LOS ANGELES – District Attorney Jackie Lacey on Friday honored three men and a woman who acted fearlessly and at considerable personal risk to help victims of crime in the areas of West and Central Los Angeles.
Among the honorees was 49-year-old Palmdale resident Edwin Rivera, whose powerful eyewitness testimony helped prosecutors convict four men of a brutal murder in a parking garage.
According to a statement from the District Attorney’s office:
In the afternoon of July 28, 2008, Mr. Rivera had just left work and was sitting in his car in a Century City parking garage. He was planning to take a nap before his lengthy commute home.
Suddenly, Mr. Rivera heard a scream. He got out of his car and saw a woman pointing in his direction. Mr. Rivera looked around and saw a man in a hooded sweatshirt get into a car and flee. He tried to get the license plate number but couldn’t. He then turned his attention to the dying woman, comforting her until paramedics arrived.
Authorities later arrested the victim’s estranged husband and three others in the woman’s murder. Over the next several years, Mr. Rivera remained a powerful eyewitness for the prosecution. He testified multiple times and was instrumental in securing convictions for the four defendants.
Also honored on Friday was Jin Lee, a 45-year-old Los Angeles resident who witnessed a stabbing and then followed the armed suspect and restrained him until police arrived, and Margarita and Eduardo Valles, a Los Angeles couple who helped police locate and detain a hit-and-run driver in a pedestrian fatality.
“I commend each of you for coming to the aid of strangers in their darkest hours,” District Attorney Lacey said. “Justice prevailed for these victims of violent crimes because you stood up for people who were vulnerable and gave a voice to victims who could not speak for themselves.”
The District Attorney’s Office presents Courageous Citizen 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 capturing suspects.
[Information via news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.]