Woodland Hills

Double-Murder Suicide In Family Dispute

April 9, 2024 ·

The LAPD are investigating a double-murder suicide that transpired in Woodland Hills. Photo by Anis Rahman via Unsplash.

WOODLAND HILLS—On Tuesday, April 9, the Los Angeles Police Department Topanga Division announced that on April 8, around 7:35 a.m., officers responded to the 6200 block of Variel Avenue for a radio call of a homicide investigation. Operations Valley Bureau (OVB) homicide detectives were notified and responded to the scene learning of two related incidents that transpired following the homicide on Variel Avenue.

The LAPD reported that the first incident involved two young children being found on the 405 Freeway near Howard Hughes Parkway. The second incident involved a single vehicle fatal traffic collision in Redondo Beach.

Detectives worked in collaboration with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the Redondo Beach Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office to determine if the incidents were related and discovered that the victim, Jaelen Chaney, 29, and the suspect, Danielle Johnson, 34, resided together with her two young children, aged eight months old and nine years old, in a residence in the 6200 block of Variel Avenue.

On April 8, around 3:40 a.m., Chaney and Johnson became involved in a verbal altercation that escalated into Johnson becoming violent, stabbing Chaney, who succumbed to his injuries at the scene. A knife with biological evidence was later recovered from the scene, where Johnson fled with her two children in a dark-colored Porsche SUV.

Around 4:30 a.m., the dark-colored SUV was spotted driving on the 405 Freeway when the two children were expelled from the vehicle while it was moving. The nine-year-old child sustained moderate injuries from the fall and was transported to a local hospital. The eight-month-old child sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at scene.

Around 5 a.m., Johnson drove her vehicle at a speed in excess of 100 miles per hour in Redondo Beach near the intersection of Vincent Street and the Pacific Coast Highway and collided with a tree. Johnson did not survive the crash and was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

These events transpired before LAPD personnel were notified of the crime. Around 7:35 a.m., neighbors on Variel Avenue spotted the front door open, which prompted them to check on the well-being of the residents. It was at that time Chaney was discovered dead inside the apartment. After a thorough investigation and collaboration with the above agencies, homicide detectives determined that the incidents were all related and no further threat to the community.

Anyone with additional details is asked to contact Operations Valley Bureau Homicide Detectives at (818) 374-9550. During non-business hours, or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wanting to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org.

By Trevor

One Arrested For Attempted Arson At Station 105

April 3, 2024 ·

LAFD photo by Spencer Davis via Unsplash

WOODLAND HILLS—On March 31, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) arrested one individual for attempting to set fire to Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) station 105, located at 6345 Fallbrook Ave, in Woodland Hills.

The Los Angeles Police Department responded to a call for trespassing at Station 105 after receiving reports of a man attempting to use the LAFD diesel fuel pump and spray the outside of the building. The suspect was successful in using the fuel pump that requires a pin code to operate.

A LAFD Captain indicated only one member of Station 105 was present at the time of the incident.

Authorities located and arrested the suspect at a nearby homeless encampment where he allegedly resides. No additional information is available about the suspect at this time.

By Sharon

Local Charter School Wins Decathlon

March 27, 2024 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—On Sunday, March 24, El Camino Charter High School, also known as “ECR” or “Elco” located at 5440 Valley Circle Boulevard in the Woodland Hills district of San Fernando Valley won the California Academic Decathlon in Santa Clara, California.

According to the school website, 54 California schools competed in the areas of math, science, literature, art, music, social science, economics, essay writing, interviewing, speech, comprehension, and humanity.

ECR students competing earned a total of 50,781.20 out of 60,000 available points, earned 48 individual medals earning both state and super quiz titles. 

This is not the first win for El Camino High. ECR students won the Decathlon last year earning their place in the National Finals in Frisco, Texas, and took home the 2023 Division I Champion title. The Woodland Hills charter school has achieved the right to compete nationally three times in the last five years.  

In addition, this win marks El Camino’s 14th state title which is more than any other school in the state of California.

Elco students will now represent the state of California as they move forward to compete at the national level in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 25-27. According to the U.S. Decathlon website, online national competitions for small, medium, and large schools are also open to qualified teams from each participating state.

According to U.S. News and World Report, El Camino Real Charter High School is ranked 3,645 in the nation.

Canyon News reached out to El Camino Real Charter High School for a statement but did not hear back in time for print.

By Sharon

Shooting Threat At Taft High School, Woodland Hills

March 14, 2024 ·

School books. Photo by Kimberly Farmer via Unsplash.

WOODLAND HILLS—On Tuesday, March 12, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) became aware of an internet shooting threat aimed at Taft High School located at 5461 Winnetka Avenue. Los Angeles Police Department (LASD) officers responded to the scene at approximately 9:00 a.m.

The Los Angeles Unified School District sent out a mass voice message to parents informing them that the social media message was not believed to be a viable threat.

“We take the safety and security of our students and our campus very seriously. All statements that raise concerns about the safety of our campus are immediately and thoroughly investigated to ensure the safety of our students. The district will continue to evaluate their safety procedures to ensure the safety of the school community.”

Multiple reports indicate one of the posts said, “School is going to get shot today around 4th period. Stay tuned.” A random photo was accompanied on one of the posts that showed a gun resting on someone’s lap.

Students reportedly went into panic mode when seeing the social media threat posts on their cell phones. Students were seen scaling the chain-linked fence and leaving school.

