Man struck, killed by train in Pico Rivera

PICO RIVERA — A young man died Friday after he was struck by a freight train in the second train-related fatality in Pico Rivera in two days, authorities said.
Ivan Marquez, 18, of Pico Rivera died at the scene, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Investigator Kerry McKibben said.
The accident occurred shortly after 8 p.m. on the Union Pacific railroad tracks just north of Whittier Boulevard and just east of Rosemead Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Smith said.
“He was described by the engineer as sleeping in the fetal position,” the lieutenant said. The engineer saw the man lying on the tracks but was unable to stop the train in time.
No injuries were reported on the eastbound train, which was headed from Los Angeles to Colton, Smith said.
Service on the train tracks was disrupted for several hours during the investigation, he added.
Another man also died on Pico Rivera train tracks about 9:20 a.m. Thursday.
Ricardo Fierro, 73, of Pico Rivera was fatally struck by a Metrolink train near Durfee Avenue and Stephens Street, sheriff’s officials said. It was believed he pushed his bicycle around the lowered warning arms as the train was approaching.

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Man dies after being Tased, handcuffed by deputies in La Mirada

LA MIRADA — A man died early Saturday after being shot with a Taser and handcuffed by sheriff’s deputies, authorities said.
Sheriff’s officials initially described the dead man only as a 48-year-old parolee. His name was not released pending notification of family members.
Deputies were patrolling near the Extended Stay America motel, 14775 Firestone Blvd., about 1 a.m. when they encountered two men, Capt. Michael Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarter’s Bureau said in a written statement.
“During their contact, one of the males assaulted the deputies before he fled on foot through the parking lot,” Parker said.
“The suspect hid between two cars before re-emerging to attack the deputies,” Parker said.
The deputies fought with the suspect, reached for one of their guns and threatened to kill them, Parker said.
Deputies shocked the man with a Taser and handcuffed him, officials said.
“Within moments, the suspect became non-responsive,” Parker said.
Paramedics performed CPR on the man and took him to La Palma Intercommunity Hospital in La Palma, where he died a short time later, sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said.
Deputies discovered the dead man had been in possession of drugs including what appeared to be methamphetamine and heroin, Parker said.
The man’s cause of death will be determined by coroner’s medical examiners.
He had criminal record that included convictions for vehicular homicide, hit-and-run, evading police and possession of narcotics for sales, officials said.
Whenever sheriff’s deputies use force resulting in death, “multiple independent investigations immediately begin at the scene,” Deputy Guillermina Saldana said.
Agencies that will look into the incident include the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, the Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the Office of Independent Review, she said.

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Firefighters, good Samaritan rescue man from burning home in Covina

COVINA — Firefighters and a good Samaritan rescued a man from a burning century-old home in Covina, officials said.
The fire was first reported about 7:10 a.m. at a two-story home at 350 West Rowland Street, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. David Martinez said.
Firefighters arrived to find an upstairs bedroom of the home “well involved” with flames, the captain said.
Three men had already gotten out of the burning home themselves when firefighters arrived, Martinez said, but a good Samaritan was trying to help evacuate a man estimated to be in his 60s who was asleep upstairs an unaware of the fire.
Firefighters and the good Samaritan got the man out of the home unharmed, officials said. The anonymous rescuer left the scene without giving his name.
The blaze ultimately caused about $30,000 worth of damage to the house and its contents, the captain said.
The fire appeared to have been sparked in the attic by an electrical problem in the home’s still-original wiring, he added.
The blaze was isolated to three bedrooms on the second floor, Martinez said, though the entire second floor was heavily damaged by smoke.
The residents of the home were going to find their own lodgings while repairs are made, he said, and the Red Cross was not needed.

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SWAT team searched for burglar in Montebello

MONTEBELLO — Sheriff’s SWAT officials and Montebello police surrounded a Montebello condominium Friday where a burglary suspect was believed to be holed up, but ultimately found the place empty, police said.
The incident was reported about 8:20 a.m. in the 1600 block of Neil Armstrong Street, Montebello police Lt. Andy Vuncanon said in a written statement.
Officers responded to a report of a burglary in progress and believed the burglar may still have been inside the home when they arrived, the lieutenant said.
Police officers learned from the resident that there were guns stored inside the home, he said, so they called for assistance from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Enforcement Bureau — the sheriff’s version of a SWAT team.
Authorities carried out a search of the home, but the burglar was not found inside, Vuncanon said.
“It’s presumed the suspect (or suspects) fled out of a back window while officers were setting up the containment (perimeter),” Vuncanon said.
No guns or other items were found missing from the condominium, Vuncanon said, though it appeared a burglar had forced entry into the home through a sliding glass door.

