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Nov 2021
Newswatch November 16, 2021

Law Enforcement News

Father Shot And Killed In Front Of His Children
A 30-year-old man was shot and killed in front of his children as they walked home from a family gathering. James Vargas was walking to get tacos with his wife and two children early Sunday morning when a man approached the father and shot him. The murder took place in South Los Angeles on the corner of Central Avenue and 92nd Street. Witnesses said that the man approached Vargas and asked him where he was from. Before the father of two could respond the assailant shot him in the chest. He was transported to the hospital but succumbed to his wounds and died. The Los Angeles Police Department and the family are unsure why Vargas was targeted, and both confirmed that he had no gang affiliation. Witnesses said that the shooter left the scene in a dark-colored SUV. Police are still searching for the suspect.

Pedestrian Struck, Killed On 110 Freeway
A pedestrian was killed Monday morning when she was struck by a vehicle on the 110 Freeway in the Florence area of South Los Angeles. The death was reported just after 12:15 a.m. on the southbound Harbor Freeway at the Florence Avenue off-ramp, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Elizabeth Kravig. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, Kravig said. Additional details were not immediately available, she said. A SigAlert shut down southbound lanes 4 and 5 and the Florence Avenue off-ramp for the investigation.

3 Suspects Wanted In Florence-Area Stabbing On Blue Line Train
A person was stabbed on a Blue Line train Monday, and authorities say they are searching for three suspects in the Florence area. The stabbing happened at about 11:30 a.m. on the train near Florence and Graham Avenue. The person who was stabbed was taken to a hospital in unknown condition. The train has been stopped at the Florence station, where authorities are on the scene for the investigation.

Suspect In ‘Gruesome’ Los Angeles Murder Shot, Killed In Phoenix By Law Enforcement: Feds
A fugitive sought in California was fatally shot Friday night in an exchange of gunfire with members of U.S. Marshals Service task force, the federal agency said. The fugitive’s identity was not released but the Marshals Service said in a statement that the person killed was sought on a California warrant alleging parole violation in a case involving violent assault and rape and also was wanted in Los Angeles “for a gruesome murder that occurred earlier this month.” The incident closed several roads near Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. When task force members tried to arrest the suspect, “a handgun was produced, and the suspect fired multiple rounds at law enforcement. Task Force members returned fire, striking the suspect,” the Marshals Service statement said. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene and nobody else was injured, the statement said.

Mother Says The Last Six Years Not Knowing Who Killed Her Son Has Left Her With ‘Tortured Life'
Techea Adams says the last six years of not knowing who killed her son, has left her with a tortured life. "I'm gonna be real raw with you," she says, choking back tears because she believes it makes her stronger. "When it happened, I heard everything." Adams lived on 126th Street in Willowbrook, just up the street from Cesar Chavez High School. She bought the house when her son Kejon Atkins was 4 years old. She raised him, an older brother and a younger sister there. But when she heard gun shots, sirens and helicopters on July 23, 2015 – before noon – she didn't realize then that everything was about to change. Those sounds still echo in her mind daily. She says her 22-year-old son wouldn't often leave his home even to go for a walk or a jog. He took his car everywhere. But this day, she says a friend of his came to their home with plans to do just that. She was working from home at the time and on a business call when Kejon walked out the door. LA County Sheriff's Department Homicide Detective Theo Baljet, the lead detective on the case, says 911 callers were very descriptive with what they witnessed and that their information would be key to what would become a homicide case. "Two cars, driving in tandem," Baljet says. "A gold-colored Nissan sedan and a two-tone maroon and gray Pontiac Vibe." Both vehicles were caught on surveillance video running a red light just after the shooting, headed south on Wilmington and turning east on El Segundo Boulevard. "Kejon was shot in the head, had earphones in and right through the earphones so we don't think he even knew the shots were coming," he says.

