PASADENA >> A large whirlwind outside the Rose Bowl sent a canopy airborne, resulting in four minor injuries, as preparations were being made for Thursday’s Rose Bowl Game authorities said.
Paramedics treated three men and a woman at the scene and none wished to be taken to a hospital, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. One of them sought his own medical treatment for a finger injury.
The “sporadic wind event” took place shortly before 2 p.m. in Lot H of the Rose Bowl, where Oregon will take on Florida State in the College Football Semifinals New Year’s Day.
“A strong gust of wind blew a large framed canopy up in the air,” Pasadena police Lt. Marie Sell said.
A video posted on Youtube.com shows a large whirlwind making its way through the lot, before picking up the canopy, lifting it high into the air.
About 20 people were in the area at the time, Derderian said. “It could have been a lot worse.”
Police officers and firefighters assigned to the Rose Bowl Wednesday were on-scene within seconds, she added.
But despite online speculation, the whirlwind was not a tornado, Derderian said. Lot H was closed Wednesday afternoon as officials cleaned up the mess, but was expected be reopened in time for Thursday’s Rose Bowl Game.
HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a man found fatally shot in a Hacienda Heights backyard Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
A neighbor called deputies about 1:45 p.m. to report seeing someone lying in the large backyard of a home in the 14400 block of Clark Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Thurlo said.
The man appeared to have been shot, officials said. Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.
No further description of the dead man was available late Sunday, nor were any further details regarding the shooting.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> A woman suffered major injuries Friday when she was thrown from a horse along the Arroyo Seco trail in Pasadena, officials said.
The mishap took place about 11 a.m. in the lower Arroyo, near Arroyo Boulevard and Bellefontaine Street, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
The victim, a woman in her 50s, suffered serious head trauma in the fall, Derderian said.
Good Samaritans nearby called for help and tended to the woman as paramedics used a cell phone signal to pinpoint her exact location in the Arroyo, Derderian said.
The rider was taken to a hospital in critical condition, she said. An update on her condition was not available Sunday.
Pasadena Humane Society officials were summoned to the scene to take care of the woman’s horse, which was not injured, Derderian said.
PASADENA >> Investigators suspect a small fire that broke out early Sunday inside a Pasadena home with six people inside may have been intentionally set, authorities said.
A resident of the home in the 1200 block of north Hill Avenue noticed smoke and called 9-1-1 just before 10 a.m., Pasadena police and fire officials said. Several of the adult residents of the home were asleep at the time.
Residents had extinguished the small fire themselves before firefighters arrived, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
A man in his 60s was taken to a hospital with possible smoke inhalation, police said. The other five residents of the home were unharmed.
Firefighters went into the home to check for any residual fire and determined the fire appeared suspicious, Derderian said. An arson investigator responded to the scene.
Investigators suspected the senior citizen who was taken to the hospital, who was described as “despondent,” may have set the fire, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
The arson investigator expected to present his findings to prosecutors this week for consideration of possible charges, Derderian said.
She added that the fire caused about $15,000 worth of damage to the home and its contents.
LA VERNE >> Investigators continued trying to make sense Saturday of the fatal stabbing and beating of an elderly couple in their home near here.
No suspect was in custody in connection with the deaths of Armie “Troy” Isom, 89, and his wife, Shirley Isom, 74, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. The Isoms were both found mortally wounded shortly after 1 p.m. Friday near the entrance of their home in the 300 block of Roughrider Road in an unincorporated area.
Sheriff’s officials identified the man as Armie Isom. Neighbors, who said the couple had lived in their home about two decades, knew the husband as Troy.
Paramedics pronounced Shirley Isom dead at the scene. Her husband was taken to a hospital in critical condition, where he ultimately succumbed to his wounds.
Detectives and crime scene investigators returned to the scene Saturday to continue collecting and cataloguing evidence.
No suspect had been identified, and the motive in the double-killing remained unknown.
“This is a mystery. This is going to take a lot of detective work,” said Lt. Dave Coleman of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Shirley Isom appeared to have suffered both stab wounds and blunt force injuries, the lieutenant said.
Troy Isom had been beaten, but it remained unclear whether he had also been stabbed, Coleman said.
The knife used in the stabbing had not been recovered, he said. Coleman declined to discuss what sort of blunt object was involved in the attack.
Detectives ruled out the possibility of a murder-suicide. Coleman said both the man and woman were homicide victims.
And Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. David Smith said a “security hold” placed on the case by sheriff’s investigators prevented his agency from discussing it.
Coleman said detectives were yet to discover any valuables missing from the home.
