Teenage boy killed in knife fight in Bakersfield

A 17-year-old youth was killed in a knife fight that authorities say started as a confrontation at a bus stop outside a high school as students were leaving school for the day.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office responded about 2:40 p.m. Tuesday to a call about multiple people being stabbed in the area of Foothill Road and Morning Drive, near Foothill High School.

The 17-year-old student died at the scene. Authorities have not released his name, but a family member told the Bakersfield Californian he was Jose Flores.

His aunt, Alma Valenzuela, told the newspaper that Flores was “a great kid, an awesome kid.”

Advertisement

“He would make everyone laugh every weekend at our family gatherings,” Valenzuela said. “[Our family is] devastated. We all are.”

Jason Cruz, 23, was also stabbed and has been booked into the Kern County jail on suspicion of homicide, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

A 14-year-old boy was also stabbed and has been booked into the juvenile hall for assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The incident remains under investigation.

Column: A county-owned homeless service center in the old St. Vincent hospital? It just might happen

Sometimes the wheels grind slowly in the halls of power, but L.A. County supervisors approved a plan Tuesday afternoon to waste no time preparing a bid to buy St. Vincent Medical Center and turn it into a homeless services center.

Supervisor Hilda Solis, citing the county’s growing crisis — on the same day the latest homeless count was set to begin — introduced a motion calling on the county to enter the bidding process once the hospital clears bankruptcy court proceedings. And the groundwork was already being laid by Sachi Hamai, the county’s chief executive officer.

“I want to move forward swiftly,” said Hamai, adding that she would favor a cash purchase rather than a lease or rental agreement.

The current owners have asked for bidders to move quickly, submitting proposals by Feb. 7. Solis asked staff to explore the best way for the county to fund a bid for the property and pull together a proposed purchase plan by next week, so the supervisors can keep things moving.

Advertisement

I first wrote about St. Vincent a week ago, when reader Patricia McVerry contacted me to say she saw news that the hospital had been given permission by a bankruptcy judge to cease operation. With so many homeless encampments nearby, McVerry said, why not repurpose the hospital?

The day of that column I heard from L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who said he had been thinking about that very idea, and he introduced a council resolution to explore all options two days later. And then I spoke to Solis, who sent me a draft of her county motion Friday evening.

To be honest, I’m more accustomed to hearing public officials call for blue ribbon panels and six-month feasibility studies, which are often ways to put off doing anything at all. So the momentum here is refreshing, even though we’re early in the process, with a lot of work to be done and no guarantee the county will get what it’s after.

But at this point, with roughly 60,000 homeless people in the county and a critical shortage of virtually every type of short- and long-term housing as well as medical care and addiction rehab, there’s no time to sit around talking about what to do.

Advertisement

This is the time to move quickly, be creative, and take advantage of existing resources such as unused or under-utilized buildings around the county.

It’s been taking years and costing a small fortune to build new supportive housing, so taking full advantage of a 366-bed hospital that doesn’t require major renovation to produce immediate benefits is a no-brainer. Especially when the county is recording three homeless deaths every day. .

The county is intimately familiar with St. Vincent, having made an offer to buy the venerable facility at 3rd and Alvarado streets last year, only to lose out to a higher bidder.

“The county’s intent is not to operate SVMC as a hospital,” Solis said in her motion, but to partner with private or non-profit organizations and provide an array of homeless services.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said the services could include a behavioral health center, recuperative care beds and a sobering center. He said one goal might be for the services to be an alternative to incarceration, and “that would be much more cost effective” and have better outcomes than locking people up.

At the moment, several thousand people with mental illness are in county jails.

“This is one heck of an opportunity. Let’s take advantage of it,” Ridley-Thomas said Tuesday in endorsing the Solis motion, which won unanimous approval.

