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Jun 2022
NewsWatch June 20, 2022

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Law Enforcement News

Family Of Slain El Monte Police Officer Blames DA George Gascón For His Death
The mother of officer Joseph Santana, one of two El Monte police officers killed Tuesday in a gun battle, lays the blame for her son's death on LA County District Attorney George Gascón. "He meant the world to me. He was my only son. He went out of his way to do anything for anyone," Olga Garcia told FOX 11's Phil Shuman. Garcia, speaking softly and slowly, tried to put into words how she's dealing with the loss of her only son, 31-year-old Joseph Santana, an El Monte police officer. "He was a family man. He loved his wife, his children. He looked forward to his days off so they could spend time together to do things. He was just a wonderful father, husband, son," she said. Santana grew up in El Monte, the middle of three children. "I wish I could just tell him I was proud of him and I never got the chance to tell," his younger sister Bianka said, as she choked back tears. "To everyone else. This is just a news story, but to us, this is real life." Santana leaves behind his wife and three children, a 9-year-old girl and twin boys, just two years old. Santana was shot and killed, along with Corporal Michael Paredes while responding to reports of a stabbing at an El Monte motel. What makes this even more difficult, was the news that the suspect who police later shot and killed, who served time for auto theft and burglary some ten years ago, was on probation from his most recent gun arrests in 2020 instead of in prison because of DA George Gascón's policies.
FOX 11

LAPD Officers Injured After Crowd Shoots Fireworks, Throws Rocks At Them
Three Los Angeles Police Department officers were injured Saturday night after responding to a vandalism call in the Pico Gardens area of Los Angeles. According to LAPD, officers responded to the 600 block of Anderson Street a call shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday after reports that a large group of people was vandalizing nearby buildings and cars. LAPD said the large group responded by shooting fireworks at officers in addition to hurling rocks and bottles at them. After calling for backup, officers eventually broke up the group. No one was arrested. Three officers were injured. One was cut on the chest by a rock, another suffered a head injury after being hit in the helmet with a "heavy object," and a third officer had abrasions on his leg and wrist from fireworks exploding on his body, according to LAPD. In addition, officers found the area of 6th Street and Anderson Street was heavily vandalized graffiti. LAPD is asking for the public's help to find more information about the vandalism and the attack on officers. Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD's Hollenbeck Division at 323-342-8900.
FOX 11

‘The Best Of Us’: Hundreds Gather To Honor Slain El Monte Officers
Joseph Santana wanted to be an El Monte police officer, just like his stepfather. It was a long journey. He worked in the city’s maintenance department for six years, then became a sheriff’s deputy in San Bernardino County. Finally, he donned a dark blue uniform and a badge in his hometown. He had been on the job less than a year when he was killed, along with a fellow officer, Cpl. Michael Paredes, in a shootout at a motel on Tuesday. “He was a great son, brother, father and a great husband,” Santana’s mother, Olga Garcia, said at a vigil Saturday. “My life will never be the same without my son and his beautiful smile.” The mourners at the vigil, who numbered in the hundreds, held candles, which shone brightly as night began to fall outside the police department where Santana, 31, and Paredes both proudly served. The crowd spilled into the street behind the station. Many wore black T-shirts with the officers’ names across the back and the words “Fallen but not forgotten.” Behind them, a replica of the Statue of Liberty lifted her torch, surrounded by candles at her base. A nearby memorial to the two officers has grown since their deaths, with piles of flowers, American flags and candles surrounding their framed photos. “Even down to the last moments of their lives, Mike and Joseph proved they were men of character,” Ben Lowry, acting El Monte police chief, said at the vigil. “They were the best of us. They were the greatest of us. I’m a better man having known each of them.”
LA Times

17-Year-Old Boy Killed, Man Critically Injured In Car-to-Car Shooting Near Target In Baldwin Hills
A 17-year-old boy was killed and a 23-year-old man was left critically injured in an apparent car-to-car shooting at a parking lot near a Target store in Baldwin Hills. It happened around 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the 3500 block of La Cienega Boulevard. Police say the two victims were sitting inside their car when the suspect drove up to them and fired multiple rounds at them, striking the two victims. Both were found with several gunshot wounds. They were taken to the hospital where one of them later died. Four passengers in the car's back seat, including two 4-year-olds, were not hurt in the incident, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Investigators say everyone in the car were members of a family visiting from Mexico. It's unclear what prompted the shooting, but officials say it may have been a result of road rage. Details surrounding a suspect or suspects were not immediately released. The shooting remains under investigation. Meanwhile, anyone with information is urged to contact authorities.

