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Feb 102013
 

Tim Hawley/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — A helicopter crash in southern California early Sunday morning left three people dead.

Charred pieces of the helicopter were strewn over private property in the mountains about 45 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles. The three people onboard were killed. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the helicopter was being used for some kind of movie shoot.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Feb 082013
 

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — More than 100 police officers were going door-to-door and searching for new tracks in the snow in the hopes of catching suspected cop killer Christopher Dorner overnight in Big Bear Lake, Calif., before he strikes again as laid out in his online manifesto.

Police held a news conference late Thursday, alerting the residents near Big Bear Lake that Dorner was still on the loose after finding his truck burning around 12:45 p.m. local time.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said the authorities can’t say for certain he’s not in the area.  More than half of the 400 homes in the area have been searched by police, who are traveling in two-man teams.  Bachman urged people in the area to not answer the door, unless you know the person or it’s law enforcement in uniform.

After discovering Dorner’s burning truck near a Bear Mountain ski resort, police discovered tracks in the snow leading away from the vehicle.  The truck has been taken to the San Bernardino County Sheriffs’ crime lab.

Bachman would not comment on Dorner’s motive for leaving the car or its contents, citing the ongoing investigation.  Police are not aware of Dorner having any ties to others in the area.

She added that the search in the area would continue as long as the weather cooperates.  However, a snowstorm was forecast for the area.  About three choppers were being used overnight, but weather conditions were deteriorating, according to Bachman.

Dorner, a former Los Angeles police officer and Navy reservist, is suspected of killing one police officer and injuring another Thursday morning in Riverside, Calif.  He was also accused of killing two civilians on Sunday.  And he allegedly released an angry “manifesto” airing grievances against police and warning of coming violence toward cops.

In the manifesto Dorner published online, he threatened at least 12 people by name, along with their families.

“Your lack of ethics and conspiring to wrong a just individual are over.  Suppressing the truth will leave to deadly consequences for you and your family,” Dorner wrote in his manifesto.

One passage from the manifesto read, “I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty.”

“I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own,” it read.  “I’m terminating yours.”

Hours after the extensive manhunt dragged police to Big Bear Lake, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said Dorner had sent him a package at his New York office that arrived on Feb. 1, though Cooper said he never knew about the package until Thursday.  It contained a DVD of court testimony, with a Post-It note signed by Dorner claiming, “I never lied!  Here is my vindication.”

It also contained a keepsake coin bearing the name of former Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton that came wrapped in duct tape, Cooper said.  The duct tape bore the note, “Thanks, but no thanks Will Bratton.”

Bratton told Cooper on his program, Anderson Cooper 360, that he believed he gave Dorner the coin as he was headed overseas for the Navy — Bratton’s practice when officers got deployed abroad.  Though a picture has surfaced of Bratton, in uniform, and Dorner, in fatigues, shaking hands, Bratton told Cooper he didn’t recall Dorner or the meeting.

Police say Dorner began his killing spree over the weekend, when a popular assistant women’s college basketball coach, Monica Quan, and her fiancé, Keith Lawrence, were found dead in their car in Irvine, Calif., on Sunday.

Police identified Dorner as a suspect in the double murder late Wednesday night after discovering the online manifesto allegedly written by the suspect.

“Of particular interest at this point in the investigation is a multi-page manifesto in which the suspect has implicated himself in the slayings,” Irvine police Chief David L. Maggard said at a news conference Wednesday.

Police claim Dorner bore a grudge against Quan’s father, retired LAPD Capt. Randy Quan, for his firing from the department.

Dorner was with the department from 2005 until 2008, when he was fired for making false statements.

Randy Quan, who became a lawyer in retirement, represented Dorner in front of the Board of Rights, a tribunal that ruled against Dorner at the time of his dismissal.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jan 142013
 

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for BGR(WASHINGTON) — Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said fights on the debt ceiling and spending cuts should not distract Congress from efforts to fix a “broken immigration system” and introduce new comprehensive immigration legislation in 2013.

“They should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” said Villaraigosa to a crowd of around 70 in Washington, D.C., Monday.

Villaraigosa characterized the current immigration system as “long on enforcement and short on opportunity.”