Of course, there’s still the money hurdle. It’s not yet clear what the hospital will cost, although county officials are hoping the bankruptcy status will lower the price. Hamai and others are exploring funding sources and may see if the state can help out. I say, hit the feds up, too. President Trump says he wants to help solve homelessness on the West Coast, and here’s a great opportunity to put some money behind the lip-flapping.

Advertisement

The hospital, which dates back a century and a half and was run for decades by the Daughters of Charity, once had about 1,000 employees, many of whom have retired or found other jobs as the hospital gradually scaled back its operations. Solis said she wants the county to find ways to assist the remaining employees rather than just cutting them loose. And maybe some can be retrained and stay put.

St Vincent is owned by Verity Health System, which took the hospital into bankruptcy in 2018. As I wrote last week, the creditors include the hospital system’s former management company, Integrity Healthcare, which is controlled by entrepreneur-physician Patrick Soon-Shiong’s company NantWorks. Soon-Shiong also owns the L.A. Times.

St. Vincent’s long-standing challenge, local sources told me, was that it operated essentially as a charity hospital, with many low-income patients and public reimbursement rates that didn’t cover the cost of their care. It seems unlikely, those sources said, that another company would risk making a run at continuing to operate St. Vincent as a conventional hospital.

But if the county can get hold of the property, the potential to do something creative is immense. There’s room and equipment for medical care, spaces designed for residential care, and a large, separate office building that could be used for staff and administration.

With the right leadership and design, St. Vincent could become a model for multifaceted homeless care. And O’Farrell wants to explore permanent supportive housing on a vacant lot to the west of the hospital, near a current building of senior housing and not far from the St. Vincent Meals on Wheels headquarters.

The scuttlebutt on the homeless count, set to begin Tuesday night, is that the numbers are likely to go up rather than down. The tally won’t be known for many weeks.

But if, as expected, the count spikes — and even if it remains at roughly the same level — there’s going to be even greater public pressure for those in charge to come up with answers.

St. Vincent should be one of them.

Advertisement

steve.lopez@latimes.com

Evicted Oakland moms will get their house back after a deal with Redondo Beach company

As the nation celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced what she called a “historic deal,” which was (circle one): A) A win for civil disobedience. B) A big-hearted move by a Redondo Beach-based housing speculator. C) Skillful local leadership to address homelessness. D) All of the above.

Wedgewood Inc., which flips buildings in at least a dozen states, has agreed to sell one of its houses to a local trust on behalf of Moms 4 Housing, a group of homeless black women who were arrested last week after taking over the empty three-bedroom with their children in an act of desperation and political protest.

Wedgewood will “offer community land trusts or other affordable housing organizations or the city the right of first refusal on all of their properties,” Schaaf said at a midday news conference. “This means we have the opportunity to — for fair market value — take these homes off the speculative market and put them into permanent ownership.”

Homeless Women

Dominique Walker speaks on behalf of fellow Moms 4 Housing members during a news conference outside the house they have occupied in Oakland.

(Ray Chavez / Associated Press)

Advertisement

Wedgewood owns about 50 properties in the city, company spokesman Sam Singer said.

Those new owners will be low-income families or affordable housing operators that will keep the properties accessible for Oakland’s most vulnerable residents, Schaaf said.

The home that will go to Moms 4 Housing is blue and white and sits on Magnolia Street in West Oakland. The company bought it at auction in July for $501,078, Singer said, and is in negotiations to sell it to the Oakland Community Land Trust for at least that price.

“We’re ready to buy the Moms house, and we’re ready to continue this movement,” Dominique Walker, one of the founders of Moms 4 Housing, told a happy crowd in front of Oakland City Hall on Monday. “This movement does not end today with us and with that house on Magnolia Street. We will not stop organizing and fighting until all unhoused folks who want shelter have shelter.”

Advertisement

APphoto_Homeless Moms

Sunday Simon, a supporter of homeless women who were occupying a house, sits on a car near the house, at left, in Oakland.

(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

The mothers squatted in the home for two months, until Alameda County sheriff’s deputies, their guns drawn, enforced an eviction order on Jan. 14. Two of the women and two male supporters were arrested at the time.

