Long Beach woman terrorizes neighbors with racist rants, death threats; Community fears her return
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Several residents living at an apartment complex in Long Beach said they fear for their lives due to a neighbor who allegedly threatens them daily, and the neighbor's actions landed her in jail Thursday.
Yukatan Everett Mason captured a cell phone video of his neighbor, Lorrene Lake, and posted it to social media. In the now-viral video, the woman spews racial slurs, calling Mason the N-word, and saying he should be "hanging." Other videos of Lake allegedly show her blasting loud music in the middle of the night, damaging property and yelling at neighbors.
"It feels like I'm living in [a time] 100 years ago. It's horrible. Her place is right there [underneath his unit]. I have to go up those stairs to get to my place every single day. Every day I'm praying to God this isn't the day she just decides to blast me through this window, and I'm dead. It got to the place where I didn't go in or out of my place without recording on my phone just in case this is the day that I do die. At least there's some footage of it. Who wants to live like that?" said Mason.
Mason said he moved into the complex, which is managed by International City Property Management, in December, and enjoyed the community and neighbors, outside of Lake.
"She [Lake] just didn't like me from the start and I never said a word to her, and it just escalated to death threats and ‘You should be hanging from this,’ and just insane stuff. People ask what's the other side of the story, and what did I do. I moved in and I was Black. Literally, that's what I did," said Mason.
Raquel Sepulveda, who has only lived in the complex since May, said she has also been targeted by Lake. She said a piece of mail belonging to Lake from property management was placed in her mailbox, and Sepulveda gave it to Lake.
"Ever since then, it's been hell," said Sepulveda.
Sepulveda said she had to install a security camera outside of her door, and filed a temporary restraining order against Lake in July.
"She told me she was going to find a way to kill me. Mentally, it's been extremely draining. I am afraid to walk in and out of this building. I park four blocks away. I continue to pay my rent, but I have to escape from here to be safe whenever Lorrene has her episodes. It feels surreal like you're living in a nightmare," said Sepulveda.
On Thursday night, residents said Lake "harassed" them all night.
"She [Lake] goes, 'Hey N-word, I'm going to shoot and kill you tonight.' You're not gonna get any sleep and then she proceeds to be upset by a multitude of other things. She goes to her place, does her usual of slamming doors, screaming and blasting music," said Mason.
Mason said neighbors called the police.
The Long Beach Police Department released a statement:
Long Beach Police also said the suspect was arrested in July and the case was presented to the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office for filing consideration.
Neighbors said back in July, Lake ended up right back at the complex, and they fear the same thing will happen again this time around.
"Right now, what I would like is for her to never get out of jail ever. That's not going to happen, but we want her removed out of here. We want to feel safe," said Mason.
"Her behavior shouldn't be allowed. It's gotten to the point where you don't want to wait until it's too late and someone loses their life because you neglected to solve it from the beginning. They think a restraining order is protection for you. It's just a piece of paper. Someone comes to you and tells you they're going to kill you. What do you do, put the paper up? Is that going to stop a bullet? Is that going to stop a knife from getting into your body? It doesn't protect any of us. She needs to be put away," said Sepulveda.
Mason said Lake is a retired teacher, and to his knowledge, has gotten into disagreements with various neighbors for years.
"As far as mental issues, that's not the case here. I'm very sensitive to that. I go to therapy, especially after COVID. It's hard on everyone so I understand but it [mental health] can be a lazy excuse to just throw out without knowing all the facts," said Mason.
Mason said the neighbors have faced harassment for three months, and contacted Long Beach Police and the property management company to no avail. He then decided to post the video.
"The reason I ended up posting it [cell phone video] was because I tried for months to speak to property management. We called the police. I wanted to go through the proper channels," said Mason.
FOX 11 spoke with a representative from International City Property Management who did not want to be identified. The representative said they have been trying to evict Lake since May but have faced some legal challenges. The representative said they also called police on Thursday after residents told them they received death threats from Lake. The company plans to put a building-wide restraining order in place against Lake, and will be taking her to court for eviction. The representative said they do not condone her behavior, and said their office has received threats from the community since the video has gone viral.
Mason believes the video sparked a response from property management.
"We contacted property management, and they've done nothing for three months. It's just funny to see how it takes me to post a video and in less than 24 hours, moves are being made. You're telling me after I post the video, it took 3 months for you to do what you did in less than 24 hours?" said Mason.
The property management company has hired a lawyer to help them with their case against Lake.
As of Friday night, Lake remained in custody and therefore could not be reached for comment.