LBPD’s ‘Operation Broken Hearts’ nets multiple gang suspects, juveniles connected to murder incidents

Long+Beach+Police+Department+Chief+Robert+Luna+during+a+press+conference+Friday%2C+Feb.+14.

Sebastian Echeverry | Signal Tribune

Long Beach Police Department Chief Robert Luna during a press conference Friday, Feb. 14.

Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) Chief Robert Luna announced during a press conference Friday, Feb. 14 that 12 individuals, nine adults and three juveniles, were arrested Friday morning as part of Operation Broken Hearts.

The nine adult suspects and three juveniles subjects are believed to be related to a local Hispanic street gang and were arrested on murder and attempted murder charges in connection to multiple shooting incidents spanning from mid-November to early February in the first district area.

Luna said the shootings left approximately 19 victims, male and female ranging from ages 16 to 70. Four of the 19 victims were killed. Although some of the intended targets were gang-affiliated, some of them were also innocent bystanders. He added that one shooting victim was a homeless person.

“These incidents have left a lasting trauma with their families as well,” Luna said about the victims.

Multiple local and County agencies participated in the operation, raiding 24 different locations in Long Beach, Norwalk and Paramount. The operation also included inmate-cell searches in various state prisons and jails. Six firearms, five handguns, one rifle and approximately a pound of meth was seized in the raid.

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The Long Beach Police Department coordinated a complex, multi-location operation related to the investigation of two murders and at least five shooting incidents, which resulted in the arrest of three male juvenile subjects and additional suspects on Friday, Febr. 14.

Courtesy LBPD

The juveniles, two 17-year-olds and one 16 year old, were booked for murder, attempt murder and are held without bail. Luna added that the teens also had a violent history and were on parole. Blurred social-media images presented to the press during the meeting appeared to show the juveniles posting with firearms.

Luna implored the public to report social media posts that depicted gang activity to aid police. He added that it was “a shared responsibility” with the community to discourage criminal acts.

“The images you see here today are examples of social-media posts that are often used to glorify the gang lifestyle, and depict some of the subjects involved in this investigation,” the chief said. “As you can see, these images show subjects, who appear to be teenagers, holding firearms and flashing gang signs, which are very, very disturbing. I really do want to remind our community, that if you observe something like these pictures on social media, or you hear somebody talking about it […] you have an obligation to report it.”

Luna said the shootings occurred for the “furtherance” and “benefit” of the gang. When asked to elaborate on the shooting and if the shootings took place to assert gang dominance over the area, Luna said that further details were going to be discussed after the case was presented to the court.

The LBPD is planning to bring the case to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office early next week.

During the conference, Luna commented on the fact that the arrested juveniles had previous violent-crime convictions yet they were allowed back on the streets.

Luna has been vocal about this in the past, and during a community meeting last year, he said that although recent political-justice reform legislation was implemented with good intentions, he believes it is not doing enough to keep violent crime off the street.