LOS ANGELES—The parents of a man stabbed to death in 2021 by a homeless man in Beverly Grove sued the city and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) on Feb. 24, alleging the city and the department were already aware of a growing homeless problem in the area and downplayed the concerns of multiple neighbors who called 911 to report the disturbing behavior of the victim’s killer.
Gabriel Donnay, 31, was stabbed to death about 4:35 p.m. in the back yard of his home in the 6600 block of Maryland Drive on March 29. The coroner’s office identified the suspect as Enoch Conners, 33, and reported that he himself was pronounced dead of a self-inflicted knife wound to the neck in the 5500 block of West Fifth Street, about a block from the crime scene.
“Mr. Conners was one of many homeless people in the area exhibiting signs of mental illness, seemingly living in squalor out of his car and regularly burglarizing properties in the neighborhood,” the suit states.
Instead of addressing the concerns of neighbors who called 911 about Conners, the LAPD not only failed to protect residents, but in fact exacerbated the situation and contributed to the danger itself, according to the suit, which further alleges that officers contacted Conners twice during earlier encounters that day and released him.
The plaintiffs in the Los Angeles Superior Court suit are Donnay’s 63-year-old father, Albert Donnay, and mother, 65-year-old Yvonne Lynn Ottaviano, both of Maryland. They allege wrongful death and civil rights violations and seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
A representative for the City Attorney’s Office could not be immediately reached for comment.
The day of Donnay’s death, LAPD officers responded to four separate 911 emergency calls, all from residents who said Conners was causing “terrifying disturbances” throughout the neighborhood by trespassing and looking completely disheveled, the suit states.
The LAPD conducted a superficial search of one property only in response to the 911 calls and told residents their neighborhood was secured, the suit states.
But about five minutes later, Conners, who had broken into Donnay’s home, chased the victim down the stairs and into the back yard, where Conners stabbed Donnay to death, the suit states.
The chase and killing of Donnay was witnessed by the victim’s roommate, Aaron Kirkbride, according to the suit.
“Mr. Kirkbride yelled at Mr. Conners to leave the residence, whereupon Mr. Conners leaped over a fence and out of their yard,” the suit states.
Kirkbride called for paramedics and tried to revive Donnay with CPR, the suit states.
“To Mr. Kirkbride’s dismay, it was already too late,” the suit states. “Mr. Kirkbride cradled Mr. Donnay as he died from his wounds.”
In addition to the numerous 911 emergency calls, several neighbors emailed City Councilman Paul Koretz about the problems with homeless people in the area, the suit states.
“Mr. Karetz assured the Beverly Grove residents he would send out Los Angeles Housing Services Authority to improve the life-threatening conditions [but] no improvements took place,” the suit alleges.