Entries in Los Angeles (84)


Three People Killed in Southern California Helicopter Crash

Tim Hawley/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- A helicopter crash in southern California early Sunday morning left three people dead.

Charred pieces of the helicopter were strewn over private property in the mountains about 45 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles. The three people onboard were killed. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said the helicopter was being used for some kind of movie shoot.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Police Search Door-to-Door for Suspected Cop Killer Christopher Dorner

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- More than 100 police officers were going door-to-door and searching for new tracks in the snow in the hopes of catching suspected cop killer Christopher Dorner overnight in Big Bear Lake, Calif., before he strikes again as laid out in his online manifesto.

Police held a news conference late Thursday, alerting the residents near Big Bear Lake that Dorner was still on the loose after finding his truck burning around 12:45 p.m. local time.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said the authorities can't say for certain he's not in the area.  More than half of the 400 homes in the area have been searched by police, who are traveling in two-man teams.  Bachman urged people in the area to not answer the door, unless you know the person or it's law enforcement in uniform.

After discovering Dorner's burning truck near a Bear Mountain ski resort, police discovered tracks in the snow leading away from the vehicle.  The truck has been taken to the San Bernardino County Sheriffs' crime lab.

Bachman would not comment on Dorner's motive for leaving the car or its contents, citing the ongoing investigation.  Police are not aware of Dorner having any ties to others in the area.

She added that the search in the area would continue as long as the weather cooperates.  However, a snowstorm was forecast for the area.  About three choppers were being used overnight, but weather conditions were deteriorating, according to Bachman.

Dorner, a former Los Angeles police officer and Navy reservist, is suspected of killing one police officer and injuring another Thursday morning in Riverside, Calif.  He was also accused of killing two civilians on Sunday.  And he allegedly released an angry "manifesto" airing grievances against police and warning of coming violence toward cops.

In the manifesto Dorner published online, he threatened at least 12 people by name, along with their families.

"Your lack of ethics and conspiring to wrong a just individual are over.  Suppressing the truth will leave to deadly consequences for you and your family," Dorner wrote in his manifesto.

One passage from the manifesto read, "I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty."

"I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own," it read.  "I'm terminating yours."

Hours after the extensive manhunt dragged police to Big Bear Lake, CNN's Anderson Cooper said Dorner had sent him a package at his New York office that arrived on Feb. 1, though Cooper said he never knew about the package until Thursday.  It contained a DVD of court testimony, with a Post-It note signed by Dorner claiming, "I never lied!  Here is my vindication."

It also contained a keepsake coin bearing the name of former Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton that came wrapped in duct tape, Cooper said.  The duct tape bore the note, "Thanks, but no thanks Will Bratton."

Bratton told Cooper on his program, Anderson Cooper 360, that he believed he gave Dorner the coin as he was headed overseas for the Navy -- Bratton's practice when officers got deployed abroad.  Though a picture has surfaced of Bratton, in uniform, and Dorner, in fatigues, shaking hands, Bratton told Cooper he didn't recall Dorner or the meeting.

Police say Dorner began his killing spree over the weekend, when a popular assistant women's college basketball coach, Monica Quan, and her fiancé, Keith Lawrence, were found dead in their car in Irvine, Calif., on Sunday.

Police identified Dorner as a suspect in the double murder late Wednesday night after discovering the online manifesto allegedly written by the suspect.

"Of particular interest at this point in the investigation is a multi-page manifesto in which the suspect has implicated himself in the slayings," Irvine police Chief David L. Maggard said at a news conference Wednesday.

Police claim Dorner bore a grudge against Quan's father, retired LAPD Capt. Randy Quan, for his firing from the department.

Dorner was with the department from 2005 until 2008, when he was fired for making false statements.

Randy Quan, who became a lawyer in retirement, represented Dorner in front of the Board of Rights, a tribunal that ruled against Dorner at the time of his dismissal.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


LA Holds Gun Buyback Program

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- In response to the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre and other recent gun violence, officials in Los Angeles held a gun buyback program on Wednesday.

The program collected nearly 1,400 guns. Usually held on Mother's Day weekend, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa moved the program up. He said it's essential for the government to coordinate efforts.

Villaraigosa added, “Now cities and states must join with the federal government to do everything we can, as quickly as we can to keep our communities safe, and to get deadly weapons off our streets.”