During the late morning hours of March 12, the Citizen App for Loss Angeles posted video footage on the X social media site Taft Charter School depicting a large police presence, and a long line of parents lining up on Winnetka Avenue to pick up their children.

This is an ongoing investigation. Both the LAPD and the LAUSD School Resource Officers are still looking into the matter.

By Sharon

Kennedy Surf Shop In Woodland Hills Burglarized

February 19, 2024 ·

Surfing Photo by Jeremy Bishop

WOODLAND HILLS—On Saturday, February 17, there was an attempted burglary at Kennedy Surf Shop located at 22026 Ventura Boulevard. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers reportedly responded to the alarm being triggered at that location at 9:30 p.m.

Surfboard photo by Addy Mae

Surveillance footage of the incident first obtained by KTLA depicted shattered glass from the storefront window and the front sidewalk.

A post went out on X at 11:45 p.m. from the SFV scanner, “#lapd#topanga 6600 Topanga Canyon Crime broadcast for a smash and grab 30 min. ago.”

Multiple commenters shared their disdain for the upsurge in crime.

@Jimmy9808872 tweeted, “Hitting the Westfield shopping center in Canoga Park again and again…”

Kat~ also replied, “Neiman’s or Nordstrom? So tired of this nonsense… this area needs a serious neighborhood watch/proactive group until Rams training facility moves in…”

Canyon News reached out to LAPD Topanga Division for more information and a possible description of the suspect(s).  An unnamed LAPD Media Relations officer sent a return email stating that there was no description of the suspects except that, “they were wearing dark clothing.”

By Sharon


Armed Burglary, Shooting At Woodland Hills Best Western

February 13, 2024 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—On Friday, February 9, at approximately 11:00 p.m. the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Topanga Division officers responded to a call of shots fired at the Best Western motel located at 21830 Ventura Boulevard.

Officers arriving at the scene discovered a male victim suffering from gunshot wounds in one of the rooms.

Reports indicate that the male was in the room with an unidentified female when a second male in his 40’s is let into the room by the female. The second male can be heard shouting at the first male who is now the victim, demanding he turn over his property to him. The victim is shot, and both the suspect, and the female leave the premises together in an unknown vehicle.

Police are now considering both suspects in what has become an armed robbery. The victim was taken to an area hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds.

No further information is known at this time. Canyon News reached out to Best Western and the LAPD Public Information Officer for the case but have not heard back from the management from the motel.

LASD officer Drake Madison from the Media Relations Department responded with the following information on the case.

“On 02/09/24, at 10:00 p.m., a single victim shooting occurred on the 21800 block of Ventura Boulevard.  The male victim and a female Black suspect were inside a room at the location.  The female Black suspect stepped outside.  Suspect #2 (male Black, 40-45 years) entered the room, armed with a gun, and demanded property from the victim.  An altercation ensued and Suspect #2 fired at the victim, striking him. Both suspects fled from the location in a vehicle.  Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded and transported the victim to a local hospital in stable condition.  It is unknown if the incident is gang related.” 


By Sharon

1962 Impala Stolen From Driveway In Woodland Hills

January 17, 2024 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—On January 11, a 1962 light teal-colored Chevy Impala was stolen from the driveway of Seth Wayne captured on his security cameras. He indicated that the car was not normally left in his driveway.

Wayne, who is a flight instructor by trade, normally keeps the car safe in his hangar at the airport.

The footage shows what appears to be two Black men stealing the vehicle and bending the grill to open the hood. Wayne suggested they had to have pushed it out of the driveway or hotwired it.

Wayne told ABC 7, “I guess they weren’t familiar with what the hydraulics were and what was going on back there, and when they yanked the cables, the charger, the positive and the negative, they hit it and sparks went flying everywhere.”

He indicated that this car was a dream car, he waited a lifetime to acquire and it was stolen on his birthday.  “It’s not the kind of thing you want to deal with on your birthday,” Wayne continued.

Wayne was in the process of working on it.  It was missing some parts and it was worth $100,000. Though Wayne does have insurance on the vehicle, he mentioned that he’d rather have the vehicle back than the insurance money. 

Seth Wayne is the owner of the Ascent Aviation Academy in Van Nuys.  According to the Academy’s website, he has been flying since the age of 15.  Pilots he trained, and his alumni, include those who are now flying for the US Air Force, US Army, FedEx, UPS, Delta, and other airlines.

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the incident. Anyone with information about the theft or the whereabouts of the car is asked to call LAPD at 1-877-3247.

By Sharon

Luxury Retirement Village Coming To Woodland Hills

January 10, 2024 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—On January 9, the California Investment Group (CIG) announced the purchase of 19 acres in Woodland Hills for an upscale retirement village. CoStar News first reported that CIG along with some other investors purchased the property at 23388 Mulholland Drive on the border of Calabasas for $30 million, which works out to be approximately $1.58 million per acre.

The land was purchased from a local motion picture and television fund. According to the CIG website, there is undeveloped land that a non-profit has owned since 1941 that sits just south of the upcoming retirement village and hospital for the entertainment industry in the southwest corner of San Fernando Valley.

Poolside With Pineapple

An affiliate of the Westlake Village-based developer contacted the appropriate parties to invest in the development with the California Investment Group.

The plans include penthouses, villas, and apartments with options of one to three bedrooms with either underground or attached-garage parking.

