Tag Archive: Los Angeles

You can wish, pray, and pay but you won’t get criminals and criminal gangs to disarm.

 December 26, 2013  |  by Richard Valdemar

Imagine the law enforcement officers of the Wild West offering to buy the James Gang’s pistols to end their criminal reign, rather than putting a bounty on their heads. Now imagine the government of any country naively paying good money to its criminal gangs or terrorists to voluntarily turn in their weapons to disarm themselves. Silly, right?

So why are supposedly educated people such as politicians, pastors, and civic leaders telling us that gun buyback programs make sense? From New York to Los Angeles various “cash for guns” efforts have been hyped by police departments and civic organizations across the country. But are they really an effective gang violence prevention strategy?

In May Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa held well-publicized “Anonymous Gun Buyback” events in four areas of the city: LAPD Northeast, Harbor Area, 77th Area, and Nan Nuys. Similar gun buybacks have also been held by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca. The Los Angeles program offered anonymous individuals a $200 pre-paid Ralph’s supermarket or Visa card in exchange for any firearm. News accounts boasted that such gun buyback programs were responsible for taking nearly 10,000 firearms off the streets since 2009.

Dallas has a similar effort called the Stewpot Buy Back program. Before its January 2013 campaign, the program boasted that since its inception it had collected and destroyed more than 400 pistols, rifles, shotguns, and “semi-automatic assault weapons.”

The Detroit area’s buyback program claimed at least 200 guns were taken off its streets in May. Wayne County and the Goodman Acker law firm offered a $50 Meijer gift card for each unloaded weapon. Sheriff Benny Napoleon said, “What we know is that the guns we get will never be used against anyone in a crime (because they will be destroyed). That much we know.”

During the Wayne County buyback campaign, gun rights advocates set up alternative “guns for cash” locations outside the New St. Paul Tabernacle Church where the gun buyback program had been set up. They offered cash for the guns meant for turn in and destruction.

A spokesman for the gun advocates, Rick Ector, speaking about the buyback program said, “I refer to them as “LEFTs” (Law Enforcement Firearms Transfers). They are misleading to the general public because they send a message that they are actually going to do something that’s going to affect the crime rate.”

New York’s buyback effort is huge. A statement from the program’s organizers says, “The Cash for Guns Program is a program in which the New York City Police Department will pay $100 to any individual, excluding active law enforcement personnel and gun dealers, who present any handgun…sawed-off shotgun, or assault weapon in apparent operative condition to any precinct, transit district, or police service area (PSA). Weapons that do not qualify will be taken under the Cash for Guns Program, but will not qualify for the cash payment. An individual may surrender more than three weapons, but cash reimbursement will only be made for a maximum of three weapons.

Any individual turning in a qualifying weapon may do so at any precinct, transit district, or PSA 24-hours a day, seven days a week. No questions asked and no identification will be required, as the identity of all individuals will remain anonymous.”

In October the Cash for Guns campaign in Brooklyn netted 67 weapons at the Brooklyn Islamic Center. The Brooklyn program boasts 2,847 guns turned in since its beginnings in 2008. Of the 67 guns taken in this recent round, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said the collection included 28 semi-automatics, 37 revolvers, and two other weapons. Police said that among the turn-ins was a MAC-10 with a 30-round magazine and this seven of the handguns recovered were defaced. This campaign was sponsored by the District Attorney’s Office, NYPD, and the Sunset Park Business Improvement District. It offered a $200 bank card for operable handguns and assault rifles and a $20 Bank card for operable rifles and shotguns.

After the Newtown, Conn., shootings, Washington Post columnist Matt Miller proposed a massive $100 Billion national gun buyback program, using the Australian buyback program as a template. Miller proposed banning all automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and a compulsory national gun buyback program. The proposed buyback would offer $500 per weapon.

What Miller didn’t mention is that the Australian national buyback program has had little effect on the crime rate. Last year the homicide rate in Australia fell only 0.4 percent while it dropped in the U.S. by 3.9 percent without disarming the public. In fact, Americans have been arming themselves at an astounding rate over the last few years. One poster I saw in a gun store showed President Obama with the caption “The Greatest Gun Salesman in America.”

