Law Enforcement News
Man Fatally Shot Inside Rite Aid In Eagle Rock; Two Suspects Sought
A man was shot and killed inside a Rite Aid pharmacy in Glassell Park Thursday night and police are seeking the two male suspects. Officers responded at 8:51 p.m. to the 4000 block of Eagle Rock Boulevard, near Verdugo Road and the Glendale (2) Freeway, and found a man suffering from gunshot wounds, said Officer William Cooper of the Los Angeles Police Department. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, Cooper said. The men suspected in the shooting fled on foot westbound on Eagle Rock Boulevard, Cooper said. One suspect was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and black shorts. The second was wearing black shorts and a gray hooded sweatshirt, Cooper said. Authorities are investigating the incident.
Father Arrested In Death Of Toddler Found Unconscious At South LA Motel
A father was taken into custody Wednesday in connection with the death of his 18-month-old son who was found unconscious at a South Los Angeles motel, police say. Authorities were called to the Rosa Bell Motel at 5606 S. Western Avenue around 11:10 a.m. Tuesday for a death investigation involving a child. Responding officers and paramedics found the child, later identified as Dee'ago Alexander Jones, unconscious and not breathing. The child was transported to a local hospital and later pronounced dead. The boy's father, 23-year-old Shane Zachery Flowers, was booked Wednesday on suspicion of child abuse resulting in death, the Los Angeles Police Department told Eyewitness News Thursday morning. Flowers was initially named a person of interest in the death of his child. Flowers, whose bail is set at $100,000, is set to be arraigned Friday.
LAPD To Direct Certain Arrestees To ‘Community Support Programs' Instead Of Charging Them
The Los Angeles Police Department announced that it will no longer arrest residents for certain crimes and will instead divert them to "community support programs." "The ATI Pre-Filing Diversion Program (diversion) will divert individuals arrested for select misdemeanors and non-violent felonies to community support programs in lieu of filing criminal charges, prosecution, and transportation to county jail facilities," the LAPD said in a statement, adding that the department sees the move as a "great opportunity in developing and participating in meaningful diversion programs which may reduce recidivism and enhance public safety." According to the statement, adults arrested for certain misdemeanors and non-violent felonies will be screened at the police station and referred to an on-site service provider who will "immediately assess the individual, identify the appropriate treatment and services needed, arrange for the provision of the treatment and services, and transport the participant to treatment facility, housing, or additional service provider." The plan will contain "culturally competent programming" that will take into consideration the "racial, ethnic and religious background as well as the participant's sexual orientation and gender identity." Once the alleged perpetrator completes the treatment program, the police report is archived without any action being taken, and no criminal charges will be filed.
LA Officials Report Increased Fire, Police Staff At Home Due to COVID-19
With COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations rising amid the delta variant in L.A. County, the Los Angeles Emergency Operations Center Thursday reported the highest number in months of police and fire department employees self-isolating at home. Sixty-one police department employees are at home recovering from the virus and isolating due to exposure, and the total number of employees who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began is 2,719. The EOC has not reported this many police department officers being home due to the virus since May 6, when 62 were self-isolating at home, according to the EOC. The fire department currently has nine employees recovering from the virus or self-isolating at home due to the exposure, the most since the EOC reported 10 employees out of work on April 20.
Man With Fake Gun Dies In Police Shooting In The Heart Of Hollywood: LAPD
A man carrying a replica handgun died after being shot by police near the busy corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue in Hollywood Thursday morning, officials said. Multiple people reported a man walking along Hollywood Boulevard with a gun just east of the bustling intersection around 11:20 a.m., and at least one responding officer shot the man, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The man was taken to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Police did not immediately release his name. A witness told KTLA he heard five shots in a row, and people in the area started running. He says he then walked by the scene and saw officers trying to resuscitate a man down on the ground. Police tape could be seen surrounding a McDonald’s just east of the intersection in aerial video from Sky5. Stills from surveillance video and an officer’s body-worn camera released by the department show the man brandishing what appears to be a knife at the officer. Police also released images of the fake firearm and a knife recovered at the scene.
L.A. Superior Court Judge To Choose Between Death Penalty Or Life Sentence For ‘Boy Next Door Killer’
Nearly two years after a jury recommended execution for a man prosecutors called “The Boy Next Door Killer,” a judge is set to hand down a sentence Friday. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler will choose between a death sentence and life in prison without the possibility of parole for Michael Thomas Gargiulo, 45, who was convicted in August 2019 of the home-invasion murders of two women and the attempted murder of a third. His case received added attention because one of his victims was about to go on a date with actor Ashton Kutcher, who testified at the trial. A jury recommended his execution in October 2019, but the pandemic and procedural issues forced several delays in his sentencing. He’s also facing a future trial for a 1997 killing in his Illinois hometown. Prosecutors in his California trial were allowed to present extensive evidence from that case as they sought to establish a pattern and present Gargiulo as a serial killer.