The luxury homes are part of a Life Plan Community for seniors that will be built on top of a restaurant with outdoor seating. The units will be gray and brown.

According to the announcement written by Dana Bartholomew of CIG, the retirement village will offer a gourmet restaurant, athletic courts, movie theater, wine bar, fitness room, learning center, medical suites, walking trails, a rooftop lounge, pool and spa.

By Sharon

Several Woodland Hills Businesses Vandalized

January 8, 2024 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—The Los Angeles Police Department are currently investigating a string of businesses that were vandalized in the Woodland Hills region.

Video captured a man tossing a rock at one business. The glass was not shattered as a result of the object being thrown. The LAPD are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime after receiving two other reports on Saturday, January 7 on the 20900 block of Victory Boulevard.

According to CBS Los Angeles, one business owner indicated several other businesses were targeted, all Jewish owned that had damage to their establishments with windows being shattered because of object that were thrown at them. Messages written on the businesses included “Pay Up” or “Glory.” One of the businesses damaged was a dance studio.

The LAPD have not reported any arrests or additional details on a suspect or suspects in any of the incidents.

By Trevor

Woodland Hills Man Arrested For Stalking

December 21, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—On Friday, December 15, Derrick Toole, 59, who reportedly owns Derrick Toole Construction in Woodland Hills plead guilty to stalking two separate ex-girlfriends. According to the Ventura County District Attorney’s office, Toole violated a Temporary Restraining Order by calling, texting, and showing up at the victim’s residence.

The prosecutor indicated that in 2019, the first of the two women that Toole had previously dated, moved to a new location. “He would show up at her new address uninvited, damaged her home door locks so they would not work, vandalized her vehicle, and placed a tracking device in her vehicle,” the prosecution stated.

In July 2021, Toole was arrested in a second case of stalking another woman he had previously dated. This occurred during the investigation of the first case.

The second victim indicated that she began receiving messages from Toole indicating he knew her location. She then found a GPS tracker in her glove compartment, and another one on the undercarriage of her vehicle.

Toole dated his second victim for a few months while authorities were investigating the first case. He was ultimately arrested in July 2021.

“Toole also showed up uninvited to her home, pasted large posters of their text communication on her garage, shot a BB gun into her front yard in the middle of the night, and overwhelmed the victim with text messages,” prosecutors said. “He was also seen on a doorbell camera entering the property while the victim was away and driving by her home at all hours of the day and night.”

Toole will be sentenced on Feb. 6. He faces a maximum of three years and eight months in prison.

“The victims in this case were traumatized by the defendant’s repetitive and relentless stalking behavior,” Deputy District Attorney Tessa McCarty said in the release. “It is my hope that this conviction provides them the closure they deserve.”

By Sharon

St. Bernardine’s Fall Festival Is October 6-8

September 19, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS— St. Bernardine of Siena Catholic Church, 24410 Calvert St., in Woodland Hills will be holding its annual fall festival from October 6-8. The hours of operation are as follows; Friday 5:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m., Saturday 2:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m., and Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Ferris Wheel by Junho Vkoo Via Unsplash

Items for the silent auction will be accepted through September 22. The link for the donation page may be found on the St. Bernadine of Siena Catholic Church’s webpage.

Entertainment includes but is not limited to the following nightly features;

Friday, October 6 Bad Habit will be back on stage at the St. Bernardine festival.

Saturday, October 7 The Curious will be performing.

Sunday, October 8 features The Knockoffs, The Dad Bods, and Threshold.

The festival will have age-appropriate rides for the whole family, a beer garden, food booths, and a kiddie area. Admission to the event is free and open to the public.

The rides require tickets that may be purchased at the Church after mass, at the school or at the festival.  

Mass times are on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays 8:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 5:00 p.m.

By Sharon

Woodland Hills Dog Survives Coyote Attack

September 11, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—On Tuesday, September 5, at around 11:30 a.m., a resident reported a coyote entering her yard and attacking her small dog.

A woman who goes by, “Nancy,” told CBS Los Angeles that a coyote climbed a 20-foot fence and picked up her dog, Matcha by the neck.  Nancy’s surveillance camera alerted her to the backyard where she encountered the animal trying to scale the fence with Matcha in her mouth.

Nancy saved the dog by screaming and making a loud noise.  The coyote dropped Matcha and left the yard.  Matcha suffered a puncture wound to the neck. The footage released shows Matcha wearing a cone, but barking.

According to the city of Yorba Linda, California Coyote Awareness and Reporting page on their website, this is the time of year for coyote attacks stating:

“Coyotes generally hunt between sunset and sunrise, but may be seen at any hour of the day. Coyotes are most frequently seen and heard during mating season (January-March) and when juveniles start leaving the family pack (September-November). While rarely a danger to humans, coyotes will display defensive behaviors if threatened or cornered. If you do encounter a coyote that behaves aggressively, you have probably gotten too close to its prey or its family, so increase the distance between you and the coyote.”

By Sharon

Agri Shahrian Fatally Shot In Woodland Hills

August 29, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—Agri Shahrian, 30 of Woodland Hills, was fatally shot over the weekend in Woodland Hills. His body was identified Monday, August 28, and police are pursuing an investigation.

