Armed robbery reported at West Covina department store

WEST COVINA — Two robbers pulled a handgun on a store security guard who confronted them while stealing a trash bag full of merchandise from a department store late Friday, police said.
A security guard at Ross, 2753 E. Eastland Center Drive, noticed two men walking toward the exit with a trash bag full of goods just before the store’s 10 p.m. closing time, West Covina police Lt. Marty Sevilla said.
One of the men pulled a revolver, pointed it at the guard and told him something in Spanish, Sevilla said.
The robbers then got into a waiting four-door, gray compact car with a third man at the wheel, he added.
Police described the robber who carried the trash bag as a Latino man in his 20s, wearing a black jacket and a dark-colored baseball cap. The gunman was also a Latino man in his 20s, wearing a blue Dodgers jersey with the number “323” written on the back and a dark-colored baseball cap.
Anyone with information is asked to call the West Covina Police Department at 626-939-8500. Tips can also be left with the department’s 24-hour anonymous tip line at 626-939-8688.
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12-year-old girl critically injured, suspect jailed in Monrovia hit-and-run

MONROVIA — A 12-year-old girl was fighting for her life at a hospital Saturday after being struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing Huntington Drive, authorities said.
After allegedly fleeing the scene of the crash, police tracked down and arrested Emma Tapia-Gonzalez, 23, of Monrovia on suspicion of hit-and-run, Monrovia police Lt. Nels Ortlund said. She does not have a driver’s license.
The young girl was crossing south across Huntington Drive at Canyon Boulevard shortly before 4 p.m. Friday with a group of about four other elementary school-age siblings and friends when she was struck by a westbound 1995 Infinite J30, the lieutenant said. The car fled the scene.
Rescuers rushed the injured girl to a hospital, where she was listed in critical condition, police said. She was described as a student at Clifton Middle School, which is about a mile away from the crash scene.
The crash occurred at a “T” intersection where there are no crosswalks or other markings.
Another vehicle had stopped for the children in the number two lane of Huntington Drive, but Tapia-Hernandez apparently failed to see the children and struck the 12-year-old girl, Ortlund said.
Initial reports indicated that the children were running across the street when struck, he added.
Witnesses provided descriptions of the hit-and-run vehicle, and officers immediately launched a tenacious investigation, Ortlund said.
“Officers worked very, very hard on this. They did some excellent follow up investigation,” he said.
The task of tracking down the alleged driver was complicated by the fact that Tapia-Gonzalez has never been issued a driver’s license, police said.
“(Officers) went to something like four or five locations before ultimately tracking the vehicle down to her current residence,” Ortlund said.
Police then located Tapia-Gonzalez and arrested her just before 8 p.m. Friday at a Duarte business where her boyfriend works, officials said.
Tapia-Gonzalez admitted her involvement in the collision, Ortlund said, and physical evidence such as a broken piece of mirror left at the scene linked her car to the crime.
According to county booking records, Tapia-Gonzalez was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending her initial appearance in Pasadena Superior Court.
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West Covina parolee arrested following 10-hour stand-off in Whittier

WHITTIER — A sheriff’s SWAT team, with the help of a K-9, found and arrested a West Covina parolee Friday who barricaded himself in a Whittier garage for more than 10 hours after shooting at police, authorities said Saturday.
Matthew Cloutman, 36, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer and a parole warrant, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
He was found hiding in a crawl space and bitten by a sheriff’s K-9 shortly before 11 p.m. in the garage in the 6200 block of Washington Avenue where he had remained barricaded since about 12:30 p.m., according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker.
A gun was found during Cloutman’s arrest, Parker added.
He was being treated at a hospital for dog bite wounds before being booked into jail, Whittier police Lt. Carlos Solorza said.
 U.S. Marshals Service, California Department of Corrections, West Covina police and Whittier police officials joined in an operation to apprehend Cloutman, a parolee who is suspected in a West Covina carjacking, Whittier police spokesman Officer Bradley White said.
The carjacking was believed to have taken place in December, however further details were not available.
As the team of lawmen moved in on the home, Cloutman ran from the main house to a garage in the rear while firing six to seven shots at the marshals. None were hit, and authorities did not return fire.
Other people emerged from the home on the orders of police, officials said, however Cloutman refused, prompting a tense stand-off ensued for the next 10 and a half hours.
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Elderly woman fatally struck by car while crossing street, elderly man suspected of vehicular manslaughter

