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Two Sheriff's Deputies Shot In Compton. Authorities Release Video, Say They Were 'Ambushed'

Updated
Published
Sheriff Alex Villanueva addressed the news media hours after two of his deputies were shot multiple times in Compton on Saturday, Sept. 12. Josie Huang/LAist

Two L.A. County Sheriff's deputies were shot multiple times around 7 p.m. Saturday while sitting in a patrol car parked near the Willowbrook Metro station, according to authorities. Both are now out of surgery.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said one deputy was a 31-year-old mother of a six-year-old son. He said her husband is with her at the hospital. The other deputy is a 24-year-old male. The sheriff said his parents and girlfriend are at the hospital. He said both had been sworn into the department 14 months ago.

In a tweet confirming the shootings, sheriff's officials said "both still fighting for their lives." Villanueva said they called in the shooting themselves and were alert when taken to St. Francis Hospital in Lynwood.

According to the sheriff's department, the deputies were "ambushed as they sat in their patrol vehicle."

"I want everyone to have a prayer for them for their recovery at this time," said Villanueva.

The sheriff, clad in a bullet proof vest, expressed anger at the shooting.

“It pisses me off,” he said. “This was a cowardly act.”

He also suggested that the anti-police sentiment expressed during recent protests could have played a role in motivating the shooter.

“Words have consequences,” Villanueva said.

The ambush also means deputies will have to be more on guard, he said. “We are going to have to look for these things, use the buddy system.”

Not long after the news conference ended, some protesters arrived and confronted sheriff's deputies.

One man taunted a deputy, shouting: "It's a celebration! It's a celebration!"

As a small group of men appeared to film two deputies with their phones, at least one deputy pointed a weapon at them.

One man is heard saying: "If you want to fire the shot, fire the shot."

DEPUTIES ARE 'ALIVE AT THIS TIME'

Capt. Kent Wegener, who commands the department’s homicide bureau, said at the start of the news conference that the deputies are "both alive at this time." He said one of the deputies was able to give a description of the gunman, saying the person who fired the weapon was male. He also cautioned that the video released by the department came from a fish-eye lens and may distort the height and weight of the person.

The MTA’s many cameras around the train station likely will help investigators identify the assailant, Wegener said.

At this time, Wegener said 14 homicide detectives are working the case, in addition to other crime scene analysts.

Sheriff's officials tonight tweeted out video of a person walking up to a patrol car and firing into the passenger window. The footage is grainy and shows a person approaching the car, firing a gun and then running away. The tweet from the main account for the sheriff's headquarters said:

"The gunman walked up on the deputies and opened fire without warning or provocation."

The video was retweeted tonight by President Trump, who has nearly 86 million followers on Twitter and has taken a hard line on anti-police protests, pushing back on calls for reform. He has often talked about protesters in de-humanizing language, which was true again tonight. In his tweet Trump said: "Animals that must be hit hard!"

[Screenshot of the incident appears below. Warning: the video is not graphic but may be disturbing to watch.]

(Courtesy LASD)

The shooting, which occurred around 7 p.m. prompted an intense manhunt. Heavily armed deputies could be seen going door-to-door as darkness fell in the neighborhoods around the Metro station, where the shooting happened.

Deputies could also been seen using flashlights to search the ground in the immediate area, presumably looking for the assailant's gun or any other evidence that might lead them to the suspect.

SHOOTING COMES AMID PROTESTS

Use of force by law enforcement has been the focus of protests and calls by some activists to defund police departments since nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May.

There have been numerous protests in recent days in L.A. over the fatal shootings of Black and Brown men by sheriff's deputies.

In the Compton area, two recent shooting by sheriff's deputies have sparked angry protests. In June, a deputy fatally shot Andres Guardado. An autopsy revealed Guardado, 18, had been shot five times in the back. The deputy claimed he had a gun. Last year, Ryan Twyman, 24, died after two deputies fired 34 times at him. Twyman was unarmed in his car.

A protest today in Westmont, an unincorporated neighborhood northwest of Compton was peaceful. The families of Dijon Kizzee, 29, and Anthony Weber, 16 — both fatally shot by deputies in Westmont — spoke at that event.