It was unclear how the killer got into the home, he said. “There’s no obvious point of entry.”
The couple are survived by five children, Coleman said.
A woman who answered the phone at the home of the one of the victim’s daughters said the family was also awaiting further information about what happened to the Isoms as they deal with their sudden and tragic loss.
“There’s no words,” the woman said. She did not wish to comment further.
Deputies who first responded to the crime scene scoured the area for a suspicious man with a backpack that several witnesses said they saw at or near the Isoms’ property just before the attack was discovered.
Neighbors described the man as between 25 and 30 years old, 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a backpack.
Coleman said the description did not match anyone who was supposed to be on the property Friday and detectives are seeking him for an interview.
“We’re trying to identify all of the workers who should have been there,” Coleman said.
But the lieutenant did not label the person seen by neighbors as a suspect in the killing, though he said the man’s potential involvement had not been ruled out.
Investigators planned to return to the crime scene Sunday to finish their search of the property, Coleman said. Detectives planned to use search dogs and searchers mounted on horseback to ensure a thorough examination of the massive, brush-laden property on a private road at the end of Roughrider Road.
Once work is completed with the plentiful physical evidence at the scene — which included a ”tremendous amount of blood,” Coleman said the investigation will shift to a broader focus as detectives look over the couple’s business dealings and personal lives for possible clues.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
SANTA ANA >> Prosecutors Friday filed a murder charge Friday against a Santa Maria man with killing his mother and dumping her body in some bushes behind a La Habra carport earlier this year.
Following five months of investigation, La Habra police detectives arrested Gabriel Anthony Espinoza, 30, of Santa Maria Tuesday in connection with the slaying of his mother, La Habra police Sgt. Jose Quirarte said in a written statement.
After making an initial appearance Friday in Orange County Superior Court, Espinoza was being held without bail pending his next scheduled hearing on Feb. 6, according to Orange County booking records.
A man walking his dog first found the body of 58-year-old clinical social worker Emma Posadas Espinoza of Lompoc about 4:30 a.m. on July 21 in the 900 block of South Idaho Street in La Habra.
“He indicated that he had been walking his dog, off leash, behind the carport area, when his dog alerted on something,” Quirarte said. “He went to investigate and discovered the body. He immediately called the police.”
“The body had been covered with foliage and only the feet and a limited portion of the body appeared to be uncovered. The body was later identified as being Emma Posadas Espinoza.”
But the death remained shrouded in mystery for months. There were no obvious signs of trauma on the body when discovered, officials said. Initial autopsy results were not conclusive.
Autopsy results provided by the Orange County coroner investigators Dec. 17 revealed that Posadas-Espinoza died of asphyxiation, police said. Further details regarding exactly how she died were not available Saturday.
“Based on information gathered in the investigation, which included search warrants and court orders, the La Habra Police Department was able to identify a suspect responsible for the homicide,” Quirarte said.
Aided by Santa Maria police, La Habra officers arrested Espinoza at his Santa Maria home.
Prosecutors have filed a murder charge against the suspect, and also allege the murder involved special circumstances, making Espinoza potentially eligible for the death penalty if convicted. The alleged special circumstance is reportedly murder for financial gain, however officials could not confirm that information over the weekend.
Espinoza called Lompoc police the day his mother’s body was found and told them he hadn’t heard from her, but she was not formally reported missing, Lompoc police Sgt. Chuck Strange said at the time.
Espinoza declined to comment when contacted by this newspaper in July.
PICO RIVERA >> Deputies this week recovered two valuable English bulldog puppies and arrested three teenage suspects who allegedly stole them at gunpoint from a Whittier Boulevard pet shop on Christmas Eve, sheriff’s officials announced Saturday.
The robbery took place Wednesday afternoon at Mr. Bulldog, 9432 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Serge Escobedo said.
A young man armed with a handgun demanded cash and the puppies before fleeing in a BMW driven by an accomplice, Escobedo said.
“Media coverage of the incident fanned public interest, which led to a crime tip about the robbery,” Escobedo said. “As a result, Pico Rivera Station detectives were called in on Christmas Day. They worked unremittingly on every lead in order to identify the suspects. Their efforts led to the execution of a search warrant on Christmas night at a residence in West Whittier. The warrant resulted in the arrest of the primary robbery suspect, who was a juvenile.”
Deputies arrested the alleged gunman, a 17-year-old West Whittier boy, on Christmas Day, Sgt. Jacqueline Sanchez said.
Further investigation led deputies to arrest the alleged getaway driver Jonathan Mora-Medina, 18, of Whittier, who turned himself in Friday at the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station, officials said.
