Shots fired during road rage incident in Irwindale

IRWINDALE — An apparent incident of road rage turned into a shooting Thursday one one of the drivers pulled a handgun and shot it into the air, police said.
A passer-by reported seeing the argument between two men just after 7 a.m. at Foothill Boulevard and Irwindale Avenue, Irwindale police Lt. Mario Camacho said. By Thursday afternoon, however, no one had come forward to report being involved in the incident.
The witness called 9-1-1 and reported two men who were stopped at a red light on Foothill Boulevard had been in an argument, the lieutenant said.
One of the men got out of his car and kicked the other driver’s car, he said. The other man responded by drawing a handgun and firing it into the air.
Both drivers then fled the area and were last seen heading south on Irwindale Avenue, police said.
The gunman was described as a Latino man, about 30 years old, with a shaved head and mustache, wearing a gray T-shirt, Camacho said. He drove an older-model Toyota sedan, possibly a Corolla.
The other man was described as white, 50 to 60 years old, with gray hair and a gray mustache, wearing a brown dress shirt and gray slacks, police said. He drove a brown, four-door sedan.
Anyone with information was asked to call Irwindale police detectives at 626-430-2245.
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UPDATE: School locked down in El Monte during search for car theft suspect

EL MONTE — Deputies places Potrero Elementary School on lockdown Thursday as they searched a neighborhood for a man who ran from a stolen car, officials said.
A deputy tried to pull over a 1995 Honda Civic that had been reported stolen Wednesday from the Industry area when the car driver failed to pull over and led the deputy on a brief chase, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tim Murakami said.
The driver abandoned the car near Potrero Avenue and Anderson Road in El Monte and continued to flee on foot, the lieutenant said.
Authorities placed nearby Potrero Elementary School, 2611 N. Potrero Ave., on lockdown as a precaution as they continued the manhunt, he said.
The situation came to an end about an hour later when deputies found their quarry hiding in the backyard of a home in the 2500 block of Sastre Avenue and arrested him without further incident, Murakami said. His name was not immediately available.
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Alhambra man’s second murder trial scheduled to begin

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ALHAMBRA — The second murder trial for an Alhambra man accused of killing his girlfriend and hiding her body in a trash can in Arcadia is scheduled to begin Friday, officials said.
Isaac Campbell, 37, is charged with the Aug. 12, 2007 slaying of Liya “Jessie” Lu, 31. of San Gabriel.
An Alhambra Superior Court deadlocked late last year 10-2 in favor of convicting Campbell of murder, and prosecutors elected to re-try the case.
Though the trial is scheduled to begin Friday, Deputy District Attorney Steve Ipsen, who is prosecuting the case, said he expects the proceedings to get off to a slow start.
Officials Friday will probably only set a date for jury selection, he said, which will likely be next week.
Campbell is accused of killing Lu in his apartment.
He then hid her body in a trash can which he stored at a friend’s home in Arcadia, authorities allege. The friend notified police after discovering Lu’s remains.
The defense argued during the first murder trial that Campbell did not kill Lu, but rather merely discovered her body and handled the situation badly. He was arrested in Minnesota.
Coroner’s officials were never able to determine exactly how Lu died.
According to county booking records, Campbell was being held in lieu of $1,025,000 bail.
PHOTO of Isaac Campbell: courtesy
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Coroner: Body found set ablaze in Altadena was bound

ALTADENA — The investigation continued Thursday into the mysterious death of a man whose burning and bound body was found on a sidewalk in Altadena earlier this week.
The unidentified body was found, set ablaze, about 6 a.m. Sunday in the 2600 block of Windsor Avenue.
Lt. Matt Burson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said the investigation now hinges on the findings of coroner’s investigators.
An autopsy was completed Wednesday, however the man’s cause of death remained unknown pending further examination, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Coroner’s officials did indicate, however, that the body’s feet were bound when it was found, and a ligature was found around one of the wrists.
Burson said it was unclear whether the man was alive when first discovered on fire by a passer-by.
“Honestly, we can’t even make that determination,” he said.
He declined to say whether the first witnesses at the scene reported whether the man was moving or motionless.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
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Sheared hydrant blocks traffic on Azusa Ave. in Industry

INDUSTRY — Southbound traffic on Azusa Avenue was shut down briefly Thursday morning after a car sheared off a fire hydrant, authorities said.
The incident was reported about 6 a.m. on Azusa Avenue at Railroad Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Russell Boucher said.
A car crashed into a fire hydrant, causing flooding beneath the railroad bridge, the sergeant said. Officials briefly shut down the southbound lanes as they shut off the water flow and allowed the flooding to drain.
No crime was initially suspected in the crash.
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Gunman robs Industry Buffalo Wild Wings

INDUSTRY – An armed man wearing gloves got away with an undisclosed amount after robbing a restaurant Wednesday.
Sheriff’s Lt. John Saleeby said no one was injured in the 11:45 p.m. robbery at Buffalo Wild Wings, 1576 S. Azusa Ave.
He said the suspect, who was carrying a handgun, walked into the business and demanded money. After being handed the cash, the robber ran off.
The suspect was only described as wearing a hooded sweatshirt, dark-colored pants and gloves.
- Ruby Gonzales
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Sex offender suspected of molesting teen at Monterey Park gym

