Azusa man severely injured in baseball bat attack, brothers arrested

AZUSA — Two brothers were behind bars Saturday after allegedly striking another man in the head with a baseball bat late Friday, police said.
Michael Toscano, 21, and Stephen Toscano, 18, both of Azusa, are accused of assault with a deadly weapon following the 6:48 p.m. attack in the 200 block of East Gladstone Street, Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said.
After officers responded to a report of an assault involving a baseball bat, “They found the victim with significant head trauma,” police said in a written statement.
The victim, a 44-year-old Azusa man, was taken to a trauma center with severe injuries, but was listed in stable condition, officials said.
“Fortunately, two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were in the area at the time of the incident and were hailed by a witness,” the police statement said. “He directed them to the suspects who were fleeing the scene. The deputies detained the suspects until Azusa officers arrived on scene.”
Investigators determined the suspects and victim knew each other prior to Friday’s alleged assault and had been involved in an ongoing fued, Sutcliffe said. Further details of the dispute were not available.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Michael and Stephen Toscano were being held in lieu of $30,000 bail each pending their scheduled arraignments Wednesday in West Covina Superior Court.

Pico Rivera man fatally shot while riding bike identified

PICO RIVERA — Authorities Saturday released the name of a 38-year-old Pico Rivera man shot to death early Friday while riding his bike.
Raymond Joseph Flores died at the scene of the shooting, which took place about 4 a.m. at Serapis Avenue and Terradell Street in Pico Rivera, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said.
Little information was available regarding the circumstances of the shooting.
Witnesses heard gunshots before discovering Flores lying wounded in the street, Lt. Mike Rosson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.
No suspect description was available, Rosson said, however the shooting was being investigated as possibly gang-related.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

Detectives investigating drowning of baby in Valinda

VALINDA — Sheriff’s homicide detectives are investigating the death of an 8-month-old baby who drowned Friday.
The incident happened at 8:50 a.m. in the 1500 block of Pass and Covina Road which is in the unincorporated county area.
Deputies said the infant was taken to a local hospital and later pronounced dead.
There were no other details released about the case.

- Ruby Gonzales

Fight at Pasadena High School ends with broken nose, arrest

PASADENA — A 14-year-old Altadena boy was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon Thursday after breaking another boy’s nose during a fight at Pasadena High School, police said.
The alleged victim, a 13-year-old Pasadena boy, suffered a broken nose and other injuries after being kneed in the face during a fight with the older boy, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
The boys had previously been friends but had a falling out, the lieutenant said.
The 14-year-old boy, who attends a different high school, showed up at Pasadena High School shortly before noon, went onto campus and sought out his former friend, Clawson said.
The two became involved in a fight, during which the older boy allegedly struck the younger boy in the face with his knee.
School officials were notified, and the police were called, Clawson said.
The teenage suspect was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and taken to juvenile hall, he added.

City workers capture robbery suspect in Pasadena

PASADENA — Three city workers captured an alleged purse robber Thursday, police said.
Parolee Ricardo Aranda, a 42-year-old transient already being sought on a robbery warrant, was booked on suspicion of robbery following the 9 p.m. purse-snatching at Los Robles Avenue and Green Street, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
A 55-year-old Pasadena was walking down the street when Aranda grabbed her purse from her hand and ran, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
“The victim ran after the suspect and began yelling for help,” the lieutenant said.
A crew of thee Pasadena Department of Public Works employees noticed the commotion and managed to grab onto Aranda a block away at Los Robles Avenue and El Dorado Street, Clawson said. They held him until police arrived.
Officers arrested Aranda and returned the woman’s purse, Clawson said.
According to booking records, he was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance.

