Area man remembered

25489-Hakim 007-thumb-300x400.jpgSAN DIMAS – Customers at the Ranch Town Liquor and Deli have erected a makeshift memorial of flowers, candles and signs to a longtime employee who was killed Wednesday in his home in Rancho Cucamonga.

Darel Hakim, 46, of Rancho Cucamonga was fatally shot by masked intruders.

Though Hakim lived in Rancho Cucamonga at the time of his death, he was born in Glendora and has a long history in the foothill cities of the northern San Gabriel Valley.

Watch for a full story in the coming days.

Fourth officer in Oakland shooting on life support

From the Associated Press:

OAKLAND– Oakland police on Sunday backed off an earlier statement that a fourth officer shot Saturday had died, saying the officer was pronounced brain dead but was still on life support.
Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason announced the death of 41-year-old Officer John Hege earlier Sunday but later said that he was still being kept alive while a final decision was made about donating his organs.
A 26-year-old parolee wanted on a parole violation opened fire on Hege and 40-year-old Sgt. Mark Dunakin after they pulled him over Saturday afternoon, killing Dunakin, police said.
Suspect Lovelle Mixon was slain later Saturday afternoon in a gunfight with police that left two more officers dead. Thomason identified those officers as 43-year-old Sgt. Ervin Romans and 35-year-old Sgt. Daniel Sakai.
Police said never in the department’s history had so many officers been killed in the line of
duty in a single day.
The violence began when Hege and Dunakin, both on motorcycles, stopped a 1995 Buick sedan in east Oakland just after 1 p.m., Thomason said. The driver opened fire, killing Dunakin and gravely wounding Hege.
The gunman then fled on foot, police said, leading to an intense manhunt by dozens of Oakland police, California Highway Patrol officers and Alameda County sheriff deputies. Streets were roped off and an entire area of east Oakland closed to traffic.
Around 3:30 p.m. officers got an anonymous tip that the gunman was inside a nearby apartment building. A SWAT team entered an apartment to clear and search it when the gunman opened fire, police said. Romans and Sakai were killed and a third officer was grazed by a bullet, police said.
Officers returned fire, killing Mixon, Acting Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan said.
“It’s in these moments that words are extraordinarily inadequate,” said Mayor Ron Dellums at a somber news conference announcing the slayings.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered flags at the state capitol flown at half-staff Sunday in honor of the slain officers. Schwarzenegger arrived in Oakland on Sunday afternoon to meet with Dellums and members of the police department.
“All four officers dedicated their lives to public safety and selflessly worked to protect the
people of Oakland,” he said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those lost, the Oakland Police Department and law enforcement officers throughout California during this difficult time.”
Police said Mixon wielded two different weapons. One gun was used at the first scene and an assault rifle was used at the apartment building where he was hiding.
“(Mixon) was on parole and he had a warrant out for his arrest for violating that parole. And he was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon,” said Oakland police Deputy Chief Jeffery Israel.
Police said they did not know why the officers initially stopped the suspect, but said it
apparently was a routine traffic stop. Thomason said Mixon had an “extensive criminal history” and was wanted on a no-bail warrant.
Reached by telephone late Saturday, Hege’s father, Dr. John S. Hege said his son loved being a policeman. He worked well with people and was an Eagle Scout. He played high school football and wrestled. He umpired and coached even as a youth, and joined the Oakland Police Department reserves.
After graduating from St., Mary’s College in Moraga, he taught high school
physical education for a few years in nearby Hayward before joining the police department a decade ago.
He recently became a motorcycle traffic patrol officer, Dr. Hege said, adding, “He liked
excitement.”
As for the slain shooting suspect, the father said, “The man was evidently terribly desperate. It is a sad story.”
LaTasha Mixon, 28, of Sacramento said Sunday her cousin was “not a monster.” She said her family’s prayers were with the slain officers’ relatives.
“We’re devastated. Everybody took a major loss. We’re crushed,” she said.

Gas Co. slaying suspect dies

From the Associated Press:

ANAHEIM– The suspect in the slayings of two gas company workers has
died several days after being found in his car with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Anaheim police Sgt. Tim Schmidt said Sunday 36-year-old Phong Thuc Tran died Saturday night at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center.
Police believe Tran shot Charles Santisteban, a supervisor at Southern California Gas Co., in his Pomona driveway last week. The other victim, Hung Duy Dao, a field technician, was found dead in his car.
Tran resigned from the utility in 2007. He was found in his SUV outside a police station last Thursday.
Schmidt said Tran was angry at the victims for unknown reasons.