On Saturday, August 26, police arrived at the 21000 block of Erwin Street at around 7:10 a.m. after receiving a report of a “man down.” According to the LAPD, “Responding officers located a single male victim down in the driveway of a nearby apartment complex. The victim had sustained a gunshot to the chest.”

Shahrian died at the scene. There is no suspect information available at this time.

Anyone with information on the case was urged to call LAPD Valley Bureau homicide detectives at 818-374-9550, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Tipsters may also use the website www.lacrimestoppers.org.

By Christianne

Electrical Fire In Two-Story Home Extinguished By LAFD

July 24, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—Firefighters responded to a fire caused by an “electrical malfunction” on the second floor of a two-story home on Saturday, July 22.

Two elderly residents of the home, located at 4946 Llano Drive, “evacuated themselves from the structure after smelling smoke coming from the floor above,” according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Firefighters were dispatched at approximately 9:15 a.m. Within 19 minutes, 18 firefighters extinguished the flames, containing them to the room-of-origin, and preventing the fire from spreading to other areas of the house.   

No injuries were reported, though the Red Cross was notified to assist the two displaced elderly residents.

By Paige Strickland

Fabio Sementilli’s Murderer Sentence To Life In Prison

July 11, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—Robert Baker, 61, who is a former porn actor, pleaded no contest on Friday, July 7, in a Los Angeles Courtroom to the stabbing death of Fabio Sementilli, 49, who was a well-known Woodland Hills hairdresser. Baker was sentenced to life without parole for the crime.

According to prosecutors, Baker and his former lover who was Sementilli’s wife, Monica Sementilli, devised a plan to kill Fabio in order to collect more than $1 million in life insurance. Sementilli’s wife is still facing a murder charge which she has plead not guilty to. Her next court hearing is scheduled for July 14.

The hair executive was at his Woodland hills home alone the night the murder occurred back in 2017. Two people in hoodies entered his property and attacked Sementilli from behind. He received a total of seven stab wounds to the neck, chest and thigh.

Shortly after the murder occurred, both suspects entered the master bedroom and ransacked it. Baker went into the kitchen to wash off the victim’s blood and destroy evidence but left his blood behind. They took the DVR from the garage which held the home’s security footage before fleeing in Sementilli’s 2008 Porsche 911. The vehicle was found abandoned about fives away two days later.

At around 5 p.m. that day Sementilli’s youngest daughter Isabelle arrived at the property and found a bloody shoe prints and blood on the floor. She found her dad dead, slumped over on his chair. An autopsy report revealed that his femoral and carotid arteries were cut.

LAPD officials first believed his death was a result of a home invasion burglary. After five months after Sementill’s murder police arrested both Baker and Monica. They were charged with murder, with the special circumstance allegations of lying-in wait and financial gain. This made them eligible that if convicted they would face life without the possibility of parole.

The two were accused of “communication via cell phones and encrypted communication applications regarding their plan to kill victim Fabio Sementilli,” according to the indictment.

“Monica fully intended for Fabio to be murdered,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman previously claimed before a grand jury. “She wanted him out of the way because she wants to be with Robert Baker. She’s unhappy in her marriage, even though at the same time she’s acting like the loving, adoring wife.”

According to the indictment Monia subsequently called a Los Angeles Police department detective several times asking why her husband’s life insurance policy were being withheld.

Luigi, who is the victim’s son, made a statement in court regarding the possibility of dropping the special circumstances charge. “By dropping the special circumstances, justice is threatened. I will never get to speak to my father again. I will never get to experience his warmth, his love, his confidence, or his endless generosity. None of us will. We lost the patriarch of our family,” Luigi said.

Sementilli’s niece by marriage also spoke before the court, “I will never heal from this and there will never be closure for our family. There will always be an emptiness in the shape of Fabio that can never be filled.”

Sementilli was a father of three children. He was known to post motivational videos on social media and enjoyed cigars and tequila.

Many people throughout the hairstyling industry were shocked to hear of Sementilli’s murder.

By Christianne

Four Hospitalized After High Speed Crash

July 9, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—Four people were critically injured in a high-speed crash involving two vehicles on Friday, July 7. The collision occurred at approximately 10:37 p.m. on the 6200 block of North Owensmouth Avenue. 

In an alert, the Los Angeles Fire Department said the individuals involved in the crash endured “varying levels of injuries,” though “all are categorized as ‘critical’ due to the high rate of speed of the collision and extensive damage to the vehicles.”

All four individuals, two from each vehicle, were initially trapped inside. Firefighters conducted extrication operations to retrieve them.

In an updated alert at 11:14 p.m., the Los Angeles Fire Department said that all of the individuals were transported to hospitals to seek medical attention. 

At least one of the individuals involved in the crash was a male, but the age and gender of the other individuals have not been released. 

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

By Paige Strickland

Ehssan Darabian Reported Missing From Woodland Hills

July 3, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Topanga Area are seeking the public’s help in finding a man reported missing in Woodland Hills.

Ehssan Darabian, 38, was last seen on Wednesday, June 28, around 10 a.m. He was on foot in the region of the 20600 block of Ventura Boulevard.

Darabian is described as a male, standing 6 feet and 1 inch tall, and weighing 285 pounds. He is bald and clean-shaven and has brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a white shirt, blue jeans, and black shoes. 

Ehssan Darabian, provided by the Los Angeles Police Department.