French Bulldog Puppy Stolen In Harbor City, Suspects Sought
Police are searching for two suspects who stole a year-old French bulldog puppy from a home in the Harbor City area. The two men driving a newer model black Honda Civic arrived at the residence in the 1600 block of Pacific Coast Highway about 11 a.m. Monday and threatened the dog's owner at gunpoint before taking the puppy and fleeing the area, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The dog, named King, has a merle coat with distinctive black and gray markings and dark eyes. The suspects were both described as about 5 feet 10 inches tall, between 170 and 180 pounds and 20 to 30 years old. The French bulldog was named Los Angeles' most popular dog breed in 2021 by the American Kennel Club and the theft of Frenchies has been on the rise across the area. Anyone with information on the suspects or the whereabouts of the puppy was asked to contact LAPD Harbor Area Detective Mendoza at 310-726-7755. Calls made during non-business hours or on weekends can be directed to 877-527-3247.
High-Speed Pursuit Ends In Valley Glen, 2 Suspects At Large
Two suspects were on the loose following a high-speed pursuit which came to an end in the Valley Glen neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley early Friday morning. The chase began a little before 4 a.m. when an Infiniti sedan, which had been previously wanted for speeding in Orange County, was spotted in the area of the 5 and 405 freeways by California Highway Patrol officers. The driver refused to stop and chase ensued, reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hour. The pursuit wound its way from the northbound 5 Freeway to the westbound 134 Freeway. Eventually, the Infiniti came to a stop at an apartment complex at Erwin Street and Woodman Avenue. The driver and a passenger jumped out and ran away, CHP said. They remain at large.
Riverside County Man Charged After Allegedly Driving Weapons To L.A. Federal Building
A Riverside County man who allegedly tried to enter the parking garage of the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles while wearing body armor and carrying firearms in his truck was charged Thursday with a misdemeanor weapons offense. Erik Christopher Younggren, 34, of Cherry Valley, is expected to appear in federal court Friday on a single count of attempted possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in a federal facility. Younggren is accused of trying to drive into the parking lot of the federal building around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, claiming he was “a witness” who needed to enter the facility. Younggren then admitted to a security officer that he had a handgun and two rifles, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Younggren was detained and investigators found two rifles, a 0.45-caliber semi-automatic firearm and about 565 rounds of ammunition in his vehicle. Younggren was wearing body armor with loaded magazines and knives attached, according to prosecutors. According to the criminal complaint, Younggren later told Federal Protective Services officials he went to the Roybal building because he needed “protection,” claiming he was a “confidential informant assigned to a confidential federal task force.”
Los Angeles Daily News
Diamonds, Gold, Luxury Homes: Inside One L.A. Family’s $18-Million COVID-19 Fraud
The Tarzana couple were returning from a Caribbean beach vacation last October when they ran into trouble. On a layover in Miami, a passport scan flagged Richard Ayvazyan and Marietta Terabelian for extra screening. Customs agents led them away. Their luggage and phones were searched. Ayvazyan was carrying credit cards in the name of “Iuliia Zhadko.” Terabelian had one belonging to “Viktoria Kauichko.” The FBI had been investigating “Zhadko” and “Kauichko” for months — tailing suspects, rummaging through trash, poring over bank records. Agents suspected the names were aliases used to secure emergency pandemic relief loans for fake small businesses in the San Fernando Valley. Ayvazyan and Terabelian looked to be part of a family fraud ring not well skilled at covering its tracks. After hours of questioning, they were arrested at 3 a.m. and jailed for the rest of the night. So began the unraveling of one of the more lurid scams that swindlers across the U.S. mounted last year as the government raced to send trillions of dollars in emergency funds to businesses upended by coronavirus lockdowns.
Los Angeles Times
Public’s Help Sought In Finding Man Last Seen 3 Weeks Ago In Boyle Heights
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Thursday is seeking the public’s help in locating a missing man last seen three weeks ago in Boyle Heights. Jason David Jaloma, 43, was last seen at 4 p.m. on June 21 in the 1900 block of Marengo Street, according to Deputy Tracy Koerner of the Sheriff’s Department’s Information Bureau. Jaloma is White, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighs 180 pounds, has brown hair (shaved) and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and a silver necklace. Anyone with information was asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Missing Persons Unit at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS or submitted online at lacrimestoppers.org.
