Los Angeles: By the end of the three-day Labor Day weekend, the traditional end of summer, thirteen homicides were recorded in the City of Los Angeles. One incident was a double murder when a stepfather shot two stepdaughters at a birthday party. All but two of the incidents were related to gunfire. Four of the incidents occurred in the 77th Street Area within a 36-hour period. In addition, a man was shot and killed by police officers in the 900 block of 84th Street as the officers struggled to disarm him.
"The summer came in like a lamb and went out like a lion," said LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vernon. "This past weekend was a stark contrast to August, when 77th Area had only two murders for the whole month. Nobody can remember when that happened last."
"Homicides are still down for the year, but we lost pace with our decline," Vernon said. For the week that ended before Memorial Day, homicides were down over 10 percent compared to the prior year. By September 2, the decline narrowed to 5 percent, then the rash of homicides this weekend reduced the decline to 3 percent.
In addition to the 13 homicides over the weekend, police officers were involved in a life-and-death struggle over a man’s gun. Around 6:20 PM, two gang officers from the 77th Street Police Station attempted to stop a burgundy SUV, thinking it might be stolen. A passenger bolted from the right door and ran. Officers Aquiles Morales, 32, and Jesse Carillo, 30, saw the man was armed with a gun and opted to follow him. The SUV drove way.
The officers followed the gunman down a dark driveway near 922 East 84th Street. The two officers struggled with the man over the gun. The suspect’s gun fired, as did at least one of the officers’ guns. The suspect, Robert Henderson, 30, died at the scene. Detectives recovered Henderson’s gun at the scene. The woman driving the SUV was stopped and detained a few minutes later. She was released after verifying the SUV was not stolen.
Officer Morales has been with LAPD for 10 years, and his partner Officer Carillo is an 8-year veteran. Neither officer was injured in the incident. Force Investigation Division is handling.
Year to date Homicides through September 2, 2006: