UPDATED: Man killed in La Mirada car-to-car shooting

LA MIRADA >> A man died after he was shot while driving in La Mirada late Friday, authorities said.
The deadly car-to-car shooting was reported about 8:30 p.m. in the 14100 block of Mansa Drive, just west of Valley View Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The identity of the victim, described as a 29-year-old man, was not released Saturday.
“Homicide Bureau investigators believe the victim was driving north on Parise Drive, turning onto Mansa Drive, while the suspect’s vehicle turned south on Parise Drive from Mansa Drive,” Deputy Trina Schrader of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. “As the two vehicles were passing each other, gunshots were fired from the suspect’s vehicle into the victim’s vehicle.”
Officials said the victim’s car continued traveling east and struck the attached garage of a home along Mansa Drive. No one at the home was hurt.
Paramedics took the wounded man to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 9:09 p.m., coroner’s records show. He had been shot in the “upper torso,” Schrader said.
The attacker or attackers fled south on Parise Drive, then west on Lynmark Street and out of sight in a light-colored vehicle, she said. No further description was available.
The motive in the attack was unclear. No further details were available.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Suicide suspected after teen falls from Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Suicide is suspected after a teenage girl plummeted to her death from the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena on Friday afternoon, officials said.
The incident was first reported about 2:45 p.m. on the bridge spanning the Arroyo Seco, Pasadena police Lt. Javier Aguilar said.
Witnesses first reported seeing a young woman who appeared as though she was preparing to leap from the bridge, he said. Callers then reported the person had plummeted from the 144-foot-tall structure.
Paramedics pronounced the teenage girl dead at the scene.
Coroner’s officials will conduct a death investigation, however, foul play was not initially suspected, Aguilar said.

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Father of missing South Pasadena boy arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of murder

SOUTH PASADENA >> Detectives on Friday arrested the father of a 5-year-old South Pasadena boy, who’s been missing for two months, on suspicion of the child’s murder, authorities said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau detectives arrested 35-year-old Aramazd Andressian Sr. of South Pasadena about 1 p.m. in Las Vegas on suspicion of the murder Aramzd Andressian Jr., whose been missing since April 22, according to Deputy Grace Medrano of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The arrest followed a murder charge filed against Andressian Sr. by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
“After reviewing all of the evidence in this case, homicide investigators presented the facts to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and obtained a murder filing against the suspect,” Medrano said in a written statement.
“The suspect was booked at Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department with a bail of $10 million and will return to Los Angeles County pending the extradition process,” she said.
Detectives were assisted in the arrest by the sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau Fugitive Taskforce, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Taskforce of the United States Marshals Service, she said.
Andressian Jr. was reported missing by his mother on April 22. He was last seen the day before while with his father, who failed to turn over the child to his mother for a scheduled custody exchange.
Andressian Sr., was found unconscious on April 22 near his car, which was parked at the Arroyo Seco Park in South Pasadena. The vehicle was doused in gasoline and there was a rag sticking out of the gas tank.
He told police he had taken prescription pills that belonged to someone else and did not know what had happened to his son.
A massive search for the missing boy ensued in the following weeks, with officials and volunteers scouring every place the man and son were known to have visited, including the Arroyo Seco Park and the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area in Santa Barbara County.
Andressian Jr.’s remains have not been discovered, sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
Attorney Daniel Nardoni, who is representing Andressian Sr., said he was surprised to learn of the murder charge Friday afternoon.
“I’m shocked and surprised, particularly when you have someone, a client, who’s adamant that he does not know the whereabouts of his son, nor did he do anything to harm him,” Nardoni said.
The lawyer said he spoke with Andressian Sr. and advised him to waive extradition proceedings to speed up the legal process. Andressian Sr. was expected to appear in court in Nevada early next week.
No further details were released Friday regarding the arrest of Andressian Sr. Officials planned to discuss the case in more detail at a scheduled press conference on Monday.
Anyone with information on the case 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.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Man caught with duffel bag full of weaponry at Pasadena Gold Line station denies charges