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MONTEREY PARK — A transient and registered sex offender pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of exposing himself and molesting a teenage boy at gym, officials said.
Javier DeLeon Madgaleno, 54, was arrested Monday in Rosemead on suspicion of lewd acts with a child, indecent exposure and child annoyance, Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement.
After pleading not guilty, Magdaleno was ordered to return to Alhambra Superior Court May 11 for a preliminary hearing setting, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
The incident took place at L.A. Fitness, 416 S. Atlantic Blvd., according to Lt. Carrie Mazelin.
“Madgaleno was identified after the victim, a 15-year-old male, reported the incident to the police,” the lieutenant said.
Magdaleno is known to frequent L.A. Fitness gyms in Alhambra and Arcadia, as well as a Bally’s Fitness in Rosemead, officials said. His primary purpose for the visits is to shower.
According to the state registry of sex offenders, Magdaleno has previous convictions for indecent exposure and child annoyance, though the dates of his convictions were not available.
Gym staff members were “very cooperative” with the police investigation, Mazelin added.
Because of Magdaleno’s frequent gym visits, police said they were concerned there may be additional victims. Anyone with information was asked to contact Monterey Park police detectives at 626-307-1236.
PHOTO of Javier Magdaleno courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department.
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72-year-old Montebello man denies murdering wife

EAST LOS ANGELES — A 72-year-old man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge that a strangled his wife at the the couple’s Montebello home last month, authorities said.
Baghdo Hayrapetyan denied the murder of 63-year-old Anahit Hayrapetyan in East Los Angeles Superior Court, officials said. He was ordered to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court May 22 for a preliminary hearing setting.
The husband is accused of choking his wife to death May 5 at their apartment in the 2000 block of West Whittier Boulevard, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
Police found him suffering from self-inflicted stab wounds, investigators said, and he was hospitalized with major injuries, delaying the trial process.
A motive in the slaying has not been released.
According to county booking records, Baghdo Hayrapetyan was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
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La Habra Heights man, Hacienda Heights man, La Mirada man among 9 accused of mortgage fraud

LOS ANGELES — Two San Gabriel Valley residents are accused of leading a mortgage fraud ring that stole $2.3 million from CitiMortage and MetLife Bank, authorities announced Wednesday.
Gerard Bueno, 35, of La Habra Heights and Jesus Vega Jr., 28, of Hacienda Heights are accused of leading the fraud ring, which also included seven others, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Detective Christopher Derry said in a written statement.
One New York man and six other California residents were arrested in connection with the scheme, Derry said, including George Kent, 66, of La Mirada.
Between 2007 and 2009, Bueno ran an organization he called Pres Mex, Inc., while Vega ran a group called JVJ, Inc., authorities said.
The two are accused of fraudulently obtaining titles to six Los Angeles County homes through “various means,” the detective said.
“They then obtained loans against the properties in the names of straw buyers, two of which were identity theft victims, and in effect ‘sold’ the properties to themselves at inflated prices that they themselves set,” Derry said.
“Bueno and Vega Jr. recruited friends, family members and acquaintances to act as straw buyers, provided stolen identities, provided false bank account verifications, provided false employment information, and notarized documents when signers were not present,” he added. “Bueno and Vega Jr. split the profits from the fraudulent sales, and paid the other suspects for the aforementioned acts. All six fraudulently obtained loans that went into default.”
Investigators began rounding up the nine suspects April 12 and arrested the final suspect Wednesday, officials said. The suspect jailed in New York was awaiting extradition to California.
The nine suspects are charged with a variety of crimes including grand theft, identity theft, forgery and procuring or offering false or forged instruments, Derry said.
The investigation was handled by the sheriff’s Commercial Crimes Bureau Real Estate Fraud Team and the U.S. Department of Housing and Development.
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La Habra woman accused of killing infant son pleads not guilty

SANTA ANA — A La Habra woman accused of killing her infant son by throwing from a fourth-floor parking structure pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murder and child abuse, officials said.
Sonia Hermosillo, 31, is accused of killing her 7-month-old son, Noe Medina Jr., who died two days after she allegedly removed a protective helmet he wore because of a medical condition and tossed him off a parking struck at The Children’s Hospital of Orange County on Aug. 22, 2011.
Wednesday arraignment was Hermosillo’s first time entering a plea, Orange County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Farrah Emami said.
Her attorneys had previously argued that she was mentally incompetent to stand trial, however a judge ruled last month that Hermosillo was, in fact, mentally capable of understanding the proceedings and ordered the trial process to begin.
Investigators arrested Hermosillo when she drove back to the hospital, where police were investigating the baby’s fall, authorities said. 
A motive in the alleged killing has not been officially released, however Hermosillo’s husband, Noe Medina, has previously said she suffered from postpartum depression and had difficulty accepting their infant son, who suffered from treatable medical conditions.
Hermosillo was being held in lieu of $1 million bail, Emami said. She was ordered to return to court June 22 for a preliminary hearing.
If convicted as charged, Hermosillo faces up to 50 years to life in state prison.
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