Southern California breaking news and trends

$50,000 reward offered for information about Venice slaying of Oscar Duncan

oscar duncan

Photo by Antonio Castelan via NBC LA

Oscar Duncan was shot dead outside a home in Venice Monday night. A popular youth minister and mentor at the local Boys & Girls Club, Duncan is pictured here in his Venice High football uniform.

A $50,000 reward for information about the fatal shooting of 23-year-old youth pastor Oscar Duncan was announced Thursday at a press conference.

Police say Duncan was standing with his girlfriend in front of his mother's home Monday night after returning from Bible study when a car pulled up, comments were made, and a shot was fired, striking him in the head.

Authorites say the mentor, musician, youth pastor and former football captain, was not gang affiliated and had no criminal record. They believe the assailants may have been gang members.

Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter @lisa_brenner


The city is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction of 1-year-old Angel Cortez's killer

Angel Cortez


The city it offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer of 1-year-old Angel Cortez.

Angel Cortez was fatally shot while in his father's arms Monday night, near the corner of 105th and Hickory Streets in South Los Angeles. Cortez and his father, Mauro Cortez, who was also hit, were rushed to the hospital, where Angel was pronounced dead after life-saving efforts failed. 

Police say a young man on a bike, at the corner of 105th and Hickory Streets, was the shooter. They would not speculate on a motive for the shooting, but the LAPD’s criminal gang homicide division is investigating. So are federal agencies. Police dismissed speculation that someone had targeted the family because of the color shirt one of the baby’s relatives wore. LA City Councilman Joe Buscaino, whose district includes Watts, said the focus should be on finding the boy’s killer. 

"We talk about the gang issue," he said. "Let me be clear. Angel Cortez was not a gang member. He was a one-year-old child. He should not be subject to this violent act. And we as a community will not put up with it."


Venice youth mentor Oscar Duncan fatally shot near Abbot Kinney

oscar duncan

Photo by Antonio Castelan via NBC LA

Oscar Duncan was shot dead outside a home in Venice Monday night. A popular youth minister and mentor at the local Boys & Girls Club, Duncan is pictured here in his Venice High football uniform.

The search continues Tuesday for information regarding the killing of influential Venice resident Oscar Duncan.

Duncan -- known for his work as a youth minister, mentor, and musician -- was fatally shot in the head Monday night at around 10:30 p.m. as he walked on the 600 block of Santa Clara Avenue, say police.

Detectives believe a white vehicle approached Duncan and then stopped. Officials say one of the occupants shot Duncan as he stood in the roadway. The motive for the shooting is unknown, and police have no suspect descriptions at this time.

The former Venice High School football player, known to some as "Choir Boy," was involved with programs at the Greater Zion Church in Compton and the Takeover Youth Ministry and was a longstanding presence at the Boys & Girls Club in Venice, according to detectives.


Veteran LAPD officer finds his mother shot dead in her South Los Angeles home


The South L.A. home where 79-year-old Cleo Hughes, the mother of an LAPD officer, was found shot to death on Sunday, June 3, 2012.

An LAPD officer checking in on his mother found her shot to death in her South L.A. home on Sunday, and police currently have no suspect or motive in the murder.

Cleo Hughes, 79, was killed in her home on the 1600 block of West 66th Street, the L.A. Times reports. Her son, identified by CBS as Chris Hughes, dropped her off there at about 7 p.m. Saturday and went to check on her Sunday after she didn’t return his phone calls.

He discovered her body at around noon, an LAPD spokesman told the Associated Press. NBC reports that she had been shot in the chest.

A family friend said the officer and his mother were very close.

“He checks up on his mother every day,” Allyson Smith said. “She was beautiful, I mean a lovely mother.” Smith added that the officer is her only son.

ABC reports that Chris Hughes is a department veteran who trains recruits at the police academy. The grieving son stayed at the crime scene while his colleagues conducted their investigation.


Ferris wheel feat: World-record victory by LAPD detective on Santa Monica pier

ferris wheel santa monica pier

Photo by guyprentice via Flickr Creative Commons

It is a world-record setting day for Los Angeles law enforcement as detective Gus Martinez reached his goal of enduring the longest Ferris wheel ride ever recorded -- 25 hours.

Under the Guinness World Records guidelines, Martinez (who rode from 7:30 a.m. Thursday to 8:30 a.m Friday) was not permitted to sleep, but was allowed off the spinning wheel for a five-minute bathroom break once per hour, reports the L.A. Times.

Martinez took the circular journey to nowhere on the 130-foot-tall amusement in an effort to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics. His son has won more than 30 gold medals in the competiton, notes NBC LA.

Additional motion sickness can be found on the fundraising website where a contest winner will receive a private, hour-long ride on the wheel.

The previous Ferris wheel riding record was set in Dublin, Ireland, and stood at 24 hours and 30 minutes.