Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is now providing additional information about the gunman and victims who perished in yesterday’s shootout involving the LAPD Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, along with a funeral date for slain SWAT Team Officer Randal Simmons, including trust funds and donation opportunities created for Simmons and seriously wounded SWAT Officer James Veenstra, who remains hospitalized in stable condition. Veenstra, who underwent several hours of surgery yesterday, is continuing to improve. It is expected he will undergo future surgeries, including jaw reconstruction.
Both Simmons and Veenstra have been highly recognized within LAPD for their dedication and expertise. Simmons was an assistant squad leader and served as a mentor and inspiration to other members of the team. He was also the most tenured member of the SWAT’s critical Crisis Negotiation Team. Veenstra received a 1999 Medal of Valor, the LAPD’s highest honor, for rescue efforts during a 1997 domestic violence gunfight.
Also injured with minor abrasions from bullet fragments were SWAT Officers David Keortge and Michael Odle who are in excellent condition. Keortge has been with the LAPD for 14 years and on the SWAT Team for nine months. Odle has served 29 years as an LAPD officer and been on the SWAT Team for 23 years.
Through the Los Angeles County Coroner, the gunman has been identified as Edwin Rivera, age 20. There were three victims from the suspect’s family identified as Gerardo Rivera, age 54, Edgar Rivera, age 21 and Endi Rivera, age 25. The gunman’s motives are still being examined. However, LAPD investigators have determined that he suffered from psychological problems that may have contributed to his actions.
Viewing will be on Thur., Feb. 14, 2008, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Glory Christian Fellowship International Church, 225 W. Torrance Blvd., Carson, CA.
Funeral arrangements for Simmons are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 15, 2008, at 11 a.m. at the Crenshaw Christian Faith Dome, 7901 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. The Interment immediately following will be at Holy Cross Cemetery, 5835 W. Slauson Ave., Culver City.
On Wed., Feb. 13, 2008, the Burger King at 700 W. Cesar Chavez Ave. in Los Angeles will donate 100 percent of its sales from 6 a.m. to midnight to the Simmons family, courtesy of Ralph and Larry Cimmarusti, who own more than 50 Burger King Restaurants in Los Angeles and Texas. As committed partners of the LAPD, the Cimmarusti brothers donated over $27,000 to the family of Officer Landon Dorris following his death from a traffic accident on Oct. 22, 2006.
Courtesy of the United States Marine Corp Law Enforcement Foundation, the Simmons’ two children will each receive scholarships in the form of a $30,000 zero coupon bond that will mature on each child’s 18th birthday. The scholarships will be for academic purposes at the educational institution of choice.
Trust funds for Simmons and Veenstra have also been established through the Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union (LAPFCU). To make a contribution, donors should go to the LAPFCU web site at www.lapfcu.org and click on the red square entitled “LAPFCU Community Corner.” Donations may also be mailed to the following locations:
Blue Ribbon Trust Fund/ Officer Randal Simmons
Acct. 2030077-product code S4.12
16150 Sherman Way
Van Nuys, CA 91410
Blue Ribbon Trust Fund/ Officer James Veenstra
Acct. 2030077-product code S4.13
16150 Sherman Way
Van Nuys, CA 91410
Contributions in their honor may also be made to:
The Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation.