Downtown Los Angeles header image
Los Angeles Police Department Badge


News Release

Saturday, May 12, 2001

Media Relations

Traffic Collision In Rampart Kills A Pedestrian

"Traffic Collision in Rampart Kills a Pedestrian"


Los Angeles - On Friday, May 11, 2001, at approximately 7:45 a.m., Rampart Patrol Officers responded to a radio call, "Ambulance Traffic in the 600 Block of Berendo Street." Upon arrival the officers observed a victim down on the ground in the intersection of Berendo Street and 7th Street. Los Angeles Fire Department Paramedics responded and pronounced the victim dead at the scene. The victim was a male Black, 46 years old, a resident of Los Angeles.

The investigation revealed that a private trash collection company was unloading trash bins in front of 716 South Berendo Street. The driver of the vehicle walked to the rear to unload the trash bins. At this time a suspect jumped into the vehicle and drove northbound on Berendo Street. The suspect collided with numerous parked cars and then struck the victim in the roadway. The suspect continued driving north on Berendo Street, then west on 7th street and south on Catalina Street. The suspect lost control of the vehicle and collided with several other parked cars. The suspect then exited the vehicle and ran southbound on Catalina Street. Witnesses at the scene observed the suspect fleeing the location after the traffic accident, they pursued him and held him in custody until police arrived.

Rampart officers took the suspect into custody without incident. The suspect has been identified as James Michael Cortez, a male Hispanic approximately 43 years old. The suspect was arrested and charged with 187 PC-Murder.

The victim's identity is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.

Rampart Homicide Detectives are conducting this investigation. For further information, please contact Rampart Homicide Detectives Silva, C. or King, J. at 213-207-2060.

This press release was prepared by Officer La Donna Cissell, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.