Westlake: On August 18, 2020 around 1:30 p.m., the victim, a 6-year-old girl, and her father, Cesar Palma, were on a Metro train when the suspect approached Palma, who is legally blind, and asked him "Can I take your daughter home?" After emphatically telling the suspect "no" the suspect asked if Palma was blind and asked if he could help them. Palma told the suspect he did not need any help. Palma and the victim exited the train at 7th Street and Figueroa to board a bus. While on the bus, the victim realized the suspect had followed them and was in the rear of the bus. The victim told Palma she saw the suspect. The victim and Palma exited the bus in the area of 7th Street and Coronado Street. The suspect followed them and as they were approaching their apartment complex the suspect grabbed the victim's arm. Palma was holding the victim's hand and would not release the victim. Palma began shouting at the suspect to leave the victim alone. Palma's shouting caught the attention of people in the area. Several people began yelling at the suspect, who fled on foot.
While officers were completing their report on the incident, one witness provided officers with cell phone photos she took of the suspect as he was fleeing. A second witness was in the area when he saw some of the interaction between the suspect and victim. The witness quickly could see there was something alarming happening and told the suspect to leave the victim alone. Both witnesses provided important information about the suspect to officers.
Within days, Rampart detectives utilized Department computer resources and were able to identify the suspect, 24-year-old Elijah Lopez. Once Lopez was identified, Rampart detectives issued a crime alert. The crime alert was shared throughout Los Angeles County as well as San Diego County. During the investigation, detectives had discovered Lopez had ties to San Diego.
If anyone believes they may have been a victim of Lopez or has information regarding the incident please contact Detective Olmedo of Rampart Division, at 213-484-3613. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA 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 LA Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.