Man shoots dog in Pasadena

PASADENA — A man shot and wounded his neighbor’s dog Wednesday after mistakenly believing it was attacking a child, police said.
The incident took place about 6:45 p.m. in the 700 block of North Garfield Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Tom Delgado said.
A woman had two dogs — a pit bull and a mixed-breed animal — in her front yard then they began to fight, the lieutenant said.
“A neighbor saw what he thought was a a dog biting a child,” Delgado said.
The neighbor than retrieved a handgun and shot the pit bull, he said.
The neighbor told police he asked the woman if she wanted him to shoot the dog before opening fire and she agreed, Delgado said.
The owner of the wounded dog and her animals had not been seen since the incident Wednesday evening, Delgado said, so the woman’s account was unavailable.
Police took a report and plan to send it to the City Attorney’s Office to seek a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm within city limits, he said.

Armed man robs Covina party supply store

COVINA — A man with a handgun robbed a party supply store Wednesday, authorities said.
The crime took place about 11:35 a.m. at Alin’s Party Depot, 543 N. Azusa Avenue, Covina police officials said.
The robber entered the store and forced an employee to open a cash register, Lt. David Povero said. The armed man helped himself to about $150 before fleeing on foot.
Witnesses reported last seeing the robber running south from the store, Sgt. John Zumwalt said.
Police described the robber as a black man in his 20s, about 6-feet tall and 220 pounds, Zumwalt said. He wore a baseball cap and black clothes.
Police searched the area but were unable to find the robber, officials said.

Chino Hills brothers — ages 10 and 12 — found shot to death

From the Associated Press:

CHINO HILLS — Two Southern California brothers — a 12-year-old who loved skateboarding and a 10-year-old about to start fifth grade — were shot to death with their father’s handgun in what could be a double suicide or a murder-suicide, authorities said Wednesday.
The bodies of Bryan Gonzalez and younger brother Christian Gonzalez were found Tuesday by a family member in a dry creekbed behind their Chino Hills mobile home in rural San Bernardino County. The father’s gun was found with the bodies.
The boys were each shot once, but other information about their wounds was being withheld because of the ongoing investigation, said Sgt. Frank Bell of the sheriff’s homicide unit. Autopsies were underway Wednesday.
Bell said only the boys were involved in the shootings, though investigators were not sure whether they each killed themselves or one killed the other before committing suicide.
There were no suicide notes, and interviews with dozens of people didn’t turn up any abuse or other trauma, Bell said.
“We haven’t come up with a reason or at least anything that makes sense,” Bell said. “They were normal boys as far as anything we’ve learned, decent family.”
Neighbors heard gunshots and deputies were called to the home, nestled in brushy hills about a mile up a poorly paved road about a mile from the boys’ elementary school. The bodies were
about 60 feet from the family mobile home.
Bell said the gun was kept in a case that wasn’t locked.
Sheriff’s officials said the results of the investigation will likely be forwarded to the
district attorney’s office for review to see if there was any criminal conduct because the handgun wasn’t secured.
Neighbor Rasiel Santiago, 21, said he heard two gunshots around 10 a.m. Tuesday, separated by about 10 seconds. When he arrived at the school playground a short while later, he saw a swarm of sheriff’s squad cars and paramedics at the end of the road leading to the family home.
Parents and classmates of the boys were devastated. Flowers, candles and a poster that had a photo of Bryan during his class trip this year to Disneyland were left near the home.
“It’s just tragic. We’re all just trying to make sense of it right now,” said Robert Gavela, who stood at the end of the boys’ street with his 13-year-old daughter Madison.
“It’s crazy. It doesn’t seem real,” Madison said.
Bryan was going into seventh grade this fall. Friends said he dreamed of being a professional football player.

Stowaway snake crawls out of car’s engine compartement in Covina

COVINA — It’s alive.
A snake that slithered into a parked car Sunday and was thought to have disappeared turned up Wednesday morning in the driveway of the man who drove it home from a shopping trip.
“You know what I just got home from school right now and all of a sudden I hear ‘Dave Dave Dave’” said Dave Morelli, 25, of Covina. “There it was on a telephone pole above the wall and I grabbed it.”
Morelli and his family first encountered the snake about 3:30 p.m. Sunday when it wedged itself in the engine compartment of their PT Cruiser during a shopping trip, Morelli said.
Other shoppers at DD’s Discounts, 404 N. Azusa Ave, saw the reptile slithering across the pavement before slipping up into Morelli’s car.
“Somebody in the parking lot saw what they described as a 7- to 8-foot long snake with a diameter the size of a beer can traveling along the asphalt in the parking lot,” Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan said.
After a four-hour search for the beast, Morelli, police and a dozen other shoppers who searched in vain for the animal gave up the hunt.
Still believing the snake might by wedged somewhere in his engine compartement, Morelli packed his girlfriend and two children into the car and drove home with police following behind to watch for the snake.
Police referred the matter to animal control after officers determined, “it was outside their area of expertise,” Doonan said.
Animal control officials were unable do do anything since they couldn’t see the snake, Morelli said, and advised the car owner to call again if the serpent was spotted.
All the excitement surrounding the discovery had pretty much died down — until Wednesday morning.
“We thought he was gone and he’s still here,” Morelli said.
Morelli’s girlfriend Ariane Govea said she hadn’t seen the snake since its capture — and wasn’t about to sneek a peak.
“I haven’t gone out to see it,” she said. “I’m not sure I will.”
Upon capturing the reptile Wednesday morning, Morelli placed it in a box and debated whether or not to keep it. Originally described as a boa constrictor, Morellis said the 5-foot long animal was likely a Burmese Python.
“It’s pretty (ticked) off,” he said. “As for keeping it or giving it away. No one’s claimed it. I want to keep it, but we have to talk about where we go from here.”