AZUSA — An elderly Azusa woman had died late Thursday after being struck by a car being driven by a drunken elderly man, police said.
Cirila Guzman, 76, was pronounced dead at Los Angeles County-USC Medial Center shortly after the 6:10 p.m. collision at Foothill Boulevard and Dalton Avenue, Azusa police Sgt. John Madaloni said.
The driver, 74-year-old Luis Sanchez, was booked on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, as well as drunken driving causing injury, police said.
Police responded to reports that a car had struck a pedestrian, Sgt. Xavier Torres said.
“Upon arrival, officers found that an elderly female pedestrian had been struck by a vehicle, and sustained major head trauma and other significant injuries,” he said.
The was flown to the hospital by helicopter, where she succumbed to her injuries a short time later, officials said.
According to county booking records, Sanchez was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his arraignment Monday in Covina Superior Court.
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UPDATE: Fire causes $2 million in damage to San Marino realty office

SAN MARINO — A massive fire caused an estimated $2 million worth of damage to a real estate office early Friday, authorities said.
No one was injured in the four-alarm blaze, which was first reported at 1:11 a.m. at Masters Realty, 2476 Huntington Drive, San Marino Fire Department officials said in a written statement.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation Friday, San Marino Fire Department Division Chief Rick Mayhew said.
“They’re actually still trying to dig through all of the rubble to get to the actual point of origin,” Mayhew said.
Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke pouring out of the windows of the business, officials said. They immediately called for additional firefighters and began attacking the flames.
“The extreme fire conditions inside the occupancy kept firefighters from advancing any further into the structure,” the statement said.
Firefighters then called for additional backup and used large, truck-mounted hoses to control the fire before sending personnel in with handheld hoses, officials said.
Authorities continued battling the blaze for more than two and a half hours, fire officials said.
“Due to the effective actions all firefighters on scene, the fire was contained to the occupancy of origin, thus preventing any losses to the adjacent business,” according to the written statement.
The neighboring business attached to Masters Realty sustained only minor damage, Mayhew said.
In addition to the San Marino Fire Department, officials from the Los Angeles County, San Gabriel, Alhambra, Arcadia, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Monterey Park and Glendale assisted with the fire.
The fire departments make up a cooperative team of agencies that often works and trains with each other, Mayhew explained.
“They did an outstanding job, Mayhew said. “They work really well together.”
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UPDATE: Body found in burning car near Cal Poly Pomona

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POMONA — Authorities extinguished a car fire on a freeway onramp late Thursday and discovered a badly burned body inside.
The car fire was first reported to the California Highway Patrol at 10:01 p.m. on the South Campus Drive onramp to the eastbound 10 Freeway, according to CHP logs.
Because of the condition of the body, it was not immediately apparent if the dead person was male or female, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
“(The) Pomona Police Department responded to the scene due to suspicious circumstances determined by LA County Arson investigators,” Pomona police Sgt. Patrick O’Malley said. “The vehicle fire and the deceased person are currently being investigated by the Pomona Police Department’s detective bureau.”
The burning car, a newer-model Chevrolet Impala, was found along the left side of the onramp, with its rear end shifted off the road and resting on a grass hillside.
A CHP log entry at 10:08 p.m. indicated a witness who called 9-1-1, “saw a jacket in the car but doesn’t know if someone was inside,” as the car was becoming engulfed in flames.
hile it was severely scorched, it did not show damage indicating a major traffic accident.
The onramp remained shut down Friday morning as officials investigated the scene, removed the car and made sure the roadway was safe for traffic.
Anyone with information is asked to call Pomona police homicide detectives Shope or Uribe at 909-620-2095. Tips can also be left anonymously by calling 800-782-7463.