“Ehssan’s mental condition is poor,” said the Los Angeles Police Department in a statement.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Ehssan Darabian is asked to contact Los Angeles Police Department Missing Persons Unit at 213-996-1800. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). 

Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS(800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most Keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.

By Paige Strickland

Suspect In Catalytic Converter Theft Sparked Car Chase

June 4, 2023 ·

Suspect In Catalytic Converter Theft

WOODLAND HILLS—A driver suspected of stealing a catalytic converter led Ventura County Sheriffs and the California Highway Patrol on a high-speed car chase that ended in Woodland Hills on Friday, June 2. 

Ventura County Deputies first attempted to pull over a driver in a black Toyota Prius as they suspected a catalytic converter theft was underway in Ventura. The suspect sped away, starting a several-mile chase. 

Once on the 101 freeway, the suspect drove at high speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Multiple CHP officers pursued the driver, who at times exited the freeway, driving at high speeds on the wrong side of residential streets. 

After two attempted PIT maneuvers, the bumper of the Prius was hanging off and the driver sped off of a dirt embankment to get back on the 101 freeway. 

After 2 pm, the driver surrendered with their hands in the air after a third PIT maneuver at the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and De Soto Avenue in Woodland Hills. A female passenger also exited the vehicle minutes later. Both the suspect and the passenger were taken into custody. The names of the suspect and the passenger have not been disclosed to the public.

By Paige Strickland

17-Year Old Suspect Arrested For Stabbing Bus Driver

May 25, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS— A 17-year-old male suspect has been arrested in connection to a stabbing of a Metro bus driver on Wednesday, May 25, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michael Moore announced at a news conference this afternoon. Due to the suspect being a minor, LAPD will not disclose the details of his identity at this time.

At around 5:15 p.m. at the corner of Erwin street and Topanga Canyon Boulevard, a 61-year-old male bus driver was conducting a stop. The male suspect – described as a White male, six feet tall, blonde, curly hair with a thin, yet muscular build – entered the bus and got into a verbal argument with the bus driver, reportedly over “fair evasion.” During the verbal altercation, both individuals stepped out of the bus and onto the street, where the bus driver was attempting to seek assistance with the “unruly passenger.” The suspect proceeded to stab the driver multiple times in the neck, chest and back, “causing grievous injuries.” The suspect then fled away from the location on foot. 

Responding units and the Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics arrived at the scene and transported the victim – who’s identity was not disclosed – to Northridge Hospital, where he remains in “extremely critical condition” but is “still alive.” The victim has reportedly undergone surgery for his injuries.  

“The nature of the injuries that [the victim] sustained were definitely beyond life-threatening, and certainly in many other instances, he wouldn’t have survived the level of this attack,” Chief Moore said in praise of the first responders and hospital staff’s efforts.  

On Thursday morning, May 25, LAPD announced that they were offering a reward to anyone with information that would lead to the suspects arrest. According to Chief Moore, with the help of the media, the community was able to provide tips and leads to the LAPD. Within 22 hours from the incident, the suspect was arrested by Thursday afternoon. 

“1.3 million people travel the bus lines in this region every day. Majority of the time they are safe. Bus ridership safety is something the Los Angeles Police Department takes very seriously,” Chief Moore said during today’s conference. “The largest challenge we face is the low levels of disorderly conduct; people who are verbally abusive to bus operators, and individuals who don’t believe that they have to follow the code of conduct. This type of vicious assault is an anomaly.” 

The family of the victim is “absolutely traumatized” and asks for privacy and space from the media at this time. 

This investigation remains ongoing.

Police Chase Ends With Motorcyclist In Custody

May 19, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—A suspect is in custody after a nearly hour-long police pursuit involving a motorcycle on the evening of Thursday, May 18. The chase began after the suspect was reportedly armed with a gun on their balcony near Chaminade College Preparatory High School on the 2300 block of Windom Street and Melba Avenue. The school was not in session, but after-school activities were canceled and students were evacuated.

According to police, they made contact and attempted to secure a containment zone, but the suspect pointed the gun at them and subsequently drove away on a motorcycle. At times, the suspect adhered to traffic laws, stopping at stop signs and red lights, despite driving at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour on residential streets in the West Hills and Woodland Hills area. 

Police tried multiple times to approach the motorcyclist on foot, proceeding with caution in the event that the motorcyclist was carrying firearms. Each time the motorcyclist sped off before they could make contact. The suspect was apprehended once they returned to the residence on Windom Street, closed in by several police officers. 

According to police, the suspect suffers from mental illness and did not respond to efforts to negotiate. 

By Paige Strickland

Woodland Hills To Open New Homeless Family Shelter

May 18, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—On Monday, May 15, Ken Craft, founder of Hope the Mission, announced the opening of The Woodlands, a new homeless shelter for families. On their website, Hope the Mission, invites the public to sign up to attend the open house that is to occupy the old 818 hotel across from the William Howard Taft Charter School.

“Our mission is to prevent, reduce and eliminate poverty, hunger, and homelessness. We do this by offering immediate assistance and long-term solutions,” reads a statement from the Hope for Mission website.

“You don’t want to miss out on the chance to see our newest family shelter – The Woodlands. This 100-unit, 400-bed facility will provide sanctuary to families experiencing homelessness. We are proud of all the work that has been put into this facility and the hope it will provide for thousands. We invite you to our Open House where you can see for yourself how we are going to positively impact our community!”

