The Deaths of the Los Angeles Riots

Wallace Tope

Wallace Tope, a 54-year-old white man, died Nov. 24, 1993. Tope had been in coma since he was assaulted April 30, 1992, in the 5500 block of West Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. A street evangelist, Tope went to a shopping mall at the corner of Western Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, where hundreds of people had gathered to watch looters ransack a Sav-On drugstore. There he began to preach, urging the crowd to stop the looting and place their faith in Jesus. As he was preaching, two men began to beat him. When he tried to flee, he fell to the ground, and the men kicked him repeatedly in the head for nearly three minutes, witnesses said. Tope was rescued by a passing ambulance, but he lapsed into a coma shortly after arriving at the hospital. Two men charged with murder in the last major case of the Los Angeles riots each pleaded no contest in the fatal beating of Tope and were sentenced to prison May 9, 1994. Fidel Ortiz, 22, and Leonard Sosa, 24, both former warehouse workers for a Dodger Stadium concessionaire, entered the pleas to reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter on the same day they were to go on trial for the April 30, 1992, attack. Under a plea agreement, the judge in the case sentenced Ortiz to an 11-year prison term and Sosa to a six-year term.

Read the story at the Los Angeles Times