Local Briefs


Three Arrests in BH El Pastaio Shooting

In a robbery that made headlines around the world 2 months ago, a jeweler was robbed at gunpoint of a six figure luxury watch. The BHPD have now arrested a suspect in that incident.

Beverly Hills police and the FBI on Wednesday announced that three suspects had been arrested in connection to an attempted robbery and shooting at the Italian restaurant Il Pastaio occurring in early March.

Malik Lamont Powell, 20, Khai McGhee, 18, and Marquise Anthony Gordon, 30, were arrested Tuesday and charged with one federal count each of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery. The three suspects were arrested without incident, according to authorities.

On March 4, around 2 p.m., a shooting occurred at Il Pastaio at the 400 block of North Canon Drive during an attempted robbery. According to local and federal authorities, the suspects discovered a patron at the restaurant, sitting at the patio, was wearing a luxury watch worth six figures. The suspects allegedly demanded the watch a gunpoint and a struggle ensued, which is when two shots were fired, according to authorities.

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A female patron seated at a table adjacent to the robbery victim was struck by a bullet, suffering a non-life-threatening wound. The suspects allegedly then ran from the area, leaving the gun at the scene, which was recovered by police.

All three suspects are being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles without bail, according to police.

Set Fire to A Restaurant, Go to Jail

SMPD arrested an 50-year-old arson suspect in the early hours of Monday morning, who had allegedly set fire to an umbrella outside Stefano's Pizzeria on the Third Street Promenade.

The suspect was cited for the crime and would have been released due to the zero bail Covid-19 regulations, but was instead placed on a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold.

The Los Angeles Fire Department estimates an average of 24 fires a day occurring at homeless encampments.

Below is the SMPD press release:

“On May 10, 2021 at approximately 3:15 AM Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) Officers were dispatched to a report of an Arson Fire at Stefano's Pizzeria located at 1310 3rd Street Promenade. Per the comments of the call, a male was observed by the reporting party, setting an umbrella on fire while up against the railing of the restaurant.”

Upon arrival, SMPD officers noticed the umbrella actively burning. They used a fire extinguisher to quickly extinguish the fire. The reporting party pointed to and identified Dotan Davis, a 50-year-old male white, as the person who set the fire. As officers detained Davis, they noticed he had a lighter torch in his hand. Davis was placed under arrest and subsequently booked for Arson.

Anyone with any information related to this incident or any other similar incidents involving this individual is encouraged to contact Detective David Chabot with the Criminal Investigations Division at (310) 458-2201 ext. 6679 or Police Dispatch at 310-458-8491.”

Major Traffic Accident Shuts PCH

5/10: A traffic collision just before 1:30 PM Monday closed PCH for 3 hours while police investigated.

The SMPD says that “a silver Honda traveling northbound on Pacific Coast Highway swerved into the southbound lanes for unknown reason and collided head on with a black Jeep traveling southbound. North and Southbound lanes of Pacific Coast Highway were closed for approximately three hours.

Both drivers were transported to local hospitals with serious to moderate injuries.

“The Santa Monica Police Department’s Major Accident Response Team will continue to investigate the cause of the collision.”

SMPD Arrests Man Who Tried to Stab His GF

5/10/21: The Santa Monica Police Department says it arrested a suspect wanted for attempted murder after he ran from them Sunday evening.

At 8:44 pm, the SMPD responded to a report of an Attempted Murder, involving a knife, in the 1900 block of Cloverfield Blvd. This is near the 10 Freeway, about two blocks away from Virginia Park, writes Lt. Joseph Cortez, SMPD Public Information Officer.

A woman told police that her boyfriend, Jeremy Gonzalez, 29, tried to stab her with a large kitchen knife.

Gonzalez was reported to have fled the area on foot prior to police arrival. Officers located him in a vehicle in the 2200 Block of Virginia Ave. As the police approached, Gonzalez fled on foot. The SMPD was assisted by its K-9 unit and an LAPD helicopter. Gonzalez was located and taken into custody a short time later.

Gonzalez was treated at a local hospital, after sustaining a laceration to his hand while jumping over a fence. He was booked for Attempted Murder, Domestic Violence and Criminal Threats. The victim was not injured.

End of Plaza Project

Proposed Development at AZ and 4th St.on Public Land is Dead

In an email sent by anti-development group Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City, victory was declared over the city's attempt to put a large mulit-use building on what is now mostly a ground-level parking lot, used seasonally as an ice skating rink.

