Category Archives: LA Top Stories

Brush Fire Breaks Out in Universal City

Brush Fire Breaks Out in Universal City

A small brush fire broke out in Universal City Saturday afternoon. 

The brush fire started near N Barham Blvd. The fire broke out shortly after 2 p.m.. The slow-moving brush fire had reached three acres by 2:30 p.m. There are no winds. 

The cause is unknown. 


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Pilot Crashes Crop Duster in Gender Reveal Gone Wrong

Pilot Crashes Crop Duster in Gender Reveal Gone Wrong

It’s a tale of another gender reveal going wrong — very wrong.

Raj Horan was flying his 2013 AT-602 Air Tractor, a single-seat crop duster, near Turkey on Sept. 7 for a gender reveal, according to a report filed with the NTSB.

Horan was to fly low over the designated spot and dump 625 gallons of pink water into the air — revealing to those gathered below the impending arrival of a little girl.

As Horan approached, he slowed and trimmed the aircraft. He told the NTSB when he started dumping the water, the airplane began to stall and that he could not get it back.

The stall caused the plane to lose altitude, hit the ground and roll over. It eventually came to rest inverted on the ground. According to the NTSB report, the plane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, right wing, and empennage.

Horan was not injured in the crash but a passenger in the single-seat aircraft did suffer minor injuries. In a follow-up conversation in late October, the NTSB inspector reported that he thought he pilot moved to the right and the passenger was sitting on the edge of the seat on the left side.

Horan told the NTSB there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

There were no injuries or damage to anyone on the ground, according to the NTSB report.

Turkey is located about 75 miles northeast of Lubbock. Horan’s plane is registered to an airfield in Plainview about 45 miles southwest of Turkey.

Last month, an Iowa woman was killed by a flying piece of debris from an explosion during a gender reveal gone wrong. An earlier gender reveal mishap last year was blamed for starting a fire that burned nearly 47,000 acres and left $8 million in damage, NBC News also reported.

NBC 5’s Don Peritz contributed to this report.


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Single-Engine Plane Crashes Into a House Near Upland Airport

Single-Engine Plane Crashes Into a House Near Upland Airport

A small plane crashed into a house Thursday in the San Bernardino County community of Upland, igniting a fire. 

Firefighters responded to the scene of the crash at the single-story residence near 15th Street and Mountain Avenue, according to the fire department. The crash site is about one mile northeast of Cable Airport.

All residents are safe, police said. Upland police Capt. Marcelo Blanco told the Associated Press that a father and child were home at the time and escaped without injuries.

He identified the plane as a single-engine Cirrus SR22.  

Aerial video showed a hole in the roof of a burned portion of the house. Firefighters appeared to have prevented flames from spreading to nearby homes.

Details about the plane’s occupants were not immediately available. 


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Treasures from the Doris Day Estate Go to Auction

Treasures from the Doris Day Estate Go to Auction

Successful hotelier, genre-changing movie star, beloved singer, Carmel-by-the-Sea treasure, and the ultimate friend to furry critters? Doris Day wore many winning hats in her lifetime, and her legacy of love and laughter continues to inspire millions of fans. The entertainment icon and animal activist passed away in May 2019, and while visiting her famous Carmel inn is still a must for mavens of her movies, and re-watching the films she helped make famous is a regular pastime, there’ll soon be another way for Doris devotees to connect with her memory.

Property from the Estate of Doris Day will go to auction in Beverly Hills on April 4 and 5, 2020, with all proceeds going to the Doris Day Animal Foundation. Her elegant but easygoing style is evident in the pieces, which include furniture, a car, and, of course, gorgeous gewgaws that reflect her lifelong love of dogs. Take a look now at just a few of the pieces that will surely win over the hearts of those who remember, and greatly miss, this great actor and advocate for animals.


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Drifter Indicted on Murder Charge in Malibu Creek Campground Killing

Drifter Indicted on Murder Charge in Malibu Creek Campground Killing

The transient accused of killing a father at Malibu Creek State Park was indicted for murder by a Los Angeles County grand jury, moving the case against Anthony Rauda closer to trial.

