2011. "Day after day, we answered the call of those experiencing the worst day of their lives, whether they were in need of a lifesaving rescue, medical treatment or just a helping hand,'' Osby said. "It is that unwavering commitment that inspired me to come in to work every day and makes it so difficult to say goodbye,'' Osby said. "It was truly an honor to be your fire chief.'' During the transition phase before Osby's retirement, he will work with his executive team along with the Board of Supervisors to ensure a seamless succession plan, the fire department said.
LA County Reports More Than 13,000 New COVID Cases Over 3 Days
Los Angeles County health officials reported more than 13,700 new COVID-19 cases from the past three days, along with 19 new deaths. The county, which no longer reports COVID numbers over the weekend, reported 5,852 infections from Saturday, 4,761 from Sunday and 3,110 for Monday. The new cases gave the county a cumulative total from throughout the pandemic of 3,102,110. The 19 new COVID fatalities lifted the county’s virus-related death toll to 32,308. Updated hospital numbers were not immediately available from the state. As of Saturday, there were 762 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals, with 76 of them being treated in intensive care units. Many COVID-positive patients actually entered the hospital for other reasons before testing positive for the virus. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer recently reported that about 60% of COVID-positive patients had actually been admitted for other reasons.
Local Government News
LA's New Minimum Wage Will Be Raised To $16.04, Starting July 1
July 1 marks the beginning of a new fiscal year. That means that a new batch of laws will be going into effect. One of the most notable laws in LA is the increase of minimum wage to $16.04. The last time the city of LA mandated a significant increase to its hourly minimum wage rate was back in 2015 when it rose to $15. All employees working an hourly job, whether it be full-time, part-time or temporary, will receive this increase in pay. That effort was led and pushed in part by Mayor Eric Garcetti. Garcetti acknowledged LA's growing economy and housing costs and said that the minimum wage at that time in 2016 was not enough for Angelenos. Another key factor is the increase in LA's rising consumer price index. The consumer price index is used to help adjust consumers' income payments and is a monthly measurement of a certain market's services and goods. It also serves as a report on inflation and deflation which help monitor the economy. Along with the current increase, there is also an ordinance going into effect July 1 that will order the increase of minimum wage annually based on the "Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the Los Angeles metropolitan area."