Law Enforcement News
Zero Bail Under Scrutiny As Robbery Spree Continues
A slew of robberies in Los Angeles where the perpetrators target people based on the jewelry they're wearing, and their cars--continued over the weekend. Two new incidents that took place are a latest of a string of violent hold-ups that Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore says the LAPD hasn't seen in "decades." On Saturday, a couple was robbed at gunpoint at a restaurant in Calabasas. Police say they were approached by two armed suspects who confronted them with pistols demanding jewelry and other valuables. One of the victims was beaten with a gun. Then on Sunday, a couple staying at the Beverly Hills hotel was robbed at gunpoint after shopping at a Rolex store. Police say the victims stopped at a gas station on their way home. While attempting to get gas, four men robbed them. Even though Chief Moore says the LAPD is putting together a task force to crack down on follow-home robberies, a question about bail and what happens after the arrest remains a significant concern. Last week, Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino introduced a resolution to support the reinstitution of cash bail in Los Angeles County, suspended for low-level, non-violent felonies and misdemeanors. In a statement, Buscaino said the suspension of cash bail has "created a free-for-all environment where criminals are charged one day and released the next.''
One Shot During Possible Home Robbery In Van Nuys
A person was shot during a possible home robbery in Van Nuys Monday evening. The shooting was reported just before 8 p.m. in the 14100 block of Monroe Place, according to Los Angeles Police Department Officer Rosario Cervantes. The person who was shot was taken to a hospital, and their condition was not immediately available, Cervantes said. Police were searching the area for the suspect or suspects involved in the shooting, which investigators said occurred during a possible home robbery. The incident remains under investigation.
Arrest Made In Hit-and-Run Crash That Killed 85-Year-Old Man In Reseda
A driver who allegedly fatally struck an 85-year-old man in Reseda and fled the scene has been arrested, Los Angeles Police Department officials announced Monday. The crash occurred about 2:45 p.m. Friday, when a white four-door possible newer model Hyundai Accent was heading east on Saticoy Street. The driver struck a pedestrian who was crossing Saticoy Street mid-block, according to LAPD. The driver did not stop after the crash, and left the scene without identifying himself or trying to help the victim. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He has not been identified. The driver, identified as Fardeen Khan, was arrested and booked on suspicion of felony hit-and-run causing death, police said. No further details about the crash or arrest have been released.
Gunmen Assault, Rob Couple In Sagebrush Cantina Parking Lot
A man was pistol-whipped and a woman with him was robbed after they pulled into the Sagebrush Cantina parking lot Saturday night, police say. The incident happened just after 11 p.m. when a man and woman in a Porsche pulled into the restaurant's parking lot, police say. As they got out of the car, two men in a gray SUV pulled up behind them. They got out and confronted the two with pistols, demanding jewelry and other valuables, police say. The victims resisted, leading to a violent confrontation. The suspects hit the man in the head with a pistol, opening up wounds that bled substantially. The woman also fought back trying to hold on to her purse, but she was not injured. The gunmen were able to get away with the purse and cash. Video from the scene showed the man appearing conscious and alert but with a substantial amount of blood on his clothing as he was treated by paramedics. He was then transported by ambulance to a local hospital in stable condition. The bar lists its address as Calabasas, but is on the border with Los Angeles and the LAPD is handling the case. A detailed description of the suspects and vehicle was not immediately available.
Man Killed By Metro Red Line Train At Hollywood Station
A man was fatally struck by a Metro Red Line train Sunday night in Hollywood. The victim became trapped under the train, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. The crash happened at the station at 6250 Hollywood Blvd. around 8:15 p.m., according to Humphrey. Firefighters located the trapped man and discovered he was dead, Humphrey said. The man's name will be withheld pending notification of next of kin. Firefighters were in the process of removing the body, Humphrey said. It was unclear whether the man fell or jumped in front of the train.