Tonight our reporter, Josie Huang, who covered the Westmont protest, was turned back from the command center tonight by one deputy and told "no media." Typically law enforcement officials set up a central location to keep the media and public informed in major breaking news situations.

HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

Correspondent Josie Huang, who covered the protest earlier at the day, will report from the area. Public Safety Correspondent Frank Stoltze is also reporting on the shooting.

This is a developing story. We will have more as information becomes available.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Bobcat Fire Burns Into Its 7th Day; Some Evacuations Remain In Place

Updated
Published

The Bobcat Fire has been burning in the Angeles National Forest now for more a week. Crews are hoping to take advantage of low winds forecasted for the next few days to draw some containment around the flames and protect nearby foothill communities under evacuation warnings.

Overnight, fire officials said low humidity kept the fire active, with most growth on the north and south fronts.

Officials are particularly concerned about the community of Monrovia, where the city is asking residents to help firefighting efforts by conserving water. At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, the fire reached the Trask Boy Scout camp and Canyon Park.

Half an hour later, the fire also spread into Big Santa Anita canyon near Chantry Flat.

Fire officials today said they're trying to hold the fire north of Highway 39 and strengthen the containment lines they've created to keep the fire out of foothill communities to the south.

The good news? The western and some of the eastern front of the fire are heading toward areas that have previously burned in this year's Ranch 2 Fire, 2016's Fish Fire and the 2009 Station Fire. That means there's less fuel.

The bad news? The north and other parts of the east fronts are heading toward areas that haven't burned in 80 years.

Here's what we know so far today:

THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 29,245 acres
  • Containment: 6%
  • Resources Deployed: 765 personnel

The brush fire erupted near the Cogswell Dam and then spread rapidly amid an intense, record-breaking heat wave, prompting evacuation orders for Mt. Wilson Observatory. The cause is under investigation.

A firefighting jet tanker drops fire retardant on the Bobcat Fire at the Angeles National Forest on September 11, 2020 in Monrovia, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)

CLOSURES

  • The Angeles National Forest — along with every other national forest in the state — has been closed
  • State Route 39 is closed at Old Gabriel Canyon Road
  • State Route 2 east of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road to Islip Saddle
  • Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road
  • Mt. Wilson Road

EVACUATION WARNINGS

Evacuation warnings currently include residents living in the following foothill cities and communities:

  • Duarte
  • Bradbury
  • Monrovia (for residents north of Foothill Boulevard)
  • Sierra Madre (residents can call 626-355-1414 to learn more about impacted areas)
  • Pasadena
  • Altadena

"Residents should have evacuation plans in place, organize their emergency evacuation supplies, and have essential evacuation personal belongings easily accessible," U.S. Forest Service officials wrote on the fire incident page. "Vehicles should be fully fueled, facing out in their driveways and ready to leave. Please make those arrangements now."

SHELTER SITES

According to L.A. County officials, a shelter area for horses has been established at the Pomona Fairplex (entrance at Gate 12).

An evacuation site at Santa Anita Park was closed Thursday, according to the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

WEATHER CONDITIONS

Expect higher than normal temperatures through the weekend, but nothing like we experienced last Sunday.

Smoke advisories are now in place through at least Sunday. Smoke blanketed much of the L.A. basin this week, bringing unhealthy air quality with it.

Look up the latest air quality info for your area at airnow.gov.

And what's up with that orange glow we've been seeing in SoCal skies? According to Phillip Fine, deputy executive officer for planning and rules with South Coast Air Quality Management District, that's largely due to the massive wildfires burning in Northern California and Oregon. Those blazes have created a smoke plume that's almost 1,000 miles wide, Fine said, but local air quality hasn't been as affected, he explained.

"A lot of that smoke is not making it down to ground level, thankfully, but that's why all over Southern California, we're seeing this eerie, orange glow... If you look at the air quality that they're experiencing up in Northern California and Oregon, it is much worse [than what] we're getting in Southern California and much more widespread, so we're somewhat fortunate we're not seeing those level of impact."