PASADENA >> A Georgia man arrested with an assault rifle, a pistol, silencers, ammunition and a machete after he was caught urinating in public at a Pasadena Gold Line station earlier this week pleaded not guilty to a series of criminal charged on Friday, authorities said.
Prosecutors charged Christopher Harrison Goodine, 28, with two counts of possession of a silencer, two counts of possession of a high-capacity magazine, one count of possession of an assault weapon and one count of carrying a loaded, unregistered handgun, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
He denied the charges and was ordered back to the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court for a hearing on July 10, officials said.
Sheriff’s deputies first approached Goodine about 9 a.m. Wednesday after seeing him urinating in a planter outside the Sierra Madre Villa Metro Gold Line Station, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
A search of a duffel bag he was carrying revealed an AR-15-style rifle equipped with a silencer and 30-round magazines, a .40-caliber pistol fitted with a silencer and a high-capacity magazine, extra ammunition and a large machete.
It was unclear why he was carrying the weapons, or what he may have intended to do with them.
If convicted as charged, Goodine faces up to six years and four months in county jail, Ardalani said.
Goodine was initially being held in lieu of $10,000 bail, county booking records show. Prosecutors said they planned to seek an increase in bail to $1 million.

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Monterey Park woman jailed over mysterious buttocks injection

MONTEREY PARK >> Federal investigators arrested a Monterey Park woman Thursday who they say injected an “unknown substance” into another woman’s buttocks as a cosmetic procedure, which ultimately required major surgery to correct.
Ana Bertha Diaz Hernandez, 47, was arrested Thursday afternoon following the filing of a criminal complaint charging her with receipt of an adulterated and misbranded medical device, misbranding prescription drugs and smuggling.
The complaint alleged Hernandez injected a victim with the substance four times, starting in late-2015 and continuing into 2016 at a detached “treatment room” behind Hernandez home in the 600 block of South Garfield Avenue. The victim, identified in court documents as “I.T.,” suffered serious complications from the injection, and the substance had to be removed through a major operation. Additional treatment is also needed in the future.
“During a series of treatments that cost thousands of dollars, (Hernandez) explained to I.T. that she was injecting a ‘natural product,’ at points claiming the injections were ‘lamb’s fat,” U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
The victim paid more than $5,000 to Hernandez for the procedures, which were intended to maker her buttocks appear “bigger and plump,” according to the complaint.
The woman who received the injection contacted the California Department of Consumer Affair’s Operation Safe Medicine Unit in late-2016 after developing pain.
“I.T. stated that the product (Hernandez) had injected into her buttocks had migrated to her ‘back, hips and legs,” Mrozek said. The woman ultimately received an operation from a doctor specializing in reversing cosmetic procedures.
The victim met Hernandez through a friend, who recommended Hernandez’s services, according to an affidavit filed in support of the case. Hernandez described herself as an esthetician and claimed she had been trained to do the injection procedure by a doctor in Mexico.
“(Hernandez) told I.T. that the product was safe and will stay in place until the day she dies,” the affidavit states. “(Hernandez) told I.T. that she has used the product on herself and others.
The suspects further told I.T. that she obtains the substance from Mexico, and that, “the product is so popular that she had to leave the country to by some more.”
The exact substance injected by Hernandez has not been determined, but it is believed to have been silicone, officials said. Silicone has never been approved by the FDA for body contouring purposes, and is considered dangerous even if administered by a doctor.
“Included among the risks of such injections are the potential of injection into a blood vessel resulting in embolism, migration of injected silicone to other bodily regions and resultant interference with organs and bodily systems, serious sepsis infection and infection-related disorders, silicone-filled scar tissue formations, necrosis, skin discoloration, immune system hyperactivity and related adverse systemic conditions, disfigurement, discomfort and pain,” according to the criminal complaint.
If convicted as charged, Hernandez faces up to 26 years in federal prison. She was scheduled to make her initial court appearance Friday in federal court in Los Angeles.

