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Valley Focus | North Hollywood

Civilians Arrest Man Who Disrupted Vigil

April 24, 1998|AMY OAKES

A 34-year-old North Hollywood man was arrested by two civilians Wednesday night after disrupting a candlelight vigil in the 6600 block of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Los Angeles Police Department officials said.

Christian Smith was taken to Van Nuys police station and was later released on his own recognizance after two North Hollywood women arrested him and accused him of battery, said Lt. Anthony Alba, an LAPD spokesman. Smith will be arraigned May 13 in Van Nuys.

Alba said Smith confronted a group of people who had gathered to show their support for police and firefighters who responded to the North Hollywood shootout Feb. 28, 1997.

"Mr. Smith grabbed one victim's arm and pushed another," Alba said.

No one was injured during the incident, he said.

Mary Lou Holte, who organized the event, said Smith was one of two men who disrupted the vigil Wednesday night. She said the community had gathered to voice support for police and firefighters after a story in The Times on Tuesday reported that Emil Matasareanu, one of the two gunmen in the shootout, unnecessarily bled to death because of a series of mistakes made by police and fire personnel who responded to the scene.

Matasareanu and the other gunman, Larry Eugene Phillips Jr., died at the scene. Ten officers and two civilians were injured when a botched robbery turned into a shootout outside the Bank of America branch at Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Archwood Street.

About 100 people, a mix of business owners and residents, gathered about 7 p.m. near the site of the shootout, Holte said. Children held signs that thanked the police and fire departments, and people talked about the incident among themselves.

"I wanted to let the voices in the community talk," Holte said. "It gives them some kind of healing."

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