The biggest Los Angeles news stories of 2022
In Los Angeles, 2022 will be remembered as a year of transitions and triumph.
While history will always bring us stories of loss, 2022 also included many remarkable and odd events that will be recalled for generations.
By enlisting the help of local news viewers who participated in a social media poll, KTLA has produced a list of the most important and impactful news stories of the past year.
In early November, the nation’s attention turned to Joe Chahayed’s gas station in Altadena, where a record $2.04 billion Powerball ticket was sold. Joe, who himself gets $1 million, became an instant celebrity. The identity of the jackpot winner, however, is still unknown.
9. Catfishing Triple Homicide
In late November, three members of the Winek family were killed by a law enforcement officer from Virginia who traveled across the country to meet a 15-year-old Riverside girl whom he had “catfished” – a term referring to someone who pretends to be someone else online. Authorities say the officer kidnapped the teenager and later took his own life from her during a shootout in San Bernardino County.
8. Recruit Hit
On Nov. 16, a large group of law enforcement recruits were taking a routine jog through Whitter when, out of nowhere, a driver veered across the road and slammed into them, injuring 25, some of them seriously.
The 22-year-old driver claims he fell asleep at the wheel.
7. A New Sheriff in Town
Los Angeles County voters decided to move on from controversial Sheriff Alex Villanueva, electing former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna to the county’s top law enforcement job. Luna vows to work collaboratively with county leaders – something that did not occur during Villanueva’s one and only term.
6.History at City Hall
Voters in Los Angeles sent US Rep. Karen Bass to the mayor’s office, making her the first woman elected as mayor of the city. Bass narrowly defeated developer Rick Caruso, who spent over $100 million on his campaign.
As her first order of business, Bass declared a state of emergency on homelessness, hoping to address what many Angelenos believe is the city’s biggest problem
5. The Slap Heard ‘Round the World
At the Academy Awards ceremony in March, actor Will Smith walked on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head – the result of a condition called alopecia.
Smith accepted the Oscar for Best Actor later that evening, but the fallout was quick and severe. Smith was banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years, and public sentiment largely turned against him.
4. City Council in Chaos
In October, a secret recording shared on Reddit captured Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez, Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, and union leader Ron Herrera engaging in a private conversation that involved racial slurs. Among the targets: white City Councilman Mike Bonin, who has a Black son.
Martinez first resigned as council president, then resigned from the council entirely. Cedillo and De León refused to step down, and protests have marred nearly every City Council meeting since the recording surfaced. De León remains on the City Council, while Cedillo’s term ended in December after he lost his re-election bid.
3. Super Bowl Champs!
In February, the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 at home in the first-ever Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. It was the Rams’ first Super Bowl title in LA and paid off a blockbuster trade that sent quarterback Jared Goff to Detroit in exchange for Matt Stafford.
Sadly, there would be no repeat. Injuries piled up and the Rams were never in playoff contention this season.
2.Long Live the King
P-22, the beloved mountain lion who crossed two major freeways and prowled the Hollywood Hills for more than a decade, had to be captured after attacking a leashed dog and showing other signs of distress. Veterinarians determined P-22 had severe injuries, probably from getting hit by a car. He also had other health issues due to his advanced age.
“The Hollywood Cat” was euthanized on Dec. 17; however, his legacy of him lives on through murals and other tributes, and there is talk of giving P-22 a star on the Walk of Fame.
1. Farewell to a Legend
Hall of Fame Dodgers’ broadcaster Vin Scully passed away in August at the age of 94.
Scully is widely recognized as one of the greatest sports announcers of all time, calling thousands of Dodgers games over 67 seasons dating back to Brooklyn.
Scully, whose voice was the sound of summer for many baseball fans, retired in 2016, leaving behind an indelible imprint on the Dodgers, the sport and the city.
Editor’s Note: This poll was completed before the fatal shooting of Riverside County Deputy Isaiah Cordero on Dec. 29, 2022
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