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Jul 2021
Newswatch July 21, 2021

Law Enforcement News

2 Men Caught On Camera In Brazen Daylight Theft From Granada Hills TJ Maxx
Two men casually walked out of a crowded TJ Maxx in Granada Hills recently, their arms full with what appeared to be stolen items. “That looks great,” one man said as video showed them headed toward the door. One of the men even had an oversized duffle bag on his back. “They didn’t even run out, they walked out,” Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz said. “And so, that’s sending a message that we, the criminals, are winning.” Sandoz is a veteran sergeant and is vice president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. She blames the brazen act on Prop 47, which lowered criminal sentences for certain non-violent crimes such as shoplifting. “If they’re caught, they’re probably given the equivalent of a traffic ticket,” she said. “So it’s not taken seriously.” Across the state, there has been a reported rise in shoplifting. Video of thieves running out of a San Francisco Neiman Marcus went viral earlier this month. “If you let these criminals think that they can go in and steal merchandise and steal things, what happens when someone tries to stop them,” Sandoz said.

Melrose Shootout: Would-Be Robbers Wounded When Victim Fires Back
Two men who tried to rob some shoppers on Melrose Avenue ended up with bullets in their legs after one of the victims turned the tables and opened fire on the would-be robbers. Surveillance video shows the brazen robbery attempt Monday night near Melrose and Vista Street. A man with a shopping bag and two women are standing in a parking area when a light-colored Dodge Avenger backs up near them. Two men get out from the passenger side, and exchange words, with one of them showing a gun. But the robbery target draws his own weapon and fires. The shots send everyone scattering in different directions, with the car driving off and the two robbers running on foot in the opposite direction. Police later arrested the two suspects who fled the scene on foot - and say both of them were injured by gunfire. Investigators are are still looking for the driver of the Dodge Avenger.

Man Fatally Shot In Watts
A young man was fatally shot in Watts, and authorities Tuesday were looking for the suspect or suspects involved in the crime. The victim, who was in his 20s, was shot at about 4:25 a.m. Monday near 115th and Grape streets and died at the scene, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. His name was not immediately released. No arrests were reported, and no suspect information was available. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call 877-LAPD-247.

Trial Starts For Man Accused Of Crime Spree Including Fatal Shooting Of A Motorist In Panorama City
A man on trial for allegedly being involved in a violent crime spree in which a motorist was shot to death in Panorama City and a wrong-way freeway crash that left a woman and her three children injured was tied to the crimes through GPS evidence from a car he regularly drove, a prosecutor told jurors Monday. Deputy District Attorney John McKinney told the downtown Los Angeles jury in his opening statement that Artyom Gasparyan’s alleged months-long crime spree came to an end on Jan. 4, 2016, when he “went on a wild ride” and was shot by Los Angeles police after pulling a revolver from his pocket following the wrong-way crash on the Golden State (5) Freeway in Sun Valley. Gasparyan, now 37, is charged with one count of murder involving the Dec. 30, 2015, killing of Adan Corea, a 32-year-old father of two who lost control of his vehicle after being shot.
Los Angeles Daily News

Search On For Gunman After Woman Shot Near Exposition Park
A woman was shot and wounded near Exposition Park early Wednesday morning in South Los Angeles. The shooting was reported at 4:38 a.m. in the 1400 block of West 37th Drive. Los Angeles police arrived on scene to find a woman who had been struck by gunfire. Her condition was not confirmed. Officers learned the shooter possibly escaped in a black, mid-2000s model Toyota Prius which may have sustained front-end damage in a collision. There was no word on a motive or whether the shooting was gang-related.

‘Just Unbelievably Horrifying’: Woman With Dementia Allegedly Kidnapped From Wilshire VA Parking Lot
A 68-year-old woman with dementia was kidnapped outside the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center then held for several hours at an East Hollywood motel, authorities said. The woman was freed Monday afternoon when FBI agents arrested the alleged kidnapper outside the Dixie Hollywood Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard, according a release from the U.S. attorney’s office. Johnny Ray Gasca, 51, of Bronx, N.Y., was charged with one count of kidnapping. The woman was being accompanied by a longtime friend to a medical appointment from the care home where she recently moved. That friend — a 42-year-old nurse who asked not to use her name because of safety concerns — said the victim had been her nanny when she was a child in the Philippines and remained like “a second mom.” The friend refers to the victim as her aunt, though the two are not blood relations. The friend also has power of attorney over the victim. The ordeal began just before 8:30 a.m. Monday, when the two women were walking back to their car in the Wilshire VA parking lot. “As we were heading out of the hospital, my aunt and I were talking, and then he was there waiting for us,” the friend said.
Los Angeles Times