The women of Moms 4 Housing were either homeless or on the brink of homelessness. They said the property had been vacant for years, which Wedgewood denies. But many investor-owned properties languish, uninhabitated, as gentrification and the housing crisis have become more acute in Oakland, causing widespread homelessness.

Between January 2017 and January 2019, the most recent statistics available, the number of homeless people in the Bay Area city rose 47%, according to Alameda County’s point-in-time count. The number of homeless people rose to 4,071 in 2019, up from 2761 in 2017. More than half of the county’s homeless people reside in Oakland.

In her news conference, Schaaf was coy about the broader ramifications of Moms 4 Housing’s actions — breaking into an empty house owned by someone else and living there without the owner’s consent. To the group, that’s appropriate protest. To Wedgewood, that’s theft.

“I cannot condone unlawful acts,” Schaaf said, “but I can respect them. And I can passionately advance the cause that inspired them. That’s what we are doing here today.”

In an interview as she headed to Washington, D.C., for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Schaff continued to walk a fine line. She said that “it is not my intention to encourage civil disobedience,” but noted that “the mothers made a tremendous sacrifice for their cause. They spent the night in jail. They went through a horrific trauma with the eviction, which I believe was unnecessary on the part of the sheriff.”

Schaaf said that she spent two days trying to reach Wedgewood’s chief executive, Greg Geiser, after the eviction and arrests. And since Thursday, she said she spent considerable time negotiating with him. Their first conversation lasted an hour and was “deeply personal,” she said.

Advertisement

The agreement with Wedgewood “is spectacular news,” Schaaf said, commending the company for being “willing to get past what was unlawful activity on one of their properties and make that property available to the very mothers who were in the property, and to recognize that we are in a housing crisis and companies like theirs can help.”

Geiser was not available for comment Monday. But Singer said that the company had made it known it would not discuss or negotiate over the house until the mothers left of their own free will or were evicted. Once the eviction occurred, Wedgewood officials began talking with Schaff and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“You can never call it civil disobedience when it involves stealing someone’s property,” Singer said. “Wedgewood made it clear that it had the higher ethical and legal ground, and it prevailed. But that doesn’t stop it from doing what is good for the community.”

Singer said the company does not believe its agreement with Oakland to help assuage the housing crisis will encourage more squatters to take over uninhabited buildings.

Wedgewood “did not endorse or condone the theft of its home,” Singer said, “but expressed its support for the concerns raised by the activists. Today the company took action on it. They’re good to their word.”

Number of bodies found buried in Tijuana home now up to 4

Tijuana authorities found two more bodies beneath a dirt floor in a home where a missing Garden Grove couple was recently found buried, authorities said.

Police were investigating the deaths of Jesus Lopez Guillen, 70, and his wife, Maria Teresa Guillen, 65, whose bodies were found last week in the Obrera neighborhood home when they discovered the bodies of another man and woman, according to the attorney general’s office of Baja California.

In the latest grisly discovery, the two additional bodies were found beneath a dirt floor in a room in the home, authorities said. There was sand and mud on the male corpse and a white powder, believed to be lime, on the female corpse. Fire department personnel, assisted by a police canine, were instrumental in finding the bodies, which are believed to have been buried longer than the bodies of the Guillens, authorities said.

On Thursday, the Guillens’ son-in-law, identified only as Santiago N., was arrested in connection with their deaths, authorities said. He told investigators he had dropped them off at the border after they had collected about $6,500 in rent on properties they owned in Tijuana, but police say his account has been inconsistent.

Advertisement

The Guillens were last seen Jan. 10. They were reported missing by their daughter.

The attorney general’s office said in a statement it was continuing to investigate the deaths of the Guillens and to identify the other bodies and determine the cause of death.

Fry writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Actor Alan Alda and Scripps Research will transform scientists into master storytellers

For all of their skill in the laboratory and classroom, scientists aren’t always great at imparting their ideas to the public, policymakers and donors.

