WEST COVINA >> West Covina police shot and wounded a man late Friday, authorities said.
The officer-involved shooting took place about 8:10 p.m. in the area of Valley Boulevard and Nogales Street at the southern edge of the city, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“No officers were injured. One suspect was wounded,” the statement said. “There is no more information available at this time.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is leading the investigation into the incident, as is common practice in shootings involving Los Angles County police agencies. Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
EAST LOS ANGELES >> Sheriff’s deputies who happened upon an illegal fireworks transaction ultimately seized more than 1,000 pounds of dangerous and illegal fireworks from an East Los Angeles home and arrested two suspects Thursday night, authorities said.
Joseph Valencia, 46, and Daniel Guerrero, 44, are accused of illegal possession of explosives and possession of dangerous fireworks without a permit, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Andrew Cruz said in a written statement.
Deputies were patrolling about 11:30 p.m. in the 5200 block of Repetto Street when they spotted Valencia selling illegal fireworks to another man from a parked car, Cruz said.
“Through a brief investigation, the deputies discovered the suspect resided few properties away from where the vehicle was parked,” the sergeant said. “After searching Joseph Valencia’s residence, the deputies discovered between 1,000 (and) 1,500 pounds of illegal fireworks.” The stash included 49 explosive fireworks commonly known as M-80s.
Guerrero’s specific role in the fireworks sales was not clear Friday.
All fireworks, including those designated “Safe and Sane,” are banned in unincorporated area of Los Angeles County.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> A suspect is behind bars and accused of murder in connection with a solo-car crash that killed his passenger last week, which detectives say occurred as the occupants of the car were fleeing the scene of a shooting they had just committed.
Anthony James Rojas, 20, is being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending his initial court appearance, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records. His city of residence was not available.
He’s suspected of murder for the death of 19-year-old Jonathan William Loaiza of Bell Gardens, who died in the June 26 crash on the northbound Rosemead Boulevard on-ramp to the eastbound 60 Freeway, sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. Loaiza was pronounced dead at the scene after the 2006 Mitsubishi Galant he was as a passenger in crashed and overturned.
The driver fled the scene, officials said. Two handguns were found inside the wrecked Mitsubishi, and a second passenger was detained.
“Detectives now believe the occupants in the Mitsubishi that flipped over shot at the occupants in another vehicle as they traveled north on Rosemead Boulevard,” Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. A man was struck by the gunfire and remained hospitalized Friday, Rouzan added. The shooting was believed to be gang-related.
“Detectives believe, that as the suspects in the Mitsubishi fled the scene, (Rojas) lost control of the vehicle causing it to flip and crash,” Rouzan said.
Paramedics pronounced Loaiza dead at the scene.
Detective identified the driver as Rojas and arrested him Wednesday, according to officials and booking records. Sheriff’s officials announced the arrest Friday.
Under a California law known as the felony-murder rule, a defendant can be charged with murder if an accomplice dies as the result of a felony.
Rojas was scheduled to appear for an arraignment hearing Monday in Downey Superior Court.
PASADENA >> Police chased down and arrested a parolee armed with a handgun who ran from officers late Thursday, officials said.
Davion Laquan Ogletree, 23, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The incident began about 8 p.m. when officers went to investigate a report of a fight in a bathroom at Brenner Park, 235 Barthe Drive.
A man, later identified as Ogletree, ran from officers as they approached, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
Officers chased after the man and briefly lost sight of him as he rounded a corner onto Brooks Avenue, he said.
When the officers caught up with Ogletree, he was standing beside a trash can, the lieutenant said. Inside the trash can, police found a .22-caliber revolver.
Ogletree was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.
PASADENA >> A man was hospitalized in critical condition following an early-morning residential garage fire, officials said.
A resident awoke just before 4 a.m. to the smell smoke emanating from a garage beneath a townhome in the 700 block of N. Garfield Avenue, just north of Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Another resident of the home in his 20s who was inside the burning garage suffered smoke inhalation, she said. He was taken to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition.
Two adults and two children got out of the townhome safely, and firefighters also rescued three Chihuahuas from the home, Derderian said. The fire did not spread to the townhome.
Investigators determined the cause of the fire was an electrical cord failure, she said.
The second-alarm fire caused an estimated $50,000 worth of damage to the garage and items inside of it, including a Mercedes-Benz sedan, Derderian said.
PHOTO courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department
PASADENA >> Two Pasadena men suffered serious injuries in a shooting Thursday night, police said.
The victims, a man in his 20s and a man in his 30s, were both hospitalized in critical condition following the 10:43 p.m. shooting in the 100 block of Pepper Street, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said. An update on their condition was not available Friday.
Officers responding to a report of a shooting found the older victim at the scene, the lieutenant said. The second gunshot victim was dropped off at the hospital minutes later.
The circumstances of the shooting remained unclear, and no suspect description was available, Mercado said.
HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Tips from the public helped investigators identify and arrest a suspect they say has stolen more than $30,000 in collections from churches and a Buddhist temple in Hacienda Heights and Rowland Heights, officials said.
