IRWINDALE — Police arrested a man with more than 500 pounds of marijuana Thursday after a high-speed chase, officials said.
George Farias, 40, of San Bernardino was booked on suspicion of felony evasion of police, possession of marijuana for sales and transportation of marijuana for sales, Irwindale police Lt. Mario Camacho said.
An officer tried to pull over a Toyota Tundra pickup truck about 11:30 a.m. on Vincent Avenue near the 10 Freeway after it nearly struck a postal carrier on foot, the lieutenant said.
The truck initially pulled over at Vincent and Rowland avenues, Camacho said, but sped off once the officer got out of his patrol car and approached.
The Tundra led police on a chase onto the 10 Freeway, driving erratically and reaching speeds of around 100 mph, Camacho said. Officers backed off and saw the truck exit at Citrus Street.
Witnesses pointed police toward the truck at Citrus Street and Norma Avenue in West Covina, police said. The driver had jumped out, allowing the truck to continue rolling into a small brick wall and a parked SUV.
Inside the truck, officials found more than 500 pounds of marijuana packaged in 26 bundles, Camacho said.
The Foothill Special Enforcement Team, a SWAT team servicing several cities in the San Gabriel Valley, happened to be training in Irwindale and went to the scene to perform a yard-to-yard search, Camacho said.
Farias was found hiding in a garage not far from where the truck was ditched and arrested without a struggle, officials said.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Farias was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail and was due for arraignment Monday in West Covina Superior Court.
PASADENA – An observant witness helped police arrest three men and a 16-year-old boy after a residential burglary Thursday.
Gerald Rogers, 20, James Brittenum, 18, John Adams, 18, and a
16-year-old boy, all of Monrovia, were booked on suspicion of burglary,
Pasadena police Lt. Diego Torres said.
Pasadena Lt. Pete Hettema said shortly after 12 p.m., a witness
saw two people come out of a backyard in the 500 block of Mercedes
Avenue and get into a car with two occupants.
He said the witness described the vehicle as a Ford Crown
Victoria. Officers stopped the car on Foothill Boulevard and Sierra
Madre Villa Avenue and found what they believed were stolen items
inside, according to Hettema. Three men and a teen were arrested on
suspicion of burglary.
– From Staff Writer Ruby Gonzales
LA HABRA — Police shot and wounded a suspect in a mobile home park late Thursday, though few details regarding the circumstances of the shooting were released.
Officers responded to a 911 call reporting a restraining order violation 10:34 p.m. at a the mobile home park, 1731 W. Lambert Road, La Habra police officials said in a written statement.
“While officers were en route, a male subject made entry into the residence and the call was disconnected,” the statement said.
“The first officer arrived on scene at approximately 10:37 p.m. and shortly thereafter, the officer advised that he had been involved in a shooting.”
Manuel Galvan, 46, of La Habra was hospitalized in unknown condition, police said. He remained hospitalized Friday.
He was expected to be booked on suspicion of battery on a spouse, violating a restraining order, damaging a wireless communication device, preventing a person from reporting a crime and resisting or obstructing a police officer, authorities added.
Police declined to comment on the circumstances of the shooting itself, including whether Galvan was armed or what prompted the officer to open fire.
The name or experience level of the officer was also not released.
District Attorney’s spokeswoman Farrah Emami said based on a memorandum of understanding with the La Habra Police Department, the office does not release any information about officer-involved shootings until the investigation is complete.
“The originating agency has the authority to put out information or not,” she said.
HACIENDA HEIGHTS — Community members and businesses are working to assist a Hacienda Heights family that lost two members in a fatal fire earlier this week.
Virginia Gonzalez, 49, and her adopted 3-year-old son died in the fire, which broke out late Sunday at a home in the 1700 block of Piermont Drive, coroner’s and sheriff’s officials said.
The boy’s name was not released pending positive identification, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said.
Both the woman and child died as a result of “smoke inhalation and thermal burns,” he said, and the deaths were ruled to be accidental.
The fire was sparked by a candle left unattended in the home, sheriff’s investigators said.
Gonzalez was trying to rescue the toddler when she died, officials said.
Her husband was seriously injured rescuing the couple’s 9-year-old daughter from the home. The girl’s injuries were not major.
The father tried unsuccessfully to rescue his wife and son from the burning home as well before he was overcome by the smoke and flames, officials said.
Roundtable Pizza, 17170 Colima Road, will donate a portion of proceeds to the family Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., family friends said.