Man fatally shot while riding bike in Pico Rivera

PICO RIVERA – A man died early Friday after he was shot while riding his bicycle, officials said.
The name of the dead man had not been identified Friday morning, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Coroner’s officials estimated the man to be in his 30s or 40s, while sheriff’s investigators estimated the man to be in his 20s.
The fatal shooting was reported about 4 a.m. at the corner of Serapis Avenue and Terradell Street, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The victim was riding a bike down the street,” Lt. Mike Rosson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
No eyewitnesses to the attack had been located, however witnesses reported hearing gunshots before going outside to see what had happened, the lieutenant said.
They discovered a man lying wounded in the street, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, he said.
Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.
No suspect description was available, and it was unclear whether a vehicle was involved in the shooting, Rosson said.
Authorities suspected the shooting was gang-related.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

UDPATED: Son accused of murder in death of Hacienda Heights woman whose body was found in car trunk

Vilma Chau, 63, of Hacienda HeightsDetectives Friday announced the arrest the son of a woman whose body was discovered bound in the trunk of her car at her Hacienda Heights home on suspicion of her murder, authorities said.
Clifton Huang, 43, of Hacienda Heights is accused of the slaying of his 63-year-old mother, whose body was discovered shortly after 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the garage of her home in the 15000 block of Las Tunas Drive, Lt. Mike Rosson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
The dead woman was identified as Vilma Lai-Chuen Chau, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
A specific motive in the slaying was not clear, Rosson said, however family indicated the mother and son “argued often.”
The mother had taken out a restraining order against her son, however he continued to visit her on a regular basis, according to sheriff’s investigators and neighbors.
It was not clear Friday how Chau died, Rosson. An autopsy was pending.
“There were no obvious signs of trauma on the body,” Rosson said.
An autopsy was pending, Winter added.
It initially appeared Chau made have been dead for about three days, though coroner’s officials would make a more exact determination at autopsy.
Family members who became concerned after not seeing Chau in several days were the first to discover her body, the lieutenant said. Huang was at the home when they checked on a strong odor emanating from the garage and discovered Chau’s body, which was bound with rope inside the trunk of her Mercedes-Benz.
The family members immediately called deputies from the sheriff’s Industry Station, who arrived and confirmed the grisly find, Rosson said.
Huang was still at the home when deputies arrived and was detained, sheriff’s officials said.
He cooperated with detectives as he was held on suspicion of a probation violation, Rosson said. He was believed to be on probation for a drug conviction.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for Chau’s home and made their way in Thursday afternoon to look for clues, he said.
“Evidence was recovered inside the residence,” Rosson said.
Detectives arrested Huang on suspicion of murder about 11 p.m., according to sheriff’s booking records.
Rosson said deputies had responded to the home before regarding domestic violence issues.
Huang lived in another home in Hacienda Heights, which was also owned by his mother, Rosson said.
Huang has a lengthy criminal history in Los Angels County dating back to 2001, with convictions including false imprisonment and dissuading a witness, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records.
He was most recently convicted of drug possession and being under the influence of drugs in October of 2009, records show. He was also convited of drug possession in march of 2009.
Huang was convicted of drug possession, being under the influence of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting or obstructing police in May of 2006.
In January of 2004, Huang was convicted of false imprisonment and dissuading a witness, records show. Further details on the incident for which he was convicted in 2004 were not available.
He was convicted of soliciting prostitution in January of 2003, and possession of drug paraphernalia in April of 2003.
In December of 2001, Huang was convicted of drug possession, and he was convicted in October of 2001 of driving on private property without permission.
Neighbors described Chau as a friendly local real estate agent who largely kept to herself.
Andy Wang, a neighbor who said he gave her Tai Chi lessons on weekends, said she had lived in the neighborhood for more than 15 years.
Neighbors added they saw Chau’s son visiting her regularly.
According to booking records, Huang was being held in lieu of $2 million bail pending his scheduled arraignment Tuesday in El Monte Superior Court.

PHOTO of Vilma Chau courtesy of the DMV.

