Car crashes into vacant laundry business

COVINA — A car crashed into a vacant laundry business Wednesday, though no injuries were reported, police said.
The crash occurred just after 5 p.m. in the 1400 block of N. Citrus Avenue, Covina police Sgt. Trevor Gaumer said.
The female driver in her 30s was uninjured, and her 11-year-old daughter, who was a passenger in the Nissan Maxima, was treated at the scene for a minor cut to her hand, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Tom Jones said.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, Gaumer said, however there did not initially appear to be any criminal behavior involved.
No arrests or citations were made, he said.

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Taxi driver dies in cab

COVINA — A taxi driver died Tuesday after being found unconscious in his cab, authorities said.
The dead man identified Wednesday as 63-year-old Gholamreza Mohammadkani of Covina, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said.
An autopsy determined he died from natural causes, Dietz said.
According to Covina police Sgt. Trevor Gaumer, someone called officials to report seeing the man “unresponsive” in his taxi shortly before 6:20 a.m. in the parking lot of 7-Eleven, 1085 N. Citrus Ave.
Authorities performed first-aid on the man, but he was pronounced dead, the sergeant said.

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Former Glendora police officer pleads not guilty to stealing drugs, money

GLENDORA — A former Glendora police officer accused of stealing money and drugs while on duty entered a not guilty plea in court Wednesday, court officials said.
Timothy Radogna, 33, was charged in May with grand theft, possession of drugs for sales and possession of drugs with a firearm.
He was fired from the Glendora Police Department in December of 2008 after he became the target of an integrity investigation three months earlier, officials said. He was arrested in May.
In the investigation, Radogna allegedly stole about $1,000 and a small amount of methamphetamine from a car he was asked to book into evidence.
Radogna was a 3-year veteran of the Glendora police, who had also served on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Covina Police Department.
Court officials said Radogna is due back in Los Angeles Superior Court Oct. 29 for a hearing.

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Bill to create arsonist database passes House

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — The House has passed a bill sought by California lawmakers that would create a national registry of convicted arsonists.
The House passed a similar bill two years ago, but the effort stalled in the Senate. A recent
deadly fire in the Angeles National Forest in Southern California led to a renewed push for an arsonists’ registry.
Currently, California, Illinois and Montana maintain a database of convicted arsonists.
Investigators say a nationwide registry would help them better keep track of repeat offenders.
The registry would be available only to law enforcement and would contain information such as the arsonist’s photo, address and place of employment.
Similar legislation is pending in the Senate.

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Wife fries, eats pet goldfish during dispute

This unusual tale comes courtesy of the Associated Press:

PASADENA, Texas — Authorities say a Houston-area woman who was burned up at her former common-law husband fried their pet goldfish and ate some of them.
Pasadena police say it’s a civil matter and no charges will be filed. The seven goldfish were purchased together by the couple during happier times.
Police spokesman Vance Mitchell says the man reported on Saturday that the woman took the goldfish from his apartment.
Mitchell says the two argued earlier about some jewelry the man had given her but took back.
She wanted the jewelry returned.
Officers who were dispatched to the woman’s home arrived to find four fried goldfish on a plate. The woman said she already ate the other three.

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Man shot, beaten with baseball bat in Rosemead

ROSEMEAD – Attackers shot a man with a shotgun and hit him in the head with a baseball bat late Tuesday, authorities said.
Deputies responded to reports of “shots fired” about 11:35 p.m. in an alley near Garvey and Del Mar avenues, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Mark Glatt said.
They found a Latino man in his 20s who had been shot at least once in the leg with a shotgun, the lieutenant said. The wounded man also told deputies he had been struck in the head with a baseball bat.
He was taken to the hospital where he was expected to survive, he said.
The victim did not appear to be fully cooperating with investigators, Glatt said, and a motive in the attack was unknown.
The only information available about the suspects was that they were seen driving in a black SUV, he added.

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Pomona suffers 12th homicide of ’09

A 25-year-old Pomona man died Tuesday after he was shot several times in the 600 block of Illinois Street.

It’s the 12th homicide in Pomona this year. That leaves the city with twice as many slayings as any other city in the San Gabriel Valley and Whittier areas. Pasadena is a distant second with 6 killings.

That makes 70 homicides in the region this year. Seventy percent of them are by gunshot.

See the numbers on our homicide map.