The Hacienda Heights Pizza Co., 15239 Gale Ave. in Industry, will also donate a portion of Tuesday’s profits to the Gonzalez family on Tuesday.
Members of a softball team that plays with Gonzalez’s daughter are planning a car wash to benefit the family Sept. 4 at Pit Stop LLC, 980 Turnbull Canyon Road in Industry.
Additionally, a bank account has been set up to help the family.
Those interested in contributing can donate to the Gonzalez Memorial Account, Wells Fargo account 8965800637.
EL MONTE — A man who claims he was beaten by El Monte police so badly he lost most of his eyesight has filed a claim against the department, his attorney said Thursday.
Cornelio Chavez, 35, suffered the beating June 24 while officers were arresting him on an outstanding warrant, attorney Brad Gage said.
About half a dozen police officers confronted Chavez in a small bedroom of his mother’s apartment in the 11100 block of Bonwood Road, the attorney said.
The officers began beating Chavez, while another officer ordered his family members to remain in the apartment’s kitchen, Gage said.
“According to witnesses, this beating lasted from 20 minutes to an hour,” he said. “Our client was pleading for help.”
“Basically, most of the bones in the face were broken,” Gage said. Chavez also suffered bleeding from his brain and lost about 85 percent of his eyesight, which he is not expected to regain.
He spent weeks in a hospital, Gage added.
“There’s no way you could justify beating this long or this severely,” he said.
El Monte Police Chief Steve Schuster said his department was looking into the claim.
“We’re taking the accusation very seriously,” he said. “We’ve assigned out internal affairs investigators to conduct a complete and thorough investigation.”
Schuster said the arrest did not go on for more than 20 minutes, as alleged by Gage, but rather lasted only a few minutes.
When El Monte police internal affairs investigators tried to speak with Chavez and his family at the hospital, Schuster said, they declined to speak with officials and referred all questions to their attorney.
Chavez was an active parolee at the time of the incident, and police had received word from parole officials that Chavez may have been under the influence of drugs at the apartment complex, the chief said.
Authorities checked his criminal history before going to the home and found Chavez was had a warrant for his arrest due to pending charges of weapons violations and assault on a peace officer, Schuster said.
Arriving officers found Chavez hiding in a closet in the apartment, he said.
“He came out of the closet and engaged the officers in a physical confrontation,” Schuster said. One officer suffered a minor injury.
Officers fought to get Chavez into custody, the chief said.
At one point, an officer believed Chavez was reaching for his gun, so the officer struck Chavez in the head, Schuster said. It was not clear if he was struck with a fist, baton or other object.
The involved officers remained on duty, “because there’s no initial indication that they did anything wrong,” Schuster said.
Because of his injuries, Chavez was not immediately arrested, Schuster said. Charges of felony resisting arrest, misdemeanor resisting arrest and misdemeanor assault on a peace officer have since been filed.
The city had not accepted or denied the claim as of Thursday, Gage said. If the city denies the claim or does not respond to it within 45 days of filing, Gage said he plans to move forward with a lawsuit.
From the Associated Press:
The allegations against Sonia Hermosillo of La Habra might seem incomprehensible to most parents.
Prosecutors say the mother of three drove her infant son to the fourth story of a parking garage, removed a special helmet he wore for a medical condition and tossed him over the edge. She then validated her parking ticket and drove away, they say.
The 7-month-old boy with deep brown eyes died Wednesday, the same day his 31-year-old mother was charged with murder and felony child abuse. Her arraignment Thursday was rescheduled to Monday.
Hermosillo’s husband says that she suffered from severe postpartum depression and couldn’t accept that her only son had two unusual disabilities, one of which required him to wear a special helmet to reshape his head.
“There is no grudge against my wife. Don’t judge her poorly. She was truly ill,” Noe Medina said tearfully in his native Spanish on Wednesday. “Understand the pain that I am in … I lost my son and now I don’t want to lose my wife. I have to keep going on for my two little girls.”
Postpartum depression affects up to 20 percent of new mothers and can be triggered or worsened by stresses such as a traumatic childbirth experience, disabilities in the infant or an unsupportive home situation, experts said.
Most of these women have the “baby blues,” a bout of depression that goes away within a few weeks, but a tiny fraction — about .01 percent — develop postpartum psychosis, said Stephanie Morales, a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in perinatal mood disorders.
By all accounts, Hermosillo was a wonderful mother until the birth of Noe Medina Jr. this year.
The native of Mexico had two older daughters, ages 7 and 10, and she doted on them as a stay-at-home mother while her husband worked in construction, according to neighbors who knew her before she gave birth to her third child.
