EL MONTE >> El Monte police are planning a checkpoint Saturday night, as well as extra patrols throughout Memorial Day weekend to hunt for impaired drivers, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7:30 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday at Valley Boulevard and Baldwin Avenue, Sgt. Jimmie Pitts of the El Monte Police Department Traffic Safety Bureau
Extra officers will be on the lookout for DUI drivers throughout the weekend in El Monte, as well as in other area jurisdictions, including freeways, police said in a written statement.
Funding for this weekends campaign is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.
WEST COVINA >> Two people died in a fiery three-vehicle crash on the 10 Freeway in West Covina early Friday, authorities said.
The crash was reported about 1:10 a.m. on the westbound 10 Freeway, just east of Citrus Avenue, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
Two patients were pronounced dead at the scene, CHP Officer Patrick Kimball said. One more person was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in unknown condition.
One of the two involved vehicles caught fire, and “multiple explosions,” were reported, according to CHP logs.
The source of the explosions was unclear, Kimball said.
Bryan Garcia said he was on his way home with his wife when the collision unfolded behind him in the westbound lanes.
“A car lost control then I saw a fireball behind me,” he said.
It appeared one vehicle struck another, then hit the center divider and burst into flames, Garcia said.
Witness Lauren Walton described a similar scenario via Twitter, but from a vantage point behind the crash.
“I watched the car drift, collide, then a huge explosion. Called 911,” she posted on the social media network.
“I watched the last few minutes of someone’s life tonight… that’s heavy. I feel for the one lady that got out,” she wrote.
No further details regarding the circumstances of the crash were immediately available.
Officials issued a Sig Alert, shutting down all westbound lanes of the 10 Freeway, officials said. The closure was expected to remain in effect past 5 a.m.
PICO RIVERA >> Two men robbed two 14-year-old boys and slashed on of them with a knife along Durfee Avenue in Pico Rivera Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime and attack took place about 4:05 p.m. in the 4700 block of Durfee Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Noe Garcia said.
The two victims, both Pico Rivera boys, were walking down the street when two men with the appearance of gang members approached them, the lieutenant said.
One of the robbers brandished a knife as he and his accomplice demanded the teens’ property, Garcia said. The victims handed over three cell phones, a gold chain, two sets of headphones, a skateboard and $4 in cash.
After obtaining the boys’ belongings, the knife-wielding robber slashed at one of the victims, but he managed to dodge the attack, Garcia said. The attacker then turned his attention to the second teen, clashing him on his arm.
The wound was no serious, Garcia said.
The robbers were last seen running south along Durfee Avenue, he said.
One was a Latino man in his early-20s, brandishing a knife, with a black hat covering a bald head, Garcia said. The second robber was a Latino man in his early-30s with short black hair.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station at 562-949-2421. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
AZUSA >> An man accused of stabbing his father repeatedly stabbing his father in the head during an argument at their Azusa home earlier this week denied criminal charged Thursday, authorities said.
Marlon Enrique Juares, 36, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and making criminal threats during an arraignment in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement. Prosecutors also alleged the special circumstances that Juares personally used a knife in the crime, and that he inflicted great bodily injury.
The stabbing took place about 6:20 p.m. Tuesday at the family home in the 300 block of South Scott Avenue, Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said at the time.
After the son and his 60-year-old father got into an argument, “The confrontation escalated and the defendant allegedly grabbed a knife and stabbed his father in the head,” Ardalani said. “A family member was able to successfully intervene and stop the attack.”
Police arrived to find the father suffering from several wounds to his head and shoulder, Sutcliffe said. Jaures was still clutching a knife, but dropped it when confronted by officers.
If convicted as charged, Juares could face life in state prison, officials said.
According to county booking records, he’s being held in lieu of $1 million bail. He is scheduled to return to court for a hearing on June 15.
PASADENA >> Pasadena police are planning a sobriety and driver’s license checkpoint Friday night, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within the city, Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
In Pasadena, police have responded to 76 DUI-related crashes resulting in four deaths and 112 injuries over the past three years, police said.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.
LA MIRADA >> Sheriff’s deputies arrested three men who they say showed up at a La Mirada hotel to pay for sex with minors during an online sting operation last week, officials announced Thursday.
Matthew Brown, 32, of Long Beach, Jamie Rodriguez, 37, of Norwalk, and Jorge Garcia, 40, whose city of residence was not clear Thursday, were arrested for and subsequently charged with arranging and meeting with a minor for lewd behavior, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
“After ads were placed on websites, which commonly contain ads for sex workers, undercover deputies communicated via text and phone with potential buyers who attempted to purchase sex for money, making it clear that they were under 18,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “ After agreeing on a lewd act in exchange for money, the suspects responded to a meeting location.”
