Coroner’s officials have identified a La Puente man who was fatally struck by a car on the 605 Freeway in Irwindale minutes after allegedly trying to carjack a driver in El Monte on Tuesday.
Louis Marcus Martinez, 27, died after he was struck by a car about 10:10 p.m. in the southbound lanes of the 605 Freeway, just north of Ramona Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Chief of Operations Brian Elias said. An autopsy was yet to be completed.
The bizarre series of events began about 9:45 p.m. when El Monte police received a report of an attempted carjacking in the 4000 block of Gilman Road, according to El Monte police Lt. Pete Rasic.
A woman was entering her car when a man, later identified as Martinez, tried to force his way into her vehicle and grab her keys, police said.
The woman managed to push the would-be carjacker away, lock her car doors and drive away, Rasic said. The suspect left behind personal items including a photo ID.
Police received a second report of the same man grabbing onto a van and hanging onto to briefly it as it drove away in the area of Gilman Road and Ramona Boulevard in El Monte, officials said.
The man was not found, but turned up minutes later, walking in traffic lanes of the 605 Freeway along the border between Baldwin Park and Irwindale.
A car traveling about 70 mph in the No. 2 lane struck Martinez, who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez. He was soon linked to the prior attempted carjacking in El Monte.
It was unclear why Martinez ended up walking on the freeway.
BALDWIN PARK >> A 75-year-old woman died after she was struck by car while crossing a street in Baldwin Park late Wednesday, officials said.
Ela Hernandez of Baldwin Park died after she was struck by a vehicle about 6:35 p.m. while crossing Francisquito Avenue at Athol Street, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Chief of Operations Brian Elias said.
She was walking within a crosswalk when struck, Baldwin Park police Sgt. Joshua Hendricks said. Paramedics pronounced Hernandez dead at the scene.
The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene and cooperated with police, the sergeant said. The investigation was ongoing, however there were no initial signs of intoxicated driving.
Further details, such as the directions of travel involved in the collision, were not available Thursday.
Nearly 100 law enforcement officers from local, county and state agencies carried out 36 searches and made 17 arrests during a parole and probation compliance sweep in the central San Gabriel Valley on Thursday morning.
The series of raids focused primarily on the West Covina and La Puente areas, including the surrounding unincorporated county areas, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
The operation was spearheaded by Los Angeles County sheriff’s La Puente Special Assignment Team and the West Covina Police Department, with help from agencies including Irwindale police, Azusa police, state parole officials and prison investigators, county probation officers and officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, according to sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro.
The arrests were for alleged crimes including drug violations, gang injunction violations, parole violations, probation violations and outstanding warrants, Cacheiro said.
“We specifically targeted individuals that had a nexus to gang related crimes,” Patton said.
The majority of the homes visited by police and deputies on Thursday were those of probationers or parolees, though some of the visits were the result of investigative leads, he added.
The task force set out to focus on emerging crime trends, as well as, “to bring a better sense of quality of life back to our communities,” Patton said.
“As we realize crime has no boundaries, our partnerships with our allied partners allow us to effective combat those quality of life issues,” Patton said.
La Puente Mayor Valerie Munoz applauded the effort.
“Our priorities are to safeguard our residents,” she said. “La Puente appreciated the efforts of our sheriff’s department and their collaboration with our surrounding municipal police agencies.”
PHOTO: Law enforcement officers prepare to visit three-dozen locations, primarily homes of probationers and parolees, during a compliance sweep in the La Puente and West Covina areas on Thursday, May 25, 2017. (Courtesy, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)
PICO RIVERA >> Suicide is suspected after a man was struck by a freight train on a bridge spanning the San Gabriel River in Pico Rivera on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
Deputies first received a report at 3:29 p.m. that a person had been spotted on the train tracks near a bridge spanning the river just south of Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Noe Garcia said.
Officials soon received a second call indicating the person on the tracks had been struck by a westbound Union Pacific freight train, the lieutenant said.
The impact through the pedestrian from the bridge and down into the shallow waters of the San Gabriel River below, he said. Paramedics pulled the man from the river and pronounced him dead at the scene.
The train was traveling at about 49 mph when the pedestrian was firs spotted, Garcia said. No injuries to personnel on the train were reported.
