A recap of some of the past week’s scenes, sightings and stories from across the Eastside.
- An Eagle Rock High School student escaped a kidnapping attempt on the way home from school. Police said the student was walking near Occidental College when a man near the corner of Campus Road and Escarpa Drive attempted to pull her by the arm into his vehicle. The victim was able to break away and run home. The suspect is described as between 20 to 25 years old, 5-feet-11 inches tall weighing 150 pounds with brown eyes. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black shirt with a hoodie and black shoes. The Eastsider
- Charlie Beck’s announcement that he will step down as chief of police this June has set off a guessing game as to who will takeover of the department. Among the potential contenders are First Assistant Chief Michel Moore, who has been previously considered for the job, Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala, formerly head of the Hollywood Division, and Assistant Chief Jorge Villegas, who oversees the Office of Administrative Services. KPCC
- A man has been arrested in connection with a fire at a Boyle Heights church. Christian Michael Garcia, 25, is a suspect in the arson and vandalism at Resurrection Catholic Church on Opal Street, and may be connected to arson at several other houses of worship across the Los Angeles area. Fire struck a vestibule and candle room at Resurrection Church, but did not spread to the main sanctuary. Statues outside the church were also knocked over. The Eastsider
- No charges will be filed against a truck driver whose vehicle backed over and killed a 69-year-old woman in Boyle Heights. The driver says he was not aware he had run over Cynthia Szukala – who gained fame as a skid row bride – before driving away. Prosecutors said a surveillance video and a eyewitness provided insufficient and at times conflicting accounts. L.A. Now
- This year’s severe flu season has strained some Eastside hospitals – and has left patient facing long waits to see a doctor. “Wait times at our Los Angeles hospital are double the normal wait times,” said Dr. Nilesh J. Patel, assistant area medical director at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. The Eastsider
- If you’re driving and see a sign saying “Slow Down,” will you? Residents of Atwater Village are finding out. The Atwater Village Neighborhood Council printed up and handed out 400 such signs to people in the neighborhood, at a cost of $1,500. The Eastsider
- The Dodgers will install more safety netting behind the home plate area to protect from fans from foul balls. More than a dozen other teams are also expanding the use of netting in light of new league regulations and the serious injury sustained last year by a 3-year-old girl who was hit by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium. Daily News
- A homeless man was shot and killed and a second man was injured in an early morning attack next to the Arroyo Seco Parkway (110 Freeway) and Avenue 52 in Montecito Heights. The man who was killed was Daniel Duarte, 31. The survivor, a 29-year-old male, is in stable condition. It’s not clear what prompted the shooting, which took place shortly before 5 a.m. near a homeless encampment wedged between the northbound entrance to the freeway and the Arroyo Seco river channel. Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD Hollenbeck Division homicide detectives at (323) 342-8964 or the main LAPD number at 1-877-527-3247. The Eastsider
- A restriction on fireworks is one of the most widely ignored laws in the city. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell wants the city to study the problem and come up with solutions. My News LA
- Filmmakers won’t be able to use a two-block section along Figueroa Street in Highland Park for more than two months following an LAPD action to reduce the frequency of film shoots. Though the LAPD has not given the reason for the ban, Fredy Ceja, a spokesman for Councilmember Gil Cedillo, said some Highland Park residents and business owners are unhappy with the loss of parking and other disruptions caused by filming. The Eastsider
- The LAPD is redeploying about 350 officers from administrative jobs and specialized units to patrol duties in the wake of a continued increase in violent and other crimes. Daily News
- Pedro Vasquez was sentenced to 80 years to life in prison for fatally shooting brothers Antonio and Juan Aguilar at Ruben Salazar Park in East L.A. in Nov. 2015. EGP News
- Former U.S. Treasurer Romana Acosta Bañuelos – one of the founders of East Los Angeles-based Pan American Bank, the first Latino-owned bank in California – has died at age 92. Before founding the bank, Bañuelos started out as a tortilla maker, turning that business into the multi-million dollar Latino food company that sells Ramona’s frozen burritos. L.A. Times
- G.Q. goes to Silver Lake to tour some of the new restaurants and shops in L.A.’s “most tragically hip” and “chillest” neighborhood. What? They haven’t been to Highland Park?
- Olympic gold boxing champion Paul Gonzales plead not guilty to eight felony counts of lewd conduct with a 13-year-old girl he met at an East L.A. recreation center where he worked as a boxing coach. ABC7
Train and Bus Troubles
- Ridership on Metro bus and trains continued to drop last year, dragging reported trips down to the lowest levels in a decade. Bus ridership alone has fallen about 20% during the last five years. It’s not certain what’s behind the decline but officials have blamed the drop on everything from competing ride-sharing services to the issuance of state drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. L.A. Times
- Security may also figure in. A city councilwoman said she won’t ride the Red Line with her daughter because of concerns about their personal safety. “As a mom, I can tell you it’s terrifying to sometimes think of having to get on the Red Line,” Councilwoman Nury Martinez during a council committee meeting in which she requested more information on harassment and sexual assault from the transit agency. L.A. Times
- Meanwhile, a young woman was forcibly removed from a Red Line subway car for failing to remove her foot off a seat. After a video of the incident went viral, the head of Metro said he was “extremely disappointed” over the forcible removal, which is a violation of the agency’s code of conduct. L.A. Times and KPCC
Photo of the Week
White House, Silver Lake | Douglas Hill
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