Young woman killed, two other people in critical condition following solo-car crash in Whittier

WHITTIER >> A 19-year-old woman died and two others were hospitalized in critical condition following a solo-car crash along Beverly Boulevard early Saturday, officials said.
The dead woman, who was a passenger in the car, succumbed to her injuries at the hospital, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
Her name was not released Saturday pending positive identification and notification of family members, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
A second passenger, described as a 21-year-old woman, and the driver, a 25-year-old man, suffered major injuries and were listed in critical condition at a hospital.
The crash was reported at 1:07 a.m. on Beverly Boulevard, just west of Citrus Avenue, Ellis said.
“A blue, 1998 Chevy Malibu traveling westbound on Beverly Boulevard lost control near Citrus Avenue, shearing off a fire hydrant, and impacted a large pine tree,” the lieutenant said.
The Malibu came to a stop against the tree, and both passengers were thrown from the car, he said.
The crash took place just before a sharp curve in the roadway. No other vehicles were believed to have been involved.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation by Whittier Police Department’s Traffic Bureau.

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Two wounded in Alhambra stabbing

ALHAMBRA — Two people were hospitalized following a stabbing during a house party in Alhambra late Friday, authorities said.
Police first learned of the stabbing just before midnight when the two victims sought help by driving to a police checkpoint at Fremont Avenue and Orange Street, Alhambra police Sgt. Esther Rodriguez said.
Officers determined the stabbing had taken place at or near a house party in the 3200 block of West Montezuma Avenue, she said.
The victims were taken to a hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, Rodriguez said.
The ages and genders of the stabbing victims were not available, nor was any suspect description.

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Tipster helps police nab auto theft suspects in Covina

COVINA >> An observant tipster helped police arrest two auto theft suspects and recover two stolen cars at a Covina parking lot Friday, officials said.
Ricardo Garcia, 41, of Azusa and Mark Joseph Munoz, 35, of Glendora, were booked on suspicion of auto theft and receiving stolen property following their arrests, which took place about 5:20 p.m. in a commercial parking lot at the corner of Azusa Avenue and San Bernardino Road, Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan said.
The incident began when a man noticed the suspects “tinkering” with a 1992 Acura Integra in the parking lot, Doonan said. When the witness noticed the men were trying to start the car using a screwdriver, he became suspicious and called police.
Both suspects fled as officers approached, the lieutenant said.
Garcia was immediately captured, Doonan said. Munoz ran into a nearby auto parts store, where he was found and arrested without a struggle.
The Acura was determined to have been stolen earlier in the day in West Covina, Doonan said.
Garcia and Munoz were found to have credit cards and other documents in the names of other people, he said. They also had documents connected to a 1994 Nissan pickup truck found parked about 50 feet away from the Acura in the parking lot.
Police soon determined the truck had been reported stolen Thursday in Covina.
Garcia and Munoz were being held in lieu of $25,000 bail at the Covina Police Department’s jail pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.

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Three sex offenders arrested during San Gabriel Valley parole compliance sweep

INDUSTRY >> Sheriff’s deputies arrested three convicted sex offenders during a parole compliance check Friday, authorities said.
The compliance checks were carried out between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. throughout the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s Industry Station, which includes Industry, La Puente, La Habra Heights and nearby unincorporated county areas, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“Sixteen sexual registrants were contacted at which time their homes along with their computers were searched to ensure they were following the terms of their parole,” according to the statement. “Three registrants were arrested for violations of the terms of their parole and were booked at the Industry Sheriff’s Station.”
The identities of those arrested and the specific violations they are accused of were not released.
Friday’s operation was carried out by the Sheriff’s Special Victim Bureau’s Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the U.S. Marshals Service, officials added.
The sheriff’s department is charged with monitoring more than 3,500 registered sex offenders residing in Los Angeles County.