It’s a cultural thing. Historically, science — especially the life sciences — hasn’t placed a premium on speaking to the masses.

But change is coming.

Scripps Research in La Jolla announced Thursday that it will partner with one of the nation’s great storytellers, Emmy Award-winning actor Alan Alda, to teach scientists and medical professionals to communicate more effectively.

Advertisement

Scripps is becoming the West Coast home of Alda Communication Training, a company that teaches communication skills using the Alda Method, which heavily relies on improvisational theater techniques.

Alda wanted to expand his New York company and was enamored of Scripps Research, a cog in one of the largest science and medical research communities in the country.

“It’s extraordinary that such an institution has decided to partner with us and have a facility on their campus that will be an attractive place for scientists to come,” Alda told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The 83-year-old Alda, who has Parkinson’s disease, is best known for an acting career that includes his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series “M*A*S*H” and his portrayal of a divorce attorney in “Marriage Story,” which received six Oscar nominations Monday.

Advertisement

But he is also noted for his work as a science educator. He was host of the PBS series “Scientific American Frontiers,” wrote a science book, “If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?” and has a podcast, “Clear+Vivid.”

He also created the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York, which gave rise to his communications company. It has trained 15,000 science leaders nationally.

Alda’s work earned him the National Academy of Science’s Public Welfare Medal in 2016.

He spends a lot of time improving and expanding the training program, which is conducted mostly in two-day workshops by teachers from various fields.

“We are able to help scientists talk in a way that people not only understand but see as relevant to their own lives,” Alda said.

“The public benefits by having a better understanding of what should be pursued with government funding, and by being let in on the beauty of nature.”

National surveys and studies have shown that the public is interested in science and medicine, and that many people firmly grasp both. But many also struggle. A 2018 National Science Board survey revealed that much of the public does not understand basic facts about such things as genes, antibiotics and evolution.

A lack of education is a big factor. So is the fast-changing nature of technology. In recent years, the field has created such complexities as CRISPR-Cas9, a genome editing tool.

Advertisement

The training workshops will begin in June and initially cater to people who work in the life sciences, one of California’s largest industries. The program is expected to serve broad areas of science and medicine.

The workshops will emphasize improvisational theater games and exercises to teach scientists to be better listeners and observers, especially in reading people’s body language. They also will be taught how to discuss their work in clear, compelling, relatable ways, and to find more empathy for the people they serve.

The techniques arose, in part, from the moments of deep human interaction Alda was able to strike with some of his guests when he hosted “Scientific American Frontiers.”

“What I was doing was practicing what I had learned in improvisation,” Alda said. “The essence of it is not making things up. The essence is the contact you make with the other person — the openness you have, the responsiveness. You say the next thing not because you thought of it but because the other person makes you say it because you’re so responsive.

“It helps develop a message that’s just right for the person you’re talking to.”

Dozens of Scripps Institute researchers have already had the training, including Bruce Torbett, an immunologist who said the workshops “really help you get your point across with people and to judge your audience and readjust what you say.”

Alda’s staff will do most of the teaching. But he remains deeply involved, partly because he doesn’t want disease to define him.

“I know from personal experience that, in the public mind, when you get a diagnosis of Parkinson’s [you might think] life is over,” Alda said.

Advertisement

“This is not good for patients because they are liable to give in and not do exercise or take the medications that are available to hold off the progression of the disease.

“I want to communicate the idea that, in the beginning, it is not as bad as it will get later. You can do everything that gives you pleasure in life. If you do that, you can take advantage of holding off the worst for quite a while, and wait for more progress to be made [in treating Parkinson’s].”

Robbins writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Former North Hollywood teacher’s aide convicted of sexually abusing half a dozen girls

A former North Hollywood teacher assistant, Lino Cabrera, pleaded no contest Friday to sexually abusing students at Oxnard Street Elementary School. He is expected to be sentenced to eight years in state prison and register as a sex offender for life, prosecutors said.