The media-hyped gun phobia ignores the positive benefits of armed law abiding citizens and assumes a false philanthropic conscience for criminal gang members. Why would a gang member turn in his weapon to a gun buyback program? The only reasons I can think of belie any benefit from a gun buyback. Maybe it doesn’t work right, and he can’t go to the local gunsmith to fix it. Maybe it’s “hot” and recently used in a crime. Maybe he has 13 other guns just like it. Anyway he can ditch it anonymously and collect $100 to $500 to buy more and better ones at the local underground drug and gun dealers place.

I was once a Boy Scout and later a Boy Scout Leader. As they do in the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program, we taught good kids the safe use of firearms at our campouts. This stayed with even the troubled youth their entire life. Living in the crime-ridden city of Compton, I witnessed many times law-abiding citizens defending themselves from gangs and other criminals with legally possessed firearms. The police usually got there after it was all over.

So why would the government seek to disarm the good citizen when they have failed to disarm the criminals? The prison system is the best example I can think of in which a law enforcement arm strictly enforces the ban on all weapons and yet criminals manage to make weapons and kill each other every day in this environment. No good citizen could feel safe in this gun-free zone. In what fantasy world would criminal gangs voluntarily turn in their weapons?

What you usually see in any gun buyback program is elderly people turning in old junk guns from some closet or garage where they have sat gathering dust for many years. But sometimes the buyback haul includes stolen guns that might connect the person turning them in with murders or other gun violence that some overworked detective is trying to solve. And because the gun buyback is conducted anonymously with “no questions asked,” the chain of evidence and its links to these unsolved crimes are cut off. These cases are bound for the cold case file.

These gun buyback media events are designed to give the impression that police are doing something effective to combat criminal and criminal gangs. But they don’t affect crime and gun violence in any significant way, except maybe contributing to the gang deectives’ cold case file.

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December 26, 2013

Dec. 4, 2013: This courtroom drawing shows Paul Ciancia during an appearance at the West Valley Detention Center wearing a bandage on his neck and with bruises on his face. (AP)

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CALIF. –  The man authorities say killed a Transportation Security Administration screener and wounded three other people during a rampage at Los Angeles International Airport last month pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder and other felony charges in a case that could bring the death penalty.

Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, who was wounded before his arrest, occasionally touched a bandage on his neck and spoke in a hoarse voice during a three-minute arraignment before a federal magistrate at the West Valley Detention Center east of Los Angeles where there is a medical facility.

The diminutive defendant acknowledged his name in a near-whisper and that he had read his 11-count indictment.

Trial was set for Feb. 11 in a downtown Los Angeles federal court.

Authorities say the unemployed motorcycle mechanic arrived at the airport’s Terminal 3 on Nov. 1 with the intention of killing TSA workers. Officials have said Ciancia had a grudge against the agency, but they have not indicated what prompted it.

After entering the terminal, police say Ciancia pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a duffel bag and began spraying the area with gunfire as hundreds of people fled in terror.

TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez was killed. Two other uniformed TSA officers and a traveler were wounded.

Hernandez, 39, became the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty. A coroner’s report showed he was struck by a dozen bullets. Witnesses have said that after first shooting him the gunman returned to shoot again when he saw Hernandez move.

Airport police arrested Ciancia following a gunfight in which they wounded him four times.

An indictment accuses him of “substantial planning and premeditation to cause the death of a person and to commit an act of terrorism.”

Authorities say if convicted he could be sentenced to death.

Ciancia is from Pennsville, N.J., and moved to Los Angeles in 2012.

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Published December 10, 2013antm logo.jpg

“America’s Next Top Model” director James Marcus Howe was murdered in his Los Angeles area home the morning before Thanksgiving, and the Los Angeles Police Department is now turning to the public for help in finding his killers.

A rep for the LAPD told FOX411 that Howe, his wife, and their small child were at home when someone knocked on the door posing as a solicitor. Two suspects then forced entry and a struggle ensued. Howe was shot dead, and his wife was wounded. The couple’s six-year-old son was not harmed.

Howe’s wife was taken to a local hospital by Los Angeles Fire Department personnel and treated.

