WeHo residents robbed at gunpoint speak out

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Daniel Berilla and Matthew Broughton were two of the three West Hollywood residents robbed at gunpoint last week. They and another friend who was robbed last year came before the Public Safety Commission on Monday night to share their experiences and plead for more resources to be devoted to the city’s armed law enforcement agency:

 


 

Hello, Commissioners. My name is Daniel (Berilla), a resident of West Hollywood for over 12 years now. It’s crazy; I didn’t know the story reached people that were so local. I’m one of the three people, you know, that were robbed on Larabee. I never thought in a million years that something like this could happen to me. You hear it happening to other people, maybe not friends, like people that know people that know people, like that would never happen, so you don’t take it seriously. And I never thought I would get involved in the way that I’ve got involved with the news and going on NBC and doing radio interviews because after that all happened, and I went through my trauma for the first three days of last week, I was like, what can I do to make the city safer? And the answer is, I can’t do anything, but I can talk to people that can do things because I know action doesn’t really happen unless there’s pressure from outside sources like news and whatnot. In a city where I pay taxes, and the Block by Block thing specifically, that we pay for, we pay for safety, I have never felt safe walking around West Hollywood. It’s been getting worse and worse the past couple of years, and I think it’s because this Block by Block kind of initiative has made headlines in the worst ways when it comes to criminals. I think they know that there are areas of West Hollywood that just, I’m sorry, that are just not patrolled whatsoever, and it’s the words getting out there, specifically between Santa Monica and Palm, as you all know, maybe that we all nickname it “Murder Street” in West Hollywood because people have been murdered on Palm, robbed on Palm so many times. But the crazy thing is, there have been 33, I believe, 33 robberies that reported this year. I might have the numbers wrong, but I didn’t write anything down. And they all just get washed under the rug, and people aren’t talking about it. They’re afraid to talk about it, and I’m going to be one of those people that are not afraid to talk about what happened to me and my friends because one of my friends, you’ll see, he’s here, and he’s going to talk a little bit too. He just moved to West Hollywood, just moved to that area, and he moved one house away from where we were robbed. We were robbed at gunpoint, and because we have, we’re supposed to feel safe with these people walking around. They don’t have guns, just like Mikey was saying, they can be robbed as well. There’s nothing protecting us. I see no sheriffs whatsoever walking up and down the streets. Santa Monica Boulevard and Sunset, yes, but like the streets where people live, I feel so afraid to go home now. I haven’t been to the bar yet. I am at the bars all the time for dodgeball and kickball and stuff, but now I’m just afraid for my life. I never thought in a million years that I should have to be that, especially when my taxes paid for things to make me feel safe, and I feel anything but safe.

 


Hi, everyone. My name is Matthew Broughton. Most people call me Matt. I am one of the other people involved in the recent robbery on Larrabee, as you know. I just moved here about three weeks ago, never in my wildest dreams thinking that my life could almost be taken from me. This is the first time that I’ve talked about this publicly. It’s been very hard on me, and I’m trying my best not to cry in front of all of you right now. I’ve lived in LA for about three years, and I’ve heard about things happening in West Hollywood, but it’s different when it happens to you, especially during Pride month. Our community is under attack; there are countless people that this is happening to that since this happened to me, I’ve heard several people. I have extreme PTSD as a result. This happened right in front of my brand new apartment. I can’t go out at night. I’m having a hard time sleeping, I’m having a hard time eating. My safety has been taken from me, and I want you to all imagine for a second if this happened to your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your friend, and having to be in a place where this is West Hollywood. This is where the LGBTQ+ community comes together, and we don’t feel safe. I certainly don’t feel safe. So, I want to take a moment to tell you what happened during Pride month. We were walking. It was the early morning of Monday and walking down, having a great time, when four men jumped out of a car, pointed a gun at my stomach, took everything from me. And I know this is being broadcast. I will not be cussing, proceeded to say a derogatory slur to me that we all pretty much know what that slur is, pointed a gun at me, and said if I don’t give them a pass to my phone, they’re going to shoot me. They tackled my other friend, took everything I have. I have no form of, I’m trying to deal with my life, and it’s really hard to go on each day to know that I now have to live here. This is a great welcome, right? To West Hollywood, you just moved here, you worked so hard to come here, now all of a sudden, I don’t feel safe anymore, and it’s really hard for me. So, I want all of you, as elected people or whatever your titles are, to realize how important this issue is and how that particular area is now known, that that is a problem in the area. So, I would like to see some changes made. There need to be more cameras in the area, you know, more police patrol. There needs to be various things so this doesn’t happen because what if my life was taken? It was that close to being taken, and had I argued with those men, I probably wouldn’t be standing here right now. And I just thank you all for letting me speak. I know my 3 minutes are almost up, but I really want you just to let that sink in. Imagine it happened to someone you know, and they were standing here trying to tell you that.