Our orange-tinged skies pale in comparison to the absolutely apocalyptic color pallete people in the Bay Area have experienced this week.

The poor air quality is also affecting COVID-19 testing in L.A. County. Officials announced today that several testing sites will be closed through the weekend due to the unhealthy air. The list includes:

  • College of the Canyons
  • East LA College
  • Pomona Fairplex Gate 17
  • San Gabriel Valley Airport
  • Montebello Civic Center
  • Panorama City

ABOUT MT. WILSON

The Mount Wilson Observatory houses 18 telescopes, many of which were used to make some of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the last century.

They include the 100 inch Hooker telescope that Edwin Hubble used in the 1920s to prove that our universe is still expanding.

Observatory Director Tom Meneghini said he's afraid they could be seriously impacted if the fire gets close enough.

“The heat can do irreparable damage. Our two big telescopes are historically significant and irreplaceable,” Meneghini said.

However, he said fires have gotten close before and the decades-old firefighting setup at the Observatory is ready to be used again.

"We have an inground system of hoses and pumps," he said. "We have half a million gallons of water ready to pump so that’s all been prepared for any fire professional to come in and take over."

The fire also threatens a seismic station that has recorded earthquake activity for 100 years, seismologist Lucy Jones said via Twitter.

Numerous television and radio stations have transmitters in the area, including our newsroom which broadcasts on the radio at 89.3 KPCC.

The Bobcat Fire continued to burn in Angeles National Forest on Sept. 10, 2020. (Courtesy of Caltrans)

HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

This is a developing story. We fact check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

FIRE RESOURCES

YOUR QUESTIONS OR IDEAS

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Protesters Want Murder Charges For The Deputies Who Shot Dijon Kizzee And Anthony Weber In Two Different South LA Incidents

Updated
Published
Sequarier McCoy, aunt of Dijon Kizzee, speaks on the community gathering to protest his killing at the hands of sheriff's deputies. (Brian Feinzimer/LAist)

Dijon Kizzee and Anthony Weber have something no one wants to have in common -- they were both killed by L.A. County sheriff's deputies in the same South LA neighborhood, Weber in 2018 and Kizzee in 2020.

Today both of their families joined protests against police brutality in Westmont, where both of them were shot, just blocks apart.

Hundreds of protesters gathered at 11 a.m. Saturday on 109th street, yards from the place Kizzee was killed by sheriff's deputies on August 31.

Kizzee, 29, was reportedly riding his bicycle in violation of a vehicle code, when he was stopped by deputies. The Sheriff's Dept. says the deputies tried to make contact with Kizzee, when he dropped the bicycle and started to run away from them. Deputies chased after him.

Reportedly Kizzee then punched one of them in the face and dropped a handful of clothing, that deputies said, included a black handgun. Deputies immiedately opened fire.

Kizzee's family told the L.A. Times that he was shot at least 15 times in the back, as he was running away.

Video of the incident was later released, but it's hard to make out and inconclusive about whether or not Kizzee reached for the gun.

Protestors memorialize Dijon Kizzee, who was killed after deputies stopped him while riding his bicycle in Westmont. (Josie Huang/LAist)

Today, protesters expressed anger at the fact that the deputies who killed Kizzee are not being named and therefore not being held accountable.

They also see the sheriff's decision to place a security hold on Kizzee's autopsy report as an injustice, as it could be months before results are made available to the public.

Community members also expressed anger at the way sheriffs have handled previous protesters, who have been demonstrating for the past week in front of the South L.A. Sheriff's station, where dozens of citizens were arrested and multiple injuries were reported in confronations with deputies.

On Friday, a sheriff's deputy pushed one protester who wouldn't move back when asked. Another deputy pointed a gun at a member of the press.

Protesters told LAist reporter Josie Huang they are not trying to incite violence and are simply exercising their First Ammendment right to protest police brutality, which they say is consequently being met with more police brutality.

Weber, also Black, was shot and killed by deputies in 2018 at the age of 16, on the 1200 block of 107th Street.

According to the Times Homicide Report, sheriff's deputies were responding to reports of a young man pointing a handgun at a driver in the area. When they found Weber, they reportedly saw a handgun tucked into his pants.