Authorities Seeking Public Assistance In Finding Westwood Hit-And-Run Suspect
Los Angeles Police Department officials asked for public help in finding information surrounding a hit-and-run incident that occurred in Westwood on October 30. The vehicle in question is a gray Hyundai Elantra, which could be seen striking a pedestrian walking across South Beverly Glen Boulevard in security video obtained by LAPD. Authorities advised that the rear bumper of the Hyundai is missing. No other suspect information is known. The pedestrian, a woman, was taken to a nearby medical facility with serious injuries. Anyone with information on the collision was asked to contact LAPD West Traffic Division Detectives at (213) 473-0234 or (213) 473-0222.
LA Smash-and-Grab: 3 T-Mobile Stores Targeted By Suspects
Police are investigating after three T-Mobile stores across the San Fernando Valley were targeted by smash-and-grab suspects. On Monday night, the Los Angeles Police Department responded to robbery calls from the following T-Mobile store locations (in no particular order): 21800 block of Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills; 18200 block of Sherman Way in Reseda; and 4800 block of Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Valley Village. According to LAPD, all three stores told officers the robberies involved at least three suspects. However, as of Monday night, it is unknown if all three robberies were related or if they were targeted by the same three suspects. In the Woodland Hills smash-and-grab incident, the suspects were described as three suspects wearing black and gray hoodies. In the Valley Village incident, the suspects were described as three Black males. Again, neither LAPD nor FOX 11's crew are sure if it were the same three suspects in the three separate incidents.
RV Fire Started At Same Encampment Dead Body Discovered Near Playa Vista School
Less than a week after a dead body was discovered at an encampment near the Westside Neighborhood School (WNS).--an RV is destroyed in a fire. Firefighters say they got a call for the RV fire around 3:10 p.m. Pickup for kids attending the school is from 3-3:30--the same time the RV was on fire. The deceased male was discovered during the morning drop off. Parents who have kids that attend WNS say safety has been a concern of their because of the encampment. They say they have asked Councilmember Mike Bonin's office for help with the encampment for more than a year. "There shouldn't be this type of activity happening where our kids go to school." "How many deaths, fires, shooting and acts of violence will it take before our city leadership responds to this crisis?" asked Traci Park a candidate for CD11. "Protecting children and making sure schools are safe is a fundamental tenet of good government. Leadership in CD11 is failing miserably."
Second Ex-DWP Executive Agrees To Plead Guilty In Corruption Case
A second former Los Angeles Department of Water and Power executive has agreed to plead guilty to a federal criminal charge in the ongoing probe of the city's handling of the botched launch of a DWP billing system, federal prosecutors announced today. David F. Alexander, 54, of Arcadia, will plead guilty in downtown Los Angeles on a date to be determined to a felony charge of making false statements. Alexander was DWP's chief information security officer from May 2017 until February 2019, and then served as the department's chief cyber risk officer for the next six months. Last week, a former DWP general manager, David H. Wright, 62, of Riverside, agreed to plead guilty to a federal bribery charge in the case. On Nov. 29, Paul Paradis, 58, a New York attorney hired by the city, also agreed to plead guilty to a bribery count in the secret scheme to settle a major lawsuit brought against the utility on terms favorable to the city. Prosecutors said Alexander knew Paradis, who was representing DWP in a lawsuit against the vendor the utility blamed for the billing debacle, which led to many customers receiving wildly inflated bills. In 2017, Paradis created a downtown Los Angeles-based company known as Aventador Utility Solutions, which obtained a three-year, $30 million no-bid contract with DWP to overhaul the faulty billing system.
Authorities Identify Man Shot On Los Angeles River Bike Path In South Gate As Sammy Adbon
A man was fatally shot on Saturday on the Los Angeles River Bike Path in South Gate on Saturday. The shooting occurred at a homeless encampment around 1:45 p.m., near Salt Lake Avenue and Wood Avenue. When authorities arrived on scene they found the man who was suffering from gunshot wounds, lying next to a tent at the encampment. Authorities revealed the identity of the victim on Sunday as 29-year-old Sammy Adbon. There is also no suspect information at the time, and no motive is known as of yet. Deputy Alejandra Parra with the Sheriff’s Information Bureau provided an update on the incident: “It is unknown if this shooting is gang related or related to the two recent murders that occurred in homeless encampments in South Gate.” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide investigators are working with South Gate Police in an investigation into the incident. Anyone with information about this incident is encourage to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 980-5500.