Cabrera, 27, was charged last year with five felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 and one count of continued sexual abuse — charges that carry a maximum sentence of 26 years in prison. He was accused of sexually abusing six girls, ages 10 and 11, between September 2016 and May 2019.

The charges were reduced to a felony count of continuous sexual abuse, a felony count of a lewd act upon a child under 14 and four misdemeanor counts of child molestation under Cabrera’s plea agreement, according to the L.A. County district attorney’s office.

Cabrera assisted in the school’s computer lab, prosecutors said. According to Los Angeles Unified School District officials, he worked at the elementary school for almost a decade and was placed on unpaid suspension May 30, when the arrest warrant was filed. State law requires school districts to fire people convicted of sexual abuse and bars them from working in schools.

Advertisement

At least two of the victims plan to pursue a lawsuit against Los Angeles Unified for negligence and “for allowing this man to be around a classroom and around these kids,” said attorney Michael Carrillo, who represents two of the girls.

Earlier this week, the L.A. school board agreed to pay out $25 million to settle lawsuits over alleged sexual misconduct. Some cases were related to well-known incidents of abuse at Telfair and De La Torre elementary schools, for which teachers went to jail, while others never resulted in convictions. The largest of these recent settlements reached about $2 million per student.

“The safety and well-being of our students remains our top priority, and we remain vigilant in protecting our students from those who would do them harm,” L.A. Unified spokeswoman Gayle Pollard-Terry said in an email. Although we are not at liberty to comment further on legal matters, our thoughts are with the victims, families and school community during this difficult time.”

“I’m happy but I’m not,” one of the victim’s mothers said in a statement through Carrillo. “I’m happy she doesn’t have to go through testifying, but [eight] years isn’t enough for what the girls went through, what my daughter went through.”

Advertisement

Cabrera is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 10.

Times staff writers Alejandra Reyes-Velarde and Howard Blume contributed to this report.

Gov. Gavin Newsom promotes using state-owned trailers to house homeless people

Gov. Gavin Newsom repeatedly promoted a temporary solution to California’s most visible problem this week during a tour on homelessness that began at a shelter in the Sierra foothills and ended in a vacant city-owned lot in the shadow of the Oakland Coliseum: The state would dispatch 100 travel trailers to provide immediate shelter.

Newsom and his aides publicized their plan again Thursday, posting a video on social media showcasing a caravan of 15 trailers traveling down the highway toward the Bay Area, where the shelters were on display for a news conference.

“We need to tackle the issue of homelessness head on,” the governor tweeted. “Eight days ago, I issued an executive order to rapidly increase housing and shelter options across CA. Just a few days later, we’re deploying trailers to communities in need to provide services & shelter.”

“California is responding to a crisis,” tweeted Jason Elliott, Newsom’s senior counselor for housing and homelessness.

Advertisement

Standing next to the governor on Thursday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced that the 15 trailers would house 50 to 70 people in her city. But with federal estimates suggesting more than 150,000 Californians lack permanent housing — with more than 100,000 living outdoors or in their cars — 100 trailers would fail to help even 1% of the population in need across the state.

“On one hand, it’s a little bit of a publicity stunt, but on the other hand, it’s evidence that someone is finally paying attention to this,” said Steven Maviglio, a Democratic strategist and former communications director for Gov. Gray Davis. “Does it solve the problem? No. Is it a start? Yes.”

While their benefits will be limited, the trailers are symbolic of the public pressure Newsom faces to address homelessness, motivating the governor to show he’s trying to tackle the problem — a top-of-mind concern to California voters — with a sense of urgency, Maviglio said.

A poll released by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California this week found that 23% of likely voters considered homelessness the most important issue for Newsom and the Legislature in 2020, followed by housing costs and availability at 11%.

