Compiled by Gary Walker
Santa Monica is Getting a New Chief of Police
Folsom Police Chief Cynthia Renaud will be leaving that post to become Santa Monica’s next police chief in late April, Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole announced Tuesday.
Renaud spent 20 years with the Long Beach Police Department before becoming Folsom’s top cop in 2011. She’s earned praise for successful citywide crime reduction strategies and neighborhood policing programs, writes The Folsom Telegraph.
“I am so fortunate to be selected as Santa Monica’s next police chief and join in your progressive efforts to embrace community while encouraging a healthy, holistic lifestyle that considers the wellbeing of all,” reads a statement by Renaud. “I look forward to meeting with, connecting with and hearing from all Santa Monicans about what impacts their daily lives.”
Five days before the announcement, a letter to Santa Monica residents by interim Santa Monica Police Chief Kenneth Semko acknowledged a series of high-profile crimes leading a citywide 5.7% uptick in overall crime during the first two months of 2018.
“The job of police chief is all about character and leadership,” said Cole. “She will hit the ground running to address public safety challenges in Santa Monica.”
Renaud oversaw 105 personnel and a $22-million budget in Folsom. In Santa Monica she’ll oversee 460 personnel and an $86-million budget for an annual salary of $265,440.
Police Seize Assault Rifles and 4,000 Bullets in Venice
A routine probation check on two convicted felons in Venice yielded the seizure of five AR-15 assault rifles, a massive amount of ammunition and other deadly weapons that landed the suspects back in jail.
Officers with the LAPD Pacific Division’s Crime Impact Team and county probation officers discovered the weapons cache while conducting a compliance check at an undisclosed addressed on March 7, according to an LAPD bulletin.
The assault rifles were “ghost guns” — unregistered weapons that do not carry a manufacturer’s serial number. Investigators believe they were built from parts of other weapons in a clandestine workshop.
Police also seized multiple miscellaneous parts for AR-15 style assault rifles — the same kind of weapon used to kill 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Valentine’s Day — as well as a fully loaded MAC 11 Machine Pistol modified with a suppressor, a loaded 9mm handgun and 4,000 rounds of ammunition for 9mm, .22, .45, .223 and .556 guns. Officers also recovered 100 rounds of slug shotgun ammunition and nearly 50 high-capacity rifle magazines ranging from 30 to 50 round capacities.
The two suspects have not been identified, but police say they had prior gun and narcotics arrests and have been booked on multiple weapons charges and probation violations.
West End Shooting Suspect Arrested
A 33-year-old man has been arrested and charged in connection with a brawl that ended with a shooting outside a popular Santa Monica nightclub.
Carl Marcel Nelson was arrested in downtown Los Angeles on March 9 after SMPD detectives were able to link him to the crime through forensic evidence, said Santa Monica Police Lt. Saul Rodriguez. He has been charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Nelson and a group of men were seen arguing after leaving the West End nightclub on Fifth Street in Santa Monica just before 2 a.m. on Feb. 17. The group began fighting and at some point Nelson allegedly pulled out a handgun and shot one of the men, wounding him multiple times in the lower leg, Rodriguez said.
The shooter fled the scene and the victim was transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Nelson is being held on $2.1 million bail and is scheduled to appear at the Airport Courthouse in Westchester on April 11.
LAPD Nabs Alleged Surfside Shooter
The man suspected of shooting a bar patron in the chest on March 7 outside Surfside Venice on Windward Avenue has been arrested and charged with attempted murder.
Robert Leo Mewhorter, 46, allegedly fired his gun nine times at the victim, who was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition but is expected to recover, said LAPD Officer Rosario Herrera.
Police say there was a verbal altercation at the bar before Mewhorter, who police says is homeless, returned to the scene with a gun at around 10:30 p.m.
“Those few words escalated into a physical altercation between the victim and the suspect,” Pacific Division Lt. Randy Goddard told a local television station.
An eyewitness cell-phone video shows a brief physical struggle before the gunman retreats toward the street and fires a handgun.
Pacific Division officers arrested Mewhorter the next day near the scene of the crime, Herrera said.
Mewhorter is being held on $2 million bail and faces 34 years to life in prison if convicted.