Authorities release name of man fatally struck by Gold Line train in Pasadena

PASADENA — Coroner’s officials released the name Saturday of an Altadena man who died after being struck by a Gold Line train.
Michael Flowers, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision on the Gold Line tracks at Del Mar Avenue, between Raymond Avenue and Arroyo Parkway, about 5:40 a.m. Friday, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Investigator Jim Blacklock said.
Officials had not yet determined if the incident was intentional or an accident, he added.
The southbound train had just left the Del Mar Station when Flowers, who was walking on the sidewalk, stepped in front of the train, Gold Line officials said.
No one on the train was hurt, officials added.
According to Gold Line officials, all of the safety devices at the crossing were operating correctly.

Bank robbery reported in Alhambra

ALHAMBRA — Three robbers escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash following a takeover-style robbery Friday at an Alhambra bank, police said.
The crime occurred about 10:10 a.m. at the East West Bank, 1211 E. Valley Blvd., Alhambra police Lt. Jennifer Wiese said.
The robbers were described as three black men in their late 20s or early 30s, police said. They were between 5 feet 10 inches tall and 6 feet tall and wore ski masks.
At least two of the robbers were armed, Sgt. Joe Flannagan said. One had a shotgun and another had a handgun.
“The suspects entered the bank, approached the teller and demanded currency,” Wiese said.
The robbers were “very rude” and pushed customers and pushed people around inside the bank, he added.
In addition to at least one teller, the robbers also helped themselves to an unknown amount of cash in the bank’s vault, Flannagan said.
No getaway car was seen, police said, and no one at the bank was injured in the robbery.
Police were looking into the possibility that Friday’s robbery was the work of a group of violent serial bank robbers dubbed “The 20 Questions Bandits” by the FBI, Flannagan said, but it was too early in the investigation to know for certain.
The team of bandits is believed to be responsible for at least 10 bank robberies throughout Southern California. The FBI has offered a $100,000 reward for his arrest.

Man fatally struck by train in Pasadena

PASADENA — A man was struck and killed by a Gold Line train early Friday in Pasadena, authorities said.
The dead man was initially described by sheriff’s and Metropolitan Transit Authorities as a black man who appeared to be between 30 and 35 years old.
The incident was took place just before 5:40 a.m. on the Gold Line tracks at Del Mar Boulevard, between Arroyo Parkway and Raymond Avenue, Sgt. Dan Gardner of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Transit Service Bureau said. A local employee identified him as a transient, he added.
While it was not clear why the man was in the path of the train, he said, however investigators did not suspect foul play.
“We don’t know if he was intoxicated, under the influence, suicidal, or if it was an accident,” Gardner said.
All of the safety devices at the crossing, which included guard arms for both the street and sidewalk, were working properly, MTA spokesman Jose Ubaldo said.
Ubaldo added that the southbound train had just left the Del Mar Station en route for Union Station in Los Angeles. The exact speed was not available, but he estimated it to be under 20 mph.
“A pedestrian who was walking on the north sidewalk of Del Mar stepped in front of the train on the southbound track,” he said.
He was found lying on Del Mar Avenue, just west of the train tracks, where paramedics pronounced him dead, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
None of the 40 or so passenger on the train were injured, Ubaldo said. They were taken by bus to the next train station and placed on another train to their destination.
A second track that runs parallel to the first was able to continue servicing trains during the investigation, though the track where the man was struck remained closed until just after 9 a.m., Gardner said.
No passengers reported seeing the incident, he added.
Ubaldo said the MTA has ample measures in place to help prevent fatalities on the Gold Line tracks, and Friday’s death was only the second to occur on the Gold Line route since it opened in 2003.
The other fatality was a suicide which took place in December of 2007 in Los Angeles, he said.
“We’ve been doing very good in implementing all of our security devices, measures, engineering, education and enforcement,” Ubaldo said.

Pot clinic shootings leave two dead

From NBC 4 Los Angeles:

Two people were shot and killed in two separate medical marijuana clinic robberies Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles police Robbery-Homicide detectives early Friday were at  Hollywood Holistic in the 1600 block of North El Centro Avenue, where someone  was killed shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday.

At Higher Path Holistic in the 1300 block of Sunset Boulevard, near  Dodger Stadium, another person was fatally shot about 4:10 p.m. Thursday. A  second person was critically wounded.

The names of the victims were being withheld. No arrests were  made in either killing. Los Angeles police Robbery-Homicide Division  detectives were handling the investigations.

On North El Centro, “the sole employee in the store was found dead by  the owner of the store,” Sgt. Don Lawrence of the Hollywood Station said.


East LA Insider has more about the Echo Park homicide here.

OIR report: Victims allege LA Sheriff’s Deputy is a sex offender

If the tales of drinking and sleeping on duty, sex in county cars (while on duty), visiting a whorehouse (and pretending the purpose of your visit is entirely legitimate) weren’t enough to indicate there are some problem deputies in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, here’s more grist for the mill from the County’s Office of Independent Review’s report issued earlier this week.

