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Today: In L.A., an FBI Agent’s ‘Biggest Fear’

Today: In L.A., an FBI Agent’s ‘Biggest Fear’
U.S. Atty. Nick Hanna announces the arrest of a terrorism suspect. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Authorities say a man spent weeks planning attacks in Southern California before the FBI arrested him.

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In L.A., an FBI Agent’s ‘Biggest Fear’

The targets kept changing, but investigators say the mission remained as bloody as it was simple. In one conversation, prosecutors said, a 26-year-old U.S. Army veteran from Reseda spoke of spraying an L.A. police cruiser with bullets. Other times, his rage allegedly redirected toward a synagogue. Sometimes he wanted to kill Christians, authorities said, and at least once he considered bombing the Santa Monica Pier. Then, his focus allegedly turned to a right-wing rally in Long Beach. The motive behind the terrorism plot, according to court documents: to seek revenge for Muslims killed during a mass shooting in New Zealand last month. On Monday, authorities announced they had arrested the suspect. “Our biggest fear is this is what we call a rapid radicalization, a rapid mobilization, to violence,” said Ryan Young, special agent in charge of counter-terrorism for the FBI’s Los Angeles field office. “Sometimes, we get asked, ‘What keeps you up at night?’ This is a case that keeps us up at night.”

The Donald, Chuck and Nancy Show Returns

It was just four months ago (doesn’t it feel like four years?) that President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a sparring session in the White House as Vice President Mike Pence sat in silence (and inadvertently became a Twitter meme). Today, “Chuck and Nancy,” as Trump has referred to the Democratic duo, will be back. The odds of anything of substance getting done are low, but it could make for another show — if cameras are allowed this time.

More Politics

-- Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein has submitted his resignation. In his resignation letter, Rosenstein paid tribute to the Justice Department's accomplishments and to Trump, even praising the sense of humor of a man who once retweeted an image that showed Rosenstein and other officials jailed for treason.

-- Trump is suing Deutsche Bank and Capital One in an attempt to block congressional subpoenas for his business records.

-- Former Vice President Joe Biden, jumping into the 2020 presidential race as the apparent front-runner, held a kickoff rally at a Pennsylvania union hall that underscored his claim to be the candidate best equipped to win over blue-collar workers.

-- Beto O’Rourke, who has described climate change as the top issue of his presidential campaign, released a proposal that would spend trillions of dollars to wean the country off fossil fuels. (Meanwhile, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a version of a Green New Deal that would phase out gas-fueled cars in the city.)

California’s Canine Blood Banks

When dogs need blood for a transfusion, where does it come from? In California, restrictive laws require veterinarians to buy dog blood solely from two blood banks that operate in virtual secrecy. What is known is this: Each uses hundreds of dogs kept caged in donor colonies for the sole purpose of drawing their blood every 10 to 14 days. Now, lawmakers are taking another look at the state’s restrictive dog donor laws.

A Hollywood Game Changer

John Singleton’s filmmaking career began early, with a burst of brilliance that few saw coming, mainly because they weren’t looking. It ended nearly three decades later, no less startlingly and far too soon.” That’s how film critic Justin Chang begins his appreciation of Singleton, who made “Boyz n the Hood” at 24. The 1991 movie not only brought Singleton two Oscar nominations but also shaped lives. “His commitment to showing the realities of what it feels like to be constantly haunted by thoughts of mortality and the trauma of life surrounded by conflict,” writes reporter Gerrick Kennedy, “for me, that’s what made ‘Boyz n the Hood’ stick.” Singleton died on Monday at 51, nearly two weeks after suffering a stroke.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

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On this date in 1978, when Los Angeles Aztecs player Ron Davies got a kick in the face from Paki Paunocich of the appropriately named Oakland Stompers during a soccer game at the Rose Bowl, Times photographer Rick Meyer perfectly captured the moment of impact and its aftermath. How did Meyer get the shot? “The photo God sent me these photos.” Ain’t that a kick in the head?

April 30, 1978: Los Angeles Aztecs' Ron Davies gets a kick in the face from Oakland Stompers' Paki Paunocich. A cut and blooded Davies, right, remained in the game.
April 30, 1978: Los Angeles Aztecs' Ron Davies gets a kick in the face from Oakland Stompers' Paki Paunocich. A cut and blooded Davies, right, remained in the game. (Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

-- William “Rick” Singer, the admitted mastermind of brazen schemes to get children of the rich and powerful into top colleges, had big plans beyond college admissions.

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-- After Saturday's mass shooting at the Chabad of Poway, Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed to significantly increase funds for security at synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions.

-- Two former state Democratic Party employees and an activist have sued the organization, alleging that they were subjected to sexual assault, harassment, racial discrimination and retaliation by former Chairman Eric Bauman.

-- Rodney King’s daughter Lora King is launching the “I am a King” scholarship to celebrate black fathers.

For more news from the Golden State, sign up to receive the Essential California newsletter every Monday through Saturday.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- What helped fuel the unprecedented global box office success of “Avengers: Endgame”? The co-directors are crediting the power of social media.

-- The 50th anniversary celebration of Woodstock, dubbed Woodstock 50, has been canceled, according to a statement from the festival’s financial backer.

-- Tom Jones, the 78-year-old Welsh singer and longtime pop star, turned to country at the Stagecoach music festival.

-- Crying in theater: How one play encapsulates our desire to shed tears with strangers.

NATION-WORLD

-- Anti-Semitic assaults in the U.S. tripled in 2018, according to a new Anti-Defamation League report.

-- Islamic State’s long-pursued leader, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, made his first video appearance in almost five years, vowing to continue the battle against the U.S. and its allies.

-- Emperor Akihito, credited with bringing Japan’s monarchy closer to the people, is stepping down. He’s the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in more than two centuries.

-- A beluga whale found with a tight harness that appeared to be Russian made has raised the alarm of Norwegian officials and prompted speculation that the animal may have come from a Russian military facility.

BUSINESS

-- Columnist David Lazarus explains how new rule changes from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could give debt collectors explicit permission to contact people over email and text.

-- Insurers know exactly how often American drivers touch their phones. The results: not good.

SPORTS

-- The back story on UCLA’s long, strange search for a men’s basketball coach.

-- Columnist Arash Markazi looks at how the Chargers are trying to make progress in the battle to win over fans in Los Angeles.

OPINION

-- It’s time to keep tenant protections front and center in the housing debate.

-- The NRA's troubles stem from its total war mentality.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Two right-wing provocateurs are being accused of attempting to recruit young Republican men to level false allegations of sexual assault against Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. (Daily Beast)

-- Sailors from every active fleet in the U.S. Navy have noted a continued lack of training, widespread exhaustion and an acute sense of vulnerability. (ProPublica)

-- How “In Living Color” tricked Fox’s censors to get jokes on the air. (Vanity Fair)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

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A family in the Sacramento suburb of Lincoln was recently left counting sheep — not in an attempt to fall asleep but in an effort to get the creatures out of their backyard. Normally, the sheep act as a form of natural brush clearing before fire season kicks, as they graze on nearby grassland. This time, a couple of hundred wandered onto the Russo family’s lawn … and, as the video shows, breaking away from the flock was not easy.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.

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