LOS ANGELES – A Palmdale woman was one of three people honored by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for stepping up in the face of danger and helping to keep our community safe from violent crime.
According to the LADA’s office:
Ms. Latasha Gillespie, a bus driver who was on a break, heard a woman scream and responded, helping to stop the attempted kidnapping of a girl at a Lancaster bus station on Nov. 5, 2017. Ms. Gillespie saw a woman struggling with a man, who minutes earlier had walked up to the bus stop, exchanged words with the woman and threatened to abduct her daughters. Ms. Gillespie helped rescue the girl, then shielded her and her sister from the man. Her willingness to testify in court led him to plead no contest to crimes carrying a significant prison sentence.
On Oct. 24, 2018, the defendant pleaded no contest to two felony counts each of false imprisonment and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. The defendant was sentenced Nov. 8, 2018, to 21 years and four months in state prison.”
Gillespie was recognized on Thursday, Nov. 7, at a Courageous Citizen Awards ceremony presented by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The DA’s office presents these awards several times a year to people who have performed extraordinary acts of valor and selflessness in assisting in criminal prosecutions, aiding victims, preventing crimes or even capturing suspects.
Also honored were:
— Bianca Guerra, 31, of San Diego, who was lauded for testifying in the latest trial of Enefiok Joseph Edem Jr., who had been convicted of raping her more than a decade earlier. Jurors found the Van Nuys man guilty of rape, attempted rape, kidnapping and other charges involving attacks on two women in June 2015 and April 2017, and he was sentenced in June to 81 years-to-life in state prison.
— Brian Zeringue, 45, of Valencia, who was honored for coming to the aid of a woman who was beaten by her boyfriend and forced to panhandle for money while her children were being held hostage at gunpoint. On Aug. 19, a jury found the defendant guilty of 12 felony counts, including kidnapping; injuring a spouse, cohabitant, fiancé, boyfriend, girlfriend or child’s parent; and assault with a firearm, and one misdemeanor count of failure to register as a transient with a prior sex offense. The defendant was sentenced Sept. 4 to 88 years and four months in state prison.
“The bravery demonstrated by these heroes reminds me that we all have the potential to step up and do what’s right,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement. “I am proud of these remarkable individuals who helped my deputy district attorneys make our community safer by prosecuting violent crime against innocent victims.”