Man fatally shot in Hacienda Heights identified

An investigator identified the man fatally shot over the weekend as a Baldwin Park resident.

Sheriff’s Homicide Lt. John Corina said 34-year-old Gerardo Garcia was found in a lot in the 14400 block of Clark Avenue on Sunday.

Garcia is known to visit Hacienda Heights, he said.

The lieutenant said the lot is located behind a home but there is no structure on the property. The owner rents it out so people can park vehicles there, according to Corina. He said someone who came to work on a vehicle discovered Garcia lying there.

The Sheriff’s Industry Station received a call at 1:44 p.m. Sunday about a person who was lying bleeding and unconscious to the rear of the location.

Corina said Garcia had been shot in the body. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

People heard a gunshot on Saturday night, the lieutenant said. But no suspects or vehicles were seen.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Tournament of Roses bandfest draws elite bands

1230_NWS_PSN-L-BANDFEST2

The Tournament of Roses Bandfest began its second day of performances under cold, gray skies. The all-girl band from Denmark loved it.

“You have such nice weather here, in Denmark it’s freezing and we have snow,” said 19-year-old Louise Hansen. The drummer was lining up to perform with the Helsingor Pigegarde. That’s the Elsinore Girls Marching Band to you and me.

The band of 56 young women, dressed in sailor uniforms, last appearing in Los Angeles during the 1984 Olympics.

They had also been invited to play in the French New Years parade along the famous Champs Elysee in Paris. They declined the invitation to come to Pasadena.

So did they regret their decision?

“The people here are so kind, everybody is friendly and says hello,” Hansen said.

It might have been a little overwhelming for little 12-year-old Melisa Olsen. The flutist has only been with the band for a year, but she said she was enjoying the trip.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story BANDS

$4,700 taken in Hacienda Heights home robbery

Three men wearing bandanas over their faces tied up a couple, assaulted them and stole about $4,700 in cash and jewelry during a home invasion robbery in Hacienda Heights on Sunday.

One of the robbers was armed with a knife, said Lt. Arthur Scott of the sheriff’s Industry Station. The woman suffered a small laceration to the lip but wasn’t taken to a hospital, he said. He described the two victims as being in their 60s.

The robbery in the 2000 block of Nadula Drive started at around 7 p.m. The resident arrived home and got accosted by three men in her garage.

Scott said the woman’s husband heard the garage door open, went to help his wife and encountered the suspects. He said the suspects forced the couple into the home then used garments and a belt to tie them up. The robbers put a pillow case over the man’s head, according to the lieutenant.

“(The husband) was sprayed with a window cleaner. He was also kicked and punched,” Scott said.

Scott said the woman sustained the cut to her lip when the suspects slammed her to the floor. After the robbers left, he said the woman wriggled free of her binds and called police.

Scott couldn’t verify media reports that the victims owned or worked in the jewelry business. The suspects were only described as three black men, 25 to 30 and 6 feet tall. They may have used an older model black BMW.

Investigators haven’t yet found a link to other home invasion robberies.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Industry station at 626-330-3322. Anonymous tipsters can call LA Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, text “TIPLA” plus the tip to 274637, or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org

Man fatally shot in Hacienda Heights

Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a man found fatally shot in a Hacienda Heights backyard Sunday afternoon.

Coroner’s officials didn’t release the man’s name on Monday because his next of kin hasn’t been notified.

A neighbor called deputies about 1:45 p.m. to report seeing someone lying in the large backyard of a home in the 14400 block of Clark Avenue, Sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Thurlo said.

Deputies and paramedics discovered the victim, a 34-year-old Latino, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound, according to department spokeswoman, Deputy Crystal Hernandez.

Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.

Hernandez said according to witnesses, a single gunshot was heard in the area but no suspects or vehicles were seen.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Hacienda Heights rallies behind family

1225_NWS_SGT-L-ROSALES1
By Brian Day, Staff Writer

For the second time in recent years, a Hacienda Heights family has been devastated by a fatal tragedy. And for the second time, the community is rallying around the family to offer compassion and support.

