Image source: Goad News
Frank Grillo, best known for his work on Marvel and The Purge films, spoke about the rise in crime in Los Angeles after his boxing trainer was recently shot.
Azuma Bennett, 30, was shot dead at least eight times outside a Windsor Hill marijuana dispensary.
Police said Bennett died en route to a nearby hospital and investigators had no clue as to the motive behind the shooting or who was behind it.
Bennett had coached several high-profile names in his career.
In addition to Grillo, Azuma Bennett coached UFC fighter Jason “Mayhem” Miller and singers Kiana Ledé and Eddie Benjamin.
An Australian native, Bennett moved to the United States three years ago.
Bennett worked at Fortune Gym in Los Angeles, where he trained with celebrities.
The gym posted a statement following his death that reads:
“Azuma was our family. One of the best of the best. We are all so broken.”
In the wake of his death, a GoFundMe page was set up by Fortune Gym owner Tamara Fortune to raise money to bring Bennett’s body back to Australia.
“Azuma was one of a kind,” Fortune wrote on the GoFundMe page description.
“An outstanding athlete, fighter, teacher trainer, and friend/mate to so many. We lost one of the best ones out there.”
“He did not deserve this. He was kind to all that he met and always engaged everyone in the gym with his positive energy and engaging personality.”
Early Friday, the page raised more than $35,000.
Grillo speaks up
Frank Grillo spoke to media outlet KNBC and slammed the rising crime rate in Los Angeles.
“He made everybody feel good about training,” Grillo said.
“I don’t know what’s happened to Los Angeles that a beautiful guy like this gets shot and killed over nothing.”
On Friday, Grillo shared several posts about Bennet’s death.
“We in LA need to wake up to what has become a common occurrence,” one post wrote.
Another said: “Maybe can force the hand of the powers that be to get off their a****** and fix this ****.”
Crime rate in Los Angeles
Bennett’s murder increases the number of homicides in the City of Angels, which has reached its highest level in 15 years, according to ABC7.
During the first half of 2022, 181 homicides were committed in Los Angeles, a 34% increase over the average number of homicides during the same period between 2015 and 2019.
In April, the number of shootings increased by 69% from 2020, while violent crime rose to 7.2% from last year.
The Los Angeles Times also reported that robberies increased by 18.5% compared to 2021, while car thefts increased by 40% compared to 2020.