Stalking may have been linked to motive in killing of Hollywood activist Michael Latt

Amy Powell Image
Friday, December 1, 2023
Details emerge in killing of Hollywood social activist shot at home
New documents indicate that Hollywood social activist Michael Latt may have been targeted for being friends with a film director who was being stalked by the suspect.

MID-CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Disturbing new details have emerged indicating a possible motive for why a homeless woman allegedly shot and killed Hollywood social justice advocate Michael Latt after breaking in to his Mid-City home.

Latt, 33, was the founder and CEO of Lead With Love, an organization that works to support "influential women and artists of color," according to his website.

A woman living in her car has been arrested for breaking into Latt's home on Monday and fatally shooting him, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Jameelah Elena Michl, 36, has been charged with murder and first-degree residential burglary with a person present, the DA's office said.

The DA's office alleges Michl went to Latt's home on Alandele Avenue "after she targeted him for being friends with a woman she had been stalking."

That is apparently a reference to film director A.V. Rockwell, who sought a restraining order against Michl this summer in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Court documents indicate the order was sought after increasingly disturbing behavior by Michl that included a series of threatening letters and references to owning a Glock firearm.

In her request for the restraining order, Rockwell says Michl was hired as a background extra on the director's 2023 film "A Thousand and One."

Michl apparently made multiple attempts to befriend the director, sending items described as fan mail, lengthy letters and unsolicited gifts, and appearing at two publicity events for the film "ignoring my obvious discomfort with her attempts to connect and build a personal relationship."

The behavior quickly became disturbing and more aggressive as Rockwell did not respond, including a written reference to "My Glock is Loaded as I write this" and an apparent suicide threat - "One pull of the trigger and I'll be free."

She allegedly posted false stories on social media about the director, and contacted her mother - finding her address via social media - and other associates. She also showed up at Rockwell's house to hand-deliver a letter threatening suicide.

"Jameelah's emails and letters have become more aggressive. She has made multiple attempts to emotionally blackmail me, threatening to ruin my career and derail the success of the film by going public about my alleged abandonment of a suicidal person," Rockwell wrote in court documents.

Michl is accused of using a semi-automatic handgun in the crime. It's not clear if that weapon was a Glock.

The DA's office said Michl knocked on the door and forced herself into the residence after the door was opened by one of the occupants.

"Michl, who was allegedly armed with a semi-automatic handgun, shot and killed the victim inside of the home," the news release said.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found a man shot by an intruder, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Firefighter-paramedics transported the victim to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, the LAPD said.

"Our hearts ache for the loss of a passionate advocate who believed in the principles of justice and equity within our criminal legal system," District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. "It is devastating to see a life cut short, especially one dedicated to fighting for a more just society."

Latt's mother, Michelle Satter, is an executive with the Sundance Film Festival and was slated to be given the Academy Awards' Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in January.

"Our beloved son Michael Latt fell victim to a tragic act of violence this week. Michael devoted his career to supporting artists, championing organizations that raised up artists of color, & leveraged storytelling for enduring change," Satter said in a statement on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Michl is being held on $3 million bail. Her vehicle, where she was living, law enforcement said, was booked into evidence.

Michl's arraignment was continued until Dec. 15 in L.A. County Superior Court. She faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted as charged.

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact West Bureau Homicide Investigators at (213)382-9470. If you'd like to remain anonymous, you can call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or visit the Crime Stoppers website.

ABC News contributed to this report.