The men were arrested after arriving at a La Mirada hotel to meet who they believed to be were minors to exchange money for sex, Sgt. Jeff Walker of the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force said.
According to booking records, Garcia remained in custody Thursday in lieu of $75,000 bail. Brown and Rodriguez had been released from jail pending their initial court appearances after posting $75,000 bail each.
VALINDA >> A SWAT team captured the suspect in last week’s shooting of a West Covina police officer during an early-morning raid in Valinda Thursday, bringing an end to a six-day manhunt, authorities said.
Jose Luis Chavez, 47, of West Covina is accused of the attempted murder of Officer Kenny Benitez, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and West Covina police officials said. Benitez suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen in the gunfight, which unfolded about 11:20 p.m. on May 20 on Yaleton Avenue, just north of Badillo Street in West Covina.
Law enforcement officer from throughout the region launched a manhunt for Chavez the night of the shooting, serving search warrants and offering a $20,000 reward in connection with the case, but the alleged shooter remained at large, until Thursday morning.
“Detectives developed information over the past few days that related to his possible whereabouts,” Lt. Steve Jauch of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. “A search warrant was written, and this morning at around 2 a.m., sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau personnel served that search warrant at a residence in the 1200 block of Foxworth Avenue in an unincorporated area (patrolled by the) Industry sheriff’s station.”
The arrest was made about one block from the scene of Friday night’s shooting.
SWAT deputies surrounded the home and ordered Chavez to surrender, Jauch said. He complied, emerging from a detached garage on the property.
“He was taken into custody without incident,” Jauch said.
Chavez had a gunshot wound to his left arm, he said. The wound likely resulted from the gunfight with the West Covina officer, who returned the suspect’s gunfire, however forensic testing was yet to be completed.
Chavez has gang ties, as well as “a violent criminal history” and is on felony probation under AB 109 guidelines following a previous conviction, Jauch said. A full account of Chavez criminal history was not available Thursday.
It was unclear whether others would face charges related to helping Chavez flee from justice.
“There were other people on the property and they were interviewed,” Jauch said. No arrests had been made.
It also remained unclear whether a $20,000 reward offered by West Covina for information leading to Chavez’s capture and conviction would be claimed.
Chavez was walking with a woman and pushing a bicycle when Benitez first approached him. Chavez ran, and Benitez gave chase.
Chavez allegedly produced a gun and fired multiple times, striking the officer. Benitez shot back, but the suspect managed to flee the scene.
Jauch said investigators on Monday found a gun not far from where Chavez ran from the officer, but he said they hadn’t determined whether the gun was used in the shooting.
The wounded officer has since been released from the hospital to continue his recovery at home, West Covina police Chief David Faulkner said. He was fortunate that the bullet somehow missed all vital organs.
“Officer Benitez is recovering. He’s doing much better than he was and improving every day. We’re very pleased about that,” Faulkner said.
Benitez is a 9-year law enforcement veteran who joined the West Covina Police Department a little over a year ago, the chief said. Prior to police work, he was a U.S. Marine and served three tours of duty overseas.
The chief said he was proud of West Covina officers, as well as the many other law enforcement officers who worked, “almost around the clock, tirelessly, to support the sheriff’s department in being able to track and locate this suspect.”
According to county booking records, Chavez was being held without bail at the jail ward of Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center pending his initial court appearance.
PHOTOS: [TOP] West Covina Police Chief David Faulkner speaks at a press conference oustide the West Covina Police Department on Thursday, May 26, 2016, regarding the arrest of Jose Luis Chavez, 47, of West Covina, for allegedly shooting and wounding a West Covina police officer in a gunfight a week earlier. (Staff photo by Brian Day) [BELOW] Photo of Jose Luis Chavez, 47, of West Covina (Courtesy, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)
SAN GABRIEL VALLEY >> San Gabriel Valley sheriff’s deputies and police officers arrested four suspects and recovered weapons and drugs Tuesday when they teamed up for a compliance sweep targeting parolees and those under AB 109 felony probation in the San Gabriel Valley, officials said.
More than 40 law enforcement officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the West Covina, Covina, Baldwin Park took part in the early-morning operation, joined by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, state parole agents, county probation officers and representatives from the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, according to sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro, who oversees law enforcement for the city of La Puente.
After visiting more than 30 homes of convicts, officials arrested a parolee for being a felon in possession of a loaded handgun in La Puente, Cacheiro said.
Officials arrested three AB 109 probationers in West Covina, he said. One was arrested for possession of a Taser by a felon, one was jailed for possession of ammunition by a felon and one is accused of possession of methamphetamine for sales.
