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LAPD plans crackdown after woman killed in Hollywood tourist area

Social IssuesLos Angeles Police DepartmentCedars-Sinai Medical CenterAmerican Eagle Outfitters IncorporatedMacy's

The Los Angeles Police Department plans to increase patrols in the Hollywood tourist district after the fatal stabbing of a woman earlier this week by a transient, Chief Charlie Beck said Friday.

In an interview with The Times, Beck said he had discussed the situation along Hollywood Boulevard with incoming Mayor Eric Garcetti and incoming City Atty. Mike Feuer.

In addition to adding more undercover officers and horse-mounted patrols, Beck said there has been some discussion about how to better deal with the aggressive panhandling along the boulevard.

We "don't want to lose any of the ground that's been gained in Hollywood," Beck said. "The whole area has changed for the better but all of that can be in jeopardy if you don't remain vigilant and set strong standards for behavior."

On Thursday, prosecutors charged three transients in connection with the fatal stabbing of a Lynwood woman who took a cellphone picture of them on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Dustin James Kinnear, 26, was charged with one count of murder with "personal use of a knife allegation." Los Angeles police said Kinnear, who allegedly stabbed the victim after she refused to give the trio $1, faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Jason Joel Wolstone, 33, faces one count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and two counts of accessory after the fact. Brian Joseph Widdows, 34, was charged with two counts of accessory after the fact.

Prosecutors will ask that bail be set at $1 million for Kinnear, and $500,000 each for Wolstone and Widdows. Arraignment of the suspects is scheduled for Friday.

The victim, Christine Calderon, was stabbed to death shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday along Hollywood Boulevard after she and a friend took cellphone pictures of three men holding signs, Los Angeles Police Department officials said.

Authorities said Calderon was strolling down the Walk of Fame with a coworker after sunset when an amusing cardboard sign caught her eye. She pulled out her cellphone to snap a picture of the men displaying signs asking for money with four-letter insults and a smiley face.

Moments later, according to law enforcement sources, one of the men demanded that she pay $1 for the pictures. 

When she refused, two of the men allegedly pinned Calderon’s coworker against a wall. The third allegedly jumped on top of Calderon, knocking her onto the pavement in front of an American Eagle Outfitters clothing store at the Hollywood and Highland retail and entertainment complex, police said.

When she got up to run away, authorities said, blood was gushing from a stab wound in her midsection. 

She collapsed a few feet from the terrazzo Walk of Fame stars. She was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center three hours later. 

Her fatal stabbing in the heart of Hollywood’s tourist district stunned visitors and the collection of merchants and costumed performers who work along the boulevard.

"What we don't want is for this tragedy to go unrecognized," Beck said Friday.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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