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Off-duty deputy helps nab robbery suspects in Hacienda Heights

This comes from reporter Jessica Donnelly:

HACIENDA HEIGHTS – Two women and a man were arrested Thursday night after an off-duty deputy witnessed the trio rob a woman of her purse, authorities said.
Rachel Rodriguez, 20, Melissa Diaz, 28, and Raymundo Sandoval, 19, were arrested on suspicion of strong-armed robbery, Lt. Victor Sotelo with the Industry sheriff’s station said.
A woman was in a parking lot with a cart full of groceries in the 2100 block of Hacienda Boulevard at 8:39 p.m. when Rodriguez approached her, Sotelo said.
Rodriguez pushed the cart into the victim and grabbed her purse, Sotelo said.
Rodriguez fled to a nearby vehicle driven by Diaz, Sotelo said.
Sandoval was a passenger inside the vehicle, deputies said.
An off-duty deputy from Pico Rivera sheriff’s station witnessed the robbery and began to follow the vehicle, Sotelo said.
The deputy contacted the Industry sheriff’s station and notified them of the incident and helped deputies locate the suspects, Sotelo said.
Deputies pulled the vehicle over on the westbound 60 Freeway at Azusa, Sotelo said.
The stolen property was recovered inside the car, and the woman identified the suspects as the three who took her purse, he said.

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New state law places requirements on parents of gang members

From City News Service:

MONTEREY PARK — Under a new state law, parents and guardians of Los Angeles Unified students convicted of gang-related crimes will have to attend parenting classes and meet with families who have been victimized by gang violence, the bill’s author said Friday.
The Parental Accountability Act — Assembly Bill 1291 — was authored by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Norwalk.
“The time has come to hold parents accountable and give them the resources they need to help their children,” Mendoza said.
“It’s clear parents and guardians have serious challenges addressing the disciplinary needs of their children,” Mendoza said. “Parents will be mandated to acknowledge the consequences of their children’s potential involvement with gangs, before it’s too late.”
Mendoza introduced bill in 2007, and the law went into effect in January.
Under the law, parents or guardians of juveniles who have been involved in gang-related crimes must attend anti-gang parenting classes with specialized curricula that include face-to-face meetings with victims’ families, resources and ideas on extracurricular activities, and information on identifying criminal tendencies in their children, Mendoza said.
Mendoza discussed the law at a news conference this morning at the Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court. Among those in attendance were Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and actor Edward James Olmos.

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Detectives detail kidnap victim’s tale of survival; try to connect suspect to other crimes

45679-SONG_DEQ-thumb-300x374-45678.jpgMONTEREY PARK — Sheriff’s officials Friday detailed the remarkable story of survival of a woman who was kidnapped, attacked and left for dead last week as they asked for the public’s help in linking additional crimes to the suspect.
DeQiang Song, 24, is accused of kidnapping the woman — a 21-year-old San Gabriel Valley resident — Sept. 8 after taking her on a shopping trip to the Westfield Santa Anita Shopping Mall in Arcadia.
From there, investigators said, he drove her to a remote area of desert in San Bernardino County where he strangled her, slit her throat and left her for dead.
Believing the woman was dead, Song allegedly used the woman’s cell phone to call her father and demand ransom money. But she regained consciousness once her attacker left.
“She managed to walk approximately half a mile through the desert to a house,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes Bureau Lead Detective Michael Soop said. Residents of the home then called for help.
“She’s alive because she had the determination and will to live,” Soop said.
Deputies arrested Song and seized his car in the early morning hours of Sept. 9 as he tried to pick up ransom money at a prearranged spot in San Gabriel, authorities said.
Detectives had been working with the victim’s father to lure the suspect through the promise of a ransom payment, but declined to release additional details about the arrest.
Song initially demanded $100,000 for the woman’s safe return, Soop said. “We finally negotiated a ransom for $10,000.” The negotiations were carried out in Mandarin.
The complexity involved in the crime has led investigators to suspect this was not Song’s first crime.
“The planning, sophistication and elaborate nature of this crime may indicate that this is not the only crime in which he’s been involved,” Soop said.

