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Police Files

Missing woman found deceased after apparent drowning

Grace Justine Shen was reported missing by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at approximately 7:40 p.m. According to the OCSD, the reporting party told authorities that they discovered Shen and her vehicle missing, while leaving her cell phone and purse behind at her residence.

Police Files Grace Justine Shen

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Courtesy of OCSD

Grace Justine Shen

On January 19, Shen’s vehicle was located in Laguna Beach at Laguna Avenue and PCH. It was believed that Shen exited her vehicle and walked northbound on PCH at 2:33 a.m. to a destination unknown.

That all changed earlier this week when Shen’s body was found deceased from an apparent drowning in the ocean near the border of Dana Point and San Clemente. The OCSD says no foul play is suspected.

Shen was 70.

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Police Files

Domestic violence suspect escapes police down Thousand Steps Beach

On Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m., Laguna Beach Police officers searched for a known unarmed suspect wanted in a suspected isolated domestic violence incident. The officers chased the suspect down the stairs of Thousands Steps Beach. A police helicopter and K-9 assisted around 7:30 p.m. with the search and the suspect remains at large. 

The suspect is an adult Hispanic male, approximately 5-7”, 175 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark blue Dallas Cowboys hoodie and black pants. 

If seen, please call Laguna Beach Police at 949.497.0701.

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Police Files

Teenage girl, struck in Coast Highway crosswalk, taken to local hospital

On Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 6:19 p.m., Laguna Beach Police Officers were dispatched with lights and sirens to Cleo Street and S. Coast Highway for a reported vehicle versus pedestrian traffic collision.

Upon arriving at the scene, officers determined that a 16-year-old female was legally walking in a crosswalk at a fully signaled intersection when she was struck by a Ford F-150 truck. 

Although the female was able to get up and walk on her own, she complained of pain. Her parents were notified, and she was transported to a local hospital.

The driver of the vehicle was not cited.

Two-vehicle collision temporarily closes Coast Highway

On Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 1:17 p.m., Laguna Beach Police officers responded to Cleo Street and S. Coast Highway for a non-injury traffic collision involving two vehicles.

Police Files black damaged vehicle SNL 1.13

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Fortunately, this two-vehicle collision had no reported injuries

One vehicle, a black Toyota, ended up coming to rest up against a light stanchion with fairly severe damage. The other vehicle, a work truck, also suffered damage.

 Northbound Coast Highway traffic was affected in the area of Cleo Street for approximately 30 minutes until both vehicles could be towed from the roadway. 

At this time no citations have been issued.

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Police Files

Pedestrian escapes serious injury when vehicle sideswipes him in S. Coast Highway crosswalk

On Saturday, Dec. 17, at 2:44 p.m., according to Lt. Cornelius Ashton of the Laguna Beach Police Department, officers were dispatched to a traffic collision involving a vehicle vs. pedestrian incident at Pearl Street and S. Coast Highway. 

A male pedestrian was crossing westbound in the crosswalk, which had activated the overhead light, when a northbound vehicle approached in the number one lane at 35 mph. The man saw the approaching vehicle just before contact and attempted to jump back when the passenger side of the vehicle sideswiped him. The man sustained non-life-threatening minor injuries to his legs and was transported to the hospital as a precaution. 

Both northbound lanes of Coast Highway were closed for approximately 30 minutes as police cleared the area.

The driver was not cited and this incident continues to be investigated.

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Police Files

Laguna Beach Police Department awarded $110,000 grant from the Office of Traffic Safety

The Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD) will roll out a police traffic services program to deter dangerous and illegal driving behaviors that increase the risk of crashes in the community. 

“Impairment, speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors puts the community at risk on the road,” said Lieutenant Cornelius Ashton. “This funding affords the Laguna Beach Police Department the ability to allocate resources towards community education and increased traffic enforcement measures. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce serious injury and fatal crashes on our roads.” 

The grant will pay for additional enforcement measures, including: 

–DUI checkpoints and patrols specifically focused on suspected impaired drivers.

–Enforcement operations focused on suspected distracted drivers in violation of California’s hands-free cell phone law.

–Bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement operations focused on driver behaviors that put vulnerable road users at risk. 

–Enforcement operations focused on top violations that cause crashes: speeding, failure to yield, stop sign and/or red-light running and improper turning or lane changes.

–Community education presentations on traffic safety issues such as distracted driving, DUI, speeding, and bicycle and pedestrian safety.

–Officer training and/or recertification: Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).

The grant program will run through September 2023.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Police Files

Man arrested on Halloween for alleged child annoyance is arrested again for allegedly stalking a juvenile and DUI

This past Sunday (Nov. 6) at 10 p.m., Laguna Beach Police Officers responded to a Jack in the Box restaurant for a possible intoxicated man inside a vehicle. Upon arrival, the officers recognized the man as Gabriel Stinnett, the 19-year-old from Lancaster, who was arrested Halloween for allegedly attempting to lure a 13-year-old into a van. 

Officers conducted an investigation and arrested Stinnett on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). 

