LOS ANGELES — A high-profile entertainment marketing consultant was targeted by a woman who had been stalking one of his friends before she fatally shot him after her forcing her way inside his Los Angeles home, prosecutors said Thursday.
This week’s slaying of Michael Latt sent shockwaves through Hollywood as the suspect faces charges of murder and burglary. Latt, 33, had worked on projects with filmmakers including Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay, as well as rap artist Common.
He was pronounced dead Monday in the hospital. Prosecutors allege that Jameelah Elena Michl, 36, knocked on his home’s door and forced herself inside once it was open.
She had sought out Latt’s home “after she targeted him for being friends with a woman she had been stalking,” the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release Thursday. She allegedly fired at him with a semi-automatic handgun.
Authorities haven’t named the woman or said whether she was inside Latt’s home.
Michl’s arraignment has been continued to Dec. 15, so she has not yet entered a plea, and prosecutors are seeking $3 million bail. If convicted, she could face a sentence of life in prison. The district attorney’s office did not immediately say whether she had an attorney who could speak on her behalf. Online court records do not show defendants’ attorneys and a representative for the public defender’s office did not immediately have information about whether a public defender was assigned to Michl’s case.
Detectives seized Michl’s vehicle, which she had been living in, as evidence. She stayed at the scene and was taken into custody. Officials have not released details about the alleged stalking.
Latt’s marking firm, Lead with Love, focused on social impact, and he was inspired to start the business after working on Ryan Coogler’s film “Fruitvale Station,” about the 2009 fatal police shooting of Oscar Grant in Oakland, California, that starred Michael B. Jordan, and wanted to direct his efforts toward social justice movements.
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.”
Latt also worked with Common, on the Oscars campaign for the song “Letter to the Free,” and with filmmaker Ava DuVernay. Together, they launched a concert prison tour and helped developed Common’s nonprofit Imagine Justice.
“The moment I realized that I could use my skill set for social good, I decided to dedicate the rest of my career to helping others, empowering storytellers of color, and fighting injustice wherever it stands,” Latt told Forbes in 2019. “Through stories and art, we can showcase incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women’s humanity, shine a light on injustices in the system and shift the narrative about how we talk about the issues.”
Associated Press Film Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed.