UPDATED: Three critically injured in wrong-way, multi-vehicle crash on the 210 Freeway in Monrovia

MONROVIA >> A multi-vehicle wreck blamed on a wrong-way driver on the 210 Freeway in Monrovia left three people hospitalized in critical condition late Saturday, officials said.
Officials shut down all but carpool lane of the westbound 210 Freeway following the crash, which took place shortly after 11:30 p.m. just west of Mountain Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer Tony Polizzi said.
A total of five vehicles became involved in the crash, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Ed Pickett said.
Three people were hospitalized in critical condition, while a third was treated for apparently minor injuries, Pickett said.
All of the injured were “alert and conscious,” Polizzi said.
Officials received a report of a Jeep Cherokee entering the westbound freeway from the offramp one minute before the crash, according to CHP logs.
A Sig Alert was issued for an unknown duration remained in effect past midnight for all but the carpool lane of the westbound 210 Freeway.

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San Dimas man accused of stabbing house guest in face

SAN DIMAS >> A San Dimas man is accused of stabbing his house guest and lifelong friend in the face when the two men got into an argument Saturday, authorities said.
Deputies arrested Matthew David Anderson, 26, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon following the 11:20 a.m. stabbing at a house in the 400 block of Conestoga Road, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
The victim, a 28-year-old man, was hospitalized in stable condition with stab wounds through both of his cheeks, sheriff’s Lt. David Vega said. The victim and his wife live out of state and had been staying with Anderson as house guests.
It was not clear exactly what the two men argued about before Anderson attacked the victim with a what investigators described as a “large kitchen knife,” Vega said.
The wounded man’s wife called 9-1-1 to report the stabbing, and deputies encountered the victim in front of the home. The injured man and his wife told deputies the name of the suspect, and that they believed he was still inside the house, the lieutenant said.
Deputies surrounded the home as a sergeant made “intermittent” contact with Anderson via telephone, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Three children exited the home unharmed, Vega said. They were believed to be family members of Anderson.
“(Anderson) initially said he was inside the location, but later said he fled on foot,” according to the statement.
After about two hours, the sergeant persuaded Anderson to surrender at Fifth Street and Eucla Avenue, in the presence of his mother, officials said.
“Investigators learned the victim and suspect have known each other since childhood,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
In addition to being arrested in connection with the stabbing, Anderson was also being held on outstanding warrants, officials said. He was being held in lieu of $115,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.

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UPDATED: Man stabbed to death in his Pico Rivera home; son sought as ‘person of interest’


PICO RIVERA >> A man died after being stabbed inside his home early Saturday, and his teenage son and the family car were missing, authorities said.
The fatal stabbing took place about 1:30 a.m. at a home within a gated community in the 3700 block of Oaklawn Lane, Lt. Holly Francisco of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
The circumstances of the slaying remained a mystery as investigators poured over the scene Saturday afternoon.
“At this time, we don’t know what happened inside this residence,” Francisco said.
Coroner’s officials did not release the name of the 50-year-old stabbing victim, however neighbors identified him as Sergio Gutierrez.
0921_NWS_WDN-L-STAB1His son, 17-year-old Sergio Anthony Gutierrez, was believed to be home at the time of the stabbing, but has not been seen since, Francisco said. Also missing is the family car, a silver, 200 Infiniti with a California license plate of 4MAB667.
The teenage son was not considered a suspect, but was being sought for questioning as a “person of interest,” Deputy Kelvin Moody of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said.
The victim lived at the home with his wife, their son and a woman who rented a room in their home, Francisco said.
Deputies first responded to the home after victim’s wife called 9-1-1 and reported a robbery, Francisco said. Further details regarding the initial 9-1-1 call were not available.
Deputies arrived to discover the homeowner lying in the front family room of the home, suffering from several stab wounds to his torso, Francisco said. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:17 a.m.
There were no signs the home had been broken into or that an intruder had been present, Francisco said. It had not been determined whether anything other than the family car was missing from the home.
Deputies have visited the home more than once in the past for domestic violence calls, however further details of deputies’ previous visits to the home were not available, the lieutenant said.
Neighborhood resident Ariel Acosta, 22, said he grew up with the teenage Sergio Gutierrez.
“It’s sad. I just want to know what happened,” he said.
Acosta described the younger Gutierrez as a “calm” and “quiet” boy who loved soccer, and had previously played for El Rancho High School.
“He’s a normal kid, just like the rest of us,” Acosta said.
0921_NWS_WDN-L-STAB2The neighbor said although he did not know the parents as well, “To me, it was a normal family.”
The father was often seen taking his son to school, or playing soccer with him in the family’s front yard, Acosta said.
Acosta said the husband and wife often walked their pet Chihuahuas in the neighborhood.
Despite Saturday’s tragedy, Acosta said he believed the neighborhood was a safe one.
“I’ve always felt safe in here. I’ve lived here 18 years,” he said.

