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According to the LAPD, over 100 cases of follow-home robberies have been taking place in high-end areas. This includes Hollywood, where, on Tuesday morning, 23-year-old Jose Gutierrez was found dead after trying to come to the aid of a female victim. According to police, the violence and number of guns involved in these types of circumstances are rampling up.
Witnesses have claimed that the suspects of this most recent crime drove away in a black Nissan and had handguns. According to ABC7 Los Angeles, Officers from the LAPD Hollywood Station arrived around 2:10 a.m. outside of the Sunset Blvd. Bossa Nova Restaurant after multiple call-ins regarding a shooting. Gutierrez was found unresponsive and reported dead at the scene. No arrests have been reported.
A witness recounts to CBS Los Angeles, “I heard a lot of shots. I couldn’t count how many. And then I heard a scream. This girl was constantly screaming ‘help.’ I come downstairs, the guy is laying down in front of the car. I check his pulse… he had too many gunshots in his head. So, there was nothing I could do.” It’s currently unclear whether suspects have taken anything or harmed the woman. And police claim that there may be up to 8 suspects involved in this incident.
A witness, Robert Jackson, told KTLA about what he saw during his break. “I hear some sirens, see a helicopter, that’s when I decide to jump out, walk down the street… And when I got to the corner, I just see the gentleman laying next to the car.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore claims that the crime is connected to other “follow-home” robberies, in which robbers follow people with expensive vehicles, jewelry, or other belongings. The department has identified at least 133 likely instances of this type of crime.
As a result, the police department will be creating a task force composed of robbery homicide detectives and resources from the Gang Narcotics Division and Metropolitan Division. Moore claims that the force will “work moving forward on identifying these individuals responsible and pursuing and bringing them before the criminal justice system.” Additionally, he urges that people should not attempt to protect their property or engage in any actions other than those that would minimize chances of becoming a victim to violence.
The task force will be composed of more than 20 detectives who will work to identify and stop threats to public safety posed by organized groups of criminals. Further, Moore explains the necessity of this, saying that robberies have decreased over the last two years but have also gotten a lot more violent. “[T]he potential for matters to escalate to something that we saw this morning,” Moore said.
Other examples of similar crimes have also been reported. One of these, described by NBC Los Angeles, occurred in Upland after robbers followed a couple for over 50 miles from a Hollywood bar. Reportedly, they had a stun gun and held the couple at gunpoint after one refused to give up his car. The robbers still left with a Rolex wristwatch. Police claim that the robbers came in two different cars, a white Mercedes sedan and a white Ford Mustang with a black top. The entire early morning encounter was caught on camera. There have also been reports of breaking and entering in the presence of children, as well as an attempt at armed robbery against TV host Terrence Jenkins.
Moore also pushes for persons to drive to a police station instead of to their homes if they realize they’re being followed. Anyone with information on the crime is encouraged to call 877-LAPD-247.