The task force operation, “exemplified out community policing strategies,” Cacheiro said.
La Puente City Manager David Carmany commended the effort in a written statement. “
“Our local law enforcement strives to maintain our communities safe and provide quality services to our residents,” he said.
Law enforcement officers from agencies throughout the San Gabriel Valley prepare for parole and probation compliance sweep at their command post at the Plaza West Covina shopping mall on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (Courtesy, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)
WHITTIER >> Prosecutors declined to file charges Wednesday against an autistic Whittier man arrested this week on suspicion of kidnapping after he allegedly tried to grab a young girl outside an elementary school, authorities said.
After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors declined to file a criminal case against David Brooks, 50, of Whittier, in connection with Monday’s incident outside Ocean View Elementary School, 14359 E. Second Street, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The decision to declined the case was made, “in the interest of justice,” she said.
Whittier police jailed Brooks on suspicion of attempted kidnapping Monday afternoon after he approached and tried to grab a 12-year-old girl, Whittier police Cpl. Glenn Hedgpeth said at the time. The frightened girl ran onto the school to seek help.
Neighbors and family members immediately came forward to say that Brooks was severely mentally disabled, but kind, gentle and peaceful, and the incident must be a misunderstanding. Police declined to comment on Brook’s mental state, citing medical privacy laws.
Officials booked Brooks into jail and set bail at $1 million pending an initial court appearance, scheduled for Wednesday, Los Angeles County booking records show.
Brooks’ brother Bill Brooks said David is severely autistic and has lived in the same East Whittier home for his entire life.
“I don’t feel by my brother had the physical strength or the wherewithal to commit the type of crime he was accused of,” the brother said.
He pointed out that David Brooks has never been in trouble with the police before. And when coaches at the school told him to stay there and wait for police, he complied, making no effort to flee.
Once family members arrived at the police station Wednesday night and explained David Brook’s condition, officials appeared to be sympathetic, but informed them that he would have to remain in custody pending his court appearance, unless the $1 million bail was posted.
Bill Brooks said he wished the police had been more understanding of his brother’s condition from the beginning, especially since the family has informed the police of his condition in the past as a precaution.
“They assured me that this was in the computer,” so officers who encountered him would immediately be notified of his disability,” Bill Brooks said. “To my knowledge, that did not happened when he was initially contacted by the Whittier Police Department. It took them a long time to realize that he had a disability.”
And Brooks said the $1 million bail amount seemed excessive, under the circumstances. “ He has no drivers license, no ability to drive. He doesn’t have the wherewithal to flee. He doesn’t have a passport,” the brother said.
But Bill Brooks also said he was grateful to Whittier police officials for their consideration.
“He’s a picky eater,” the brother said. Police officers picked up food from Subway Sandwiches and other familiar foods David Brooks was willing to eat.
Bill Brooks said he sympathized with the young girl, as she was likely “traumatized” by the incident.
But the incident was also traumatic for David Brooks, he said. “He thought he couldn’t go home ever again.”
“It’s hard for me to second-guess the police, because I wasn’t there,” Bill Brooks said. “I do not know what David said to his victim. I don’t know if he actually attempted to touch her in any way.”
But Brooks said he feels the incident could be a learning experience.
“I think that the Whittier Police Department needs to review their policies regarding the way they deal with disabled people,” he said.
David Brooks’ father looked after him until his death in 2001, at which time the family obtained caretakers to look after David.
The organization Community Advocates for Peoples’ Choice, or CAPC, initially provided a caretaker seven days a week, Bill Brooks said. But the caretaker services were reduced to five days a week following a change in labor laws related to “domestic workers” in 2014.
Following this weeks incident, the agency plans to again provide David Brooks with a caretaker seven days a week, he said.
According to county booking records, David Brooks was released from custody shortly after noon Wednesday.
LA HABRA >> Authorities have released the identity of a 72-year-old Los Angeles woman who died in a two-vehicle crash in La Habra over the weekend that also left another woman and two children injured.
Ching Liu died at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton shortly after the collision, which took place about 9:50 p.m. Friday at Harbor Boulevard and Arbolita Street, according to Orange County coroner’s records. She was a passenger in a car that collided with an SUV.
La Habra police, who are handling the investigation, released few details about the circumstances of the crash.
Another woman who was riding along with Liu suffered injuries in the crash, as well as two children who were riding as passengers in the SUV, La Habra police officials said in a written statement.
An update on the conditions of those injured was not available.
The crash was being investigated by the La Habra Police Department’s Traffic Unit. Anyone with information can reach police at 562-383-4300.