Man accused of burglarizing Pasadena Land Rover dealership for third time in two months

PASADENA — Police arrested a 22-year-old transient with a penchant for high-end SUVs for the third time in the past two months Sunday for burglarizing the same Land Rover dealership, officials said.
Mychal Poole was booked on suspicion of commercial burglary after he was taken into custody about 2:30 a.m. at the dealership, 3485 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
Police responded to a report of a trespasser when they saw Poole, who fled, Clawson said. The officers chased after him and detained him before discovering items taken from the dealership’s auto service area, the lieutenant said.
Poole was previously arrested for similar crimes at the Land Rover dealership on July 3 and July 5.
Police jailed him in the first incident after he was found on the lot trying to take a vehicle, Clawson said.
But he was released from jail later in the day, Clawson said. Details on the case were not available Sunday, however the lieutenant said he believed the release was related to an injury or medical condition.
The tenacious suspect showed up again at the Land Rover dealership two days later, police said.
In that incident, he was found hiding in the area in a stolen dealership employee’s uniform and in possession of keys from the dealership, officials said. He had tried to steal one of the vehicles, but been unable to open a driveway gate to complete the alleged crime.
According to county booking records, Poole appeared in Pasadena Superior Court July 16 and received a 120-day jail sentence.
He was due to complete his sentence Aug. 2, but out of custody through a work release program, when he was arrested Sunday morning, county jail officials said.
Following Sunday’s arrest, Poole was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail at the Pasadena Police Department jail pending his initial court appearance.

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Man found dead, possibly burned, in Pico Rivera riverbed identified

PICO RIVERA — Authorities have released the name of a 48-year-old man whose body was found possibly burned earlier this month in the San Gabriel riverbed, according to officials and friends.
The body of Albert Martinez was found in an advanced stage of decomposition about 9:50 a.m. July 4 in the riverbed, about 100 yards south of Beverly Boulevard, according to Los Angeles County coroner and sheriff’s officials. A city of residence was not listed, however his priest said he was a transient with lifelong ties to Pico RIvera.
Sheriff’s officials initially estimated that the body had been there for days or weeks.
Further investigation indicated a fire was involved, coroner’s officials said. An official cause of death remained undetermined pending test results, and no further details were available. An official cause was not expected to be determined for more than a month.
Father Joshua Lee of the St. Hilary Church of Perpetual Adoration said Martinez grew up in the area and had attended the church since he was a little boy.
“I knew him very well,” Lee said, adding that he last saw Martinez two to three weeks before his body was discovered.
Though Martinez had long struggled with alcoholism, “He was a very fine man in many ways,” Lee said. “When he was sober, he was a wonderful, wonderful person.”
“He was a man of deep prayer,” the priest added.
St. Hilary is open 24 hours per day, and Lee said Martinez would sometimes be seen there praying both early in the morning and late at night.
A deeply philosophical man, he was homeless by choice, refusing efforts by family members and the church to get him off the streets, Lee said.
Martinez would say his homelessness was his “penance” for past transgressions.
The death was being investigated by detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. Anyone with information was asked to contact the bureau at 323-890-5500.

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Man found dead in El Monte wash identified

EL MONTE — Coroner’s officials Saturday released the name of a 53-year-old man found dead in the Rio Hondo wash late last month in a possible homicide.
Passers-by reported finding the body of Felix Garcia-Bravo in the wash near the 3500 block of Santa Anita Avenue shortly before 4 p.m. June 29, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator McKracken said. She declined to give her first name. His city of residence was unclear.
A an official cause of death remained undetermined Saturday, however sheriff’s officials initially said the body showed signs of having been beaten and possibly stabbed.
Sheriff’s homicide detectives are assisting El Monte police in the investigation, and anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Crime Stopper by calling 800-222-8477.

