Police: Woman, boy killed when minivan struck by fleeing suspects in Pasadena

PASADENA — A woman and an 11-year-old boy died Tuesday when a minivan they were riding in was struck by an SUV vehicle that was fleeing police, officials said.
The fatal crash took place about 9 p.m. at the corner of Maple Street and North Marengo Avenue, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said.
The names of the 25-year-old woman and boy who died in the collision were not released Wednesday pending family notification, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said. Their cities of residence were not available.
Four unidentified persons were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter following the deadly collision, Sanchez said.
The pursuit began after officers attempted to stop a silver SUV for a traffic violation about a mile north of the crash scene at Marengo Avenue and Claremont Street, police said.
The suspect vehicle fled at a high rate of speed and police followed with lights and sirens, Sanchez said.
“The victims’ vehicle was attempting to make a left turn when it was struck,” Sanchez said.
There were five people in the car which was hit, he said.
The three other people inside the minivan were taken to local hospitals for treatment, officials said, though the extent of the injuries was not clear.
Four people inside the SUV were treated for moderate injuries and arrested, police said.
Pasadena police will investigate the circumstances of the accident and consult with the California Highway Patrol, Sanchez said. No further details were available.

- Frank Girardot and Brian Day

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Man arrested near Whittier following alleged El Monte tablet computer robbery

Police and sheriff’s deputies arrested a parolee Saturday in West Whittier after he robbed an El Monte office supply store of tablet computers, authorities said.
Teo Crazybull, 30, was booked on suspicion of robbery following the crime, which took place about 1 p.m. at Staples, 3542 Peck Road, according to El Monte police and Los Angeles County booking records. His city of residence was not available.
Employees were immediately on alert when Crazybull entered the store, as they recognized him from two days earlier when he stole a laptop computer, El Monte police Lt. David Vautrin said.
He used a box cutter to slice open the packaging of three tablet computers and took the devices, Vautrin said.
When confronted by employees, Crazybull allegedly threatened them with an unknown sharp object and fled in a Nissan Maxima.
El Monte officers caught up with Crazybull’s car on the eastbound San Bernardino (10) Freeway and followed him as he got onto the southbound San Gabriel River (605) Freeway, the lieutenant said. The officers were not in pursuit.
The Maxima eluded officers in the area of Peck Road, Vautrin said, but Whittier police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies soon spotted the vehicle as it continued southbound on the 605 Freeway.
The officers and deputies pulled Crazybull over at the Slauson Avenue exit in an unincorporated area west of Whittier and arrested him without a struggle, Whittier police said.
Records indicated Crazybull was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

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Shoe store robbed in Pasadena

PASADENA — An armed man robbed a Lake Avenue shoe store late Saturday, police said.
The crime was reported just before 7 p.m. at a shoe store in the 1200 block of N. Lake Avenue, just south of Washington Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Cheryl Moody said.
The robber entered the store, brandished a handgun and demanded cash, she said. The female clerk complied, and the robber fled with about $100.
He was described as a white or Latino man, about 6 feet tall, of thin build and wearing dark clothing, police said.

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Azusa man killed by alleged drunken driver identified

AZUSA — Coroner’s officials Sunday released the name of an Azusa man who was killed in a collision with an alleged drunken driver on Saturday.
Jose Reyes, 57, died at the scene of the the 12:11 a.m. crash at Gladstone Street and Jackson Avenue, in an unincorporated county area near Azusa, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Kerry McKibben said.
Juan C. Salinas-Reyes, 38, of Azusa, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, vehicular manslaughter and driving on a suspended license following the collision, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Stephen Sullinger.
Reyes was northbound on Jackson Avenue crossing Gladstone Street when his 2006 Toyota was broadsided by a 2001 GMC being driven by Salinas-Reyes eastbound on Gladstone Street at about 80 mph.
The fatal crash is being investigated by the Baldwin Park Office of the CHP, and any witness are asked to contact the office at 626-338-1164.

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One arrested, one sought on suspicion of robbing La Puente shoe store of Air Jordans

LA PUENTE — Deputies jailed one man and sought another Sunday on suspicion of robbing a La Puente shoe store of eight pairs of Nike Air Jordan shoes, authorities said.
Ralph Ramon, 25, of Downey was arrested on suspicion of robbery, while his alleged partner remained at-large, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Ernie Barbosa said.
The crime was reported just before 10 a.m. at Warehouse Shoe Sale, 1081 N. Hacienda Blvd., the sergeant said.
Two men pretended to be shopping inside the store before they grabbed eight pairs of Air Jordan shoes, Barbosa said. One of the robbers brandished what appeared to be a handgun before they fled.
Deputies responded and were told the robbers had left the area in a silver Toyota Corolla, Barbosa said.
The car was not immediately found in the area, he said. But about two hours later, a deputy discovered it parked at a vacant business in the 13400 block of Valley Boulevard in Bassett, officials said.
The eight pairs of sneakers stolen from the shoe store were found in the Corolla, along with a replica handgun, according to the sergeant.
Minutes after the discovery of the abandoned car, which was later reported stolen but believed to be tied to a girlfriend of one of the suspects, officials received a report of a residential break-in about half a mile away in the 13600 block of Proctor Avenue.
Deputies arrived to find a man hopping between roofs in the residential neighborhood and set up a search perimeter, Barbosa said.
Ramos was found nearby hiding under a trailer and arrested, officials said. The second suspect who was seen hopping on roofs was not found.

