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Details Paint a Grim Picture in the Hate Crime Case

Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel announces arrest of hate crime suspect

When Police Chief Darren Pytel and DA Jeff Reisig first announced the arrest of 30-year-old Davis resident Lauren Kirk-Coehlo on charges from the vandalism and desecration of the Islamic Center of Davis, they were intentionally vague on the details.

The suspect allegedly vandalized the Islamic Center, smashing several large windows, then vandalized two bicycles and wrapped pork bacon around the door handles of the mosque. The repair costs exceeded $7,000.

Mr. Reisig told the press that “in order to file these charges we had to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence submitted to us by the Davis Police Department and the FBI that we could prove these charges.  We believe that.”

He did acknowledge this was an unusual case, stating, “My office in the last ten years has not prosecuted a case like this.”

Details are beginning to emerge in an affidavit filed by Daniel La Fond, the Davis PD detective assigned to the case, in support of raising the bail from the bail schedule amount of $40,000 to what Judge Samuel McAdam determined to be $1 million.

He writes, “The investigation into the suspect, Kirk-Coehlo has raised many public concerns. During the service of a search warrant at her residence by the FBI and, Davis Police, Kirk-Coehlo’s wireless telephone was seized.”

A search into her Twitter account showed her praising Dylann Roof, who was sentenced to death after being convicted of killing nine people in 2015 in the Charleston, South Carolina, African American church.

“While glorifying Roof” she allegedly posted “‘3 cheers for Dylan Roof’ then post(ed) how intelligent Roof was in interviews.”  Detective La Fond writes, “The party she is sending private messages back and forth with on Twitter asks her if she had ever killed anything. Kirk-Coehlo replied, ”No but I have dreams and aspirations’ ‘I would like to kill’ ‘many people.’ Sent in 3 separate messages.”

A search of Ms. Kirk-Coehlo’s cell showed her “making derogatory remarks using the terms ‘Jews, Mexicans and N—s’ on a regular basis.”

She also reportedly conversed “via text with her mother about her ‘mental problems’ and made several searches about the Davis Mosque, Woodland Mosque and other Mosques in the country.”

Ms. Kirk-Coehlo “made several searches about the suspect, Alexandre Bissonnette who last week allegedly killed 6 people and injured 19 in a Mosque in Quebec.”  La Fond writes that a “search history also found her looking up details about a ‘bombvest.’”

Detective La Fond writes about the request to raise the bail, “Based on Kirk-Coehlo’s hate motivated vandalism along with her glorification of Roof and Bissonnette who recently killed African Americans and Muslims in their place of worship, along with her own statement of having dreams and aspirations of killing concern law enforcement.”

He adds, “Further, her own mention of her own mental problems, along with her recent search for information in relation to a ‘bombvest,’ I believe Kirk-Coehlo is an immediate danger to the public. I do not believe the $40,000 is sufficient bail in this case and I respectfully request that Kirk-Coehlo’s bail be increased substantially to reflect the serious nature of her crime.”

Finally, he concludes, “Kirk-Coehlo’s response Twitter messages indicating how much ‘fun she had’ while keeping in mind her posted dreams and aspirations to kill many people prompted a meeting on 2/13/17 between Davis Police, FBI and the Yolo DA’s office in which it was determined an arrest warrant would be sought along with this request for a bail enhancement.”

Chief Pytel on Tuesday said that this remains an active investigation, they are still in the early stages of the prosecution, and they are simply not able to release all of the pertinent details at this time.

Chief Pytel would add, “Hate is not something that is viable here in Davis and we will stand up and denounce it.  We take these crimes very (seriously).”

The defendant will be arraigned on February 16 at 8:30 am at the Yolo County Superior Court.  She remains in custody on $1 million bail.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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5 thoughts on “Details Paint a Grim Picture in the Hate Crime Case”

  1. Cecilia EscamillaGreenwald

    “Detective LaFond writes, “Based on Kirk-Coehlo’s hate motivated vandalism along with her glorification of Roof and Bissonnette who recently killed African Americans and Muslims in their place of worship, along with her own statement of having dreams and aspirations of killing concern law enforcement.”

    Thank you Detective LaFond, Chief Pytel, the DA’s office  and the FBI for working together to capture her. Her words are chilling. I hope law enforcement is able to conduct more detailed investigations to capture anyone associated with her whether they live in Davis or elsewhere. I wish the administration would focus on terrorists in the U.S. and stop trying to pin all foreigners as terrorists. 

    Thank you for writing this story and keeping us posted David!

    1. Keith O

      I wish the administration would focus on terrorists in the U.S. and stop trying to pin all foreigners as terrorists. 

      Nobody is pinning all foreigners as terrorists.  Stopping terrorism whether home grown or foreign is a good thing, don’t you agree?

  2. Howard P

    Would have been nice if you could have posted the link to the affidavit, as someone else did on another thread… consider doing so… helps corroborate what is written in this article… just a thought/suggestion…

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