Accused Man Cleared in Slaying of Officer
Murder charges against a 20-year-old reputed gang member in the killing of Los Angeles Police Officer Daniel Pratt were dismissed Friday after prosecutors concluded that a woman lied about his involvement.
“Police were able to prove that a lady who put him at the scene of the killing as the killer was not telling the truth,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Dino Fulgoni.
Municipal Judge Michael R. Hoff granted Fulgoni’s motion and dropped the charges against Anthony Demetrius Brown, who had been accused of the Sept. 3 killing of the officer. Pratt was shot while chasing a car sought in a drive-by shooting near Inglewood.
The vehicle, reportedly driven by a teen-age girl, made a sudden U-turn and a male passenger opened fire with an automatic weapon, hitting Pratt in the face.
Murder charges against a 15-year-old runaway girl who was arrested as the alleged driver are also expected to be dropped next week. Fulgoni said, however, that she is being held in connection with other alleged crimes.
Brown had also been charged with the attempted murder of Pratt’s partner, Officer Veronica DeLao, who managed to return fire and to get the license number of the yellow Pontiac containing the suspects. Prosecutors had alleged special circumstances in that a police officer was murdered in the performance of his duties. A special circumstances allegation means a possible death penalty.
With Brown exonerated, police were searching for Kirton Moore, 27, the man they now believe did the shooting, and a 17-year-old girl. Murder charges have been filed against Moore. He is also charged with the attempted murder of three people--two of them purported gang members--wounded in the drive-by shooting that police were investigating at the time.
Fulgoni said Brown apparently had loaned the car to Moore, but “we can’t prove he did so with criminal intent.”
Nearly 2,000 fellow officers, friends and relatives attended the funeral of Pratt, 30, a six-year department veteran who was the first Los Angeles officer to be killed in connection with a gang-related drive-by shooting.
Pratt and DeLao were working undercover in an unmarked car. She was not injured.