Parents of Beverly Grove man killed by intruder sue LAPD

The parents of a 31-year-old man who was fatally stabbed by an intruder at his home in Beverly Grove last year have sued the Los Angeles Police Department, alleging that police misrepresented multiple 911 calls about the suspect in the hours before the attack. has treated.

Gabriel “Gabe” Donnay’s neighbors had called the police at least four times that day for the suspect, Enoch Conners, for jumping nearby fences and threatening residents. Officers spoke to Conners several times, each time letting him go and telling neighbors they were safe to return to their homes, according to the lawsuit.

By doing so, the LAPD “unreasonably created a false sense of security” in the neighborhood and “created an opportunity” for Conners to keep jumping fences and eventually kill Donnay just minutes after the last 911 call, claimed Albert Donnay and Yvonne Ottaviano.

“Prior to the agents’ false reassurances, the Beverly Grove community had been vigilant in observing Mr. Conner’s movements to ensure their physical safety,” the lawsuit said. “The neighborhood didn’t lower their alert until officers mistakenly [assured] their safety and affirmatively instructed them to return to their homes.”

The culpable homicide lawsuit in federal court alleges the officers’ actions amounted to a “state-created danger” that caused the deaths of Donnay on March 29, 2021 and his parents’ “grief, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.” . The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Capt. Kelly Muniz, a spokeswoman for the LAPD, said the department cannot comment on pending lawsuits, but extends his condolences to Donnay’s family. City officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit — which follows a similar lawsuit filed by the parents in LA County Superior Court — is the most formal challenge yet against the LAPD’s actions that led to Donnay’s murder. His death devastated Donnay’s family and large circle of friends, terrified and enraged his neighbors, heightened tensions between local homeowners and those living in nearby homeless camps, and raised questions among many about how LAPD officers deal with volatile or mental crises.

Police said Conners, who committed suicide in an adjacent backyard after killing Donnay, was transient and lived out of his car, and neighbors who interacted with him before Donnay’s murder said he was acting erratically and appeared to be having a nervous breakdown. to have.

Police have previously said the officers responding to the neighborhood that day had limited options because they had not personally witnessed Conners’ entry, had no resident willing to carry out a civilian arrest, and therefore had no reason to arrest him. to hold on.

“There’s only so much they can do,” Det. Sean Kinchla, of the West Bureau’s Homicide Division, said at the time. “On the one hand, you have to try to help the person who is the… [911] call, but on the other hand, the person being called also has rights.”

Donnay’s brother Theo Donnay, speaking on behalf of the family, said they filed their lawsuit in part to challenge that idea and force change in the way police respond in such situations – hopefully to prevent similar attacks in the future. .

“When I called the LAPD detective days after this incident, we had gone over everything that had happened, and I said, ‘What’s to prevent the exact same thing from happening to another person this afternoon?’ And he said, ‘Absolutely nothing,’ he said. “That is unacceptable.”

According to the lawsuit, a Beverly Grove resident made the first 911 call at 1:32 p.m., after Conners climbed over a wall in the man’s backyard and scared him, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s mother, the police said. lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, LAPD officers arrived half an hour later, spoke to Conners, and then “irresponsibly released” him.

Less than an hour later, another man with a nearby business saw Conners “disappear through a bunch of bushes” at another homeowner’s adjacent property, then reappear with a large rock stuck. That business owner made a second 911 call about Conners, the lawsuit said.

About 30 minutes later, two other residents heard Conners scream, and one confronted him and told him to leave his property, the lawsuit said.

At 3:45 p.m., three residents saw LAPD officers talking to Conners again. An officer told one of the residents that Conners was mentally ill, that the officers would “handle it,” and that the men should go home.

The officers then released Conners for a second time, the lawsuit said.

At 4:15 p.m., another neighbor named Claudia Beaton was told by a passing Uber driver that a man was climbing walls and jumping fences, prompting her to also call 911, the lawsuit said.

An operator told Beaton there was nothing police could do unless Conners was “currently in her yard,” and then put her through to a non-emergency line, the lawsuit said.

Shortly after, Conners entered Beaton’s yard and she and her husband yelled loudly at him to leave as they tried to warn other neighbors, the lawsuit said.

At about 4:35 p.m., LAPD officers arrived in the area for a third time and “performed a brief and cursory search” for Conners before telling Beaton the area was safe and leaving, the lawsuit said.

About five minutes later, Conners entered Donnay’s home, the lawsuit said. Donnay approached him “unhinged” in a bedroom, after which Conners attacked Donnay with a knife while Donnay tried to escape from the house, the lawsuit said.

Donnay’s roommate heard the struggle, saw “a trail of blood down the stairs, down a hallway, and out,” and then saw Conners stab Donnay repeatedly in the backyard before yelling and Conners jumping over a fence into another yard, the lawsuit said.

The roommate “rocked Mr. Donnay as he died of his injuries,” the lawsuit said.

Donnay suffered 10 stab wounds and more than 20 other lacerations to his body, the lawsuit said.

Danielle Peters, a neighbor who grew up in Beverly Grove and still lives there, said the lawsuit’s description of police failure to act was “100% perfect,” and she’s happy the family is filing a lawsuit.

Encampments in the area have spiraled out of control, people in crisis are wandering the streets all the time, residents are being attacked, robbed and broken into, and police and local officials are acting like they can’t do anything about it, Peters said.

She said a law is needed “to stop someone from behaving like this and to detain them to see if they are mentally stable enough to be released.”

Peters said she was recently driving through the neighborhood when she saw a man on the street screaming, smashing things and ripping his clothes, making her look like he might hurt someone.

She fears that an attack similar to the one on Donnay could happen again.

“There’s just nothing that would prevent the exact same scenario,” she said, “except maybe neighbors taking matters into their own hands.”

Leave a Comment