Police Files Gabriel Stinnett SNL 11.8

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Courtesy of LBPD

Gabriel Stinnett arrested again on new charges

During the investigation, officers also discovered Stinnett had been involved in a separate incident where he was allegedly stalking a juvenile and was additionally arrested for Felony Stalking. Stinnett was previously arrested on Halloween by LBPD for child annoyance after allegedly trying to lure a 13-year-old boy to his van with an offer of candy. 

The LBPD Detective Bureau is actively investigating Stinnett’s actions and making an ongoing effort to keep the community informed. If anyone has had contact with Stinnett or has additional information, please contact Cpl. Fred Yeilding at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 949.464.6687.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Police Files

LBPD arrests 19-year-old for child annoyance after he allegedly attempts to lure 13-year-old boy to his van

Laguna Beach Police officers arrested Gabriel Matthew Hernandez Stinnett, 19, a resident of Lancaster, for child annoyance around 9 p.m. on Halloween night, Oct. 31. Hernandez Stinnett was contacted and arrested after allegedly trying to lure a 13-year-old boy to his van with an offer of candy. The incident occurred in the 500 block of Oak Street during the City of Laguna Beach’s Halloween block party. 

Police Files man in green v neck SNL 11.4

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Photo courtesy of LBPD

Gabriel Matthew Hernandez Stinnett booking photo

Following his arrest, he was subsequently transported to Orange County Jail. Coincidentally, Hernandez Stinnett was also listed as a missing person.

Once there, Hernandez Stinnett was afforded due process rights and released from custody on Wednesday morning (Nov. 2).

The child annoyance charge is being submitted to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for review and consideration of prosecution. Laguna Beach Police are asking the community’s help with identifying prior incidents that may have involved Hernandez Stinnett.

Over the past several months, the LBPD has responded to other calls for service reporting Hernandez Stinnett allegedly followed young teens from school to their homes. He also has been reported hanging around Laguna Beach High School with no legitimate purpose and allegedly harassing and annoying children under the age of 18 years old. 

Police Files silver car SNL 11.4

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Photo courtesy of LBPD

Vehicle identified by LBPD as Stinnett’s

Before the Halloween night incident, there was no identified victim to facilitate prosecution against Hernandez Stinnett. The LBPD Detective Bureau is actively investigating Hernandez Stinnett’s actions and asks anyone who has had contact with him or has additional information to contact Corporal Fred Yeilding at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or to call 949.464.6687.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Police Files

Male slides down cliff into water, appears okay but refuses to follow police orders and is arrested for drunk in public

Yesterday (Sept. 8), at 2:06 p.m., Laguna Beach Fire, Marine Safety and Laguna Beach Police personnel responded to Whiskey Cove (below McKnight Drive) for a remote rescue. 

A man had previously slid down the cliff and was acting strangely in the water. Due to limited access to the man’s location, and fast rising tide, a drone was used to advise the male to return to the sand, but he refused to leave the location.

An Orange County Sheriff’s helicopter, along with deputies and Laguna Beach PD officers, assisted to bring the man to safety. 

The male subject was unharmed and was arrested for being drunk in public.

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Police Files

Six-hour standoff, after police find beaten woman, leads to local’s arrest for attempted murder

On Tuesday, Aug. 23, Laguna Beach Police arrested 31-year-old Shaun Brant, of Laguna Beach, for assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder. He was arrested after holding LBPD officers at bay during a six-hour standoff in South Laguna. 

The incident began at approximately 10:20 a.m., when an elderly woman called 9-1-1 to report being attacked with a blunt object by Brant, her 31-year-old nephew. When the LBPD arrived on scene in the 31000 block of 9th Ave., they found the woman with significant injuries and she was transported to a nearby hospital.

Brant then barricaded himself inside the home for nearly six hours refusing to exit the residence and surrender to police. LBPD officers, members of the recently formed joint Newport Beach and Laguna Beach S.W.A.T. team, Laguna Beach K-9 handler Corporal McGuire and new K-9 Officer Rudy and an Orange County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Officer all worked together to safely apprehend the suspect following the deployment of tear gas into his home.

“We appreciate the public’s cooperation in avoiding the area and neighbors who stayed inside their homes as requested,” said Laguna Beach Police Chief Jeff Calvert. “Thank you to our partner agencies including our joint S.W.A.T team members and K-9 teams who worked together to safely take this suspect into custody and protect the surrounding neighborhood and public.”

Brant is also on formal probation. 

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Police Files

Monday night two-vehicle accident leads to injuries, closes Laguna Canyon Road and leads to suspected DUI arrest

On Monday, Aug. 15 at 10:42 p.m., Laguna Beach Police Officers responded to a head-on traffic collision with injuries involving two vehicles at Laguna Canyon Road and El Toro Road. Upon arrival, officers assisted the two injured parties. 

One of the involved parties of Trabuco Canyon was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI; the complaint for a felony DUI charge was forwarded to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. He was subsequently transported to the Mission Hospital Mission Viejo and later released on his own recognizance.   

The other driver was also transported to Mission Hospital with injuries. 

Laguna Canyon Road was shut down in both directions for approximately one hour with minimum impact to traffic.

Shaena Stabler, President & CEO - Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com

Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsLaguna.com

Tom Johnson, Publisher - Tom@StuNewsLaguna.com

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In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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