Monday, December 24, 2007

Thank You

Los Angeles, CA

The City of Los Angeles is looking to have fewer than 400 homicides in 2007, the lowest number in 30 years.

We're down to 386. That's about a third the number we had in '92. Think about that for a second. In 1992 we had over 1000 murders in the city of Los Angeles. Of course that was the year of the riots where 53 people died, but still.

For the county, we're down 17%. Things are looking up all over.

So, I'd like to say thank you to the LA Police and Sheriffs, the LA Fire Department, the men and women in trauma rooms pulling bullets out of kids. The good samaritans who call 911 and don't hang up after twenty minutes, the people who call in tips that catch killers, the folks who don't give in to the violence and the gangs.

Thank you everyone for actually trying to make this a safer city. Group hug. Kumbay-fuckin'-yah.

Now let's keep the number steady for the next couple weeks, okay? Y'all can go back to killing each other in January.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Abandonment Issues

Anaheim, CA

Seferino Ochoa, 48, didn't want his daughter leaving home. Seriously. He tried handcuffing her and, when that didn't work, he shot her in both legs.
After the shooting, Ochoa fled with the gun, but did not take a vehicle, Martinez said.
Woohoo! Gun wielding, crazy man on foot. That's just fucking wonderful.
According to family members, Ochoa has been acting irrationally, incoherently and was despondent in recent weeks, possibly due to an illness.
And he had access to a firearm. This just gets better and better.

Let's hope he doesn't shoot anyone else, or draw down on a cop and get himself killed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How Does That Force / Velocity Calculation Go Again?

Covina, CA

Quick update here. The motorcyclist who died after slamming into a palm tree after a high speed chase the other day?

He hit the tree so hard he knocked it down.

You People Have Bad Aim

Lake Elsinore, CA

For three hours yesterday morning, Santa was a speed trap.

This sort of thing happens every year. Somebody gets stuck dressing as Santa and walking back and forth through a busy intersection to see if anyone fails to stop for him. Inevitably, lots of people get nailed. Fifty-two, in fact. And that's just in tickets. Seven cars were impounded and one guy was served with an arrest warrant.

Looked at one way this actually says less about people's willingness to break the law and more about their inability to perceive their surroundings. Reminds me of a perception test where you count the number of times a ball passes between a bunch of kids and, since you're watching the ball, you miss the gorilla that walks into the crowd.

Looked at another way, though, it says that people really hate Santa and don't know how to use their cars as weapons. Really, how tough is it to run over a red and white fat man? I see jaded people screaming about how their lives have been scarred because they didn't get that Skeletor action figure (It's not a doll, goddammit!) when they were twelve and now they're bitter and angry with a three pack a day habit, a pile of empty Jim Beam bottles in the trash, a kid in jail for GTA and a third wife who's run off to Vegas with the Mexican pool cleaner and the entire savings account, the whore.

Uh... yeah.

So, anyway, watch your ass Santa. There are some angry, angry people out there.

And it is too an action figure.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

You Can't ID The Body If You Can't ID The Pieces

Covina, CA

High speed pursuits are a generally bad idea. Even more so if you're on a motorcycle.

An unidentified biker refused to yield to West Covina police last night for a traffic violation, instead taking the cops on a merry romp through four cities. Police called it after about 10 minutes due to safety concerns. Guy was going too fast for them.

Seems he was going to fast for himself, too.

A helicopter crew witnessed the man traveling southbound on North Azusa Avenue just past Arrow Highway, where he lost control and was ejected from his bike, said Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan.

His body flew into a palm tree, he said, and the man was killed instantly.

Yeah, that'll happen.

Y'all ever seen a motorcycle crash victim? They're messy. Even if they're intact, which usually only happens if they're wearing something like an Aerostitch one piece to hold everything together. And even then Kevlar will only do so much.

They're more likely to get an ID off the bike than the guy at this point. I doubt he's much more than a meaty smear.

Who knows why he was doing something this stupid.  Stolen bike?  Too much testosterone?  Just a fucking moron?  I'm only glad he didn't take anyone else out with him.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Quick Bits To End The Week

Los Angeles, CA

Being busy and up to my eyeballs in other stuff, so instead of the pissy rhetoric of an angry old man, today you get bullet points.

