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Jul 2021
Newswatch July 15, 2021

Law Enforcement News

LAPD Motorcycle Officer Hospitalized After Crash In South Los Angeles
A Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer was injured and taken to a hospital after a crash in South Los Angeles Wednesday night. The crash occurred near the intersection of Florence and Vermont avenues. The officer's condition is unknown. Aerial footage captured by AIR7 HD showed the officer's motorcycle with extensive damage and a car with front-end damage. The area was blocked off by crime scene tape as police investigated. Details regarding how the crash happened or if anyone else was injured were not immediately available.

Mom Alleges Father Fatally Struck 1-Year-Old Son At South L.A. Motel; LAPD Investigating
Authorities are investigating after a baby boy found in medical distress in a South Los Angeles motel room died this week, police said Wednesday. Hospital staff notified child abuse detectives of the 18-month-old’s death around noon Tuesday, the LAPD said in a news release. Coroner’s officials identified the boy as Dee’ago Alexander Jones. Jones had been in medical distress when he was transported from the motel on the 5600 block of Western Avenue in the Chesterfield Square neighborhood and was pronounced dead at the hospital, LAPD said. “They said he was alive when he made it to the hospital but he really wasn’t, he was already gone,” Jones’ mother, Ryanna Jones, said. Ryanna Jones says her baby Dee-Ago was happy and healthy one minute, then later came home and Dee-Ago was unconscious and unresponsive. The mother says the boy’s father confessed to killing his son after tripping over a video game controller. He then punched the child, who fell to the ground, hit his head and lost consciousness, Jones alleged. Ryanna turned in her son’s father, 23-year-old Shane Zachary Flowers, over to police.

Woman Found Slain In Van Nuys Home, 49-Year-Old Jose Sierra Arrested
A 49-year-old man was in custody Wednesday night on suspicion of murder. Jose Sierra is accused of fatally stabbing 53-year-old Ana Guardado in a Van Nuys home earlier in the day. According to the LAPD, officers responded at about 8:45 p.m. to a home in the 7300 block of Matilija Avenue after receiving a call that a homicide suspect was at the location. When they arrived, they were directed to a home across the street in the 13800 block of Valerio Street where they found a woman, later identified as Guardado, suffering from multiple stab wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene. A motive was not immediately disclosed. Sierra was booked at Van Nuys Jail on $2 million bail.

Heavily Armed Man Detained Trying To Enter Garage Of Downtown L.A. Federal Building
Officials apprehended a heavily armed man Wednesday morning attempting to enter the parking garage of the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in downtown L.A. The man was stopped by security officers who noticed a firearm in his vehicle, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security. The man was wearing body armor and multiple loaded firearms and knives were found in the vehicle. Jim Goodwin, a spokesperson for the Federal Protective Service, said the man was arrested about 9:35 a.m. He could not immediately provide information about his identity. The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service, which guards federal buildings across the country, is investigating the incident.
Los Angeles Times

Authorities Rescue German Shepherd Locked Inside Hot Vehicle In Reseda
Authorities Wednesday rescued a dog that was locked inside a vehicle in Reseda, where temperatures were nearly 90 degrees. The Los Angeles Police Department received a call for service around 12:50 p.m. and responded to the 8000 block of Lindley Ave. Before LAPD's ground units arrived, video from SkyFOX showed good Samaritans trying to give the German Shepherd water through a barely cracked car window. LAPD's ground units arrived around 1:20 p.m. but they were unequipped to rescue the dog. Not long after, firefighters and a tow truck arrived to assist with gaining access to the vehicle. Almost an hour after the first 911 call reporting the dog locked in the car, authorities were able to pry open one of the doors of the vehicle and free the dog. The German Shepard appeared to be uninjured and was seen smiling and rolling around after being rescued. The pup was later transported to the West Valley Animal Shelter.
FOX 11

Police Chase Suspect In Custody After Flatbed Truck Cornered Them Mid-Pursuit
A police chase suspect is in custody after a flatbed truck driver cornered them in the middle of the pursuit Wednesday evening. SkyFOX was over Commerce when the chase suspect was leading the LAPD on a pursuit. At one point during the chase in East Los Angeles, the flatbed truck driver swerved to their left, cornering the suspect. The suspect was immediately placed in custody. The suspect was initially wanted for assault with a deadly weapon against an officer. Officials did not provide details on the officer's conditions or if they were hurt at all. Officials have not released the suspect's identity.
FOX 11

24-Year-Old Man Reported Missing In Agoura Hills
Authorities Wednesday were searching for a missing 24-year-old man who suffers from bipolar disorder and depression last seen in Agoura Hills. John Jack Stein was last seen about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday in the 3700 block of Kanan Road, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department statement. Stein is white, 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds, with shoulder-length strawberry-blond hair and blue eyes. He also has tattoos of a sparrow on his right upper thigh and circles on the left side of his chest. Stein was last seen wearing a navy blue hoodie with “Tommy Hilfiger” written down one arm, black shorts and a gray T-shirt. Anyone with information on his 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

