Pasadena man arrested on suspicion of ‘hot prowl’ burglary

PASADENA — Police jailed a burglary suspect early Saturday after a woman awoke to find him in her bedroom, authorities said.
Cody Cicci, 20, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of burglary in connection with the 4:45 a.m.”hot prowl” break-in in the 300 block of South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
A woman awoke to discover Cicci entering her bedroom, the lieutenant said. “He was then startled by her presence and fled. She called 9-1-1.”
Responding officers spotted Cicci running in the 200 block of South El Molino Avenue, Clawson said. They gave chase and took him into custody after cornering him behind an apartment complex.
“He was found in possession of the victims credit cards,” Clawson said.
Officials were in the process of carrying out a search warrant at Cicci’s home Saturday morning in search of additional stolen property, he added.

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Redlands man dies in Baldwin Park shooting

Raymond Vasquez, 22, of Redlands

BALDWIN PARK – A 22-year-old Redlands man died late Friday at the scene of drive-by shooting in Baldwin Park, officials said.
Raymond Leonard Vasquez was killed in the 10:20 p.m. shooting in the 3100 block of Maine Avenue, just north of Francisquito Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said.
Few details regarding the shooting were available Saturday morning.
“The victim was standing outside in the 3100 block of Maine Avenue, Baldwin Park, when he was shot multiple times in the upper torso,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “Investigators have no suspect description and are asking for the public’s assistance.”
Vasquez died in a residential driveway, and the shots were believed to have come from a passing vehicle, officials said. No suspect or vehicle description was available, and the motive was not clear.
A nearby who resident who asked that her name be withheld for fear of retaliation said she was washing clothes when she heard a gunshot.
Raymond Vasquez memorialAfter a second or two of silence, the woman said she heard another series of gunshots in rapid succession.
“It was maybe like five or eight,” she said.
The woman saihe then saw gray car, resembling a Dodge Stratus, speeding away from the area.
Sheriff’s officials Saturday could not confirm the gray vehicle was involved.
“I got kind of scared. My kids were in the back,” the woman added.
A memorial of candles, flowers and balloons marked the site of the killing Saturday. One balloon bore the handwritten message, “In loving memory of Ray Ray.”
The memorial also included a photograph of Vasquez holding a young girl, though it was unclear if he was a father.
Family members of Vasquez could not be reached for comment Saturday.-
Baldwin Park police deferred comment to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are assisting Baldwin Park police in the investigation.
Anyone with information was asked to contact detectives at 323-890-5500.

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Rancho Cucamonga man acquitted of murder charge in death of Pico Rivera man

NORWALK — A jury Friday acquitted a man accused of intentionally running down another man with a car of murder and manslaughter, but convicted him of drunken driving and hit-and-run, authorities said.
Alfredo Campos, 39, of Rancho Cucamonga was released from custody on his own recognizance following the reading of the verdict pending a June 27 sentencing in Norwalk Superior Court, court officials said. He faces a maximum of four years in prison, though he’s already served more than 18 months in jail prior to trial.
Campos was charged with murder after fatally striking Richard Quintana Becerra, 28, of Pico Rivera with his car following an Oct. 20, 2011, argument at Passons Boulevard and Telegraph Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Investigators and prosecutors alleged he intentionally struck Becerra immediately following a fight. Becerra died at the scene.
But after about two days of deliberation, the jury found Campos not guilty of the more serious charges, convicting him of drunken driving causing great bodily injury and fleeing the scene of a crash.
Campos continued driving after striking Becerra, officials said, but was followed by sheriff’s deputies and arrested in an unincorporated county area near Whittier.

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Mysterious odor prompts evacuation of Pasadena fertility clinic

PASADENA — A strange order at a fertility clinic prompted a hazardous materials response from firefighters Friday after people began complaining of headaches, eye irritation and sore throats, officials said.
The odor was first reported about 1:15 p.m. at the Pasadena branch of Huntington Reproductive Clinics, 333 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Five people were taken to a hospital with complaints of scratchy throats, eye irritation and headaches, she said. Firefighters declared the situation a hazmat incident, and firefighters from the Glendale Fire Department responded to assist.
Eighteen other people declined to be taken to a hospital and were being evaluated at the scene, Derderian said.
Hazardous materials crews ultimately found no signs of a dangerous substance, Derderian said. Whatever the source of the odor, it appeared to be some type of small leak that dissipated on its own.
Motorists saw significant slowing along Arroyo Parkway beteeen Del Mar Boulevard and Bellevue Drive as a result of the incident, Derderians said.

