A new feature to the Blog is a "Commendation Section" highlighting an officer's actions in living up to the Department's motto, To Protect and To Serve. It will also serve to give you some insight into the activities of the men and women who patrol the City of Los Angeles whom they have taken an oath to faithfully protect. This first article describes the actions of two officers assigned to Hollenbeck Area.
In August 2006, at 1000 in the evening, three radio calls were generated on East Avenue 28. One was a "Screaming Female," a second "Ambulance ADW," and a third, "Possible 187 (Murder) just occurred. Officers Alfaro and Cruz, Hollenbeck Area responed to the call along with several other units.
When Alfaro and Cruz arrived, they observed a group of male gang members standing on the sidewalk in from of the address holding baseball bats. One of them yelled, "He's upstairs, he just killed my sister!" Alfaro and Cruz observed a female adult unconscious lying on her back at the bottom of the stairs leading up to an apartment. She appeared to have been stabbed multiple times and was bleeding profusely from the back of her neck. As Officer Alfaro was broadcasting information and requesting an ambulance a male yelled, "There are two babies up there with him!" Several others screamed, "He's going to kill the two babies!"
After assessing the situation, Officer Alfaro realized that they did not have time to wait until the additional units arrived. Fearing for the safety of the two defenseless babies, Officer Alfaro informed Communications Division that the suspect remained in the apartment with the two babies, and that he and Officer Cruz were going to enter the apartment. Alfaro debriefed the situation with Officer Cruz, a probationary officer with three weeks on the job, developed a tactical plan and agreed to enter the apartment.
After climbing over the deceased, Alfaro and Cruz ascended the stairs where they encoutered a large German Shepard. Fortunately for the officers, the German Shepard obeyed Alfaro's commands and retreated. At the entrance to the apartment, the officers found two locked doors. Officer Alfaro was able to quickly unlock one and forcibly open the other. Upon entering the apartment, Alfaro and Cruz could see two babies in a crib that was up against a far wall. There appeared to be blood smeared on the bars of the crib. One of the babies was lying face down in an unnatural position.
Suddenly, the suspect appeared in the doorway holding a large knife, but quickly retreated from the officer's view. With tactical precision using available cover, Officers Alvaro and Cruz worked their way to the kitchen where they encountered the suspect lying on the floor. The suspect was taken into custody without incident. Officer Alfaro returned to the crib, picked up the infants and noted that both were unharmed.
Due to the rapidly unfolding events, Alfaro and Cruz were unaware that another call had been received by Communications Division with the caller reporting that the suspect inside the apartment had just killed his wife and stepson. The preliminary investigation would disclose the discovery of the 15-year-old stepson lying in the courtyard stabbed numerous times. Both he and his mother died as a result of their stab wounds.
Officer Alvaro was commended for his tactical expertise and ability to make a split-second decision that undoubtedly saved the lives of two infants. Alfaro recognized that Immediate Action Rapid Deployment tactics were warranted in this incident, as they did not have the luxury of wating for their fellow officers. Officer Cruz was commended for maintaining his composure and using sound tactics. Both officers are commended for their bravery. From your fellow officers thank you for a job well done.