WORKING CHRISTMAS CAN BE A DRAG
By Ron Sipes
No one wanted to work during the holidays. Some would even try to bribe others to work for them.
A lot of the guys had wives and families, some had ex-wives and children, and some had families
and weren't married. All of them wanted off to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones. I was a
single man, with no children, and a real desire for a better quality of scotch so I let my fellow Deputies
talk me into working some of the holidays for them, especially Christmas.
In 1969 I had worked a back-to-back PM/EM and came back to PM's the following day (Christmas Eve).
My partner and I were working car 15 in Willowbrook when we were called to the North End to assist
on some calls, one of which was a man down at 68th and Central across from the Goodyear Plant.
Central Ave. and the sidewalk were in LAPD's area and our station area started at the front of the
businesses that lined the street. When we were called we were headed into the barn and had about
ten minutes left on our shift. As we approached the call we saw an LAPD radio car traveling slowly
down Central and as we passed the two officers in the car, both waved at us and had giant smiles
on their faces. When we arrived at the location we couldn't find a man down anywhere. We searched
all of the entries to the closed businesses at the location and saw nothing. We were ready to go back
to the station when my partner observed something reflecting off of the sidewalk in front of one of the
businesses. We got out of the car and found that the reflection was coming from a pool of blood.
Further investigation showed bloody drag marks on the sidewalk and eventually a man's body jammed
as far into the foyer of a closed business as possible. Not one inch of the body was on the sidewalk.
He had been shot numerous times in the upper torso and had been dead for a short time, he was still warm.
A Deputies worst nightmare, a 187 P.C. minutes from going off shift. We called it in to the desk, and
Homicide was dispatched. We waited for over an hour until Homicide responded. Both of the responding
detectives were old hands and I had handled at least five 187's in the Brook with them that year. They
got out of their car using swear words that I know they were making up on the spot. They were really
unhappy about being called out and made no effort to hide their feelings.
They approached the scene and I told them it was a shame that the body was in the entrance to the
business and not on the sidewalk because if it were on the sidewalk it would be an LAPD handle. They
spent about ten minutes doing what Homicide Dicks do and then started cussing again.
The 187 victim had been killed next to the curb. There was evidence of his having been dragged from
where he was killed into the entry to the business. There were also webbed shoe prints (like those
worn by Deputies and Cops in general) that tracked blood all over the crime scene. After they made
sure that we weren't the dummies who tracked the blood, they started detecting.
They came to the conclusion that LAPD had come across the 187 scene, and being Christmas Eve,
had decided that this murder should be a Sheriffs' handle and moved the body into our jurisdiction.
They called LAPD 77th and ascertained that there was a shots fired call at approximately 2220 hrs.
that night and that the responding radio car had cleared the call indicating that it was a man down
and that the man was in the Sheriff's area.
The call to our station had been made by an LAPD dispatcher and the car was identified. LAPD
Homicide was called and asked to respond. When they arrived our Detectives explained the situation
and gave them the handle. I had heard bad language from our own Detectives but it was nothing like
that produced by LAPD. The confrontation almost ended in a fight. But, out numbered and in the wrong,
the LAPD Detectives decided to take their frustration on the two officers who had dragged the body
in to the Sheriffs' territory. It was about 0100 and the officers were called at home and required to
come to the scene. Within twenty minutes at least ten of the LAPD Brass were at the location. About
forty minutes later the two patrol officers arrived. They were the same two who had waved and smiled
as we approached the crime scene.
I don't know what would have happened to a Deputy who pulled this prank but I found out that both
of the Officers were relieved of duty and suspended for a month for their actions.
They were poaching in our area by placing the body there.