|(May 5, 2021, 4:05 p.m.) - As flashed May 4th on LBREPOLRT.com's front page and Facebook platforms, a commercial thoroughfare in the heart of LB's Wrigley district (CD 6) had a shooting at midafternoon May 4.
LBPD says that at abut 2:55 p.m., officers responded to the 2000 block of Pacific Avenue regarding an assault with a deadly weapon call and on arrival contacted a male victim with life-threatening injuries. LBFD transported the victim to a hospital in critical condition. "Preliminary evidence suggests the victim was in an alley when an unknown number of suspects in a white sedan approached and shot the victim. Officers located evidence, including bullet casings and strike marks, indicating a shooting had occurred...The incident is being investigated as possibly gang-related."
As previously reported by LBREPORT.com (as part of a story on three shootings within less than half an hour), on May 1 CD 6 had a shooting in the 1500 block of Gaviota Ave. (Cambodia Town south of LBCC Central LB campus CD 6 /Saro.) Officers found a man (adult) with gunshot wounds (plural), who was transported to a hospital listed in stable condition. LBPD says the suspects in that shooting were three male Hispanic adults with at least one of the suspects armed with a firearm. The suspects were last seen fleeing the scene in a white 4-door vehicle.
Since Jan. 1. Councilwoman Suely Saro's 6th Council district has had more shootings (fatal + wounding + casings/strike marks found) than any other LB Council district. Dr. Saro said during her campaign that she didn't support restoring funding for LBPD's former field anti-gang unit. In November 2020, Saro unseated long time incumbent Dee Andrews (who had voted to erase the field ant-gang unit and never moved to restore it.)
The shootings come after the City Council held an April 20 discussion on LBPD-offered "strategies for addessing violent crime through community partnerships." During Council discussion, no incumbents moved to restore any of the 48 officers that the Council voted (9-0) to defund on top of 180+ offices erased by previous Councils and not restored by the current Council. The actions of current and past Councils have left LB taxpayers with a significantly thinner police level than Los Angeles, Signal Hill or Santa Monica.
The Council's Sept. 2020 FY21 defunding reduced LB's police level to roughly 1.5 per thousand. The LA City Council's 2020 defunding reduced its police level to about 2.43 per thousand.
On Feb 2, 2021, with shootings spiking, LB Councilmembers sought a strategy from LBPD. On March 17, LBPD sent Councilmembers a memo that didn't mention the word "gangs" or recent or past Council actions that thinned LBPD levels. Instead, it blamed the pandemic and announced the start of a "walking cop" program (8 officers deployed in the area from the LA River to LB Blvd. between Anaheim St. and PCH through April 30.)
During the six week test, the "walking cop" area had two shootings of which we're aware: On March 20 in the area of PCH/LB Blvd (border CD 1/CD 6), a 19 year old man said a black sedan approached him and a suspect fired two shots which missed hitting him. On April 6, in the 1700 block of Chestnut (CD 1/Willmore City just south of PCH), multiple victims (including adults and juveniles) said they were walking on the sidewalk when they were approached by a vehicle and an unknown male suspect shot at them from within the vehicle, then fled the scene.
On April 20, Chief Luna offered the Council an agendized verbal version of his March 17 memo's recommendations accompanied by Power Point slides. It said LBPD has implemented a "Community Response Team" (officers pulled from other assignments, including a Lieutenant, two Sergeants, 8 directed enforcement officers, 5 gang detectives). During the "walking cop" test program. CD 1 Councilwoman Zendejas portrayed it as focused on the Washington Middle School area. LBPD said that since implementing the walking cop program, the Washington Middle School neighborhood had no shootings.
The walking cop program ended on April 30. On May 1, the Washington Middle School neighborhood had a shooting. On May 4, CD 6 had another shooting outside the "walkng cop" area (2000 block of Pacific is two blocks north of PCH.)
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