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LAPD-FBI joint task force 'Save Our Streets' crack cold cases in South LA

October 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Kashmier James, 25, was shot to death last Christmas morning in South Los Angeles. She was seated in a car with her child when she was gunned down.

"This case went unsolved for eight or nine months and if not for the resources of the FBI, this case may have still been unsolved," said Det. Sal Labarbera of the Los Angeles Police Department.

For the last three months, the LAPD in a joint effort with the FBI worked aggressively to solve cold-case murders and recent killings in South L.A. The joint task force was called operation Save Our Streets.

The federally-funded task force also solved the murder of 14-year-old Taburi Watson. He was shot dead last Christmas while riding his bike on the streets of South L.A.

"The task force reviewed over 80 homicide cases," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. "The investigators focused on both unsolved homicides and fresh cases. The results are nothing short of amazing. Fifty homicide cases were solved during that three month period."

This is the second year the LAPD has been involved with operation Save Our Streets. Last year, the joint task force solved nearly 30 murders in South L.A.

"Recently, South los Angeles has led the city in the number of homicides and so this is where we focused our efforts for the second year in a row," said Steve Martinez of the FBI. "This task force has gone beyond expectations in solving homicides. Many of the homicides are linked to gang violence."

LAPD officials say they hope to get more federal funding to continue the joint task force.

"There are thousands of cases in south bureau that are unsolved over the years," said LAPD Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon. "One of the things the chief said, dating back to 1978 there's nearly a thousand unsolved cases. We have a lot of work to do."