Bertha Rosales, 42, died in a car crash while driving two of her four sons home from school in their hometown of Hacienda Heights, according to California Highway Patrol officials and friends.

Her sons Isaac, 13, and Ramon Jr., 10, suffered serious injuries in the crash, officials said. Isaac remained unconscious at a hospital with severe head injuries Wednesday, family friend Ernie Maldonado said. Ramon Jr. was making good progress in his recovery after undergoing surgery for injuries to his shoulder and elbow.

“This past Sunday was actually Bertha’s birthday,” Maldonado said.

The same family was affected by another deadly tragedy in August of 2011, when Rosales’ sister, 49-year-old Virginia Gonzales, and Gonzales’ 3-year-old son, Johnny Crowger, died in a house fire at their home in the 1700 block of Piermont Drive in Hacienda Heights.

Gonzales died while trying to rescue her son from the burning home, officials said.

In last week’s car crash, Rosales was driving a BMW sedan north on Durazno Drive, heading from a stop sign at a T-intersection, about 2:35 p.m. when the BMW collided with a Chevrolet Camaro heading west on Halliburton Road, CHP Sgt. Charles Quijada said.

For more, read Brian Day’s story ROSALES.

Kaiser salutes Special Olympians like Hacienda Heights athlete

1222_NWS_SGT-L-VULCAN

Kaiser Permanente salutes Special Olympics with this year’s Rose Parade float. Kaiser celebrates the 7,000 international athletes coming to Los Angeles in July for the Special Olympics World Games.

“Our float will raise awareness of the 2015 World Games and the Special Olympics mission to promote acceptance and inclusion for those with intellectual disabilities by demonstrating and celebrating the joy, courage and determination of these remarkable athletes,” said Dr. Edward Ellison, executive medical director for Southern California.

The float will carry some well-known personalities, including Olympic Gold Medalist Rafer Johnson. He won gold and silver medals in the decathlon at the 1960 Olympics.

Johnson also served as USA team captain and flag bearer in the Rome games. In 1984, Johnson lit the Olympic cauldron to open the Olympics in Los Angeles.

But Johnson is also well known for his work with Special Olympics, beginning with the first games in California in 1969, he was on the original board of directors. Johnson served as president until July of 1992, when he was named chairman of the board of directors.

 

 

“It’s been an absolute joy to watch the Special Olympics grow over the years,” Johnson said. “I find the athletes totally inspiring, the way they embrace life and form long friendships through the Special Olympics. Their smiles seem to become broader every year I see them.”

Joining Johnson will be many Special Olympic athletes such as the intellectually disabled Charlene Jan of Hacienda Heights. Jan’s mother, Leelin Chen, is a registered nurse at Kaiser’s Medical Center in Baldwin Park.

“When I heard they were looking for special athletes, I applied for Charlene. We’re all so excited that she’s going to ride in the Rose Parade,” Chen said.

For more, read Rich Irwin’s story OLYMPICS.

High winds forecast through Christmas

From City News Service

Strong winds will buffet much of the Southland today, particularly mountain regions, and last through Christmas afternoon, raising fears of severed tree limbs and downed power lines, National Weather Service forecasters said.

A wind advisory will be in effect until 3 this afternoon in the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Santa Clarita valleys and the Los Angeles coastal zone, which includes beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, downtown L.A. and the Hollywood Hills. In Orange County, a wind advisory will be in force until 6 p.m. today.

NWS forecasters said the L.A. coastal zone would experience winds of between 15 and 25 miles per hour gusting to 40 mph while valley winds would blow at speeds of around 20-40 mph, gusting to 50 mph, and even 60 mph in the Santa Clarita valleys.

In both the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains, a wind advisory will be in force until 3 p.m. today, followed by a more serious high wind watch, which will be in effect from Wednesday night through Thursday afternoon. The high wind watch, heralding winds of 58 mph or greater, will also include the Santa Clarita valley.

