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Three Arrested for Murder in South Los Angeles

Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Department South Bureau Homicide Division detectives are
investigating the shooting death of a 21-year-old male Black.

On Sunday, October 1, 2017, around 11:25 a.m., Justin Holmes and a friend, drove up in his vehicle and parked in the 7800 block of South Western Avenue in South Los Angeles. They walked around the corner to a nearby business where they ran into a third friend.

After leaving the business, the group walked south on Western Avenue, around the corner onto 78th Street where they were confronted by two armed suspects. The suspects asked Holmes and his friends where they were from. One of the suspects fired multiple shots, striking Holmes. The suspects then fled the area in a vehicle.

Los Angeles City Paramedics responded to the scene and transported Justin Holmes to a nearby Hospital where he failed to respond to medical treatment and was pronounced deceased. Neither Holmes or his friends were involved in gang activity.

On October 12, 2017, South Bureau Homicide detectives with the assistance of 77th Division Gang Enforcement Detail, and the Los Angeles Police Department Robbery Homicide Division, Special Investigation Section, arrested and booked two juveniles, and one adult, Cameron Terrell, for the murder of Justin Holmes.

The case was filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office on Friday, October 13, 2017 for the two juveniles, and on Monday, October 16, 2017 for Mr. Terrell. The juveniles are currently going through the process of being transferred to adult court. Mr. Terrell is the alleged driver in this incident. Gang allegations were filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office on all three defendants.

Detectives are still investigating aspects of the case and in the interest of that investigation, it is the collective decision of the Investigating Officer- Detective II Stacey Szymkowiak, and the handling Deputy District Attorney Casey Jarvis, that more details will not be released at this time.

Anyone with additional information is urged to call South Bureau Homicide Detectives, at (323) 786-5113. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may also visit www.lapdonline.org, and click on "Anonymous Web Tips" under the "Get Involved-Crime Stoppers" menu to submit an online tip. Lastly, tipsters may also download the "P3 Tips" mobile application and select the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.

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Notes from the October 31, 2017 Weekly Police Commission Meeting

 Commission President Steve Soboroff opened the meeting and a quorum was established.

All Consent Agenda items were unanimously approved.

Department’s Report, dated October 20, 2017, relative to supplemental funding to the 2015 Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Continuation Program Grant Award – (Council File # 12-1777-S1; 16-0987; 16-0978-S1), as set forth. [BPC #17-0427] was approved.

Department’s Report, dated October 20, 2017, relative to the grant application and award for the 2017 Off-Highway Motor Vehicles Recreation Grant, as set forth. [BPC #17-0428] was approved.

Chief Beck prefaced his general report by thanking the Commission for approving Items 2A and 2B. Chief Beck stated the ICAC was a vital component in the investigation and eventual arrest of Bruce Paddock, the brother of Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock. Bruce Paddock was charged with possession of child pornography.

Chief Beck continued with his general report, stating there was one Officer Involved Shooting last week, occurring in the Pacific area. Officers responded to a radio call made by the suspect’s wife and county mental health workers, who called reporting a mental health crisis. Officers arrived on scene to find the suspect chasing his wife through his house, armed with a knife. Officers entered the house. The suspect, James Ward, held the knife to his wife’s throat, threatening to kill her and the Officers. One of the Officers fired one round, grazing the suspect’s ear. The suspect was taken into custody.

Chief Beck provided updated crime statistics. Chief Beck reports 10,001 sworn personnel, surpassing the goal of 10,000 sworn personnel. Additional personnel statistics include 2,871 civilian personnel with 477 vacancies, 400 reserve officers, 300 specialists and volunteers, 55 chaplains, and 2,172 cadets.

Commissioner McClain-Hill stated she is pleased the Department has surpassed 10,000 sworn personnel. She added she was glad to be able to attend the recent recruit graduation.

Commissioner McClain-Hill stated she spent time with the LAPD Centurions at the Fall Family Picnic, an event coordinated with Blind Children’s Center. The Centurions have a 60 year relationship with the Blind Children’s Center, which is an extraordinary example of building relationships with local communities.

Additionally, Commissioner McClain-Hill has listened to all 3 LAPD podcasts, created by the Department. She said, without exception, the podcasts have been “absolutely extraordinary,” and she appreciates the Department’s efforts.

