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  1. #1

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    The Homicide Report

    This is from an LA Times blog called The Homicide Report. It is, without question, one of the most disturbing blogs one can read to see and hear about what is happening in Los Angeles today. But it should be read with regularity, because too many people are under the impression that crime in Los Angeles is always happening to somebody else, often somebody who deserves it. That is rarely the case.
    Black men as victims of crime: "They asked me where I was from, as usual."

    Black men are America's most likely crime victims. Even Latino men, who suffer high homicide rates, are much less likely than black men to be murdered. A black man is safer in prison today than living free in Los Angeles County.

    HR is doing an occasional series of Q&A's on black men as crime victims. This the most recent installment:

    Name: Rodney Dennis
    Age: 31
    Occupation: Registered medical assistant. Also Army Reserve.
    Residence: Mid-City. Grew up in Baldwin Village.

    Chance that he will be murdered in a given year*: 15.9 in 10,000 (based on his age, race and gender).
    Chance a Latino man his age will be: 2.1 in 10,000.
    Chance a white man his age will be: 0.6 in 10,000.

    Q. How many people close to you have been victims of crime?

    A. My brother was carjacked at gunpoint. My cousin's car was shot up. My father was shot six times when he was 57 years old in a robbery in Houston.

    It was about eight years ago. He ran a soul food restaurant near the airport, and the suspects came to rob the restaurant. They were white. One of the shots hit my father in the head. He died five years later of a massive stroke. I think it was related to being shot. Before he was shot, he had no problems like that. But his body never recovered. He was never the same. Then he died. They were never caught.

    Q. How many times have you been a victim of violence?

    A. Twice.

    Q. Can you describe your experiences?

    A. The first time, I was about 15. I was at a bus stop on Imperial near Southwest College, where I was in a program to earn college credit during high school. Two black guys came up, 14 or 15 years old, a little younger than me I think. They asked me where I was from, as usual. I said, "Nowhere." I was wearing my dad's class ring. One of them pulled up his shirt and showed me two guns in his waistband. He said, "Give me the ring, or I'll shoot you."

    I gave them all my money, and the ring. They took my watch, my backpack, and threw my school books in the street. I tried to run, and as I was running, I was hit in the leg. The bullet went into my thigh and out the other side. I didn't even know I was hit. I ran almost a mile before I knew. A lady saw the blood. It had dripped on the sidewalk. She took me to a hospital. One of the guys was murdered two days later during another robbery attempt. They arrested the other.

    The second time was about four years later here in Baldwin Village. I was walking in an alley, and a guy and a girl jumped out of a car. He was black, she was Hispanic. They thought I was a Blood. They said, "F- Bloods!" and jumped on me.

    I was fighting the guy, and then I felt something hit my back. When I turned around to see, I suddenly felt dizzy and I fell. They drove away. I still didn't know what had hit me until I reached back and grabbed the handle. It was an icepick, stuck in my back.

    I tried to pull it out--it was just instinct. But a lady stopped me and took me to the hospital. It was a real sharp pain, much worse than being shot. At the hospital, they took an x-ray to see if they could pull it out. It was less than an inch from my lung. They pulled it out. It hurt so much.

    Q. Are you afraid?

    A. I watch my back everywhere I go. We joke about it in my family--that if you make it to 30, you have hit a milestone. I have three kids, two boys and a girl. I am worried every day. My fiancee and I, we are looking at moving. We are looking at Rialto. Maybe Texas.

    Q. What would it take to make you safe?

    A. I really could not answer that question. I think about it every day. But sad to say, I think there is no way to make us safer. We just have to watch our backs all the time. I think maybe, though, if we cared more about the U.S. instead of caring about other countries, we might solve it.

    Q. What do you think about the police?

    A. We need more police. They stop me all the time. I wouldn't hurt a fly. But because of the way I look, my size, my tattoos, they think so.... But I can deal with being harassed by police every day because I know if I am being harassed, then maybe they are stopping something else from happening. So I don't care if they pull me over 100 times a day.

    Q. What would happen if you were shot, right now, on this street?
    A. If I was shot, they would just bring a coroner's van, and take me away. It would be just another black man shot.

    See also: "I had a bad feeling."