Case Of Two Convicted In Altadena Killing Sent Back To Los Angeles Court
A state appeals court panel Monday ordered the case of two men convicted of the 1999 killing of an Altadena woman, who was the aunt of one of the defendants, to be sent back to a Los Angeles judge. The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus’ order denying petitions by Nathan Sheard and his then-roommate, David Emanuel Talmadge, for re-sentencing under a new state law, and instructed the judge to “conduct further proceedings.” The two were convicted in 2002 of first-degree murder for the April 1999 slaying of Sheard’s widowed 72-year-old aunt, Gertrude Mills. Jurors found true the special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a residential burglary and robbery against the two, who are serving sentences of life without the possibility of parole. In a pair of rulings involving the two defendants, the appellate court panel noted that Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies found Mills in her bathtub, bound and fully clothed, submerged in water with a portable heater on top of her body after Sheard was arrested for driving her vehicle without a license. He had told a Burbank police officer that she was “on a little vacation,” the panel noted.
Eight Arrested In Human Trafficking Bust In San Diego Area
Eight people were arrested as part of a human trafficking sting in the San Diego area last week, California Attorney General Rob Bonda announced Monday. In addition to the arrests, authorities also recovered two ghost guns and offered services to 26 potential survivors of human trafficking. The so-called "Operation Home for the Holidays" took place over five days, ending Friday, Dec. 10, and was coordinated between the Attorney General's office, the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, and other local police forces in the San Diego area. "We all deserve to have a safe place to call home during the holidays — and throughout the entire year," Bonta said in a press release. "Operation Home for the Holidays is about holding traffickers accountable and helping people extricate themselves from potentially dangerous situations." During the operation, law enforcement worked undercover, responding to online advertisements for sex, looking to buy. All the women who met with undercover authorities were offered access to resources and supportive services, according to Bonda.
San Francisco's Vaunted Tolerance Dims Amid Brazen Crimes
Caitlin Foster fell in love with San Francisco's people and beauty and moved to the city a dozen years ago. But after repeatedly clearing away used needles, other drug paraphernalia and human feces outside the bar she manages, and too many encounters with armed people in crisis, her affection for the city has soured. “It was a goal to live here, but now I’m here and I’m like, ‘Where am I going to move to now?’ I’m over it,'” said Foster, who manages Noir Lounge in the trendy Hayes Valley neighborhood. A series of headline-grabbing crime stories — mobs of people smashing windows and grabbing luxury purses in the downtown Union Square shopping district and daytime shootings in the touristy Haight-Ashbury — has only exacerbated a general feeling of vulnerability. Residents wake up to news of attacks on Asian American seniors, burglarized restaurants, and boarded-up storefronts in the city's once-vibrant downtown. San Franciscans take pride in their liberal political bent and generously approve tax measures for schools and the homeless. They accept that trashy streets, tent encampments and petty crime are the price to pay to live in an urban wonderland. But the frustration felt by Foster, who moved from Seattle in search of more sunshine, is growing among residents who now see a city in decline. There are signs that the city famous for its tolerance is losing patience.
Car Crash Deaths Have Surged During COVID-19 Pandemic. Here’s Why
It was a tally that shocked the experts: 38,680 deaths on U.S. roadways last year, the most since 2007 even though pandemic precautions had dramatically reduced driving. “This was completely unprecedented,” said Ken Kolosh, a researcher at the nonprofit National Safety Council. “We didn’t know what was happening.” One possibility was that stressed-out Americans were releasing their anxieties on the wide-open roads. He guessed that fatal accidents would decline in 2021 when traffic returned. He was wrong. The latest evidence suggests that after decades of safety gains, the pandemic has made U.S. drivers more reckless — more likely to speed, drink or use drugs and leave their seatbelts unbuckled. “I fear we’ve adopted some really unsafe driving habits, and they’re going to persist,” Kolosh said. “Our roads are less safe than they were pre-pandemic.” Experts say that behavior on the road is likely a reflection of widespread feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression. “We might decide: What does a seatbelt or another beer matter, anyway, when we’re in the middle of a pandemic?” said Shannon Frattaroli, a researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The rise in motor vehicle deaths lines up with other pandemic-era trends: Alcohol sales have soared, drug overdoses have set new records, and homicides have seen their biggest increase on record.