LA City Attorney Mike Feuer Reaches Tentative $26 Billion Settlement With Opioid Maker, Distributors
City Attorney Mike Feuer says he is nearing a multi-billion settlement with opioid makers that could bring tens of millions of dollars to the City of Los Angeles. The tentative $26 billion settlement with distributors McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., AmerisourceBergen Corporation and manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals – a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson — is the result of a civil lawsuit filed in May of 2018, alleging fraudulent and negligent business practices that fueled the local and nationwide opioid crisis. Orange County parents who lost their sons over a decade ago to opioid overdoses blame the three largest drug distribution companies and Johnson & Johnson. “I can tell you that people like myself, people like friends of ours who’ve lost their children, people that I know through the addiction recovery program that my wife and I run, we are all going to be watching,” said James Kennedy, a father. Feuer’s lawsuit alleged the McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen failed in their obligation to report suspiciously large and frequent orders in prescription opioid pain pills, as required by state and federal law.

19-Year-Old Man Dies After Being Found Shot On Street In Paramount
An investigation is underway into the shooting death of a 19-year-old man who was fatally wounded on a Paramount street early Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Shortly after 12:50 a.m., deputies from the Lakewood Station were called out to a report of a gunshot victim near the 8200 block of Somerset Boulevard, sheriff’s officials said in a news release. When deputies arrived at the scene, they found the young man in the street with a gunshot wound to his upper body, according to the release. The victim was rushed to an area hospital, where he died. The teenager has not yet been identified. Authorities did not immediately have any details about a possible suspect or motive in the case. Anyone with information about the deadly shooting is urged to call the department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

North Hollywood Man Gevorg Adoyan Accused Of Scamming Bank Customers In Burbank
Charges have been filed against a 29-year-old North Hollywood resident accused of scamming at least 12 people at Logix Federal Credit Union in Burbank. According to detectives, Gevorg Adoyan allegedly approached at least one person outside the bank, 2340 Hollywood Way, and told the person that he had reached his cash-out limit and asked the victim to cash the check into their own account and withdraw the money so he could gamble at a casino. Adoyan is also accused of telling the victim that he would give them a percentage of the check in exchange for their assistance. The victim told police they deposited the check into their account, withdrew the required cash and gave it to Adoyan. The check was later returned as fraudulent. After the victim reported the scam to police May 24, detectives learned of another 11 victims scammed at the same location. Detectives executed a search warrant at Adoyan’s home and recovered additional fraudulent checks, police said.

Man Tells Jurors Of `Party And Play’ Sessions With Ed Buck
A self-described crystal methamphetamine addict told a Los Angeles federal jury Tuesday that he “felt death” creeping up on him after Ed Buck injected him repeatedly with the drug during “party and play” sessions for which the former West Hollywood-based political donor paid him $250 for each of four encounters. Jermaine Terrell Gagnon, 31, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, who also lived for a time in Los Angeles, testified that he met Buck through a gay dating app in March 2018 — and was paid $250 for an initial nine-hour session involving “tina” — a street name for methamphetamine — and sex play. Gagnon said he went to Buck’s apartment three additional times, including once when Buck paid for him to fly to Los Angeles from Iowa, and then later for a plane ticket to Florida. Buck’s profile on the dating site noted he was “generous” and liked men’s “bulges,” Gagnon said, explaining that generous meant willing to pay for sex.

Harvey Weinstein Extradited To Los Angeles To Face Rape And Sexual Assault Charges
Disgraced former film producer Harvey Weinstein was extradited from New York to Los Angeles Tuesday, where he is charged with sex-related counts involving five women between 2004 and 2013. “Today Harvey Weinstein was brought to LA stemming from an extradition warrant that was issued for several felony sexual assault charges,” the Los Angeles Police Department tweeted. “After being medically cleared for booking, he will be booked into custody (with) LA County Sheriff’s.” Earlier Tuesday, the New York Department of Corrections said custody of Weinstein “was handed over to the appropriate officials for transport to the state of California per a court order.” It was not immediately clear when Weinstein would appear in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. Weinstein, 69, was serving a 23-year term in New York after being convicted in that state of a criminal sex act against a former production assistant and raping an aspiring actress. His attorneys had tried to block his transfer from New York to Los Angeles until he was “medically fit” to be moved.
Los Angeles Daily News

Man Who Siphoned $420K From L.A. Resident’s Account Sentenced To Prison
A man was sentenced Monday to 46 months in federal prison for participating in business email compromise scams, including one in which $420,000 was stolen from a Los Angeles victim’s life insurance account, then deposited and laundered in various bank accounts set up in the names of others. Sunday Anyika, who pleaded guilty in January to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter to pay $1.12 million in restitution. At the sentencing hearing in Los Angeles federal court, Walter called the scheme “malicious and extensive” and said it caused “huge losses to unsuspecting victims,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In January 2018, Anyika’s co-conspirators, using the victim’s life insurance policy number, Social Security number, and date of birth to verify the account, called a business — not identified in court documents — to obtain details on a life insurance policy under the name of the unnamed victim. Later that month, Anyika, using a fake Liberian passport sent by his co-conspirators that bore his photograph, opened and maintained sole control over a TD Bank account that used the victim’s name.

