Another wanted suspect nabbed

‘Monster’s’ disguise doesn’t fool officers
LA Daily News
Article Last Updated:03/08/2007 10:21:12 PM PST

The wig couldn’t hide the “Monster.”

Following a tip, authorities on Wednesday arrested Kody “Monster” Scott – a felon tied to the Eight Tray Gangsters who claimed to have renounced violence after writing an autobiography of his life on the streets.

Police say they arrested Scott – who disguised his bald head with a wig made up of two braided locks tucked under a cap – as he left a South Los Angeles home.

He was the LAPD’s third Most Wanted gangster nabbed in as many weeks.

“Didn’t like his book and I didn’t like him,” LAPD Chief William Bratton said at a news conference announcing his arrest. “So, I’m kind of happy to see we’ve got him back again behind bars.”

Bratton said police were tipped off Wednesday to Scott’s whereabouts and quickly moved in and arrested him. Scott faces charges stemming from a beating and car theft he allegedly committed last December after being released from prison.

Media darling

His autobiography, “Monster,” sold 100,000 copies and turned him into a media darling until he was rearrested for other crimes. He has been in and out of prison for 26 years and is still on parole for a 1990 robbery, police said.

The tipster who turned him in could receive $50,000 if Scott is convicted.

Despite his arrest, Scott has supporters who claim he left the gang life years ago. He converted to Islam and changed his name to Sanyika Shakur. He has a wife and three children.

And he hoped that some day Hollywood would make a movie of his life story.

The arrest of a high-profile suspect raised questions about the Los Angeles Police Department’s Most Wanted list and how the department has so easily apprehend three suspects on the list within three weeks.

“It raises a red flag that they create a Top 10 list and they catch them within a three-week period,” said Alex Alonso, creator of, who is examining the court injunctions that are part of the city’s anti-gang strategy.

“I believe they created this list strategically so that it would be most possible to apprehend these guys. I don’t think that they picked the most elusive of the bunch.”

Critics also say officials are hyping the gang crisis. By the LAPD’s own account, gang membership over the past decade has dropped from 65,000 to 40,000. And in the past five years, gang-related homicides fell from 401 in 2001 to 272 last year.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa – who recently lobbied in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento for money to fight crime – himself is fond of saying L.A. is the second-safest large city in the country.

City Councilman Bernard Parks, former Los Angeles police chief, said the department has been used as a “political tool.”

“It is declared the safest big city in America. Then on a weekly basis we have a new crime emergency, a task force for the homeless; we are then in the Valley, then in Harbor City,” he said.

The city’s recent gang crackdown came less than two months after a media frenzy over the racially motivated killing of Cheryl Green, 14, an African-American, by reputed members of the mostly Latino 204th Street gang. The brazen killing in broad daylight outraged community members who feared that rising tensions among blacks and Latinos were turning more deadly.

On Tuesday, the mayor and chief defended the chief’s selection of the Most Wanted gang members and Top 11 Gangs list. The mayor said gangs targeting people based on race, such as the 204th and Canoga Park Alabama gangs, were going to be on that list, regardless of their perceived threat ranking on the streets.

“When you ask why you put some of these gangs on the (top) list, I’ll tell you why,” Villaraigosa said. “When you go around thinking that you can just shoot and kill somebody for the color of their skin, yes, we’re going to target you and we’re going after you.”

44 percent jump

On Feb. 8, Villaraigosa and Bratton unveiled the Most Wanted list of gang members and a 50-officer task force in the Valley – where gang crime jumped 44 percent last year – along with a special unit to combat the 204th Street gang and another to deal with gangs in South L.A.

The mayor and chief also overturned a decades-old policy that prohibited the LAPD from naming gangs.

“This feels a lot like public relations to me,” said Malcolm Klein, a gang expert and professor of sociology at the University of Southern California. “The uptick this last year in gang homicides, it’s not unusual. When they go up, they are going to go back down.”

On Friday, Steve Garcia – also known as “Loco Steve” or “Big Steve” – was arrested in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, in connection with the shooting death of Kenneth Landon at a Sylmar Motel 6 in 2001.

On Feb. 21, Angel Zevallos was arrested in Guatemala during an unrelated kidnapping investigation. Zevallos, an 18th Street gang member, allegedly shot and wounded a security guard at the Buddha Bar in Hollywood on Feb. 9, 2006.

Replacing Scott on the list is Rudy Angel Maga a, 24, who is accused of shooting to death Armando Vera on Jan. 20 in Van Nuys. He is a member of the Compton Tortilla Flat gang and is on parole for robbery and carjacking.

Meanwhile, in a related development Thursday, gang members jailed for injunction violations will be required to serve their full terms and not be eligible for early release, authorities announced Thursday.

The joint agreement between Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is part of their “100 percent” anti-gang program and comes after back-and-forth criticism between the two leaders regarding the early release of prisoners in county facilities due to a federal court order limiting jail capacity.

The agencies had earlier informally agreed to have several gang members convicted of injunction violations serve their full jail sentences, including members of the Canoga Park Alabama and Blythe Street gangs.

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