Los Angeles – As gun homicides surge, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today that his Office has filed a nuisance abatement lawsuit against the owners of a volatile South Los Angeles apartment complex where two brutal gang-related killings occurred in early December and where a separate homicide, and arrests for gun assaults, gun possession and drug sales, previously occurred. The lawsuit, part of a sustained and concentrated focus on neighborhood safety by Feuer and LAPD, seeks to have the apartment building declared a public nuisance, demands a multitude of managerial and physical improvements and seeks civil penalties and costs. Located in the 900th block of East 91st Street, the building is approximately 450 feet from KIPP Academy Elementary School.
"We need to confront escalating gun violence head-on. This apartment building has been an epicenter of alarming gang-related criminal activity, including brutal shootings, making it a source of danger in a community that deserves to be safe." said Feuer. "This lawsuit is intended to make the owners of the building step up, increase safety and stop it from being the bullet magnet it was, horrifyingly and unacceptably, on December 9 and 10, 2020."
Chief Police Michel Moore stated, "I applaud City Attorney Feuer and his prosecutors committed to holding these apartment owners accountable. Past reductions in violent crime were directly tied to our collective ability, law enforcement, residents and property owners to work together to prevent criminal activity. In every instance we are committed to working with community stakeholders to prevent crime and reduce violence, but when property owners or others pursue greed over safety, I’m thankful our City Attorney will pursue justice."
On December 9th, 25 year old Tyrone Wofford – an alleged member of the Family Swan Bloods gang – was allegedly standing in the driveway of the building with his brother, a building resident who is also allegedly affiliated with the Swans, when two rival gang members ran up to the property and started shooting. Wofford was shot six times and bled to death while his brother escaped unharmed. The next day, approximately 100 Swans gang members and associates gathered on and around the property to memorialize Wofford’s death. Several cars driven by rival gang members drove up and unleashed a volley of gunfire that killed a 28 year old female, also an alleged Swans gang member, and wounded another. Over the two nights of murder and mayhem, approximately 80 rounds of ammunition were fired back and forth on and around the Property.
The lawsuit has been filed against Winston Yaw and Vannak Chim, the owners of the six-apartment complex located at 921 East 91st Street in South Los Angeles. The lawsuit alleges that since taking ownership in 2018 they have enabled criminal activity at property by failing to implement reasonable security and other measures, even after being placed on notice of the problems at the Property at a face-to-face meeting last January with a City Attorney prosecutor and LAPD.
In 2020, total homicides in the City of Los Angeles were up 36% over 2019. Gang-related homicides, in particular, were up 41%.
The lawsuit seeks a judicial injunction requiring the property’s owners to retain a qualified professional property management company with the necessary skillset to help them run the property more safely; better physical control over who can access the property; improved lighting and video monitoring system; and state-licensed private security. The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties to be awarded against the defendants.
Since July, 2013, the City Attorney’s Office has filed 149 nuisance abatement lawsuits, secured 309 injunctions and collected more than $2.8 million in penalties and costs. Problem properties can be reported anonymously online or by calling 213-978-8340.