LAPD SWAT update in Ontario

The LAPD has set up a command post at the 15 Freeway and Limonite Avenue in Ontario. The post, essentially a BevMo parking lot will be used for media briefings.

Apparently the situation that required the SWAT team began in the San Fernando Valley sometime Monday morning. Officials have termed the response “a matter of life and death” and initially urged the news media to keep quiet.
LAPD has since pulled back from that request.
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LAPD bomb squad seen travelling east on 10 Freeway toward ONT

Earlier this afternoon, a convoy including the LAPD Bomb Squad and several blacked out SUVs was spotted travelling at a high rate of speed east on the 10 Freeway toward Ontario.

There’s been plenty of speculation as to why, but no answers from LAPD, other than a terse statement that the crew was headed to a sensitive situation.
Several Twitter users caught sight of the convoy as well including:
Any thoughts?
Here’s some newsroom speculation:
  • A situation at ONT, which is technically part of Los Angeles
  • Escorting a high level dignitary
  • Taking Michael Jackson’s body somewhere.
What do you think?
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Toonerville crew arrested in connection with Mongol slaying

LAPD Press Release: 
On October 8, 2008, at 1:55 a.m., Manual Martin was riding his motorcycle on the eastbound 210 Freeway while transitioning to the southbound 2 Freeway in the city of Glendale.  A car pulled up next to him, and within a few seconds, the occupants fired thirteen shots. Martin was shot once in the chest and died within minutes.  Seven additional bullets hit his motorcycle.  The Glendale Police Department investigated the murder and identified the suspects as members of a local street gang.  Their investigation also revealed that the gang was responsible for other crimes.  
This from the Associated Press: 
Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton says officers have arrested 19 members of one of the city’s most violent gangs. 
The arrests Thursday by Los Angeles and suburban Glendale police  were the result of a 10-month investigation of the Toonerville gang.
After a member of the Mongols motorcycle gang was gunned down on Interstate 210 last
October, Glendale police used a wiretap and discovered key evidence that led to the arrests.
Police say four murder suspects, four attempted-murder or assault suspects and 12 drug
suspects were arrested in the early morning raid. Police found 48 guns in one house and 63 guns in all.
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Eighteen “knuckleheads” arrested in wake of mini riot following lakers win

Eighteen people whom LAPD Chief William Bratton described as “knuckleheads” found themselves under arrest Sunday night in the wake of the Lakers 99-86 win over the Orlando Magic. 
The “knuckleheads” started fires, looted convenience stores and tried to overturn cars. I even watched a few climb up on the freeway to wave their Lakers flags in front of passing cars. For an hour or so, downtown LA might as well have been Detroit.
City News Service reports that LAPD arrested 18 people for various offenses including arson; failure to disperse; inciting a riot; and misdemeanor warrants, Eisenman said. The actual number of arrests was revised downward from an estimate of 25 that was reported last night by various media outlets. 
City News Service also reports that 12 LAPD vehicles were damaged, one sheriff’s vehicle was damaged, and six Metro buses were damaged. Some officers were injured when fans hurled bricks and bottles, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Andy Mathes of the Central Station.
Speaking to KTTV Fox11, Bratton said officers “used minimal levels of force, behaving very professionally,” despite attempts to provoke them. Fans also gathered at Whittier and Atlantic boulevards and rocked vehicles and stopped at a traffic light, but no injuries were reported. Two people were arrested in that incident, officials said.
Similar outbursts also followed Lakers championship victories in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
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Victim’s father says he suspected LAPD involvement in homicide

Sherri Rasmussen was beaten and shot to death back in 1986. Originally police suspected burglars were responsible for the crime, but last week Detective Stephanie Lazarus, one of LA’s finest, was arrested on suspicion of the crime after detectives made a DNA link to the case.

Rasmussen’s father told the LA Times he believed after the slaying that there might be LAPD involvement in the homicide.
Here’s a bit of their story:

After Sherri Rae Rasmussen was beaten and shot to death in 1986, her father urged Los Angeles police to investigate a fellow officer who had had confrontations with his daughter in the months leading up to her death, according to attorneys for the victim’s family.

But Nel Rasmussen’s pleas, which he said he made during several interviews with police and in a letter to then-Chief Daryl F. Gates, apparently were ignored by detectives as they pursued a different theory of how his daughter had been killed.

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LAPD detective picked up in 1986 cold case homicide

This from LAObserved via the LA Times:

Stephanie Ilene Lazarus, 49, was arrested this morning at Parker Center. Cold case investigation into the 1986 beating death of the wife of her ex-boyfriend led to Lazarus, and her DNA was secretly gathered last week to help make the case.

In a City News story, the head of the Police Protective League is also quoted responding to the news:

Paul M. Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said Lazarus’
arrest “is deeply disturbing to LAPD officers and the people of Los Angeles.”
“If convicted, the actions of one police officer should not tarnish the trust and
respect the public has for the more than 9,800 dedicated police officers who serve and
protect the community and its residents every day,” he said.

Here’s the LATimes story archive on the case.

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John Floyd Thomas Jr. and the hunt for the Grim Sleeper


Until his April 2 arrest, John Floyd Thomas Jr was a Los Angeles insurance adjuster. Police now call him the “Southland Strangler” — named for the geographical section of Los Angeles County where they suspect he killed at least 30 women and raped many more. Thomas is also in the frame for a spate of crimes police say were committed by the “Westside Rapist”.

On first glance this suspect doesn’t fit the profile of the Grim Sleeper. Reports suggest he targets much older females who live alone and are white. This is a direct opposite of the Grim Sleeper’s known victims – young and black. However there are some striking similarities that are worth mentioning.

Many of Thomas’ victims were strangled and beaten and at least one victim was killed in a location other than her home which suggests Thomas’ MO is markedly varied. The LA times is quoted as saying “On the 17 who were killed, he placed pillows or blankets over their faces.” This is also a signature of the Grim Sleeper who is known to have placed items over the faces of some of his victims.

.Perhaps one of the most startling similarities is the time span and ‘gaps’ that separate Thomas’ crimes. The first wave of slayings took place in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s. There followed a decade of ‘Sleep?’ until 1983 when Thomas was released from prison. He committed rape and murder over the next 6 years until 1989.

The site also has an interesting map, developed with the help of a profiler who notes that

“the Grim Sleeper attacks women within one mile from his home, and works to blend into the neighborhood.”

Here’s the map:

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Pasadena PD looks at possible cold case ties to John Floyd Thomas, Jr.

The Pasadena PD is examining the possibility that John Floyd Thomas, Jr. may be responsible for homicides there in the late 1970s, officials said Thursday.

Thomas, a onetime resident of Pasadena, was arrested there in the late 70s, officials said.

Thomas, the suspected “Westside Rapist” may be responsible for the deaths of as many as 25 elderly women in Los Angeles County in the 70s and 80s. An LAPD homicide detective dubbed him “prolific.”

We’ll have a story up later today. We’re also looking at Thomas’ connections in Pomona and Chino where he worked and lived, and his connection to at least on homicide in Claremont in 1986.


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