PASADENA >> Officials Saturday arrested a Pasadena man at the Nevada border who they had been seeking for holding his ex-girlfriend captive for nearly two days while physically and sexually assaulting her, as well as trying to extort her for money, authorities said.
California Highway Patrol officers found and captured Jorge Arturo Ruiz, 42, of Pasadena, about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, “just prior to crossing the state line into Nevada on the Interstate 15 Highway,” Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
Also arrested was 36-year-old Marta Valladares of Los Angeles, who was accompanying Ruiz at the time of his arret, and 30-year-old Christine Yerikian of Los Angeles, who was arrested Friday in Los Angeles County, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records.
The women are accused of aiding and abetting Ruiz, as well as destruction of evidence and helping Ruiz avoid arrest.
Police first learned of the alleged crimes just after midnight Friday.
“A resident of the 100 block of North Raymond Avenue reported to the Pasadena Police Department that a female had run out of an apartment, where she states she had been held against her will and physically and sexually assaulted,” according to the statement.
The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment of “severe contusions” to her head, face and body, police said. The injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Investigators determined Ruiz had held the woman captive for one-and-a-half to two days while carrying out the assaults and trying to extort money from her, Sgt. Schuyler Sandeen said. The sergeant declined to discuss details of alleged the extortion plot.
The suspect — later identified as Ruiz — fled from the area on foot before police arrived. Pasadena police partnered with the U.S. Marshals Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force in search of Ruiz.
CHP officers spotted Ruiz’s “wanted” vehicle about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, just before it crossed into Nevada, officials said.
They took Ruiz and Valladares into custody without a struggle, Sandeen said. Valladares’ two children, ages 3 and 7, were also in the vehicle and were turned over to the custody of the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, Sandeen said.
All three suspects were taken back to Pasadena to be booked into jail.
Ruiz, who is accused of crimes including confining a person for the purpose of extortion, physical assault and sexual assault, was being held in lieu of $1.05 million bail pending his initial court appearance, officials said.
Valladares was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, while Yerikian was released from jail Saturday pending her court appearance after posting $100,000 bail.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Pasadena police Detective Robin Stinson at 626-744-7099. During weekends and evening hours, the Pasadena Police Department watch commander can be reached at 626-744-4620. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
WEST COVINA >> West Covina police arrested two men and a teenage girl early Saturday following chase in a stolen car and an officer-involved shooting in the unincorporated county area of South San Jose Hills in which no one was injured, officials said.
The series of events began at 3:12 a.m. when police tried to stop a 1994 Toyota Camry for a traffic violation in the area of Azusa Avenue and Amar Road, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
“Officers attempted to make a traffic stop on a motorist, who led them on a high-speed pursuit,” Patton said. In addition the driver, which was later determined to be stolen, a second man and a teenage girl also rode in the car as passengers.
The pursuit came to an end when the car pulled into a cul-de-sac near Gemini Street and Hambledon Avenue and stopped, the lieutenant said.
“The driver abruptly put the vehicle in reverse and used the vehicle in a ramming motion in an effort to pin our lead officer between his vehicle and the door of vehicle, Patton said.
The officer fired several rounds at the approaching car, which came to a halt. No one was struck by the gunfire.
But the driver still refused orders to surrender, Patton said. Officers ultimately took him into custody with the help of a police dog.
The other two suspects were arrested without a struggle, Patton said.
All three were accused of auto theft and resisting arrest, he said.
The driver, 18-year-old Raymond Elias of El Monte, was taken to a hospital for treatment before being booked into jail, is also accused of attempted murder of a police officer and evading police.
WHITTIER >> An overnight police checkpoint in Whittier resulted in three arrests and 25 citations, authorities said Saturday.
The checkpoint was held from 7 p.m. Friday to 2:30 a.m. Saturday on Whittier Boulevard at Philadelphia Street, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
Officers screened 1,221 vehicles, he said. They administered four field sobriety tests, ultimately arresting one driver on suspicion of DUI.
Two additional people were arrested for outstanding warrants during the checkpoint, Ruiz said.
Police issued 18 tickets to unlicensed drivers, and 7 tickets to drivers with suspended licenses, he added. One vehicle was impounded.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> Deputies spent more than an hour persuading a suicidal man to climb down from a pedestrian bridge spanning a 60 Freeway offramp in South El Monte Friday, officials said.
The incident began about 7:10 p.m. on the bridge at Cogswell Road, just east of Santa Anita Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ismael Chavez said.
Officials received reports of a man sitting atop the fence lining the pedestrian bridge, the lieutenant said.
California Highway Patrol officers shut down the Santa Anita Avenue offramp of the westbound 60 Freeway as Los Angeles County firefighters set up an air cushion below the bridge, officials said. A specially-trained sheriff’s Mental Evaluation Team was summoned to the scene to speak with the distraught man.
After more than an hour, deputies persuaded the man to climb down and accept help, Chavez said. He was taken for psychiatric evaluation.
The offramp was re-opened about 8:30 p.m., according to the CHP.
WEST COVINA >> Police are seeking two attackers who shot at, but missed, another man in front of a West Covina home late Friday, officials said.
The gunfire rang out just after 8 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 300 block of North Vincent Avenue, West Covina police Lt. Travis Tibbetts said.
