Man expected to survive after being shot by gang members in La Punte

LA PUENTE — A man was expected to survive after being shot five times by gang members early Sunday in a seemingly unprovoked attack in front of his home, authorities said.
A 26-year-old La Puente man, who was not believed to have gang ties, was walking up to his home in the 14000 block of Beckner Street about 2:30 a.m. when he was approached by a group of nine suspects described only as Latino men in their late teens and early 20s, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Kelly Huffman said.
Suddenly, the sergeant said, four men in the group pulled handguns and shouted out “Puente” — the name of a local street gang.
“(They) fired several shots and struck him five times in the lower back and buttocks,” Huffman said. “His injuries are not deemed life-threatening.”
The group of gang members fled on foot following the attack, she said, and remained outstanding Sunday afternoon.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Industry Station.

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El Monte jewlery store robbery suspects arrested after chase leads to West Covina

Three men suspected in a “brazen” El Monte jewelry store heist were behind bars Sunday as police continued to seek a fourth suspect, authorities said.
Devon Gholston, 21, of West Covina, Albert Turner, 18, of Cerritos and Rodnell Moorer, 19, of Los Angeles were arrested after they allegedly carried out an armed, smash-and-grab jewelry store robbery, then led police on a high-speed chase that ended at a West Covina shopping mall, El Monte police Detective Ralph Batres said.
“It was a brazen robbery right in the middle of daytime shopping,” the detective said. The robbed jewelry store sits in a shopping plaza.
Four men armed with handguns and wearing ski masks carried out a robbery about 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Don Roberto Jewelers, 11980 Garvey Ave. in El Monte, Cpl. Juan Casados said.
The men smashed open display cases and helped themselves to jewelry and cash before fleeing, the corporal said.
Minutes later, police said, an El Monte police officer spotted an Oldsmobile sedan matching the description of the getaway car used in the robbery at Garvey and Santa Anita avenues.
The Oldsmobile led police on a high-speed chase down the 10 Freeway to West Covina, and the four suspects jumped out of the car and tried to run in the parking lot of a Macy’s at the Westfield West Covina Shopping Mall, 1111 Plaza Drive in West Covina, Casados said.
Two of the four suspects were arrested without incident, while a third was taken into custody after police shot him with a Taser, Casados said.
The fourth suspect escaped, prompting police to set up a search perimeter in the area.
Officers searched the inside of the Macy’s and a nearby Applebee’s restaurant, where witnesses reported seeing the fleeing suspect, but the fourth robber was not found, Batres said. Police continued seeking him Sunday.
The outstanding robbery suspect was described as a black man in his early 20s, of medium build and wearing dark clothes.
In the suspects’ car, Casados said, police found allegedly stolen jewelry and cash.
Turner, Gholston and Moorer were being held in lieu of $1 million bail each and were expected to be arraigned Tuesday in El Monte Superior Court, authorities said.
Authorities are investigating the suspects in connection with other recent jewelry store heists, including an Oct. 21 smash-and-grab robbery at another Don Roberto Jewelers in Fullerton, officials said, though a solid link had not been established Sunday.
“The crimes are similar,” Batres said.
Following the Fullerton crime, in which three masked men smashed open display cases and stole jewelry, three Los Angeles gang members were arrested later in the day hiding out at a Santa Fe Springs motel.

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Lancaster deputy fired on during traffic stop

From City News Service:

