Posts By :

SIB Staff

Centralized LA Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Connects 3 East LA Unsolved Murders, 2 Persons of Interest Sought 1024 819 SIB Staff

Centralized LA Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Connects 3 East LA Unsolved Murders, 2 Persons of Interest Sought

On Wednesday, August 18, 2021, Homicide Bureau detectives announced an $80,000 reward in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects responsible for the murders of 34 year-old Jesse Avalos, 38 year-old Eduardo Robles and 27 year-old Amanda “Nikki” Lopez, who were killed in East Los Angeles in 2014, 2015 and 2018, respectively. The reward was sponsored by Supervisor Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, First District.

On Monday, February 10, 2014, at approximately 10:50 p.m., Victim Jesse Avalos received a phone call from an acquaintance requesting a jumpstart to his vehicle near the intersection of Telegraph Road and Arizona Avenue in East Los Angeles. Victim Avalos provided the jumpstart approximately 15 minutes later. A few hours later, East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station received a phone call at 3:25 a.m. of an injured person at the 4800 block of Telegraph Road in East Los Angeles. There, deputies found Victim Avalos on the driver’s seat of his blue SUV.  He had sustained numerous gunshot wounds. The hood of his SUV was found open and two suspects were seen around the vehicle.  

On Monday, July 6, 2015, victim Eduardo Robles was involved in a physical altercation on the driveway of a residence on the 4300 block of Eagle Street in East Los Angeles. Victim Robles was visiting, and approximately 15 people were present when the incident occurred. After the fight, the suspect jumped over a wrought iron fence to the street, walked to Victim Robles’ vehicle and punctured the four tires with a sharp object and fled the location. The same suspect returned to the location five minutes later and shot Victim Robles several times in the upper torso. The suspect was picked up by a Hispanic male in his mid to late forties, five feet eight to five feet nine inches tall, heavy set build, in a light green colored vehicle.

On Sunday, April 22, 2018, at approximately 2:40 a.m., the suspect exited the passenger side of a silver PT Cruiser and began searching for Amanda “Nikki” Lopez in a homeless encampment that was situated in a courtyard in front of the East Los Angeles Courthouse. The suspect located Victim Lopez in a tent in front of the field office of First District Supervisor Hilda Solis. The suspect placed a firearm into the tent and fired at Victim Lopez while she slept, striking her in the upper torso, killing her.  

Sheriff’s detectives made a plea to the public, hoping $80,000 will motivate someone to bring that missing piece of the puzzle and bring closure to these families. “We know there were witnesses at every murder,” said Homicide Bureau Captain Joe Mendoza. It was witnesses coupled with surveillance at scenes that allowed a good description of both suspects.

But what led sheriff’s investigators to explore a possible connection in these three murders? Captain Mendoza explained, “One of the things that’s unique about LA County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is that we are centralized and we commonly speak to other investigators about our cases.  So when investigators were comparing notes on cases, they believed they had similar description of the suspects and that’s when they really started to connect the dots. The link was the descriptions of the suspects who were similarly described.”

When the ballistic evidence from the 2014 murder of Victim Avalos was compared to the ballistic evidence from the 2015 murder of Victim Robles, the comparison determined the same handgun was used in both murders.

All three murders occurred within 2.2 miles of each other and within the same general area of East Los Angeles.  Although a motive for the murders was unclear, investigators believe the victims were known to the suspects and were specifically targeted based on their relationships with the suspects.

In the three cases, witnesses describe the main suspect as a Hispanic male with short hair in his late twenties, five feet eight inches tall with a medium build. He has a tattoo on his neck with unknown writing.

The second suspect drives the getaway vehicle and is described as a Hispanic male in his mid to late forties, five feet eight to five feet nine inches tall, heavy set build and possibly with a mustache.

“I speak for my family as well as the other two families. We don’t have closure, we don’t have justice and I’m sure all of these families are still suffering. Please help us, please come forward with any information you may have,” said Victim Avalos’ eldest sister, Maria Orozco.

 “Our brother is truly missed by our family, by his children,” added Victim Avalos weeping sister, Bertha Avalos.

Justice Deputy Esther Lim, representing LA County Board of Supervisor’s Hilda L. Solis said, “Through this $80,000 reward, the county is counting on our residents to help us bring accountability to the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.”

“We’ve had nobody come forward that can really tell us who these suspects are,” said Captain Mendoza. “So we are trying to get them to come forward because we know those witnesses are out there.  And the $80,000 reward may quite possibly help do just that.”