A man pulled up to a home and exited his car as two other man were passing by on foot, Lt. Dennis Patton said. One of them men pulled a gun and fired several shots, but did not strike the intended victim.
The attackers, described as two heavy-set Latino men between 25 and 30 years old, wearing dark clothing, were last seen fleeing the area on foot, officials said.
The victim did not appear to be cooperating with investigators, Patton added. The shooting was being investigated as possibly gang-related.
WHITTIER >> Police are holding a sobriety and driver license checkpoint tonight in Whittier, officials said.
The checkpoint was scheduled to take place between 7 p.m. Friday and 2:30 a.m. Saturday within the city limits, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Safety Administration.
PHOTO courtesy of the Whittier Police Department
LA MIRADA >> Officials Friday released the identity of a 61-year-old man found dead from an apparent suicide after a SWAT team surrounded his La Mirada home for five hours on Wednesday.
Dennis Solis died at the scene of the standoff, which came to an end about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday at a house in the 12000 block of Los Coyotes Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Solis was believed to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials. An autopsy was yet to be carried out Friday.
Deputies responded to the home shortly before 5:30 p.m. after family members reported he was suicidal and armed with a rifle, Lt. Robin Limon of the sheriff’s Norwalk Station said. The family members got out of the home unharmed.
After hearing gunshots, deputies summoned a SWAT team to take over the situation. After about five hours, sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau deputies forced their way into the home and found Solis dead.
WHITTIER >> A student was found dead Thursday inside a dorm at Whittier College, authorities said.
The discovery of the body was made about 4:42 p.m. at the college’s Johnson Hall, according to Los Angeles County coroner and Whittier College officials.
Whittier police, who are handling the investigation, described the person as female.
“The cause of death has yet to be determined,” according to Whittier police Officer John Scoggins.
“Though it is early in the investigation, there does not appear to be any signs of foul play,” he said. “We are not searching for any suspects at this time and there is no known threat to the community.”
The body showed signs of decomposition, however it was unknown how long ago the woman died, coroner’s officials said.
“It is our deep regret to inform you that there has been a student death in Johnson Hall,” Whittier College officials said in a written statement. “There is no known threat to the campus community.”
“The student’s parent has already been notified. Our thoughts and prayers are with the student’s loved ones,” according to the statement.
The college’s Department of Campus Safety is offering 24-hour counseling services for students, faculty and staff. Those interested may call 562-907-4211 and ask for the on-call therapist.
Classes at the campus, 13406 Philadelphia Street, were cancelled for the remainder of the evening, officials said.
“We feel that having the community be together in support of each other is important. Therefore, classes will meet on Friday,” the college announced via Twitter. “However, we ask faculty not to penalize students who miss class or do not participate.”
SAN GABRIEL >> Deputies chased down and re-captured an El Monte man who escaped from a San Gabriel hospital Thursday, where he was being examined following an arrest earlier in the afternoon, officials said.
The incident began about 12:40 p.m. after deputies in South El Monte spotted Sergio Galiano, 20, of El Monte, who had an outstanding warrant for resisting arrest, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ismael Chavez said.
He was arrested following a brief struggle, and deputies also found him in possession of methamphetamine, the lieutenant said.
Deputies took the suspect to the San Gabriel Valley Medical Center, 438 W. Las Tunas Drive in San Gabriel, for examination prior to booking him into jail, Lt. Ronald Daily said.
While handcuffed and awaiting treatment about 2:20 p.m., Galiano managed to break free from the facility and run, Daily said.
Deputies set up a search perimeter, ultimately finding the man hiding, still handcuffed, in a residential neighborhood about an hour later, officials said.
He was again examined at a hospital before being booked into jail for the existing warrant, as well as on suspicion of drug possession, being under the influence of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest and felony escape, Chavez said.
According to county booking records, Galiano was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Wednesday in El Monte Superior Court.
BOYLE HEIGHTS >> Coroner’s officials have identified a young man and woman from El Monte who died Sunday after a gunman opened fire on the car in Boyle Heights, sending it careening into a house.
Henry Sanchez, 19, and Maria Cordova, 18, died following Sunday’s 11 a.m. attack at Enchandia Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said. Coroner’s officials could not confirm reports that the woman was pregnant.
Sanchez was at the wheel of a white sedan with Cordova and another man riding as passengers when two attackers approached in a mid-size, black SUV, Los Angeles Police Department officials said in a written statement.
At least one of the attackers opened fire as the sedan was stopped at a red light, striking Sanchez, officials said.
“Upon being shot, (Sanchez) lost control of his vehicle and collided into a residential home near the intersection of Enchandia Street and Pleasant Avenue,” according to the LAPD statement.
Sanchez was taken to a hospital where he died from his injuries, Smith said. Investigators determined Sanchez died from multiple gunshots wounds and ruled the death a homicide.
Cordova was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting and crash, officials said. An autopsy revealed she died as a result of blunt force trauma, and her death was also ruled a homicide.
The third passenger in the sedan was not seriously hurt, and no one at the home the car crashed into was hurt.
Police described one of the killers as a Latino man between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall, wearing dark clothing. The second killer was described only as male.
“The investigation reveals that the shooting is possibly gang-related,” according to the statement.
Anyone with information is asked to contact LAPD Hollenbeck Homicide detectives at 323-342-8964. During weekends or non-business hours, calls may be placed to 877-527-3247. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO BY MIKE MEADOWS