Three arrested in triple-slaying at Pico Rivera pizza parlor

PICO RIVERA — Authorities arrested three men Friday on suspicion of carrying out a shooting at a pizza parlor last month that left three men dead and 7 people wounded.
Rudy Ruiz, 30, of the Whittier area surrendered following a brief chase on the 605 Freeway, Capt. Michael Rothans of the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station said.
Christopher Johnson, 18, of Montebello was arrested without incident shortly after at his home, the captain said.
The third suspect in the slaying, 43-year-old John Perez of Pico Rivera, was already in custody on other charges stemming from a June 30 car-chase in an allegedly stolen car, during which police said he threw a gun out the window.
Despite the arrests, Rothans said the investigation into the June 27 shooting at Falcone’s Pizza, 9247 Slauson Ave., continues.
“There’s still some other people of interest that we’re looking at,” he said. “There are other people who could have been involved. The investigation is by no means complete.”
Perez, Johnson and Ruiz were booked on suspicion of murder, Rothans said. They will be formally charged Monday with crimes that will likely include three counts of murder, as well as additional counts of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
The captain said officials had been watching Johnson and Ruiz as “people of interest,” but declined to say how long.
Rothans also declined to discuss the results of ballistics tests on the handgun allegedly thrown by John Perez just before his arrest, or what role each suspect was believed to have played in the shooting.
The triple-fatal shooting took place as a group of motorcycle enthusiasts calling themselves the “Old School Riders,” were having a fund-raising event.
Homicide detectives investigating the case said the group had no gang ties or known problems with the law.
The shooting killed cousins Garret Dandini, 25, and Tony Dandini, 39, both of Whittier, as well as Carlos Carrera, 39, of La Habra, coroner’s officials said.
Garret Dandini was a Naval recruiter and served three tours of duty in Iraq.
“Obviously it was a very, very tragic incident,” Rothans said. “I’m very happy that the diligent efforts of the homicide detectives and the detectives working this case we were able to get these arrests as soon as they did.”

Corruption, racism and other strange happenings in the Valley

Lately, there’s been a hefty dose of folks taking filet knives to local government and exposing some of the dirty inner workings. Here’s a sampling of some of the bad and the ugly:

A group of Montebello cops claim their chief is a racist who only promotes his white friends. The claim carries a $30 million price tag.
The grand jury indicts a cop accused of embezzling $500,000 from tow fees collected at the Industry Station. Sgt. Joe Dyer had been on leave since 2008.
In the camellia-scented cesspool that is Temple City, a former city council candidate pleaded guilty to perjury in a case that will probably expose a corrupt money laundering scheme involving Piazza Las Tunas. 
Welcome to the San Gabriel Valley!

Armed robbery reported in Pasadena

PASADENA — A man used a knife to rob a check cashing business Friday, police said.
The crime was reported about 6:50 p.m. at a business in the 100 block of West California Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said.
The robber was described as a Latino man in his 20s, standing 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing about 200 pounds, she said.
After asking employees to cash a check for him, the robber walked around the counter and pulled a knife, she said.
The knife-wielding man ordered one employee to the ground and kept another one near him as he stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the register, Ibarra said.
He was last seen fleeing on foot.

New details emerge in San Dimas party shooting

SAN DIMAS — A shooting that left two men critically wounded earlier this week began as a dispute between young women, authorities said Friday.
The shooting occurred about 1:30 a.m. Monday at the corner of Darwood Avenue and Tudor Street. It appeared to have stemmed from a confrontation between two young women who went to a house party and the young woman who lived at the home, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Michael Rodriguez said.
The lieutenant said a teenage girl and a woman were accompanied by 21-year-old Daniel Lorenz of La Verne while Brian Weston, 18, of San Dimas waited in a nearby sedan.
“They had issues with (a resident) and they were going to confront her,” Rodriguez said. “Other people got involved.”
Specific details about the dispute were not available Friday.
Lorenz, Weston and the teenage girl were all jailed within hours of the shooting, Rodriguez said.
The girl was not named because she is a minor.
The fourth suspect — described only as a woman — remained at large.
The two young men wounded in the attack were in stable condition Friday, authorities said. One was shot in the chest; the other was wounded in the back and arm.
Rodriguez said deputies did not believe the shooting was premeditated.
At one point prior to the shooting witnesses reported that one of the female suspects showed a knife, Rodriguez said.
The girl who lived at the home asked those involved in the argument to leave, officials said.
About 50 young people were at the pool party.
“The girl that lived there (didn’t) want any issues or problems,” Rodriguez said.
The young men were shot outside a few doors down from the house, he said.
All four suspects fled in a car with Weston at the wheel, Rodriguez said.
Weston and Lorenz were arrested at or near their homes, he said. A gun believed to have been used in the shooting was located, though Rodriguez on Friday declined to say where it was found.
A criminal complaint filed against Lorenz and Weston charges each with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said Weston and Lorenz both entered not guilty pleas Wednesday and are due back in Pomona Superior Court for arraignment Aug. 4.
Lorenz is also accused of the special allegations of firing the shots and of causing great bodily injury. Weston was accused of the special allegation that there was a gun involved in his crime.
According to court records, Lorenz was being held in lieu of $2,050,000 bail and Weston was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Charges filed regarding “Girls Gone Wild” founder