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Alhambra woman accused of leaving toddler alone in sweltering car

ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested an Alhambra woman Friday afternoon after she left her 20-month-old daughter inside a car with its windows rolled up for about half an hour, authorities said.
The toddler was crying and dehydrated when removed from the car, which had reached temperatures between 111 and 124 degrees as is sat parked in the afternoon sun, Alhambra police Lt. Gabriel Ponce said. Officials took the girl to a hospital for observation.
Officers arrested Diaohong Zhen, 42, on suspicion of felony child endangerment, the lieutenant said.
A passerby noticed the young girl alone inside the car shortly before 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Park Elementary School, 301 N. Marengo Ave., Ponce said.
School officials checked on the girl and found the car door unlocked, so they took her indoors into the air conditioning and called police, he said.
“Luckily, school staff intervened and rescued the child, who was crying and suffering from dehydration,” Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
Police found Zhen in the school office, where she was waiting for two of her other children, Ponce said.
Officers measured temperatures ranging from 111 degrees to 124 degrees inside the parked car, the lieutenant added.
A total of five children were placed in the custody of a family friend as the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services launched an investigation, Ponce said.
Police reminded the public that leaving children or pets inside hot cars can result in death.
“Luckily, this story has a happy ending,” according to the police statement.
Information regarding Zhen’s initial court appearance was not available Friday.

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Serial bank robber dubbed ‘Cold Blooded Bandit’ pulls 3rd heist in Whittier

0920_NWS_WDN-L-COLDBLOOD

WHITTIER >> A serial bank robber the FBI is calling the “Cold Blooded Bandit” carried out his third heist Wednesday at a bank branch inside a Whittier supermarket, authorities said.
The serial robber, who was given his nickname due to the heavy winter clothing he has worn during his summertime heists, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
The robber operated by passing notes demanding money to bank tellers, she said.
“In his demand notes, he indicates a partner is outside watching to intimidate the tellers,” Eimiller said.
Officials said the Cold Blooded Bandit’s most recent caper took place Wednesday afternoon at a Whittier Union Bank branch inside of a Ralphs grocery store, 8510 Painter Avenue.
Whittier police Cpl. Carlos Arroyo said the a man approached a teller just after 4:30 and displayed a demand note.
The teller complied and handed over an undisclosed amount of money, Arroyo said. He was last seen fleeing the area on foot. No weapon was seen.
0920_NWS_WDN-L-COLDBLOOD4The Cold Blooded bandit previously robbed a Union Bank branch on Garfield Avenue in South Gate on July 7, as well as a Union Bank branch on South Street in Norwalk on June 30, Eimiller said.
In the first crime in Norwalk, the bandit left behind a “hoax device” before fleeing, “presumably to threaten an explosion,” Eimiller said. A description of the hoax device was not available Friday.
The FBI described the serial bandit as white or Latino, between 21 and 28 years old, between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing about 145 pounds.
In the most recent robbery in Whittier, witnesses reported the robber had tattoos on his arms and on the left side of his neck.
Anyone with information can reach the FBI’s Los Angeles Division at 310-477-6565.

PHOTOS taken from bank surveillance cameras courtesy of the FBI.

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Riverside man fatally shot in El Monte identified

EL MONTE >> Coroner’s officials have released the name of a 21-year-old Riverside man who was fatally shot when two gunman opened fire on a parked car he was sitting in on an El Monte Street earlier this week.
Jose Manuel Valenzuela died at hospital shortly after Monday’s shooting, which also left another man critically wounded, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
The shooting took place shortly after midnight in a residential cul-de-sac in the 2600 block of Sastre Avenue, just north of Fern Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Lt. David Coleman of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said Valenzuela and the surviving victim, a 29-year-old El Monte man, were rear passengers in a parked car with two other occupants when the attackers approached in another car.
Two gunmen exited the approaching car and immediately began shooting into the rear of the victims’ car, Coleman said.
No description of the shooters was available, nor was a description of their car, which investigators said was last seen speeding south on Sastre Avenue.
The victims’ companions drove them to Greater Community Hospital in South El Monte, Coleman said.
Valenzuela succumbed to his injuries about 12:30 p.m., Winter said. The other wounded man was hospitalized in critical condition. An update on his condition was not available.
No further details were released.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

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Burglary suspects jailed after neighborhood search in South Pasadena