Judge Refuses To Add Rape Charges In Kristin Smart Case
A judge has denied a prosecutor’s bid to file rape charges against the man accused of killing California college student Kristin Smart, who went missing 25 years ago. The San Luis Obispo district attorney’s office had sought to add two rape charges — for offenses it said were committed in Los Angeles County after Smart disappeared — to the complaint filed against Paul Flores in Smart’s death, KEYT reported Wednesday. The judge ruled against the DA’s motion and scheduled a preliminary hearing in the murder case for Aug. 2, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Paul Flores, now 44 and who had lived in San Pedro for the last several years, was the last person seen with Smart on May 25, 1996, at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where they were both freshmen. Prosecutors said he killed Smart while trying to rape her in his dorm room after he had agreed to walk her home from a party, where she had gotten intoxicated. Her body has never been found. Paul Flores’ father, Ruben Flores, has pleaded not guilty to accessory after murder in Smart’s death.
Los Angeles Daily News

Prosecutor Describes `Party And Play’ Sessions At Ed Buck’s WeHo Apartment
A federal prosecutor told jurors Wednesday that political fundraiser Ed Buck gave large amounts of methamphetamine to two men who overdosed and died at his West Hollywood apartment, but the defense countered that the defendant did nothing to cause the deaths. Defense attorney Chris Darden, in his opening statement in Buck’s trial, told the jury that his client was a victim of “manipulative people” who took advantage of his generosity in order to get free drugs and money. Darden alleged that underlying medical conditions hastened the deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, not the drugs they may have ingested in Buck’s presence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea Norell alleged that Buck was “obsessed” with “party and play,” a term used by some gay men to describe a sexual encounter involving drugs. “The party is the drugs, the play is the sex,” Norell said in her opening statement. “If they didn’t party, he wasn’t interested.” Buck faces nine felony counts, including two counts of distribution of controlled substances resulting in death stemming from the deaths of the 26-year-old Moore in July 2017 and the 55-year-old Dean in January 2019. If convicted, each of the two charges carry 20-year mandatory minimums.

Culver City Police Seek Suspect In Two Armed Robberies
Police Wednesday were searching for a man who committed two armed robberies in the Culver City area. The man entered a CVS located in the Fox Hills Plaza, located at 6299 Bristol Parkway, about 10:50 p.m. on Tuesday and pulled a handgun on a cashier, according to a Culver City Police Department statement. The man fled the scene on foot after receiving about $450 from the cash register. He is also suspected of entering a Chevron gas station, located at 5975 Green Valley Circle, about 1:45 a.m. Tuesday and again stealing money from a cashier at gunpoint before fleeing the scene. The suspect was described as about 20 years old, and was seen wearing all black clothing and a black face mask in both robberies. Anyone with information on the robberies was asked to call CCPD Assistant Chief Jason Sims at 310-253-6391.

California Woman First To Face Federal Charges Over Fake COVID Immunizations, Vaccination Cards
A homeopathic doctor in California became the first person in the United States to face federal charges over fake COVID-19 immunizations and falsified coronavirus vaccine cards. Juli A. Mazi, 41, of Napa was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements related to health care matters, the Department of Justice said in a press release. "This defendant allegedly defrauded and endangered the public by preying on fears and spreading misinformation about FDA-authorized vaccinations, while also peddling fake treatments that put people’s lives at risk. Even worse, the defendant allegedly created counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards and instructed her customers to falsely mark that they had received a vaccine, allowing them to circumvent efforts to contain the spread of the disease," said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. Authorities were first tipped off to Mazi's alleged scheme in April, when a person contacted the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s hotline. The tipster said family members had purchased immunization pellets from the doctor that "contained the COVID-19 virus and would create an antibody response in the immune system," the DOJ said.
FOX 11

FBI Director: Indiana Detective Slain In Ambush Did What ‘Needed To Be Done'
A veteran Indiana police officer who was killed in an ambush outside of an FBI field office last week was a valued member of an FBI task force for more than a decade, the agency’s director said at the officer’s funeral Tuesday. Terre Haute police Detective Greg Ferency worked on investigations ranging from drugs to counterterrorism during his 11 years on the task force, FBI Director Christopher Wray told hundreds of police officers and other mourners at Indiana State University’s Hulman Center basketball arena. “To his FBI teammates, Greg was ‘the guy,’” Wray said. “He did whatever needed to be done. Never said no. He always, always had your back.” Ferency, 53, was killed last Wednesday after a man threw a Molotov cocktail at an FBI office in the city roughly 70 miles (113 kilometers) west of Indianapolis and then shot the officer as he emerged from the building, authorities said. The 30-year police veteran and an FBI agent both fired on the attacker, wounding him. Local and federal law enforcement officers from throughout Indiana and other states filed past Ferency’s flag-draped casket as the funeral began. A procession with hundreds of police vehicles passed under a large U.S. flag suspended between two extended fire truck ladders over a city street on its way to a cemetery for Ferency’s burial.
Associated Press