Video of the full press conference:

To view video surveillance of the suspect exit the passenger side of a silver PT Cruiser, search for Victim Amanda “Nikki” Lopez and fire into the tent, click and download here: https://www.lasdvideos.org/mediaportal/lasd-homicide-captain-mendoza-announces-80k-reward-in-three-east-la-unsolved-murders/

If you have information about these senseless murders, please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, East Los Angeles Station at (323) 264-4151 or if you prefer to provide information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile App on Google Play or the Apple App Store, or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org/.

picture of Sheriff Alex Villanueva standing at a podium speaking to the audience. The podium is brown and has the Sheriff's Badge on the front. There are 8 other personel from O S S behind the Sheriff. A screen is off to the right behind O S S Captain with pictures of two guns on the screen.
LASD Announces Arrest in Attempted Murder of Two Young Adults 1024 683 SIB Staff

LASD Announces Arrest in Attempted Murder of Two Young Adults

On Thursday, July 1, 2021, Sheriff Alex Villanueva along with Captain Robert Jones from the Operation Safe Streets (OSS) Bureau, announced the arrest of two individuals responsible for the brutal attempted murder of two young male adults.

On Friday, June 18, 2021, at approximately 9:50 p.m. two young males were walking on Raven Lane and Avenue J-4 in the city of Lancaster. As they passed two males, one riding a bicycle and the other one on a skateboard, the suspects began firing towards the victims. The gunmen continued shooting even as one of the victims laid on the pavement in agony and distress as he screamed in pain. The perpetrators continued their way still on the bike and skateboard. The victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds to their backs, torso and legs. Both victims were transported to a local hospital where one remains in critical condition while the other one was released and is recovering at home.

Investigators from the OSS Bureau responded and found approximately 30 expended shell casings at the scene.  They immediately began an exhaustive investigation, executed search warrants at two locations and on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, at approximately 9:00 p.m., OSS investigators arrested the suspects connected to the shooting, along with three additional individuals. Several “ghost gun” firearms were also seized from the locations. Ghost guns are virtually untraceable weapons that can be made at home using parts that are legally purchased usually in the internet.

Ghost gun and extended magazine seized from the location.
Ghost gun firearms seized from the location.

The adult suspect is a self-admitted gang member and has an extensive criminal history. He is currently on parole under Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS). Based on current laws, the juvenile was unable to be interviewed by investigators.

“Now it seems like the movement from the District Attorney’s office is ‘Let cuff the cops and release the crooks’ and that whole mentality is making its way onto the streets now where it’s more dangerous for our community members. So we need to definitely rethink what our role is and what reform really means in the criminal justice system and who’s benefitting from this reform…” said Sheriff Villanueva.

Video of the full press conference:

Video of actual incident:

Investigators Seek Information on Abandoned Baby and Person of Interest 1024 768 SIB Staff

Investigators Seek Information on Abandoned Baby and Person of Interest

On Thursday, June 17, 2021, Special Victims Bureau detectives held a press conference to discuss the circumstances surrounding the abandonment of a newborn baby. They asked anyone with information to help identify a person of interest. 

On Friday, June 11, 2021, at approximately 8:00 a.m. a newborn Hispanic and/or African American baby boy was found by a park patron in a public restroom at Yvonne Burke-John D. Ham Park, in the city of Lynwood, CA. As the park visitor entered the restroom, she heard a “whimpering noise” coming from a trashcan and upon inspecting it, she found a baby amongst trash. She rescued the baby and called 911. Deputies assigned to the Century Sheriff’s Station as well as personnel from the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded and rendered aid. The baby was transported to the hospital and was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit where he is listed in stable condition.  

The parents of the baby have not been identified and detectives are looking for a person of interest seen on surveillance video. Throughout the investigation, the detectives learned these females may have some information that can potentially be helpful. She is a female Hispanic, late teens to early 20’s, 5’4, 120-125lbs, dark complexion, and wavy hair. The person was seen at the park with another female, who was wearing a light colored cardigan and had a small child that was pushing a pink trike stroller.

California has a Safely Surrendered Baby Law, which gives parents or guardians the choice to legally and safely surrender their baby at any hospital or fire station in Los Angeles County, with no questions asked. Since the program first launched in 2001, over 180 newborns have been safely surrendered in Los Angeles County.