As the case currently stands, there is no clear motive behind the murder. The first suspect is described by authorities as a black male between the ages of 16-22, the second suspect is described as a black male between 20-25 and the third suspect is described as a black female. The alleged assailants fled the scene in a vehicle described as an early 2000 Ford Mustang, dark in color.

The murder happened at Howe’s rented home in the Eagle Rock area, which has been plagued by crime in recent months. The Los Angeles Times reported that the neighborhood has had 21 violent crimes and 167 property crimes within the last six months.

Howe spent much of his entertainment industry career working as a director and assistant director on a slew of reality television shows, most notably CW’s “America’s Next Top Model,” MTV’s “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila” and TLC’s “Cake Boss: Next Great Baker.” He also received credits for his behind-the-scenes work on more adventure-driven reality programs such as “Diamond Divers” on Spike and “American Ninja Warrior” on NBC and Cartoon Network’s “Destroy Build Destroy.” Howe was also the production manager for CMT’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”

“It’s very sad,” a source connected to “Top Model” told FOX411. “Everyone is saddened by it, and it does appear to be random with no connection to the assailants.”

A rep for TLC said the network “shares our deepest sympathy for the family during this difficult time,” and a CMT rep said they too are “deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Howe’s passing. Our condolences go out to the family, friends and crew who worked with him on the first season of CMT’s ’Sweet Home Alabama.’”

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Northeast Homicide Detectives Aguilar or Officer Watterson (323) 344-5731. During non-business hours or on weekends calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-1 or anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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Published December 08, 2013

A 90-year-old World War II veteran en route to a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor was booted from his flight to accommodate the weight of additional jet fuel needed for the trip.

According to Hawaii News Now, Ewalt “Walt” Shatz, a WWII veteran credited with shooting down a Japanese plane during the 1941 attack, was scheduled to take a United Airlines flight direct from Los Angeles to Honolulu on Wednesday, but was re-booked on an American Airlines flight leaving eight hours later that included a layover in Maui.

“I was surprised.  I didn’t know which way to go.  Here I am at LAX with all these people and it’s all new to me. I was just lost I didn’t know what to do which is an awful feeling,” Shatz told the paper.

Shatz was traveling alone and suffers from macular degeneration, an eye condition that limits his sight. “They just left me kind of stranded. Here I’m 90 years old, and I don’t know — I really didn’t have anybody else I could call.”

Shatz said he was told by a United Airlines agent at LAX only two passengers on the Boeing 737 to Honolulu had been booted.

“I thought that they just overbooked the deal and they were trying to get rid of a couple of customers and somebody had my seat — and that’s what made me mad, because I paid for that seat.  I paid for that seat and somebody else is sitting in it,” Shatz told WOAI News 4. “I was lost. I didn’t know what to do.”

Shatz reportedly told two United desk agents — and a supervisor — he was a WWII vet invited to attend a remembrance ceremony at the USS Arizona memorial to mark the attack’s anniversary.

United, in a statement to Hawaii News Now, said, “Inclement weather in the path of United flight 1226 required the flight to carry additional fuel and, as a result, reduce the number of passengers on board by 41.

“United agents in Los Angeles re-booked those customers, including Mr. Shatz, on the best available alternate flights on United and other airlines. We look forward to speaking with Mr. Shatz and the other affected customers.”

Shatz arrived in Honolulu just before midnight and in time for the ceremony.

Word of his Shatz’s plight traveled quickly on the Internet, and 71 people – mostly U.S. service members – organized a last-second welcoming party for him at the airport in Honolulu.

“Getting ready to put my khakis on and go greet a WWII vet (Pearl Harbor Survivor)… If you are on island and would like to come greet and honor this hero, come on out,” Navy Chief Benjiman Scott wrote in part on his Facebook page, according to the paper.

“Everybody wanted a picture with me and they were making out like I was hero, but I’m not really.  It was embarrassing in a way, but I liked it.  It was nice,” Shatz told WOAI News 4.

Reportedly added Chief Navy Counselor Rex Parmelee: “This is why we’re serving.  We’re here to tell their story.  We’re here to show our respect for them.  It’s a tremendous honor and that’s why we take it so serious. Heritage is huge.”

