Man’s body found in Covina apartment, cause of death unknown

COVINA — A man was found dead inside his apartment under mysterious circumstances Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
Salvador Ramirez Sr., 46, was pronounced dead at 1:24 p.m. in the 200 block of East Navilla Street, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Jerry McKibben said.
A roommate came home about 1 p.m. and found Ramirez lying on the floor unconscious, Covina police Sgt. Dave Foster said. Firefighters arrived and pronounced him dead.
“He had trauma to his head, although were not sure what caused that trauma,” Foster said.
It was unclear if the death was a murder or accident, the sergeant said. That determination will be made by the coroner’s office.
In the meantime, Foster said, “We’re going to treat it as a worst-case scenario, as a homicide.
“Detectives are contacting possible witnesses and canvassing the neighborhood,” he added.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Covina Police Department at (626) 384-5808 and ask for Detective Mike Robison.

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18-year-old West Covina man dies in freeway crash

WEST COVINA — An 18-year-old man died Thursday when the van he was riding in struck a parked big-rig in West Covina, authorities said.
Anthony Ha of West Covina died in the crash, California Highway Patrol Officer Edmund Zorrilla said a written statement.
He was a passenger in the van being driven by a family member, a 41-year-old Jacinto Rodriguez of West Covina, officials said. The exact relationship between the two was not clear late Thursday.
The crash occurred about 2:25 p.m. on the westbound 10 Freeway, just east of Holt Avenue, Zorrilla said.
The Ford E-350 van was travelling down the freeway when it, for unknowns reasons, it drifted to the right and struck the rear of a big rig that was parked on the shoulder, he said.
Ha was pronounced dead at the scene, Zorrilla said, while Rodriguez was hospitalized for treatment of apparently minor injuries.
The driver of the big rig, a 32-year-old Canada man, was not injured, he added.
No arrests or citations were made late Thursday, authorities said. The crash remained under investigation.

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Man admits slaying estranged wife in Arcadia

ARCADIA — Just before his trial was to begin, a Long Beach man admitted in court Wednesday he shot his estranged wife to death in front of her Arcadia home — and was immediately sentenced to 29 years to life in prison.
Peter Chang, 60, pleaded no contest to first-degree murder and the special allegation that he used a gun to kill Liya “Sandy” Lu, 32, on Jan. 27, 2008, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Dvila-Morales said.
Lu died at a hospital shortly after the shooting, but not before she gave police a statement leading them to the killer. Her “dying declaration” was key in Chang’s arrest, Arcadia police Sgt. Tom Le Veque said.
Le Veque said Lu and Chang had been separated for several months prior to the slaying. People close to Lu said Chang had become threatening, he said.
“She had become increasingly afraid of him over time,” Le Veque said.
Lu was standing near her townhouse on Bonita Street, just east of Santa Anita Avenue, when Chang suddenly attacked her, an Arcadia police statement said.
She was talking to a man, who Le Veque said was a mutual friend of Lu and Chang, when Chang started beating her and knocked her to the ground.
Le Veque said the man ran away, and Lu sprinted for her front door but never made it.
“(Chang) chased after her up the stairway and that’s where the shooting occurred,” he said.
Before Lu died at the hospital, she gave detectives a statement that led them to Chang’s home in Long Beach, police said. Chang was arrested after a brief standoff and struggle with Long Beach police.
Le Veque said the case officials were planning to present against Chang was a strong one.
“We did have the dying declaration of the victim,” he said, as well as physical evidence at the scene.

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Suspect in Art College professor’s slaying to be arraigned today

Urgent advisory from the DA’s Office:

Def, Steven Honma, LA 064672, will be arraigned today at Van Nuys Superior Court, Department 100, 14400 Erwin St. Mall.

From the Ventura County Star:

The suspect in the killing of a design college teacher at a Westlake Village party is expected to make his first court appearance today.

Steven Ronald Honma, 54, of Westlake Village, has been booked into Los Angeles County’s Inmate Retention Center, and he is scheduled to appear this morning in Van Nuys Superior Court, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s web site.

Honma was charged Tuesday with murder and possessing a firearm with a prior conviction in connection with the shooting death of Norman Schureman at a Persian New Year’s party Saturday night in the 31700 block of Kentfield Court.

Schureman, 50, of Altadena, was an instructor at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He was married and had two sons.

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Toddler struck by SUV in West Valinda

WEST VALINDA — An 18-month-old boy was flown to the hospital by helicopter after being struck by a car Wednesday, authorities said.
The incident occurred just after 7 p.m. in the 900 block of North Stichman Avenue, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
The young boy was struck by a small SUV as a woman in her 60s backed the vehicle up, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Willie Sanchez said.
He suffered an injury to his shoulder, the captain said. Though the injury appeared minor and was flown to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles as a precaution.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the Baldwin Park office of CHP.