Man Shot To Death At Downtown Apartment
A man was shot to death Sunday inside a downtown apartment building. The shooting was reported about 9:40 a.m. at 505 S. San Pedro St., according to a desk officer at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations Center. The victim was believed about 40 years old, she said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Suspect information was not available but the shooting was not believed gang-related, she said.

$25K Reward Offered As Search For Hit-and-Run Driver Continues In South LA
The search for a hit-and-run driver in South Los Angeles continued Monday, as officers offered a $25,000 reward for information on the incident that may lead to the identification of the suspect. Los Angeles Police Department officers released footage of the collision that occurred early Friday morning, where a vehicle can be seen hurtling through the intersection of 41st Street and Central Avenue before colliding with another vehicle making a turn. The driver of the vehicle that failed to stop at a red light, behind the wheel of a 2019 Mercedes-Benz C300, fled from the area on foot, as shown by surveillance footage at the scene. The other driver, operating a 2006 Nissan Altima, was taken to a hospital for treatment on severe injuries. According to LAPD officers, they have spoken with the registered owner of the Mercedes, who has thus far denied being behind the wheel at the time of the collision.

Video: Naked Man Dances Atop LAPD Cruiser
A nude man damaged a Los Angeles Police Department vehicle in Hollywood Friday morning after he danced on its roof. The man climbed atop the cruiser near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle Avenue at 7:11 a.m., according to Officer Lee of the LAPD. Officers requested backup in getting the man off the car after he started vandalizing it, Lee said, and the man eventually kicked out the car’s back window. The man, who was not identified, was ultimately taken into custody and arrested for vandalism, Lee added.

Video Shows 2 Suspects Brazenly Stealing Items From Exposition Park Shoe Store
A business owner in Exposition Park is turning to the public for help in finding two men he says pretended to be shoppers and ended up stealing thousands of dollars' worth of merchandise. It happened Wednesday afternoon at The Blueprint, a streetwear and shoe store on West 29th Street. Owner Edwin Mendoza said it was a normal Wednesday evening for him. He said the entire incident unfolded about half an hour before closing time. "We were having a casual conversation ... one of them was asking me if I had certain shoes in his size, I was checking for him," said Mendoza. Surveillance video shared by Mendoza shows the two men walking around the store. At one point, one of the suspects, who was seen carrying a handful of items, walks near the register. In seconds, you see him pivot and sprint out the door. "As you can see from the footage, the other one just grabbed some stuff for him as well and just casually walked out," said Mendoza. Mendoza believes the two thieves stole more than $2,000 worth of backpacks, sweatshirts, and other items. He said he's seen these type of brazen crimes happen to other businesses and recognized it as soon as it happened to him.

Hundreds Gather At Series Of Street Takeovers Overnight Throughout Southland
Despite community outrage and attempts by law enforcement to curb such gatherings, hundreds of spectators and participants flooded Southland streets for yet another series of street takeovers Sunday evening. Dangerous driving stunts, laser pointers and fireworks were amongst the usual antics performed by those in attendance, as they overtook intersections at several locations, including: W. Imperial Highway and S. Western Avenue, Manchester Avenue and San Pedro Street and W. Alondra Boulevard and Central Avenue in Compton. Footage from the scene of the Compton street takeover shows cars coming dangerously close to onlookers as they performed doughnuts around the intersection, with people hanging out of windows and sunroofs with passenger doors wide open. At one point, a crew of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies who approached a takeover were blocked in by the crowd, unable to move their vehicles.

