Saturday, May 10, 2008

From the Los Angeles Times

Stabbing death shakes up L.A.-West Hollywood neighborhood

No one called police for over an hour as the victim cried for help near Poinsettia Park. Residents say the area has been growing more dangerous, and they are organizing to fight crime.
By Scott Gold
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

May 9, 2008

She'd tell him, time and again: Don't walk at night. The place has changed. It's not safe. They'd been married, though, for 44 years. After a certain point, it wasn't really a conversation; it was like a song they'd played a thousand times, enjoyed more for routine than anything else.

"Ne perezhivaitye," he'd tell her. "Don't worry."

He left their little apartment in West Hollywood at 9 p.m. March 9, a Sunday, walking out past a bookshelf full of all the dictionaries required of a Kazakhstani in L.A.: one in English, one in Russian, a Russian-to-English, a Spanish-to-English.

Katan Khaimov was a 70-year-old diabetic, but he was in great shape. He often walked for an hour or more, so his family didn't worry at first. But when 11 p.m. passed, his wife, Tamara, went looking for him.

On the west side of Poinsettia Park, below Santa Monica Boulevard, she pulled her car next to an intersection that had been cordoned off with yellow crime-scene tape.

"What happened here?" she asked a police officer.

"Who are you?" he said.

"I'm looking for my husband."

The fact that Khaimov was slain has been hard enough for his neighborhood to accept. But the awful coda of his life has added to the soul-searching. Neighbors, it turns out, heard him dying -- crying for help after being stabbed in the stomach -- for more than an hour before anyone called the police.

Officials say several residents in Khaimov's neighborhood, which straddles the cities of West Hollywood and Los Angeles, believed his moans were the sounds of a vagrant. Cars also passed by while he was lying next to the street, still alive, his head and one arm flopped over the curb.

"Nobody cared," said his 26-year-old daughter, Olga, the youngest of his four children. "To think that people didn't answer a man's cries for help. . . . Even if it is a bum. So what? Call the cops. It's a person, a human being."...[Open in new window]


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