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Protesters picket outside San Marino home of Wells Fargo CFO


Protesters angered over home foreclosures gathered to picket in front of the San Marino home of a Wells Fargo executive Saturday, testing a recently adopted city ordinance banning such demonstrations.
The act of civil disobedience by about 70 protesters resulted in no arrests, San Marino police Sgt. Tim Tebbetts said. The crowd promptly dispersed once police announced via loudspeaker that the gathering was declared an unlawful assembly.
The protest, organized by the activist group Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment in partnership with other nonprofit organizations, took place in front of the home of Wells Fargo Chief Financial Officer Timothy Sloan. The home has been picketed twice before, in October 2011 and in April 2012.
“Predatory lender, criminal offender,” shouted the protesters as they stood in the street holding signs and banners. “Wells Fargo, shame on you.”
The protest was held in violation of a city ordinance past late last year that prohibits picketing within 150 of a residential home, or within 75 feet of the property on which the home sits, whichever is greater.”
Wells Fargo was targeted for the protest, in part, because of accusations leveled by New York State Attorney Eric Schneiderman that the bank, along with Bank of America, was failing to live up to its responsibilities under the terms of last year’s national mortgage settlement.
Schneiderman pointed to 210 complaints related to prompt processing of refinancing requests against Wells Fargo, and 129 against Bank of America.
Columbine High School mass shooting survivor Richard Castaldo of Los Angeles, who is paralyzed below the waist due to injuries suffered in the infamous attack, said his condominium is due to be auctioned off Aug. 12.
Initially financed through Wells Fargo, Castaldo said he fell behind in his mortgage due to a skyrocketing adjustable interest rate at the time his home went underwater in the housing market crash. The loan was then transferred to a third party lender, and attempts to modify the loan have been unsuccessful.
“I just want to know why Wells Fargo is not helping disabled people, when they received generous government bailouts,” Castaldo said.
Wells Fargo spokeswoman Diane Rodriguez disputed the claims of the protesters, but said the bank recognized their right to expression.
“We respect the rights of people to be able to protest peacefully,” she said. “We appreciate the service of the San Marino Police Department for ensuring a safe event for everyone.”
“Generally speaking, we, as a company, have a very strong record of supporting homeowners who may be in some sort of distress or may be struggling to stay in their homes. We’ve invested heavily in our community to help those who need help along the way.”
The bank’s website states that Wells Fargo has provided new loans, both for purchases and refinances, to nearly 8.3 million customers since 2009, and forgiven more than $6.9 million of mortgage principal through 862,028 loan modifications.
But demonstrators such as ACE Community Organizer Peggy Means of Fontana called the Wells Fargo called Well Fargo management, “banker gangsters.”
We’re here to let the world know what Wells Fargo is doing, said Means.
“I don’t think they’re patriotic, because they’re doing everything they can to kill the American Dream,” she said.
She led a moment of silence for Ana Casas of South Gate, who died late last year during battles with cancer and cerebral palsy.
Casas was arrested in front of Sloan’s home in April 2012 when she refused police orders to leave before giving a mortgage payment to the banking official that the bank had refused to accept. Means said Casas provided a bold example to be followed.
“She fought to the very end,” Means said. “Because of Ana’s tenacity, her family is still in their home. They couldn’t break her spirit.”

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Sheriff Baca to host discussion on drugs in Bassett

BASSETT — Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will join other sheriff’s officials next month for a discussion on substance abuse.
The forum, titled “A Community United Against Substance Abuse,” will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 28 at Evergreen Baptist Church, 323 Workman Mill Road, sheriff’s officials said.
Sheriff Baca and officials from the sheriff’s Industry Station hosted another meeting in La Puente last April to discuss law enforcement and quality of life issues, Lt. John Babbitt said.
There were many questions regarding drugs and drug abuse, and the sheriff commented that the issue deserved a meeting all of its own.
So he will join sheriff’s industry Station Capt. Timothy Murakami and patrol deputies to discuss prevention, education and recovery assistance, organizers said.
The event will include free hot dogs and children’s fingerprinting, and a raffle will be held.
For more information, contact Lt. Babbitt at 626-934-3071.