This past year, a sergeant was relieved of duty surrounding a criminal
indictment arising out of on duty sexual misconduct allegations. There are three female victims listed in the criminal case. The victims allege the sergeant held them against their will and/or threatened them with a citation if they refused to do as the sergeant requested. One woman also alleges that the sergeant followed her to another location and digitally penetrated her against her will.

This same sergeant, while a deputy, had three administrative cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct. Two of the three cases involved allegations that the deputy was seen “flashing” a woman and young girl and then masturbated while he was home in his garage. The incidents occurred months apart from each other and it does not appear the woman and young girl knew each other.

In the case involving the young girl, her parents, once learning that the man was a
deputy, did not wish to seek criminal action. The Department did, however, conduct
an internal investigation but concluded the case was a “he-said-she-said” and thus,
closed the case as “unresolved.” The woman’s case was pursued criminally but
no charges were filed. Again, the Department investigated the matter internally,
including undercover surveillance of the deputy, but after unsuccessful attempts to
gather new information, the case was inactivated.

Michael Gennaco, who authored the report, offered this analysis:

While all sexual misconduct is problematic, when the acts involve law enforcement officers on duty, it is an egregious misuse of the
awesome power and authority given to them. Further, it potentially stigmatizes all the other officers who zealously and honorably do their job.

Carjacking reported at Whittier gas station

WHITTIER — A man was carjacked Thursday afternoon as he gassed up his truck at a Whittier gas station, police said.
The crime took place about 3 p.m. at an Arco station at the corner of Lambert Road and Calmada Avenue, Whittier police Lt. Carlos Solorza said.
A man approached the victim and asked for a ride to Los Angeles, the lieutenant said.
After the victim refused, the carjacker snatched the man’s keys, which were hanging from his belt loop, Solorza said.
The crook got into the victim’s red 2008 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, he said, despite the victim’s efforts to pull him from the vehicle.
Police described the carjacker as a heavy set Latino man, about 6 feet tall, with black hair and brown eyes.

Robber sought in Covina Walgreen’s robbery

COVINA — A armed robber escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash Thursday after holding up a Walgreens store, police said.
The robbery was reported just after 2 p.m. at the store at Azusa Avenue and San Bernardino Road, Covina police Sgt. Jim McDonough said.
Police described the robber as a black man in his 30s wearing a black shirt and blue jeans and armed with a handgun.
He entered the store, pointed a handgun at a male clerk and helped himself to cash from the register, the sergeant said. The robber was last seen fleeing west on San Bernardino Road on foot.
Police recovered good quality surveillance footage believed to show the robber, McDonough said.
Police declined to release the video publicly Thursday pending review by detectives.

It’s not just drinking that gets Sheriff’s employees in trouble — More from the OIR

Guess what? Besides boozing, brutality, boorishness and belligerence, there’s a fair amount of bimbo chasing going on in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department too.

This little snippet comes from the Office of Independent Review’s Report on misconduct in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department…

Case

Based on an anonymous tip, a local law enforcement agency sent its Vice
Team to an apartment complex alleged to be the location of an illegal
massage parlor and prostitution
ring. While conducting surveillance, the
undercover officers saw a man knock on the apartment door and enter the
residence. Unbeknownst to the Team, the man was a prominent high level
professional Department employee
.

When the Team entered the apartment, they found two women dressed
in provocative lingerie. The employee was found in a bedroom with
one of the women and he was partially undressed — he had removed his
shoes and outer shirt, but was still wearing pants, a t-shirt and socks.

The employee was immediately ordered to raise his hands, was patted
down then handcuffed and moved to another room while a search of the
apartment was conducted.

In the course of the search, the officers found several thousand dollars
in cash inside the apartment and a large stash of condoms. The officers
interviewed the women and both admitted to exchanging sexual acts for
money.

The employee told the Vice Team that he had been referred to the location
by “a friend”
from the Department and was only there to receive a
massage. During the LASD internal investigation, the employee claimed
to not remember which friend had told him of the “massage parlor.”

Although he disavowed any knowledge of the illegal prostitution business,
he admitted that he may have learned of the apartment address from a
website–which was sexually provocative. Because the employee was not
observed violating any law, the Vice Team ultimately released him. The
local agency then immediately reported the incident to LASD.

7 arrested in Arcadia on suspicion of Glendora burglary spree

ARCADIA – Police raided a motel in Arcadia on Wednesday and arrested seven people suspected in a string of burglaries in Glendora last week, officials said.
The suspects, whose names were not immediately available, were arrested in the 200 block of Colorado Place and booked on suspicion of residential burglary, Glendora police Lt. Jamie Caldwell said.
The break-ins occurred in the daytime, within a two-hour time span, on June 17 at five residences in southeastern Glendora. Thieves took flat screen televisions and computers.
Witnesses gave authorities a description of a rented U-Haul truck involved in the burglaries, and detectives were able to link the truck to the suspects, Caldwell said.