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UPDATED: Armed man fatally shot by deputies after stand-off near Whittier

WHITTIER — Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed an armed man and took his girlfriend into custody early Sunday after they shot at police and deputies and holed up inside a garage in an unincorporated county area near Whittier.
The dead man was initially described as a man in his 30s, Lt. David Coleman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
His name was not released pending positive identification and notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Jerry McKibben said.
Sheriff’s officials declined to release the name of the female suspect.
She was expected to face charges of attempted murder of peace officers, as well as murder for the death of her boyfriend, Coleman said. Under California law, a person can be charged with murder whenever a death results from the commission of a felony.
The incident began shortly after midnight Whittier police were shot at while trying to stop a car that had been reported stolen, according to Capt. Michael Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau.
Whittier police tried to pull over a stolen SUV at Telegraph Road and Pioneer Boulevard, initiating a pursuit, Whittier police Lt. Steve Dean said.
Officers quickly canceled the pursuit, as the fleeing car was creating a dangerous situation by speeding with no headlights on and with a flat tire, Dean said.
But a deputy from the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station spotted the SUV — a black Jeep — driving “recklessly” in the area of Washington and Norwalk boulevards, Coleman said.
The deputy then saw the SUV crash through a fence at the Choisser Street cul-de-sac and ended up in the middle of Norwalk Boulevard, Coleman said.
The man and woman then exited the SUV, both armed with handguns, as Whittier police officers were arriving at the scene from the north and south,officials said. The woman had been driving the SUV.
“The female suspect fired her handgun in a northerly direction. The male suspect fired in a southerly direction,” Coleman said.
No officers were hurt, and no Whittier police officers were aware they were being fired upon at the time, Dean said.
The man and woman continued to flee on foot, and officials set up a search perimeter in the area, officials said.
As the search continued through the night, deputies heard a male voice coming from inside a residential garage, which had been converted into living space, in the 7600 block of Norwalk Boulevard, Coleman said.
The garage was freestanding in the backyard of a home, and was not believed to be tied to the suspects.
“He yelled at the deputies not to enter and indicated he had a hostage,” he said.
Nearby homes were evacuated and a sheriff’s SWAT team was summoned to the scene, and the woman came out of the garage and surrendered about 4:30 a.m., authorities said. But the man remained holed up inside.
About two hours later, “Deputies heard a gunshot from within,” Coleman said.
Within minutes, “The suspect exited the garage door and produced a handgun,” he said. Deputies shot the man, striking him at least twice.
Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene, officials said. A handgun was found near his body.
It was not clear Sunday if any additional weapons were recovered.
The SUV crashed by the suspects prior to the stand-off and shooting had been reported stolen out of Lakewood, Colorado, Coleman said. It had been fitted with license plates taken in Wyoming, and California license plates were also found inside the vehicle.
“It seems they’ve been working their way west from Colorado,” Coleman said.
Like all fatal deputy-involved shooting in Los Angeles County, the shooting was being investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and sheriff’s Internal Affairs Bureau, as well as the County of Los Angeles Office of Independent Review.

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UPDATED: Two boys killed, father injured in Santa Fe Springs crash

SANTA FE SPRINGS — Two young brothers were killed and their father was badly injured Friday when their Honda Civic crashed into a power pole and was sheared in half, police said.
Damian Medina, 11, and Jonathann Medina, 13, died at the scene of the crash, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said. Their city of residence was listed as Los Angeles.
Jonathann Medina was better known to friends as Nathan.
The 33-year-old driver and father of the boys and witnesses told investigators that another vehicle cut off the Civic, causing it to lose control and hit the pole, Whittier police Lt. Kent Miller in a written statement. The driver’s name was not released.
Police responded at 5:53 p.m. to a 9-1-1 call about a traffic accident on Los Nietos Road, just east of Norwalk Boulevard.