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Mother questions fatal deputy-involved shooting in West Whittier

Robert McAfee, 29, Whittier

WEST WHITTIER — A mourning mother is questioning the fatal shooting of her son by a sheriff’s deputy in the backyard of his home last week.
Robert McAfee Jr., 29, of Whittier allegedly pointed a gun at a deputy prior to being shot July 19 in a backyard in the 6800 block of Duchess Drive, in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
But McAfee’s mother, Lydia Provencio of Maryland, said the official account conflicts with information she has received about the shooting from witnesses. And her son had recently told her he was afraid of Pico Rivera sheriff’s deputies.
“I just want the truth out,” the mother said. “I don’t believe my son was an angel. Nevertheless. he was my son. And i just think life should have respect, no matter what, no matter who you are.”
In a written statement issued by the Sheriff’s Headquarter’s Bureau the day of the shooting, a deputy and a sergeant were on patrol when, “they stopped to talk to two known gang members.”
As the deputy and sergeant exited their car, one of the two men — later identified as McAfee — ran to the backyard of a nearby home, according to the sheriff’s statement.
The sergeant followed McAfee into the yard and saw McAfee standing in the backyard and pointing a handgun “in his direction,” prompting the sergeant to open fire, sheriff’s officials said. The name of the involved sergeant was not released.
An autopsy determined McAfee died from a gunshot wound to the chest, coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said. He had also suffered a non-fatal gunshot wound to his hip.
The sheriff’s statement indicated the suspect’s loaded handgun was recovered from the scene.
But Provencio said she understood that the gun was recovered from the backyard of a next door neighbor. She questioned how that was possible if her son had been pointing the gun at the sergeant, as sheriff’s officials described. There was no one else in the backyard, she added.
No one answered the door at the neighboring home Saturday.
The handling homicide detectives could not be reached for comment.
Neighbor Jessica Gutierrez said she was making lunch for her son when she heard what sounded like three gunshots.
She said what she saw next contradicted the scenario given by sheriff’s officials, who stated that the shooting took place within the backyard.
“When I heard the first gunshot, I looked and saw the deputy shooting outside of the backyard, standing in the driveway, and after he shot he ran in the backyard. “
The officers did spend some time in the neighbors backyard, and the detectives also went back there for a period of time.
Gutierrez said she did not know whether a gun was recovered from the neighboring yard.
“(Deputies) did spend some time in the neighbors backyard, and the detectives also went back there for a period of time,” she said.
The two yards are separated by a thick hedge about 8 feet tall.
A memorial of candles sat on McAfee’s front porch of the home of McAfee and his father, Robert McAfee Sr., however no one answered the door Saturday.
Provencio said her son had encountered Pico Rivera-based deputies many times, and the home where he lived with his father was searched by deputies about two weeks before the fatal deputy-involved shooting. The son described the encounters as harassment and told his mother he feared for his safety.
“He called me two-and-a-half to three weeks ago and he said, ‘Mom, they’re out to kill me,’” Provencio said.
She said she asked him what he had been doing to gain the attention of deputies, and he responded that he had been largely staying at home and trying to avoid any trouble.
The mother said she was aware her son, who had served time in jail, was involved with a gang. But she said she couldn’t imagine that he would point a gun at a sheriff’s deputy.
McAfee had been released from jail in February, his mother said.
He had a criminal history dating back to 2004, according to search of Los Angeles County Superior Court records.
He was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm in June of 2012. In 2009, he was convicted of drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of drugs.
McAfee was convicted of domestic battery in 2006, and the unlawful taking of a vehicle in 2004, records show. He had convictions for driving on a suspended or revoked license in 2009, 2009 and twice in 2005.
Beyond having doubts about the shooting itself, Provencio said the manner in which family members were treated in the hours after the deputy-involved shooting was “cruel.”
For more than four hours, officials would not tell family members whether McAfee was involved, or whether he was dead.
In addition to his parents, Robert McAfee Jr. is survived by his wife, Edna McAfee; their sons Robert III, 7, and Charles, 5; and two brothers, Provencio said.