  • An excellent article on Los Angeles's black street gangs in the L.A. Weekly by Peter Landesman. Depressing and rage inducing. Oddly enough, the point I agree with the most in it is that of a priest's at the end of the article.
Father Boyle, who has watched L.A.?s gangs from the street for 25 years, insists that legal solutions for the ?gang problem? miss the point. The key to understanding what we?re really facing, he says, is to be honest about the depth of despair in L.A.?s neighborhoods. ?Tough laws are not going to work for kids that don?t believe they have a future. You cannot terrorize a kid into caring. It?s bad math. It won?t work; it has never worked....
I agree with a priest. Whod'a thunk?

Hat tip to Frank Giradot at the San Gabriel Valley News for the link.

  • Jill Leovy of The Homicide Report runs the numbers. Thirteen murders in Los Angeles County from December 3rd to December 9th.
  • Compton runs its third annual Guns For Gifts program, allowing people to turn in weaponry for a $50.00 gift card. No questions asked.
  • Cops picked up five men, Brian Allen Anderson, 22, William Thomas Coppock, 23, Brian David Franks, 27, Eric Matthew Ullman, 18, and Dean Allen Lavorante, 19, for starting the Malibu fire that swept through the area over Thanksgiving.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Shooting By The Sea

Los Angeles, CA

The body of Tina Marie Gatlin was found shot in her car earlier this week on Vista Del Mar and Sandpiper in Playa Del Rey Monday Wednesday morning around 1am. She was just ID'ed.

It's a pretty empty zone, with sand dunes on one side and the ocean on the other. Not surprising no one heard the shots.

Used to be the kind of a place folks would park next to the ocean and make out in their cars, get drunk, or just watch planes fly overhead. Hell, they probably still do.

When I was in high school about half the cars on Sandpiper would be kids going at it in their back seats. The other half would be drinking or getting ready for impromptu street races over on Pershing and figuring out ways to avoid the cops.

Ah, the good old days.

If you have any details on the shooting, or Ms Gatlin's whereabouts prior to the shooting, please call the LAPD's Pacific Division at (310) 482-6313.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

They Call It A "Tracking Bracelet" For A Reason

Los Angeles, CA

In the fight for justice, technology is good. Stupidity is better.

Nelly Vergara Hernandez, 20, was fatally shot Monday night in a drive-by. When the call went out, Sgt. Ruby Malachi, who runs the LAPD's crime analysis center, had her team check on the movements of 20 gang members who have been fitted with GPS tracking devices as part of their parole.

Guess who was at the crime scene?

After witnesses described the shots coming from seven men in a black SUV (Side rant: Will you people pick some different fucking cars? Make it a goddamn orange Volvo, or something. Jesus. It's bad enough you're playing stupid, do you have to play to stereotype, too?), an LAPD helicopter followed the GPS signal to a, you guessed it, black SUV in Compton with (surprise!) seven men in it.

By the end of the evening all seven, John Garcia, 20, an MS-13 member who was the one being tracked; Juan Carlos Gutierrez, 31; Israel Flores, 20; Milcar Valencia Romero, 21; Jesse Anthony Castro, 20 and two juveniles aged 16 and 17 were arrested and booked on suspicion of murder.

I'm thinking the other six are awful pissed at Mr. Garcia right about now.

This is the first time the LAPD has tracked parolee suspects in real time with the system. It's mostly used on high risk sex offenders who have been outfitted with the bracelet. Now they want to extend the program to gang parolees who live in high incident areas.

I'll be honest, I'm kind of torn on this. On the one hand, the geek in me thinks it's cool. On the other hand, the libertarian in me is getting all idgy over it.

"It's futuristic, it's real-time," said LAPD Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner. "It's almost a scene out of "Minority Report," referring to the Steven Spielberg movie that delves into the future of law enforcement.
Yeah, that makes me feel better.

Like any tracking technology, it's fine as long as it isn't abused. But that can be a really fine line. I like it better than public sex offender databases, which can lead to things like murder, but still.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dismembered Bodies Redux

Los Angeles, CA

This just gets better and better. The discovery Friday of scattered body parts in Los Feliz led police to Frank Ruiz, 21, a resident of the Western Ferndale Board and Care group home. By "group home" read "nut hatch".

Seems Ruiz, who had actually been arrested for an unrelated parole violation prior to the discovery of the body, killed the man in his room, chopped up the corpse and stuffed most of the pieces into a suitcase and trucked them downstairs, across the street and into the waiting dumpsters.

Key word here is "most".