The identity of the dead man had not been determined Wednesday evening. He was estimated to be in his 30s.
PHOTO by Keith Durflinger
SOUTH PASADENA >> A mysterious odor possibly linked to nearby sewer work prompted the evacuation of an adult school facility in South Pasadena on Wednesday after nine people reported feeling ill, authorities said.
People first reported the odor just before noon at the Almansor Transition and Adult Services/Employment Services, 211 Pasadena Ave., Verdugo Cities Fire Command Chief Mario Rueda said.
“Several people reported nausea. That triggered our response for a hazardous materials incident,” he said.
Nine people at the adult school who reported feeling sick were examined, according to the chief. Most of the patients soon reported feeling better, but two continued feeling nauseous and were taken to a hospital.
Firefighters from South Pasadena and several nearby cities thoroughly inspected the building and found no signs of anything dangerous, Rueda said.
The source of the odor, which witnesses described as reminiscent of some kind of cleaning agent, was not found, he said. But officials suspected it may have been related to some sewer work being done about a block away.
Fire officials ventilated the building and declared it safe to reenter a little over an hour after the incident began, Rueda said.
PHOTO by Walt Mancini
PASADENA >> A man carried out a robbery at a Pasadena bank branch on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime took place about 12:30 p.m. at Chase, at Colorado and Sierra Madre boulevards, Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe said.
The robber entered the bank and handed a teller a note demanding money before fleeing with cash, he said. No weapon was seen during the crime, and no injuries were reported.
The robber was initially described as a white man, possibly in his 30s, with an unshaven face.
Investigators were looking into the possibility that the robber was the same bandit sought in connection with two bank robberies on Wednesday in South Pasadena and Burbank, according to the lieutenant. But Saturday’s bank heist had not been formally linked to Wednesday’s crimes.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO: Police and FBI officials are seeking the man and vehicle pictured in these surveillance photos in connection with bank robberies in Burbank and South Pasadena on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. (Courtesy, Burbank Police Department)
WEST COVINA >> Authorities have released the identity of a La Puente man who died in a three-car crash in West Covina last weekend.
Michael Moses Saavedra, 50, died shortly after the 11:55 a.m. crash on May 13 at Lark Ellen and Puente avenues, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
He was at the wheel of a 1960s-model Chevrolet Impala that was believed to have run through a red light and crashed into two other cars, according to West Covina police Lt. Ron Allen.
Saavedra had to be cut free from the wreckage by firefighters, he said. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A man driving one of the vehicles struck by the Impala was treated for significant injuries, while a woman and child riding as passenger in that car suffered injuries described as minor, Allen said. The driver of the second car struck by the Impala suffered minor injuries.
The Impala was southbound on Lark Ellen avenue when it passed through a red light at Puente Avenue, Allen said.
Though the first vehicle struck by the Impala was initially described by police as being in the left-turn lane from southbound Lark Ellen avenue to Puente Avenue, it was later determined the car was struck broadside while traveling on Puente Avenue, Allen said. The Impala then continued moving and struck a second car, which was in the left-turn lane from northbound Lark Ellen Avenue to Puente Avenue.
Police suspected Saavedra may have been driving under the influence at the time of the crash, Allen said.
WEST WHITTIER >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of a 30-year-old Whittier man who was shot to death outside a family gathering just over a week ago.
Adrian Phillip Casas died shortly after the attack, which took place just before 8 p.m. on May 13 in the 10300 block of Lock Avon Drive in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano.
Few details are known about deadly shooting, which unfolded as Casas was standing in the driveway of a home where a family gathering was taking place, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Witnesses reported hearing two gunshots, but no description of the shooter was available, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Casas succumbed to his injuries at a hospital hours later, officials said. An autopsy determined Casas died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
A fund to help Casas’ family has been set up online at www.gofundme.com/in-loving-memory-of-adrian-p-casas.
His Facebook profile describes him as a forklift driver who went to Pioneer High School and was engaged to be married.
Anyone with information is urged to call 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.
Police are asking the public’s help in finding a West Covina man suffering from dementia who went missing in after leaving a hospital in Baldwin Park on Saturday morning.