Weber ran away from them, ignoring commands not to move, finally stopping to face deputies in the courtyard of an apartment building. He was shot several times in his upper body.

The gun was not found and no criminal charges were filed.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information arrives.

READ MORE ABOUT DIJON KIZZEE PROTESTS:

El Dorado Fire: More Than 14K Acres Burned As Containment Rises To 39%

Updated
Published
    Last update: 6 p.m.: We will be back in the morning with the latest news. Overnight please:

    Jump to: Basics | Evacuations | Evacuation Centers | Closures | Additional Resources | Cause

    It's day eight of the El Dorado fire in the San Bernardino Mountains, near Yucaipa.

    Today, officials in their morning report said firefighters will "continue to build a direct line around the fire to limit spread to the north and west towards Angelus Oaks."

    That work will be supported by water dropping aircraft and "defensive burnout operations" as needed, meaning firefighters may preemptively burn areas that could fuel the fire, in order to keep it away from homes.

    Fire officials have worked hard over the last few days to keep the fire from burning structures in Mountain Home Village. They say the fire is now aligning itself with Skinner Creek along Highway 38.

    Some evacuation orders were lifted this week in parts of Yucaipa, but all areas between Angelus Oaks and Onyx Summit are still off limits, as firefighters work to build containment lines just south of those communities.

    However, officials warn that as the wind transitions this afternoon, there is "a potential for large fire growth."

    "Our crews have been doing great work on this fire," said Dan Munsey, who is leading planning operations for fire fighting. "We're reaching some major milestones. Over the next few days, it's going to be really critical for us to tie in some very important pieces, but as we do that, we're starting to allow the community come in and repopulate where it makes sense."

    Authorities in Big Bear are also asking visitors to stay out for the time being, in case more evacuation orders are necessary.

    The weather today is forecast to be hot and dry, with lighter winds than earlier in the week.

    Here's what we know about the fire so far today.

    THE BASICS

    • Acreage: 14,043 acres
    • Containment: 39%
    • Structures destroyed: four homes, six other structures
    • Structures damaged: two homes, four other structures
    • Structures threatened: 11,000
    • Resources deployed: 1,244 firefighters, including 17 hand crews, 12 dozers, 13 water tenders, six helicopters, and four fixed-wing aircraft
    The El Dorado Fire continued to burn near the Forest Falls area on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, with occasional flare-ups. (Courtesy of El Dorado Fire Unified Command via Inciweb)

    The El Dorado Fire began on Saturday with a bang – literally – when a firework from a gender reveal party in Yucaipa ignited a blaze that has threatened thousands of homes and caused the mandatory evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.

    Smoke advisories are in place through Sunday.

    EVACUATIONS

    San Bernardino County

    An interactive map of current evacation zones is available here.

    Mandatory (as of 3 p.m. Friday)

    • All Yucaipa residents located east of Bryant, north of Carter, and west of Jefferson
    • All residents located east of Bryant street on Highway 38 including Mountain Home, Forest Falls, Angelus Oak, 7 Oaks and Jenks Lake Area East to Onyx Summit.

    Warning (voluntary, but be prepared to leave)

    • North of Carter Street, west of Bryant Street, south of Highway 38, east of Garnet Street. Officials advised those who may need extra time to mobilize, along with those with pets and livestock, to evacuate now.
    • Additionally, a travel warning remains in place advising visitors to postpone any trips to the Boig Bear area.

    EVACUATION CENTER

    • Cafeteria of the Redlands East Valley High School, 31000 E. Colton Ave. Redlands

    ROAD CLOSURES (as of 10 a.m. Friday)

    • Highway 38 is closed between Bryant St. to the south and Lake Williams Dr. to the north
    • Topaz St. is closed at Bryant St. to eastbound traffic
    • Juniper Ave. is closed at Bryant St.
    • Ivy is closed at Bryant St.
    • Fremont St is closed at north of Carter St.