One police source, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case was still under investigation, said that in addition to the body parts found in the trash bins, human remains were also found in a blender and frying pan in Ruiz's room.
Mmm. Tasty.

Now this has raised a few questions. Why was a parolee living in a group home? He's been there for four weeks after being paroled for armed robbery and possession of a firearm. What's the home's licensing history? There appear to be allegations of trouble, though the group home is keeping mum. Could just by hype and bullshit, but we'll see.

Ultimately, though, none of those questions matter. A psycho is a psycho no matter where he is. The point is that he's been caught. With any luck this will turn out to be the only person he's turned to kibble.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Correction

To my previous post.

The ever on top of things Jill Leovy of the Los Angeles Times points out in her always timely and amazingly well done Homicide Report, that the gentleman whose body was found in the 1800 block of Western and on Western and Franklin, is one Patrick Moore, 47 years old.  A suspect is in custody.

Kind of Like 52-Card Pickup

Los Angeles, CA

One of the things I love about L.A. is that you never know where you're going to stumble over a corpse. In a dumpster, say. Or a suitcase. Maybe scattered around the neighborhood. Sometimes all three.

Body parts of a man in his late 40's were found stuffed in a suitcase in a dumpster behind the Pink Elephant Liquor Store on Western Avenue in Los Feliz Friday. More parts were found nearby.

The man's been identified. Call me sick (I know most of you do, anyway), but I wonder if they've got all the pieces. I assume they've got either his head or hands and either an ID was with the body, or he had a record. Who knows, maybe one of the cops recognized him.

ID'ing the body is a good chunk of finding the killer. If they can get an ID they can trace back the person's last steps and have a suspect pretty quickly.

We haven't had a dismemberment for a while that I can remember, but then I can't keep up with all the bodies. I'm working on that one, though. Anyone want to buy me a police scanner?

No other information (including cause of death - somehow I don't think it was gettin' chopped up that did him in), but as these things go I'm willing to bet it was something stupid and hotheaded that led to this person's death. We'll have a name soon, I'm sure.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Well, It's About Goddamn Time

Los Angeles, CA

Not exactly the riverboat comin' to town, but I'll take what I can get.  Isaac Campbell, suspected of murdering his girlfriend Liya Lu has been extradited back to Los Angeles from Minneapolis.

Anybody got $1,275,000.00 in bail?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

But Did He Yell, "Bad Touch!" When It Happened?

Los Angeles, CA

Back in July, a $660 million (they couldn't tack on another 6?) settlement was authorized between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and 508 alleged victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests. Checks started going out in the mail this last Monday, and as spin and press is wont to do, interesting news regarding Cardinal Mahoney has come to light.

Seems somebody smacked him around after the judgment in July and he decided not to tell anyone, including the police, about it until October.
Mahony told the priests that after his attacker recognized him, the man began shouting expletives and knocked him to the ground...
Rough stuff. After all, he's 71 years old. Coulda broke a hip or something.

Now, did it happen? Don't know. Couldn't say. But the timing of the story's a bit hinky. Sounds to me like an attempt to garner a little sympathy out of all this.

And then there's this bit from the CBS post on the same story.
Bruised after the attack, Mahony said it gave him a deeper understanding of the suffering the sex scandal victims have endured, priests told the newspaper.
Well, hell, if that's the case let the priest beatings begin. I had no idea that getting knocked over at a mailbox was equal to years worth of forced sodomy.

Learn something new every day.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Guns Don't Kill People, Morons With Itchy Trigger Fingers Kill People

Hollywood, CA

Most of the time when you hear about a kid involved in a shooting, it's either as the shooter or the victim. On a rare occasion, it's both.

A 13-year-old boy gave himself a graze wound with a handgun today after sccidentally shooting himself in the leg near Sunset and Highland.

Police are still investigating, but I have a prediction on what they'll find: The kid's an idiot and he's lucky he didn't blow his own foot off. Or somebody else's.

It's A Dick Thing

Van Nuys, CA

Rudolf Mekhakian, 20, and a 17-year-old male are being held in the November 5th stabbing death of Abraham Polisadzhyan.

Seems it's a case of "disrespect", that elusive quality that appears when people's heads crawl firmly up their own assholes. Police say that it started during an argument that got out of control.

In other words, a bunch of dipshits started swinging their dicks around and, instead of a homo-erotic display of parking lot barebacking, they opted for the whole knife / penetration thing.

Oh, the symbolism.  Freud would love you guys.