By Joe Piasecki
These are the kinds of stories you wish you didn’t have to write. Two tragedies involving local youths made headlines locally and around the country this week— both of them difficult to make sense of.
First, the Oakland warehouse fire that killed 36 people over the weekend. Among the dead was 24-year-old Santa Monica native David Cline, who just before graduating in 2011 helped lead the Samohi boys volleyball team to a California Interscholastic Federation district championship.
“David was a phenomenal student, athlete and musician — an all-around spectacular kid,” said Samohi volleyball coach Liane Soto, who has set up a GoFundMe page for burial and family support (gofundme.com/DavidCline). As of Wednesday, 321 people had given more than $15,000 over just two days.
“He is, to this day, one of the brightest students that I have ever taught. Heartbreaking,” added English teacher Amy Chapman.
The Ghost Ship arts collective was home to many Bay Area artists, but Cline, a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, was not a resident there. According to an obituary by older brother Neil Cline (a member of Samohi’s 2006 CIF championship volleyball team), he just happened to be there for a public event.
TOO YOUNG TO DIE, TOO YOUNG TO KILL: The lead suspect in the Nov. 21 stabbing death of a 22-year-old pregnant woman underneath the Venice Sign is a 17-year-old girl. Police say the teen, whose name has not been released due to her age, turned herself in to authorities on Friday and has been arrested on suspicion of murder. When a kid kills a kid, you might say both lives have been lost.
Stabbing victim Jasmine Preciado, who was also the mother of a three year-old girl, was a Venice local who had attended Mark Twain Middle School, close friend Mayra Ortiz told The Argonaut last week. Ortiz is raising funds for Preciado’s daughter and burial expenses (gofundme.com/jasmine-preciados-burial), and so far 46 people have pledged $3,688 over 123 days.
Police say Preciado was on a date with her boyfriend on the night she was killed, and also that a security camera captured a confrontation between Preciado and at least three other people before the stabbing. There’s been no word from detectives about the other two suspects, the boyfriend, or a motive for the crime.
CITY HALL TO PAY $4 MILLION TO FAMILY OF MAN KILLED BY COP IN VENICE: Maybe no more than 100 feet from where Preciado died is the spot where LAPD officer Clifford Proctor shot and killed an unarmed homeless man on May 5, 2015, during a confrontation in front of The Townhouse & Del Monte Speakeasy. Twentynine-year-old Brendon Glenn’s mother and preschool-aged son are expected to receive a $4-million payout from L.A. City Hall to end a wrongful death lawsuit against LAPD, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.
But attorneys for Glenn’s family (who could not be reached to discuss the reported settlement, which is still pending City Council approval) have said that money alone will not achieve justice. They want to see Proctor face criminal charges. But that’s up to Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, whose office is still investigating the shooting a full 19 months after it happened. Why the delay? “There are behind-the-scenes things that are going on that are making this take longer than certainly you would expect,” Lacey told KPCC 89.3-FM earlier this week.
DOWNED POWER LINE SHUTS DOWN THE 90: Downed power lines shut down the 90 Freeway for several hours on Monday afternoon and killed power to homes and businesses in the Marina del Rey, Del Rey and Playa Vista area — including The Argonaut’s humble abode between Jefferson Boulevard and Ballona Creek. Authorities have yet to confirm whether a car crash caused the outage, but we do know a power line came to rest across both directions of the freeway somewhere between the Centinela Avenue and Culver Boulevard ramps. That’s pretty scary, and so was the ensuing traffic gridlock. What’s even scarier is to think how difficult it would be to evacuate the area during an emergency without being able to use the 90.
Staff writer Gary Walker contributed reporting on the 90 closure and Venice stabbing arrest.