Every day when Yukatan Everett Mason came home to his apartment complex in Long Beach he’d say a little prayer.
“I’m praying this isn’t the day she decides to shoot through her window. She’s got the first apartment. She sees everything,” he said. “I’m a sitting target.”
She is Lorrene Mae Lake, Mason’s “demon” downstairs neighbor in a complex on East 2nd Street in Long Beach who for months terrorized him and other residents with racial taunts and late-night harassment. Lake, 58, was charged Monday with six counts of criminal threats, one count of violation of civil rights over her unneighborly behavior and other charges, L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón announced. Investigators found a firearm in her apartment.
But her arrest on Aug. 12 by Long Beach police came after months of residents like Mason agitating with police and property management to do something about Lake, he said.
A Black writer who moved into the complex in December, Mason spearheaded the effort to stop the harassment that he and other residents were experiencing at the hands of Lake, he said. And when nothing seemed to get done by the authorities, Mason took his complaints to social media, posting videos of Lake’s menacing behavior. His video got picked up by a large TikTok account, @Tizzyent, whose own video about Lake racked up nearly 500,000 views.
“I keep seeing this more and more, stuff like this pushed aside and endured until a bunch of people like myself post it online,” said the creator of the viral video.
After initially getting a bad vibe from Lake and keeping his distance, Mason became one of her main targets after he swept up glass that she had shattered for no reason in the complex’s common space, he said.
She began threatening to kill him, spraying water into his apartment, drawing swastikas on papers, using racial slurs when speaking to him and blasting music late into the night, Mason said.
“I got the sense that police and property management were waiting for me or someone else to die or get seriously injured before they took it seriously,” Mason told The Times.
The worst interaction came when Mason called 911 on Lake once and she bit him, spit on him and called him a racial slur, he said.
“This should go right around your neck,” Lake, who is white, said while holding a hose in one video Mason recorded. Then she calls him a racial slur. “What are you videotaping for? The cops aren’t going to do s—.”
That was one thing Mason and Lake agreed on. Mason said he called the police “definitely over 20 times,” but nothing was done about Lake.
The Long Beach Police Department told The Times on Thursday that it responded to the complex on several occasions, adding it is working with the building’s management company and providing “outreach” to residents.
Another resident, Raquel Sepulveda, 29, also called police numerous times after being threatened by Lake but was generally brushed off, she said. In one instance, police sent a social worker and Lake was put on a 72-hour psychiatric hold, Sepulveda wrote in court documents. But Lake came back to the apartment right after.
“I don’t feel safe or at peace. I fear for my life and safety after her 72-hold ends,” Sepulveda wrote in an application for a restraining order against Lake.
Even after she got a restraining order in late June, Lake continued to harass her, Sepulveda said. Once, Lake stood outside Sepulveda’s door holding a sharp object, Sepulveda said.
“Get me mad and I will hurt you,” Lake allegedly said.
Police did arrest Lake for violating the restraining order on July 12, Sepulveda said, but Lake returned days later.
Sepulveda, who is Latina, said she believed there was a racial element to Lake getting away for so long with her harassment.
“It’s so unfortunate knowing that if the roles were switched, I feel in my heart it would have been different,” she said.
Long Beach police arrested Lake early Friday, nearly two months after Sepulveda filed for the restraining order. Police said that she had committed a “restraining order violation,” but Sepulveda thanks Mason more than she does police.
“There would have not been any light to this if it weren’t for his video,” she said.
Lake is being held on $50,000 bail at the Century Regional Detention Facility. Her attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
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