 


 

Good afternoon, West Hollywood officials, as well as fellow citizens. My name is Enrique Quintero, and I have lived and played and worked in our fair city for over 13 years. Let it be clear: we are being targeted. These assaults are patterns; they’re not events occurring in a vacuum. And what’s my message to people who say they want to visit and spend money in West Hollywood? Don’t come. Let’s get to the details. On Wednesday, July 19th, at approximately 1:00 a.m., I was assaulted by three individuals wielding three guns, two handguns, and one long rifle, at the intersection of Larabee and Cynthia, one block away from my current residence. They wrestled me to the ground and left me battered and bruised and took from me my wallet and phone before speeding off. The incident was caught on camera. My case was handed over to Detective Candace Gonzalez of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department. Using the Find My feature, I was able to track their location to a specific phone address that same day on Google Street View. A vehicle matching the description of a black SUV from the video evidence was spotted in a multi-family residence on 1650 Arlington Avenue. I’m doing the cop’s job, so hopefully, I’ll get a little bit of credit there. Eventually, my phone was tracked to a home repair shop where it was recovered by the LA Sheriff’s Department. Extra video footage showing the perpetrator’s faces, again, was discovered. Despite the overwhelming evidence, the case was forwarded over to federal agents, a detective Ruben with the Special Crimes Department. To my dismay, Detective Ruben did not have much interest in pursuing my case. One day in mid-September when I called to receive any updates on my case, Detective Ruben told me that they would not pursue a warrant on the suspects because, and I quote, “they wanted to wait for them to strike again so they could have a stronger case.” What if they kill someone next time, detective, was my response. I don’t remember what he said, but the fact that I erased it from my mind tells me that it must have been something unfathomably stupid and something that I did not want to hear. 10 months later, I found out that my good friend Daniel Burilla and his two other innocent people suffered the exact same fate in the exact same location where I was violently assaulted. Is this how we treat violent individuals that specifically target our city? Let them do worse because I’m going to keep telling people, don’t come. I still suffer from post-traumatic stress, diagnosed. I still jump at shadows. I’m still afraid of walking my dog at night, of doing anything at night. This is going to keep getting worse unless you guys do something about it. What that thing is, it’s not my job; that’s why we elected y’all, so you can do that for us. More patrols would help, for sure. More cameras definitely help. And also, when you find evidence that people are assaulting others in our city, you actually do something about it. Right now, all of them are talking to each other and saying, hey, you see this area full of all these drunk, probably rich gay guys? Go there at 3: a.m. on a Tuesday. It’s easy pickings.

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Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
24 days ago

The wonderful Nik Roybal got up in public comment and made quite an impact when he asked the public safety commissioners if anyone of them had ever had a gun held to their head or had a gun pointed at them. Not one said that they ever had. The looks on their faces were absolutely stricken! I’m sure each of them was thinking about what they would do if they were in that situation… Anyway, I hope they were thinking about it! Also, I am so glad that those three young men came to speak and put a face to… Read more »

Tommy
Tommy
25 days ago

So the both of you voted for the Socialist Party that defunds the police and treats cops like garbage, You both also voted fo “Get out of Jail Free” George Gascon who endorses no cash bail and will only prosecute cases against cops and crime victims. One single political party runs this state and invented this mess, so why do you keep voting for them over and over again? I don’t get it. Wake up. Also, no suspect description, why?

WestHoBornRaised
WestHoBornRaised
21 days ago
Reply to  Tommy

perhaps because they were of an ethnicity other than …..and no one wants to step on anyone’s heels ?