LANCASTER — A deputy may have escaped death or serious injury when a fully-loaded machine gun pistol was fired twice before jamming during a routine traffic stop in Lancaster Saturday, a sheriff’s lieutenant said.
The suspect and another person drove away, but were eventually taken into custody
without incident. They were later identified as Christopher Orlando, 25 and Shayla Janelle Harper, 25, said Lt. Joanne Sharp of the sheriff’s Lancaster station in a news statement.
Orlando was identified as an ex-con out on parole and a gang member, but deputies were not sure if he or the woman fired the shots. There were no reports of injuries.
The shooting took place about 3:40 a.m. near 10th Street West at Jackman Street, several blocks west of Lancaster’s city center.
A deputy on routine patrol tried to pull over a vehicle that had no front license plate. As the deputy turned behind the vehicle to begin the the traffic stop, he heard one or two shots and saw a muzzle flash come from the vehicle and towards his vehicle, Sharp said
The deputy immediately broadcast over his radio that he been shot at by the suspect vehicle, which sped off and eluded the deputy. A containment area was set up in the immediate vicinity and the suspect vehicle was located shortly thereafter, she said.
A TEC-9 pistol was found on the corner where the shooting took place, Sharp said. The TEC-9 is a semi-automatic handgun that was designed as a machine gun. It was found to have a jammed round in the chamber, and Sharp said there was no evidence that any of the rounds hit any adjacent buildings.

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Minivan crashes into bank in Montebello

MONTEBELLO — A minivan crashed into a bank and caught fire late Friday, though the driver suffered only minor injuries, police said.
The crash was reported about 7:10 p.m. at a Chase bank branch, 896 W. Beverly Blvd., Montebello police Lt. Rich Meadows said.
“Officers found that a vehicle had collided into the west side of the bank and came to rest inside the bank, starting a fire,” the lieutenant.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the burning minivan and treated the man who was driving it for minor injuries, he added.
The exterior and interior of the bank sustained major damage,” Meadows said.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation Saturday, he said, though driving under the influence was not initially suspected.

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Man suspected of shooting roommate in Norwalk

NORWALK — Deputies jailed a Norwalk man Friday after he shot his roommate during an argument, authorities said.
The name of the suspect, a man estimated to be in his late 20s, was not available late Friday as he had not yet been booked into jail, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Marc Boskovich said.
The incident took place about 6:30 p.m. at a house in the 13000 block of Rosecrans Avenue, the sergeant said.
The suspect got into an argument with his roommate — a man of about the same age — and shot him once in the leg with a small-caliber revolver, Boskovich said.
It was not clear Friday what the argument was about.
The wounded man, who fled the home after the shooting, was hospitalized with a wound that did not appear to be life-threatening, he said.
Deputies arrested the alleged shooter in front of his house, he added.

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Charges filed in 2001 Whittier murder case

From City News Service:

WHITTIER — A man was charged Friday with capital murder for the February 2001 disappearance and slaying of a 20-year-old Placentia woman at an apartment where he had lived in Whittier.
Christopher Michael McAmis is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 30 in Whittier Superior Court in connection with the Feb. 17, 2001, killing of Lynsie Leigh Ekelund, according to a joint statement released by the Los Angeles County and Orange County district attorney’s offices and Placentia Police Department.
The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegation of murder during the attempted commission of a rape, which could make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek capital punishment against the 31-year-old Fullerton resident.
McAmis — who allegedly befriended Ekelund in 2000 — drove with her and two female friends to a nightclub in San Diego on Feb. 16, 2001, then dropped the two friends off at their residences early the next morning, according to the statement.
McAmis is accused of taking Ekelund back to his apartment in Whittier and trying to rape her, then murdering her and disposing of her body, which has never been found.
The woman’s mother reported her missing on Feb. 19, 2001, in a case that eventually went cold.
The Placentia Police Department and an Orange County district attorney’s task force aimed at catching killers, rapists and sexual offenders began jointly reviewing the case in 2008.
McAmis was arrested Wednesday at his home in Fullerton and remains jailed without bail.

