Frantic calls of a prowler brought LAPD to Beverly Grove. They were too late to save a man who was fatally stabbed
Claudia Beaton was standing near her front window Monday afternoon, listening to a work call on speakerphone, when she saw a black SUV stop abruptly in front of her Beverly Grove home.
“Call 911 right now!” the driver shouted to her. There was an intruder, the driver said, jumping her neighbors’ fences, and he would soon be in her backyard.
But when she called 911, the dispatcher told her that they couldn’t send anyone until the intruder was on her property, Beaton said. Minutes later, she called 911 again. He was there.
Her husband yelled at the intruder to leave. The man leapt into another yard. A builder and city inspectors screamed at him to leave the yard of a home under construction. Police arrived but couldn’t find him, and left to search the street over.
Then, minutes later, a man, screaming for help. A haunting, gurgling, gasping sound. A doctor who lived nearby rushing to help. The police coming back to search again, and then later, warning everyone to get back in their homes.
“We’re searching for a murderer,” Beaton said authorities told them.
On Monday afternoon, residents near the 6600 block of Maryland Drive tried to stop the intruder before he stabbed their neighbor to death in his yard, then broke into another home where he apparently killed himself, according to preliminary reports from Los Angeles police.
The victim was later identified as Gabriel Donnay, 31, by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. Enoch Conners, 33, also identified by the coroner, is the suspected attacker.
Detectives believe Conners might have been living out of his car, which was found in a nearby alley, said Sgt. J. Mankey, a watch commander at the LAPD’s Wilshire community station.
Beaton was not the first neighbor to call authorities to report the man.
Less than an hour and a half before the stabbing, LAPD officers responded to the area after a homeowner called to report a trespasser, Chief Michel Moore confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
The officers spoke with the homeowner and the man suspected of trespassing, who is now the stabbing suspect, about 3:10 p.m., but concluded “there was no legal basis to make an arrest,” Moore said.
“He had expressed that he had some car trouble. We offered help, which he declined. He was not committing a crime at that point, and he did not appear to present a danger to himself or others,” Moore said.
That exchange is now being reviewed as part of the investigation into the stabbing to determine “how such a tragic event occurred,” he said.
“A lot more questions than answers at this point,” Moore said. “However, it is a deeply disturbing set of circumstances.”
A woman who lives next door to the house where the intruder killed himself said her husband saw him in the neighbor’s backyard before he disappeared into the house. Later, when the woman, who declined to give her name, watched footage from her home security camera, she said she saw the man trying to get into a crawl space near their driveway.
She said the incident left her feeling emotional and scared.
“How many tragedies ...,” she said, trailing off, as she stood behind her wooden front door wearing a white KN95 mask.
She’s lived in the area for 50 years. “What’s happening?” she said. “This is such a wonderful neighborhood.”
A street over, a crime scene cleanup crew was still working Tuesday afternoon inside the slain man’s home.
This weekend, Beaton and her neighbors plan to gather to discuss how they can reinforce their fences.
“You learn as a kid, the police got this — call them for help,” she said. “You need to help yourself and help your neighbors.”
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