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Two men shot to death in La Habra

LA HABRA — Two La Habra men died late Thursday after being shot in a residential neighborhood, authorities said.
Nick Burresch, 24, and Phillip Reinig, 30, were pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after the 7:15 p.m. shooting in the 500 block of South Clifton Avenue, La Habra police officials said in a written statement.
Detectives were left with few clues in the double-slaying.
“The La Habra Police Department received calls of shots fired,” according to the police statement. “When officers arrived on scene, they found two gunshot victims outside a residence.”
No information regarding the circumstances of the shooting or any suspect description was available early Friday.
Anyone with information is asked to call La Habra Police at 562-905-9750. Tips can be left anonymously by dialing 562-905-9611.
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Obituary for longtime Arcadia firefighter Capt. Andy Troncale

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Andy Michael Troncale
4/8/1959 – 1/23/2012
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
Wonderful husband, father, son and friend, Andy Michael Troncale lost his valiant battle with cancer on January 23, 2012 at the age of 52.
Born to parents Steve and Evelyn Troncale and raised in Covina, CA, Andy graduated from Covina High School in 1977 and attended Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, CA, where he studied fire science. Andy later earned his Bachelor Degree from Cal State Long Beach.
Andy developed an interest in the fire service early in life and began his career as an explorer with Los Angeles County Fire Department at the age of 16. He worked for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for a brief time before being hired by the Arcadia Fire Department in 1979. Andy received several awards during his career, including the City
of Arcadia Exceptional Service Award and Arcadia Fire Department Firefighter of the Year.
As a senior Captain, he embodied the finest qualities of a true firefighter. Andy served the citizens of Arcadia with honor and distinction for nearly 30 years, retiring from the Arcadia Fire Department in 2009 after being diagnosed with advanced stage colon cancer.
Andy’s smile and sense of humor endeared him quickly to all who crossed his path. His greatest love was his family. He married the love of his life, Debbie (Clark) in 1986 and had three sons, Clark, Chad and Clint. He also loved animals, especially his dogs Cocoa and Gigi.
Andy’s interests included model trains, fishing, baseball, football, hockey, weightlifting and bicycle riding. Andy enjoyed cooking Italian food using family recipes and was a barbeque expert.
Andy is predeceased by his mother, Evelyn, and his brother, Steven. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Debbie, and their three sons, Clark (22), Chad (20), and Clint (17), his father, Steve, sister, Paula, in-laws Robert and Diane Clark, brothers-in law, nieces and nephews.
A viewing will be held on Sunday, January 29, 2012 from 4:00 – 7:00 (Rosary at 5:00 pm) at Douglass & Zook Chapel of Remembrance Funeral Home, 600 E Foothill Blvd, Monrovia, CA 91016.
Funeral services are scheduled for Monday, January 30, 2012, at 10:00 am at Holy Angels Catholic Church, 370 Campus Drive, Arcadia, CA. Interment will follow at Rose Hills Memorial Park, 3888 Workman Mill Road, Whittier, CA.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or to the Andy Troncale Benevolent Fund by mail through the Los Angeles Firemen’s Credit Union, 815 W Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041 or online at
– Courtesy of the Arcadia Fire Department
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Crash shuts down four lanes of 605 Freeway

INDUSTRY — A multi-car injury crash briefly shut down four northbound lanes of the 605 Freeway in Industry Thursday, officials said.
The crash was reported at 3:36 p.m. on the northbound freeway, just north of Peck Road, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
Initial reports indicated at least three cars were involved, and one of them had overturned.
The two left lanes were re-opened by 4 p.m., and the remaining affected lines were re-opened shortly after 4 p.m.
It was not immediately clear how many people were injured, or the extent of the injuries.
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Trial begins for man accused of shooting, paralyzing teen near Monrovia

ALHAMBRA — Trial began Thursday for an alleged Duarte gang member accused shooting and paralyzing a then-16-year-old boy in 2008, officials said.
Jimmy Santana, 23, is charged with attempted murder for shooting a 16-year-old boy has he rode his bicycle in the 2500 block of Peck Road, in an unincorporated county area near Monrovia, on Jan. 29, 2008.
Investigators have described the wounded teen as an innocent young man who got caught in the crossfire of a feud between black and Latino gangs in the area in late 2007 and early 2008.
After a jury was selected in for the case in Alhambra Superior Court, opening arguments were heard Thursday and the alleged victim took the stand to testify, court officials said.
At a hearing 2 months after the shooting, the young man described how he was riding home from a dairy when a car approached and a gunman, later identified as Santana, opened fire while shouting gang slogans.
According to county booking records, Santana is being held in lieu of $2 million bail.
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