On the Fourth of July, before the nation was transfixed by graphic footage of police killing Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, before five law enforcement officers were killed in an ambush in Dallas, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Det. Phil Martinez found himself squinting at the sky at the scene of one of five homicides in the county that day.
“I was looking at the moon, saying, ‘Did you have something to do with this?’ ” Martinez said. “As a cop, you can feel when something just isn’t right. You know how people get premonitions about earthquakes? Well, cops get that when it comes to crime. I’ve been doing this for 15 or 16 years, and there was definitely something in the air.”
That week, from July 3 to 9, 19 people were killed in L.A. County. Twelve is the weekly average this ...