Sanchez said deputies also arrested a 15-year-old West Whittier girl Friday as an accomplice to the armed robbery, though her alleged specific role in the crime was not available Saturday.
Both 10-week-old puppies have been recovered safe and returned to the business they were stolen from.
A woman found one of the animals wandering near her West Whittier home on Christmas Day, officials said. An unidentified person returned the second puppy to the store Friday.
According to county booking records, Mora-Medina was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Downey Superior Court.
The names of the juvenile suspects were withheld due to their ages.
PASADENA >> A man with a gun robbed a Pasadena market on Christmas Eve, but the crime was not reported until Friday, police said.
The robber entered the Futaba Food Center, 1507 Lincoln Ave., about 6 p.m. Wednesday and pulled a handgun on the 71-year-old owner, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
“The suspect demanded money from the cash register and fled the store on foot with approximately $100,” Luna said. The owner was not hurt. He did not report the robbery until Friday morning.
Luna said the robber was described as a black man of unknown age dressed in green hooded sweat shirt, dark jeans, dark gloves and sunglasses.
PASADENA >> Police are seeking a man in connection with an unprovoked attack on an interracial couple outside a Pasadena coffee shop, which authorities are investigating as a hate crime, officials said.
A 29-year-old black woman and a 36-year-old man of Armenian descent, both Glendale residents, were outside a Starbucks at Los Robles Avenue and Colorado Boulevard about 7 p.m. when the attacker confronted them, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
“Without provocation, he made reference to the race of both victims,” Luna said. “The suspect spat on the female victim and punched the male victim.”
The male victim sought his own medical treatment for a cut to his lower lip, the lieutenant said. The woman wasn’t hurt. The couple did not report the crime to police until several hours later.
Luna said the suspect apparently objected to the fact the man and woman were of different races.
“Based on the fact that race was the provocation, we’re investigating it as a hate crime,” he said.
Police described the suspect as a black man in his 20s, about 6 feet 2 inches tall and 190 pounds, with his hair in dreadlocks. He wore a red jacket and blue jeans.
LA VERNE >> A woman and her husband died following an attack inside their home Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The attack occurred in the 300 block of Roughrider Road in an unincorporated county area near La Verne.
Neighbor Don Mineer identified the couple as Shirley and Troy Isom.
The woman, 74, was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, according to Lt. Dave Coleman of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. Her husband, 89, was found wounded and later succumbed to his injuries.
Though neighbors knew the man as Troy, sheriff’s officials identified hime as Arnie Isom.
Early reports indicated the couple had been stabbed but Coleman declined to discuss the injuries, which were also described by officials as “blunt force trauma.”
A “grounds keeper” called the sheriff’s San Dimas Sheriff’s station after finding the married couple unresponsive inside the home, Coleman said.
Firefighters responded to a rescue call at 1:16 p.m. involving two critically injured patients, according to county fire Capt. Keith Mora.
“We are very early in the investigation,” said Coleman. “It’s an expansive scene.”
The couple were found near the entryway of the home, Coleman said.
Jose Tamayo, a gardener who was working nearby, reported seeing a man exit the property minutes before the incident was discovered.
Tamayo said the man was wearing a green jacket with a hood, a baseball cap and jeans. He said the man picked up a backpack from nearby bushes, put it on and walked away.
Mineer said he saw a similar man walking down the road as he was driving home.
“He wasn’t hurrying, but he wasn’t wasting a lot of time,” Mineer said. “Now that I think about it, he looked like he was trying to be inconspicuous.”
Lorrie Guzzy, who lives on a nearby street, said she saw a man walking up Live Oak Canyon Road toward Roughrider Road between noon and 12:30 p.m. and thought he was suspicious.
“He didn’t look like a hiker,” Guzzy said. “He looked homeless.”
She said another neighbor also saw the man.
“It just didn’t look right. I wish both of us had called (police),” Guzzy said.
The Isoms lived at the home on a private road at the end of Roughrider Road, Mineer said.
“He’s a good guy and a good friend,” Mineer said, adding that Troy was a contractor.
He thinks the couple lived there for about 20 years.
“(Troy) told my wife he had a shotgun loaded by the door. I think I’ll load mine too,” Mineer said.
Deputies initially responding to the incident sought a man seen leaving the area between age 25 and 30, and between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 11 inches tall. He reportedly wore an orange or blue hooded sweatshirt and carried a green or red backpack. Several people matching the description were detained and questioned in the area, but none were linked to the crime.
But homicide investigators would not confirm the description and did not label the suspicious man reported by neighbors as a suspect int he killing.
PHOTO by Jeo Jarzomb