Possible motive revealed in murder of California social justice advocate killed inside own home

As the community mourns the tragic loss of 33-year-old Michael Latt, a social justice advocate and Hollywood executive, who was fatally shot inside his Mid-Wilshire home, authorities revealed a possible motive behind the killing.

The Los Angeles Police Department reports that 36-year-old Jameelah Elena Michl, a homeless woman, has been charged with Latt's murder.

On Monday, Nov. 27, around 6 p.m., LAPD officers responded to a shooting in the 900 block of Alandele Avenue. Latt, a film marketing consultant known for his work with "Black Panther" director Ryan Coogler and Common on social justice campaigns, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The District Attorney's office alleges that Michl allegedly targeted Latt due to his friendship with a woman she had been stalking. Prosecutors said Michl knocked on the door of Latt's home, then forced her way inside when somebody opened it and shot Latt with a semi-automatic handgun.

Franklin Leonard and Michael Latt. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Rebuilding Bridges)

No details on the stalking allegation were provided. The Los Angeles Times reported that a female film director -- who was friends with Latt -- sought and obtained a restraining order against Michl over the summer. According to court papers obtained by The Times, Michl worked as an extra on one of the director's films, then stalked the director after filming concluded.

The director contended in the court papers that Michl began delivering disturbing letters to her home, including some that made comments suggesting she was prepared to shoot herself.

When the director's film premiered at Sundance this year, Latt and the director were both in attendance, and he posted a photo of himself with her on Instagram congratulating her for the film's success, The Times reported.

Michl is now facing charges of murder and first-degree residential burglary with a person present. The arraignment for Michl has been scheduled for December 15.


According to LAPD officials, Michl's arrest was announced on Tuesday, revealing that she lived inside her vehicle, which is now part of the ongoing investigation. The prosecution is recommending a $3 million bail for Michl, who could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Latt, the founder and CEO of Lead with Love, a marketing agency focused on social impact, leaves behind a legacy of advocacy for justice and equity. 

Blackout Network marketing coordinator Michael Latt attends the "#BlackLifeBlackProtest" screening during the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on June 11, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

He was born into a show business family: His mother, Michelle Satter, is one of the founding directors of the Sundance Institute’s artists programs, where she has helped filmmakers such as Coogler and Quentin Tarantino early in their careers. His father, David Latt, is a film producer, and his brother is an agent.

Latt had also worked at the Sundance Institute, which issued a statement on behalf of his family.

"He dedicated his career to serving others, employing storytelling, art, and various mediums to create enduring change and galvanizing communities with hope, love, and inspiration," the statement said. "Michael will never be forgotten and his legacy and work will carry on through his family, his friends, and his colleagues."

"Our hearts ache for the loss of a passionate advocate who believed in the principles of justice and equity within our criminal legal system," District Attorney George Gascón said. "It is devastating to see a life cut short, especially one dedicated to fighting for a more just society. This tragedy serves as a stark reminder that the pursuit of justice is a collective responsibility that we must all share.

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As the community grapples with this devastating loss, LAPD urges anyone with information to contact West Bureau Homicide Investigators at 213-382-9470. Anonymous tips can be submitted online at LA Crime Stoppers.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.