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Azusa restaurant’s alcohol license revoked

AZUSA — State officials have revoked an Azusa restaurants alcohol license after investigators found the business was running an illegal drink solicitation scheme, police and California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control officials said.
Officials posted notice Thursday that the liquor license for La Fonda Restaurant, 1044 W. Gladstone Street, had been revoked, ABC spokesman John Carr said in a written statement.
The illicit scheme involved allowing patrons to pay an inflated price for their beverage in exchange for the company of women working in conjunction with the bar, officials explained.
“The bar would receive the cash for the alcohol and pay out a commission to the female employees,” Carr said. “This type of drink solicitation and commission scheme is a violation of the California Business and Professions Code.”
Undercover agents conducted an investigation into the restaurant in 2010 and 2011, ultimately resulting in the establishment’s alcohol license being revoked.

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Gang members sentenced for Pico Rivera teen’s slaying

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NORWALK — A judge sentenced three gang members Friday for the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old Pico Rivera boy with no gang ties and the attempted murder of his teenage friend.
Norwalk Superior Court Judge John Torribio sentenced Michael “Whisper” Barrios, 30, of Pomona and Thomas “Soldier” Arellanes, 28, who was homeless at the time of his arrest, to 82 years to life in prison for the Nov. 1, 2010 slaying of El Rancho Robert Velazquez, 17, Pico Rivera2High School student Robert Velazquez of Pico Rivera in the 4000 block of Zola Avenue, said Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Brock Lunsford, who prosecuted the case. Velazquez’s friend, Ruth Rodriguez, escaped injury.
Fellow convict Enrique “Wacky” Medina, 34, of Pomona received a sentence of 42 years to life, Lunsford said. He is Barrios’ step-brother.
All three killers are members of the Brown Authority street gang, officials said. In addition to charges of murder and attempted murder, the jury also found true a special, sentence-enhancing allegation that the crime was gang-related.
The jury further found true another special allegation on the parts of Barrios and Arellanes that a gun was used in the slaying, Lunsford said.
“We got justice that was fair,” said Velazquez’s father, Jose Velazquez. “Now my son can rest completely, be in peace.”
“They’ll never hurt anyone else again,” the father added.
“I think this is a fair sentence,” the prosecutor said. “It’s obviously not going to bring Robert back to life, but at least there’s some justice being served. I hope this brings some sense of closure and peace to the Velazquez family.”
Robert Velazquez’s mother, Janice Rodriguez, also said she felt justice had been served for her son.
“As sad as it is, they got everything that they deserved,” she said. “I hope they feel remorse, I hope they feel sorrow and I hope they feel guilt for what they did, because they’ll have plenty of time to think about it,” Rodriguez said.
At the time of Velazquez’s killing, Brown Authority was feuding with another area gang, Pico Viejo, Lunsford said.
Velazquez was not involved with gangs, Lundsford said. “He just happened to be in a neighborhood that is considered Pico Viejo territory.”
According to court testimony, the killers were out looking for a rival gang member when they came across Robert Velazquez, who was standing in front of a home with a female friend.
In the hours leading up to the shooting, two men testified they were approached by gang members who questioned them about their gang affiliation and asked whether they belong to Pico Viejo.
When the men responded they were not involved with gangs, the gang members left after patting down their pockets and checking one of their arms for gang tattoos, according to testimony. One of the men identified Medina as the man who approached him prior to Velazquez’s slaying.
Velazquez was not confronted before being fatally shot, investigators said. One of the killers opened fire without warning from a passing SUV.
“Barrios’ SUV actually circled the block several times before the shooting occurred,” Lunsford said, likening the gang members to “a shark circling its prey.”
Janice Rodriguez said she often thought of her son’s young friend Ruth Rodriguez, who witnessed his slaying and narrowly avoided being shot herself.
“I just pray she didn’t get affected,” Janice Rodriguez said. “She’s so young.”