Watch: Tennessee Police Officer Sprints Into Exploding Home, Rescues Woman
As a fire swept through a Columbia home, Corporal Allan Ervin, the first emergency responder to arrive on the scene, ran into the home and brought the woman to safety. Footage from Ervin's body camera, shared with the public by the Columbia Police Department on Tuesday, shows Ervin arriving at the Riverside home just as an explosion roars through the garage of the single-story house on Rinks Court. The blast shot debris across the home's driveway, as Ervin, remained coolheaded and rushed to the front entrance of the home. "As a police officer, the first thing you think of is the preservation of life, and fortunately, we were able to do that. We know the risks we take when we go out there. You just have to react and use your best judgment." Erwin said he was quickly able to find the woman inside, who is disabled, and bring her to safety outside the burning home. The spaces the two occupied moments earlier were engulfed in flames, he said, as the fire quickly spread through the home during the escape.
The Daily Herald, Columbia, Tenn.

Public Safety News

Officials Respond To Fire At Downtown L.A. Homeless Encampment
Officials were working Wednesday evening to extinguish a fire at a homeless encampment by the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. The LAFD responded to a rubbish fire at 5:15 p.m. in the 300 block of North Main Street, according to spokesperson Nicholas Prange. Prange said no injuries have been reported. He could not immediately provide information on the number of tents that had caught fire or the cause. No arson investigators have been assigned to the incident. There are several dozen tents within a roughly three-block radius of the incident. Fires related to homelessness in L.A. have become more common over the last few years. In the first quarter of 2021, they occurred at a rate of 24 a day, making up 54% of all the fires the department responded to.
Los Angeles Times

LA County Reports 1,315 New COVID-19 Cases, 6th Consecutive Day Of More Than 1K New Cases
The number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Los Angeles County topped 400 Wednesday, while another 1,315 infections were confirmed, marking the sixth consecutive day of new cases topping 1,000. The increases continue slow but steady month-long climbs that have prompted concern among health care officials and led to another call from Gov. Gavin Newsom for people to get vaccinated. "I cannot impress upon you more the power of getting vaccinated," Newsom said during an appearance Wednesday in Bell Gardens. COVID-19 infection numbers have been rising steadily in recent weeks, a rise being blamed on continued spread of the "Delta" variant of the virus, which is considered vastly more contagious than other COVID mutations. The variant, which was responsible for wide-scale infections in India and parts of the United Kingdom, has been spreading domestically. Los Angeles County health officials said the "Delta" variant has been increasing in prevalence since April. Statewide, 43% of sequenced COVID samples last week were found to be the "Delta" variant.
FOX 11

Fire Danger Level Raised To ‘Extreme’ In Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains
The fire danger level is now “extreme” in the Angeles National Forest and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, authorities said Wednesday. That means campfires of any kind are banned there from now until next February. The change comes just a month after the fire danger level was raised to “very high” a month early. “Fuel moistures on the forest are very dry, this condition combined with high temperatures support rapid fire spread,” Angeles Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia said in a statement. “By restricting the use of fire throughout the forest, and increasing staffing levels, the objective is to reduce the potential of a catastrophic wildfire starting.” The new fire danger level ushers in more restrictions in the forest, including: using fire or stove fires throughout the national forest and national monument, smoking, welding or operating an acetylene or other torches, and discharging firearms, air rifles or gas guns, except in authorized public shooting ranges. However, people with valid permits for the Forest Service or hunting with a valid California hunting license may still discharge firearms, according to their permit or license. Violating the forest order is punishable by up to $5,000 to $10,000, and up to six months in jail.

Local Government News

Newsom Urges Struggling Renters In LA To Apply For Rent Relief Soon
Gov. Gavin Newsom joined Los Angeles-area renters and the secretary of the state's Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency in Bell Gardens Wednesday to promote the state's $5.2 billion program to pay back 100% of rent for low-income renters, regardless of immigration status, who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. "If we see mass evictions, we will have seen something we've never experienced in our lifetime, and that's the number of people on streets and sidewalks that will overwhelm. That's why this program is so important," Newsom said. The program is part of the state's 2021-22 fiscal year budget, which was signed by Newsom on Monday. Applicants can receive 100% of rent owed from April 2020 and through September 2021. Newsom urged people to apply as soon as possible to ensure they receive the money before the eviction moratorium expires on Sept. 30. He added that there was only a "very modest" chance that it would be extended again. Two renters who applied to the program spoke beside Newsom to urge people to apply.



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