A silver lining of this unfortunate situation is that there have been numerous inquiries about adopting the baby boy, including personnel from the Sheriff’s and Fire Department, as well as the responding paramedics and nurses that treated the baby in the hospital. He is now under the care and custody of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Information on the adoption process can be found at dcfs.lacounty.gov/caregivers/adoption/ or the Adoption and Foster Recruitment line at (888) 811-1121.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Special Victims Bureau at (562) 946-8200 or by email at specialvictimsbureau@lasd.org.  If you prefer to provide information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile App on Google Play or the Apple App Store, or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org/.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva Announces Crack Down on Illegal Marijuana Operations 1024 576 SIB Staff

Sheriff Alex Villanueva Announces Crack Down on Illegal Marijuana Operations

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 8, 2021, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration conducted a collaborative operation to take down multiple illegal marijuana grows in Unincorporated Lancaster.

As a result of information received through public calls for service and multiple complaints from residents in Unincorporated Lancaster, the largest operation in the history of the Sheriff’s Department was developed to put an end to the hundreds of illegal marijuana cultivations in the Antelope Valley. Over 400 personnel from multiple Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Bureaus, the National Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and members from the Kern County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County and Ventura County Sheriff’s Department were part of the operation.  

In the year 2020, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Narcotic Bureau Detectives identified 150 illegal marijuana cultivations during a flight reconnaissance. This year, the number increased to over 500.  The cultivations grew in size as well, the average size per grow was eight greenhouses and now the average is 15. Today, a 75 greenhouse grow that covered 10 acres of ground was bulldozed. Violent crime is also directly linked to illegal cultivations. Armed cartel members stealing water in the middle of the night from farmers and residents has become a common sight.

“We’re going to send a loud and clear message to all the cartels and illegal operations, ‘your days here are over and you need to pack up and leave or we’re going to find you,’” said Sheriff Villanueva.

So far, 23 arrests were made, 5 firearms were seized, 2 water trucks were recovered, and marijuana worth millions of dollars was seized from greenhouses.  Also, during the operation, seven mixed breed dogs including four puppies were recovered by LASD personnel and are now under the care of Reversed Rescue, a non-profit dog rescue organization. 


The success of this operation was possible because of the wide range of agencies that collaborated and thanks to the information collected from countless investigation hours and tips provided by courageous people who trust law enforcement.

Sheriff Discusses Organizational Change and Transparency 1024 512 SIB Staff

Sheriff Discusses Organizational Change and Transparency

On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, Sheriff Alex Villanueva discussed the issue of “deputy cliques” and the steps he has taken to address the problem. Some politicians, their political appointees and the media have manipulated the deputy cliques’ narrative and it is important to separate perception from reality, and fiction from fact.

On his very first day as the Sheriff of Los Angeles County, he removed the Captain of the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station, replaced the entire command staff and transferred 36 deputies to other stations. Despite the pandemic and the civil unrest from last year, the Kennedy Hall investigation was completed and 26 employees were disciplined including 4 that were terminated.

In February of last year, he became the first Sheriff in Los Angeles County to successfully implement a policy addressing the issue of “deputy cliques”. A cliques’ video was produced and distributed within the department, all personnel signed “attestation forms,” and mandatory briefings regarding cliques were implemented. Additionally, Sheriff Villanueva sponsored AB 958 legislation for Peace Officer Cliques with Assembly Member Mike Gipson. Last week, the “Duty to Cooperate” video was distributed within the department. This video includes numerous other policies which are in the approval stage. “All of these reforms will further strengthen transparency and accountability as we continue to change the organizational culture,” said Sheriff Villanueva.

In addition, the use of tattoos by members of the department was addressed. In 2014, Los Angeles County Counsel concluded that a department cannot ban something that is a constitutionally protected speech and tattoos are a form of speech protected by the First and Fourth Amendments.

Sheriff Villanueva also changed a practice which had been in effect for more than half a century; the department is now releasing the names of personnel involved in shootings within 30 days, unless a credible specific threat is present. Contrary to what the media or some politicians claim, many policies have been implemented in regards to deputy cliques so that the community can assess the work of the department, trust law enforcement and the continued strengthening of relationships. 

NOTE:  To view the video played during the press conference of nurses who got tattoos, please follow this link:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/abc7.com/amp/covid19-coronavirus-nurses-tattoos/9534955/

VALOR AWARD PRESENTED TO SPECIAL ENFORCEMENT BUREAU 1024 681 SIB Staff

VALOR AWARD PRESENTED TO SPECIAL ENFORCEMENT BUREAU

On Tuesday, April 27, 2021, San Bernardino County Undersheriff Shannon Dicus presented the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department (SBSD) Medal of Valor to five Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Air Rescue 5 helicopter crew members for their effort, skill, determination, and commitment during the search and recovery operation of SBSD Search and Rescue (SAR) member Timothy Staples.

