Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Station deputies investigating a “robbery-just occurred, person with a gun” call in West Hollywood during the early morning hours on Monday, March 21, 2017, detained recording artist Wyclef Jean in a vehicle fitting two victims’ description of the suspect’s car.
Several deputies responded to the violent crime call at 12:46 a.m., looking for what the two victims reportedly described as either a gold or tan Toyota or Honda, older model sedan with paper license plates. The two victims, a man and a women, reported they were standing in the parking lot of a popular store in the 8900 block of West Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood when the suspect, a male Black adult, allegedly walked up to them, pointed a firearm at them and demanded they give him everything they had. The suspect is alleged to have traumatized the two victims by pressing the firearm onto the male’s temple and pistol whipping them both. The victims, fearing for their lives, gave the suspect their possessions containing identification and money.
The suspect then fled the scene by entering the front passenger side of a vehicle driven by another unknown suspect, who the victims’ could only describe race. The suspects’ vehicle was seen driving north on Hilldale Avenue, then east on Sunset Boulevard and south on San Vicente Boulevard until it was out of view.
The distraught victims called 9-1-1 and during deputies’ search for the suspects, the vehicle Mr. Jean was travelling in as a front passenger, a 2002 tan Toyota with Michigan license plates, was observed travelling on La Cienega and Santa Monica Boulevard heading south, a short distance from the crime scene. Deputies followed that vehicle briefly before the vehicle pulled over along the 700 block of West Knoll Drive, apparently reaching its intended destination.
As deputies approached the vehicle, the occupants – driver and front passenger, almost simultaneously began to exit the vehicle. It was at this time that the deputies attempted to detain who they believed to be the suspect of the violent crime, Mr. Jean.
Due to the violent nature of the call (armed robbery), the similarity of the suspect vehicle to Mr. Jean’s vehicle, the time of day of the unfolding detention and Mr. Jean’s furtive movements and demeanor, he was handcuffed. It is reported that Mr. Jean’s furtive movements included actions such as once he exited the vehicle, he started to walk towards the trunk of the car, questioning why he could not get his things out of his trunk, even though he was clearly instructed by deputies not to approach the trunk. Mr. Jean was also ordered several times not to place his hands near his pockets or his waistband.
Out of an abundance of caution, a pat down search for weapons was also conducted of Mr. Jean’s person and he was subsequently secured inside the backseat of a patrol vehicle.
Within approximately six minutes, deputies confirmed that Mr. Jean and the female driver were not the suspects in the armed robbery. Although the initial suspect description in the call given by the victims stated that the suspect wore a dark colored hoodie, further description obtained from the victims during the investigation by deputies revealed that the suspect’s hoodie was possibly grey and that the suspect may also have a red or grey bandana draped around his neck. Mr. Jean wore a dark colored shirt and a red and blue bandana on his head. Upon the discovery and verification of this additional information, the reasonable detention of Mr. Jean immediately ended.
A supervisor, who was on scene from the very beginning of Mr. Jean’s detention, explained to Mr. Jean about the investigation being conducted and the reasons behind his lawful detention. The supervisor, a sergeant with the sheriff’s department for approximately 17 years, presented her department issued business card to Mr. Jean and offered Mr. Jean the opportunity to discuss the matter further if he so desired. Mr. Jean accepted the business card.
A short time later, another vehicle fitting the description of the suspect vehicle in the call was observed approximately four blocks from Mr. Jean’s detention. That vehicle, being driven by a female Black adult and occupied by a male Black adult front passenger wearing a dark grey hoodie was also stopped under similar context. That vehicle reportedly contained the suspects who are allegedly connected to the armed robbery. Deputies report that a loaded firearm was found concealed inside the vehicle, a 1995 tan/gold Acura with paper plates, and the property stolen from both victims was also recovered during the investigation, detention and subsequent arrest. It should be noted that during the detention of these suspects detention, safety measures were also exercised, as the suspects were handcuffed and secured in the backseat of a patrol vehicle pending further investigation.
Torrion Falconer, a 26 year-old male Black and resident of Lancaster, was arrested and booked at West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station for several charges including robbery, former convicted felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm and having a loaded firearm concealed in a vehicle.
Dejuan Hooper, the 30 year-old female driver and resident of Inglewood, was also arrested and booked at West Hollywood Station for robbery and possession of a controlled substance.
Both suspects are being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Since this writing, neither Mr. Jean nor his representatives have personally contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the actual agency whose deputies reasonably and lawfully detained him.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Sheriff’s Information Bureau at (213) 229-1700. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP, or “P3 Mobile” for the hearing impaired, on Google play or the App Store, or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.