    *The homicide risk calculations above are based on homicide figures from the Los Angeles County Health Department for male adults 30 to 34 in the year 2004. The figure for Dennis' risk is based on homicide death rates for black men in his 30-34 age group.

    September 05, 2007 in Dispatches from the Field | Permalink
    Yesterday's blog entry:
    'My son, my son'

    Friday was the funeral for Bryan J.D. Hollis, 23, at Bethel Baptist in Watts.
    Hollis died Aug. 28 after he was shot in the Nickerson Gardens housing project.

    Babies cried and squirmed as the burgundy-upholstered pews filled for his service.

    Some of the mourners wore T-shirts with Hollis' picture.

    Simpson's mortuary staff passed out programs. On an inside page was a tribute from his mother, Eunice Blackwell:

    "My son, my son," she had written. "I don't know how to say what I'm feeling right now.... I will miss you so very much."

    The tribute underneath was from his sister: "This is like unreal," her entry read. "Just him lying there, all the blood he lost and nobody to help him."

    For most of the service, his mother sat silent, gripping a fan on stick, taking deep breaths, now and then lifting her dark sunglasses to dab her eyes. Two young women sang without accompaniment. A third walked up to microphone, tried to speak, then shook her head and sat down with a sob.

    James Smith, a Watts youth worker, rose to describe how Hollis recently came to him "ready to change his life, to give up bad things and do the right thing for his family," Smith said. Another mourner remembered how he made people laugh. "He will be a comic in heaven," she said.

    A family friend addressed the young men in the pews. A few cried discreetly. Others slumped, staring into space with clenched jaws. "You guys need to sit down and think about what you are doing to each other," she said.

    Pastor Reginald Pope then led the mourners in prayer. As the services ended, a cousin, Venita Hebert, dressed in black and white, suddenly darted up to the podium.

    "I'm out of the program," she admitted, leaning into the microphone. "But I want to say something."

    She took a breath, then began to speak:

    "If you can do anything in your power to prevent another black man from dying, you need to do it," she said, her voice rising. "I'm angry!"

    As she spoke, a young man Hollis' age leaned forward, and buried his face in his arms.

    The mourners filed up to view the open casket. A woman sobbed. A young man looked at Hollis' body, then threw his program down and crumpled to the floor, crouching with his head in his hands.

    At last, a mortuary man prepared to close the casket. But Eunice Blackwell stepped in front of him.

    She took the thick white cloth from his hands, and covered her son's body herself.

    First she pulled the thick cloth up to his chin.

    Then, with small motions, she tucked the cloth around his head, straightened his pillow, and smoothed the folds of the cover.

    When she was done, for a brief instant, she let her hands rest lightly atop the white cloth.

    Then, with a slight nod, she stepped back and turned away.

    September 07, 2007 in Dispatches from the Field | Permalink
    A supplement to the blog is this frequently updated homicide map, showing the locations of every homicide in Los Angeles County to date for this year: Los Angeles Times Homicide Map

  2. #2

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    Re: The Homicide Report

    Sounds like LA County is a great place to live...

    This is a shame. Violent crime is so unnecessary.

    I don't know what the entire solution is, but I feel strongly that the community needs to step up and fight to take back the neighborhood. The police cannot do it on their own. Too often crime happens in the community, and then when the police show up, no one saw anything. Nothing is going to change, if everyone continues to look the other way. There should not be one more death in LA County, but until the POS get the message that it won't be tolerated, it will continue.

  3. #3

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    Re: The Homicide Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Max Fischer View Post
    I don't know what the entire solution is, but I feel strongly that the community needs to step up and fight to take back the neighborhood. The police cannot do it on their own. Too often crime happens in the community, and then when the police show up, no one saw anything. Nothing is going to change, if everyone continues to look the other way. There should not be one more death in LA County, but until the POS get the message that it won't be tolerated, it will continue.
    I can't say that I disagree with that, Max. Part of the problem is that every effort at cultivating a community mindset is met with resistance from City Hall and other powerful political interests. Witness what happened with the South Central Farm, for example. It's also due, unfortunately, to the continued proliferation of gangs, and if you want to know how that all started, I suggest you see the HBO documentary Bastards of the Party, which makes it clear that they are a result of the FBI's COINTELPRO program of the 1960s and 1970s which decimated the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, and that the problems between LA's Black community and the LAPD go back even further, to the 1940s and 1950s, and the actions of the LAPD's racist chief, Robert Parker.