Advertisement

“This is something the state can do right now, today, to help members of the public,” said Brian Ferguson, a spokesman at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, who said the trailers were sent to Oakland from Butte County, where state workers were using them in response to the Camp fire.

Rob Stutzman, a Republican consultant and former communications director to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said he doesn’t fault Newsom for using the trailers to show action on homelessness, which is difficult to do by touting wonky spending proposals and policy changes.

“There are no pictures of that,” Stutzman said. “It’s hard to demonstrate to voters that ‘I get it, something needs to be done and I’m doing something.’ This at least presents a visual of something tangible that demonstrates he is doing something, but you have to be careful not to somehow oversell to voters that he thinks this is an actual solution.”

Newsom told reporters that he recognized the trailers didn’t offer a permanent resolution to the problem.

“This is a deeply temporary solution to the crisis at hand,” he said. “No one is in denial about the scale and scope of the crisis, either, and none of us are naive that 15 trailers … is going to solve the crisis. It’s about catalyzing a focus, catalyzing investment and beginning to leverage our resources and resourcefulness to meet this moment head-on.”

The governor has described the trailers and dozens of tents he intends to deploy as a way to establish triage centers for state, local and social service groups to connect with the homeless population in different communities and offer assistance.

Newsom’s staff provided few details in response to questions about the deployment of all 100 trailers, which they said would be made available by the end of March. It has not been determined which communities will receive them. The governor’s office anticipates that up to 11 people could fit in each trailer and said it will be up to local governments to decide what to do with them, including whether the trailers will be connected to electricity or water.

The plan is just one example of efforts Newsom included in his proposal to spend $1.4 billion on homelessness in the new state budget. The governor called for allocating $750 million to a new California Access to Housing and Services Fund to support rent subsidies and develop affordable units to provide more stable housing options.

Advertisement

If approved by the Legislature, the funding would follow a plan to provide $650 million to communities this year to address homelessness. Through executive order, the governor has also tasked his administration with identifying excess state land and property that could be used for short-term emergency shelters.

Stutzman said Newsom’s ability to solve or at least stem homelessness could define his administration. For better or worse, the governor has publicly acknowledged that he owns the problem.

“We’ve seen public polling that shows this is an increasing crisis in the minds of voters and it cuts across ideological spectrums,” Stutzman said. “The risk is that if there’s a public health crisis that comes out of this, or if the problem continues to grow at a substantial volume, then he could end up being defined by this crisis, which is uniquely pronounced in California.”

Woman missing in Butte County for six days is found alive

A woman in the early stages of dementia who went missing six days ago was found alive Wednesday by a helicopter crew searching for her in Butte County.

Paula Beth James, 68, was last seen the evening of Jan. 9 in Oroville, where she lives, and was reported missing the following day.

Butte County Sheriff’s Office deputies, detectives, search and rescue teams, and pilots spent more than 100 hours scouring the region in search of James. They’d been desperate to find her before a massive storm reaches the area, which is under a winter storm warning for the next two days.

About noon Wednesday, a sheriff’s helicopter was flying over the Butte Meadows area when a sergeant spotted a vehicle below, covered in snow, about three miles from the Bambi Inn. It matched the description of James’ silver 2018 Toyota 4Runner.

Advertisement

The pilot landed the helicopter, and two Sheriff’s Office employees hiked over to the 4Runner, which sat in a snow-covered area about 150 yards off the road. Inside, they found James, alive.

The first responders worked quickly to get James to a hospital.

“We hadn’t given up, and we’re so happy with the outcome,” said Megan McCann, a public information officer with the Sheriff’s Office.

James was conscious, talking and cold when the search team found her, McCann said.

Advertisement

Butte Meadows is about 55 road miles north of Oroville. It is unclear where James was headed, but authorities think she might have left home to meet a friend for lunch.

How James survived the elements as long as she did remains for now unexplained. Authorities hadn’t been able to interview her Wednesday evening but were eager to learn how James kept herself safe while awaiting rescue, McCann said.