Last edited 21 days ago by WestHoBornRaised
mike
mike
17 days ago
Reply to  Tommy

The voters keep on voting for these ‘leaders’ because they’re brainwashed, clueless, and just plain s – – – – – out here. You CAN’T BLAME the leaders, but you CAN blame the VOTERS WHO put these leaders into power. These voters listen constantly to the leader’s propaganda, lies, narratives, & identity politics that they run on to stay in power, and to divide voters. 2 failed recalls on Gascon-1st one was not organized, in March 2024 voters had the opportunity to vote Gascon out of office and to get back to law and order, but voters chose not to… Read more »

angry gay pope
25 days ago

Since then another robbery on Larabee.

Daniel
Daniel
23 days ago
Reply to  angry gay pope

What are the details of this one please? The more I can get together, the more impact we can make for change in this city. Thanks!

sdfsdf
sdfsdf
25 days ago

The city is starting to not care I think. There are a LOT of “new’ transients/homeless on the streets in West Hollywood each day. These are not faces that we used to see on the streets a few months ago let alone a few years ago. Some of the new ones just give off a super creepy/violent vibe!

JF1
JF1
25 days ago

I hope their words hit home with the commissioners. Up until now, their idea of public safety is a joke.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
25 days ago

Had the City not cut deputies a few years back, we would at least have a few more deputies today and response times would be quicker. While that may not have prevented this incident, I found it ironic that Mayor Erickson materialized at the meeting and took the victims outside the chambers for a long private chat. I just wonder if Mayor Erickson reminded the victims that he voted to cut deputies. Even when he later voted to restore some of the deputies, he commented “I feel safe”, which was meant to deflect the concerns of the public. I doubt… Read more »

Reading Rainbow
Reading Rainbow
25 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

The residents who had the courage to speak up unfortunately are naive about the dysfunctional public safety policies of the last four years in weho. Materializing at this meeting was a campaign opportunity for him to make empty promises to these crime victims.

Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon
24 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Hey steve, this you? https://wehoonline.com/2020/07/03/opinion-its-times-for-west-hollywood-to-reimagine-its-public-safety-services/ Btw, I agree with a lot of what you wrote here in July 2020. But you wrote this before the word “defunding” became a dirty word… Erickson literally did what you asked here in your op/ed in 2022. He went against the staff recommendation for more officers and voted for less badges but more overall $$ spent on public safety. It’s almost like he read your op/ed and thought it made sense… (btw, he voted for more officers at the next mid year) Public safety is the absolute hardest issue for local electeds. Cops vs… Read more »

Last edited 24 days ago by Andrew Solomon
Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
23 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Solomon

I rather enjoy and respect the intellectual integrity of big thinkers like Steve Martin whose views evolve with changing times. His lack of intransigence on many issues serves civic discourse well in West Hollywood. More Steve Martins and fewer toxic intolerant ideologues is the order of the day.

sdfsdf
sdfsdf
25 days ago

LOL walked into the station a few weeks ago to report and transient/homeless person with a variety of weapons and drug items outside the Tender Greens no nee was at the desk but someone came the speaker and said they were ‘BUSY’ and couldn’t speak to me. Ran into a street ambassador and reported the same issue for them to sigh and tell me that they had reported the same issue to the station days prior and hadn’t gotten help about it either.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
25 days ago
Reply to  sdfsdf

Hey! Didn’t you know we aren’t allowed to criticize the LASD on here? They can literally do no wrong! Time to give them 10 million more!

(obvious sarcasm)

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
25 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

As the Mayor of Lancaster said once, when you’re driving over the speed limit, and see a cop behind you, do you not slow down? Agree or disagree with his politics, it brings up the point that a more visible law enforcement presence prevents crime. You can mention obscure studies that say otherwise, but it’s common sense. Yes, please bring on as many deputies as possible.

Outraged
Outraged
25 days ago

If you think the current group of mean girls cabal of idiots of the city Council is going to do anything about this, you’re wrong. They are out for themselves, out to line their own pockets, out to play petty junior high school politics, and they have absolutely no clue on how to deal with things like crime rates. They have absolutely no sympathy for victims, and they really profoundly could not care less about citizen concerns. Not when they have their own pockets to line and their own ambitions to consider. If the people want to have a lower… Read more »

BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
25 days ago
Reply to  Outraged

You comment is an insult to mean girls in junior high!

