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Man Who Brandished Weapon Arrested Inside Commerce City Hall

The man used a gun similar to the above weapon.

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May 18, 2023

By Brian Hews

Yesterday at approximately 10:30 am, Commerce resident Dan Griffith, who sources say is friends with former Commerce Councilmember Leonard Mendoza, walked into Commerce City Hall and brandished what looked like a 9-millimeter pistol but turned out to be an imitation handgun that shoots metal B-B’s using a pressurized air cartridge.

“It looked like a real gun,” said one resident who contacted Los Cerritos Community News, “as soon as I saw the gun, I ran out of the building.”

According to witnesses, Griffith said he was going to shoot up the building and then fired a B-B into the ceiling.

Witnesses told LCCN that frightened customers and employees inside the building screamed and scattered, thinking it was an active shooter situation, only to finally see it was a B-B gun.

Many were shaken and wanted to leave for the day; some called in today, still affected by the incident.

Residents who contacted LCCN said Griffith “seems to be mentally ill and has caused issues throughout the community, including trying to fight Commerce City Hall employees.”

Sheriffs from the East L.A. Station arrived and took Griffith into custody around noon.

Griffith was arrested and charged with brandishing an imitation weapon under penal code 417.4 PC. He was due in court today.

417.4 PC states, “Every person who, except in self-defense, draws or exhibits an imitation firearm in a threatening manner against another in such a way as to cause a reasonable person apprehension or fear of bodily harm is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a term of not less than 30 days.”

A person who violates 417.4 PC is charged with a misdemeanor punishable by custody in county jail for a mandatory minimum of 30 days and up to 6 months.

A judge can award the perpetrator with misdemeanor (or summary) probation in lieu of jail time.

Residents and elected officials told LCCN that Griffith is friends with former Councilmember Leonard Mendoza, who has a violent history similar to Griffith.

In 2019, Mendoza got into a fight at the Contract City’s Convention and was knocked out; he was banned from the convention for three years.

In 2022, LCCN obtained documents that showed Mendoza was fired from his job at the city of Commerce for systematic harassment, intimidation, fighting, and ignoring safety policies that resulted in serious injuries to his crew.

Mendoza’s behavior was so abhorrent that the city was forced to hire outside attorney Sally Woolley; after she investigated, Woolley recommended the city fire Mendoza. The report stated that several of the witnesses involved in the investigation expressed concern about retaliation by Mendoza, that was the last straw, in mid- 2014, the city terminated Mendoza.