    I'm going to be perfectly honest with you. The powers that be don't want communities of color to stand up and take our neighborhoods back, they don't want us to assert our political and social power, because if we did, we'd be a threat to the existing power structure, the same power structure that has existed since the very beginning of this country. They want people of color to constantly be fighting each other and killing each other, rather than being unified, because if we were unified, again, we'd be a threat to the existing power structure.

    If Black is killing Black, if Brown is killing Brown, and if Black and Brown are killing each other, it makes it that much easier for the white power structure to dominate and control us. Witness the brother above who said we needed more police and that he'd be fine with being stopped 100 times a day. Things have got to be really bad if you're ready to welcome a police state, and that's exactly what the powers that be want the public to accept. That's why they're not out in force in these areas, protecting the citizenry like they should be. The reason? This is a part of the "citizenry" that they don't really care about, that they consider expendable, that they're willing to sacrifice in order to achieve a greater goal. Divide and conquer has been the SOP of European hegemony for centuries, and it's never gone away. They're still practicing it.

    Now don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that every Caucasian out there is necessarily guilty of being consciously complicit in this effort. I don't believe that. I think a lot of good white people are kept unaware, deluded, and in fear of people of color and communities of color, especially because it works in the interests of the powers that be for the white populace to be afraid of "the other." I think a lot of good white people would be mad as hell at their leaders if they were to realize just what was going on, and what's been going on for decades. But see, the powers that be don't WANT the American public at large to know about what they've done, or what they're doing, or what they're planning to do, because if they did, they'd lose the power they've got.

    So what's necessary is that, in addition to people of color in urban areas uniting against crime, violence, gentrification, and other problems, white folks who live in the suburbs and the gated communities and elsewhere need to realize that what happens in the inner city affects them, too; that Black people and Brown people are not your enemies; that all the talk in the world about "not seeing color" is useless, because the powers that be definitely see it; and that you're being used by people in power just as much as we are, but in a different way. So what's necessary is that everyone stand up together, united, to fight against this.
    Last edited by TiaDalmaFan; 09-09-2007 at 12:03 PM.

  4. #4

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    Re: The Homicide Report

    Most recent updates:
    Victims, Sept. 3-10, 2007

    (The following 14 posts represent a comprehensive list of Los Angeles County homicide victims reported to the Coroner during the seven-day period, Sept. 3-10, 2007)

    Sep 10, 2007 2:17:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Email this post

    Eduardo Perez, 16

    Eduardo Perez, a 16-year-old Latino youth, was shot and killed at 45303 Rodin Ave. in Lancaster early this morning Sept. 10 at 2:41 a.m. More information to come.

    Sep 10, 2007 2:11:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Email this post

    Pharlzette Bryant, 30

    Pharlzette Bryant, a 30-year-old black woman, was shot and killed in a house in the 3800 block of Nicolet Avenue in Baldwin Village at 11:15 p.m. She was found dead.

    Anyone with any information is asked to call LAPD Southwest Det. Corey Farell at (213)485-2417.

    Sep 10, 2007 2:07:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Email this post

    Rose Marco, 52

    Rose Marco, a 52-year-old woman of unknown ethnicity, was reported the possible victim of a homicide by arson at 5324 W. Sunset Boulevard near Harvard on Sept. 3, She died at 2:10 p.m. Sept. 9. LAPD records indicate there was a possible arson fire at a diamond jewelry business at 5336 W. Sunset. LAPD Robbery-Homicide is investigating. HR is seeking more information.

    Sep 10, 2007 1:54:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Email this post

    Rafael Acosta Jr., 30

    Rafael Acosta Jr., 30, was shot as many as half a dozen times in the torso near the corner of Avalon Boulevard and Bonds Street in Carson at about 9 a.m. Sept. 9. He died very soon after. Police listed him as black and the coroner reported him as Latino. More information to come.