The indictment was unsealed Tuesday during a hearing at the Criminal Courts Building in Downtown LA. It also charges Rauda, 43, with 10 counts of attempted murder and 5 counts of burglary.

The charges mirror the criminal case initially filed in January by the LA County District Attorney’s Office. It accused Rauda of firing the shot that killed 35-year-old Tristan Beaudette as he slept alongside his 2 daughters inside a tent at the park in June, 2018. The girls were not injured.

Prosecutors said Rauda was also responsible for a series of seemingly unrelated, random shootings that took place in the area of the park beginning in November, 2016, including 3 in 2017 in which vehicles were struck by gunfire. He was also accused of burglarizing several buildings in the area around the park, often stealing food but leaving valuables untouched.

Several law enforcement sources told NBC4 a key piece of evidence that led to the indictment was the comparison of bullets from the murder and some of the other shootings with the 9mm carbine Rauda was allegedly carrying when he was arrested in the Malibu wilderness by LA County Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes Bureau detectives.

Security video from one business appeared to show Rauda carrying a similar gun during a burglary in the weeks before his arrest on October 10, 2018. He was also carrying two loaded magazines for the gun and had a bag of ammunition, according to testimony at one pretrial hearing.

The sources said investigators believe Rauda is responsible for other shootings and burglaries for which not enough evidence was found for prosecution, including an unsolved shooting of a woman driving on Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Ventura County in 2010. They said Rauda is also suspected in other thefts and violence in LA, Ventura and Sonoma counties.

“It’s a 10-year crime spree that could make a Hollywood movie,” one detective familiar with the case who was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation told NBC4 last year.

After Rauda’s arrest the Sheriff’s Department opened an internal affairs investigation into the detectives at the Lost Hills Station in Agoura, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva. The inquiry focused on whether or not the detective bureau at the station did enough to try to catch the mystery gunman before Beaudette was murdered and the case was turned-over to investigators from the Sheriff’s Homicide and Major Crimes Bureaus.

Law enforcement sources told NBC4 the former detective bureau lieutenant at Lost Hills, James Royal, was recently given a 30-day suspension as a result of the internal affairs investigation, and a detective sergeant, Tui Wright, was also served with a suspension notice. Wright immediately retired from the Sheriff’s Department and is considering filing a lawsuit, the sources said.

Royal took legal action months before he was disciplined. In a government claim filed earlier this year Royal said he was effectively demoted and transferred to a less desirable assignment further from his home.

He said he became the target of workplace retaliation after Beaudette’s widow filed a lawsuit that accused the County of failing to warn the public about the series of unsolved shootings.

“The…retaliatory actions against Claimant [Royal], including specifically the unwarranted transfer, IA investigation, and reputational harm, are designed to intimidate, control, and otherwise damage Claimant as a witness,” Royal’s claim said. “Because the Department believes that Claimant will testify in a future proceeding regarding his disclosures to supervisors as to the Department’s legal duty to warn the public.”

The Sheriff’s Department responded but would not discuss Royal’s allegations.

“Based on the nature of pending litigation and ongoing investigations, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time,” the department said.

Beaudette’s widow, Erica Wu, named the Sheriff’s Department, the California State Park Police, and other state and local agencies as defendants in her legal action in civil court and demanded at least $90-million in compensation for the murder.

The agencies ” … have confirmed they were aware of at least seven unsolved shootings in Malibu Creek State Park,” the claim said. “[The agencies] … negligently failed to care and provide a safe space for Beaudette and his children, instead causing his death.”

As to Wu’s claim the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said, “we reserve comment on pending litigation,” and the California State Parks department said it, “does not comment on potential or pending claims.”

Royal declined to comment through his attorney, who said Royal was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly because he’s still a County employee.