John Arnold
John Arnold
25 days ago

It might just be me, but I felt there was a complete lack of empathy for the victims who came forward to speak.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
25 days ago

Step one in fixing West Hollywood is to do better at electing long-time residents who care about West Hollywood rather than pander to their toxic ideological puppeteers and the yellers and screamers made up of the five-minute crowd with outside agenda hellbent on using this city as their Petri dish. Step two is to clean house at city hall and bring common sense back to sound municipal governance. Before any steps, however, we must fire the city attorney and her entire firm and break the long history of cronyism in our once-fair hamlet.

:dpb
:dpb
25 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

🎯🎯🎯

angry gay pope
25 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

I wish more people voted.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
24 days ago
Reply to  angry gay pope

No, we don’t want people voting who are not well informed. Far too many people who vote make their decision based on emotion, name recognition, or, increasingly, on intersectionality status. I’m not going to encourage anyone to vote if they don’t feel compelled to do that on their own because they’re likely to cancel out my vote.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
25 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

You spew the same rhetoric as Steve Bannon, did you know that?

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
22 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

So sayeth the seer! Egads!

David
David
25 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

I don’t think they need to be long-time residents. Just more mature, in the two ways this can be achieved.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
24 days ago
Reply to  David

Just like you can’t run for president until you are at least 35, as well as a few other requirements, I agree with Alan that you can’t run for city council if you just moved to WeHo 20 minutes ago.

SeeMe
SeeMe
25 days ago

It is so blatantly clear that the primary agenda of several City Council members is self-serving (e.g. bike lanes on Fountain, the food menu at city events (WTF???)) and that they have zero interest in what their constituents want. This Block by Block is a travesty and a complete waste of our tax dollars. Liberal as I am, “progressivism” is just a reaction to the far right and extremes serve no one. Between the crime, homelessness and minimum wage issues (plus stalled development), there should be no other agendas even suggested by the Council. THESE ISSUES ARE THE AGENDA.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
25 days ago

“That’s nice, but can we talk about those deputy gangs again?”

– Joy

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
25 days ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

Hilarious!…….If it weren’t so tone deaf, off topic and tired.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim Nasium

I was at the meeting and Joy seems intent on pushing a false narrative that all misconduct or abuse arising from the department is the result of rampant “Sheriff gang” activity. But I guess that’s why she is Chelsea Beyer’s appointee. So tedious and a distraction from getting to the real source of such abuses.

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
25 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

let’s just hope that when the PSC elects a new chair next month, that it isn’t her… I really liked Joy a lot when she worked on the DAB, but lately she seems so stuck on pushing that “evil sheriff” line, that it is very worrisome! And speaking of John Erickson, I really wonder what kind of line of crap he fed the young men when he took them into the lobby. Being a politician, I’m sure he was spinning with all his might! I’m sure he didn’t mention to them that he had voted to lower the amount of… Read more »

Daniel
Daniel
23 days ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

Hi Mikie, I appreciate you standing up for us at the meeting and on here. He did not mention that he voted to lower the sheriffs and fewer guns, but he didn’t have to. I am very much aware of the politics here in weho. I have been a. Resident for over 13 years. I’m sure you can realize I’m outspoken and know what’s going on, so I already knew what I was walking into with the people I was going to talk to as well and was well equipped with any rebuttal that was needed. 🙂 Let’s keep fighting… Read more »

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
23 days ago
Reply to  Daniel

As your friend Enrique wrote me, “the silver lining is that situations like this tend to bring neighbors and community together.”
We will keep fighting to make West Hollywood a better and safer place! 😊

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
25 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

I guarantee that she’s influenced by groups like People’s City Council, and people like Jason Reedy. This is her way of feeling relevant and that she’s doing a good job, rather than thinking for herself.

Btw, their friends, people like Ambrose Brooks, will be back in Council Chambers at some point to back this sort of thinking.

Last edited 25 days ago by WeHo Mary!
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