PHOTOS:

TOP: Defendants Enrique Medina, left, Michael Barrios, center, and Thomas Arrellanes, right, receive guilty verdicts in the drive-by shooting death of a 17-year-old Pico Rivera resident at Norwalk Superior Court on Thursday December 6, 2012. They were found guilty in the Nov. 1, 2010, drive-by shooting of Robert Velazquez , of Pico Rivera, and the attempted murder of his friend, Ruth Rodriguez, in front of her home in the 4000 block of Zola Avenue.(SGVN/Staff photo by Keith Durflinger)

BELOW: Robert Velazquez, 17, of Pico Rivera, was shot to death Nov. 1, 2010, in a shooting in the the 4000 block of Zola Avenue. Three gang members have been convicted of first-degree murder for the slaying. (Courtesy)

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CHP to crackdown on motorcycle safety on 10 Freeway, Angeles Crest Highway

The California Highway Patrol plans to crack down on motorcycle safety Memorial Day weekend on Angeles Crest Highway and 10 Freeway, which have been identified by officials as two of the most dangerous roads for motorcyclists in Los Angeles County.
Officers will be out in force on the two roads Sunday looking for violations by both motorcyclists and drivers that pose a danger to two-wheeled travelers, CHP officials said in a a written statement.
The CHP recently received a grant to beef up patrols dealing with motorcycle safety.
“In Los Angeles County, State Route 2 and Interstate 10 have been identified as having the highest number of collisions involving motorcyclists, some fatal,” according to the CHP statement.
“Whether the cause of a collision is by a driver of a vehicle or the rider of a motorcycle, the rider always loses,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said.
“The goal of this increased enforcement is to save lives,” CHP Southern Division Chief Dan Bower added. “Every officer responding to a collision involving a motorcyclist fears the worst. Many riders do not wear proper protective equipment, which increases the likelihood of injury or death.”
The extra enforcement is being funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Administration.

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Equipment failure causes power outage, evacuations in Arcadia

ARCADIA — An overheating electrical vault knocked out power to an apartment building and prompted the evacuation of about 20 residents late Thursday, authorities said.
Firefighters responded to a report of arcing power lines about 10 p.m. in the area of Fairview and Golden West avenues, Arcadia Fire Department spokeswoman Beth Stogner said in a written statement.
They discovered a sparking power pole in the 900 block of Fairview Avenue, as well as a smoking, arcing and rumbling electrical vault to the rear of an apartment building at 1001 Fairview Avenue, just west of Golden West Avenue, Stogner said.
“As electrical arcing increased and smoke began to emanate from the vault, firefighters determined the need to evacuate residents from the back half of the 10-unit apartment complex,” Stogner said. ” Arcadia Police Department assisted in the evacuation process. Five units were evacuated, displacing approximately 20 persons.”
Southern California Edison workers briefly shut off power to the entire block as they worked to fix the damaged equipment, she said.
“Although the apartment complex remained without power, it was deemed safe to inhabit and evacuated residents were allowed to return to their darkened apartments shortly after midnight,” Stogner added.
SCE officials said 127 customers remained without electricity Friday morning. All power was expected to be restored by 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.

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Man badly wounded in Norwalk stabbing

Deputies found a Norwalk man with multiple stab wounds after he knocked on doors asking for help Thursday night.
Authorities suspect the attack might be gang-related.
Sgt. Mark Guerrero of the sheriff’s Norwalk Station said the 19-year-old man was in a parking lot in the 11100 block of Excelsior Drive around 9:30 p.m. when he was stabbed nine to 10 times by an unknown assailant.
The injured man headed toward a nearby apartment.
“He walked 20 to 40 yards and started knocking on residents’ doors,” Guerrero said.
A resident called deputies.
The man was taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center where he was undergoing surgery late Thursday night.
There were no further details about the stabbing or the suspect available Friday.
Deputies are looking for witnesses.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Norwalk station at 562-863-8711.

- Ruby Gonzales

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Police checkpoint planned in La Habra

The La Habra Police traffic unit will keep an eye out for motorists driving under the influence plus drivers without licenses at a June 1 checkpoint.
The checkpoint will be at held from 8:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. at an undisclosed location in the city.
Police said those caught driving impaired can expect jail, suspension of their license and hikes in insurance as well as fines, fees, DUI classes, and other expenses that can exceed $10,000.
In 2011, nearly 10,000 people were killed nationally in crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. In California, this resulted in 774 deaths.
“In 2012, La Habra experienced 89 DUI involved traffic collisions that resulted in one person being killed,” Sgt. Tigner said.
The checkpoint is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

- Ruby Gonzales

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