Armed Man Suspected In String Of Burglaries In San Fernando Valley Neighborhoods
Residents living in the Shadow Hills and Sunland-Tujunga area are on edge over an armed man captured on home surveillance videos sneaking into backyards in the middle of the night. The Los Angeles Police Department have tied the intruder to a string of burglaries in the area - at least seven. That includes homes and commercial properties. Over the last few weeks, the man has been seen on several people's properties. One recent video obtained by Eyewitness News shows the man creeping around a home's front porch and holding a rifle. Other home security videos shared by neighbors show him prowling other properties. A resident said the man dropped two guns while being chased by police and escaped by running off into the hills. He reappeared the next night with a clean shave and with more guns, according to the resident. Witnesses say they've turned over their videos over to LAPD. Those videos are now part of the investigation.

Homeless Man Arrested For Aggravated Assault At Electric Avenue Encampment
A homeless man who has been a threat to neighbors near the Venice Boulevard and Electric Avenue encampment was arrested for aggravated assault after a metal pipe altercation. Police say that Brandon Washington was arrested and booked for aggravated assault for an altercation with another homeless woman on Saturday. Neighbors who live near Washington describe him as a "ticking time bomb." In an opinion column recently published by the LA Times, an incident is described where Washington attached photographer with a wrench. According to the Times, Washington was convicted of assault and sentenced to 164 days in county jail plus three years of probation. The same report also described an incident where Washington approached the home of a woman whose husband had recently left for work. Washington rang the doorbell and told the woman he needed to kill all the evil people in the world and wanted to know if her husband was evil. Neighbors in the area say violent crimes are a constant. In late September--a suspect was arrested after shooting someone at the same encampment. Thirty-six-year-old Orlando Moreno was arrested after shooting someone during a dispute at the encampment. At the time of his arrest, Moreno had a loaded semi-automatic handgun, police said.
WestSide Current

Monick Garcia: Woman Missing From Granada Hills Found As 'Jane Doe' Patient In SoCal Hospital
A woman who went missing from a Granada Hills care facility for 10 days has been found as an unidentified patient at a Montebello hospital, her family says. Monick Garcia, who has the mental capacity of a child because of a brain injury, walked away from the Caresource facility on Nov. 4 and had not been seen since then. Her family issued a frantic plea for help on Eyewitness News Sunday night. "Please help me find her," said Garcia's mother, Gail Zamora. "Please. I'm asking everybody to help me find my daughter." Garcia, 36, was struck by a train about a year ago and left with a brain injury that made it difficult for her to communicate and required daily medication, her family said. She went missing without a cellphone, money or medications. After her story aired on ABC7 Sunday night, a nurse at Beverly Hospital in Montebello recognized the picture of a patient they had listed as Jane Doe. The nurse called the Caresource facility and confirmed it was Garcia.

Police Seek Missing Canoga Park Girl, 17
Authorities sought the public’s help Monday to find a 17-year-old Canoga Park girl who went missing. Kyla Scott was last seen about 12:15 p.m. Thursday walking away from her home on the 20900 block of Community Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. “She has not been seen or heard from since,” according to an LAPD statement. “Friends and family are unable to contact her and are concerned for her safety.” Scott is Black, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 135 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. She was wearing a red shirt, a plaid skirt, and green-and-gray shoes. Anyone knowing her whereabouts was urged to call the LAPD Topanga Station’s Juvenile Unit at 818-756-3535; 877-LAPD-247; or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.
Los Angeles Daily News

Missing San Fernando Valley Couple Sentenced To Prison
A San Fernando Valley couple accused of removing their tracking bracelets and going on the lam after they were convicted in an $18 million COVID-19 relief fraud case were sentenced to federal prison Monday despite their non-appearance in court. Richard Ayvazyan, 43, and his wife and co-defendant Marietta Terabelian, 37, have been missing since Aug. 29. Federal authorities believe the married couple, facing the possibility of years behind bars, removed their location monitoring devices, left a note for their children, and absconded together from their Encino home. The following day, a Los Angeles judge signed bench warrants for their arrest. Ayvazyan was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison and his wife was handed a six-year term, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Relatives of the couple contend the pair were kidnapped — apparently to prevent them from disclosing the identities accomplices who are not indicted, according to court papers. U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson rejected the theory, finding that Ayvazyan and Terabelian had a motive to flee and there was no evidence to suggest they were taken by force. Law enforcement believes Ayvazyan and Terabelian are traveling together.

