LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has filed criminal charges of unlawful firearms storage against two north San Fernando Valley parents following separate investigations by school police into gun violence threats allegedly made by their teens at two local high schools.
"For goodness’ sake, lock up your guns. There’s no excuse not to," said Feuer. "Locking up firearms saves lives and it’s the law. Incidents like these are potential school shooting tragedies waiting to happen. My office will continue taking swift, decisive action against parents who don’t safely store their guns."
Feuer also noted that in both cases, possible tragedies were averted because parents and kids reported the threats to school police. "Remember, if you see or hear something, say something," Feuer added.
Los Angeles School Police Chief Steven Zipperman stated, "Our school police officers and detectives will continue to aggressively investigate all school safety threats and follow up at the residence of students or other locations where we believe access to firearms are present. We will arrest or seek to prosecute any adult having control of a premise that allowed unsecured access to firearms to a child or other prohibited person."
"As a School Board Member and former principal, my most pressing responsibility is the safety of our children and the security of our school communities," said LAUSD Board Member Scott Schmerelson. "Our teachers and principals are trained to respond to threats made on campus but we need parents and families to discuss gun safety with their children and to encourage our students who see or hear something troubling from a classmate to say something. Building this trust will help keep our campuses safe."
"School safety begins at home, and so does the potential for school tragedies," said City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, author of the city’s safe storage mandate. "Parents who own guns must lock them up to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. It is intolerable for us as a government or society to allow young people to be endangered in the very places they should feel secure, which is why the City of Los Angeles is doing everything in its power to curb gun violence. I applaud the City Attorney’s tireless work on this issue and his decision to prosecute these cases."
"This incident is a reminder that threats at schools should never be taken lightly," said Councilmember Mitchell Englander, who chairs the Los Angeles Public Safety Committee. "I want to thank the School Police Officers and those who reported these threats for taking action and doing so with the sense of urgency that these incidents require. They may very well have saved lives and prevented yet another tragedy. It is important that everyone recognize that gun ownership comes with responsibilities to both your family and the larger community and Los Angeles is prepared to ensure that those responsibilities are met with the force of law."
"Almost one month ago in Parkland, Florida, the lives of seventeen innocent students, teachers and coaches were taken," said student Jonas Poggi, 18. "As student organizers with March For Our Lives LA, we say enough is enough! That’s why on March 24, we’ll be marching in downtown in solidarity with students in Parkland, Washington, D.C., and communities across the country demanding common sense gun laws and an end to the gun violence epidemic. We appreciate the support of City Attorney Mike Feuer, a longtime advocate of gun violence prevention."
Robert Christy, 59, is charged with three counts of unlawful storage of a firearm. He faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each charge.
On or about, February 5, 2018, Christy’s 16 year-old son allegedly made threats to other students at Chatsworth Charter High School indicating he was going to shoot up the school. The teen had allegedly made numerous references to his parents’ guns on previous occasions. On February 17, 2018, Los Angeles School Police went to the defendant’s home after another parent reported the alleged threats.
Investigating officers allegedly recovered two revolvers and one semi-automatic handgun unsecured in a bag behind a dresser in the master bedroom. Approximately 90 rounds of ammunition were reportedly also recovered from the bag. It is alleged that an unsecured rifle was discovered in the closet.
Dazo Esguerra, 50, is charged with two criminal counts including criminal storage of a firearm and unlawful storage of a firearm. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
In February, 2018, Los Angeles School Police conducted a follow-up investigation at the defendant’s home after his 17-year-old son allegedly made threats involving a gun to another student at Granada Hills Charter High School. The defendant’s son allegedly also made social media posts with firearm.
Investigating officers allegedly found a loaded semi-automatic handgun unsecured in a bag located in Esguerra’s closet. A magazine with seven rounds of ammunition was allegedly recovered from the holster where the firearm was located.
Arraignments for both cases is scheduled for April 2, 2018 in Department 48.
The cases are being prosecuted by Deputy City Attorney Margarita Barron, who is assigned to prosecute gun cases and to identify gun violence hot-spots throughout the City and vertically prosecute high-risk firearm cases in those areas. Feuer’s Gun Violence Prevention Unit has brought multiple cases against adults for unsafe firearms storage, including cases where children have brought such guns on to school campuses.
Gun violence prevention and school safety are top priorities for Feuer, who last week established the Los Angeles Blue Ribbon Panel on School Safety in the wake of the Parkland tragedy. This panel will hold a series of public hearings in the Spring, and issue a report this Summer that will offer recommendations on additional steps to keep kids safe in L.A. schools.