Deputies arrested Carolos Montiel, 36, of Hacienda Heights about 9 p.m. at a home in the 3400 block of Glenmark Drive, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Infante.
Over a period spanning more than a year, he’s burglarized two churches and a Buddhist temple, making off with more than $30,000 from the collection boxes, Detective Charell Heard said.
Though he remained unidentified, investigators had his picture from surveillance cameras. Detectives released those imaged to the public Wednesday in hopes that someone would recognize and report the suspect.
Less than a day later, investigators had a name.
“Shortly after the interview and the suspect’s photograph were televised and posted on media web sites, anonymous community members identified the suspect as Hacienda Heights resident Carlos Montiel,” Infante said in a written statement.
After confirming Montiel as their suspect, deputies set up a surveillance and arrested him without a struggle Thursday evening, Infante said.
LOS ANGELES >> A jury awarded a black Montebello firefighter who sued the city nearly $940,000 Wednesday for racial harassment and retaliation, but did not find true his allegation of racial discrimination, officials said.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury sided with Vernon Creswell in two of his three accusations in the case, which was first filed in September 2013.
Creswell was awarded $750,000 for racial harassment and about $189,000 for retaliation, according to attorney Jeff Stockley, one of the lawyers representing Montebello. But the jury sided with Montebello regarding the racial discrimination claim.
“We appreciate hat they considered all the evidence,” Stockley said. It was not immediately clear whether the city would appeal the decision.
“We’re currently evaluating our options,” Stockley said.
“We want the citizens of Montebello to know that the city is dedicated to combatting discrimination,” he added.
According to the court documents, Creswell encountered hostility almost immediately after joining to the Montebello Fire Department in 2008 as the department’s only black firefighter.
Attorneys for Creswell did could not be reached for comment late Thursday.
Creswell’s lawsuit claimed that then-battalion chief Greg Mowad, who has since reportedly been terminated, repeatedly used racial slurs. Creswell also accused other members of the department of harassing him based on his race, or failing to act when he reported the behavior.
Mowad and another supervisor have, “openly told Plaintiff’s fellow firefighters to take Plaintiff ‘out back’ to teach him a lesson,” the lawsuit states.
Supervisors constantly criticized Creswell for minor issues concerning his performance and the manner in which he wore his uniform, the claim alleges.
And Creswell claimed he was denied a deserved promotion to the rank of captain, both because of his race, and because he had complained about alleged discrimination and harassment. The lawsuit claims that Creswell was given a different and more grueling test process for the captain position than three competitors, who were not black.
“Plaintiff’s supervisors have made it clear by actions that the Plaintiff will never promote to the rank of Captain in the Montebello Fire Department and that he is not welcome in the department, all on account of his race,” according to the lawsuit.
CITY OF INDUSTRY >> Deputies arrested two men and seized 950 marijuana plants from a City of Industry warehouse Wednesday, sheriff’s officials said. It was the third large indoor marijuana grow uprooted in the area in two months.
Investigators responding to an anonymous tip served a search warrant at a warehouse in the 1300 block of Darius Court, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Gannon.
“During the search warrant, hundreds of marijuana plants in various stages of growth — estimated street value worth over $3 million — and hydroponic equipment were recovered,” Gannon said. “The hydroponic equipment was used to cultivate the plants inside an otherwise nondescript local business (and) warehouse.”
The majority of the plants were mature and nearly ready to be harvested, officials said.
Arrested were David Nguyen, 32, and Phuong Nguyen, 54, according to sheriff’s officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The suspects told investigators they were not related, Gannon said. David Nguyen said he was from Pennsylvania, and Phuong Nguyen said she was from Canada.
Both posted $50,000 bail and were released from custody Thursday pending their court appearances, records show.
Wednesday’s bust was the third large-scale marijuana grow eradicated by sheriff’s deputies since May.
Sheriff’s Industry Station deputies teamed with U.S. Marshals June 6 to seize an estimated $1.5 million worth of pot from an area house and arrest three suspects, Gannon said. Further details regarding the June operation were not available Wednesday.
Local deputies seized about $1.2 worth of marijuana found growing May 12 inside a warehouse in the 18000 block of Railroad Court, Lt. Arthur Scott said at the time. One suspect was arrested at the indoor grow site.
Anyone with information is asked to contact she sheriff’s Industry Station at 626-330-3322.
AZUSA >> An online tipster led police to discover about 850 pounds of illegal fireworks from a residential garage in Azusa Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The investigation began after a tipster reported that fireworks were being stored and sold out of the garage of a home in the 200 block of E. Azusa Lane via the city’s software application, Azusa police Sgt. Xavier Torres said in a written statement.
Police, code enforcement officers and Los Angeles County firefighters followed up on the tip and discovered the 850 or so pounds of fireworks, valued at more than $8,000, Torres said.
No arrests were made Wednesday, police said.
“The investigation is ongoing and charges against the homeowner may be filed at a later time with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for possession of destructive devices,” Torres said.
Police reminded residents that only fireworks designated “Safe and Sane” are permitted in Azusa. The use of illegal fireworks carries a $1,000 fine.