Ex-DEA Agent From California Charged In U.S. Capitol Insurrection
A former DEA agent from Orange County has been charged with taking part in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the latest law enforcement member linked to the deadly uprising. Mark Sami Ibrahim, 33, was arrested Tuesday in Washington, D.C., and charged with entering the Capitol grounds with a firearm and lying to federal law enforcement officials, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Court documents describe Ibrahim as living in Orange County, and public records suggest he once lived in Anaheim. Multiple photos show Ibrahim posing with his Drug Enforcement Administration badge and gun on his hip as he stands among others waving pro-Trump banners, according to court documents made public Tuesday.
Los Angeles Times

Southern California Synagogue Shooter Pleads Guilty To All Charges Against Him
A 22-year-old former nursing student pleaded guilty Tuesday to murder and other charges in connection with a deadly shooting at a Southern California synagogue on the last day of Passover. John T. Earnest avoided the death penalty with his plea in San Diego Superior Court. The San Diego County district attorney’s office said he agreed to serve the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole in state prison. Sentencing is scheduled Sept. 30. Earnest opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle during the last day of Passover services in April 2019 at Chabad of Poway. The attack killed 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye and wounded three others, including an 8-year-old girl and the rabbi, who lost a finger. Earnest then called 911 to say he had shot up a synagogue because Jews were trying to "destroy all white people," authorities said. Earnest faces similar charges in federal court, where federal prosecutors faced a deadline of Aug. 30 on whether to pursue the death penalty. His next appearance in federal court is Sept. 30. The U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
FOX 11

Video: Ex-Con Bashes NYPD Cop With Bottle
An ex-con with a history of cop attacks was seen in a caught-on-bodycam attack of an officer, bashing his head with a bottle in Brooklyn, and then trying to hide under a parked car, authorities said. Tyshaun Holloway, 29, was seen on the officer’s body camera suddenly swinging a glass bottle and then running off early Sunday, police said. The NYPD released footage of the attack on its Instagram account Monday. Holloway, dressed in a tie-dye t-shirt, approached the on-duty cop about 4:50 a.m. at the corner of E. 52nd St. and Snyder Ave. in East Flatbush. The cop, identified in court documents as Officer David Goldman of the 67th Precinct, was part of a team assigned to the spot to address community concerns, police said. After clobbering Goldman, Holloway ran off and hid under a car, according to a criminal complaint. The injured officer and another cop chased him down and arrested him, the complaint alleges, as Holloway howled: “Get off me, you f---ing b----! I’m going to kill you as soon as I can!”
New York Daily News

Public Safety News

Record Drought In Western U.S. Means Elevated Fire Risk In Southern California
While Southern California has been spared the worst impacts of the drought so far this year, the region’s vulnerability to wildfires and water shortages is expected to grow in the coming months — and decades. The Western United States is experiencing its most extensive drought on record, with 89% of the region in a drought and 57% getting an “extreme” or “exceptional” designation from the National Integrated Drought Information System, a multi-agency entity led by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. All of California is listed as having a drought, with the conditions driving an early rash of wildfires. As of July 11, the state recorded 142,000 acres burned, mostly in northern California, compared with 39,000 acres at the same point of last year’s record-breaking wildfire season. The drought officially began in July of 2020, and the 12 months since have been the second driest and fourth warmest on record.
Los Angeles Daily News

California’s COVID Surge Would Vault A Dozen Or More Counties To Restrictive Purple Tier
How bad is California’s Delta COVID-19 surge? If the Golden State was still using its four-color reopening blueprint for ranking counties by infection rates, at least a dozen, including Los Angeles, Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano now would be in the most-restrictive purple tier, and many businesses would not be fully open. And that’s using new metrics introduced in March that made it easier for counties with higher case rates to move into lower-restriction tiers once the state reached what it considered equitable vaccination rates. Using the state’s original tier definitions, 29 counties, including San Francisco, now would be purple, which meant that the virus was widespread, a Bay Area News Group analysis found. The dire picture comes a little over a month since California authorities on June 15 dropped the reopening blueprint and its color-coded restrictions on gatherings and business activities and eased requirements for face masks in public to slow the virus’ spread. Since then, sports venues, bars and amusement parks have fully reopened, and people throughout the state gathered for July Fourth barbecues and parties.
Los Angeles Times



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