L.A. County health officials issued a “legally binding” order banning gatherings during the pandemic following a Beverly Crest house party that ended in a deadly shooting Tuesday, hours after the LAPD opted not to break it up. But the health department emphasized that the public should not solely rely on enforcement of its orders.
Hours before the Beverly Crest shooting, aerial video from Sky5 showed a mansion on Mulholland Drive packed with people.
LAPD said officers responded to the scene about 6:30 p.m. Monday when they received disturbance calls. They cited and impounded vehicles blocking the roadway but did not stop the party, Lt. Chris Ramirez said. The music was not that loud, everyone was compliant and the gathering was on a private residence, according to LAPD.
At around 1:15 a.m. Tuesday, police said they returned to the scene after at least one person opened fire and killed a woman and injured others. Authorities have not identified the victims nor announced an arrest. But social media posts identified the person who died as Brandi Parham.
In a statement Wednesday, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said violating the health officer order prohibiting parties and other gatherings is “a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.”
The agency said it’s working with law enforcement and city officials, residents and businesses to ensure locals are aware of the “legally binding” mandate.
Gatherings had already been banned in L.A. County before the party in Beverly Crest. But LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein told KTLA his department has been following the city of L.A.’s order, which says the ban “does not apply to gatherings within a single household or living unit.”
In the county’s COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, Health Director Barbara Ferrer said “private parties are not allowed in bars. They’re not allowed in houses… We’re very clear on that.”
Officials respond to more than 2,000 violation complaints every week, Ferrer noted. She said enforcement of health orders is not enough to stop everyone from defying them. As far as parties are concerned, she said the responsibility ultimately lies on the host of the party.
“I feel very strongly that this is a situation where we cannot just rely on enforcement, and we’re going to need to make sure that compliance happens because we all decide [that] this is the most important thing we need to do right now,” Ferrer said.
A neighbor who did not want to give her name told KTLA it’s not the first time the owner of the Beverly Crest residence has had a party on the property during the pandemic.
“I think it’s wrong because we’re doing everything that we can to stay safe, to social distance. We don’t go out anywhere,” the neighbor told KTLA.
As of Wednesday, the county has reported 4,825 people who have died of the coronavirus — 68 more from the day before.