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First photos from American Samoa Earthquake Tsunami

The Associated Press moved these photos within the past few hours:

32579-Pacific Earthquake_Gira-thumb-300x175-32578.jpg
A main road in the downtown area of Fagatogo, American Samoa is flooded by water on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009. A powerful Pacific Ocean earthquake spawned towering tsunami waves that swept ashore on Samoa and American Samoa early Tuesday, flattening villages, killing at least 34 people and leaving dozens of workers missing at devastated National Park Service facilities. (AP Photo/Fili Sagapolutele]

32581-Pacific Earthquake_Gira (1)-thumb-300x235-32580.jpg

A boat from Malaloa Marina is seen on the edge of the main highway in the village of Fagatogo, in American Samoa on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009. Towering tsunami waves spawned by a powerful earthquake swept ashore on Samoa and American Samoa early Tuesday, flattening villages, killing at least 34 people and leaving dozens of workers missing at devastated National Park Service facilities. (AP Photo/Fili Sagapolutele]
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FBI opens investigation into Burbank PD

This from the Burbank Leader:

CITY HALL — Four days after the city released a statement calling the latest lawsuit filed against its Police Department “baseless and disingenuous,” Mayor Gary Bric on Tuesday said the FBI was investigating the allegations.

He also announced that the Burbank Police Department was being investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which was to turn over its findings to the county district attorney’s office, paving the way for the city to bring in its own outside attorney to review the allegations.

Seven current and former members of the Burbank Police Department have filed lawsuits since May, claiming everything from unfair demotion and retaliation, to sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

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New details emerge in the killing of Sammantha Salas

From reporter Alfred Lee:

In a taped interview, a friend of two cousins charged in the January 2008 murder of 16-year-old Sammantha Salas told detectives the cousins wanted “to send a message” to avenge the death of their uncle, who had been recently killed by Latino gang members.

On the recording, which was played in court Tuesday, Douglas Ross first identifies himself by name. He then goes on to tell detectives that Nickelis Blackwell, 22, and Rayshawn Blackwell, 26, had gathered with friends and relatives at the Blackwell’s Sherman Avenue home in Monrovia on the night of Jan. 26, 2008, following the funeral of the Blackwells’ uncle.

Authorities believe the uncle, 64-year-old Sanders Rollins, was shot to death on his porch by a Latino gang member 13 days before.

“What was on everybody’s mind was revenge,” Ross said on the tape played for the judge at a preliminary hearing for the Blackwell cousins in Alhambra Court.

He also described to investigators how he saw the Blackwells carry a duffel bag stuffed with an Uzi and other firearms into a green Camry and drive off on the night Salas was shot in unincorporated Monrovia.

However, Ross claimed in court Tuesday that “only parts” of the tape were actually his voice. He denied incriminating the Blackwells, saying he had known the cousins “practically my whole life.”

When the cousins returned home at about 12:30 a.m. that night, Nickelis said, “I killed her,” and looked “distraught,” while Rayshawn consoled him, Ross allegedly said on the tape.

Geoffrey Pope, Rayshawn Blackwell’s attorney, declined to comment on the case.
Testimony in the hearing is scheduled to continue today.cq Upon its conclusion, Judge Laura Priver cqwill rule whether prosecutors presented sufficient evidence to hold the Blackwells for trial.

Authorities have said Salas was not involved in gangs.

But 18-year-old Jenifer Mandi, who was shot along with Salas that night, testified that a third friend they were walking with at the time of the shooting, Abraham Ramos, was affiliated with a local gang, Monrovia Nuevo Varrio.

“He just hangs around with them,” Mandi testified.
Mandi, Salas, Ramos and a few other friends had been drinking beer in an apartment complex on the 2500 block of Peck Road the night of the shooting, when the three decided to walk to a neighborhood store. Mandi and Ramos had also been smoking marijuana, she said.

As soon as the group walked out the front gates of the apartment complex, Ramos looked back and began running. Mandi and Salas froze, she testified.
“We were just standing there, thinking, ‘What do we do?'” Mandi testified. Then, “I heard people say, ‘Stop running!'” she said.

Mandi turned around to see two men in hooded sweat shirts standing about 25 feet away with their guns pointed. The men were dressed head to toe in black and were wearing black bandanas that covered their faces, she testified.

“We couldn’t even taken a step and they started shooting,” she said.

Mandi testified she felt “a really big burn” from a bullet that hit her in her right hip, went “across my stomach” and ended up in her left thigh. She recovered at a hospital after being unconscious for 11 days.

She remembered seeing Salas fall a few feet from her.

“She was laying right next to me,” she said. “When I first looked at her, I didn’t see any (blood).”

Mandi testified that the eyes of her shooter that night looked similar to those of Rayshawn Blackwell.

“I just remember the eyes,” she said. “They just looked so angry.”

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