PHOTO of Robert McAfee Jr., 29, of Whittier (courtesy)

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Suspect sought in Azusa shooting

AZUSA – A driver shot at three Azusa men standing in front of a liquor store Friday night.
Azusa Police Sgt. Randy Schmidt said the victims weren’t injured in the incident which is possibly gang-related.
At 11:53 p.m., police received several 9-1-1 calls about gunshots in the 900 block of Azusa Avenue.
The victims were in front of A to Z Liquor at 944 N. Azusa Ave. when a man driving a light-colored sedan went westbound on 10th Street and fired three to five rounds at them, Schmidt said.
The victims told police the driver may have said something before shooting but they didn’t understand what it was, according to Schmidt.
He said the rounds struck, but didn’t puncture, propane tanks that were in front of the store.
There was no description available for the suspect but he drove a new light-colored compact sedan similar to a Toyota Corolla.

– Ruby Gonzales

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Lightning strike causes power outage in South Pasadena

SOUTH PASADENA — A lightning early Friday knocked out power to several hundred South Pasadena residents but injured no one, authorities said.
The bolt struck an electrical transformer in the 1600 block of Fletcher Avenue about 2:45 a.m., South Pasadena police Officer Randy Wise said.
The damaged equipment initially left 355 Southern California Edison customers in the dark, SCE spokeswoman Susan Cox said.
By Friday afternoon, all but 46 customers had their power back on, she said. Those homes were expected to have their power restored early Friday evening.

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Man killed in Baldwin Park shotgun attack

BALDWIN PARK — A man died following a drive-by shotgun attack late Thursday in the second fatal shooting reported in the same neighborhood in a week, authorities said.
The name of the victim was not released Friday pending positive identification and confirmation that his family had been notified, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner officials said. The man’s age or city of residence were not available.
Police responded to the shooting just before 8:40 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 4700 block of Merced Avenue, near Olive Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The victim was shot in the front of the location after the suspects pulled up in a vehicle and fired a shotgun at him,” Sgt. Diane Hecht of the Sheriff’s Headquarter’s Bureau said.
“The victim, who was hit by the gunfire in the upper torso, was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead,” Hecht said.
Initial reports from the scene indicated police were searching for a red pickup truck with a camper shell immediately following the shooting, however officials did not confirm Friday whether that vehicle was involved in the shooting. Officials also did not confirm early reports that the victim had been shot in the head.
The motive in the slaying was unclear, Hecht said. It was unknown whether the shooting was gang-related.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is assisting Baldwin Park police with the investigation, but could not be reached for comment Friday.
Thursday night’s slaying was the second fatal shooting in the city in seven days and occurred about two blocks away from last week’s homicide scene at Los Angeles Street and Merced Avenue.
Last Friday, 20-year-old Maurio Sotelo was discovered shot in front of a bus stop, according to sheriff’s and coroner’s officials. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
No suspect description was available, and sheriff’s officials released no further details.
Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tipsters can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477, or text “TIPLA” plus the tip to 274637, or use the website

– Ruby Gonzales and Brian Day

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Covina man pleads not guilty to murder of infant daughter

Abigail Lopez, 11 weeks, of Covina

A Covina man accused of murder and child abuse in the death of his 11-week-old daughter entered a not guilty plea this week.

Andrew Luis Lopez, 22, entered the plea Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said. The arraignment had been delayed several times since Lopez’s arrest in late January. A preliminary hearing in the case was set for Aug. 6.

Lopez is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death for the Jan. 18 death of his daughter, Abigail Lopez.

“Abigail was a beautiful blessing that changed everybody’s life from the moment she was born,” her mother Janessa Espinoza said.


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