On Nov. 20, someone robbed Luis Valadez and shot him to death in his Lynwood market on Long Beach Blvd. More than two weeks later, friends, neighbors and relatives gathered for a candlight vigil and asked witnesses to come forward.
Valadez's son, David, said he'd always worried about his father working in such a traditionally high-crime area. But Valadez loved his shop and the Lynwood community.
The death - the family's second loss this year - has been hard to handle.
"My mother is destroyed," David Valadez said. "She’s going through a tough moment of her life. And it’s really tough. My brothers, they both have a lot of anger towards these suspects, these people who took my father’s life."
Los Angeles County Sheriff's detectives are looking for three men and one woman, who they believe acted as a lookout, in connection with the murder.
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Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca cautioned deputies to be more cautious about using their weapons after a spate of officer-involved shootings in 2009.
The L.A.County Board of Supervisors has approved nearly $2 million in settlements in lawsuits against the Sheriff's Department. The largest payout, $900,000, went to the family of Darrick Collins, a 36-year-old man shot to death in 2009 by a deputy near Collins' West Athens home.
Collins' death came amidst a rash of shootings by sheriff's deputies and sparked outrage in South L.A. communities. That led to policy changes at the sheriff's department, with Sheriff Lee Baca instructing deputies to try to contain potentially armed suspects and call backup instead of confronting them immediately.
According to court records, deputies had been looking for two robbery suspects when they spotted Collins and a friend standing on the sidewalk a quarter mile from the robbery site. The two apparently matched the suspects' descriptions. When the deputies approached the men, Collins allegedly backed away, reached into his waistband and then ran.
Screenshot via NBC
A Monday night confrontation on a Bellflower bus involving L.A. County sheriff’s deputies and a woman with a violent history, was recorded by a passenger, and has led to a "use of force" investigation.
Passenger Jermaine Green, who filmed the incident on his cell phone, said deputies boarding the vehicle called the woman by name and instructed her to get off the bus before becoming "combative," NBC reported.
"They said get off the bus. She then started cursing at her you could tell she had special needs. After that, they grab her, she curses him out, calls him a big shot, next thing you know, he gives her a big shot," said Green.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told KPCC, "We got a 911 call indicating that there was violent woman on the bus who was about to, or tried to, attack an elderly man. She was violent and out of control," he stated.