Authorities investigating drug death at Democratic donor's West Hollywood home

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Officials investigating drug death at activist's West Hollywood home
Authorities are investigating the overdose death of Gemmel Moore at the West Hollywood apartment of a prominent Democratic Party donor.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Authorities are investigating the overdose death of a young man at the West Hollywood apartment of a prominent Democratic Party donor.

The donor and political activist, Ed Buck, denies any wrongdoing.

But the family of the man who overdosed, Gemmel Moore, is demanding answers.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide detectives have launched a new investigation into the overdose that claimed the 26-year-old's life.

County coroner's officials initially found that Moore died from an accidental meth overdose in Buck's West Hollywood apartment.

But now, citing "additional information," the sheriff's department is revisiting the case out of an "abundance of caution."

That action is something Moore's family has been urging officials to take.

Moore's mother, Latisha Nixon, wants to know exactly what happened on the night of July 27.

"I am calling out the West Hollywood sheriff's department to please launch a thorough investigation into the supposed accidental death of my son," Nixon, who lives in Texas, said in an online video.

"I'm calling on the leaders, I'm calling on anybody who would listen," she added.

Buck's lawyer, Seymour Amster, said that while his client was in the apartment when Moore died, he had absolutely nothing to do with his overdose.

"It is unfortunate that the sheriff's department is reacting to unsubstantiated allegations," Amster said. "This is a tragedy, not a crime. He had no involvement in Gemmel Moore's death. Unfortunately he opened his home to an individual who was troubled."

"Whatever Moore did, Mr. Buck was not around when he did it. He was in the apartment in the time of his death. We're not sure where Mr. Moore took whatever he took to cause the overdose."

According to a family friend, Moore's belongings were collected from the coroner Monday, including what the friend characterized as a journal kept by Moore.

In excerpts provided to Eyewitness News, including one page with a December 2016 date, the purported journal describes a struggle with drug addiction and makes references to Ed Buck.

Buck's lawyer dismisses the entries, saying they're not relevant to the case.

"They're unverified, and they don't have anything to do with what's happening right now," he said.

But the wealthy and well-known figure has resigned from his position with the Stonewall Democratic Club in the wake of Moore's death.

Buck reportedly agreed to resign because he didn't want to draw negative publicity to the organization.

The club said in a statement: "We understand Mr. Buck has not been charged with a crime and we cannot comment on those allegations. They are serious, however. We have requested, therefore, and accepted the resignation of Mr. Buck."

Moore's mother says she won't rest until she finds out exactly what happened on the last night her son was alive.

She also plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday in South Los Angeles and Moore's mother is expected to attend.