According to a statement by the LAPD, citizens surrendering guns in the buyback program are not asked to provide any identification, which makes the process anonymous.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Los Angeles Shooting Leaves Four People Dead

Comstock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Detectives are trying to determine the motive in a shooting in Northridge, Los Angeles that left four people dead early Sunday morning, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Officials said police responded to a report of shots fired shortly before 4 a.m. in the 17400 block of Devonshire Street. When police arrived, they found four adult victims lying face-down in the two-story home, the paper says.

The gender or ages of the victims were not immediately known. Police said no clear motive has been established and no gun was found at the scene, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Los Angeles Officials Suspend Search for Girl Dragged Away by Hair

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Steep terrain and rough conditions dangerous to K-9 units forced the suspension of a search for a girl or petite woman seen being struck and dragged away by her hair Monday night, officials said.

The victim may have been kidnapped by a man at the El Sereno Recreation Center on the 4900 block of Klamath Street in El Sereno, Calif., located in eastern Los Angeles, according to a 911 caller reporting the incident at 8 p.m. Monday.

Witnesses saw the victim and her alleged assailant arguing, according to reports.

"That argument escalated to the point where the male struck the female at least once in the face and then began to drag her up into the brush area by the hair," police Lt. Andy Neiman said, according to The Associated Press.

Soon, police launched a thorough search, Los Angeles Police Department Public Information Officer Luiz Garcia told ABC News.

"Helicopters, K-9 units, urban search and rescue, and mounted police officers searched a 350-acre radius around the center, and we involved up to 250 officers to search for the missing victim," Garcia said.

"We found clothing items including shoes, a shirt and pants that we believe belong to the girl," Garcia added. "The fact that we found these items made us suspect that the victim may have been sexually assaulted."

During Monday's incident, witnesses heard the victim screaming and saw the suspect drag her into the bushes by her hair, Garcia said.

"The girl looked petite to them, so they estimated that she might have been between 13 and 15 years old," he added.

The witnesses did not interfere with the suspect, but decided to call the police instead, Garcia said. They did not have a cellphone with them so they ran to grab one to call 911.

When they returned to the scene, "they had lost contact with the victim and the suspect," Garcia said.

So far, the LAPD hasn't received any reports of missing persons that matched the description of the victim.

El Sereno Recreation Center serves the East Los Angeles community. It is a bustling center with a pool, a public community room, a baseball diamond, basketball and tennis courts, and other amenities.

"It's very shocking that such an incident would happen at this park given that it's a really nice and safe place," said Patricia Solis, a neighborhood resident. "This is a very safe neighborhood and people look out for each other."

Garcia said that the suspect was described as a Hispanic male between 18 and 20 years old, 6 feet tall, weighing 200 pounds with clean-cut dark hair. He was reported to be wearing a gray shirt and blue jeans at the time of the incident.

Even though the full-scale police search that followed was suspended on Tuesday, the investigation to find the girl and her assailant continued. A command post established next to Wilson High School, located half a mile away from the recreation center, was still operating.

Garcia urged anyone with information about the case to call the Los Angeles Police Department at 1-877-527-2477.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Open Homicides Possibly Linked to Manson Family

California Dept of Corrections & Rehabilitation(NEW YORK) -- The Los Angeles Police Department continues to battle for audio tapes that could hold clues to a dozen open homicides potentially linked to the murderous "Manson family," officials told ABC News.

The open cases came to light during a legal battle first reported by The Los Angeles Times and confirmed by ABC News.

"We do have open cases from that time; there is a possible link," LAPD Commander Andrew Smith, who heads the department's public information section, told ABC News.

The tapes, recorded by Manson disciple Tex Watson, could hold information that helps to solve the decades-old homicides that occurred in circumstances similar to the Manson murders.

The circumstances and time frame fit, but there are no guarantees.

"It's an awful slim chance," said Smith, "but we want to hear those tapes and we've never been able to."

The renowned cold case and robbery homicide units are both involved in the cases and the legal battle.

The LAPD disclosed the cases as it battled to get access to hours of audio tapes, The Los Angeles Times reported and ABC confirmed.

Those tapes, according to the Times, were recorded in 1969 "between Charles Manson follower Charles 'Tex' Watson and his attorney."

According to the newspaper, "The LAPD has said detectives believe tapes could shed more light on the activities of Manson's group" -- a detail that was confirmed to ABC News.

Watson has fought to limit the LAPD's access to the tapes.