FBI Seeks Father Whose Baby Went Missing; Girlfriend Is Presumed Dead
Federal authorities on Friday sought the public’s help to locate a man whose girlfriend, a San Diego resident, was found dead recently in Tijuana and whose 7-month-old daughter was thought to be missing before she was found safe last week. The FBI said Tyler Adams, a 50-year-old United States citizen with more than a dozen aliases, used fake identification Thursday to avoid detection as he crossed back into the U.S. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Adams, who has not been identified as a suspect, is wanted for questioning in the disappearance and presumed death of 40-year-old Racquel Diane Sabean, according to the FBI. Decomposed remains thought to be Sabean’s were found late last month in Tijuana in an abandoned vehicle. Baja California officials issued an Amber Alert for Sabean’s daughter — an FBI spokesperson said Adams is presumed to be the father — on June 8, saying the trio had crossed into Mexico together in April. On Wednesday, Mexican authorities detained and questioned Adams in connection with the Amber Alert, but he was uncooperative, according to the FBI.
LA Times

Videos: Man Shoots At 2 Orlando Cops In Traffic Stop Gunfight
The Orlando Police Department has released new bodycam videos of a deadly traffic stop shootout involving two officers, WFTV reported on Thursday. The officers were unharmed and the suspect later died from his injuries. The May 18 incident began when two officers in an unmarked cruiser tried to pull over Carlos Roberts, Jr. for passing in a no-passing zone, according to the report. Two videos, one from each officer, show Roberts stepping out of his vehicle to fire at police. The officers return fire, ducking behind their car. Video shows the windows on the patrol car shatter. Roberts fled the scene but crashed his car soon after and was taken into custody. He died of his injures more than two weeks later, the report said. The incident remains under investigation.

Public Safety News

Woman Trapped In Wreckage, Critically Injured After Slamming Vehicle Into Tree In Northridge: LAFD
A woman became trapped in the wreckage of a pickup truck after slamming into a tree in Northridge Friday night, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. LAFD firefighters cut open the roof of the car to rescue the trapped driver. The driver was taken to the hospital with critical injuries, LAFD said. The crash was reported shortly after 10:30 p.m. in the area of Chatsworth Street and Vanalden Avenue. Debris from the wreckage littered the sidewalk. There were no other injuries, according to the fire department. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Firefighters Battle Blaze At Downtown LA Businesses
Firefighters in downtown Los Angeles battled a fire in a restaurant, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported Saturday. A bystander at the scene was evaluated for breathing difficulties by paramedics but was not taken to a hospital, authorities said. The fire broke out at a restaurant at 1335 S. Santee Street around 12:08 p.m. Saturday. By 12:36 p.m. it escalated into Greater Alarm status, the LAFD said. Firefighters were able to put it out within 22 minutes of their arrival. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Local Government News

LA City Council Passes Motion To Improve Hate Crime Reporting
The LA City Council passed a motion Friday aimed at improving the city's systems for people who need to report hate crimes, citing a disparity between the number of such crimes reported to law enforcement and the number reported to the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate. The effort was led by Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who introduced a motion passed in November to have the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department and the Information Technology Agency report on ways to improve access for reporting hate incidents, including through a dedicated mobile app or the My311LA app. Following that report, the City Council on Friday voted to have the City Administrative Officer identify funding to build capacity for 311 staff to include delivery of trauma informed training for 311 staff handling hate reporting calls, as well as funding opportunities to support hate reporting improvements, address needs of hate crime victims, improve the efficacy of bystander interventions and support research partnerships to study the feasibility of a reporting application.

Venice Median Project Forced Back To Council With Additional No Vote From Koretz
In a turn of events Friday, a no vote on the Venice Median project from Councilmember Paul Koretz forces the project to go back to council to get a majority vote. Koretz changed his vote to a no after public comment on Friday. His no vote--along with Councilmember Joe Buscaino, made the vote 8-2. A three quarters vote is required for the motion to pass, which means the ordinance is being held over for a second reading next week. The mixed use project -- planned on two city-owned parking -- has been met with opposition from many Venice residents and has been voted down by the Venice Neighborhood Council. Councilman Mike Bonin -- a proponent of the project -- said it will certainly face litigation. Two weeks ago, motions to approve a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) – an agreement to sell the property where a specific type of project is developed-- and a motion to forgo a California Environmental Quality Act review were approved by the Homelessness and Poverty Committee.
WestSide Current



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