“When officers arrived they found a Honda Civic sheared in half after apparently colliding with a power pole on the south side of Los Nietos Road,” the statement said.
“Witnesses said the victim vehicle crossed the oncoming lanes at high speed. After hitting the pole the front half of the vehicle continued a significant distance from the power pole ending up on the property of a local business.”
The second vehicle did not stop, police added. The speed at which the Civic was traveling when it crashed was unavailable.
Damian Medina was found lying in the middle of the street after being thrown from the car, police said.
Officials found Nathan Medina in the front passenger seat.
It was unclear Saturday whether seat belts were used.
The boys’ father suffered “significant injuries” and was taken to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where he was listed in stable condition, officials said.
No description of the second vehicle possibly involved in the crash was available.
Though they were listed with coroner’s officials as Los Angeles residents, friends gathered a roadside memorial Saturday said they spent a lot of time with relatives in Whittier.
Family friend Jasmine Palomo, 17, of Whittier said she’s known the boys most of their lives.
“Yesterday, we went to the market and we passed by (the crash scene),” she said. But she didn’t realize the crash involved people she knew.
Palomo said she was “heartbroken” to find out the crash involved the Medina family, and that Damian and Nathan were dead.
“Nathan always used to call me his big sister,” she said. “And I called him my little brother.”
Nathan enjoyed playing basketball, friends said.
“He also liked music. He was always dancing,” Palomo said, adding that the teen was especially fond of techno music.
Damien was a fan of video games, often carrying around his Nintendo DS, she said. “Me and Damien would always talk about video games.”
The brothers had a close relationship with one another, Palomo said.
Nathan Medina was an eighth-grader at Los Nietos Middle School, while Damian was in sixth grade at Aeolian Elementary School, said Marie Luisa Gamboa, who knew Nathan from his school, where she works as a special education assistant.
Though Nathan was goofy, funny and fun-loving, he was always “extremely respectful,” Gamboa said.
“He always made people laugh,” friend Mckayla Reyes, 13, of Santa Fe Springs, who went to school with Nathan.
“He had a smile on his face every day,” added another classmate, 13-year-old Kimberly Marquez.
The investigation into the cause of the crash was ongoing, police said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Whittier Police Department, which provides police services to Santa Fe Springs, at 562-567-9200.
- Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales

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Off-duty sheriff’s deputy and brother shot at in Altadena

ALTADENA — An off-duty sheriff’s deputy and his brother escaped injury early Saturday after they were attacked in a car-to-car shooting, officials said.
The shooting took place about 3:40 a.m. as the deputy was driving his personal vehicle in the area of Lincoln Avenue and Harriet Street, with his brother riding in the front passenger seat, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Cynthia Gonzalez said.
“A dark-colored Lexus sedan pulled alongside the driver’s side of the deputy’s vehicle and a passenger from the suspect vehicle fired three rounds from a handgun at the deputy’s vehicle before speeding away,” Gonzalez said.
One bullet struck the deputy’s car, she said, however neither he nor his brother were hurt.
Fellow deputies searched the area but did not find the attackers.
A motive in the shooting was unclear, Gonzalez said, and no further details were available.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the sheriff’s Altadena Station at 626-798-1131. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by contacting L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Baldwin Park man dies in solo-car crash near West Covina

WEST COVINA — A 25-year-old Baldwin Park man died early Saturday in a solo-car crash in an unincorporated county area just outside of West Covina, authorities said.
Andrew Joey Villagran died shortly after the 2 a.m. crash on San Bernardino Road, just east of Orange Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer Jimmy Frausto said in a written statement.
Villagran was driving a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle west on San Bernardino Road when, “For unknown reasons, Mr. Villagran allowed the Volkswagen to to veer in a southwesterly direction,” Frausto said.
The car crossed both lanes of opposing traffic before crashing into a wooden utility pole, the officer said.
Paramedics took Villagran to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center where he died from his injuries a short time later, officials said.
Anyone with information was asked to call the Baldwin Park office of the CHP at 626-338-1164.

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Man accused of 2008 murders of father and son in Montebello

A Montebello man is in custody for the 2008 shooting deaths of a father and son at a graduation party.
Montebello police said Joe John Dorantes, 27, was arrested Dec. 6 for two counts of murder stemming from a June 21, 2008 homicide in the 100 block of East Madison Avenue. Police didn’t release any further details about the case or the arrest.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Dorantes with the murders of Juan Garcia, 44, of Perris and his 12-year-old son, Albert Garcia of Hemet. Dorantes is also accused of the attempted murders of Emmanuelle Soltero and Ernesto Cortez.
The criminal complaint alleged that the crimes were committed for the benefit of a gang, that Dorantes used a handgun and intentionally fired the weapon which caused great bodily injury and death to the victims.
He was arraigned Dec. 10 and pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the DA’s Office.
Dorantes will return Jan. 11 to Los Angeles Superior Court to set a date for his preliminary hearing.
The DA’s Office hasn’t decided whether it will seek the death penalty against him.
Dorantes is being held without bail at Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles.
He’s not the first person accused of the fatal shootings.
On August 2008, police arrested then 15-year-old Angel Sosa on suspicion of killing the Garcias and assaulting with a firearm Emmanuelle Soltero.
The Montebello teen was tried as an adult. A Los Angeles Superior Court jury acquitted Sosa of all the charges on June 11, 2010.
Juan and Albert Garcia were guests at a high school graduation party for a blind girl which was held in a Montebello backyard.
Authorities said the father and son weren’t involved in the dispute that led to the shooting. The earlier confrontation involved members of a tagging crew and a Montebello gang.
The prosecution at Sosa’s trial said members of the gang were friends with a teenage girl who lived at the house where the party was held.
The gang members came uninvited and were on the porch when someone from the tagging crew walked by, stared hard at them and yelled out the name of the crew.
The gangsters beat him and he left. The teenaged girl told the gang members to leave.
Several young men later showed up and asked for one of the gang members. An argument occurred when people at the party told the young men to leave.
Then the shooting broke out.

- Ruby Gonzales

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