    Sep 10, 2007 1:41:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Email this post

    Frederick McIntosh, 19

    Frederick McIntosh, a 19-year-old black young man, was shot at 6323 10th Ave. in LAPD's 77th Street precinct at about 4 a.m. Sept. 9, and later died. McIntosh, who was in a wheelchair, was on the street; the suspects, four black men or youths, drove by in a green Ford Explorer, year '90-'93, and shot him, according to LAPD Det. Carlos Velasquez. He fell out of the wheelchair and was pronounced dead at Centinela Hospital.

    Sep 10, 2007 1:38:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Email this post

    Elaine Coleman, 20

    Elaine Coleman, 20, a black woman, was shot in the torso and arm by Hawthorne police officers at about 1:15 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 9 at 14427 South Lemoli Ave. in Hawthorne, and died in minutes.

    The officers were responding to a family-dispute call, according to Sheriff's Det. Todd Anderson. He gave this account:

    Coleman had locked herself in a room with her 4-year-old daughter and box cutters. She was refusing to come out.

    Officers met her mother at the scene, and went to the door of the room.

    Coleman, apparently upset over a breakup, told them not to come in and threatened to kill her daughter. The officers, both men in their 30s, broke open the door. One fired a Taser, hitting Coleman.

    The taser did not incapacitate her. Instead, Coleman began stabbing her 4-year-old daughter. The officers jumped on her. She stabbed them. Both were cut several times. In the midst of the melee, Coleman resumed stabbing her daughter. One of the officers then shot and killed her.

    The daughter suffered four stab wounds, and was treated at a local hospital and released. The two officers were also both transported for treatment for stab wounds and released. "The officers were lucky to be alive. And if it wasn't for them, that child would be dead," said Anderson.

    Sep 10, 2007 1:37:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | Email this post

    Morris Moran, 27

    Morris Moran, 27, a Latino man, was shot while walking with his wife to his parked car near the intersection of Manhattan Place and Wilshire Boulevard off Western Avenue at about 10:15 p.m. Sept. 8.

    Two Latino men came up behind him on Wilshire, said LAPD Wilshire Division Det. John Shafia. They shot him and ran. He stumbled around the corner on Manhattan before falling. His wife was unharmed. Moran, who was from Canoga Park, was taken to Cedars-Sinai hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    Sep 10, 2007 1:36:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | Email this post

    Sophia Broussard, 38

    Sophia Broussard, 38, a black woman, was found stabbed to death at 2813 W. 42nd Street in the Crenshaw area at about 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.

    Los Angeles Police Det. Robert Lait gave this account:

    Broussard's body was found by her 20-year-old son in the shower. She had been stabbed some five dozen times. Investigators allege that Damiean Johnson, 27, a domestic violence offender and Broussard's boyfriend of four years, fled the scene, initially taking Broussard's 5-year-old daughter Kenyon with him. The child was quickly located unharmed in the Palmdale area, and Johnson was later arrested in San Bernardino County. During his few hours of freedom immediately following the murder, he had taken the time to attend a football game.

    Sep 10, 2007 1:32:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | Email this post

    Mireya Mendoza-Lares, 34

    Mireya Mendoza-Lares, 34, a Latina woman, was reported dead of blunt-force trauma in a homicide at 11721 Fidel St. The address is in an unincorporated stretch of Los Angeles County roughly between Santa Fe Springs and La Mirada, south of Whittier. Her time of death was listed as 3:35 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8. HR is seeking more information on this case.

    Sep 10, 2007 1:31:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Email this post

    Nina Oved, 61

    Nina Oved, 61, a white woman, was shot in the head at 22525 Lassen St. in Northridge at about 2 a.m. and died at 9:04 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8. This killing was a domestic murder-suicide, police said: Oved's husband, Pinhas Oved, 63, is believed to have shot her, then shot and killed himself. A family member came to house and found the bodies. There was no history of domestic violence, said Det. Mike Fesperman. They were longtime Valley residents.

    Sep 10, 2007 1:25:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Email this post

    Edwin Bell, 46

    Edwin Bell, a 46-year-old black man, was shot multiple times in the head and shoulder at 860 40th Place at Menlo Avenue just south of USC at about 1 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, and died almost immediately. He had pulled his car up to a group of people on foot. One of them came over to his car window, fired into the car, and killed him, said Det. James Yoshida of the LAPD.

