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Jul 2021
Newswatch July 6, 2021

Good Morning. Join us on Thursday, September 9th for the LAPD Central Area Golf Tournament Fundraiser honoring Officers Rice and Botello. The tournament will be held at Montebello Country Club at 11 a.m. Tickets are $150.00 an individual and $600.00 a foursome. Click here for more information.

Law Enforcement News

More Than A Dozen Angelenos Dead In Bloody Fourth Of July Weekend
When Kena Evans heard gunshots early Monday morning outside her Venice apartment, the first thing she did was call her son. Ty Bray, 18, a 2021 Venice High School graduate, had been driving home with a friend in his lovingly restored 1979 Cadillac when shots rang out about 2:30 a.m., she said. “The [passenger] was the one who answered the phone,” Evans said. “She didn’t know where she was.” Surveillance footage shows the Cadillac being chased by another car for several blocks. Police said the pursuer fired repeatedly into the car before Bray flipped it into the yard of a home on Rose Avenue. The passenger was taken to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, and Bray was pronounced dead at the scene, making him one of more than a dozen Angelenos killed this Fourth of July weekend. Police could not immediately say if this holiday weekend was bloodier than past ones. But killings in L.A. have continued to surge in recent months, following a 31% increase across California in 2020. According to Los Angeles Police Department data collected through June 26, local shootings were up more than 50% from the same period last year, and homicides were up by about 25%. Though far below its peak in the 1990s, the violence is worse than it has been in years, many in the community say.
Los Angeles Times

Two Men Killed In Suspected Gang-Related Shooting In Wilmington
Two men in their 40s were fatally wounded just before midnight in a gang-related shooting in Wilmington, authorities said Sunday. The victims, aged 40 and 44, began arguing with two other men at 11:59 p.m. Saturday in the 900 block of North Neptune Avenue, when the suspects pulled out handguns and fired some shots, the LAPD reported. Paramedics rushed both victims to an area hospital, where they were pronounced dead. The suspects fled in an unknown direction. The LAPD’s Harbor Community Station urged anyone with information regarding the shooting to call them at 310-726-7700.

Man Killed, Woman Wounded In Venice Car-To-Car Shooting, Crash
A man was killed and a woman wounded in a car-to-car shooting in Venice early Monday morning that traversed the entire neighborhood before ending in a crash. The shooting was reported in the area of Sixth and Brooks avenues at 2:36 a.m., according to Los Angeles police. Officers responded to find a 1970s Cadillac which had overturned on the lawn of an apartment building. An 18-year-old male driver and a 21-year-old female passenger were inside, both with multiple gunshot wounds. The man died at the scene, police said. The woman was rushed to a local hospital with serious injuries. She is expected to survive. LAPD investigators believe the suspect vehicle pursued the victim’s car throughout the neighborhood. About 15 shots were fired at three different locations spanning five blocks, LAPD Lt. John Radtke told reporters. The suspect vehicle was described only as a white sedan, which may have sustained damage. It was last seen traveling east on Rose Avenue near Lincoln Boulevard.

Beloved Mother Of 6 Found Bound And Killed In South L.A.; Assailant At Large
A woman beloved in her South Los Angeles community was found killed in her home with her hands tied on the Fourth of July holiday, investigators said Monday. Dozens of people turned out for a vigil Monday evening to remember Fatima Johnson. Those present said the kind and generous mother of six was adored in the Manchester Square neighborhood. Johnson’s daughters say they grew concerned after she failed to show up for work Sunday morning and wasn’t responding to text messages. When they showed up at her apartment, they found a terrible scene. “What happened to my mother is something that no child should ever see of their parent,” Johnson’s daughter Tyesa Harvey said. “I’m hurt, I’m angry and I’m questioning God right now.” Officers responded shortly after midnight Sunday to the 7600 block of South Western Avenue in the Manchester Square neighborhood, said L.A. police spokesperson Officer William Cooper. Johnson was discovered bound and unconscious. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Woman Shot While Sitting In Her Car In Echo Park, LAPD Says
A woman in her 20s was shot while sitting in a car parked in Echo Park early Saturday, police said. Shots were fired from a dark-colored vehicle that drove up to the woman as she sat in the passenger seat of her car in the 1400 block of Mohawk Street about 2 a.m., Los Angeles Police Department Officer Mike Lopez said. The woman was transported to a local hospital in stable condition. She was not homeless, Lopez said. There was no description of the shooter, and police are asking witnesses to call LAPD. No further details were immediately available.