The mayor also presented a six-part plan for achieving legal residency, which includes an employment verification system, border protection and criminal background checks.

“Legalization should be earned, but not be unattainable,” said Villaraigosa, one of the top-elected Latino officials in the United States and a fierce advocate for a comprehensive immigratrion bill.

The mayor has also become active with other big-city mayors, such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on the issue of gun violence. And one month after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Villaraigosa repeated calls for tougher gun laws.

“It’s an abomination that we don’t have an assault weapons ban,” said Villaraigosa.

Villagairosa also called for setting up universal background checks and a “beef-up” of mental health resources.

As for his future in the public sector, Villaraigosa wouldn’t give any specifics, saying only that he is “focusing on the job at hand” until the end of his mayoral term in June.

He is widely considered a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, or as a good contender to join President Obama’s cabinet.

Villaraigosa previously served as the chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Dec 262012
 

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — In response to the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre and other recent gun violence, officials in Los Angeles held a gun buyback program on Wednesday.

The program collected nearly 1,400 guns. Usually held on Mother’s Day weekend, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa moved the program up. He said it’s essential for the government to coordinate efforts.

Villaraigosa added, “Now cities and states must join with the federal government to do everything we can, as quickly as we can to keep our communities safe, and to get deadly weapons off our streets.”

According to a statement by the LAPD, citizens surrendering guns in the buyback program are not asked to provide any identification, which makes the process anonymous.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Dec 262012
 

Emanuel Pleitez/Facebook(LOS ANGELES) — Emanuel Pleitez believes he’s the man who can fix Los Angeles’ most pressing problems. But first he’ll have to overcome long odds to win the city’s mayoral race next year.

The 30-year-old Pleitez is in a crowded field of candidates vying to lead the nation’s second-largest city, including established political figures such as City Councilman Eric Garcetti, Councilwoman Jan Perry, and City Controller Wendy Greuel. A recent poll shows Pleitez receiving only two percent support against his better-known candidates. The candidates will go before voters for the first time in a non-partisan primary on March 5.

But Pleitez, the son of immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, believes that he can use his experience growing up in the El Sereno neighborhood of East Los Angeles to energize disadvantaged communities and put together a winning coalition.

“I’m doing this because there are a bunch of folks in L.A. who are disaffected, disappointed, and frankly unimpressed with the candidates they have,” he said in an interview with ABC/Univision. “That’s not a spoiler, that’s the person who should be considered the best mayor.”

Pleitez isn’t new to the political scene. He ran in a 2009 congressional special election to replace then-Rep. Hilda Solis (D), who was selected to serve as secretary of labor. But he lost the Democratic nomination to Judy Chu. Before that, Pleitez worked on Obama’s transition team. After his failed bid for Congress, he served in the administration’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board headed by former Fed chairman Paul Volcker.

He also worked at big-name financial institutions and management consulting firms such as Goldman Sachs and McKinsey and Company, which he left this year to serve as an executive at L.A.-based tech firm Spokeo. But he always returns to his roots — his mother was pregnant with him when she immigrated to the U.S. and he became the first member of his family to graduate from college, getting a degree from Stanford. Pleitez tries to present both his humble origins and his star-studded résumé as positives.

“It’s not like I’m coming out of nowhere,” says Pleitez. “I’ve got more relevant experience to actually understand solutions, but more importantly, know what it’s like to struggle and actually understand these problems firsthand.”

Yet, Pleitez has experienced some trouble breaking through. Earlier this month, he failed to meet fundraising benchmarks to participate in a televised candidates debate. But a group of young supporters protested the event, chatting “Let Pleitez debate!” L.A. Weekly reported. Pleitez tells ABC/Univision he has been invited to at least half a dozen future candidate forums and debates.

Though the number seem stacked against him, Pleitez insists his campaign’s use of technology and social media, as well as door-to-door contacts, will help him turn out enough of his voters to win on Election Day, especially from neighborhoods in East and South L.A. that have traditionally been neglected by other political campaigns. It’s akin to a scaled-down version of President Obama’s successful voter outreach strategy.

“My message sticks, it’s a question of whether I get in front of the right voters,” he said. ” I’m completely confident that we’re going to rise in the polls, especially in the next month or so. I don’t care where I am now, I care where I am on March 5.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio