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The Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County selected Long Beach Police Homicide Detective Mark McGuire to receive their “Centurion” Achievement Award. This annual award was established to recognize extraordinary competence in a complicated, long term and sophisticated investigation.
On October 11, 2003, Leonara Anaya and Latisha Stephens were driving home on the 91 Freeway in the Long Beach area when a gunshot, fired from a passing SUV, shattered the driver’s side window and struck Ms. Stephens in the head. Ms. Anaya gained control of the vehicle that Ms. Stephens had been driving, pulled to the side of the road and called 9-1-1. Ms. Stephens, who eventually succumbed from the wound, was one of several victims who were shot that night.
Detective McGuire responded and was assigned as the lead detective. His investigation required the closure of a one and a half mile stretch of the freeway to allow for the collection of evidence. In his search for suspects, Detective McGuire attempted to recreate the events leading up to the shooting, gathered various security videos and interviewed a number of witnesses.
Detective McGuire obtained information that the suspects were gang members, and identified one of the suspects by his moniker. Working with surrounding law enforcement agencies, he identified all of the occupants of the suspect SUV.
In June 2005, the first of these suspects was tried for murder. Contrary to the brazen assertions of his attorney that he would be acquitted, the suspect was convicted on all counts. He was recently sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, plus 126 years.
In response to the award, Police Chief Anthony Batts praised Detective McGuire for his relentless pursuit of the suspects, “The professionalism, tenacity and dedication to this case is one example of many that demonstrate the caliber of employee Detective McGuire is. The City of Long Beach benefits daily from his work and this award is well deserved.”
Detective McGuire will be honored during a banquet on February 2, 2006, which will be held at the University of Southern California, Town and Gown Hall.
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