From the Associated Press:

RENO — Federal prosecutors in Reno have filed criminal charges in an alleged bribery scheme involving gifts and payments in exchange for preferential treatment of Joe Francis ehile the “Girls Gone Wild” founder was in the Washoe County jail for nearly a year.
A grand jury indictment does not name Francis. But a federal law enforcement official speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make it public confirmed for The Associated Press on Friday that the case involves Francis.
One of those indicted is Aaron Weinstein, a California man who was the executive producer of some of Francis’ soft porn videos. He’s charged with three counts of bribing two sheriff’s officials and a jail worker in 2007 with more than $12,000 and gifts including Oakland Raiders tickets.

Man beaten, robbed during Craiglslist meeting

AZUSA — Attackers beat and robbed man Wednesday after he met a woman at a local motel through a Craigslist advertisement, police said.
The incident occurred about 3 a.m. at a motel in the 400 block of East Arrow Highway, Azusa police said in a written statement.
Officials suspected the woman may have been involved in the robbery, however it was too early in the investigation to know for sure, Azusa police Lt. Paul Dennis said.
“It’s possible that this was a set up, although we can’t confirm it,” he said.
The man, estimated to be in his 50s, met a woman who identified herself as Kathy on Craigslist, and the two agreed to meet in a motel room, police said.
They woman and man drank together and began getting intimate when the woman excused herself to go to a nearby store, Dennis said.
“A few moments later, there’s a knock at the door,” he said.
When the man answered, two robbers beat him up, took his wallet containing cash and fled, the lieutenant said. He refused hospitalization.
Dennis added that the woman did not return to the motel room. Police could not confirm why the man and women had agreed to meet at the motel.
Authorities described the robbers as a white man in his late 20s with blonde hair and blue eyes and a white man in his early 50s with grey hair.

Prison guards don’t like California budget deal; may strike

The state correctional officers union is considering a strike as its members face the threat of more pay cuts stemming from the state budget crisis.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as part of budget negotiations with lawmakers, recently proposed another 5 percent paycut to state employees. If lawmakers don’t approve the pay cut, Schwarzenegger said he would impose another furlough day to the three per month already approved for state workers.
The additional day off would equate to another 5 percent pay cut, on top of 15 percent already cut, according to state employees.
“Right now, the organization is contemplating a strike vote among our members, but we have not moved forward with that at this point, but that was a decision of our convention last week,” said California Correctional Police Officers Association spokesman Lance Corcoran.

Cop’s kick to suspect’s head could cost cash-strapped El Monte $5 million *

For a city that’s got no money and is laying off cops left and right, an officer’s kick to a prone suspect’s head may end up being pretty costly. *Here’s a copy of the claim:

And the story:

EL MONTE – The parolee who was kicked in the head by an El Monte officer in May is demanding $5 million from the city.

Lawyers for Richard Rodriguez, 24, filed a claim at El Monte City Hall on Thursday claiming Rodriguez suffers from headaches, blurred vision, back problems, inability to sleep and dizziness since his arrest on May 13.

“Mr. Rodriguez presents symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, such as flashbacks, frightening thoughts, depression, worrisome, easily startled, and on edge,” the 12-page claim states.
The claim comes nearly two months after news cameras caught a police pursuit of Rodriguez – which ended with Rodriguez being kicked in the head and pepper-sprayed.
The chase started after El Monte Police Officer George Fierro attempted to pull over Rodriguez. Rodriguez did not stop, and instead led police on a car and foot-chase.
The chase ended when Rodriguez became trapped behind a condo complex and then surrendered by laying face down on the grass.
Moments later, Fierro kicked Rodriguez in the head and pepper-sprayed him in the face.
Fierro has since been removed from patrol.
Police Chief Tom Armstrong said that video does not always relay the entire story.
“I believe firmly that a police officer is entitled to the same due process as a criminal,” Armstrong said. “We will let justice decide.”