Southern California breaking news and trends

Ferris wheel feat: LAPD detective attempts world record on Santa Monica pier

ferris wheel santa monica pier

Photo by guyprentice via Flickr Creative Commons

The most exclusive scene Thursday night will be at the Santa Monica pier where an LAPD detective is attempting to set a new world record with a 25-hour ferris wheel ride.

LAPD Detective Gus Martinez is taking 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.

From 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Thursday, night-riders can take a spin in solidarity for $5, with all proceeds benefiting Special Olympics Southern California.

In order to break the record of 24 hours and 30 minutes set in Dublin, Ireland, Martinez will need to go round and round and round and round (etc.) til around 8:30 a.m. on Friday.

A motion sickness-inducing contest accompanies donations made on the website -- the winner will receive a private, hour-long ride on the wheel.


Bryan Stow beating case: In video, suspect Marvin Norwood says 'Pretty sure I'm going down for it'

Photo via NBC LA

Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood are the primary suspects in the March 31, 2011 beating of Bryan Stow in the Dodger Stadium parking lot.

The preliminary hearing for Marvin Norwood and Louie Sanchez, the suspects in last year's near fatal beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow on opening day at Dodger Stadium, continues Thursday in L.A.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli saw the first piece of evidence yesterday, a video put forth by L.A. County prosecutors of defendant Norwood talking to his mother on the phone about his involvement in the incident, reports the L.A. Times

In an interrogation room, on a LAPD detective's cellphone, 31-year-old Norwood tells his mother, "Hey, I got arrested for that Dodger Stadium thing... I was involved... Pretty sure I'm going down for it," remarking that 30-year-old Sanchez was also in custody, says the Times.

The pair could stand trial on charges of assault and battery, inflicting great bodily injury, and mayhem, if it's determined there is enough evidence to proceed.


Police hope video footage from gas station will help them catch ‘Opportunistic Bandit’

Police have released new video footage of the man they are calling “The Opportunistic Bandit,” responsible for at least a dozen crimes throughout the greater L.A. area.

The LAPD has been hunting the bandit for a month, and hopes that footage taken April 15 from a Hollywood gas station’s surveillance camera will help catch him.

In it, the suspect is seen following a woman into the gas station on the 1700 block of Highland Avenue at about 8:45 p.m. while he appears to talk on his phone. He makes conversation with the woman off-camera before following her out of the store. According to an LAPD press release, from there the man followed her to her car and “entered through the passenger door. He hit the victim a number of times and forced her out of her car. The suspect drove away with the victim’s car and purse.”


Former LAPD Stephanie Lazarus gets 27 to life for killing ex's wife

Erika Aguilar/KPCC

The Rasmussen family spoke during the sentencing of former LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus who will spend 27 years to life in prison for the 1986 murder of Sherri Rasmussen.

Convicted in March of killing her ex-boyfriend's wife nearly 30 years ago, former LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus was sentenced Friday to 27 years to life in prison, with the possibility of parole.

Lazarus, 52, was found to have shot Sherri Rae Rasmussen three times in the chest during a fit of jealous rage on Feb. 24, 1986.

Rasmussen, then a 29-year-old hospital worker, was newly married to John Ruetten, a man Lazarus had casually dated for a number of years.

DNA from a bite mark on Rasmussen's arm was considered the key piece of evidence in the case. Lazarus's attorney argued that it was not reliable evidence, and that the DNA was corrupted.

KPCC's Erika Aguilar was at the criminal courts building for the sentencing where Lazarus' brother Steve spoke out about the verdict.

"There are no words to describe the tragedy that we are here for today...there was never a presumption of innocence," he said. "The media got to listen to DNA and guilt for two and a half years before Stephanie had her trial." 


Excessive force lawsuit dismissed in case of fatally shot naked man

reggie doucet

Screenshot via YouTube

Reginald "Reggie" Doucet Jr. was fatally shot by police in January 2011.

The Los Angeles Police Commission previously ruled that a Los Angeles police officer was justified in the shooting of 25-year-old Reginald Doucet Jr. in January 2011.

On Tuesday, a federal judge dismissed the excessive force lawsuit filed by his family, reports the L.A. Times, saying that police, under certain circumstances, are shielded for their official actions.

Doucet, a 6-foot-tall, 200-pound trainer, was shot to death while nearly nude during a confrontation outside his home in Playa Vista. 

Officers were acting in defense of their lives, said Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith. 

Authorities were called to the early morning scene while Doucet was naked and arguing with a taxi driver, according to the department. 

Unsuccessful in efforts to calm him, Doucet ran. When officers caught up with him, they claim Doucet went on the attack and began punching them in the face. The department alleges that Doucet grabbed the handle of Officer Aaron Goff's gun and tried to remove it from its holster.