But as one of three finalists hoping to succeed William Bratton as chief of police, Moore surely wanted to pull out all the stops in an incident as fraught with political implications as this one was at first believed to be, one that offered him the chance to take center stage just as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is set to make his selection for chief. So it was interesting to watch the LAPD’s machinery grinding and lurching and spinning into overdrive over what will probably turn out to be a fairly routine crime (if indeed any shooting can be said to be “routine”).
Though William Bratton has left town, his resignation isn’t official until Saturday. Deputy Chief Michael Downing, the head of the counter-terrorism bureau, has been designated to serve as interim chief but hasn’t yet been sworn in. Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell, another finalist for chief, was Bratton’s second-in-command and on Thursday was technically in charge of the department. Both Downing and McDonnell were at the command post Thursday, as was Moore, who as the head of Valley Bureau was the incident commander. After Villaraigosa spoke to reporters from the scene, it was McDonnell who next took to the microphones, which must have been galling to Moore, whose craving for the spotlight is surpassed in recent memory only by that of William Bratton.
McDonnell spoke to reporters in his characteristic fashion: confident, but without the superciliousness that so marked Bratton. He spoke for a minute or so before yielding to Moore, who demonstrated his annoying habit of lapsing into multi-syllable cop jargon when plain English would better serve. (The victims, he said, had been shot in the “lower extremities.” What’s wrong with “legs”?)
Given the amount of resources that will be thrown into this investigation, it’s surely only a matter of time before a suspect is identified and an arrest made. Which is all well and good, but it’s a shame the city of Los Angeles can’t make the same commitment to every violent crime victim. I recall an incident from some months back in which seven people were shot, but because none of them died, not a single detective rolled out to the scene.
Nor did any reporters, which in its own way is just as shameful.