A prominent social justice advocate and charity founder was tragically killed in his Los Angeles residence during a home invasion on Monday evening, as reported by local law enforcement. Michael Latt, 33, was discovered by LAPD officers with a gunshot wound after they responded to a shooting report around 6 p.m. in the Wilshire area. Despite being rushed to the hospital, Latt succumbed to his injuries.
The alleged assailant, Jameelah Elena Michl, 36, was apprehended at the scene. Michl, who reportedly lived in her vehicle, is now facing a murder charge and is being held at the Los Angeles County Jail with a bond set at $3 million. Her vehicle has been seized for further investigation.
The incident has left the community in shock. Avarie Shevin, a neighbor of Latt, expressed her disbelief and grief to local media. Shevin described Latt as a “super sweet guy” who shared his home with his girlfriend and their pets. Shevin was unable to comprehend the circumstances that led to Latt’s untimely death.
Latt was a marketing agent for films as well as the founder of Lead With Love, a charity that leverages the power of art to inspire change and empower communities. The organization’s Instagram page describes its mission as bringing “love, hope, and healing” to communities. Among the charity’s notable initiatives was the 2017 “Hope & Redemption Tour,” which saw rapper Common perform concerts for inmates in over 10 California prisons.
Between 2016 and 2020, Latt also played a significant role in organizing the MLK Now events on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Harlem’s Riverside Church. These events featured influential speakers such as Lupita Nyong’o, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Michael B. Jordan.
In a 2019 interview with Forbes, Latt emphasized the importance of storytelling in creating meaningful reform. He believed that through stories and art, the humanity of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals could be highlighted, injustices in the system could be exposed, and the narrative around these issues could be shifted.
Latt’s commitment to social justice extended beyond his charity work. He was part of the marketing team for the 2013 film “Fruitvale Station,” which told the story of Oscar Grant III, a Black man killed on a subway platform in Oakland, California in 2009. Latt credited his work on the film with opening his eyes to the pervasive nature of white supremacy in the country and the power of storytelling to change perceptions.