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Man wounded in Uptown Whittier stabbing

WHITTIER >> A group of teens stabbed and seriously injured a man following an argument in Uptown Whittier on Thursday afternoon, police said.
The attack took place about 6:50 p.m. in the 6700 block of Comstock Avenue, according to Whittier police Lt. Steve Dean.
A 25-year-old man was walking down the street when he exchanged words with a group of young men in their late-teens who appeared to be gang members, Dean said.
The teens followed the man as he walked down a breezeway, he said. “A fight ensues. The victim gets stabbed in the thigh.”
The knife severed the victim’s femoral artery, the lieutenant said. The man was taken to a hospital in where he was in stable condition.
A description of the attackers was not available.
Anyone with information can reach Whittier police at 562-567-9200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Whittier serial robbery suspect arrested in Santa Fe Springs

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A tipster helped police capture a man in Santa Fe Springs on Thursday who they have been seeking in connection with two robberies at the same Whittier convenience store, as well as a failed robbery at a Whittier jewelry store last month, officials said.
Officers found and arrested Esteban Manuel Garcia, 23, about 4:45 p.m. at a Starbucks coffee shop, 13248 Imperial Highway, Whittier police Lt. Steve Dean said.
Police were tipped off by a witness who recognized the suspect from surveillance camera images from the crimes released by police and circulate in the media, according to the lieutenant.
Though they didn’t know his name until Thursday, deputies had been seeking Garcia for a month.
He is suspected of holding up employees of a Whittier ampm store at Lambert Road and Greeneleaf Avenue on May 24.
The robber pulled a gun on the clerk and fled with about $200, Dean said.
The same tattoo-faced robber then reappeared exactly one week later on May 31, Dean said. He displayed a handgun and demanded money from a worker at a jewelry store in the 13500 block of Whittier Blvd.
But the worker refused, and the robber fled empty-handed.
The same armed man then returned to the ampm store robbed a week before about two hours after the failed jewelry store heist and held it up once more, Dean said. He escaped with about $250.
Garcia was taken into custody without a struggle, Dean said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Garcia was being held in lieu of $105,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

SURVEILLANCE PHOTO: Courtesy, Whittier Police Department.

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Miramonte Elementary School teacher accused of inappropriately touching students

SOUTH EL MONTE >> A 54-year-old Miramonte Elementary School teacher was arrested Wednesday for allegedly inappropriately touching girls at the school.
The alleged incidents occurred in a classroom and on school grounds, according to Sgt. Amy Hanson of the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau. She didn’t clarify the number of students molested but described them as between 8 and 11 years old.
She said Joseph Baldenebro was arrested on suspicion of lewd or lascivious acts involving children and molesting children.
“He’s been a teacher at the school for the past 21 years,” Lt. Todd Deeds of the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau said. The grades he teaches are 4th and 5th grades.”
Baldenebro was booked at the sheriff’s Temple Station on Wednesday morning. Deputies did not release a city of residence for him.
Detectives did not release the number of suspected victims or the time frame of the alleged crimes.
Miramonte Elementary School at 10620 Schmidt Road in South El Monte is in the Mountain View School District.
District officials were notified by the principal at Miramonte Elementary about an alleged incident between a teacher and a student, according to a statement from Superintendent Lillian Maldonado French.
She said district officials immediately contacted police and Baldenebro was placed on administrative leave.
“The district takes any allegation of misconduct of any kind very seriously,” Maldonado French said.
“Yesterday the district was informed that Mr. Baldenebro was arrested under the suspicion of lewd acts. The district has and will continue to fully cooperate with the sheriff’s investigation, and out of respect for judiciary due process and privacy laws, we cannot discuss any confidential details about personnel or students within the district.”
She said additional school counselors have been made available to any students who might have been affected by Baldenebro’s removal. She said while they are shaken by the allegations, the district trusts in the legal process and will have no further comment until that process has been completed.
Booking records show Baldenebro is being held at the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles on a bail of $404,000. He will be arraigned Friday at Pomona Superior Court.
Detectives believe there may be more possible victims of the longtime schoolteacher.
“We’re asking for the public help in identifying additional victims,” Deeds said. “If you have a child, or you went to Miramonte Elementary Shoool, and this gentleman was your teacher and you feel like something inappropriate happened, or criminal in nature, please contact the Special victims Bureau.
The sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau can be reached at 877-710-5273. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

— Ruby Gonzales, Hayley E. Munguia, Brian Day

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Former Arroyo High School wrestling coach gets year in jail for sex with three underage students

