Passings, Tragedies and Renewals in 2019

By Steve Propes

Business As Unusual

  • Serving food for over 40 years, in January, Spires at Lakewood Boulevard and Willow Street closed to make way for a Starbucks and a Jack in the Box.
  • The LBX Hangar at Douglas Park opened for business in February.
  • In June, a leading early advocate of legalizing marijuana dispensaries, Jeff Abrams, sold his One Love dispensary to the Med Men chain for an August takeover.
  • The 20-year-old Long Beach Towne Center got city approval in August to demolish the food court to accommodate an upcoming Dave and Buster’s, underway by year’s end.
  • The long awaited 2nd and PCH October ribbon cutting attracted dignitaries aplenty.
  • The 36-year-old Milk Barn Pizza & Dairy sold its last pizza in November before moving to Lakewood. The current 4855 Bellflower Blvd. location, slated as a dispensary, explains the “not a dispensary” signage.
  • The LGBTQ-favored bar, Ripples at Ocean Blvd. at Granada Avenue, closed in November, as owners sold the property.

Crime and Punishment

  • Mark Steven Domingo, 26, of Reseda was arrested in April for accepting a look-a-like bomb from an undercover officer after visiting Bluff Park in his alleged attack plan on an upcoming white nationalist rally with protestors on hand. Only the protestors showed.
  • In May, transient Amad Rashad Redding, 27, used an electric scooter to bludgeon to death Rosa Elena Hernandez, out on a walk on the 6400 block of Obispo Avenue.
  • Gambling entrepreneurs replaced dispensary owners on the police raid hit parade.
  • Three gamblers were arrested in a July raid at the 1400 block of Cherry Avenue. In October, about 20 gamblers arrested in three raids on Anaheim Street and Pacific Avenue, not to mention a Lakewood man shot and killed at another gambling den. In December, another raid, more arrests, all had existing warrants.
  • Police tracked robbery suspects to a 7-Eleven at the 5100 block of Pacific Coast Highway. Witnessing a robbery in progress, police told Jordan Michael Griffin, 18, to drop his gun. He didn’t; they shot and killed him and arrested Devontae Moore, 22, near the scene in September. The robber’s weapon was a CO2-powered BB gun.
  • In October, at Bottoms Up Sports Bar at the 1700 block of Artesia Blvd., 48-year-old Delfon Kinney Sr. shot and killed bar back Manuel Marquez, 44, of Paramount, then shot an employee, who escaped with a non-life threatening injury. Police arrived as shots were being fired; Kinney was later found dead from a gunshot wound.
  • Three Halloween partygoers on the 2700 block of Seventh Street were killed by unknown shooters. Seven women and two men were wounded. No suspects were named.

Police, Politics, Protests and Public-Private

  • Breathless reports of the Los Angeles Angels negotiating with the city over moving the team to an empty lot near the Long Beach Arena in February was simply a stalking horse in the owner’s negotiations with Anaheim.
  • Pacific Visions, an expansion at the Aquarium of the Pacific opened in May, putting the venue into the exhibit space business.
  • Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia declared homelessness the city’s number one problem.
  • In July, the public-private city hall and the port-owned administration building had its ribbon cut downtown.
  • In September, read all about the new Billie Jean King Library [Beachcomber freelance photographer Diana Lejins banned by the city’s chief propaganda officer, Kevin Lee – Ed.]
  • Police K-9 Ozzy died in a heat related incident inside the handler-officer’s department-issued K-9 vehicle in August.
  • Indigenous people from local tribes protested CSULB’s September dirt dumping on 22-acres of Puvungna lands.
  • In September, City Prosecutor Doug Haubert advised Second District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce might be prosecuted by L.A. County’s District Attorney if she violated the Political Reform Act. In November, Pearce said she will not run for re-election.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a November report on a 14 year local effort to modify or remove the breakwater, deciding the breakwater must stay as-is.
  • After a year of down time, the Metro Blue Line reopened in November as the A line, then closed in late December because of vandalism in its Compton yard.

Traffic Tragedies and Passings

  • Beachcomber reporter, Sean Christopher Belk, 36, was killed in a January traffic accident on the 200 block of Obispo Avenue. One month later, Beachcomber advertising specialist Gwen Barfield Depaz Parker, 66, died at her Long Beach home.
  • A stolen Nissan pursued by police hit a Ford Escape in May, killing dog-walker Jessica Bingaman, 41 at Third St. and Temple Avenue. The suspect, Javier Olivarez, 43, of Los Angeles was hospitalized and arrested.
  • On Halloween night, suspected DUI driver, 20-year-old Carlo Navarro, struck a family of three on Country Club Drive. Joseph Awaida, 30, died that night. Two days later, son Omar, 3, died. His mother, Raihan Awaida, 32, died four days later.
  • In December, detectives and alcohol control agents arrested Amor Potestades Amacio, 56, of Norwalk, for furnishing alcohol to Navarro at Green Diamond Liquor at the 5300 block of Long Beach Boulevard.


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