Public Safety News
Los Angeles Fire Crews Report To Multi-Vehicle Incident In Van Nuys
A multi-vehicle accident near Balboa Boulevard in Van Nuys prompted emergency response on Monday evening. What appeared to be four vehicles were involved in the incident, where at least two people involved were transported to nearby medical facilities. One of those victims appeared to be an older woman, while the other was reported to be a seven-year-old child. Authorities were unable to report what caused the incident and if it was rain related.
Crews Take Down Large Fire In North Hollywood
Crews took down a large fire in North Hollywood Monday evening. The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a call of a structure fire in the 12100 block of West Sylvan Street a little after 3:30 p.m. No injuries were reported in the fire, according to LAFD's latest update a little after 4 p.m. The cause of the fire has not been released as of Monday evening.
Omicron Latest: “It’s Going To Lead To A Large Number Of Cases”
With the reported finding of the seventh positive case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, new health concerns are being raised across the Southland. Public health experts have warned that the nation is near a fifth surge in the Coronavirus pandemic, especially as we head into the cooler winter weather and large family gatherings for the holiday season. On Sunday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported that numbers had dropped from those reported on Saturday, but were still high enough for concern. 698 people were hospitalized, down from 707 on Saturday, with 179 of those patients in intensive care, again down from the Saturday total of 182. 1,460 new cases were still reported, with five additional deaths. In the past, the county has stated that weekend numbers are traditionally lower due to lack of reporting. This brings the county total to 1,547,042 cases and 27,330 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Los Angeles County was recently placed back into the “high” transmission tier by the CDC, after spending several months in the less critical “substantial” transmission tier.
Southern California Spared Major Fires As Storms End An Unprecedented Season
The storms pounding California this week are expected to bring an end to a wildfire season that shocked fire crews with its unprecedented, climate-change-driven behavior. For the first time ever, wildfires burned from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other, destroying multiple towns including the Gold Rush-era community of Greenville and the mountain hamlet of Grizzly Flats. Yet even despite that destruction, this fire season is poised to end with just three deaths — a circumstance that authorities attribute partly to the public’s willingness to heed precautionary evacuation orders and heightened awareness of the threat of wildfire. Fires hit some regions of the state much harder than others. Although the Sierra was walloped, the Bay Area and Southern California saw a relatively tame year with few significant blazes. “There were some large fires in the southern Sierra, but largely, coastal Southern California came through relatively unscathed,” said Nick Nauslar, predictive services meteorologist at the National Interagency Coordination Center.
Los Angeles Times
California Reimposing Indoor Mask Mandate Amid Sharp Increase In COVID Cases
California will require indoor masking once again starting Wednesday, following a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases since Thanksgiving, health officials announced Monday. The new mandate will be in effect from Dec. 15 to Jan. 15, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a briefing Monday. “We know people are tired and hungry for normalcy. Frankly, I am too,” Ghaly said. “That said, this is a critical time where we have a tool that we know has worked and can work.” The new order comes as the daily COVID-19 case rate has gone up 47% since Thanksgiving. Previously, the number stood at about 9.6 cases per 100,000 people, and as of Monday, it was over 14 cases per 100,000 people. While masking was previously a recommendation statewide — except in certain indoor spaces like public transit and schools, where it was required — it will now be a requirement in all indoor settings. Los Angeles and Ventura counties, as well as most of the San Francisco Bay Area, already have their own indoor mask mandates, which were implemented in the summer, but the new order will affect nearly half the state’s population, including San Diego and Orange counties, the Inland Empire, the Central Valley and rural Northern California.