Neighbors: your best source of information

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Last Sunday as I was heading home, I noticed the increasingly familiar sight of a helicopter swooping in circles around the heights area of Lincoln Heights. Things have been heating up around Northeast LA and by things, I mean gangs and related activities. They usually confine their exploits to the wee hours of the night so I was surprised at all the commotion on a Sunday afternoon.

Besides the helicopter, I noticed a number of police cars zooming by me, both black and white and those detective Lincoln Town Cars but I was quite surprised to see at least three large bomb squad trucks zipping up the road behind them. Geez, what could it be? A house full of explosives?

There’s a lot of folks on the Eastside that instead of running away from trouble, run to it out of curiosity. Call them stupid but how many folks do you know who run to the window when they hear gunshots and squealing tires? Or if they hear fights or ambulances run out to catch the action? What can I say, I’m a product of my environment. I followed the police cars to the scene.

As I walked up Ave 33, I found a number of bored bystanders watching and waiting for something to happen. The police were leisurely strutting around dressed in their full bomb squad regalia, some with machine-guns out. I asked a lady in Spanish what was going on and she said “a guy with a gun, locked in the house.”

Here’s my account I posted on Facebook:

Ok, just got back. Some guy has a gun and is holed up in his house on Ave 33 near Griffin. There’s like excessive amount of police. Three bomb squad trucks and about twenty cruisers.
I asked a British guy next to me in a tweed coat and a little dog on a leash (!) what was going on and he answered me ” Your tax dollars hard at work.” And we started joking that the cops were having a bored Sunday and needed to get out. Or maybe they were just training and trying out new equipment. Then these young teen girls go: “This better not be a training exercise. I’m missing a baby shower for this!” Then people started laughing and joking and perhaps the cops heard us cause a few minutes later they made us disperse.

After we dispersed, there was an older chola-ish lady that had a small disagreement with the police as they wouldn’t let her walk a certain way home. As she walked away, she grumbled dejectedly to her friend and I, “I’llĀ  just go home and watch this on the news.” I told her I didn’t think this would be on the news as there were no newsvans there and no reporters either. She replied “Oh well, I’ll come back and ask the neighbors around here what happened.”

Now that the Los Angeles Times is pretty much useless for local information and the local TV stations can’t be bothered to cover stories here, the role of neighbors and friends as sources of information will take on an ever important role. Information goes retro. It made me think, this is what LA Eastside is – your metiche neighbor running to the scene, peeking out the window, taking photos and then chismeando the info all over town.

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Bored bystanders

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Waiting for the action

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Don’t think the officer liked me taking pictures. We were soon dispersed after this photo was taken.

Oh by the way, the incident involved a guy holed up in his house threatening a family member with a gun. It was neither gang related nor did it involve any bombs.
(The incident details provided to me by a neighbor. Thanks, Julio!)

13 thoughts on “Neighbors: your best source of information

  1. When I want to know what’s going down, anywhere in the area, I talk to the local winito’s down on the corner.
    They are all good guys (and a couple of alley ladies), and I’ll buy them a six pack or a short dog once in a while, you know the old saying,”there but for the grace of God”. Once in a while one of the Winito’s will ask if he can park his bike in my backyard when they have to go somewhere, and they all watch my house for me when I’m not there.
    If something happens around HP I can be sure I’ll get the real skinny on the bronca the next morning from the bottle gang down on the corner. Much faster and more accurate and detailed than the LA Times.
    So my recommendation is “Support your local Winitos” you’d be surprised how much they can be of assistance.
    BTW, my news source’s say that the pedo going on in HP is mostly due to the growing in strength Highland Park gangsters, moving into areas that were formerly strongholds of the Avenues gangsters, who have been weakened by large numbers of arrests after they were targeted by Law enforcement.

  2. My mom does this like, all the time in La Puente. It’s a natural reaction, apparently, to the sound of trouble, not to hide but to watch from behind the curtains.

  3. I can’t agree with you more that we need to be the “metiche” neighbors.

    I have worked for “mainstream media” for over 25 years. The internet and blogs are the best thing to happen to community journalism.

    I read this site first thing every morning.

  4. Not only did we run out into the street when we heard the police cars and bomb squad trucks but we also drove by and were really impressed with the response.

    It was actually on channel 5 news at 10. I was hoping they would say it was all going down in Montecito Heights or Highland Park but they called us out – Lincoln Heights. Que la cancion…..

  5. You make a great journalist C. Great post.

    “this is what LA Eastside is – your metiche neighbor running to the scene, peeking out the window, taking photos and then chismeando the info all over town.”

    That’s exactly what I do. I’m a big loud mouth metiche who wants to know everything and tell everyone everything.

  6. This is one of the great benefits of blogs. Using the right to free speech and free press to report on things that the commercial media neglects. Great article and great pictures, Chimatli. Maybe the reason the Times didn’t show up for any pictures is because the overcast sky just didn’t look “LA enough” for their predominantly west side readership.

  7. I was going to walk down there, but then ended up getting a call to meet someone somewhere. I drove down in my car and got copblocked.

  8. This is what the Northeast Sun wrote:

    Neighborhood on Lockdown

    A barricade on 239th E. Avenue 33 in Lincoln Heights that started at 4:15 p.m. and lasted until 11:30 p.m. paralyzed local streets on Sunday. According to Sgt. Mike Morisseau of the Hollenbeck Police Station, officers responded to a call of a suspect with a deadly weapon. Sgt. Morisseau said it was possibly a domestic violence situation because the victim, a woman, suffered bruising and a black eye. The incident ended when the suspect turned himself in to police at a different location, Sgt. Richard Sanchez said.

    http://egpnews.com/?p=8123

  9. I think LA Eastside needs to spread some love to the EGP News they seem to be on it and in general when I’m looking for info they seem to be the little engine that coulds in regards to eastside and san gabriel area.

    I’m always getting info from them and going, “wth is this?” Fuck the LA Times is they don’t care. The community papers are the ones that will still be around next month.

    Browne

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