GLENDORA — A man robbed a pharmacy of six bottles of painkillers Friday but was arrested quickly after an employee held up a “Call 9-1-1” sign at the drive-thru window.
Officials Friday declined to file charges against a Diamond Bar man arrested earlier this week with what sheriff’s investigators described as bomb components.
Prosecutors did not find sufficient evidence for a charge of malicious possession of a false or facsimile bomb against 48-year-old Steven Ladd, however the parolee remained jailed due to an existing narcotics warrant, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials and county booking records.
Deputies arrested Ladd shortly after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at his home in the 22000 block of Hilton Head Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
They had responded to a report of a family dispute when the realized Ladd was a parolee with an outstanding warrant for his arrest, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Saleeby said.
Deputies then found a what appeared to be a pipe bomb, complete with a fuse system, but lacking any explosives, officials said. Investigators said Ladd claimed the device was a movie prop, though he had no known ties to the film industry.
Prosecutors declined to file charges Friday against a Rosemead man arrested earlier this week on suspicion of shooting two men.
Originally jailed Wednesday on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. shooting in the 600 block of Rural Drive in Monterey Park, the charge against 21-year-old Geovanny Cardonalarios was declined for further investigation, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
He was expected to be released from jail, Monterey Park police Sgt. Frank Duke said Friday afternoon.
Police allege he shot and wounded two Monterey Park men who are in their early 20s in a drive-by attack. Both shooting victims were expected to survive.
Investigators suspected the shooting may have been retaliation for a stabbing that occurred about an hour prior to the shooting in Rosemead.
Cardonalarios’ brother, 21, was at Garvey Park with his girlfriend when he was stabbed and seriously wounded by two to three men, police said. The stabbing victim suffered serious injuries but was expected to survive, Duke said, while his girlfriend was not hurt.
A Whittier gang member received his sentence Friday for the fatal 2009 shooting of a father of five in Uptown Whittier, officials said.
Brandon Valdez, a 26-year-old documented member of the Whittier Varrio Locos street gang, will spend 50 years to life in state prison for the May 16, 2009, slaying of 27-year-old Daniel “Danny Boy” Quijada outside his home in the 6300 block of Milton Avenue, Norwalk Superior Court officials said.
A jury convicted Valdez in January of first-degree murder, along with the special allegation that the crime was carried out in connection with a criminal street gang, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
Quijada had four children, and his wife was seven months pregnant with their fifth child at the time of the shooting.
Though Quijada was a former gang member, there was no testimony presented at trial indicating he was still active with a gang, prosecutor Brock Lunsford said.
Testimony indicated Quijada was targeted by Valdez’s gang — which claims the area as its territory — for engaging in “activities” not sanctioned by the gang, Lunsford said.
Witnesses indicated that Quijada may have angered the gang by selling drugs in the area the claim as their turf, and that Quijada had a heated argument with another Whittier Varrio Locos member in the weeks leading up to the shooting.
Valdez was named in a 2008 Whittier gang injunction targeting the Whittier Varrio Locos gang.
Though some law enforcement stations instructed officials to pay extra attention to movie theatres while on patrol in response to the mass shooting during a midnight showing of a new Batman movie in Colorado, police and sheriff’s officials in the San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena and Whittier areas largely operated as usual Friday.
Preliminary reports indicated that the shooter, who allegedly killed at least twelve and wounded dozens during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, had no ties to any terrorist organization, according to the FBI.
“While the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado appears to be an isolated incident, our vigilance has been raised,” according to Capt. Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau. “The heightened alert of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department includes increased patrols to create a more visible presence at movie theaters and other places where people congregate.”
The sheriff’s department operates stations in Pico Rivera, Norwalk, Industry, Temple City, Walnut, San Dimas, Crescenta Valley and Altadena, among others throughout Los Angeles County.
In addition to extending condolences to the victims, their loved ones and first-responders affected by the shooting, Parker and other officials encouraged citizens to report any suspicious activity immediately.
“The greatest deterrent to crime is often a phone call to law enforcement by a person who sees something that just doesn’t look right,” the captain said.
Many San Gabriel Valley-area law enforcement officials said they were not particularly worried about any incidents at local movie theaters.
“It seems like such an isolated incident,” Pasadena Police Lt. Diego Torres said. “We don’t plan extra patrols at this point.”
But extra patrols may be added if appropriate, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said in a written statement.
“The Pasadena Police Department initiated proactive steps this morning by visiting movie theaters in our community to determine security level(s),” he added.
The Pasadena Police Department’s heightened diligence may include extra patrols and additional police presence as appropriate.
Torres added that as normal procedure, Pasadena police keep aware of the layouts of large gathering places, such as movie theaters, so they can quickly respond in the case of an emergency.
Police had similar views throughout the region.
“We’re actively listening and learning, just like everyone else,” Alhambra police Sgt. Sean Heckers said.
Additional patrols were not planned, he added.
“We don’t have anything that would cause us to do that,” Heckers said.
Movie theaters tend to be heavily patrolled by police officers and sheriff’s deputies in general, officials said.
“We do a pretty good job of patrolling these theaters,” West Covina police Sgt. Tony Cortina said. “We have a very high presence.”
Covina police officials said officers were advised during Friday morning’s briefing to keep an extra eye on local theaters, though no special patrol operations were planned.
Los Angeles police checked in on Hollywood movie theaters after learning of the Colorado shooting but found no security issues, Los Angeles Police officials said.
El Monte police were keeping in contact with the manager of the theater in that city to make sure everything was okay, Lt. Dan Burlingham said.
Though no special patrols were planned in West Covina, Cortina said, officers may may spend a little extra time making themselves visible near theaters, “just for the peace of mind of the public,” he said.
Pico Rivera sheriff’s Lt. John Kepley also said deputies tend to patrol the city’s movie theater, located on Whittier Boulevard, heavily.
A compliment of reserve deputies are assigned to the Pico Rivera Krikorian theater full-time, he said.
When it comes to the theater, “We try to be pro-active,” Kepley said. “We want it to be a family environment.”
Sgt. Cortina said that tragedies such as the one in Colorado serve as a somber reminder for patrol officers.
“We train for active shooter scenarios like these,” he said. “This freshens in (officers’) minds that things can happen like this anywhere at any given time.”