Woman’s body found bound in trunk of car in Hacienda Heights

Detectives launched a homicide investigation Thursday after a report of a kidnapping led deputies to discover a woman’s body in the garage of a Hacienda Heights home, apparently bound and inside the trunk of a car.
Relatives of a resident of the home at Las Tunas Drive and Avocado Terrace became worried after not hearing from her and decided to check on her about 9:30 a.m., Lt. Mike Rosson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
HHBODY2The family members saw something that roused their suspicion to the point that believe the resident of the home was being kidnapped, he said.
“Industry Station deputies received a call of a possible kidnapping in progress. That led deputies here,” Rosson said. What the family members saw that caused them to call authorities was not clear.
“At that time, they detained a male, and they also discovered a deceased female inside the location’s garage,” the lieutenant said.
He declined to comment on initial reports from the scene that the woman had been found bound and in the trunk of a car.
The woman had not been identified Thursday afternoon, and investigators had not yet had a chance to speak with family members. The woman was described by officials and neighbors as an Asian woman of about 60 years old.
The man who deputies encountered at the home, described as an Asian man in his late-30s or 40s and possible related to the dead woman, cooperated with investigators, Rosson said.
The detained man was “being questioned as a person of interest at this time, Rosson said. He had not been named a suspect in the slaying.
“The investigation is in its very, very early stages.” The lieutenant added.
Rosson said detectives did not believe the man lived at the home where the body was found, but possible visited on a regular basis.
Detectives were still waiting on a search warrant to enter home Thursday afternoon, he added.
Deputies had responded to calls in the past at the home including “domestic issues” and “maybe mental health issues,” Rosson said. He did not have further details.
Neighbors said a real estate agent lived at the home. Her husband was also believed to live there, and the couple’s adult son was often seen.
Pending an officials identification of the woman, neighbors hoped that the victim was not their longtime friend, who they said had lived in the neighborhood for more than 15 years.
Neighbor Rene Garciacano recalled seeing something that struck him as suspicious about 7:30 a.m. Thursday when he passed the house while bringing his children to school.
“The garage door was up,” he said, adding that the door has always been down in the past.
Garciacano said there were helicopters overhead when he returned home about 10 a.m.
When he turned on television news to see what was happening, “I recognized the house immediately,” Garciacano said.
The neighbor added he hoped the woman found dead was no his neighbor.
“She’s a very nice lady. She keeps to herself,” he said. Though neighborhood residents tend to be private, “She is a well-respected lady in this neighborhood.”
Andy Wang said he teaches Tai Chi to the woman who lives at the home every Saturday, and he, too, hoped she was okay.
He said he had seen the woman’s son visiting her on several occasions, and was not aware of any trouble in her household.
To see a massive sheriff’s investigation at his friend’s home, then learn a woman had been found dead there, “I’m shocked.”
“She is a nice lady,” he said.

VIDEO by Brian Day., PHOTO by Walt Mancini

Police: Open liquor bottle, drugs found in woman’s car following Pasadena pursuit

PASADENA — A woman with drugs and an open container of hard liquor in her car led police on a short pursuit before crashing and being arrested early Thursday, authorities said.
Larissa Grudt, 31, of Los Angeles was booked on suspicion of felony evading of police following the incident, which began just before 12:15 a.m. in the area of Green Street and Marengo Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
An officer tried to pull over Grudt’s Volkswagen Jetta for a traffic violation, but she failed to pull over for the officer’s patrol car lights and instead sped away east on Green Street, the lieutenant said.
“The suspect drove on Green Street at high speeds, failing to stop for red lights” Clawson said.
When Grudt began making a left turn from Green Street onto Holliston Avenue, just over a mile from where the chase began, the car struck a curb and became disabled, Clawson said. Grdt continued fleeing on foot but was quickly captured by officers.
Inside her car, police found an open container of hard alcohol and drugs, he said. Further details regarding the type or amount of drugs found in the car were not available.
According to county booking records, Grudt was being held in lieu of $105,000 bail at the Pasadena Police Department jail pending her initial court appearance.

Envelope containing powder prompts evacuation of Pasadena law office

PASHAZMATPASADENA — An envelope containing a mysterious powder prompted the evacuation of a Pasadena law office Wednesday, officials said.
The discovery if the envelope was first reported about 3:45 in a law office on the 9th floor of 2 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
The envelope, which had writing on it in a foreign language, contained a substance that officials initially suspected may be some type of chili power or flakes, Derderian said. Four or so office workers complained of skin irritation, which quickly subsided.
Pasadena Fire Department officials, with help from Burbank firefighters, took a look at the envelope and decided to call in Los Angeles County sheriff’s hazardous materials crew to investigate, “out of an abundance of precaution,” Derderian said.
The affected law office was evacuated, she said, however other businesses in the building remained open as the investigation continued Wednesday afternoon.

PHOTO courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department