Cop saves man from burning house

25478-CATFIRE1-thumb-300x240.jpgPASADENA — A police officer working at the Pasadena Marathon Sunday kicked in the door of a burning house and rescued a man trapped inside, officials said.
Paramedics successfully resuscitated one cat that was inside the home, however three others died in the blaze, Pasadena Fire Department Spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
The fire broke out shortly after 7 a.m., just as the 5K Fun Run portion of the marathon was beginning, Derderian said. The burning home was about two blocks from the start of the race, on Del Mar Boulevard near Allen Avenue.
“He heard a gentleman inside the house yelling, so he kicked down the door and helped the resident outside,” she said.
Burbank Police officer Kerry Schilf, a 17-year veteran of the force, was assisting Pasadena police with traffic control for the marathon when the fire ignited, Burbank police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said.
Flames were already coming out of the homes windows when Schilf reached the scene, he added.
As the officer approached the house, it became clear there was someone trapped inside, unable to open the door, Derderian said.
A paramedic team, which was also nearby due to the marathon, quickly arrived to treat the 66-year-old man, officials said. His hair was singed but he did not want to go to the hospital.
“His primary concern was his cats,” she said.
The paramedics used oxygen to resuscitate one of the animals, she said, while three others died in the fire.
The cause of the blaze, which caused an estimated $150,000 in damage, remained under investigation, Derderian said.
The resident, who was alone in the house, was awakened by a smoke detector, she added. Without the device, “It could have been a lot worse.”
Officer Schilf was not injured, Ryburn said.
“He did a wonderful job,” he said. “We’re very proud of him.”

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*Photos come courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department.

4 police officers critically wounded in shootings

From the Associated Press:

OAKLAND — Four officers were in critical condition and a suspect dead on Saturday after two related shootings, the first after a traffic stop and the second after a massive manhunt ended in gunfire, police said.
Two officers were shot in the first incident just after 1 p.m. after they stopped the suspect’s vehicle in east Oakland, said Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason.
The suspect fled the scene on foot into a nearby neighborhood, police said, leading to an intense manhunt by dozens of Oakland police, California Highway Patrol officers and Alameda County sheriff deputies. Streets were roped off and an entire area of east Oakland closed to traffic.
At about 3:30 p.m. officers, acting on an anonymous tip, found the suspect, who had barricaded himself in a building.
“We had SWAT officers go into that building and that’s where the second shooting took place,” said Thomason.
The suspect was killed during the exchange, and two more officers wounded.
All four officers are in critical condition at Highland Hospital, Thomason said. Dozens of people, including other officers gathered outside the hospital, awaiting word of the officers’ condition.
A visibly shaken acting Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said the department was still investigating.
“At this point we don’t believe there are other people involved, but it’s too early to tell,” he said.
Tension between police and the community has risen steadily since the fatal shooting of unarmed 22-year-old Oscar Grant by a transit police officer on Jan. 1. That officer, Johannes Mehserle, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Violent protests erupted on the streets of Oakland in the weeks after Grant’s death, further inflaming tensions.
Hours after Saturday’s shootings near a busy intersection just blocks from a police substation in east Oakland, people were still at the scene of the first shooting as police tape blocked off streets.
Mo Wiley, 32, of Oakland, said emotions still are raw from the Grant shooting.
“Oakland is a beautiful place,” Wiley said. “But I just hate when it gets ugly like this.”
Meanwhile about 20 people taunted police near the scene of the first shooting, saying the incidents were “payback for Oscar.”
The mood was somber outside the police station in east Oakland as the investigation continued.
Officers hugged and consoled each other.
“This is a highly sensitive situation that we’re dealing with right now with our OPD family, and we’re still trying to notify family members that their family members were hurt,” Thomason said.

