4 wounded in downtown LA shooting near police station

LOS ANGELES — Four people were wounded in a shooting in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon and police were searching for a man and a woman suspected in the attack.

Gunfire erupted shortly after noon in San Julian Park, where homeless people often congregate, according to the LAPD. The park is one block east of the Police Department’s Central Division station.

Authorities said it appeared the shooting occurred after two people in a white SUV — a woman and a man — got into an altercation with someone in the park. Police say the people in the vehicle fired into the park.

The four people who were shot were taken to a nearby hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, officials said.

“This is unusual. You have the occasional shooting down here, but four is a lot,” Capt. Scott Harrelson said.

Only one of people who were wounded was specifically targeted in the shooting, police said. A social worker and a security guard who were in the park were also struck by gunfire; both were shot in the arm.

— Los Angeles Times

Rapper Kodak Black pleads guilty to lying to gun seller, faces decade in prison

MIAMI — Rapper Kodak Black, accused of lying on documents while purchasing weapons at a Hialeah distribution center earlier this year, pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday.

Black, a 22-year-old Pompano Beach song writer whose real name is Dieuson Octave, was arrested prior to a performance at the Rolling Loud Music Festival in Miami Gardens in May. He now faces up to 10 years in prison on the charge. His hearing is scheduled for November.

Black appeared in federal court Thursday after federal prosecutors accused him of intentionally misleading Lou’s Police Distribution in Hialeah during two visits earlier this year in which he purchased three pistols. Federal prosecutors said during visits to the outlet in January and again in March, Black wrote “no” on forms that asked if he was under indictment or information for any felony.

Prosecutors said that Black transposed several digits of his social security number during a visit to the outlet in January, which permitted him to pick up the three firearms a few days later. When the rapper used his real Social Security number a month later, he was denied a fourth pistol, prosecutors said.

Black was charged with submitting falsified documents with false information when he purchased the firearms.

Prosecutors claim that one of the pistols purchased by Black was found at the scene of a shooting Pompano Beach less than a week after he visited the outlet in March.

U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno denied Black’s request for bond on Thursday, calling the rapper a danger to the community and citing his criminal past. Since being convicted of armed robbery in 2015, Black has been charged with several offenses including firearm and narcotics possession.

The rapper was out on bond in an unrelated sexual assault case when he bought the guns in Hialeah.

— Miami Herald

More than $1 million in cocaine found in banana shipments to Safeway stores in Western Washington

SEATTLE — More than a million dollars’ worth of cocaine was found inside shipments of bananas at three Safeway stores in Bellingham, Federal Way and Woodinville, according to police.

Authorities recovered nearly 50 pounds of cocaine, valued at more than $550,000, at the Safeway in Woodinville, according to King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott.

“That’s a lot,” he said. “Somebody messed up.”

Produce staffers at the Woodinville Safeway were unpacking bananas from boxes and getting them ready to go out on the floor when they found some “suspicious-looking packages” that turned out to be cocaine and immediately called police, Abbott said.

Similar packages were found in banana shipments in Bellingham and Federal Way, he said.

All the banana boxes were sent from a central distribution center outside of Washington that ships to 144 stores on the West Coast, he said. Police are not yet releasing information on the bananas’ country of origin.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is reportedly investigating all three discoveries.

— The Seattle Times

Giraffes win limited protection, elephant ivory sales rejected at gathering on trade

JOHANNESBURG — Giraffes won some protection and an attempt to reopen the elephant ivory trade was rebuffed at an international gathering in Geneva.

Member states of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna voted to protect giraffes, the world’s tallest mammal, from unregulated trade in their body parts. They also rejected an attempt by Southern African states to win permission to sell their ivory stockpiles.

The population of giraffes, found in Africa, has fallen by about 40% over the last three decades to about 100,000 and many of them now live in isolated pockets of habitat across the continent. The measure, known as an Appendix II listing, was proposed by Chad, Kenya, the Central African Republic, Mali, Niger and Senegal.

“While giraffes fall prey to poaching for bush meat, bones, skin and tail hair, there is also a significant amount of international trade in their bone carvings and trophies,” the International Fund for Animal Welfare said in a statement.

The proposal on elephant ivory was put forward by Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia was rejected by 101 votes to 23.

— Bloomberg News