Jury recommends life in prison for man convicted of elderly Monrovia couple’s murders

From City News Service:

LOS ANGELES — A man who fatally stabbed a Monrovia couple in their 70s should be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, a downtown Los Angeles jury recommended Wednesday.
Alfredo Valenzuela, 38, was convicted July 14 of the July 2003 killings of 78-year-old Clark Shaum and his 70-year-old wife, Bernice. Valenzuela told police the couple were “like family” to him.
Valenzuela will be sentenced Sept. 14 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito.
Valenzuela was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, along with one count each of first-degree residential robbery, first-degree burglary and unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle.
Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder during the commission of a burglary and robbery, as well as the allegation that a knife was used in the crimes.
Clark Shaum was stabbed 113 times and his wife was stabbed more than 40 times and beaten to death after Valenzuela cut a screen on a bedroom window to get into the couple’s home and landed on Bernice Shaum.

Boa contrictor holes up inside Covina family’s car

COVINA — A Covina family found themselves in an unusual predicament Sunday when a large boa constrictor wedged itself in the engine compartment of their car while they were shopping, police and the car’s owner said.
The incident began about 3:30 p.m. in the parking lot of DD’s Discounts, 404 N. Azusa Ave., according to Covina police and the owner of the PT Cruiser, 25-year-old David Morelli.
“Somebody in the parking lot saw what they described as a 7- to 8-foot long snake with a diameter the size of a beer can travelling along the asphalt in the parking lot,” Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan said.
Witnesses then watched as the snake disappeared under Morelli’s car, he said.
Morelli said he was shopping with his wife, 6-year-old daughter and 18-month-old son when an announcement came over the intercom asking the owner of a PT Cruiser to come outside.
“I look in the engine, and lo and behold, there’s a 7-foot boa constrictor in the engine of my car,” he said.
“I touched him,” Morelli said. The snake then slithered it’s way deep into the engine compartment.
Dozens of people gathered around the car to search for the reptile, he said.
“He’s a beautiful snake,” Morelli said. “He’s gorgeous, he just wouldn’t come out.”
When officers arrived, they were unable to see the snake, he added, but witnesses reported it had not yet climbed out of the car.
Morelli started his car in an attempt to scare the snake out of the engine compartment to no avail, Doonan said.
Morelli said officers followed him to his Covina home where he waited for animal control officials.
Animal control officials were unable to find the snake, Morelli said, though no one ever saw the snake come out of the car.
“I honestly can’t say if it’s there, but I think it is,” he said. “I really think the snake is still in my car.”
Morelli said animal control officials advised him to call back if he spots the animal, so in the meantime, he’s just waiting.
“I hope it’s gone,” he said. “I hope it’s okay. I hope we didn’t hurt it.”

Three suspected of burglary in Altadena

ALTADENA — Sheriff’s deputies and Pasadena police arrested two young men and a 17-year-old boy early Sunday after they allegedly tried to break into a woman’s home, authorities said.
Nicolas Noles, 18, Harold Brown, 19, and an unidentified 17-year-old were booked on suspicion of burglary, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Angela Shepherd said. Their cities of residency were not available.
A woman called for help about 3:30 a.m. to report someone trying to break into her house in the 1900 block of North Mar Vista Ave., the lieutenant said.
Sheriff’s deputies and Pasadena police officers set up a search perimeter and found the three suspects, she said.
The juvenile suspect was released to his parents with a written promise to appear in court, Shepherd said.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Noles and Brown were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each and were due for arraignment Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court.

Fatal shooting reported in Montebello

MONTEBELLO – A man died late Saturday following what police suspect was a gang-related shooting in front of a Montebello apartment complex, authorities said.
The dead man was initially described only as a 29-year-old Montebello resident pending notification of family members, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Daniel Machian said.
Police responded to reports of a shooting just before 11 p.m. in the 400 block of Lohart Avenue, Montebello police Lt. Rich Meadows said in a written statement.
“A male adult was located to the the front of the apartment complex and (had) sustained gunshot wounds,” the lieutenant said.
The wounded man was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he died from his injuries a short time later, Meadows said.
“The homicide appears to be gang-related,” he added.
The handling detective, Sgt. Michael Flores, declined to release any additional information Sunday, including any suspect information or information regarding the circumstances of the shooting, saying to do so would harm the investigation.
“There’s nothing more to release at this point for the integrity of the investigation,” he said.
Saturday’s shooting was the fourth homicide reported in Montebello this year, including the officer-involved shooting death of a robbery suspect who allegedly approached police with a knife in hand.
Montebello saw one reported homicide last year.