Venice Beach Violence Reaches Boiling Point In LA As New Viral Video Emerges
On any given day, video footage documenting violent incidents in the famed Venice Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles – involving the homeless who have erected tents there – are uploaded online. A video posted online Friday appears to show a homeless man being attacked by an unidentified man and woman as he sits on the ground near the boardwalk – while other people walk past without intervening. Concerns from neighborhood residents, business owners and law enforcement have grown in the months since tent encampments on the beach expanded and quality-of-life issues continue to plague the area. Last week, a homeless man was found dead inside a tent along the beach boardwalk – known as Ocean Front Walk – and another man, also homeless, was arrested in connection with the slaying. Authorities did not have figures readily available Friday but as of the end of May, Venice experienced a 132% increase in assaults in which a homeless person was a suspect this year and a 126% increase in which the victim was homeless. Robberies in which a homeless person was the victim increased by 1,100% and robbery incidents where a homeless person was a suspect saw a 160% increase. Overall, felony arrests in Venice increased by 81%, according to figures the LAPD provided to Fox News.
FOX 11

South LA Explosion: Man Facing Federal Charges Of Illegally Transporting Tons Of Explosives
A man was charged Saturday with illegally transporting tons of explosives he purchased in Nevada - including several that resulted in an explosion in South L.A. after a planned detonation by the LAPD went wrong. Arturo Ceja is now facing federal charges of illegally transporting tons of explosives, including homemade explosive devices. Some of those caused Wednesday's blast that injured 17 people after police attempted to safely detonate the material. Ceja was released Thursday from L.A. County jail after his bond was set at $500,000. He had been initially arrested on suspicion of possessing a destructive device. ATF agents arrested him Friday night and he will remain in federal custody before appearing in United States District Court on Tuesday. If convicted, Ceja could face up to 10 years in federal prison. A criminal complaint filed Friday alleges Ceja made several trips to Nevada in late June to purchase various types of explosives that he then transported to his residence in rental vans.

Teenage Boy Accused Of Shooting Brother To Death In Compton
A man was shot and killed in the rear yard of a Compton home and his teenage brother was taken into custody, authorities said Monday. The shooting was reported about 5:45 p.m. Sunday in the 700 block of Corlett Avenue, according to Deputy Tracy Koerner of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. “When deputies arrived, they discovered a male Black in his late teens being detained by family members, for apparently shooting his brother in the rear yard of the location following an altercation,” Koerner said. The teen was taken into custody and a firearm was recovered at the scene, he said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, his name not yet released, the deputy said. Anyone with information was asked to call homicide detectives at 323-890-5500.

California Man Gets 280 Years In Prison For Molesting Four Girls, Videotaping Victims Without Their Knowledge
A convicted pedophile in California will spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of 52 counts related to sex abuse against children this month. Jason Robert Porter, 49, abused four girls between the ages of 1 and 13 from 2008 to 2016, and videotaped dozens of victims without their knowledge. He was convicted on 16 felony counts of sex crimes against children and child pornography earlier this month, as well as 36 misdemeanors for invasion of privacy. One of Porter's victims, an 11-year-old girl, testified at the trial that Porter molested her when she went to his house to play with his two adolescent sons when she was just four years old, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported. "I pretended I was asleep," the victim testified earlier this month, according to the local newspaper. Deputy District Attorney Melissa Chabra, who is assigned to the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit, said she was pleased to finally deliver justice for Porter's victims five years after he was arrested.
FOX 11

CHP Partners With Oregon, Washington To Crack Down On Unsafe Driving On Interstate 5
The California Highway Patrol is partnering with state police agencies in Oregon and Washington in an effort to crack down on speeding and other unsafe driving on Interstate 5. The social media campaign, named “Alive I-5,” will run through July. The goal is to make the 1,381 miles of the freeway safer for summer travelers, officials said. Exactly how the CHP, Oregon State Police and Washington State Patrol will boost enforcement was not outlined. “Driving responsibly and at a reasonable speed is the best way to help ensure you and your passengers will arrive at your destination safely,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said in a statement. “We know people are eager to get out and travel, but reckless driving will not get you there sooner — it will just create dangerous conditions for you and everyone else on the road.” The CHP said the number of citations its officers issued to drivers traveling at more than 100 mph increased drastically in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, from 1,331 citations in May 2019 to 3,480 in May of last year.
Los Angeles Times