"Located on 2.5 acres of City owned land between 4th and 5th Street downtown, just south of Arizona Avenue; the Plaza would have included 11 stories of office space, luxury hotel rooms and underground parking. The proposed development, known as The Plaza at Santa Monica, is an 11-story, 240-room luxury hotel, with 106,800 square feet of creative office space, approximately 40,000 square feet of open public space and 48 units of affordable housing at 4th Street and Arizona Avenue in Downtown Santa Monica," the developer's website posted in September 2020.

The Plaza was going to be large, generate large amounts of traffic, and greatly densify downtown, choking off the one area that enjoys sunlight. Below is the email from SMCLC:

“Over a year ago we tried to convince the City that it had to follow the Surplus Land Act before it could give away our public land at 4th and Arizona to a private developer. We agreed with our State legislature that keeping public land public is one of the most important values for a City and its residents.

“It's unfortunate that the City wouldn't listen to us, to our lawyers or to the public, compelling residents to ask a court to step in so the City wouldn't violate the law by continuing to negotiate a development agreement for this wildly unpopular project.

The letter goes on to thank City Council members who voted to kill the project: Himmelrich, Brock, de la Torre and Parra.

“As a result, the City will have to pay legal fees over $100,000 to SMCLC's lawyers to settle this important lawsuit in the public interest. No money was sought by SMCLC and the entire settlement constitutes reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred in the lawsuit.

We thank councilmembers Phil Brock, Oscar de la Torre and Christine Parra for their steadfast actions to stop the Plaza and for enabling a fair settlement.”

“And thank you to Mayor Himmelrich, who, in July of last year, was the sole councilmember to vote against continuing negotiations with the Plaza's developer on the basis that it was illegal to proceed without complying with the Surplus Land Act. This current council majority stood with residents -- as they told us they would -- to do what is right.”

SM Main Public Library Reopens

Santa Monica’s Main Library will reopen for limited in-person service on Tuesday, June 1.

The Main Library, located at 601 Santa Monica Blvd., will offer the following services: in-person browsing of the first-floor collection, checking out items, holds pick-up, public computer use, printing and brief in-person interaction with staff.

“The best way to make the most of your time at the Library is to plan your trip: wear a face mask, know the books or resources you’d like to check out or explore, and if there are any questions you have about returning to the Library, reach out to one of our dedicated staff,” said Library Services Director Patty Wong.

In July, the phased approach to reopening continues when the doors of the Ocean Park Branch, 2601 Main Street, open through a self-service model, allowing patrons access to the Library collection, self-checkout of items, holds pick-up, and public computer use.

Curbside pickup service will continue at the Montana Avenue Branch and Pico Branch libraries throughout the summer.

Malibu Porch Collapse

Photo: Screengrab from security video of the porch collapse

Video has captured the moment a crowded Malibu balcony collapsed on Saturday, injuring at least nine people, according to reports.

Firefighters and paramedics were dispatched to the scene along the Pacific Coast Highway around 5:15 p.m.

The incident was recorded from a neighboring property, which showed several people falling down to the rocks and sand below the beachfront home.

"(There were) probably like 10 people on the back deck and we heard a crack and I literally saw all of my best friends and my girlfriend fall 15 feet to the rocks," a witness told KABC-TV. "It was a freak accident. I don't know how that happens...the deck literally just gave out."

At least five people were hospitalized with moderate injuries and another five were treated at the scene.

Officials said at least fifteen people were on the deck at the time of the incident. The house was being rented out for a birthday party and the owner noted it wasn't built to hold the number of people who were on it Saturday, the station reported.

LA County Fire Captain Ron Haralson told KABC-TV it was fortunate that more people weren't seriously injured.

Suicide From 4th St. Overpass

5/13: A homeless man jumped from the 4th Street freeway overpass just before 2 pm on Thursday, police said.

“The reporting party informed dispatch that they observed a male at the 4th Street overpass hugging the guardrail,” writes SMPD’s Lt. Rudy Flores. “The male then jumped over onto the westbound lanes, striking a vehicle as he landed. Santa Monica Fire Department personnel arrived on scene and pronounced the male deceased.”

“All I-10 westbound lanes were closed off and traffic was diverted off Lincoln Blvd. The SMPD would like to remind our community of the following:

“If you or a member of your family are struggling during this time of isolation, please reach out for help from a mental health professional by calling (800) 854- 7771 or by texting LA to 741741. Additional resources from the LA County Department of Mental Health are available at dmh.lacounty.gov. “


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