March 8th, 2010
11:25 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Homicide in Hollenbeck

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Dewaine Fields is a 30-year veteran with the LAPD detective who supervises the gang unit in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Hollenbeck. He has seen gang crime go up and down over the years in this predominantly Latino community. While gang-related murder in Los Angeles is down nearly 60 percent since we reported here five years ago, Fields was not surprised when five people were murdered in a single week last summer. He says witness intimidation, the code of silence and vigilante justice in the form of retaliation are common threads that prevent his team from solving many crimes.

Five years ago Anderson reported on the gang violence in this neighborhood. This week – all week – he goes back to talk to people in the community, law enforcement officers and a former gang leader who is now leading a movement to curb the violence, about the influence of gangs in this area of LA.

Tonight, Anderson reports on a murder caught on surveillance camera. It shows a gang-related drive-by shooting that killed a 20-year-old as his father stood nearby. For detectives, the tape appears to be the smoking gun but will it be enough to find the killer? We’ll take you inside the investigation of a homicide in Hollenbeck as it unfolds in a community where 30 percent of all homicides remain unsolved.

We’re also taking a look at another problem plaguing California: its financial woes. If you were in the middle of a budget crisis in your own home, would you go out and spend money on a new car, a new couch or a new chair? Probably not, right? Well, that’s just what the state of California did. Despite its budget crisis, California spent $75 million on vehicles and office furniture. The expenditures were outlined in a report released last month by a committee focused on accountability. Ted Rowlands reports on the top spenders and how they justify their expenditures given the state’s fiscal problems.

In Iraq, polls closed on Sunday evening to elect a 325-member parliament Reports indicate that attacks carried out to disrupt the elections killed 38 people. Despite the risks, voter turnout could reach 55 percent, according to a senior U.S. official. President Obama downplayed the violence and said that the success of the vote showed that “the future of Iraq belongs to the people of Iraq.”

And in Florida state wildlife officials have created a special python hunting season to try to stop the spread of nonnative snakes throughout the Everglades. There are an estimated 30,000 of them and they wreak havoc on the local ecosystem – not to mention their neighbors. Just last year, an 8.5-foot family pet Burmese escaped its cage and strangled a 2-year-old girl while she slept in her crib. Starting today, anyone with a hunting license who pays the $26 permit fee can kill the reptiles from March 8 to April 17 on state-managed lands around the Everglades in South Florida. John Zarrella reports.

Did you watch the Academy Awards last night? What do you think about the winners?

What else are you following today? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Tim Gibson

    Do we expect a python trade to evolve out of the problem with the nonnative spread of the snakes in Florida? Is this not another problem within the exotic animal trade created for profit?

    There can be no solid reason in giving your house a makeover when you are in crisis with the budget. The budget horns should be blasting 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday here in California in warning. A collapse of government here would be felt through the entire nation. It is unexcusible.

    March 8, 2010 at 11:31 am |