The Open House will be held on Saturday, May 27, from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. All who attend are asked to sign up ahead of time on the Hope the Mission website.

“As we prepare to officially open the Woodlands in two weeks, we need help putting beds together and unpacking dressers and nightstands. Please join us this Saturday, May 20th, starting at 9 a.m. to get the rooms ready for families experiencing homelessness! We need to put together 300 beds! The address is 20157 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills! Come be part of the solution to addressing homelessness in our community!,” said Ken Craft on his Facebook page.

Hope the Mission was formerly known as Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission.

By Sharon

Coyote Enters Woodland Hills Home Through Doggie Door

May 8, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—On May 5, at approximately 4 a.m., a wild coyote entered the home of Mia Shoshan. The family, who was asleep at the time were awakened by the commotion when the coyote spooked the cat.

According to reports, the cat was walking on top of the dining room chairs and hissing at the coyote. 

Shoshan first told KTLA News that her brother was home at the time and came face-to-face with the coyote captured on surveillance video. The coyote made a quick exit out the same pet door.

Canyon News reached out to Shoshan via messenger, but did not hear back in time for print.

Coyote sightings are not rare in Woodland Hills. On May 29, 2022, a coyote entered the home of Julie Levine via a pet door. Levine told reporters the coyote was only inside for about three minutes.

A coyote was euthanized after attacking a two year old.

On December 3, 2022, a toddler was attacked by a coyote on the front lawn of their Woodland Hills home. NBC4 first reported that Ariel Eliyahou heard her daughter’s distressed cries and thought the child must have fallen and hurt herself. The coyote had knocked the little girl down and was attempting to drag her away by the leg when the father of the child pulled up, grabbed the little girl, and scared off the coyote.

Coyotes are most prevalent in their mating season from February-March. Many of the sightings in residential areas in California have been from January through May.

The California Fish and Wildlife Department advise it is illegal to relocate a coyote.  A special permit is required when coyotes become an endangerment to those in residential areas. If a wildlife conflict occurs in an urban environment, Wildlife California encourages residents to dial 911.

By Sharon

Alon Inditzky Identified As Deceased Pilot In Plane Crash

May 2, 2023 ·

Airplane flying near the Beautiful Canadian Mountain Nature Landscape. Adventure Composite. Cloudy Sunset Sky. Background from near Squamish and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

BEL AIR—The pilot who was found dead in an airplane that crashed on a hillside above a home at 3045 Beverly Glen Circle on Saturday, April 29, has been identified as 38-year-old Alon Inditzky of Woodland Hills. 

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Inditzky was flying the small, single-engine Cessna C172 from Bermuda Dunes in Palm Springs to Camarillo when he made a last-minute decision to land at Van Nuys airport. Radar contact was lost about a minute or so later, Elliot Simpson, NTSB’s senior aviation accident investigator told KTLA5. 

By 8:09 p.m., Air Traffic Control notified the Los Angeles Fire Department that they lost radar contact with Inditzky’s plane and asked LAFD to search a foggy, “large swath of mountainous territory near Stone Canyon Road and Mulholland Drive.” By 11:20 p.m., the wreckage was located on a steep hillside and Inditsky’s remains were found at the scene. 

“No other persons were believed aboard,” said Brian Humphrey, spokesperson for the LAFD. 

There was no mayday signal or signs of distress before the crash, the NTSB noted. 

The preliminary investigation is expected to take 2 weeks and will include investigations into Inditzky’s qualifications, his recent history, his training, as well as the aircraft itself and its maintenance history. 

The wreckage still remained on the hillside as of Monday, May 1, KTLA 5 reported.

By Lacy

Detectives Seek Additional Sexual Assault Victims

April 19, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—The Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations-West Bureau’s Special Assault Section (SAS) are seeking additional victims and witnesses in a series of sexual assaults in the areas of North Hollywood, Mid-City, Hollywood, and Woodland Hills.

The LAPD reported on February 28, 2023 investigators arrested Matthew Werner, 45, a resident of Las Vegas, on suspicion of a series of violations of rape dating back to 2015.

Werner, a Massachusetts native, targeted women using social media and dating applications using various aliases to avoid detection. He is described as a White male, who stands 6-feet tall and weighs 250 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Matthew Werner.

Investigators identified five women whom Werner assaulted within the city of Los Angeles, but suspect there are others who have yet to come forward. It is believed Werner has been involved in additional unreported sexual assaults.

Detectives are requesting anyone with details that could lead to the identification of additional victims or witnesses to contact LAPD’s Operations-West Bureau, Special Assault Section, at 213-473-0447. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org.

Tipsters may visit www.lapdonline.org, and click on “Anonymous Web Tips” under the “Get Involved-Crime Stoppers” menu to submit an online tip. Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P3 Tips” mobile application and select the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.

By Casey

Daekun Cho Arrested For Extorting Protection Money

March 16, 2023 ·

Extorting Protection Money
Copyright Free - Stock Free images. Public Domain image dedication. CC0 1.0 Universal Licence - http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

WOODLAND HILLS—On Thursday, March 16, authorities arrested Daekun Cho, 38, of Woodland Hills at his residence for allegedly extorting “protection” money from Koreatown businesses. According to the District Attorney, in some cases, Cho would use violence against those who refused to pay. 

This federal investigation began about a year ago and investigators discovered that Cho was demanding protection money from karaoke businesses in Koreatown, as well as from “doumi” – or hostesses – employed by patrons of the karaoke establishments.