“He did everything he could,” said attorney Matthew McNicholas, but he explained Royal could not defy his superiors and give any information about the shootings directly to the public. McNicholas said he expected Royal would be an important witness in Wu’s litigation.

According to a timeline in Royal’s claim there had been 3 shootings in the park by January, 2017 and Royal asked for permission to notify the public, but he said Sheriff’s supervisors refused and told him it was a “State Park’s problem” and not theirs.

Four more shootings followed and Royal said he asked the Lost Hills Station captain, a division chief, and a commander for permission to make a public statement, and again, “the request was denied,” the claim said.


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Evacuation Orders Lifted After Terrain-Driven Fire Burns in Pacific Palisades

All evacuation orders were lifted Monday night after a terrain-driven fire in Pacific Palisades forced residents to flee, with the fire burning dangerously close to homes and sending thick smoke billowing into the air Monday.

The 30-acre fire burning uphill was reported around 11 a.m. in the 500 block of N. Palisades Dr. It was initially a small, one-acre blaze that quickly raced uphill. 

Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Sean Rios said crews on the ground were getting a handle on the fire, and winds were not driving the flames, which aided in the firefight. 

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for about 200 residents in the area bordered by Charmel Lane on the west, Bienveneda Avenue on the east, the end of Lachman Lane on the north, and Merivale Lane on the south.

Everyone was asked to evacuate calmly, and to notify any neighbors who might not have received the alert. 

The Los Angeles County Fire Department also sent water-dropping helicopters to quickly extinguish flames right on the property line of one home in the 1100 block of Vista Grande Dr. 

The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known, but the fire, which started at the base of Palisades Drive, spread to 18 acres in a matter of minutes, fire officials said at a news conference. 

Brush Fire Burning in Pacific PalisadesBrush Fire Burning in Pacific Palisades

Residents along with construction crews who were working in the area could be seen armed with garden hoses spewing water over the railing toward the embers, alongside fire crews.

All evacuation orders were lifted around 8:17 p.m., the Los Angeles Police Department announced.

While the fire did not burn any homes, it did manage to burn patio furniture of one home. 

No residents were hurt, officials said. Officials also said no firefighters had been hurt, but aerial images showed a crew member in an orange jumpsuit lying motionless on the ground before he was loaded onto a stretcher and into an ambulance. He reportedly suffered from heat-related illness, but NBCLA did not independently confirm that. 

Officials also noted that because residents overall adhered to strict brush clearance regulations, the fire acreage would likely be downgraded after it had been completely extinguished. 

The fire was burning close to the popular Los Liones Canyon Trail, and the smoke plume could be seen from as far away as Los Angeles International Airport. 

To learn more about proper brush clearance and fire safety, click here.

To read this article in Spanish, visit our sister station Telemundo 52.


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Bruce Lee’s Studio in Chinatown Reopens After 50 Years

Bruce Lee's Studio in Chinatown Reopens After 50 Years

After being closed for 50 years, Bruce Lee’s martial arts studio in Chinatown reopened its doors Sunday, led by a second-generation student of Lee’s.

The studio, located at 628 College Street, was vacant since 1969, aside from briefly serving as a dental office. It was where legendary martial artist Lee taught his students Jeet Kune Do, a fighting style and philosophy he developed.

Jeet Kune Do — which is Chinese for “way of the intercepting fist” — is now taught in the studio by Eric Carr, a student of Jerry Poteet, who himself learned the style from Lee.

Anya Villarreal, a student at the studio, describes the martial art as focusing on “dissolving” and remaining flexible, referencing Lee’s teaching to “be like water.”

Carr says he grew up poor and surrounded by bad influences. In 2001, already trained in classical kung fu and Wing Chun,he met Poteet and began learning Jeet Kune Do. He has since immersed himself in Taoist philosophy and learned Mandarin Chinese, according to his website. Now he teaches students of his own.

“It’s something Jerry used to say to me: ‘You’ve got to complete the circle,'” Carr said.

Part of that legacy involves accepting students of all backgrounds into the studio, in the spirit of Lee’s own teaching style.