    CAUSE

    The family behind the party where authorities say a pyrotechnic device was set off tried to put out the fire and called 911, but it was too late. They have cooperated with authorities, but Cal Fire spokesperson Captain Bennett Malloy says it's possible they could face misdemeanor charges:

    "Some of the laws they could have broken: a public resource code where you cause a fire on somebody else's land, or, in California under a penal code, there's provisions for what's called recklessly causing a fire. And that may be the case with this fire, but that would be up to the district attorney to determine."

    Prosecutors could pursue felony charges if someone is hurt or killed, or if homes are damaged by the fire. Though no charges had been filed yet.

    HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

    This is a developing story. We fact check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

    For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

    FIRE RESOURCES

    YOUR QUESTIONS OR IDEAS

    Morning Briefing: City Employees Brace For Layoffs

    Updated
    Published
    City Hall from Grand Park on Tuesday March 24. Chava Sanchez/ LAist

    Never miss a morning briefing. Subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.

    Layoffs have come to City Hall.

    As officials predict a budget shortfall for the city of L.A. between $200-400 million, Mayor Eric Garcetti told department managers to find places to cut costs, including identifying so-called “non-critical” positions and services. That’s in addition to an existing hiring freeze, employee buyouts and possible furloughs, reports KPCC’s Libby Denkmann.

    Meanwhile, protesters across the city are calling for the defunding of LAPD, but raises for the department are still scheduled to take effect.

    Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

    Jessica P. Ogilvie


    The Past 24 Hours In LA

    Wildfires: The El Dorado Fire has burned 13,920 acres, and is at 37% containment. The Bobcat Fire has burned 26,368, and is at 6% containment. And yellow-brown fog covered the San Gabriel foothills this week.

    California Kids: A group of parents, teachers and administrators came together to produce a plan to help kids transition from early learning programs to kindergarten.

    The Best Laid Plans: Employees at Cal State University are concerned that the school’s COVID-19 prevention protocols aren't enough to curb the virus’ spread, following outbreaks at campuses in Chico and San Diego. A new memo from Mayor Garcetti warned city departments to be prepared for layoffs.

    Broken Systems: Emon Barnes was released from jail after being sentenced to 40 years for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

    First Person: A racial slur was part of Omar Amr’s first experience playing Division I water polo at UC Irvine. Erick Galindo headed to Plaza Mexico in Lynwood to get an on-the-ground reality check from folks in the community, about whether or not they’ve filled out their census forms, and why.


    Weekend Reads

    There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, these articles provide some much-needed insight into the current moment in L.A., as well as some news you may have missed:

    A new report overwhelmingly demonstrates the existence of structural racism in L.A., and outlines a plan of action to combat it. (Capital & Main)

    USC students are worried about how they’ll pay off their loans after the university went ahead with a tuition increase for the 2020-21 school year, putting the annual cost of attendance at $59,260. (Daily Trojan)

    California’s wildfires are threatening the state’s cannabis businesses. (Marijuana Business Daily)

    As American society reckons with Black Lives Matter protests and the push for basic equality, Anthony R. Jerry, an assistant professor of anthropology at UC Riverside, explores “how might we talk about a deep fear that Black people have of non-Black society? Let’s call it Black Fear.” (L.A. Watts Times)

    Cooks, dishwashers, and busboys have been overwhelmingly impacted by job loss due to COVID-19 – and this labor organizer is there to help. (KCRW)

    The death of the California dream, one apocalyptic blaze at a time. (LA Mag)

    Tensions are reaching a boiling point between the community, the Sheriff’s Department, and the L.A. County Supervisors over LASD’s refusal to work cooperatively with the County’s inspector general. (WitnessLA)

    These artisanal ice creams and sorbets are made with love by Mercedes Saucedo, a transgender Latina chef who sells her delightful concoctions out of her home. (LA Taco)

    Is there anything Gen Z can’t do? Their latest endeavor: making zines their own. (LA Mag)


    Photo Of The Day

    A man bikes through smoky streets in the San Gabriel Valley as smoke from the Bobcat Fire blankets the area.

    (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

    A man bikes through smokey streets in the San Gabriel Valley as smoke from the Bobcat fire blankets the area.


    Help Us Cover Your Community

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    The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    This post has been updated to reflect changes in what's coming up for today.


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