SOUTH PASADENA >> Police jailed two residential burglary suspects Thursday following an extensive search of a South Pasadena neighborhood, authorities said.
Kenny Franklin, 22, of Lakewood and Michael Ward, 26, of Los Angeles were ultimately arrested following the failed break-in about 1 p.m. at a home in the 800 block of Rollins Street, South Pasadena police Sgt. Matt Petersen said.
A witness called police after hearing a neighbor’s security alarm sounding, then seeing two men running away from the home, the sergeant said.
The two suspects fled down a nearby pathway known as the Snake Trail before emerging on Flores De Oro, Petersen said. Franklin was immediately captured, but Ward continued to run.
With help from other nearby police agencies, South Pasadena police set up a search perimeter to seek the outstanding burglary suspect, Petersen said.
A police dog found and bit Ward about two hours later as he was hiding in a backyard shed in the 1300 block of Meridian Avenue, Petersen said. He was booked into jail after being treated for dog bite injuries.

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Police plan checkpoint Friday in Whittier

WHITTIER >> Police are planning a sobriety and driver’s license checkpoint late Friday, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7:30 p.m. Friday to 2:30 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location with Whittier, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
Over the past three years in Whittier and Santa Fe Springs, four people have died and 167 people have been injured in DUI-related crashes, according to Whittier police Sgt. Rob Hanson.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Driver sentenced for fatal hit-and-run of senior citizen in Uptown Whittier

WHITTIER >> A man received a two-year prison sentenced Thursday in connection with the fatal hit-and-run of a 69-year-old Whittier man in Uptown Whittier.
Isaiah Storey, 25, of Whittier pleaded “no contest” last month to a felony charge of hit-and-run and a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter for the Oct. 21, 2013, death of Gregory Reyes.
Norwalk Superior Court Judge Lori Ann Fournier sentenced him Thursday to two years in state prison, and ordered him to pay $12,400 in restitution to Reyes’ family, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The fatal collision occurred about 6:40 p.m. as Reyes was using his walker as he crossed Greenleaf Avenue, just south of Philadelphia Avenue, according to district attorney’s officials and Whittier Police Department investigators. Reyes was within a crosswalk when he was struck by a Merdedes-Benz SUV being driven by Storey.
“The car slowed down for a brief moment, but then continued going,” Ardalani said.
Rescuers rushed Reyes to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries three days later, officials said.
Storey was promptly arrested after police found is damaged SUV abandoned nearby in the area of Greenleaf Avenue and Hadley Street, Whittier police Lt. Jay Tatman said.
Reyes, who had been free on bail before and during the trial process, was taken into custody at Thursday’s sentencing hearing to begin serving his sentenced, according to county booking records.

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Gang members sentenced for fatal shooting of Whittier teen

SOUTH WHITTIER >> Two Whittier gang members were each sentenced to spend decades in prison Thursday for the fatal 2012 shooting of a 17-year-old Whittier boy on a busy street corner in what the prosecutor described as an orchestrated gang hit.
A Norwalk Superior Court jury convicted Whittier 13 gang members Eudiel Eddie Lopez, 21, and Daniel Cesar Stopani, 20, both of Whittier, Sept. 4 of the murder of Michael Soto of Whittier. Soto was shot to death about 12:30 p.m. on March 26, 2012, at a strip mall at the corner of Mulberry Drive and Painter Avenue in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier.
At Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Judge John Torribio sentenced both killers to the maximum sentence allowed by law, officials said.
Lopez, who was convicted of first-degree murder, was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. Stopani, who was convicted of second-degree murder, received a sentence of 40 years to life in prison.
Torribio ordered each convict to pay $5,000 in restitution to the Victims Compensation Board, and $5,885 to Soto’s mother for funeral costs and lost wages, Ardalani added.
In addition to convicting Lopez and Stopani of Soto’s murder, jurors also found true the special allegations that a gun was used in the crime and that the killing was gang-related, Deputy District Attorney Brock Lunsford of the District Attorney’s Hardcore Gang Division said.
Lunsford said the shooting stemmed from a brief exchange of words between Lopez and Soto about a month prior to the shooting.
Lopez had told Soto that he was a Whittier 13 gang member, and Soto responded that he did not care. The perceived disrespect was enough to prompt Lopez to target Soto in what Lunsford described as an orchestrated gang execution.
On the day of the killing, Stopani approached Soto from the front as Lopez snuck up behind him, Lunsford said.
Stopani shouted out the name of his gang and punched Soto before Lopez drew a revolver from his waistband and began shooting, the prosecutor said. Lopez continued shooting even after the teen had fallen wounded to the ground.
Lopez was arrested for the killing within hours, officials said. Stopani was interviewed the day of the slaying, but not formally charged until February of 2013.

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