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Airplane makes emergency landing on 57 Freeway

POMONA — No one was hurt Wednesday when a small airplane made an emergency landing on the 57 Freeway with the help of a good Samaritan on the ground, authorities said.
The plane touched down about 7 p.m. on the northbound 57 Freeway, just north of Temple Avenue, Los Angeles County fire Dispatch Supervisor Melanie Flores said. No one was injured, and the plane did not strike any vehicles on the freeway.
The pilot of the single-engine, Citabria airplane, a man in his 50s, got some assistance from a good Samaritan motorist driving on the freeway, Los Angeles County fire Capt. Ed Lozano said. He was the only person in the aircraft.
The pilot identified himself as John Findley of Upland.
“Apparently someone in traffic saw that he was going to come in,” Lozano said.
The motorist began zig-zagging across freeway lanes to stop traffic and make room for the airplane, Lozano said.
“The pilot mentioned he saw someone swerving to try and stop traffic for him, and he was able to land the plane,” he said. “That’s what really stopped an accident.”
California Highway Patrol Officer Matt Lentz said the airplane took off from Long Beach.
It was headed to Cable Airport in Upland when the pilot reported engine trouble to air traffic controllers at Brackett Field in La Verne, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.
Based on the aircraft’s tail number, FAA records indicated it was registered to John Findley of Upland and was built in 1969.
When rescuers arrived, Lozano said, the pilot had brought the plane to a stop on the right-hand side of the freeway. The incident caused traffic to back up significantly on the northbound 57 Freeway.
CHP Sgt. Alex Gonzalez said officials rolled the plane up the 57 Freeway to the 10 Freeway eastbound, then pulled it off at the Fairplex Drive offramp about 9 p.m. From there, Pomona police escorted the plane to Brackett Field.

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Altadena man suspected of biting, head-butting Arcadia police officer

ARCADIA — Police jailed an Altadena man last week on suspicion of biting and head-butting an officer following a solo-car crash, authorities said Tuesday.
Terry Riley, 29, was booked on suspicion of felony battery on a police officer, Arcadia police Sgt. Tom Le Veque said.
The incident began about 3:45 a.m. Friday when officers responded to a report of a car crashing into a pole about on Tyler Avenue at Live Oak Avenue, Arcadia police said in a written statement.
Riley, “was acting aggressively toward firefighters on scene, telling them that he wanted to die,” according to the police statement.
Riley began struggling with police officers, police said, and allegedly head-butted the officer, opening a cut, and bit the officer on the forearm hard enough to break the skin, Le Veque said.
Officers used a Taser to subdue Riley and take him into custody, officials said.
Officials also suspect Riley may have been drinking and taking prescription pills at the time of the crash, Le Veque said, and police are also investigating the man on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Riley was held for a psychological evaluation, Le Veque said. He was booked at the Arcadia Police Department’s jail Sunday after being released from the psychological evaluation.
The injured officer was given several days off-duty due to the incident, the sergeant said, but was expected to make a full recovery.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Riley was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

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Wheelchair-bound man struck by vehicle in Pasadena

PASADENA — A man in a wheelchair suffered minor injures when he was struck by a vehicle Wednesday, authorities said.
The incident was reported shortly after 12:30 p.m. at the southbound Long Beach (710) Freeway at California Boulevard, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
The man in the wheelchair, who was estimated to be in his mid-40s, suffered minor injuries but declined to be hospitalized by ambulance, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
He told officials he would get his own transportation to be checked out by a doctor, she added.
The circumstances of the crash, which were being investigated by the Altadena office of the California Highway Patrol were not available Wednesday afternoon.

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Rollover SUV crash reported in Duarte

DUARTE — Two young men avoided serious injury Wednesday after a rollover SUV crash on the 210 Freeway, authorities said.
The crash occurred just before 1:40 p.m. on the westbound Foothill (210) Freeway, just west of the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Carl Gafford said.
The driver of a 1992 Ford Explorer, a 22-year-old Azusa Pacific University student, told CHP officers he was driving westbound when a white Chrysler 300 that was entering the westbound 210 Freeway from the northbound 605 Freeway swerved toward him an nearly ran him off the road, Gafford said.
To avoid a collision, Gafford said, the driver reported that he slammed on his brakes and jerked the steering wheel, the sergeant said. The SUV to roll over onto it’s roof and came to a stop in the fast lane and carpool lane.
The driver and his passenger, another young man, were able to climb out of the wrecked vehicle themselves, Gafford said. They suffered minor cuts and bruises and declined to be hospitalized.
Based on the account of the driver and passenger, CHP officials are investigating the crash as a possible “non-contact hit-and-run,” Gafford added.
No further description of the Chrysler was available.

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Man charged in Art College professor’s slaying

This comes from the City News Service:

A Westlake Village man was charged today with murder in the weekend party shooting death of a longtime instructor at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design.

Arraignment is scheduled this afternoon at the Van Nuys courthouse for Steven
Ronald Honma, who also faces one count of illegal possession of a firearm, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Honma, 50, is charged in the slaying of Norman Schureman, 50, of Altadena, who was with his wife at a Persian new year’s party at his mother-in-law’s Westlake Village home when he was shot Saturday night. He died early Sunday morning at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

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