Staples was one of 126 people across 23 teams searching for Sreenivas “Sree” Mokkapati, who was reported missing on December 8, 2019, after becoming separated from his group while ascending Mount Baldy. Staples’ partner on the search and rescue team alerted the sheriff’s department on Saturday that he had become separated from Staples. Despite inclement weather conditions and treacherous terrain, members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Air Rescue 5 helicopter crew located Staples in “an area of ice and snow.” He was unresponsive, and a crew member lowered to Staples determined he was dead.

Even though the operation turned into a recovery, the crew’s efforts still demonstrate the dangerous working conditions search and rescue personnel face every day. “In my opinion, the LASD has one of the best search and rescue programs in the nation, and the Flight Deputies and Crew of Air 5 are the cream of the crop,” said Sheriff Villanueva.

San Bernardino County Undersheriff Shannon Dicus presented the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Medal of Valor to Los Angeles County Air Rescue 5 Crew member Deputies Todd Kocisko, Scott Helbing, Steve Pratt, Jennifer Shepard, and Sergeant Dave Carver for their act of bravery during the operation.

SHERIFF PRESENTS CHECK TO POMONA VALLEY HOSPITAL 1024 487 SIB Staff

SHERIFF PRESENTS CHECK TO POMONA VALLEY HOSPITAL

In an ongoing effort to increase public awareness about the fight against breast cancer, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva presented a $10,500.00 check to the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Breast Health Center.

Proceeds were generated through the Pink Patch Project, a collaborative effort between the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association (LACPCA) and over 500 public safety agencies throughout the United States. As part of this program, participating agencies sell their commemorative pink patches not only to public safety personnel but also to the community. In addition to pink patches, other merchandise, including T-shirts, challenge coins, and stuffed animals, is sold to generate funds. Last year face masks were added to the list. Proceeds from the sale of these items go to fund breast cancer education, research, and treatment.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the community’s support of the Pink Patch Project,” said Richard E. Yochum, FACHE, President/CEO of Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. “The funds raised help us to provide free resources to those in our community affected by cancer, including Nurse Navigators for patients, support groups, a wig program, creative journaling and exercise classes, as well as investments in advanced technologies, such as our SmartCurve breast stabilization system, which reduces pain during mammograms, and the DigniCap Scalp Cooling System that reduces the risk of hair loss during chemotherapy treatment.”

Maria Perez, a former patient of PVHMC, shared her story of survival: “When they tell you ‘you have stage IV cancer’ and when you see your kids, and you see that you’re going to leave them by themselves, who is going to take care of them? I pushed myself to come here.” 

Sheriff Villanueva, a cancer survivor himself, added: “Early detection, prevention, and intervention is the key to success, and we want to encourage and facilitate any which way we can to give all the resources to the community to facilitate treatment.”

Please visit www.lasdpatch.com to purchase pink patches and other merchandise. Proceeds from the sale of these items will directly benefit cancer research and treatment.

LASD Sheriff's Department Logo
SHERIFF PROVIDES UPDATE ON TIGER WOODS TRAFFIC COLLISION 768 170 SIB Staff

SHERIFF PROVIDES UPDATE ON TIGER WOODS TRAFFIC COLLISION

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva along with Captain James Powers announced that the primary cause of the collision involving golfer Tiger Woods was driving at a speed unsafe for the road conditions and the inability to negotiate the curve of the roadway.

On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, Tiger Woods was involved in a traffic collision on Hawthorne Blvd., in Rancho Palos Verdes. According to the vehicle’s event data recorder, estimated speeds at the first area of impact were 84 to 87 mph and when the vehicle made a final impact on a tree the speed was 75 mph.

Villanueva stated that no citations were issued and there were no signs of impairment. Contrary to various reports, Mr. Woods did not receive preferential treatment and the primary concern after the crash was providing the medical care needed to survive his life-threatening injuries.

Captain Powers reiterated that there was no evidence of impairment, no odor of alcohol, no open containers in the vehicle, no narcotics or evidence of medication on the vehicle or in his person. Also, due to the traumatic nature of his injuries, it would have been inappropriate to administer a sobriety test. Since there was no observation by a peace officer or no independent witnesses, a citation was not issued. Cell phone records were not reviewed because the only factors of the accident were speed and the failure to maintain the curvature of the roadway. There was no probable cause to obtain bloodwork at the hospital because based on the facts, there was no evidence of intoxication or impairment.