“To further his extortion scheme, Cho committed shootings, a carjacking, a kidnapping, and other acts of physical violence,” according to the complaint affidavit. “Cho made explicit threatening statements to the doumi drivers and karaoke bar owners to get them to pay a monthly fee.”

Back in 2022, Cho demanded that a doumi driver at a karaoke bar leave the location and, as the driver and two doumis were driving away, they heard gunshots and one of the doumis suffered a gunshot wound to the neck, according to the affidavit. That incident remains under investigation by the LAPD.

In another incident with a doumi driver who refused to pay the protection money after a price increase, was subject to a baseball bat beating, allegedly by Cho and another individual, on May 8, 2021. That doumi driver suffered a broken arm and multiple lacerations according to the affidavit. 

One victim, who had been paying Cho for about four years, claims that he had decided to stop paying Cho before he allegedly assaulted him and stole approximately $1,000 from him on January 24. The affidavit details how that victim, working with law enforcement, made an extortionate $500 payment to Cho on February 16.

Cho was arrested by special agents from Homeland Security Investigations and officers from the Los Angeles Police Department pursuant to a federal criminal complaint filed last week. Both those agencies are working on this case. The complaint charges Cho with interference with commerce by threats or violence which carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. He is expected to make his initial appearance Friday, March 17, in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

By Christianne

American General To Layoff 163 In Woodland Hills

March 13, 2023 ·

Woodland Hills

WOODLAND HILLS—On March 8, new reports were released that 500 individuals throughout Southern California are facing layoffs including workers in Woodland Hills. 

According to a report by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN),  the American General Life Insurance Company, at 21650 Oxnard Street in Woodland Hills, expects to cut 163 employees from their workforce by May 1, 2023.

Canyon News spoke to an employee at American General Life Insurance Company who did not know of the layoffs but promised to follow-up with answers.

WARN reports are generally used for companies that employ 100 employees or more. The American General Life Insurance Company specializes in term life insurance. Reports indicate that the office on Oxnard Street will be closing, but there has not been confirmation of this by American General.

Canyon News sent an email inquiry to the Employment Development Department regarding the WARN report to find out more information.

EDD responded to Canyon News confirming the layoffs of American General’s Woodland Hills employees.

A graph from EDD shows unemployment claims from January 2020 through January 2023. The end product reveals $187,284,424,349 total unemployment claims have been paid in the last three years.

EDD Graph

By Sharon

El Camino Real Charter Locked Down Due To Shooter Reports

February 22, 2023 ·

Long lens, crime scene. Detectives and officer in background.

WOODLAND HILLS—El Camino Real Charter High School was locked down on Tuesday, February 21, due to a report of a shooter on campus. The call was reportedly later found out to be fake, Fox 11 reported. 

At 9:03 a.m., the Los Angeles Police Department received an “unknown trouble” call that there was an active shooter at the 5400 block of Valley Circle Boulevard, LAPD Officer Moran told Canyon News. Officers responded to the scene, and the school remained locked down while an investigation took place. LAPD investigators found no evidence of a shooter and by 10:55 a.m., the school re-opened and students could leave classrooms. 

“An announcement said ‘this is not a drill, this is a lockdown, this is not a drill,” Shaina, an 11th grade student at El Camino Real, told Fox 11. “We just pushed a bunch of desks up against the door. We were all kind of scared, we all went into a corner and we all just huddled together in a corner,” Shaina added. 

Another El Camino student named Hannah texted her father, “Active shooter on campus. I love you and I love mom too. We piled the desks against the door,” Fox 11 reported.

Canyon News reached out to El Camino Real’s Director of Human Resources, Dr. Laury, for comment but did not receive a response before print.  

Fake calls to 911 are illegal and will result in arrests being made. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the LAPD.

By Lacy

Six Hospitalized In Three Vehicle Collision

February 13, 2023 ·

Car Collision
Elevated view of broken cars after accident.

WOODLAND HILLS—On Saturday, February 11, a collision between three vehicles in the 5900 block of North Topanga Canyon Boulevard resulted in six victims being hospitalized, the Los Angeles Fire Department announced. 

At 6:25 p.m., the multi-vehicle crash transpired. Airbags were deployed in all three vehicles, LAFD officials stated. Six victims were transported to a local hospital: one listed in critical condition, one in moderate condition and four listed in fair condition. 

Details about the cause of the crash or the identity of the victims have not been released to the public. Canyon News contacted LAFD Spokesperson Nicholas Prange for comment but did not hear back before print.

By Lacy

Large Tree Crushes Over A Dozen Cars

January 16, 2023 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—A large tree that was designated as a landmark in Woodland Hills fell crushing over a dozen cars parked in a shopping center located on the 23000 block of Mulholland Drive on Saturday, January 14. 

The tree was referred to as “The Old Oak” and was reported to be approximately a few hundred years old. 

Some people were inside their vehicles when the tree fell to the ground. A bystander helped two people escape from one vehicle, while two others freed themselves from another. No one was seriously injured during the incident.

A clean-up crew arrived on Sunday, January 15, to clear off debris and other remnants of the oak tree.

It is currently unknown what caused the tree to topple over. 

By Christianne

Disabled Woman’s RV Stolen In Woodland Hills

January 3, 2023 ·


WOODLAND HILLS—A disabled woman who traveled from Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit friends for the holidays had her RV stolen sometime between December 24, 2022 and December 25.