    Sep 10, 2007 1:22:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | Email this post

    Mario Manzon-Fernandez, 40

    Mario Manzon-Fernandez, 40, a Latino man, was stabbed in a robbery attempt 4101 Wade Ave. near Washington Boulevard in Culver City at about 7:35 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5.

    A man with a knife confronted Manzon-Fernandez and two friends as they were walking down the street. The robber stabbed him and ran without taking anything. Police identified the suspect as Daniel Castaneda Molano, 41, a Latino man; he was arrested the next day, and has been charged with homicide. Manzon-Fernandez was an immigrant from Mexico.

    Sep 10, 2007 1:16:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Email this post

    Herbert Stevens III, 47

    Herbert Stevens, 47, a black man, was shot and killed on this palm-lined block of 1700 39th Street in Southwest Los Angeles at about 2:20 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, and died at 5:28 a.m., said LAPD Det. Robert Lait. He was standing outside; the killers drove up and shot him from their car, he said.

    Sep 10, 2007 1:10:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | Email this post

    Michael Bell, 47

    Michael Bell, 47, a black man, was discovered stabbed to death at 601 S. San Pedro in downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row area at 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4.

    A passerby saw his body lying on the ground. LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon said that Bell's body was found just north of the single-occupancy hotel where he lived. Police believe he had been stabbed at least 30 minutes before, but people who saw him at first believed he was just asleep on the sidewalk, and so a 911 call was delayed.

    (This is the last post in the list representing all confirmed homicides reported to the Los Angeles County coroner, Sept. 3-10, 2007.)

    Sep 10, 2007 12:59:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Email this post

    No angel, but no less a victim

    Sheriff's Det. Jonas Shipe crafted his pitch carefully.
    He stuck to the basics: He told reporters how the victim's decomposed body was found in a plastic bag, how he may have been a soccer player in Van Nuys. And yes, that he had a criminal history.

    Shipe didn't think it necessary to add that the victim was also an illegal immigrant. "You don't want to dirty him up too bad," he said. "People won't care about it."

    His efforts were wasted. Reporters passed on the story anyway.

    And the killer of Carlos Villavicencio is still out there.

    The problem is commonplace. Many, if not most, urban homicide victims have some criminal baggage. A few are even suspected killers themselves. Public and media interest in such cases is minimal. Yet the killers are no less dangerous, and the victims no less dead.

    Detectives trying to get attention for such cases walk a hard road. But Shipe, and partner Angus Ferguson, kept trying. They contacted the Homicide Report after failing with other news outlets.

    They said Villavicencio was shot. His body was found some days after his death in an apartment carport at 25917 Narbonne Ave. in Lomita on Aug. 18. Residents smelled something, and told the manager.

    Shipe and Ferguson were left with little to go on, except the chilling realization that somewhere out there is a calculating murderer who sealed his victim in plastic.

    To find that killer, they first need to figure out who exactly Villavicencio was.

    As with many illegal immigrants, Villavicencio's existence was documented only by his police rap sheet--a potpourri of drug and property crimes.

    He had given police a medley of AKAs and birthdates. Was he really Carlos Villavicencio, Hispanic male, age 25? Shipe and Ferguson don't really know. They don't know where he lived, what country he was from, who knew him, what places he frequented.

    For that, they need help from the public.

    Somebody must have known him. He did not sneak around selling meth and stealing cars all the time, they said: Sometimes he played soccer. (They know because he was arrested once as he was driving to a game in Van Nuys in a stolen car. And they have one police mug shot where he is wearing a soccer uniform.)

    Shipe and Ferguson know Villavicencio is not the kind of victim whose death gets attention. Homicides that get covered by the media outlets in Los Angeles are more likely to involve children, honor students struck by a random bullet, white middle-class people killed in places where few homicides usually occur.
    That is, press interest gravitates away from the epicenter of homicide and toward the margins--like covering earthquakes in Topeka, or hurricanes in Spokane.

    But a detective can't just give up. Villavicencio "is the kind of victim no one cares about--probably flopping in a room with 10 other people, going from place to place, selling dope, stealing cars," Ferguson said. But "there is a killer.... He will kill someone innocent next time."

    Above, Shipe, left, and Ferguson make their pitch. They are at (323) 890-5543 or (323) 890-5545.

    Read on

    Sep 9, 2007 3:03:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | Email this post

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