Culver City sees sudden spike in crime

Series of incidents highlight Independence Day weekend

Crimes have spiked in Culver City over the past several weeks, most notably rising over the past week, according to releases from the Culver City Police Department. This includes several incidents involving firearms, a repeat arsonist, and other forms of assault. 

On July 1, the Culver City Police Department responded to two major incidents. At approximately 11:29 a.m., CCPD responded to a brush fire call in the 9500 block of Jefferson Boulevard, where the Culver City Fire Department was also called to handle the fire blazing on a hillside. Additionally, a suspicious looking individual attempting to flee the scene was detained on suspicion of arson. A witness positively identified the subject — later identified as Brice Piller — as the individual who ignited the fire. Piller, a 33-year old transient, was placed under arrest for arson.

At approximately 5:10 p.m. that same day, Culver City police officers were flagged down by a member of the community at Venice and Sepulveda boulevards regarding a stabbing they had just witnessed. Officers were led to a male victim who had suffered several stab wounds to his back, and rendered aid before paramedics transported him to a local hospital. The injuries were considered serious, but not life threatening.

On July 3, CCPD was called to King Fahad Mosque at approximately 10:40 p.m. to respond to a fight in progress. When officers arrived, they were greeted by the security guard of the mosque with several lacerations to his head. These injuries were serious, but not life-threatening.

An on-scene investigation revealed that the fight broke out when the suspect, Raul Cisneros, tried to gain entry to the mosque, but was denied by the security guard. This prompted the suspect to attack the security guard, reaching for the guard’s firearm. While Cisneros was unable to take the weapon, he managed to grab the security guard’s keys, which he used to stab the guard and cause the previously mentioned lacerations.

Cisneros was eventually arrested and booked for assault with a deadly weapon by CCPD. The assault is being treated as an isolated incident, and thus is  not considered a hate crime. The case will be presented to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for criminal filing consideration.

There were also a pair of attempted armed robberies over the 4th of July weekend in which CCPD responded to. The first occurred in the early morning hours Saturday at the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Westfield Drive, police responded to a victim who said that he was northbound on Sepulveda Boulevard when a gray four-door Mercedes Benz pulled up and drove next to him. Two suspects, one armed with a silver semi-automatic handgun exited the vehicle and approached the victim. After brandishing the weapon and racking the slide — which is to pull the top part of the gun back to eject an empty cartridge — as a means of intimidation, the suspect demanded the victim’s property. In fear for his life, the victim gave the suspect his wallet. The suspects then entered the Mercedes and fled the area, eastbound on Slauson Avenue and out of sight. 

The suspects are described as follows: 

Suspect 1:  Male, Black, 18-25 years of age, 5’10” with a slim build, and braided hair. Last seen wearing a gray T-shirt

Suspect 2: Male, Black, 18-25 years of age, 6’0” with a slim build.  Last seen wearing a black T-shirt. 

On Sunday at approximately 11:09 p.m., Culver City patrol officers were flagged down by a woman who told them that five males had just attempted to rob her at gunpoint. She explained  that she was standing in front of the ATM at the Bank of America, located at 3809 Culver Center Drive. An older model Toyota Corolla occupied by five Hispanic males pulled up alongside her.  The front passenger — referred to here as Suspect #1 (described below) — pointed a black semi-automatic handgun at the victim and demanded her money.  The victim told the suspects that she did not have any money at which point the suspect vehicle drove away towards Washington Blvd. and out of sight. The suspects are described as follows:

Suspect Vehicle: Older model, four-door, Toyota Corolla, black in color 

Suspect #1:  Male, Hispanic, 18 to 20 years of age, bald head, armed with a black semi-automatic handgun.  

Suspects #2-#5:  Male, Hispanics, 18 to 20 years of age. 

Anyone with information on any of these cases is urged to contact the Detective Bureau at 310-253-6300.