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Laguna Beach

Police Files

Update on brutal killing of cat witnessed by LBPD officers

On Saturday, Oct 19, at 1:14 a.m., LBPD officers responded to the 400 block of Hill Street in reference to a male suspect reportedly in the middle of the street screaming and yelling, gripping a cat in his hand. 

Despite LBPD’s efforts to save the cat and stop the suspect, including tasering him twice, according to police, the suspect, Joey L Gabaldon, 52, violently killed the cat in front of officers.

Following the incident, Gabaldon was transported to Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach for a medical clearance prior to being transported to OC Jail. His bail was set at $25,000.

As outreach to the community and in response to this horrific event that has locals up in arms, LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota wrote a letter addressing Laguna residents:

“Dear Laguna Beach residents,

The Laguna Beach Police Department Major Crimes Unit is currently conducting a thorough investigation into the unfortunate killing of a cat that occurred this past weekend. 

It has come to our attention that some residents may have been going to the cat owner’s residence to speak with her as well as calling the police department and requesting welfare checks on any pets at the residence. 

Based on our investigation, it has been determined that the female owner of the cat was not involved in the cat’s killing.

Laguna Beach detectives are working with Laguna Beach Animal Control officers and the deceased cat’s owner to ensure that any other pets at the residence are safe. 

The suspect in this incident is currently in custody at the Orange County Jail for multiple charges including felony animal cruelty and does not currently have access to any pets.

The Laguna Beach Police Department requests that everyone respect the privacy of the pet owner while she grieves the loss of her pet. Any further questions can be directed to the Investigations Division by calling (949) 497-0370 or (949) 497-0371.

Thank you,

Sergeant Jim Cota

Laguna Beach PD”

Meth found in stolen auto, driver nailed and jailed

On Monday, Oct 21, at 11:46 a.m., LBPD Officers were alerted to an alleged stolen vehicle traveling southbound on North Coast Highway. The vehicle was a blue 2018 Toyota Sienna reported stolen from Lake Elsinore. Officers located the vehicle at Legion Street and South Coast Highway. 

According to Sgt Cota, “The vehicle turned into the Chevron gas station and was contacted. Officers detained the driver, Lake Elsinore resident Matthew Williams. Inside the vehicle, officers located methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.” 

Sgt Cota said, “Matthew Allen Williams, 27, was arrested for felony auto theft, driving on a suspended driver’s license, and possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.”

No bail was set.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is tomorrow, drop off unwanted prescriptions at LBPD

On Saturday, Oct 26, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the Laguna Beach Police Department will be partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to host the DEA’s 18th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and health issue. In 2017, approximately six million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. 

The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day provides an opportunity for citizens to prevent drug addiction and overdose.

The City and LBPD are excited to make a difference and partner with the community to help combat drug addiction and overdose. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked. Last fall, citizens turned in nearly 460 tons (more than 900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,800 state and local law enforcement partners.

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day drop spot will be located in front of LBPD. Several members of our Police Department will be there to greet community members and assist in the disposal of their prescription drugs. 

The Police Department will not be accepting hypodermic needles. As a reminder, the usual methods of disposing of unused medications, flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, both pose potential safety and health hazards.

According to Sgt Cota, “It’s not every day that we get the opportunity to combat such an epidemic together, but the City and the Police Department are enthused to be able to take part in this initiative.”

For further information, contact Sgt Cota at (949) 464-6671 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

-By Suzie Harrison


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