“I don’t care where you came from, what color you are, male, female, gay, straight — I don’t care,” he explained. “It’s your content, your essence, right?”

Carr’s students believe the philosophical principles of Jeet Kune Do have affected their lives outside of the studio.

“I take a moment more to pause to try and reflect and understand what’s going on in my life as opposed to reacting,” Villarreal said.


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OC Fire Association Augments Firefighting Staff as Strong Winds Increase Chance of Fire

OC Fire Association Augments Firefighting Staff as Strong Winds Increase Chance of Fire

The Orange County Fire Association is increasing its staffing of firefighters in response to increased fire risk caused by strong Santa Ana winds.

The winds, combined with high temperatures and low humidity through the end of the week, augment the potential of a large wildfire starting, according to news release published by the OCFA on Saturday.

“Upstaffing allows OCFA to continue to provide the high level of service to the community that it does every day, while prepositioning additional crews solely for the purpose of responding to wildfire incidents,” the news release added.

In the neighboring county of Los Angeles, the Saddleridge Fire continues to burn as firefighters battle intense winds, which can carry embers that start more blazes.

Extra resources that will be deployed include five additional fire engines, five wildfire trucks, three helicopters and two hand crews — which typically number about 20 firefighters each.

A briefing with nearly 100 firefighters was scheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine to discuss tactics.


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Nobody Wants This Violent Convicted Sex Predator to Live in Their Town

Nobody Wants This Violent Convicted Sex Predator to Live in Their Town

What to Know

  • In 1983, the man was convicted of two counts of rape and served a prison sentenced before being paroled in 1987.

  • The then-24-year-old convict while on parole in 1987 sneaked into a family’s home and sexually assaulted a 10-year-old asleep in her bed.

  • Now, officials are trying to relocate him to San Bernardino County, but they are protesting.

A violent sex predator convicted of rape who, when paroled, sneaked into a child’s room and sexually assaulted her, was ordered to be released to live in a Southern California town, but local officials are fighting it, just as others fought his release into Ventura County, and in Sacramento.

An emergency community meeting at the Sportsman’s Club in Joshua Tree was scheduled for Oct. 21 at 5:30 p.m., San Bernardino County’s 3rd District supervisor Dawn Rowe announced via Twitter. 

This after the convicted rapist, Ross Leo Wollschlager, was ordered to be released from Ventura County to Joshua Tree — but residents reportedly have protests scheduled.

In 1983, Wollschlager was convicted of two counts of rape and served a prison sentenced before being paroled in 1987, according to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.

He was originally facing four charges of rape.

The then-24-year-old convict while on parole in 1987 sneaked into a family’s home and sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl asleep in her bed, the DA said.

He was convicted in 1990 and declared a “sexually violent predator” under the state Welfare & Institutions Code in Ventura County. He received hospital treatment after being committed.

Wollschlager was ordered to be conditionally released Jan. 31, 2019 into the Ventura County community, but in March, Ventura County Superior Court ruled he had to be relocated elsewhere — specifically Sacramento County.

But that was unsuccessful.

Wollschlager was then ordered to live in Joshua Tree Sept. 19, 2019, but San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson, Sheriff John McMahon, and other officials strongly objected to this.

Anderson said the county didn’t receive the 30 day notice required by law, at a news conference. 

The district attorney has ordered deputies to go to Ventura County to prevent him from being placed in Joshua Tree.


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El Capitan Campground Evacuated as Wildfire Burns Near Gaviota

El Capitan Campground Evacuated as Wildfire Burns Near Gaviota

A wind-driven fire burning near Gaviota in Santa Barbara County prompted the closure of the coastal El Capitan campground Thursday afternoon.

The Real Fire was reported around 4:30 p.m. and appeared to be burning toward the ocean.

Approximately 75 to 100 acres burned and zero containment just before 6 p.m., according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

California Highway Patrol is shutting down Highway 101 intermittently.

This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.


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