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Authorities released photos of Song and his vehicle, a 2009 Toyota Venza with Illinois license plate number H897160, to the public Friday in hopes of tracking down anyone who may have information about this crime or any other crimes connected to Song.
Sheriff Lee Baca said the “senseless, horrifying and brutal crime” began, “as a casual date,” and that her previous encounters with Song had appeared innocent.
“The victim had no forewarning as to what would occur,” Baca said.
Soop said the woman and Song met about a week prior at a karaoke club in the San Gabriel Valley, and he introduced himself to her with the alias of Xia-Yu. They had again met at karaoke clubs twice, and had gone to the beach together the day before the kidnapping.
Detectives believe Song was planning the crime before he met with the woman on Sept. 9.
He detoured their outing by making up a fake errand in the Apple Valley area, Soop said. The attack took place in a remote area of desert off the 15 Freeway between Apple Valley and Victorville.
“Already within the suspect’s vehicle were the instruments he ultimately used to commit the kidnapping and attempted murder of the victim,” he said. The tools included latex gloves, a cord to strangle the woman with, bindings, a knife, and extra license plates for his vehicle.
Detectives discovered clothing and blood at the scene of the attack in the desert on Sept. 10.
Song is believed to be the only suspect involved in the kidnapping and attempted murder, Soop added.
Song immigrated to Chicago from the Shen-Yang Province of China under a student visa in 2008, officials said.
He moved to an apartment in Monterey Park in late July, Soop said, where he has been staying since.
San Bernardino Superior Court records indicate Song has an existing burglary case pending against him in that county.
His history both in Chicago and in China remained under investigation.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Song was being held in lieu of $2,050,000 bail at the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles. He was due for arraignment Sept. 29 in Alhambra Superior Court.

*PHOTOS of Deqiang Song and his car come courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Brush fire scorches *5* acres in Whittier

WHITTIER — About 125 firefighters got the upper hand on a *5*-acre brush fire burning in WhittierM Thursday, authorities said.
The fire was first reported about 5 p.m. on the east side of Colima Road, just north of Mar Vista Street, Los Angeles County Fire and Whittier police officials said. Fire officials erroneously reported Thursday that the fire had grown to 45 acres.
No structures were immediately threatened by the blaze, though officials were concerned about the fire’s proximity to some buildings in places like Skyline Drive and Aurora Crest Drive, officials said.
“It appears that they are getting the upper hand on it,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Fred Stowers said.
The fire had been completely contained as of 8 p.m., fire officials said.
Stowers added that the area where the fire was burning exhibited, “some pretty steep terrain and some pretty thick brush.” Winds in the area blew at 6 to 8 mph.
Four helicopters, one large helitanker and two fixed-wing airplanes were brought in to drop water on the fire from above Thursday afternoon, Stowers said.
Whittier police Lt. Steve Dean said no evacuations were needed due to the fire, though the blaze did wreak havoc on the afternoon commute.
“It hit when everyone was driving home, unfortunately,” he said.
Officials closed down northbound Colima Road at Whittier Boulevard in Whittier and southbound Colima Road at Casino Drive in Hacienda Heights during the fire.
The exact point of ignition wasn’t clear, Stowers said. The blaze may have had as many as three points of origin.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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Recent La Crescenta bank robber linked to 2007 heist

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LA CRESCENTA — A man who robbed a La Crescenta bank branch last week is believed to be the same one who robbed the same bank in 2007, officials said Thursday.
The “Green Tattoo Bandit,” who earned his nickname because of a green tattoo on his neck, robbed a Bank of America branch, 3141 Foothill Boulevard, on Sept. 9, sheriff’s officials said.
He entered the bank about 1 p.m. and handed a teller a threatening note, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Blume said shortly after the incident.
He was last seen leaving the area in a small, white, older-model sedan, officials added.
Authorities said Thursday that the “Green Tattoo Bandit” is also believed to have robbed the same bank on Nov. 28 of 2007.
The bandit is described as a Latino man in his 30s with a mustache and goatee, in addition to his green neck tattoo.

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Suspect Rose Bowl auto burglars jailed

PASADENA — Police jailed to suspected burglars Thursday accused of breaking into two cars in the Rose Bowl parking lot, officials said.
Jamias Buchanan, 25, of Tarzana and Dnali Rutherford, 30, of Los Angeles, were booked on suspicion of burglary, Pasadena police Lt. Diego Torres said.
A witness called police about 11:15 a.m. to report seeing two men breaking into two cars in the Rose Bowl parking lot, the lieutenant said.
“Luckily, we had some officers in the area,” he said.
The suspects were spotted driving in the area and were arrested after police found them in possession of a small amount of cash believed to have been stolen from the cars at the Rose Bowl, Torres said.
Buchanan and Rutherford were being held in lieu of $20,00 bail each, according to sheriff’s booking records.

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