where the man who helped create the anti-Islam film implicated at the heart of the outrage abroad remains hiding inside his home, local authorities have expressed concern that the flurry of media attention may cause a disturbance to area residents.
"There is no disturbance (here); there is no crime," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told news crews at the scene Thursday. "The reason why we're still here monitoring the neighborhood is because of you (news media representatives). Regrettably, this kind of attention attracts other people."
"We are maintaining public safety for this community, as we would for any community," Whitmore said. "And that's all we're doing, and all we will continue to do."
Dozens of local, national and international news crews shuffled in and out of the Cerritos cul-de-sac all day Thursday, representing news organizations from as far as Japan to the well-known Qatar-based Al Jazeera network. Members of the media initially lined their cameras in the middle of the street facing the two-story home believed to be housing Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the 55-year-old man behind “The Innocence of Muslims” -- the 14-minute low budget YouTube trailer that spurred the chaos and violence that led to the slayings of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other foreign service workers.
But upon the urging of Whitmore, at about noon Thursday, crews pushed their equipment closer to the driveway of the home to allow neighbors better access in and out of the dead-end street.
Curious residents wandered to the area where the crews were gathered throughout the day.
"I first noticed a lot of commotion going on here this morning," a man who identified himself only as Richard -- a 10-year Cerritos resident -- told Patch, stating that he returned to the site every couple hours to check and see how things were going. "I live just a few streets down and I always take walks around this neighborhood -- it's usually very quiet with just a few dogs barking, so I've never seen anything like this before."
Some of Nakoula's neighbors could be seen peeking out of their windows, while others stopped to speak to members of the media and share what they knew about the neighbors in question.
"We see them around from time to time," said the Nakoulas' next door neighbor Carol Paik, 22. "But we don't really know them well, I do know they have a lot of kids and a lot of cars."
Paik said her family has often argued with their neighbors about the parking situation. The Paiks and Nakoulas share an easement making their driveway parking situation slightly difficult.
"They have a lot of cars, sometimes they even have to park at the Walmart," she said because of the city's strict overnight parking rules.
At one point, Paik's father gave a videographer and photographer access to his roof, allowing them to peer over to the Nakoula's backyard. The photographer said two children were seen on a swing in the backyard, but no adults appeared to be outside.
Multiple knocks on the door by various media members failed to draw a response from the home's occupants. There was little movement from inside the home the entire day except for the occasional switching on/off of lights in the foyer area as well as the garage.
No one has exited the home since Wednesday, when the Associated Press reports having talked to Nakoula who at the time admitted to helping with logistics for the film, but denied directing it. Nakoula also told the AP that he knew the self-described filmmaker, Sam Bacile. He denied posing as Bacile, although when he showed his driver's license to prove his identity, Nakoula kept his thumb over his middle name, Basseley, according to the AP.
Federal authorities have tied Nakoula to numerous fake identities, including the Bacile persona. The aliases were used to run a check-kiting scheme aimed at Wells Fargo Bank, the AP reported.
To help monitor the steady flow of reporters, photographers and videographers flowing in and out of the Cerritos neighborhood, at least one sheriff's deputy has remained on watch at the premises at all times. A deputy was posted at the scene while five videographers/photographers remained camped outside the residence overnight.
Residents in the Cerritos neighborhood expressed concern about their safety to news crews Friday morning about possible violence and retaliation aimed at Nakoula.
AS A CERRITOS RESIDENT, ARE YOU CONCERNED BY ALL THE MEDIA ATTENTION BEING DRAWN TO THIS NEIGHBORHOOD? DO YOU FEAR FOR YOUR SAFETY?