They said she was involved in her daughters’ schooling and walked them to class in the family’s working class La Habra neighborhood every day, although she spoke little English.
When she learned she was expecting a son, she was excited, said Sonia Herrera, an upstairs neighbor whose daughter played with Hermosillo’s children and attended the same school.
After the boy’s birth, Hermosillo became withdrawn and serious, she said. Herrera wondered if she might have postpartum depression.
Medina said his wife was hospitalized for postpartum depression in June after she said she didn’t want the boy. The baby had been diagnosed with congenital muscular torticollis — a twisting of the neck to one side — and wore a helmet to help correct his plagiocephaly, also known as flat-head syndrome, The Orange County Register reported.
The day before Hermosillo was arrested, Herrera saw her taking out the trash.
“She was different. She was serious,” Herrera said. “I asked her many questions, and she just said ‘Yes’ or ‘No.'”
Hermosillo’s husband said his wife took medication after her hospitalization and had seen a therapist for the first time on Monday. Later that day, she scooped up the baby while her husband was watching their daughters, and left their second-story apartment.
A panicked Medina called 911 to report his wife and son missing. La Habra police officials have declined to release that call, citing the pending investigation.
Authorities say she threw the baby from a parking garage at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, where the boy had been undergoing physical therapy twice a week. The boy didn’t have an appointment that day.
A witness saw the baby falling through the air, and several people, including a doctor, called 911, said Sgt. Dan Adams, an Orange police spokesman. One witness thought a child had dropped a doll when he saw the baby falling through the air, said Scott Simmons, who is prosecuting the case.
Surveillance video showed Hermosillo’s sport utility vehicle with an empty child seat leaving the parking structure a short time later, Adams said. The license plate was traced to the Hermosillo home, the sergeant said.
A police officer driving past Children’s Hospital about four hours later spotted Hermosillo driving on a street about 100 yards from the crime scene and arrested her, Adams said. Hermosillo remained held without bail at the request of immigration officials, who say she’s in the country illegally.
WHITTIER — Two robbers fled empty-handed after trying to rob a man of his iPod on the Greenway Trail Wednesday, police said.
A man was walking on the trail and listening to his iPos near Five Points about 7:15 p.m. when he encountered the would-be robbers, Whittier police Lt. Carlos Solorza said.
“Two suspects approached him from behind and demanded the iPod,” he said.
There was a scuffle over the music player, and the victim fell to the ground, Solorza said. The victim offered is money instead, but the robbers insisted on taking his iPod.
Ultimately, the victim threw a coin pouch containing some money at the men and was able to run away, Solorza said. When he returned later, the coin pouch was still at the scene.
Police described the attackers only as Latino men, one with a thick mustache.
WHITTIER — A Whittier man was behind bars Thursday on suspicion of attempted murder after stabbing and seriously injuring another man late Wednesday.
Roy Zamora, 18, was being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Whittier Police Department’s jail, according to county booking records.
A 911 caller reported a stabbing just before 8 p.m. Wednesday in the 8400 block of Milton Avenue, Whittier police Lt. Carlos Solorza said.
“On arrival, (officers) found a victim suffering from multiple stab wounds to his back,” the lieutenant said. He was hospitalized in serious condition but expected to survive.
Through the course of the investigation, police identified Zamora as a suspect and arrested him without a struggle at his home in Whittier about 3 a.m. Thursday, Solorza said.
The alleged motive was not available early Thursday.
EAST VALINDA — Two men suffered serious burns Wednesday when they lit a barbecue next to the gas tank of a car they were repairing, officials said.
The accident was reported about 10:50 a.m. in the 17400 block of Salais Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Raymond Enriquez said.
A 28-year-old man and his 56-year-old father, both local residents, were working on the gas tank of a 1992 Honda Accord prior to the accident, the lieutenant said.
“While they were working on the gas tank, they decided to grill some carne asada,” Enriquez said.
The flame from the barbecue in close proximity to the gas caused a “flash burn,” he said, which was reported by passersy-by.
Deputies initially found nothing when they checked the area, Enriquez said. About 20 minutes later, a woman called from a nearby home asking for help.
Officials found the father and son sitting on the sofa in the home, both badly burned.
The son suffered burns over about 70 percent of his body, Enriquez said. He was initially taken to Citrus Valley Medical Center — Queen of the Valley Campus, but then flown by helicopter to a burn center.
The father suffered burns over 30 to 40 percent of his body and was hospitalized at Queen of the Valley.