Chief Beck thanked Commissioner McClain-Hill for her comments, adding he also enjoyed the LAPD podcasts. Chief Beck acknowledged Joshua Rubenstein for creating the podcasts, and agrees they are an excellent way to communicate externally and internally.

Chief Beck added that he also attended the Fall Family Picnic. Chief Beck noted he first attended this event when he was still a rookie with LAPD, and has tried to attend regularly. He said the event really drives home the needs of the community, and is a great way to interact with the community.

Audio-Police Commission Mtg Oct 31, 2017

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Officer-Involved-Shooting in Pacific Division

**The following information is based on a preliminary and ongoing investigation, which continues to evolve as investigators interview witnesses, review physical and electronic records, and analyze forensic evidence. The Department’s understanding of the facts and circumstances may change as additional evidence is collected and analyzed**

Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Force Investigation Division is investigating an Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) that occurred in a Pacific Division neighborhood early Sunday afternoon.

On October 29, 2017, around 1:45 p.m., Pacific Division uniformed officers responded to a radio call of a male with mental illness, in the 13100 block of Psomas Way, in Pacific Division. Upon the officers’ arrival, they met with the suspect’s wife and mental health workers from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, who had been called by the suspect’s family. The suspect was identified as 27-year-old, James Ward a resident of Los Angeles. After speaking with both parties, the officers attempted to make contact with Ward, but he refused to exit the residence and demanded that the officers leave the premises. It was during this time that Ward’s wife entered the house without the officers. Through the open front door, the officers observed Ward chase his wife, with a knife. Believing that she was in danger, the officers entered the home and followed them into a hall way.

The officers observed Ward take control of his wife from behind and held a knife to her throat, while threatening to kill her and them. The officers gave Ward numerous verbal commands to drop the knife but he refused to do so and moved forward toward them. Sergeant I Gregory Probst, Serial No. 31376, fired his police service weapon at Ward. Ward sustained a non-life threatening gunshot wound at which time he dropped the knife and was taken into custody without further incident.

The Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to the scene and transported Ward to a local hospital, where he was medically treated and eventually booked for Assault with a Deadly Weapon (ADW), section 245(A)(1) of the California Penal Code.

Fortunately, neither his wife or the involved officers were hurt as a result of this incident. The knife used by Ward was also recovered from inside the residence and booked as evidence.

LAPD’s specialized Force Investigation Division (FID) responded to the scene and began interviewing witnesses and collecting forensic evidence. The District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Inspector General also had representatives at scene.

The complete investigation will be reviewed by the Chief of Police and the Board of Police Commissioners to determine whether the use of deadly force complied with LAPD’s policies and procedures. Additionally, representatives from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office who responded to the scene will review the subsequent FID investigation; evidence collected and witness statements to determine if the force used by the officers(s) was reasonable.

Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is urged to call the LAPD at any of the following numbers:

• During business hours at (213) 486-5230;

• During non-business hours or on weekends at (877)-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247);

• Anonymously 24-hours a day to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or by texting “LAPD” and your tip to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S); or

• Online at www.lapdonline.org and click on “Anonymous Web Tips.


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Juvenile Arrested for Murder


Wilmington: A juvenile has been arrested for the murder of Alex Giovani Zepeda, a 19-year-old college student from Wilmington, who had attended a Halloween party on the night of October 28th.

On Thursday, November 2, 2017, Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Area Homicide Detectives made an arrest of a Wilmington teenager responsible for the death of Alex Zepeda.

Zepeda had just walked outside of the party and joined a few friends across the street when the shooting occurred. Alex was hit by gunfire and collapsed on the sidewalk, mortally wounded.

Although this was not a gang party, there were a few gang members from rival Eastside and Westside Wilmas gangs. The shooting stems from decades of rivalry between these two gangs and the boundaries which divide them.

The juvenile was charged with murder and is being held at Los Padrinos Juvenile Detention facility in Downey. At this time, his identity is being withheld due to his age.

Anyone with additional information about this case is asked to contact Detective Paul Mckechnie, Harbor Area Detectives at (310) 726-7890. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters "LAPD." Tipsters may also go to www.lapdonline.org, and click on "Anonymous Web Tips."

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