Shatz was 18 years old in 1941 when Japanese warplanes attacked Pearl Harbor. The Navy has reportedly credited him with shooting down a Japanese plane during the battle with an anti-aircraft gun.

“I don’t know if I did or not; somebody said I did,” Shatz reportedly said. “I fired a 50 caliber machine gun and it’s possible I did shoot at some planes, but whether I hit any or not — that’s another story.  I don’t take any credit for any of that. Whether I did or not, probably only God knows.”

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SANTA ROSA, CA - NOVEMBER 22:  California state senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) (L) looks on as state senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) speaks during a news conference on November 22, 2013 in Santa Rosa, California.  One month after 13 year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed by a Sonoma County sheriff deputy as he held a replica of an AK-47 assault rifle, California state legisaltors announced plans to introduce legislation called the Imitation Firearm Safety Act which would regulate immitation firearms and require that toy guns be painted in bright colors.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

SANTA ROSA, CA – NOVEMBER 22: California state senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) (L) looks on as state senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) speaks during a news conference on November 22, 2013 in Santa Rosa, California. One month after 13 year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed by a Sonoma County sheriff deputy as he held a replica of an AK-47 assault rifle, California state legisaltors announced plans to introduce legislation called the Imitation Firearm Safety Act which would regulate immitation firearms and require that toy guns be painted in bright colors. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Toy guns made to look like the real thing would be banned in California under legislation announced Friday in Sonoma County, where a sheriff’s deputy last month shot and killed a 13-year-old boy after mistaking his replica AK-47 pellet gun for an assault rifle.

The bill, to be introduced by five lawmakers, would require pellet and other toy guns to be brightly colored or translucent so they are easily recognized. Federal law requires the replica guns only to have an orange mark on the tip of the barrel.

The legislators held a news conference in Santa Rosa, a few miles from where Deputy Erick Gelhaus shot and killed Andy Lopez Cruz on Oct. 22 as the boy walked with a pellet gun near his home just outside the city.

According to police who are investigating the killing, Gelhaus pulled up behind the boy and ordered him to drop the gun – which did not have an orange tip – and then fired eight times when the boy began to turn. The shooting prompted street rallies and a lawsuit filed by Andy’s family.

State Sen. Kevin de Le’on, D-Los Angeles, one of the sponsors of the new legislation, introduced a similar bill two years ago after police shot and paralyzed a 13-year-old Los Angeles boy with a toy gun. That bill stalled in committee.

“I don’t want to say that my legislation would have prevented Andy’s death, but it could put people in a better situation to help prevent it,” de León said in an interview before Friday’s news conference. “What I do know is Andy Lopez will not be the last one seriously injured or killed” while carrying a toy gun.

De León’s earlier bill drew criticism from manufacturers and users of air guns and BB guns. They argued that hobbyists, who prefer to use real-looking guns, use the replicas responsibly.

“I get the desire of young teenagers who want the most realistic product out there. I get that,” de León said. “The reality is that if you were to take one of these real handguns and a Beretta look-alike, you can’t tell the difference.”

The other sponsors of the legislation are state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, and Assembly members Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata (Humboldt County), Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, and Mariko Yamada, D-Davis.

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An airport security officer lay helplessly bleeding after a gunman opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport as paramedics waited 150 yards away because police had not declared the terminal safe to enter, according to two law enforcement officials.

It would be 33 minutes before Transportation Security Administration Officer Gerardo Hernandez, who was about 20 feet from an exit, would be wheeled out by police to an ambulance, said the officials, who were briefed on the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe was still ongoing into the Nov. 1 shooting.

For all but five of those minutes, there was no threat from the suspected gunman — he had been shot and was in custody, they said. Read more . . .

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The 10-page document, a portion of which is shown above, was addressed to a certified public accountant in Thousand Oaks, Calif., but was erroneously sent to a fax machine at a tire supply warehouse in the same town. It contains “wage and income” data from 2010-12 of a Simi Valley man whose sensitive data was seemingly exposed without his knowledge. (FoxNews.com)

The IRS mistakenly sent “sensitive taxpayer data” intended for a California accountant to a nearby small business in September, exposing one man’s Social Security number, wage and tax information and third-party network payments, FoxNews.com has learned.