3 Women Arrested For Allegedly Selling Counterfeit Contact Lenses In Downtown LA
Three women have been arrested on suspicion of selling counterfeit contact lenses in downtown Los Angeles. Sulmi Gonzalez-Calderon, 42; Karla Lopez-Meza, 33; and 50-year-old Eulalia Pacharrez, all of Los Angeles, face charges of furnishing prescription drugs without a license after being arrested by the illicit pharmaceutical and counterfeit unit of the LAPD’S commercial crimes division. Investigators with the California Department of Public Health assisted with the investigation and confirmed that contact lenses are classified as medical devices and should only be sold by licensed medical professionals. “The purchase of counterfeit products may be hazardous to your health,” a statement from the LAPD said. “In many instances counterfeit medical devices and cosmetic materials have been known to cause serious adverse reactions such as infections, facial paralysis, tissue death and blindness.” Counterfeit products are also not bound by the same materials and safety testing standards that legitimate manufacturers must adhere to, the LAPD said. Police say samples of the seized contact lenses were examined at the scene by the brand manufacturer and deemed counterfeit, in violation of recorded and registered trademarks.
'A Specific Fetish For Forcing Himself Upon Women': Prosecutors Lay Out Expansive Account Of The Case Against Paul Flores
San Luis Obispo prosecutors anticipate that dozens of women will testify about the predatory — and at times violent — sexual behavior of Paul Flores, a San Pedro man charged with the murder of a 19-year-old college student who vanished 25 years ago and has never been found, according to court papers made public Thursday. In a 43-page document, Deputy Dist. Atty. Christopher G. Peuvrelle laid out the most expansive account yet of the case his office has brought against Flores and his father, Ruben Flores, who are charged with murder and accessory to murder, respectively, in the disappearance and presumed death of Kristin Smart in 1996. Peuvrelle filed the motion in an attempt to charge Paul Flores with two rapes allegedly committed in San Pedro in 2011 and 2017. His conduct in those recent assaults, as described by his alleged victims, dovetails with his behavior the night in 1996 that Smart was last seen alive, the prosecutor wrote. Flores “has a specific fetish for forcing himself upon women especially when they are drugged or inebriated,” Peuvrelle said, “which is exactly the state of Kristin Smart in the early morning of March 25, 1996.”
Homicides Are Up 36% In Bay Area's Biggest Cities. Deaths In Oakland Are Driving The Surge
Eighteen-year-old Demetrius Fleming-Davis sat in the middle seat of his friend’s truck, riding home through East Oakland when the gunfire started. Police believe a nearby pedestrian was the intended target. But a bullet flew into the truck as it traveled down International Boulevard, striking the teenager in his head. Panicked, the driver swung around a corner, found patrol officers and requested help. Paramedics arrived and pronounced Fleming-Davis dead at the scene. It was April 10. The lanky, churchgoing high school student, known for charming teachers and solving math problems in his head, was Oakland’s 41st homicide victim of the year. That toll would climb to 65 by the end of June — and drive a 36% increase in Bay Area homicides through the first six months of 2021.
While two other Bay Area cities saw their homicide percentages jump notably between the first halves of this year and last, it was Oakland that propelled the region’s 15 most populous cities past a 24% national surge in homicides since 2021 began.
San Francisco Chronicle
Gunman Captured In Standoff That Killed 1 Officer, Wounded 4
Authorities captured the suspect late Thursday following an hours long police standoff where one officer was killed and four others were wounded in a small West Texas city. Omar Soto-Chavira, 22, was injured when he was taken into custody around 11:30 p.m. at a home in Levelland, police Chief Albert Garcia told reporters. The suspect was being transported to a hospital in Lubbock for treatment, Garcia said. The extent of the suspect's injuries was not disclosed. Authorities used robots to enter the home, then deployed gas which drew Soto-Chivara out of the residence, Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe said at the briefing. The standoff between the suspect and law enforcement had begun at the home around 1 p.m. after someone reported a man as possibly armed along the residential street in Levelland, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Lubbock. The confrontation escalated quickly, gunfire erupted as the suspect barricaded himself inside a house, and a standoff ensued.
FBI Agent Shot And Wounded While Serving Warrant In New Mexico, Man Killed
An FBI agent was wounded and a man was killed during a shootout Wednesday morning in Northeast Albuquerque. FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said the agent, whose bullet proof vest was struck by gunfire, is expected to survive and the man was pronounced dead on scene. Fisher did not identify the agent or man killed and would not say whether any other suspects were detained or involved. "Because this is an ongoing investigation, there are very few details I can provide at this time," Fisher said. "Like all FBI shootings, this one will be thoroughly investigated." He said FBI agents and task force officers were serving multiple search warrants around 11 a.m. at a strip mall near Northeastern and Wyoming when the incident occurred. Fisher would not say if the warrants — which were related to a violent crime investigation — were being served at a business or elsewhere. He said when agents tried to make an arrest, a gunfight ensued with a suspect in the alleyway behind the strip mall.
Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
Public Safety News
1 Worker Killed, 2 Others Injured After Fire Breaks Out At Building Under Construction In West LA
A worker was killed and two others were injured in an electrical fire that erupted at a high-rise building under construction in the Sawtelle neighborhood of West Los Angeles Thursday afternoon. The fire was reported around 12:10 p.m. in the 12100 block of West Olympic Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Fire officials say rebar became electrically energized and apparently made contact with high voltage lines, sparking the blaze. Two workers were able to evacuate the building, but a third did not survive. Firefighters were able to knock down the fire in about half an hour. The two injured workers were transported to a local hospital in unknown condition. Additional information, including their ages, was not immediately released.
Coyote Attacks 2-Year-Old Child At El Cariso Park In Sylmar
A 2-year-old boy was recovering Thursday after being attacked by a coyote at El Cariso Regional Park in Sylmar. The attack happened Tuesday when Emily Joseph was at the park with her two children. The family said they had never seen a coyote at the park until one attacked 2-year-old Lejend Joseph. “My 8-year-old said it started walking real slow, and then it ran fast and jumped on him,” Joseph said. She said they were at the park to sign up her older child for football and the older kids were playing in the field, just feet away from where Lejend was standing. Lejend’s brother said he saw what he thought was a dog nearby, but when the animal ran toward the toddler and pinned him down, the kids screamed. “We all really realized it wasn’t a dog, it was a coyote,” Joseph said. Everyone at the park got up and tried to scare the coyote off of little Lejend. Two days after the attack, bandages cover Lejend’s stitches from the bites to his lower back.
L.A. County Will Require Masks Indoors Amid Alarming Rise In Coronavirus Cases
Just a month ago, Los Angeles County and the rest of California celebrated a long-awaited reopening, marking the tremendous progress made in the battle against COVID-19 by lifting virtually all restrictions on businesses and other public spaces. Now, the coronavirus is resurgent, and the nation’s most-populous county is scrambling to beat back the pandemic’s latest charge. Starting Saturday night, residents will again be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of their vaccination status. The latest order not only puts the county further at odds with both the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — both of which continue to maintain that vaccinated people need not cover their faces indoors — but puts officials in the precarious position of asking the inoculated to forfeit one of the benefits recently enjoyed. “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, the county’s health officer. Vaccinated people are, in essence, being asked to make a sacrifice to help slow coronavirus spread among the unvaccinated.
Los Angeles Times
Delta Variant Doesn’t Pose Higher Risk To Vaccinated People Than Other Virus Versions, L.A. County Health Officials Say
Fully vaccinated people in Los Angeles County appear to be just as protected against infection from the highly contagious delta variant as they are from other versions of the coronavirus, public health officials said Thursday. The delta variant is infecting fully vaccinated people at a slightly higher rate than other coronavirus variants, but it’s also the most prevalent version of the virus in the county. Plus, the illness is still largely spreading among the unvaccinated, L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said in a media briefing. Inoculated people account for 14% of delta variant cases sequenced versus unvaccinated people’s 86%, Davis said. That compares to fully vaccinated people making up 9% of alpha variant cases, 8% of gamma variant infections and 11% of all other variant cases. That data comes from virus samples sequenced during the month of June. “The differences among these percentages are still too small to be statistically significant and do not suggest large differences in the risk these variants pose in terms of fully vaccinated people,” Davis said. Davis noted that fully vaccinated people are also more likely to have their specimen sequenced than those who are unvaccinated, meaning their share of cases could appear larger than it really is.
Local Government News
LAX Seeks $1 Billion From City Council To Modernize Terminals 4 And 5
The Los Angeles World Airports praised the Board of Airport Commissioners’ unanimous recommendation to the City Council Thursday for allocation of more than $1 billion to fund the last and largest phase of construction to modernize LAX terminals 4 and 5. “In approving the acquisition of more than $1 billion in terminal improvements, Los Angeles World Airports is investing in a future for LAX that is environmentally sustainable, innovative and exceptional,” said Board of Airport Commissioners President Sean Burton. “In partnership with American Airlines, LAX’s new terminals 4 and 5 reflect our gold-standard vision and will create construction jobs for our local community.” American Airlines is administering the terminals’ construction, expected to cost a total of $1.62 billion and part of the $14.5 billion LAX modernization, which is the largest airport project of its kind in the U.S. The project includes a 2.25-mile Automated People Mover train system with six total stations — three inside the Central Terminal Area and three outside the CTA, which will connect the train system to L.A. Metro and a car rental facility. Officials expect the train system to be ready in 2023, and the full modernization project is expected to be completed ahead of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Daily News