Southland Law Enforcement Increasing Security at Large Venues


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Southland law enforcement personnel operated with increased vigilance today following the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival on the Las Vegas Strip, where 59 people were killed, including more than a dozen from Southern California.

Numerous other Southern California residents were injured in Sunday night's shooting, including nearly a dozen Southland law enforcement and fire department personnel. And a woman from Torrance who was at the concert -- and who had been reported missing -- was among the dead, according to a report late Tuesday morning in the Daily Breeze newspaper.

The massacre triggered heightened caution on the part of the law enforcement community in the Southland.

``What we've done is we've stepped up our level of vigilance throughout the county -- all of our venues where we have large crowds of people coming together,'' said Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell.

``Certainly a higher visibility of our folks; a greater level of interaction with the public. We will continue to do that at all of the venues that draw large crowds, as well critical infrastructure sites, such as our transit system, at the port system and at other places.''

The security vulnerabilities ``are virtually infinite'' in Southern California, given there are so many public places and open-air venues, Brian Jenkins, an authority on terrorism and security at the Santa Monica-based RAND Corp., said in remarks reported by the Los Angeles Daily news.

Law enforcement officials in Las Vegas said Monday 59 people were killed and 527 wounded by a gunman identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada. An FBI official in Las Vegas said Paddock did not appear to have any connection to terrorism, despite a reported claim of responsibility by the terrorist group ISIS.

Paddock grew up in Southern California, attending Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley.

Authorities said Paddock perched himself on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and unleashed hails of bullets on fans watching the festival as headliner Jason Aldean performed.

Among the Southern California residents killed were two Manhattan Beach city employees, a Santa Clarita business owner, a Lancaster teacher, a Simi Valley Unified School District employee, two Riverside women, a San Diego woman and a Torrance woman who had been reported missing.

Sandy Casey was with a group of Manhattan Beach Unified School District teachers who attended the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival on the Las Vegas Strip when she was gunned down, according to the district. Casey worked at the district for nine years.

The Manhattan Beach Police Department announced that records technician Rachael Parker, 33, was also killed in the shooting.

The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reported that Valencia businessman John Phippen, who was attending the concert with his son, Travis, was among those killed. Travis Phippen, a medic, was shot in an arm but survived and helped treat more than a dozen wounded people in the crowd.

Another educator, Jenny Parks, a kindergarten teacher for the Lancaster school district, was also killed in the shooting. CNN reported that her husband, Bobby, was shot in an arm but is expected to survive.

Susan Smith, a 53-year-old office manager for the Simi Valley Unified School District, was also killed in the shooting. She worked for the district for 16 years.

Riverside resident 34-year-old Carrie Barnette, who worked at a cafe at Disney's California Adventure, was also killed.

Angela Gomez, 20, a Riverside native who graduated from Riverside Polytechnic High School in 2015; and Jennifer Topaz Irvine, 42, an attorney in San Diego, were also among the victims.

Late Tuesday morning, the Daily Breeze, citing reports from friends of 22-year-old Christina Duarte of Torrance, reported that the young woman was among the dead.

According to the newspaper, Duarte was attending the concert with her brother's girlfriend, Ariel Carmona of Bellflower, who was shot in the face and hospitalized with a broken jaw.

Duarte worked as a fan-services associate for the Los Angeles Kings, which had posted a notice on its Twitter page asking for help finding the South High School and University of Arizona graduate.

At least two Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department employees, two Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters, three Los Angeles County Fire Department employees, a Torrance firefighter, an Orange County sheriff's deputy, a Los Angeles police officer and two Newport Beach employees, including an off-duty police officer, were wounded in Sunday night's shooting.

One Los Angeles County sheriff's employee was shot during the melee and was listed in critical condition Monday, while a second suffered lesser injuries, authorities said.

McDonnell said the critically injured deputy is assigned to the Norwalk station, while a male sergeant assigned to ``executive offices'' was also wounded. Their names were not released.

A Los Angeles Police Department officer assigned to the Foothill Division was shot in a leg in the mass shooting, said Officer Rosario Herrera of the LAPD's Media Relations Section, adding that the officer was the only LAPD officer wounded in the massacre.

Physicians at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange treated three victims of the shooting, according to hospital spokesman John Murray. Three male patients were brought in separately by family members, Murray said.

Two were treated and released and one was hospitalized for further treatment, Murray said.

One of those patients is believed to be a Torrance firefighter who was ``struck in the lower extremity'' during the shooting, according to the Torrance Fire Department.

At least eight off-duty LAFD employees were at the concert, and two of them were wounded, according to the agency.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department announced that three of its members were struck by gunfire and sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

One off-duty Orange County Sheriff's Department deputy was wounded, as were two family members of other OCSD personnel, but none of the injuries was life-threatening, the OCSD reported.

The two Newport Beach employees were hurt but are expected to survive, said Jennifer Manzella of the Newport Beach Police Department.

Two Riverside County sheriff's department employees were also injured, as was an Ontario Police Department Officer.

Paddock's ex-wife lives in Cerritos, and she called the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department after news of the shooting broke. The woman, who isn't speaking publicly, told deputies she was married to Paddock for six years, but they've been divorced for more than two decades, sheriff's officials told reporters at the scene.


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