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Registration to begin for South El Monte Youth Co-Ed Basketball


SOUTH EL MONTE >> Registration begins Tuesday for South El Monte Youth Co-Ed Basketball, city officials said.
Residents are invited to register Tuesday through Oct. 3 at the South El Monte Community Center, 1530 Central Ave., South El Monte Community Services Department officials said in a written statement. Non-residents are invited to register Sept. 15 through Oct. 3.
Registration takes place from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, officials added. The fee is $40.
Players must bring proof of age, grade level and residence.
Division are divided up by age and include a pee wee level for kids in kindergarten through 2nd grade; as well as division for 3rd- and 4th-graders, 5th- and 6th-graders; and 7th and 8th graders.
For more information, contact Recreation Specialist Larry Cabral at 626-579-2043.

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Hundreds march in honor of slain sheriff’s Explorer in South Whittier


SOUTH WHITTIER >> Hundreds of people took part in a vigil in South Whittier late Thursday to commemorate the third anniversary of the fatal shooting of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Explorer and lifelong Whittier resident Cesar Rodriguez.
The observance included a march to the scene of the shooting that claimed the life of Rodriguez, 19, and friend Larry Villegas, 24, of Whittier on Aug. 28, 2011.
Loved ones placed candles at the shooting scene outside a home in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue in South Whittier before continuing on to Amelia Mayberry Park.
The march was led by fellow Explorers from the sheriff’s Norwalk Station, where Rodriguez had volunteered for four years. And his legacy lives in.
“He was my inspiration to become an Explorer,” Alejandra Garcia, 16, said as she participated in the march while carrying a framed photograph of Rodriguez.
IMG_5398The fatal shootings of Rodriguez and Villegas remain unsolved, and no description of the killer or killers is known, investigators said.
Though officials initially reported a white Scion vehicle was being sought in connection with the crime, the car has since been located and found not to be involved, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

PHOTOS by James Carbone

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Ex-Diamond Bar middle school teacher gets more than 15 years in prison for molesting student

POMONA >> A judge sentenced a former Diamond Bar middle school teacher to more than 15 years in prison Thursday for carrying on a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student, officials said.
Ex-Carl Lorbeer Middle School teacher Steven Shane Andrews, 43, of Anaheim, received the maximum sentence of 15 years and 18 months in state prison from Pomona Superior Court Judge Mike Camacho, according to Sarah Ardalani of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
A jury convicted Andrews in March of 17 felony counts related to the a sexual relationship he had with a student between May 2011 and his his Sept. 20, 2011, arrest, authorities said.
Camacho additionally ordered Andrews to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Ardalani said.
Andrews first met his victim at school when she was 13 years old, investigators said.
“The defendant taught the victim for about a year before the sexual misconduct began,” Ardalani said in a written statement. “Initially, the incidents transpired at the school, but later also occurred off-campus.”
The crimes came to light when another teacher at the school became suspicious of Andrews’ interactions with the girl and notified the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, she added.
Andrews was placed on leave from the Pomona Unified School District a day before his arrest when school officials learned of the allegations, officials said. He was formerly fired in December of 2012.
The investigation was handled by the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau.

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Man wounded in shooting at Covina hotel

COVINA >> A man is expected to survive after he was shot several times at a Covina hotel late Wednesday, police said.
Hotel staff reported a shooting inside one of the hotel rooms about 10:40 p.m., Covina police Sgt. Rob Bobkiewicz said.
Officers arrived to find a 32-year-old man suffering from wounds to his torso, the sergeant said. The man was taken to a hospital where he was rushed into surgery.
No suspects were in custody in connection with the shooting, Bobkiewicz said, however police arrested a man who was staying in the same motel room as the victim on suspicion of possessing stolen property.
Ivan Lascano, 31, of Azusa was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending a court appearance, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records. Detectives continued investigating whether he was involved in the shooting.
Police released no further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting as they continued their investigation Thursday.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Detective Stacy Franco at 626-384-5616.

