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Photo via the LBPD

Federal law enforcement agencies in Iowa have arrested a suspect in the fatal double shooting of a Long Beach couple near Drake Park earlier this month, officials announced over the weekend.

Why it matters:

Crime has been on the rise in Long Beach, especially gun violence, with a 60% rise in shootings for the first half of 2021, per LB Post.

  • According to the most current crime stats by the LBPD, the city's total violent crime rate increased by 12.5% by the end of July 2021, per Press-Telegram.

  • The LBPD is hosting a gun buyback event in early October, offering gift cards in exchange for guns.

  • Long Beach Police Department has seized 528 firearms, a 51% increase from 2020 when there were 349, per Spectrum News 1.

The details:

Long Beach Police and the US Marshalls coordinated the arrest of Joshua Wells, a 29-year-old Long Beach resident, last Thursday near a family member's home in Windsor Heights, Iowa, over the murders of Maricela Honorato and Juan Guizar-Gutierrez.

  • Police searched Wells's residence in Long Beach as well as a home in Clive, Iowa.

  • Wells will be extradited from Iowa back to Long Beach; He is currently held on $6,065,000 bail.

What they're saying:

  • In a press release, the police department said, "Detectives believe the motive for the shooting was related to an earlier altercation that occurred in the area and do not believe the victims were known to Wells prior to Sept. 4, 2021. While there is no evidence that this crime stemmed from a potential road rage incident, detectives will not rule out the possibility."

  • LBPD Chief Robert Luna on not releasing of a photo of the suspect, "If you notice, in the past, when we make these arrest announcements, we usually have pictures of the suspect. We refuse to do that. The victims need to be honored, and the people need to see the victim's faces, not the suspect."


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City officials announced a sobering milestone that Long Beach had lost 1,000 residents to COVID-19 since the global outbreak began, the Long Beach Health Department reported.


Why it matters:

Before the pandemic, one of the deadliest events in Long Beach history was the 1933 earthquake that killed 120 people. Long Beach lost 167 residents in early January 2021 within two weeks.

  • COVID-19 is the leading cause of death in Long Beach, with the majority of the deaths being felt in the Latino community more than any other race or ethnicity, according to the City'sCity's COVID-19 dashboard.

  • The African-American community, which accounts for 12% of Long Beach's population, disproportionately accounts for 14% of COVID deaths.

By the numbers:

As of September 16, the 1,000 Long Beach residents who died since the start of the pandemic included: 84 ages 18 to 49; 213 ages 50 to 64; and 703 ages 65 and over, the City announced.

  • In contrast, there have been 986 cancer deaths since March 2020, 835 deaths from coronary heart disease, 270 deaths from cerebrovascular disorders, 282 deaths from Alzheimer's disease, 208 deaths from chronic lower respiratory disease, and 201 deaths related to diabetes.

  • The first reported COVID death in Long Beach was on March 23 last year; by mid-January 2021, that number had risen to 500.

What they're saying:

  • Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia wrote on Twitter: "Today we hit 1,000 deaths in Long Beach due to COVID19. It'sIt's the single largest loss of life event our City has ever experienced. My love and prayers go out to every family impacted by this tragedy. We will never forget them. And we will honor them by beating this pandemic."

  • In a press release, Long Beach Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said, "These tragic deaths forever change our community.Our Health Department is continuing to do everything it can to protect our community from future losses from this deadly pandemic."

  • Officials announced in a statement to honor those who have died from the virus. The City will light city Hall and other municipal buildings and landmarks in white from September 17 through Monday, September 20.

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Screengrab LBTV on YouTube

Long Beach City Councilmember Roberto Uranga and his wife, who was accused of neglecting their two dogs, will not face criminal charges, the LA County District Attorney's office told the Post.


Driving the news:

Councilmember Uranga and his wife Tonia agreed to take online animal abuse prevention courses as an alternative to criminal charges, even though one of the dogs died quickly after being picked up by a local non-profit.

  • The Uranga's relinquished ownership of the dogs to the local non-profit organization Fix Long Beach.

My two cents:

The lack of charges against the Urangas highlights the protections the political class, even at the local level, enjoys from prosecution even when it might look blatantly obvious the dogs were not living in a suitable manner.


Flashback:

The allegations stemmed from when the Uranga's dropped off their two dogs at Joyful Paws Pet Hotel last October. The staff were reportedly dismayed by the dog's condition and notified Long Beach Animal Care Services.


  • Councilmember Uranga maintained that both dogs were about 14 years of age and well cared for and loved.

  • One dog died hours after a non-profit animal rescue group obtained it.

  • Diana Kliche, executive director of Fix Long Beach, told the Post the dogs were both in "horrific shape," with fly bites on their ears and what she described as chemical burns on their paws.

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