South Hills neighborhood targeted by arsonists

Amanda Baumfeld reports:

WEST COVINA – Authorities said Monday police are not certain the firebombings of two homes in the South Hills are linked, despite the fact that both incidents took place within weeks of each other on the same tiny street.

Early Saturday morning, the home of Robert Ho, 51, in the 3200 block of Hampton Drive was practically gutted after several incendiary devices were hurled through windows. Six weeks ago, Ho said he stopped a similar attack on a neighbor’s home.

“We are not 100 percent sure they are related,” West Covina police Lt. Ron Mitchell said. “It’s quite a great deal of stuff to happen in one area. There might be a connection.”

Neither the police nor Ho could provide a damage estimate following the fire.
The West Covina Police department has neither contacted federal officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms nor the FBI, agencies typically charged with investigating firebombings and arsons, Mitchell said.

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Sex offender arrested after kiddie porn uncovered in Covina church

During a 2007 remodeling of the presbyterian Church in Covina, workers uncovered several disturbing images of child pornography,

A subsequent FBI investigation led to a registered sex offender who was living at working at an auto repair shop in town.

The sex offender, Richard Welton, 47, is now behind bars in federal custody.

Here’s the FBI docs from the case:

SAFE_-_Welton_arrest_warrant.pdf

SAFE_-_Welton_indictment.pdf

Welton has a long criminal history that includes making obscene phone calls from churches claiming to have abducted a young girl.

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Autopsy results pending in officer invovled shooting

PASADENA — Coroner’s officials said Sunday evening that autopsy results were not yet available for Leroy Barnes, the man who was fatally shot by Pasadena police on Thursday.

The autopsy was scheduled for Sunday, however coroner’s officials reported that the results of the autopsy had not been entered into their computer system.

This could mean either that the autopsy had been done, but the doctor hasn’t updated the system, or that the autopsy has been posponed until Monday, officials said.

 

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CHP officer shoots, kills husband

COMPTON — In what investigators are calling a “domestic violence-related incident,” an off-duty CHP officer shot and killer her husband late Saturday.

Few details of the shooting were released Sunday.

The incident occurred just after 11 p.m. in the 400 block of Amantha Avenue in Compton, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.

Neither the dead man nor the officer were identified.

“The suspect became verbally and physically combative toward the off-duty officer and the victim was able to retreive a firearm and shoot the suspect once in the upper torso,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Rick Pedroza said in a written release.

“The investigation is ongoing, and there is no further information available at this time,” he said.

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*Pedestrian seriously injured in crash

WHITTIER — A man was flown to a trauma center by helicopter Sunday after being struck by a vehicle, authorities said.
The incident was reported about 3:10 p.m. on Leffingwell Road at Kibbee Avenue, California Highway Patrol officer Jose Nunez said.
The injured pedestrian was described as a 35-year-old local man, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Kevin Tobia said.
His name was not available.
The man briefly lost consciousness and suffered a 12- to 16-inch gash on his arm down to the bone, however he had stable vital signs when flown by helicopter to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, Tobia said.
The crash apparently occurred as the pedestrian was crossing Leffingwell Road as a compact car was driving eastbound, the captain said.
The cause of the crash, which is being investigated by the CHP, was not available.

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Crowd at officer-involved shooting scene draws complaints

PASADENA — Police received complaints Saturday evening from residents that some of the 100 or so people congregating near the scene of Thursday’s officer-involved shooting were tresspassing on private property in the surrounding neighborhoods, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said.

Police units and a helicopter showed a presence in the area, and that was all that was needed, the lieutenant said. The people moved themselves from other people’s yards and driveways once police began cruising through the area.

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West Covina home firebombed

WEST COVINA — A West Covina home was firebombed with Molotov cocktail-like incendiary devices early Saturday, police said.

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Three people – a man, an elderly man and a woman — who were inside the home in the 3200 block of Hapton Drive during the 3 a.m. attack managed to escape uninjured, police and fire officials said.

Police declined to go into more specifics about what type of incendiary devices were used, and did not release any information regarding a possible motive or suspect.

The house sustained major damage, fire officials said.

Apparently, this isn’t the first time such an incident has occurred on this street.

About a month ago, the home next door was targeted in a similar attack, police said, however only a door was scorched.

 For more on the story, click here.

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Cell phone camera helps catch alleged crooks

A good Samaritan armed with a cell phone camera helped police track down a pair of alleged burglars after they reportedly ransacked a Pasadena home. Here’s the story:

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PASADENA — A good Samaritan with a cell phone camera helped police track down and arrest two men suspected of burglarizing a home Saturday, police said.
Carlos Saldivar, 28, of Pasadena and Christian de Los Santos, 23, of Pasadena were booked on suspicion of burglary, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said.
The incident began about 11:20 a.m. in the 2900 block of East Colorado Boulevard, the lieutenant said.
A person who just happened to be in the neighborhood waiting for someone noticed a man wearing latex gloves exit a home carrying a suitcase and get into a waiting van, which quickly sped away, Ibarra said.
The witness thought the man looked suspicious and snapped a picture of the van with a cell phone camera before calling the police, she said.
Police confirmed that the home had been burglarized, then went to the address the van was registered to based on the license plate from the witnesses photo, Ibarra said.
The van was located near the address in the 600 block of North Los Robles Avenue, with Saldivar and de Los Santos inside, the lieutenant said.
Property allegedly stolen from the home on Colorado Boulevard was recovered from the men, she added.

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Residents march for peace in Monrovia, Duarte

A group of about 150 community members marched from a Monrovia church to one in Duarte Saturday in a demonstration of solidarity between the Latino and black communities, church officials said.
The march went from the Immaculate Conception Church in Monrovia, 740 S. Shamrock Ave., to the New Hope Church of God In Christ in Duarte, 742 Euclid Ave., New Hope Church Pastor George Salter said.
Speakers addressed the crowd at the end of the march, he added.
“It was very uplifting,” the pastor said.
The march came on the heels of the shooting death of 18-year-old Citrus College student Miguel Sanchez of Duarte, who was gunned down Monday while walking with a friend in the 2500 block of Milbrae Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Sanchez was not believed to have gang ties, authorities said, however his assailants are believed to be gang members.
In late 2007 and early 2008, a feud between black and Latino gangs in the area claimed the lives of four people.
On Tuesday, a forum was held for area residents to discuss their concerns about violence with city and sheriff’s officials.
Monrovia police officials said there were no reports of incidents related to the march.

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Police seem to back off original story in OIS..tensions rise

Police Chief Barney Melekian is now softening the official version of events that led to the death of 38-year-old Leroy Barnes in Northwest Pasadena.

While police originally claimed Barnes got out of his car and began firing at officers, Melekian now says that Barnes was shot while in the car after a struggle with officers. He would not back up his earlier claim that Barnes shot at officers saying only that his original statement came at a time when the incident was still under investigation.

Interesting that Melekian consults the Sheriff’s Department. Perhaps he should take some lessons from Sheriff’s Homicide officials who are very careful about what they release in the early minutes following a shooting….

There’s more to report as well…

Photographer Keith Birmingham says tensions in the neighborhood are high. He witnessed several men carrying firearms in the open. Several people in the community have advised our reporters to stay away until tension subsides….

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