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Vigil planned for sheriff’s Explorer slain in South Whittier drive-by shooting


SOUTH WHITTIER >> Family members and loved ones of a 19-year-old Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Explorer Scout plan to gather for a vigil Thursday to mark the third anniversary of his unsolved slaying.
Cesar Rodriguez, a lifelong Whittier resident who had spent his last four years volunteering as an Explorer at the sheriff’s Norwalk Station, was gunned down along with friend Larry Villegas, 24, in the early-morning hours of Aug. 28, 2011 in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue, according to sheriff’s investigators and family members.
He’s survived his parents Jorge and Lupe Rodriguez, as well as older brothers George and Hector Rodriguez.
“We’re trying to stay strong,” George Rodriguez said.
Thursday’s vigil will be held at 7 p.m. at Laurel and Beaty avenues, near the shooting scene in South Whittier.
Community support has continued to grow in the three years since Cesar Rodriguez’s
At a march held last year on the second anniversary of the shooting, nearly 300 people attended, he said. About 150 people marched in a similar gathering in 2012.
Cesar Rodriguez and Villegas were shot as they left a party, sheriff’s officials said. The shots were believed to have been fired from a passing vehicle, though no specific description was available.
A white Scion initially described by investigators as a suspect vehicle has been found and determined not to have been the killer’s car, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Rodriguez and Villegas died at the scene.
Patrick Maxwell, who served as captain of the sheriff’s Norwalk Station while Rodriguez volunteered there and has since been promoted to the rank of commander, described Rodriguez as a selfless and eager young man who was always polite and respectful. he has a lifelong dream of becoming a sheriff’s deputy, Maxwell said, and had turned in his application to join the sheriff’s department as a deputy a week before his killing.
At Rodriguez’s funeral, then-sheriff Lee Baca said Rodriguez was an exemplary Explorer Scout and a leader who was on a “noble path.”
Rodriguez was buried in his Explorer uniform.
The search for the killer or killers of Rodriguez and Villegas continues, and detectives have followed up on new clues in the case in recent months, Corina said.
A motive was not known with certainty, however Corina said investigators suspected the killings stemmed from a gang shooting.
George Rodriguez said the family remained hopeful the case would be solved, and Cesar Rodriguez’s killer or killers will be brought to justice.
Former sheriff Baca had promised the family the investigation would be a top priority of the sheriff’s department, George Rodriguez said. The brother said he hoped that would remain true under the department’s new leadership following the November runoff election for sheriff between Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell and former undersheriff Paul Tanaka.
Anyone with information on the double-fatal shooting is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

PHOTO of Cesar Rodriguez courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Bogus report of weapon at high school in La Verne prompts lockdown

LA VERNE >> Police and school officials placed Bonita High School in La Verne on lockdown Wednesday after an anonymous tipster reported a student had brought a gun to the campus, authorities said. No weapon was found.
The La Verne Police Department received an anonymous phone call about 10:30 a.m. reporting had a handgun with him at the campus, 3102 D Street, Bonita Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Curtis Frick said.
“The administration, as we’ve practiced many times, put the school in a lockdown to secure the campus,” Frick said. “Police arrived and began investigation.”
The school remained locked down for about an hour, he said. The lockdown was lifted about 11:40 a.m., after investigators determined there was no weapon on campus.
Students were released at noon, Frick said. An early release schedule was already planned Wednesday to accommodate a staff development day.
The phone call made to La Verne police came from what appeared to be a prepaid cell phone, La Verne police Lt. Tom Frayeh said.
Police were looking into the possibility the unfounded phone call was related to an incident that had just unfolded at the school, the lieutenant added.
Just prior to the phone call, police and school officials had detained a 15-year-old sophomore on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sales at the school, Frayeh said. The teen was arrested and released to his parents with a court date.
But a second 15-year-old boy, who police suspected was trying to buy marijuana from the other boy, ran from the school, police said.
As police were searching for the second teen, the anonymous phone call reporting a weapon on campus was received, Frayeh said.
Though a concrete link had not been established, police were looking into the possibility someone may have made the bogus report to distract officials from their search for the second teen, Frayeh said.
The freshman was found and arrested about the same time the phone call came in, he added.

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