57 Arrested, Mostly Juveniles, In Chicago During Unruly Fourth Of July
Hundreds of young people and Chicago police officers flooded the Loop on the Fourth of July, leading to 57 arrests as fireworks exploded in densely populated areas. About 8:30 p.m., the contents of a dumpster burned on North Garland Court. When the Chicago Fire Department arrived to extinguish the flames, a firework went off around the corner. An hour later, another dumpster fire blazed on Garland to the west of the Chicago Cultural Center. Someone set off fireworks in front of a Staples office supply store at North Wabash Avenue and East Washington Street, sending tiny bursts cascading above the street. A police supervisor picked up a Roman candle as a crowd of people ran by. About 9:35 p.m., another group surrounded a car and some people jumped on top of it near the Washington and Wabash “L” station. On Washington, a couple of blocks from Millennium Park, a large group rushed east as police handcuffed a woman in the middle of the street. Then, Roman candles were set off on Washington as cars were stopped in traffic.
Chicago Tribune

Public Safety News

Fire Crews Battling 3-Acre Brusher In Chatsworth Near North Boulder Ridge
Crews from the Los Angeles Fire Department are fighting an approximately three-acre fire in Chatsworth in the area of 10547 North Boulder Ridge. According to LAFD, brush in the area is medium to heavy with the flames burning uphill at a moderate rate of speed. There are currently no structures threatened.

Los Angeles County Reports 436 New Cases Of COVID-19
Los Angeles County is reporting 436 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths, though health officials said the numbers likely reflect reporting delays over the holiday weekend. Hospitalizations in the county due to COVID-19 dropped from 284 to 27\3, with the number of COVID patients in ICU units declining from 77 to 65, according to state figures. Monday's figures brought the county's totals to 1,252,739 cases and 24,504 fatalities since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The county's rate of infections has grown alarmingly over the past several days. Health officials say the increase is being fueled by the rise in COVID-19 variants, particularly the more contagious Delta variant. They added that with 4 million residents in L.A. County still unvaccinated and a tripling of cases over the past week, there is enough risk for the variant to pose a significant threat.
Venice Current

Infectious Delta Variant Is Now California’s Dominant Coronavirus Strain
The infectious Delta variant has become California’s most identified strain of the coronavirus, a troubling development that underscores the strain’s danger to unvaccinated populations. New data released by the California Department of Public Health now say that 35.6% of coronavirus variants so far analyzed in June have been identified as the Delta variant, which was first identified in India. That’s a dramatic relative increase from May, when the Delta variant comprised just 5.6% of analyzed coronavirus cases in California, and Delta was the state’s fourth most identified variant. The latest numbers were enough to dethrone the previous dominant variant, Alpha, which was first identified in the United Kingdom and now comprises 34.3% of analyzed coronavirus cases in June. Alpha was California’s most dominant variant for just two months — in April and May. The state’s previous leading variant before that was the California variant, which is now also known as Epsilon, but now comprises less than 2% of analyzed cases.

Firefighters Battle Blazes Across California As Hot, Dry Weather Raises Concerns
Hot and dry conditions in California are worrying fire and weather officials as crews work to contain multiple fires statewide. As of Monday, the Tumbleweed fire in the Gorman area, which started over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, had burned 1,000 acres of brush and was only about 10% contained, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Although the fire can be seen from Interstate 5, the department does not currently have plans to close the area. The fire has not damaged any structures, and no buildings appeared to be in danger, a department spokesman said. “We’re trying to increase that percentage of containment to make sure the fire doesn’t advance or jump out of the area that it’s already burned,” Capt. Ron Haralson said. Haralson said Monday that favorable weather conditions allowed firefighters get a better handle on the fire overnight. There were 200 fire personnel working the blaze. But Haralson said there’s still concern over temperatures increasing, especially since brush and other vegetation are “extremely dry.”
Los Angeles Times



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