LA MIRADA — A home was gutted by a fast-spreading fire early Saturday, however its residents escaped harm thanks to a smoke detector, authorities said.
The blaze broke out about 8 a.m. on Sabine Drive, between Gabbett and Tanfield drives, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Greg Lombardo said.
Two men were asleep when the fire ignited, he said. One was awakened by a smoke detector and alerted the other before both got out of the home.
The home was already engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived just a couple of minutes later, the captain said.
The home was largely gutted, he said, however firefighters were able to salvage many valuables from the home.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, however it was believed to have originated in a room addition to the home before spreading throughout the structure.
WHITTIER — Officials Saturday released the name of a 46-year-old Whittier man found shot to death on Painter Avenue early Friday.
Bernardino Gomez Jr. was pronounced dead after being found suffering from gunshot wounds about 1:40 a.m. Friday in the 9900 block of Painter Avenue, just west of Carmenita Road, according to Whittier police and Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s officials.
Detectives were left with few clues to work with, Lt. Carlos Solorza said.
No one reported seeing or hearing the shooting, police said. Someone called to report seeing someone lying in the middle of the street.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Whittier Police Department at 562-567-9255.
GLENDORA — A serial bank robber dubbed the “Puffy Coat Bandit” robbed a bank of an undisclosed amount Friday, authorities said.
The robber entered the Union Bank in the 600 block of West Route 66 at about 4:30 p.m.
Glendora police Lt. Jamie Caldwell said the suspect presented a note demanding money to one of the tellers. He also simulated having a weapon during the heist.
The suspect took the cash and left.
The robber was believed to be a serial bandit the FBI is calling the “Puffy Coat Bandit” due to the ski jacket-type outerwear he’s sported during several area heists in recent weeks, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
The bandit has been linked to three other bank robberies since Dec. 20, FBI officials said in a written statement. They include: A Dec. 28 robbery at Mission Oaks Bank in Lake Elsinore; a Dec. 22 heist at Premier Services Bank in Corona; and Dec. 20 at U.S. Bank in Chino.
Officials described the Puffy Coat Bandit as a white man in his late-30s to mid-40s, of thin to medium build and standing 6 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 4 inches tall. He’s been seen wearing a black ski-type jacket and a black beanie.
A light colored sedan, possibly a Ford or Mercury, has been witnessed in connection with the crimes, according to the FBI. In the Glendora case, the car was described as brown or maroon.
He’s considered armed and dangerous, and anyone who sees him is advised to call the FBI’s 24-hour tip line at 310-477-6565, or 911.
– Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales
PHOTOS courtesy of the FBI
EL MONTE — An armed man wearing a ski mask fled with about $600 after robbing a local motel Friday night.
Sheriff’s Lt. Michael White said the suspect carried a pistol, but no one was reported injured during the 8:37 p.m. robbery at the Rodeway Inn, 1228 Durfee Ave.
The suspect was described as possibly Latino, about 5 feet 3 inches tall and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants and ski mask.
– Ruby Gonzales
LA PUENTE — A 20-year-old La Puente man crossing the street was struck and seriously injured Friday night.
The collision happened at 6:25 p.m. on Hacienda Boulevard and Glendora Avenue.
Sheriff’s Lt. Victor Sotelo said the vehicle was northbound on Hacienda Boulevard and tried to get through the intersection on a yellow light.
The pedestrian walked eastbound to westbound Glendora Avenue before the light turned green, Sotelo said.
He said the driver tried to avoid hitting the man but couldn’t.
The pedestrian was taken to a local hospital where he is in critical condition, Sotelo said.
The driver wasn’t cited Friday night. The investigation is still ongoing.
– Ruby Gonzales
GLENDORA — Two San Dimas men were behind bars Friday on suspicion of badly beating another man earlier this week, police said.
Mark Hachem, 18, and Gabriel Ojeda, 18, were both arrested Thursday and booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with Wednesday night’s alleged attack, Glendora police Lt. Rob Lamborghini said.
Officers responded to reports of a fight about 8:40 p.m. Wednesday at Gladstone Street and Willow Avenue, the lieutenant said.
Police found no combatants when they arrived, but soon received word that a victim — a 22-year-old Glendora man — was en route to a local hospital, he said.
The alleged victim had been punched in the mouth and kicked while he was on the ground, resulting in a broken jaw and other injuries, Lamborghini said.
Detectives tracked down and arrested Hachem and Ojeda the following day, police said.
Police were investigating the possibility the victim was targeted because he was a potential witness in an unrelated assault case, the lieutenant said. Details of that investigation, which was being handled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, were not available.
Hachem and Ojeda were being held in lieu of $100,000 each pending their arraignment Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court, officials said.
ALHAMBRA — A man appeared in court Friday on charges he stabbed his wife to death and wounded her sister at a home in San Gabriel earlier this year.
Sherman Dorsey, 40, of Los Angeles pleaded not guilty to the murder and the non-fatal stabbing in Alhambra Superior Court, court officials said.
He was ordered to return to court Feb. 8 for a pretrial hearing.
He’s accused in the Aug. 3 slaying of Gina Reano, 45, as well as stabbing her sister at the home the sisters shared in the 5500 block of Walnut Grove Avenue, investigators said. The sister was wounded as she tried to help Reano.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived to the surviving sister’s call for help, they found Dorsey in front of the house, officials said. He had stabbed himself several times.
Dorsey and Reano had been estranged, but were trying to reconcile when the killing took place, officials said.
Dorsey continued to be held in lieu of $2.07 million bail at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic, according to county booking records.
POMONA — A driver suspected of fleeing the scene after fatally striking a bicyclist with his SUV has turned himself in, police said Friday.
Rodger Allen Karcher, 67, of Chino showed up at the Pomona Police Station about 8 p.m. Thursday to turn himself in, Pomona police Sgt. Christian Hsu said in a written statement.
“His vehicle was also located and the damage to it matched the physical evidence located at the collision scene,” he added.
He was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run causing death in connection with Wednesday’s 5:30 p.m. crash at Towne Avenue and Sixth Street, the sergeant said.
The bicyclist was initially described only as a Pomona man in his 40s pending notification of his family members, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said.
“The large amount of media coverage played a positive role in this investigation,” Hsu said. “Investigators concluded that Karcher turned himself in after watching numerous news stories about the collision.”
According to police and county booking records, Karcher was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Pomona Police Department’s jail pending his arraignment Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.
SANTA FE SPRINGS — A person was found shot to death in the middle of the street early Friday in Santa Fe Springs, authorities said.
Someone called 911 about 1:40 a.m. to report seeing a person lying in the middle of the 9900 block of Painter Avenue, just west of Carmenita Road, Whittier police Lt. Carlos Solorza said.
Officials found the man was suffering from what appeared to be gunshot wounds and pronounced him dead at the scene, the lieutenant said.
No one reported seeing or hearing the shooting itself, he said, and no information about the motive or the shooter was available.
The dead man’s name was not released pending notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. He was initially described as a Latino man in his 40s.
The area remained cordoned off as Whittier police detectives continued their investigation Friday morning.
Friday’s fatal shooting was the second incident of gun violence reported in the city this week.
Five men in a white sedan shot and seriously wounded a 19-year-old Santa Fe Springs man late Tuesday as he was standing in the 11300 block of Washington Boulevard, police said.
The wounded man was expected to survive, officials said. A motive in that shooting was not clear.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Whittier Police Department, which provides police services for Santa Fe Springs, at 562-567-9255.