Jerry Quinton Williams, 73, was last seen at the Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center, 1011 Baldwin Park Blvd., during the early-morning hours, West Covina police officials said in a written statement. He hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
“(Williams) suffers from early stages of dementia and needs ongoing medical attention,” according to the statement.
Williams was driving a Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck with a license plate of 84733X1. He’s described as black, 6 feet 3 inches tall, 210 pounds, with a goatee and piercing in his left ear. He was last seen wearing red and black gym shorts.
Anyone who spots the missing person is urged to call 911 or contact local police immediately.
PHOTO: Missing person Jerry Quinton Williams, 73, of West Covina. (Courtesy, West Covina Police Department)
Dozens of community members, including several families who have lost loved ones to violence, marched through the streets of Duarte and Monrovia on Saturday to respond to recent shootings in the area with a message of peace.
The Duarte-Monrovia Peace March, organized by the Community Mediation Team, drew demonstrators of all ages to Duarte City Hall before they made a 1.5-mile trek to the Mary Wilcox the Mary Youth Center in Monrovia. Marchers wore white clothing and carried signs reading, “Peace & Unity,” and “Love Conquers Hate.”
Monrovia police Chaplain Steve Martinez had a message for the family members of slain loved ones who took part in the event
“I know it’s been difficult for you. It could have weeks ago, months ago, years ago, but you’re here today, and we are here to support you, and show love to your family and to honor the memory of the person that you lost and that you still love,” he said.
“And this is also a sign to show people in the community that we want to do something. We want to make a change.”
The Monrovia-Duarte community has seen four people killed and four others wounded in a space of at least eight shootings reported since January.
Among them was 39-year-old Kirinda Morehead of Duarte, who was shot to death on Feb. 18 as he arrived home with his fiancee and two young children in the 2300 block of Bashor Street.
“As he got out of his truck, someone shot him 12 times,” said Diane Myrick, the mother of Morehead’s fiancee. Though the couple was not yet married, she said she already thought of Morehead as her son-in-law.
“He was a hard-working, loving, family-loving, Christian man who did not deserve to be gunned down in the street like that in front of his children and his fiancee,” she said.
“All we can do now is just hope and pray that the person who perpetrated this act this act upon this family (is caught),” Myrick said.
“And we just want to thank the city of Duarte for all that you’re doing to ensure that the these streets are safe,” she said. In 25 years living in the area, “I’ve never experienced anything like we have in the past few months.”
“It’s a struggle day-by-day,” Myrick said. “These shooters just pull up, and they have no clue what they’re leaving behind. No clue. But God is able, and we’ll get through this together.”
The family of 18-year-old Oscar Garcia, who was shot to death in his hometown of Monrovia on April 22, carried pictures of the slain Canyon Oaks High School as they marched.
Garcia was visiting with friends in a residential garage in the 100 block of West Cypress Street while visiting friends when an attacker opened fire on the group of teens. Garcia was mortally wounded and another teenage boy was seriously injured in the shooting, but survived. Investigators suspect the shooter was looking someone else when he encountered and shot the teens.
“Without any though, he just went ahead and shot my brother,” David Garcia said. “He was a good kid.”
Garcia was an avid skateboarder who loved spending time at the Monrovia Skate Park, family members said.
To honor Garcia’s memory, loved ones have begun circulating a petition to formally rename the park after him. The petition is available online at www.change.org/p/the-community-of-monrovia-naming-the-skatepark-after-oscar-garcia.
The family of 18-year-old Malcolm Mency of Duarte also added their voices to the march.
Mency, who had just become a father, was shot to death at Broderick and Felberg avenues, in an unincorporated county area between Duarte and Monrovia, as he walked home from work on Dec. 22.
“I have in my heart a long list of families impacted that have not made the headlines,” said CMT Co-Chair and former Duarte Mayor Lois Gaston, who hosted the event.
Representatives from numerous local churches, organizations and government agencies took part in the assembly.
Capt. David Flores of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Temple Station, which patrols Duarte and nearby unincorporated county areas, said he was glad to see the strong show of community involvement.
“My heart goes out to all of you who have lost someone or know someone who was lost,” he said.
“It’s good that we’re here,” the captain added. “This comes down to citizenship and making a stand for what’s right and coming together for the community, so I’m so happy to see everyone here. When the community comes together and we partner together, good work can be done. And truly this a great step in that direction.”