The 10-page document, dated Sept. 10, was addressed to certified public accountant David Reinus in Thousand Oaks but was erroneously sent to a fax machine at a tire supply warehouse in the same town, which is roughly 35 miles outside Los Angeles. It contains “wage and income” data, according to its cover page, from 2010-12 of a Simi Valley man whose sensitive data was seemingly exposed without his knowledge.

“This communication is intended for the sole use of the individual to whom it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law,” a disclaimer on the cover page reads. “If the reader of this communication is not the intended recipient or the employee or the agent for delivering the communication to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copying of this communication may be strictly prohibited.” Read more . . .

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A man carrying a note that said he wanted to “kill TSA” pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and shot his way past a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, killing one Transportation Security Administration officer and wounding two others, authorities said.
The gunman was wounded in a shootout with airport police and taken into custody, authorities said. His condition was not disclosed.
The attack at the nation’s third-busiest airport sent terrified travelers running for cover and disrupted more than 700 flights across the U.S., many of which were held on the ground at LAX or not allowed to take off for Los Angeles from other airports. Read more . . .
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The man suspected of killing a Transportation Security Administration employee and injuring at least six people in Friday’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport apparently had suicidal thoughts before the attack, authorities said.

The family of Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, told Pennsville, N.J. Police Chief Allen Cummings early Friday afternoon that Ciancia had mentioned taking his own life in a text message to his younger brother, the chief told The Associated Press. Read more . . .

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Electronic filing of ammunition sales logs with LAPD proposed

A pilot program requiring the sellers of ammunition to send the Los Angeles Police Department electronic reports of all sales is being launched in the hopes of taking the program citywide.

Currently, stores that sell ammunition are required to keep logs, though they are printed, and it requires the LAPD to deploy officers to inspect the logs. Under the new proposal, stores would send in electronic versions of the ammo logs, probably on a weekly basis.

Councilman Mitch Englander, who is a reserve officer, said he fully supports the proposal. “The way we do it now is have to go out and manually look at the logs, and it’s a nightmare,” Englander said. “Often, they need to ask for volunteers or assign reserve officers to the work.’

Still, officers say the logs have paid off. In one recent instance, in San Pedro, police were able to find 14 people buying ammunition who had been prohibited from owning weapons.

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California Gov. Jerry Brown signed or vetoed a slew of gun-control bills Friday:

SB 127 by Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin — Requires that reports by a licensed psychotherapist to a local law enforcement agency of someone who has communicated a serious threat of physical violence against a reasonably identifiable victim or victims be made within 24 hours; also requires local law enforcement agencies, when they receive such reports, to notify the Department of Justice electronically and within 24 hours. SIGNED

SB 299 by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord — would require gun owners to report a gun theft or loss to police within seven days of knowing about it. VETOED

SB 363 by Sen. Roderick Wright, D-Los Angeles — expands the crime of “criminal storage” to include keeping a loaded firearm within premises where a prohibited person is likely to gain access and actually accesses and causes injury. SIGNED

Read plenty more . . .

“New Tijuana Cartel” warns authorities: “Don´t mess with us or We´ll kill You”
NOTE: This is breaking news in Tijuana right now, if this manta tells the truth  then the criminal map as is known would change, those signing it are believed to be part of both CDS and CAF structures in Tijuana, although all of them were at some time part of CAF. There´s no mention of “El Ingeniero” anywhere in the manta. As more info is given, this post will be updated.
AGENCIA FRONTERIZA DE NOTICIAS. TIJUANA, BC: Unknown individuals who identified themselves as part of the “New Tijuana Cartel” warned the police to “Not mess with the Mafia”, or they could be killed.
This threat was done today with a huge banner left in the upscale neighborhood of Playas de Tijuana at about 7:30 PM, the banner even had good grammar. The banner was taken away by the authorities and handed over to elements of the State Prosecutor´s Office.
The threatening banner was left in the “La Cuspide” bridge in Playas de Tijuana and is signed by “Grupos Unidos: Nuevo Cartel de Tijuana” (United Groups: New Tijuana Cartel). Read more . . .
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