“That is what everyone is wondering, including us,” McCann said.

Pilots are supposed to dump jet fuel in unpopulated areas, not over neighborhoods

To make an emergency landing, a pilot will try to get the airplane down to its landing weight so there are more options in case of an aborted landing attempt. How and where that fuel dump happens depends on the type of emergency, said Tom Haueter, former director of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Office of Aviation Safety.

The Federal Aviation Administration and most airlines want pilots to dump fuel over an unpopulated area, such as an ocean, said Douglas Moss, aviation consultant and a retired United Airlines pilot.

That point was also made in a statement issued Tuesday by the FAA.

“The FAA is thoroughly investigating the circumstances behind today’s incident involving a Delta Airlines flight that was returning to Los Angeles International Airport. There are special fuel-dumping procedures for aircraft operating into and out of any major U.S. airport. These procedures call for fuel to be dumped over designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomizes and disperses before it reaches the ground,” the agency said in a statement.

Advertisement

delta-path.png

Pilots will typically alert air traffic controllers of the emergency fuel release and the air traffic controllers will try to direct the plane, said Haueter, who now serves as a consultant on aviation safety and accident investigations.

The drop will typically happen at an altitude of 5,000 feet so the fuel vaporizes before hitting the ground. But if there is a severe emergency, plans may change. “The real key is to know what’s the nature of the emergency,” Haueter said.

According to Flightradar24, Tuesday’s flight never got above 8,000 feet, and was at about 2,300 feet when it passed over Park Elementary School in Cudahy at 11:53 a.m. The plane showered jet fuel on school children.

Advertisement

Delta Flight 89 — a Boeing 777 — had taken off from LAX with 149 passengers on board and was en route to Shanghai when it turned around and headed back to the L.A. airport due to engine trouble.

The flight is typically a 13-hour nonstop. This one lasted about 25 minutes.

In an emergency, the captain is “authorized to break any rule in the book,” Moss said. “He still tries to adhere to as many of the rules as he can, but the bottom line is his actions must be in the best interest of safety.”

Ross Aimer, chief executive of Aero Consulting Experts, said fuel dumping is very rare.

“I don’t remember anyone dumping fuel over population,” he said.

Sheriff’s detective was killed after helping someone in need

Det. Amber Leist was waiting on a red light Sunday afternoon when she noticed an elderly woman fall in the crosswalk in front of her car.

The off-duty detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department put her car in park and hurried to help the pedestrian safely cross at the intersection of Whitsett Avenue and Riverside Drive.

When Leist headed back to her personal vehicle, she was struck by a vehicle traveling east on Riverside Drive.

Leist “was an outstanding detective who would lead by example, and she definitely led by example through her act of kindness, and we consider this an on-duty death,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference.

Advertisement

The driver stopped and tried to help Leist. She was taken to a hospital but died from her injuries. She was 41.

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the incident, which is at this time considered an accident.

Leist started her career with the Sheriff’s Department at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic.

She then worked at the Lancaster station before spending five years at the West Hollywood station, where she worked patrol and as a school resource officer before she was promoted. Flags were flown at half-staff Monday throughout West Hollywood in memory of Leist.

Advertisement

“She was a treasured member of our Weho family and we are in mourning,” Councilman John Duran said on his Facebook page.

Leist is survived by her parents and two sons, ages 20 and 17. Her older son is on active duty with the U.S. Navy.

“What she did, it was heroic for her to go out that way,” Leist’s son Daniel Laney told KTLA-TV Channel 5. “I love her for that. She’s always had a kind heart.”

Capt. Edward Ramirez of the West Hollywood station told KTLA that Leist took a majority of the station’s domestic violence cases because she was empathetic and thoughtful.

She was remembered as someone who would buy food for people experiencing homelessness and stop on the freeway to help drivers in need.

“Amber was never off duty, always looking to do a good deed, and unfortunately the good Lord decided to take her doing one of those deeds,” Ramirez said.