Jill Silverthorne was spending the night at a friend’s on Christmas Eve and had her RV parked outside. She awoke to find that her RV was missing and all her belongings gone. One of the items within the RV was her electric wheelchair. She is currently relying on her walker to get around. 

Silverthorne spoke to Canyon News in an interview. The RV allowed her the freedom to see family and friends she explained. After the crime took place, both she and the friend she was staying with asked around the neighborhood to see if anyone was able to catch the crime on video. Most of the residents either had their cameras off or they weren’t working.  

She has not been able to travel back to her home since the crime occurred. 

Silverthorne had been saving for 10 years to obtain her custom RV and it took her 5 years to find it. It was designed to help her as a disabled person travel. She found the RV in Everette, Washington and it is equipped with all the necessary adaptations to the brakes and the steering wheel so she could travel. It also included a wheelchair.

Jill in her RV. Photo courtesy of Jill Silverthorne.

She found the RV online and flew to Washington to purchase it. Once she got the vehicle she traveled south across multiple states to bring it back to her home and endured a major storm while transporting the vehicle. 

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the theft and her niece started a GoFundMe to help Silverthorne during this ordeal. So far they have made $1,940 of their $100,000 goal. To donate visit the GoFundMe page.

Anyone who may have information regarding this crime is asked to contact LAPD at 818-756-4820. Police currently do not have a suspect.

By Christianne

Hotels To Be Converted Into Homeless Shelters

December 31, 2022 ·


WOODLAND HILLS—An Extended Stay America and an 818 Hotel in Woodland Hills were purchased by the city of Los Angeles to be converted into homeless housing units as first reported by Fox 11 on Thursday, December 29. 

The plans for 818 Hotel are being turned over to Hope of the Valley, whose mission is to house families experiencing homelessness. “It’s an ideal location” said Hope of the Valley President Rowan Vansleeve to the news outlet. “The children in these families can now go to school nearby.”

The Extended Stay will be turned over to Volunteers for America to House Seniors. According to their website, the organization provides housing for seniors who want to live independent lifestyles where they can thrive and age in place.

Both facilities are planning to open in spring 2024.

Some members of the Woodland Hills community are concerned over the new shelters stating that they did not have a say in the process and the new facilities are located by two schools. One will be located right across the street from Taft High School and the other is less than 50 yards from the Temple Kol Tikvah Preschool. 

Canyon News contacted the Woodland Hills Homeowners Association, Hope of the Valley and Councilmember Bloomberg for a statement but did not hear back before print.

By Christianne

Kroenke Buys Woodland Hills Shopping Mall

December 30, 2022 ·

WOODLAND HILLS—On Tuesday, December 27, the Missouri-born owner of the Los Angeles Rams, Stan Kroenke, purchased The Village Shopping Mall near the Rams stadium. Kroenke bought the mall from Unibail-Rodamco Westfield (URW) for $325 million.

Reports indicate that Kroenke may turn one of his shopping center purchases into a training facility for the Rams who have been attending a training camp at a Lutheran Church facility in Thousand Oaks since returning to Los Angeles.

Kroenke’s purchase did not include the nearby Westfield Topanga Shopping Center that is currently being renovated. URW sold another property in Arcadia, California for $537.5 million. Both sales are among the largest commercial deals made in 2022 nationwide.

His group purchased the Promenade Mall from URW earlier this year along with the old Anthem property in Warner Center. The entitlements for The Promenade already included approved plans for a stadium, but Kroenke did not indicate that either facility would be utilized for training purposes for the Rams.

By Sharon

Car Crash Leaves 3 People Injured

December 24, 2022 ·


WOODLAND HILLS—Three people were injured in a car crash on Wednesday, December 22, at around 8 a.m. in the 21400 block of West Ventura Boulevard. 

Among those injured was a 35 year-old woman, a 57 year-old man, and a 66 year-old woman. The elderly man and woman were seriously injured and were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The crash resulted in a vehicle fire which was extinguished by Los Angeles Fire Department personnel. There is currently an investigation regarding what led up to the accident by officials. 

By Christianne

Vaccination Required For Bars, Wineries, Breweries And More

September 20, 2021 ·

BEVERLY HILLS—The city of Beverly Hills indicated in a press release that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) will issue a new Health Officer Order that requires customers to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination prior to entering indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs and lounges.

Under the modified Order, employees and customers are required to have at least one vaccine dose by October 7 and both doses by November 4.

The New Health Officer Order will require workers and attendees at outdoor mega events (consisting of crowds over 10,000 people) to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before working or attending the event.

Attendees at indoor mega events are already required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test prior to entry. These requirements will also apply to theme parks within the county.

While not required, LACDPH also recommends vaccine verification at indoor portions of restaurants to reduce transmission risk.

This announcement impacts businesses in the City of Beverly Hills. When available, theupdated Health Officer Order can be viewed at beverlyhills.org/coronavirus.

To find the nearest vaccination site, visit VaccinateLACounty.com or beverlyhills.org/covidvaccine. For questions about business impacts from the new Health Office Order, email businessrecovery@beverlyhills.org.

To stay updated on the latest COVID-19 news, visit beverlyhills.org/coronavirus or call the City’s COVID-19 Hotline Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. at 310-550-4680.

By Donald