POMONA >> A former part-time wrestling coach at Arroyo High School in El Monte who carried on sexual relationships with three underage students received a one-year jail term on Wednesday, authorities said.
David Vaca Jr., 21, of West Covina pleaded “no contest” earlier this month to one count of oral copulation of a person under 18 years old and one count of sexual penetration by a foreign object, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
During Vaca’s sentencing in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior court, Judge Salvatore Sirna suspended a 3-year, 8-month state prison term and ordered Vaca instead to serve 365 days in county jail, Ardalani said in a written statement. Vaca was additionally sentenced to five years of formal probation, ordered to attend 52 sexual compulsion classes, stay away from his victims for 10 years and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Vaca was accused of carrying on sexual relationships with three female students at separate times between June of 2015 and January of 2017, Ardalani said.
He entered his “no contest” pleas under a negotiated plea arrangement, which included the suspended prison term.
Following his arrest on Feb. 1, Vaca initially faced 20 felony charges: Seven counts of oral copulation of a person under 18, six counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, six counts of penetration by a foreign object and one count of sodomy on a person under 16 years old.
Police first jailed Vaca after learning he had been involved in an inappropriate and illegal sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student of the school, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said at the time.
As the investigation unfolded, police learned of two additional students victimized by Vaca, Luna said.

PHOTO of David Vaca courtesy of the El Monte Police Deparment

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Man caught urinating at Pasadena Gold Line station found with guns, machete

PASADENA >> What began as an investigation into public urination at a Pasadena Gold Line station on Wednesday led deputies to seize two guns, high-capacity magazines, suppressors and a machete from the suspect’s duffel bag, authorities said.
Deputies first approached a man about 9 a.m. after spotting a man relieving himself in a planter along the sidewalk outside the Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line Station at Madre Street and Foothill Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The deputies confronted the man about the offense, and the suspect provided them with what turned out to be a false name, according to Deputy Katherine Zubo of the sheriff’s Transit Policing Division, who took part in the arrest. The man was carrying a duffel bag with him.
A search of the suspect’s bag turned up a loaded AR-15-style rifle, fitted wit with two 30-round magazines and a suppressor, as well as a .40-caliber pistol with a high-capacity magazine and a suppressor and a large machete-style knife, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said. The bag also contained a notebook full of writings and a Bible. He was booked for weapons violations.
“Marking on the handgun specified its use for restricted law enforcement or government only,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Investigators said they had not determined what the suspect, identified as 28-year-old Christopher Harrison Goodine of Union City, Georgia, may have ultimately intended to do with the weaponry.
“There is no intelligence to indicate there is a nexus to terrorism,” the sheriff’s said.
But he noted that any time a person is walking around with this type of armament in a duffel bag, “The outcome would not have been good no matter what he was going to do,” McDonnell said.
Goodine was believed to have boarded a train in Chinatown before exiting at the Sierra Madre Villa Station in Pasadena and encountering deputies, Zubo said.
Other than the public urination, Zubo said Goodine was not doing anything that would have attracted attention.
The deputy said she was glad she and her colleagues found the weapons before they became involved in a tragedy.
“Upon finding the bags, honestly, the first thing I felt was relief, because we got to this stuff first,” Zubo said.
McDonnell praised the actions of the involved deputies.
“Their proactive actions are commendable,” he said.
According to news reports and records, a man of the same name and birth month has faced similar allegations on the East Coast.
A Christopher Harrison Goodine, then-26 and a resident of New Rochelle, New York, was arrested in November of 2015 after trying to sneak into the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City while wearing body armor and carrying an empty gun holster and a ski mask, according to the New York Daily News. He told police at the time he wanted to take a shower. Information regarding the ultimate outcome of the case was not available Wednesday.
Records show the same man jailed in connection with the New York incident has multiple convictions around the country, including carrying a concealed weapon in Virginia in 2012, obstructing justice by force or threat in in Virginia in 2012 and obstructing police in Georgia in 2013. Records also show arrested in Florida and Washington, D.C.
Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said officials could not confirm whether the suspect arrested in Los Angeles County was the same man previously arrested on the East Coast.
According to county booking records, Goodine was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Friday in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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

— Staff writer Larry Altman contributed to this report.

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