According to the event data recorder, it is believed that Tiger Woods inadvertently hit the accelerator instead of the brakes.

To view the traffic report of the collision please click here.

LASD Relaxes Parking Enforcement in unincorporated LA County Areas 600 410 SIB Staff

LASD Relaxes Parking Enforcement in unincorporated LA County Areas

Effective Immediately, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Relaxes Parking Enforcement in Unincorporated Los Angeles County Areas

The recent stay-at-home order issued in early December, brought to light once again the need for additional parking across Los Angeles County. Understanding the needs and challenges of those in the communities we serve, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Parking Enforcement Detail will temporarily relax parking enforcement, effective immediately, to help cope with parking availability.

Temporary relaxed enforcement in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County will include:

  • Street sweeping:  All streets with posted signs for street sweeping, per 15.20.07(2) LACVC, will not be enforced.
  • Expired registration:  Vehicles with expired registration will not be cited for 5204 (a) CVC.
    Registrations expired in excess of six months, in violation of 4000(a)(1) CVC are subject to citation, per 22651 (o)(1)(A) CVC, will not be towed.

Enforcement in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County will continue for:

  • Blocking fire hydrants.
  • Red zone parking and/or fire lane.
  • Handicap parking violations.
  • Blocking driveway.
  • Parked vehicles which disrupt the flow of traffic.
  • Metered parking in business districts.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will continue to enforce violations which pose an immediate risk to public safety.

150 ARRESTED at Massive Super-Spreader Event 960 768 SIB Staff

150 ARRESTED at Massive Super-Spreader Event

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Arrests Over 150 People at a Massive “Super-Spreader” Event in Palmdale  

On Tuesday, December 8, 2020, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced details and results from an operation at a super-spreader event on Saturday, December 5, 2020, in Palmdale. The operation was done with extensive coordination and meticulous planning from various bureaus and units, including the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station, Human Trafficking Force, Operation Safe Streets Bureau, Aero Bureau, three patrol squads of the Mobile Field Force Personnel, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department. 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department obtained information that a massive underground party would occur at a vacant house in Palmdale. Previous incidents revealed parties like these often involve drugs, prostitution, underage drinking, and violence.  

During the well-executed operation on the 6300 blocks of West Avenue M8, 158 individuals were arrested; 116 of them were adults, and 35 were juveniles. Six firearms were confiscated. Most importantly, a girl that was categorized as a Commercially Sexually Exploited Child was rescued. The event was not only a violation of the Governor’s health order, but it was also criminal in nature. 

Sheriff Villanueva asked local and state politicians to reconsider allowing the restaurant industry to re-open and instead target super-spreader events, which account for most COVID-19 transmissions. 

“We will continue to apply common sense to our enforcement actions and weigh the letter of the law with the spirit of the law. It is my firm belief that this approach is a more efficient and effective means to manage the spread of this potentially deadly virus,” said Sheriff Villanueva. 

Press Conference: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Arrests Over 150 People at a Massive “Super-spreader” Event in Palmdale

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Arrests Over 150 People at a Massive “Super-Spreader” Event in Palmdale.On Tuesday, December 8, 2020, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced details and results from an operation at a super-spreader event on Saturday, December 5, 2020, in Palmdale. The operation was done with extensive coordination and meticulous planning from various bureaus and units, including the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station, Human Trafficking Force, Operation Safe Streets Bureau, Aero Bureau, three patrol squads of the Mobile Field Force Personnel, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department obtained information that a massive underground party would occur at a vacant house in Palmdale. Previous incidents revealed parties like these often involve drugs, prostitution, underage drinking, and violence. During the well-executed operation on the 6300 blocks of West Avenue M8, 158 individuals were arrested; 116 of them were adults, and 35 were juveniles. Six firearms were confiscated. Most importantly, a girl that was categorized as a Commercially Sexually Exploited Child was rescued. The event was not only a violation of the Governor’s health order, but it was also criminal in nature. Sheriff Villanueva asked local and state politicians to reconsider allowing the restaurant industry to re-open and instead, target super-spreader events, which account for most COVID-19 transmissions. “We will continue to apply common sense to our enforcement actions and weigh the letter of the law with the spirit of the law. It is my firm belief that this approach is a more efficient and effective means to manage the spread of this potentially deadly virus,” said Sheriff Villanueva.

Posted by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday, December 8, 2020