Manson and his disciples were tried and convicted of eight murders.  One of those, in 1969, was the murder of actress Sharon Tate, the wife of film director Roman Polanski, who was eight and a half months pregnant.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Space Shuttle Endeavour Hits Los Angeles for Final Journey

NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis(LOS ANGELES) -- Space shuttle Endeavour embarked on its final mission Friday, traveling through the streets of South Los Angeles to reach its new home at the California Science Center.

The 165,000-pound shuttle will be on the road for two days as it makes the 12-mile trip from Los Angeles International Airport, where it had been since late September.  Once it arrives at the CSC, it will be put on permanent display.

Endeavour was built after the loss of the shuttle Challenger in 1986 and became NASA’s fifth space shuttle orbiter.  It made its first flight in 1992 and in its 25 missions, it orbited the Earth more than 4,600 times and spent 299 days in space.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Parents Allegedly Held Son Captive 4 Years, Sent Him on Bus to LA

Paulding County Sheriff's Office(DALLAS, Ga.) -- Emaciated and alone, Mitch Comer didn't even know his home address or what Georgia town he was from when last week, at the age of 18, he was discovered by a security guard at a Los Angeles bus station.

Joe Gonzalez, a security guard at the Greyhound station in downtown L.A., came upon Comer looking frightened and perplexed last Tuesday. After speaking to him for a bit, Gonzalez learned that the teen had arrived alone after a cross-country journey he was sent on by his stepfather.

Alarmed by what he was told by the frail teen, Gonzalez, a former police sergeant, notified the LAPD, who questioned Mitch.

"The story we got was that the stepfather took the kid to the bus depot, said 'Here's $200, here's a list of the homeless shelters in Los Angeles, you're a man now, and don't come back,'" LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told WABC.

Police soon learned from the frail teenager that his solo cross-country journey was just part of what the Paulding county sheriff's office in Dallas, Ga., where Mitch grew up, is calling "a severe case of child abuse and neglect."

Mitch told officers that his parents, Paul Comer, 48, and Sheila Comer, 39, had taken him out of school in the 8th grade and kept him locked in a bedroom for four years. According to Dick Donovan, the district attorney in Dallas, Paul Comer drove Mitch to a bus stop in Mississippi on his 18th birthday.

On Friday, police cars were parked outside the Georgia home where the young man said he was held captive by his stepfather and mother for most of his teenage years.

"We don't have any reason to believe that he's lying, based on his appearance, the stories he's told and the interview with his mom and dad," Ashley Henson, who's with the Paulding County Sheriff's Department, told ABC News.

Henson said that when he was found, Mitch, who is 5 foot 3 inches tall, weighted 87 pounds.

"He knew he had come from Paulding county, and what his name was. My understanding is that his father confessed, and said, 'Yes, I gave him a list of shelters and $200 and sent him to LA," Paulding County District Attorney Dick Donovan told ABC News.

The FBI and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have now joined the investigation into what went on at the Comers' home.

John White, who has lived next door to the Comers since April, told ABC News that he rarely saw the couple, and that he was surprised to hear that there was a teenager living in the house. He said that he rarely saw the couple's girls.

"I'd see the girls in the yard, in the back yard riding their bikes. Never out of the yard, always in the back. They tried to socialize with the kids next door, but she told me the father wouldn't let them play," White said.

The girls, who Donovan said are 11 and 12, are now in the custody of the Paulding County Division of Family & Children Services.

According to Donovan, Mitch is the adopted son of Paul Comer, though Henson said the sheriff's office has yet to see any documentation that Mitch had actually been adopted by his stepfather.

Authorities said that once he was discovered by Gonzalez, Mitch spent a day at Exodus Recovery Center in L.A. and nearly a week in a local group home in L.A. This week, detectives and representatives from the Paulding County D.A.'s office flew to Los Angeles to retrieve Mitch. He arrived back Thursday, according to Henson, and now remains in Paulding County.

Paul and Sheila Comer are in custody after being arrested at their home in Dallas, an upscale Georgia suburb, after they were tracked down by authorities through their in-home business. They are now facing six counts of cruelty to children and one count of false imprisonment, and are being held without bond.

The Paulding County Sheriff's Office said that this is still an active case, and there may be more charges pending in the future.

A preliminary hearing and the hearing for their bond will be held on Oct. 4.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Los Angeles Wants Space Shuttle Endeavour, But Must 400 Trees Be Cut?

NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis(LOS ANGELES) -- It was supposed to be a spectacular event including a two-day parade, but the space shuttle Endeavour’s final 12-mile journey through the streets of South Los Angeles has some residents protesting, because 400 trees would have to be chopped down to clear the shuttle’s intended path from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center.

Although the science center, or CSC, where Endeavour is to go on display, said it would plant twice as many trees in their place, tree lovers are still not convinced.

Claudine Jasmin, a resident of South Los Angeles, said she goes to the CSC all the time and loves having it in the neighborhood, but does not think it’s worth losing the trees. She said they bring squirrels and a variety of birds.

“My parents have lived in this neighborhood since before I was born, and we have these big pine trees on our street, and I’m sure it took forever for them to grow. They are beautiful,” Jasmin said.  “It would be really, really horrendous to see all these years of a tree’s growth completely diminished for one parade.”

Eddie North-Hager, publisher of, a local online news and social network, said despite the loss of trees, Endeavour’s arrival will be a good thing for the neighborhood.

“There is a lot of concern over street trees and everyone wants to work to make sure they are replaced and taken care of and have the same caretaking as there is now,” North-Hager said. “Everyone is concerned that baby trees will replace trees that have been there forever … I do hope they put in more than saplings and do expect they will take care of them until they reach a maturity where they can take care of themselves.”

Endeavour, built after the loss of the shuttle Challenger in 1986, became NASA’s fifth space shuttle orbiter. It made its first flight in 1992 and in its 25 missions, it orbited the Earth more than 4,600 times and spent 299 days in space.

Endeavour needs to be towed from the airport to the museum. Planners said they chose wide streets and minimized obstacles, because power lines will be extended and traffic signals cleared from the shuttle’s path.

But according to an estimate in the Los Angeles Times, 128 trees will be removed in the city of Inglewood and South Los Angeles will lose approximately 265 trees.  Pine, ficus and other trees in Inglewood have already been chopped down by construction crews.

“I think our neighborhood loves the CSC and owes a great deal of our children’s education to that institution and it’s free to go there,” North-Hager said. “It’s one of the five shuttles in the country and it’s amazing that we are getting that and that it’s going to our neighborhood. We love our street trees and it’s one of the things that makes Leimert Park so special. It’s my understanding that CSC is going to remove the least possible.”

In total, the CSC said it plans to spend $500,000 to improve the city streets. Replanting of trees is expected to begin a few weeks after Endeavour’s final journey.

But some residents are still not convinced.

“I don’t think replanting is enough to cover up the void that would be around after these trees are cut down,” Jasmin said. “There are kids and families in this neighborhood that are used to seeing these trees every day, and waiting years for them to grow back the way they were would be too disheartening.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


LA Police Captain Loses His Command Over Body Slammed Nurse

Siri Stafford(LOS ANGELES) -- A Los Angeles Police Department captain has been removed from his command for his handling of an incident in which two of his officers were caught on surveillance tape slamming a handcuffed nurse to the pavement and then apparently fist bumping each other.

Michelle Jordan, 34, from Sunland, Calif., was allegedly pulled over for a cellphone violation on Aug. 21.  A security camera at a Del Taco restaurant shows one of the officers shoving the woman to the ground.  Once she is standing again, she is handcuffed and an officer body slams her to the ground and lands on top of her.

The two officers, who have not been identified, appear to give each other fist bumps after putting the woman in a patrol car.

LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement Wednesday he has removed Captain Joseph Hiltner from his command.  The officers involved in the incident have also been removed from field duties while the Internal Affairs Group conducts a criminal and administrative investigation.

Beck said, "I have serious concerns about this incident and I believe the commanding officer of Foothill Area was severely deficient in his response... Proper steps were not taken, including appropriate notifications and the removal of the involved officers from the field."

Hiltner could not be reached for comment.

Attorney S.J. Nazif, who will represent Jordan along with his partner Arthur Corona, told ABC News his team is pleased Beck is taking these steps.  However, Nazif said, it is not enough.

"It falls short of a resolution for our client, who has suffered physically and emotionally at the hands of these officers, and it falls short of providing a resolution of this problem that still plagues the LAPD," Nazif said.

Physicians are examining Jordan's injuries, which ABC News affiliate KABC-TV reports include contusions to her face and body, according to police reports.

Beck has ordered the video of the incident to be played at all roll calls and said commanding officers will attend roll calls and discuss the use of force issues throughout the department.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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