TMZ reports that singer Michael Jackson suffered a cardiac arrest and was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital this afternoon. Paramedics administered CPR en route. His mother is headed to the same hospital, the celebrity gossip site reports.
Actress Farrah Fawcett has died, according to several news reports. The actress had battled with cancer for several years and was reportedly in grave condition Wednesday afternoon.
POMONA — A detective testified Wednesday he forgot to have a blood sample of a defendant in a alleged fatal El Monte street racing crash case tested for alcohol as defense lawyers sought to poke holes in the prosecution’s case.
El Monte residents Robert Canizalez, 20, and Martin Morones, 22, are each charged with three counts of murder in connection with the Oct. 8, 2007 crash.
Dora Groce, 41, and her children, Robert, 8, and Catherine, 4, were killed in the fiery crash after Canizalez and Morones allegedly crashed into their Nissan Altima while racing against each other on Parkway Drive at Elliot Avenue.
The prosecution rested its case Wednesday, and the defense attorneys called their witnesses, which included investigators from the El Monte Police Department.
Defense attorneys Gary Meastas, who represents Canizalez, and Henry Bastien, who represents Morones, attempted to cast doubt on the testimony of other witnesses and the credibility of law enforcement.
When asked why blood samples taken from Canizalez shortly after the crash had not been tested for alcohol content, El Monte police Detective Rick George responded, “I forgot.”
The case is complex, he said, and that piece of investigative work was simply overlooked. Neither defendant has been charged with drunken driving.
During prosecution cross-examination, El Monte police Traffic Investigator Darrell Carter testified the crash appeared to have been caused by street racing.
“It was my opinion at the time,” he said, “that the preliminary collision factor was racing,” he said.
The officials cause of the crash was ultimately determined to be running a stop sign, with a secondary factor of excessive speed, which Carter said was related to racing.
Though witness Victor Uruena, 18, testified last week that he saw Canizalez get out of his crashed Mustang and run away following the crash, Carter told the court Wednesday that Uruena initially told him he could not identify the driver of the Mustang immediately following the crash.
The defense attorneys also pointed out that witnesses who testified about details such as Canizalez fleeing the scene, denying being the driver of the Mustang and threatening a witness did not mention any of those things to police during initial interviews following the crash.
Carter said the crash crash scene was bustling with activity following the crash.
“I don’t know if chaotic’s the word, but it was a very stressful situation,” he said.
Both the defendants and the Grove family lived in the same mobile home park only a block from the crash scene.
The trial will continue Thursday, court officials said, when closing arguments are expected.
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — A young Pico Rivera man was killed and three others were injured late Tuesday after a car they were in drove off the edge of Highway 39 north of Azusa, authorities said.
Steven Alex Sanchez, 19, of Pico Rivera was killed in the crash, according to coroner’s and California Highway Patrol officials.
“A 2005 Ford Mustang … went over the side, approximately 50 to 60 feet down an embankment after the driver failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway,” CHP Sgt. Jesse Holguin said in a statement.
“As a result of the collision, the right rear passenger … sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene,” he added.
The driver of the 2005 Mustang, 19-year-old Jose Torres of Pico Rivera, and a passenger, 20-year-old Carlos Ineriano of Pico Rivera, were flown by helicopter to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center with moderate injuries, CHP officials said.
Another passenger, 19-year-old Javier Araujo of Pico Rivera, was treated at the scene for minor injuries, officials said.
Sanchez was the only person in the car not wearing a seat belt, CHP officials said.
More than 40 people from the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to the accident and it took about two hours for them get the injured to the hospital and clear the accident scene, department spokeswoman Fred Stowers said.
The two injured passengers had to be carried to the road before they were flown to a local hospital, he said. The dead man had to be freed from the wreckage by fire personnel.
The crash remained under investigation Wednesday, Holguin said. CHP officers are looking for witnesses.
This from the AP. I’ll get a copy of the indictment up as soon as I have it:
LOS ANGELES – Federal and local authorities in the Los Angeles area have arrested the executive director of a high-profile anti-gang nonprofit organization as part of an action against the notorious Mara Salvatrucha street gang.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says Alex Sanchez, who heads Homies Unidos, was arrested at his home in Bellflower early Wednesday on federal racketeering charges. In all, about eight people have been arrested.
The indictment names 24 members of Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, and alleges crimes including several murders, conspiracies to commit murder and narcotics offenses. Several of those named were already in custody.
Homies Unidos works to rescue kids from gangs in Los Angeles and Sanchez’s native El Salvador. A message left at the organization’s offices was not immediately returned
EL MONTE — The developer behind a proposed $1 billion transit-oriented project in the city was in custody Sunday night on suspicion of fraud and embezzlment, among other charges, authorities said.
John Leung, President and Chief Exectuive Officer of The Titan Group, was arrested Friday night by El Monte Police officers on suspicion of forgery, embezzlement, grand theft, burglary and fraud, Police Chief Tom Armstrong said. Leung, 53, was being held at the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles on $1 million bond.
His El Monte-based development company is in exclusive talks with the city to build the El Monte Transit Village — a 65-acre residential and commercial complex planned for Santa Anita Avenue off the 10 Freeway.
Armstrong said Sunday Leung’s case did not in any way involve the city.
“This investigation is ongoing and the victim is not the city of El Monte … but a private citizen,” he said. “That is where we are with it right now.”
BASSETT — A 24-year-old La Puente man was shot and killed early Sunday morning in what police say may have been a gang-related attack.
Michael Alexis Gudiel, 24, of La Puente died at the scene of the shooting, which occurred about 3:15 a.m. in the 13900 block of Proctor Avenue, coroner’s and sheriff’s officials said.
Though authorities believe the shooting may have been gang-related, family members of Gudiel said he was not involved with gangs.
“He had a good heart,” said Michael Gudiel’s brother, Jose Gudiel. “He used to make me laugh.”
Deputies from the sheriff’s Industry Station had initially responded to reports of a shooting when, “they discovered the victim lying in the street, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound,” Deputy Lillian Peck said in a written statement.
Homicide detectives handling the investigation could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Michael Gudiel’s sister, Rose Gudiel, said her brother was attacked in a drive-by shooting as he walked home alone.
She said her brother was unmarried and had no children, but was working with an employment agency at the time of his death and was studying for a career with computers.
“He had plans to come ahead in life,” Rose Gudiel said. “He had plans to get married and have kids.”
Letty Gudiel, Michael Gudiel’s sister-in-law, said although Michael Gudiel was the youngest of his brothers and sisters, “he was very protective of his family.”
Family members also recalled him as a funny and shy man who loved music and the Lakers. They said Michael Gudiel was also competitive and athletic, and loved playing basketball.
“He was definitely funny,” said brother Herbert Gudiel. “And confident.”
Since the shooting, Rose Gudiel said the family has received support and comfort from neighbors.
Family members urged anyone who may have information about the shooting to come forward.
“If anyone saw anything, please help us,” Jose Gudiel said.