Plane crash victims mourned in Glendora

Here’s an excerpt from tommorrow’s story regarding a memorial service held for Charles and Renee Shaffer of La Verne, who died March 14 when their single-engine airplane crashed in Pomona:

GLENDORA — About 200 friends and family members of a La Verne husband and wife killed in a plane crash earlier this month gathered Saturday to memorialize the couple and celebrate their lives.
Charles “Chuck” Shaffer, 52, and his wife, Renee Shaffer, died March 14 when their single-engine airplane crashed into a Hillside near the 2600 block of Pomona Boulevard in Pomona, coroner’s officials said.
They are survived by five adult children from previous marriages and a young grandson.
“We’ve had kind of a hard week this week, but we got through it,” said one of the Shaffer’s sons, Charles Shaffer III.
“We’ve realized what’s really important is not why they died or how they died. It’s how they lived,” he said.
Mourners recalled the Shaffers as a fun-loving and caring couple who were deeply dedicated to each other.
Pictures of the couple skiing, scuba diving and going on adventures around the world were shown in a slide show at the memorial, which was held at Glendora Community Church, 645 N. Grand Ave.
Renee Shaffer’s brother, Louis Kreslie, recalled afternoons spent riding bikes with his sister as a child as well as recent excursions with his sister and her husband.
“They had a lot of dreams,” he said of the couple.

Five displaced, dog killed in house fire

NORWALK — Five people were displaced, a dog was killed and two cats were missing following a a house fire Friday, officials said.
The blaze was reported about 9:45 p.m. at a single-story house on Hayford Street, just east of Pioneer Boulevard, Norwalk sheriff’s Lt. John Gannon said.
The house, which was completely engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, was a total loss, Gannon said. The cost of the damage was estimated to be $150,000.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, the lieutenant said.
The five residents of the home escaped without injury, he added.
The home, which was in probate after the owner and mother of two of the residents died two months ago, was not insured, Gannon said.

Man killed by police after stabbing woman, police dog

From the Associated Press:

SAN DIEGO — San Diego police shot and killed a knife-wielding man on Friday after he
fatally stabbed a woman believed to be his wife and wounded a police dog.
Police went to the home in the Paradise Hills neighborhood after a woman called to report a man threatening to kill himself and brandishing a knife, said police Lt. Terry McManus.
A man came to the front door and threatened to kill police. He also made statements that led
officers to believe he had slain his wife inside, McManus said.
Officers entered the house led by a police dog. The man stabbed the dog before two officers shot him, McManus said.
Police then searched the house and found the woman had been stabbed to death.
The victims were not immediately identified.
The police dog, a German shepherd named Earp, was taken to a veterinary hospital and was expected to recover.

Cops warn of “gang initiation” hoax

Police and sheriff’s officials in the Whittier area have been inundated with calls from people concerned about a rumor of impending gang initiation killings.

The rumor states that, as part of a gang initiation, three women will be killed at various area Walmart stores. According to officials in both agencies, the rumor is a hoax.

Nonetheless, officials have alerted the stores and advised employees and customers to be vigilant and on the lookout for gang members milling about.

Officials at both the sheriff’s Norwalk Station and the Whittier Police Department reported receiving calls from worried citizens.

Here’s an entry of the Whittier Police News and Information Blog:

Rumored Gang Initiation Proves False 

Whittier PD has received numerous calls surrounding texts and emails claiming that “…. at Wal-Mart tonight there is talk of a gang initiation where gang members have to kill 3 women at each Wal-Mart…”

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has recently released a teletype about this same email/text message stating that it’s a hoax.

New information emerges in toddler’s death

From the Associated Press:

PALMDALE– A mother who reported her 18-month-old daughter missing recanted her story and told investigators the child died accidentally and that she dumped the body near a freeway, a sheriff’s official said Friday.
Emma Leigh Barker’s mother told detectives that when her daughter died, she panicked and believed she would be blamed, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Diane Hecht said.
A body that coroner’s officials have since identified as Emma was found in Los Angeles on Thursday. The cause of death was not immediately determined. A finding on the cause of death was deferred pending further tests that could take weeks.
The 23-year-old mother, whose name has not been released, reported being knocked out by someone while putting Emma into her car in Lancaster on Wednesday. She told investigators Emma was gone when she awoke partially clad hours later in her car in Palmdale.
The mother eventually told investigators where she dumped the body, Hecht said. The toddler’s remains were found 50 miles from Lancaster in the Sylmar area of Los
Angeles in tall grass a few blocks from Interstate 5.
Officials said the mother was not being detained but facts of the case will be presented to the district attorney’s office.
“At this point I would not term her a suspect,” sheriff’s Lt. Pat Nelson said of the mother at a news conference Thursday. “That may change as circumstances develop.”
Hecht said the mother was staying with her parents.