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More details on Altadena deputy-involved shooting, arrest

ALTADENA — Details emerged Friday surrounding a deputy involved shooting, in which no one was injured, and arrest of a man wanted on suspicion of a Covina carjacking.
Kyle Traub, 21, of Altadena was booked on suspicion of carjacking following his 9:20 a.m. arrest Thursday in the 500 block of West Terrace Street in Altadena, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
A deputy fired a single shot at Traub during the arrest, but missed him, before taking Traub into custody without further incident.
The incident began when a deputy spotted a Toyota sedan that had been stolen Tuesday in a carjacking in an unincorporated county area near Covina, sheriff’s Lt. Joseph Dempsey said.
Before deputies could set up a coordinated traffic stop to take the suspected felon into custody, the lieutenant said, “the car pulled over on its own with just one lone deputy behind it.”
“The deputy got out (of his patrol car), the suspect got out (of the Toyota), and at some point, the suspect did something that’s still under investigation that led the deputy to fear for his safety, and he fired one round at the suspect, missing him,” Dempsey said. The bullet struck the ground.
Further details about what action the suspect took that was perceived as a threat by the deputy were not available Friday, however Dempsey said that no weapons were found at the scene.
Dempsey declined to name the involved deputy, but said he has been with the department for well over a decade.
“During an investigation, we don’t identify the deputy,” he said.
Traub allegedly attacked a 33-year-old Covina man Tuesday and stole his car after the victim gave Traub and a female accomplice a ride, officials at the sheriff’s San Dimas Sheriff’s Station said.
Traub and a young woman who’s not been found allegedly approached the victim and asked him for a ride on the second floor of a parking structure outside the West Covina courthouse, officials said.
At Traub’s request, authorities said, the victim took the couple to the Westfield Eastland shopping Center in West Covina before going to Fellowship Church, 18821 East Arrow Highway in an unincorporated county area near Covina, to be dropped off.
It was there that Traub allegedly punched the man and wrestled him from the driver’s seat before Traub and the woman fled in his car, a sergeant at the sheriff’s San Dimas Station said.
The woman was described as white, in her early 20s, about 5 feet 4 inches tall, 130 pounds, with curly brown hair, sheriff’s officials said. She wore blue jeans and a white shirt.
Traub was on probation at the time of his arrest after being convicted of possessing drugs for sales in Pomona Superior Court in February of 2008, according to Dempsey and court records.
He was also arrested Monday, the day before the deputy-involved shooting, by deputies from the sheriff’s San Dimas Station on suspicion of being drunk in public, but was released later in the day after posting $250 bail, according to sheriff’s officials and booking records. The case was still pending when Traub was most recently arrested.
While sheriff’s policy generally dictates that deputies involved in shooting a suspect take several days off work, no such policy exists when a deputy-involved shooting does not result in a wounding, Dempsey said.
Sheriff’s investigators, sheriff’s internal affair officials and the County of Los Angeles Office of Independent Review are all conducting simultaneous investigations into the shooting, officials said.
Once the investigations are complete, the shooting will be examined by the Sheriff’s Executive Force Review Committee.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Traub was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail and was due for arraignment Monday in West Covina Superior Court.

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Montebello fatal hit-and-run suspect appears in court

MONTEBELLO — A  man suspected of fleeing the scene after fatally striking an 84-year-old Montebello woman and her dog appeared in court Friday.
David Loera, 38, of Montebello is charged with vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run in connection with the Oct. 5, 2009 crash that killed Norma Lambo and her dog, Barney.
He was ordered to return to East Los Angeles Superior Court on Nov. 29 for a preliminary hearing.
In the hearing, a judge will listen to a summary of the evidence from both the prosecution and defense and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.
Lambo and her dog were struck by a pickup truck as they crossed the street at Jefferson Avenue and Alfred Court in Montebello.
After the truck struck Lambo, a passenger got out of the truck and removed the elderly woman’s crumpled walker from the bumper before getting back into the vehicle, which drove off, investigators said.
Loera was jailed three days after the crash, but the passenger has not been found.
A San Gabriel man was initially arrested on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact, but charges were later dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Loera is free on $100,000 bail as he awaits trial.
Lambo was a longtime Montebello resident who co-founded the city’s “Sister Cities” organization and served as president of the group several times.

