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October 2, 2015: District Attorney Jackie Lacey Presents Awards for Courageous Deeds

Sarah Ardalani, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

District Attorney Jackie Lacey today honored three men and a woman who acted fearlessly and at considerable personal risk to help victims of crime in the areas of West and Central Los Angeles.

"I commend each of you for coming to the aid of strangers in their darkest hours,” District Attorney Lacey said. “Justice prevailed for these victims of violent crimes because you stood up for people who were vulnerable and gave a voice to victims who could not speak for themselves.”

Among those honored was a man who came to the aid of a fatally wounded woman. At trial, his powerful eyewitness testimony helped prosecutors convict four men of a brutal murder in a parking garage.

Also honored was a witness to a stabbing who followed an armed suspect and restrained him until police arrived and a couple who helped police locate and detain a hit-and-run driver in a pedestrian fatality.

The District Attorney’s Office presents Courageous Citizen Awards several times a year to people who have performed extraordinary acts of valor and selflessness in assisting in criminal prosecutions, aiding victims, preventing crimes or capturing suspects.

The honorees are:

Edwin Rivera, 49, of Palmdale (Case no. BA346352)

In the afternoon of July 28, 2008, Mr. Rivera had just left work and was sitting in his car in a Century City parking garage. He was planning to take a nap before his lengthy commute home.

Suddenly, Mr. Rivera heard a scream. He got out of his car and saw a woman pointing in his direction. Mr. Rivera looked around and saw a man in a hooded sweatshirt get into a car and flee. He tried to get the license plate number but couldn’t. He then turned his attention to the dying woman, comforting her until paramedics arrived.

Authorities later arrested the victim’s estranged husband and three others in the woman’s murder. Over the next several years, Mr. Rivera remained a powerful eyewitness for the prosecution. He testified multiple times and was instrumental in securing convictions for the four defendants.

Jin Lee, 45, of Los Angeles (Case no. BA425875)

On June 5, 2014, two men on a downtown street were arguing over a jacket when a struggle ensued. During the scuffle, one man stabbed the other in the neck. Following the attack, the assailant walked away. The victim was left bleeding on the sidewalk.

Mr. Lee was across the street and saw the confrontation. He ran after the suspect, even though he knew the man was armed with a knife. Mr. Lee followed the attacker and detained him until law enforcement arrived several minutes later.

At trial, there was conflicting evidence about who had been the aggressor. Ultimately, it was Mr. Lee’s eyewitness testimony that helped prosecutors secure a conviction in the case.

Margarita Valles, 57, and Eduardo Valles, 52, both of Los Angeles (Case no. BA429997)

In the early morning hours of Oct. 1, 2014, a 101-year-old man was walking within a marked crosswalk in Boyle Heights when he was struck by a car and killed. Rather than stop and help, the motorist drove away.

Mr. and Mrs. Valles witnessed the collision from their vehicle and followed the suspect’s car. The couple caught up to the driver and blocked his vehicle until police arrived.

Their brave actions ultimately led to the capture and arrest of the culprit.

All three cases were investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.