Ling Ling Chang to vice chair rules committee

Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) has been appointed to Vice-Chair of the influential Assembly Rules Committee.  The appointment was part of a number of key committee appointments made by the Speaker of the Assembly.

“I am so honored to have the privilege to serve in a leading capacity on such an important committee,” said Chang.  What an amazing opportunity to work for Californians and my constituents.”

As Vice-Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee, Assemblywoman Chang will play a leading role in the governing body of the Assembly, including jurisdiction over legislation and personnel.  Assembly Rules influences the fate of every bill introduced in the Legislature given its important role of referring legislation to respective policy committees of the house.

“Ling Ling is a strong leader for streamlining government so it can better serve Californians,” said Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen. She will be a powerful voice for commonsense leadership in her new role as Vice-Chair of the Assembly’s most powerful committee.”

Chang, the first Taiwanese-American Republican woman to be elected to the State Assembly, was first elected to the Diamond Bar City Council in November 2009 and served as the Mayor from 2011-2012. Before her election to the City Council, she held a variety of positions in local government, including service as President of the Walnut Valley Water District, and as a member of the Diamond Bar Parks & Recreation Commission. Chang brings business sector experience as well, developing software products for the health information management industry.

“I am so excited to get California back on track,” said Chang.  We can have the best schools and more jobs if we all work together. Serving on the Assembly Rules Committee is a great opportunity to get that done.”

In addition to Rules, Assemblywoman Chang has been appointed as a member of the following committees: Appropriations, Business & Professions, and Privacy & Consumer Protection.

Truck crash closes eastbound 60 in Diamond Bar

A truck driver suffered minor injuries when his big rig hit an overhead sign on the eastbound 60 Freeway and overturned, spilling crushed concrete.

The solo crash shut down all lanes of the eastbound 60, west of Grand Avenue at one point.

The California Highway Patrol got a call of an overturned big rig at 5:18 a.m.

CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said the truck was in the No. 6 lane, heading east on the 60 freeway.

“For an undetermined reason, the truck’s hydraulic lift began to rise,” Jimenez said.

 

 

The truck driver told the CHP the car behind him started flashing its lights to get his attention. The hydraulic lift struck an overhead sign.

The truck overturned on its left side, spilling the crushed concrete it was hauling. Jimenez said in addition, a gallon of diesel fuel leaked into a nearby creek.

Jimenez said the driver, a 50-year-old Baldwin Park man, complained of pain to his left leg. He wasn’t taken to a hospital/

All eastbound lanes were closed at 5:39 a.m.

By 9:39 a.m., five lanes were open. Only the two right lanes remain closed.

Diamond Bar Council bans carpool parking in parks

The Diamond Bar City Council wants to restrict parking in city parks. In November, the Parks and Recreation Commission recommended restricting parking to park patrons only.

The issue surfaced when residents complained about carpoolers leaving their vehicles all day in the lower lot at Summit Ridge Park on Grand Avenue. In October, there was an altercation between a Diamond Bar resident and a man picking up other workers, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Community Relations Officer Aaron Scheller.

“This is a use issue, those 25 spots are dedicated to the park, not to park and ride,” said Mayor Steve Tye.

In an earlier report, Scheller said he had visited the lot several times and saw people parking their cars and getting into another vehicle without spending any time in the park. Scheller checked the license plates and discovered all the vehicles belonged to non-residents.

Deputies also saw contractors working in Country Estates across the road pick up workmen parked in the Summit Ridge lot.

“I don’t think the contractors should be using a city park to provide parking for their workers,” Tye said.

Summit Ridge Park is only two miles from the 57/60 freeways. On Nov. 26, deputies say 21 of the spots were filled, even though they found nobody in the park.

“The park is a popular place for residents to walk their dogs. The parking problem has been getting worse over the years,” explained Bob Rose, Diamond Bar’s Community Services Director. “But I was surprised when the sheriff’s department estimated that 85 percent of the cars belonged to nonresidents.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story PARKING.