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Police warn of “distraction burglaries” in Arcadia

ARCADIA — Police cautioned the public this week to be ware of “residential distraction burglars” targeting primarily elderly victims for theft by pretending to represent government agencies or contractors.
At least two such crimes have been reported in recent weeks, Arcadia police Sgt. Tom Le Veque said. One targeted an elderly Arcadia man, and the other targeted a real estate agent who was holding an open house to sell a home.
A similar trend of crime was reported in the earlier this year, the sergeant said, though “residential distraction burglaries,” — as police call them — appeared to have subsided until recently.
“These crimes occur during day time hours and focus on elderly victims,” Arcadia police said in a written statement. Once the suspect gains the victim’s trust and confidence, the suspect is allowed inside and occupies the victim. A second suspect then enters the residence and commits the theft.”
The victim often is not aware anything has been stolen until after the burglars have left.
“The suspects in these incidents are commonly referred to by the victims as ‘Gypsy’ type individuals, or ‘Travelers,’” according to the police statement.
An 85-year-old man received a knock at his door in the 300 block of Joyce Avenue on Oct. 19 and found a woman described as white, about 5 feet 5 inches tall, 140 pounds, with long hair, wearing a white shirt and a dark skirt, the sergeant said.
“She told the resident she was from a tree trimming company and lured the 85 year old victim into the back yard to explain the tree trimming process,” Le Veque said.
As the woman distracted the elderly resident for about half an hour, he said, another unseen burglar, or burglars, went into the home and stole an undisclosed amount of cash.
The crime was similar in nature to others reported on the southeast portion of Arcadia at the beginning of the year, though a definite link has not been established, Le Veque added.
A trio of burglars used another distraction ruse Sunday to steal jewelry from a home that was occupied by a real estate agent hosting an open house in the 1400 block of Rodeo Road, police said.
The agent, a man in his 50s, was approached by a man who identified himself as “Danny John” and claimed to be interested in buying the house, Le Veque said.
“He immediately asked the real estate agent if he could see the back yard and the pool,” he said.
The real estate agent heard a noise coming from inside the house, went back in, and spotted two men exiting the front door, officials said. It was later discovered that jewelry was missing from the house.
The three burglars were described by police only as olive-complected men in their late 30s.
Police advised vigilance on the part of residents to avoid becoming a victim of this type of scam.
“Don’t allow anybody into your house that you don’t know,” Le Veque said. If someone claims to represent an officials agency, “Verify who they are. If they say they’re from the city or a power company, they’re usually going to have a marked vehicle with them.”
If there’s doubt whether a visitor is legitimate, he added, “Close the door and tell them to wait, and call the company or call the police and verify that they’re supposed to be there.”
Anyone who encounters possible distraction burglars is asked to call Arcadia police or 9-1-1. Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call Arcadia police detectives at 626-574-5160.

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Justice and FBI to monitor California elections

From a Justice Department Press release:

As part of the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming general elections, Assistant United States Attorney Dennis Mitchell will again serve as the District Election Officer during the November 2 general election, United States Attorney Andr Birotte Jr. announced Friday.

Since 2006, AUSA Mitchell has served as District Election Officer to handle citizen complaints concerning potential violations of the federal Voting Rights Act.

As District Election Officer during next week’s balloting, AUSA Mitchell will ensure that complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses made to federal authorities will be properly handled and, if appropriate, thoroughly investigated.

AUSA Mitchell will serve as District Election Officer for the Central District of California, which includes the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

“Every allegation of any voting rights abuse is an extremely serious matter,” said United States Attorney Andr Birotte Jr. “Every citizen is entitled to vote without interference or discrimination. Citizens should not hesitate to report possible violations of voting rights laws.”

Have a complaint? Register it at: 213- 894-2484 to report possible election fraud and voting rights abuses.

The FBI will also make special agents available to hear complaints. Their number is 310-477-6565.

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