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Jan 2011
Yet again, tragic and predictable consequences of a broken parole system

Deputy Mohammed Ahmed

On Tuesday night, Los Angeles County Deputy Mohammed Ahmed was shot in the face by career criminal Nestor Torres, who was on the streets of East Los Angeles after being paroled last September for the fourth time in three years. This is the latest in a long string of incidents in which a parolee with a violent criminal history takes advantage of a dysfunctional parole system to gain early release and then shoots an officer.

According to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, Ahmed and his training officer were on patrol Tuesday night on North Brannick Avenue, near Floral Drive, when they spotted a man and a woman inside a car parked in a red zone. The deputies approached the man and a struggle ensued.

Sheriff’s Department officials said in their release that the suspect shot Ahmed in the face, and the training officer returned fire. The deputy and the suspect were both taken to County-USC Medical Center. Thankfully, Deputy Ahmed does not appear to have life-threatening injuries, although doctors fear he may lose sight in the injured eye. His partner suffered only minor injuries. Career criminal Torres was pronounced dead at the hospital, his life of crime halted.

Torres was a reputed gang member who went by the monikers "Demon" and "Neto." He was sentenced in 2004 to seven years in state prison in connection with the shooting of two men in a liquor store. They were shot for making the mistake of complimenting his tattoo.

Nestor Torres

Nestor Torres

He was initially paroled in November 2007. Since then, court records show, he was re-arrested and returned to custody four times on a variety of drug and firearm violations. His parole discharge date was still nine months away – September 8, 2011 – when he committed his final criminal act.

According to Los Angeles Times reporters Robert Faturechi and Andrew Blankstein, Deputy Ahmed had been on the beat for just a few weeks, learning the ropes in a rough stretch of the Eastside with a veteran deputy. A Somali immigrant, 27-year-old Ahmed was seen as a promising young deputy in the department. He supported his six younger siblings and mother with his salary.

We wish Deputy Ahmed a speedy recovery and hope he can fulfill his wish to return to duty as soon as possible. At the same time, we have to once again lament the fact that a parolee with a propensity to commit violent criminal acts was on the streets of Los Angeles instead of prison, fully serving his original sentence. It’s a contradiction to public safety to re-release parolees who have already been re-arrested because of new crimes. The system is set up to create new victims for repeat offenders – this time the victim was a Sheriff’s Department deputy.

We again ask, how many law enforcement officers and innocent people have to be hurt or killed before parolees who commit new crimes are sent back to prison to serve their entire original sentence?



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