Santa Monica Police Searching For Hit-and-Run Driver Who Killed A Pedestrian
A pedestrian was fatally struck by a vehicle on a Santa Monica street in an apparent hit-and-run, then hit by a second vehicle while in the street, and authorities Sunday were searching for the killer. The fatal crash was reported at 8:05 p.m. Saturday at 10th Street and Pico Boulevard, according to Santa Monica police Lt. Robert D’Andrea. Police were searching for a White Dodge Challenger with red racing stripes on its hood, ABC7 reported. The second driver who hit the pedestrian stayed at the scene and cooperated with police, the station reported. The man, believed to be in his 50s, was pronounced dead at the scene, D’Andrea said. The department’s Major Accident Response Team was investigating the crash, which will include talking to witnesses and checking for surveillance video in the area, he said. Anyone with information on the hit-and-run driver was to call Santa Monica police Detective Evan Raliegh at 310-458-8954 or the department at 310-458-8461. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Man Fatally Shot In Lynwood; Investigation Underway
A man was shot in Lynwood Monday and died at a hospital. The shooting was reported about 4 a.m. in the 11600 block of Atlantic Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Information on the man's identity was not immediately available. No arrests were reported. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.

LA Deputies Searching For Teenager Who Is Person Of Interest In Fatal Hit-and-Run
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department circulated a photo of a 16-year-old boy who went missing in South El Monte and is also a person of interest in a fatal hit-and-run crash that occurred last week in Rosemead. Mariano Coc went missing from his South El Monte home on Nov. 7, the sheriff's Temple station reported. Detectives also believe that he may be the victim of a crime. Coc was the last person seen with a 2009 black Nissan Altima with a gray bumper that was involved in a fatal-and-run crash Monday in Rosemead. It occurred at about 10:30 a.m. that day in the 2700 block of San Gabriel Boulevard, near the intersection of Garvey Avenue, and escalated into an argument between two people. Riverside resident Haiou He, 61, exited his vehicle to speak with the other vehicle's driver, when that driver allegedly put the vehicle in reverse and ran him over. The victim died Wednesday from his injuries. The suspect's vehicle, which has since been located, fled northbound on San Gabriel Boulevard and out of view.
FOX 11

LA Man, 2 Others Charged With Running Bogus Political Groups That Raised Millions From Unwitting Contributors
The U.S. Justice Department announced that a federal grand jury indicted three men for operating two fraudulent political action committees during the 2016 election and collecting approximately $3.5 million from unwitting contributors. Federal prosecutors allege that the men, Matthew Tunstall, 34 of Los Angeles; Kyle Davies, 29 of Austin, Texas, and Robert Reyes, 38 of Hollister, Calif.; solicited contributions to two PACs — one progressive called Progressive Priorities PAC and one conservative called Liberty Action Group — by using robocalls and written solicitations meant to imply they were supporting 2016 presidential candidates. The PACs’ operators then used the funds to enrich themselves and pay for more robocalls and advertisements, according to the Department of Justice. The PACs’ activities were first uncovered by KFile in 2016 and 2017, first at BuzzFeed and later at CNN. “Between January 2016 and April 2017, the defendants obtained approximately $3.5 million from unwitting donors based on false and misleading representations and used those funds to enrich themselves and to pay for additional fraudulent advertisements soliciting donations,” the DOJ wrote in a press release announcing the indictments.
Los Angeles Daily News

Alleged MS-13 Members Charged With Bay Area Machete Homicides, Racketeering
In a major update to an existing federal prosecution targeting MS-13, federal prosecutors in the Bay Area have tied three previously unsolved homicides to the infamous Los Angeles-based gang, according to an indictment unsealed this week. The indictment adds two new murder charges to a racketeering case that was filed in March 2020 targeting 17 alleged gang members and associates. This new indictment is slimmed down; 13 people are charged, but the charges are much more serious. The defendants had previously been linked to several assaults and attempted killings, but no homicides. “We will never stop seeking justice for murder,” acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Stephanie Hinds said in a written statement as part of a press release announcing the charges. The new indictment charges alleged gang members with murdering a person referred to only by the initials “GA” in Bernal Heights in May 2017, as well as murdering Gilberto Martin Jr. Rodriguez, 53, on the Pacifica shoreline in February 2018. Prosecutors allege that GA was an MS-13 member who violated gang rules and that Rodriguez was identified as a rival gang member by the group.
Mercury News

‘An Instrument Of Death’: The Problem Of Ghost Guns In California
Police departments across California are reporting an increase in “ghost guns.” The Los Angeles Police Department said in a report released last month that detectives have linked the untraceable weapons to 24 killings, eight attempted homicides and dozens of assaults and armed robberies since January. During the first half of this year, the department confiscated 863 ghost guns, a nearly 300% increase over the 217 it seized during the same period last year, the report said. But it’s not just in Los Angeles. In 2020, California accounted for 65% of all ghost guns seized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a statement from San Francisco Dist. Atty. Chesa Boudin’s office said. Here’s everything you need to know about them: What is a ghost gun? As we have reported , the weapons are usually made of polymer parts created with 3-D printing technology and can be assembled using kits at home. They often are relatively inexpensive. Because they are not made by licensed manufacturers, they lack serial numbers, making them virtually impossible to track.
Los Angeles Times

'Meth Sandwich?’ 50 Grams Found Stuffed In Loaf Of Bread, Louisiana Cops Say
A traffic stop led to the discovery of a “meth sandwich” — drugs stuffed inside a loaf of bread — and the arrest of four people, Louisiana police said. The incident unfolded Nov. 9 when deputies pulled over a man in his car and K-9 sniffed out drugs crammed inside a loaf of bread in its original packaging, according to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office. Narcotics agents found part of the loaf hollowed out and stuffed with more than 50 grams of meth, the sheriff’s office said. Agents had been investigating the same man for the possible sale of drugs before they obtained a warrant to search his car, according to the sheriff’s office. Authorities then searched his house in Larose and found more meth, cash and “other items commonly associated with the sale of narcotics,” the sheriff’s office said. Larose is a community in Lafourche Parish about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans. Three other suspects were also found inside the home with the meth, according to the sheriff’s office. One was also found with heroin. Sheriff Craig Webre said all four people have been arrested and face several felony and misdemeanor charges.
The Charlotte Observer

Public Safety News

LAFD Fights Rubbish Blaze In Hollywood
The Los Angeles Fire Department fought a rubbish fire in the 5600 block of West Fernwood Avenue in Hollywood Monday night. Gil Leyvas reports for the KTLA 5 News on Nov. 15, 2021.

70% Of Californians Have Gotten At Least One COVID Vaccine Dose
Seven out of 10 Californians have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, a promising milestone that comes as state officials continue to urge more residents to roll up their sleeves for the first, second or even third time to ward off a feared coronavirus resurgence over the winter. Reaching that level of inoculation coverage — which happened over the weekend, according to data compiled by The Times — has been a long time coming in the nation’s most populous state. California officially cleared the hurdle roughly 11 months after the first vaccine doses went into arms. The picture is rosier still when looking just at those who can currently get the shots. Closer to 75% of eligible Californians, those ages 5 and up, are now at least partially vaccinated. About 8% of children ages 5 to 11, who were cleared for vaccination earlier this month, have already received their first dose. However, there’s still work to do. While 70.2% of all Californians — more than 27 million people — have received at least one shot, only 63.2% have completed their inoculation series.
Los Angeles Times



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