WEST COVINA >> Paramedics rushed a man and woman to a trauma center in critical condition after their car struck a tree along Amar Road in West Covina early Saturday, officials said.
The crash took place about 9:30 a.m. on eastbound Amar Road, just west of Temple Avenue, West Covina Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian McDermott said.
Firefighters had to cut the man and woman free from the wreckage of their sedan before flying them to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center by helicopter, McDermott said. Officials encountered no additional patients.
The cause and circumstance of the crash were being investigated by the West Covina Police Department, but no one at the department was available to provide information Saturday morning or afternoon.
PASADENA >> A woman asked a man for dollar and then robbed him of his backpack when he tried to grant her request outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Friday night, authorities said.
A 54-year-old Monrovia man was walking around the stadium, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, just before 8:30 p.m. when a woman on a bicycle stopped to talk to him, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“The suspect asked the victim of he had a dollar to spare,” the lieutenant said.
The man was willing to help, but the woman apparently was not satisfied with his generosity.
“When the victim opened his backpack, the suspect grabbed the backpack out of the victim’s hands and fled on her bicycle,” the lieutenant said.
A good Samaritan followed the woman in a car and called 911, he said. Officers soon found the suspected robber, arrested her and recovered the victim’s backpack.
Goodman said Lucy Bermudez, 28, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of robbery. According to county booking records, she was being held in lieu of $76,000 bail pending her initial court appearance.
PASADENA >> A gunman carjacked a Fontana man of his rental car in a residential neighborhood in Pasadena on Friday afternoon, police said.
The victim, a 23-year-old man, was sitting in the rented car at Hurlbut Street and Jane Place about 4:25 p.m. when the carjacker approached on foot and brandished a handgun, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“The suspect demanded the victim exit the vehicle. The victim got out of the vehicle, at which time the suspect got in and drove away,” according to Goodman.
The stolen car was a cream-colored, 2017 Hyundai Accent. Police described the carjacker as a black man of unknown age, about 6 feet tall, of thin build, with dreadlocks in his hair and wearing all black clothing.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SAN GABRIEL >> Police arrested a teen who stole alcohol from a San Gabriel supermarket and fought with security guards who confronted him on Friday, but a man who pulled a gun on the security guards in an attempt to help the teen escape remained at large, authorities said.
The series of events began about 12:10 p.m. when a suspect, ultimately found to be a 16-year-old boy, snatched some alcoholic beverages from the Hawaii Supermarket, 120 E. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel police Sgt. Rebecca Gomez said.
Two loss prevention officers chased after the teen as he fled south down Del Mar Avenue, she said. They caught up with him in the 200 block of West Norwood Place, and they began to struggle, according to the sergeant.
A man emerged from the residential neighborhood, pointed a silver-colored handgun at the security guards and ordered them to let the young thief go, Gomez said.
Both the man and teen ran off, and officers set up a search perimeter with help from neighboring police departments.
Officers found the teen hiding behind a trash can with help from a police dog within an hour, Gomez said. He suffered minor bite injuries while being taken into custody. The allegedly stolen booze was recovered in the area.
The gunman was not found. He was described as a white or Latino man in his late-20s, of thin build, wearing a black shirt and red-and-black pants.
Gomez said the teen was examined at a hospital and taken to juvenile hall on suspicion of robbery.
Anyone with information can reach the San Gabriel Police Department at 626-308-2828. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PICO RIVERA >> Deputies jailed a Pico Rivera woman on Friday morning after she fatally struck a bicyclist on Rosemead Boulevard, then fled the scene, hours earlier, authorities said.
Berta Ramirez, 21, was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run involving a death about 10:20 a.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Noe Garcia said.
The bicyclist, a woman whose identity has not been released, was riding her bike on Rosemead Boulevard south of Rex Road at about 2 a.m. when she was hit, Sgt. Wilson Wong said in a written statement.
The victim, whom the coroner’s office believes was in her 30s, was taken to a local hospital where she died of her injuries, according to Ed Winter, assistant chief of Operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
The involved car was described as a dark gray, a 2003-2007 Honda Accord with damage to its front end.
As the investigation continued, deputies patrolling in South Whittier pulled over a “blueish-gray” 2005 Honda Accord for traffic violations shortly after 10 a.m. at Pioneer Boulevard and Saragosa Street, sheriff’s officials said. Ramirez was at the wheel.
“During the investigation, the deputies noticed extensive damage to the front end of the vehicle. It was determined the vehicle matched the description of the vehicle involved in the fatal hit-and-run traffic collision which occurred early in the morning,” Wong said. “Based on further investigation, suspect Ramirez was booked at the Pico Rivera Sheriff Station.”
Deputies obtained a blood sample from Ramirez, which will be analyzed as part of the investigation.
Ramirez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, records show.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station’s Detective Jose Marquez at 562-949-2421.
Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
— Brian Day and Sandra Molina
PASADENA >> Police and FBI officials released surveillance video on Friday depicting a man suspected off tossing a homemade explosive device into a crowded Pasadena Cheesecake Factory restaurant last month and offered a $20,000 reward for information in the case.
No one was hurt during the bizarre incident, which took place just after 6 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the restaurant at 2 W. Colorado Blvd. But the unexplained attack left nerves on edge, and investigators continue seeking the man responsible.
The FBI offered a $20,000 reward for information leading the arrest of the person or people responsible for the incident, said Deidre Fike, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.
Investigators have been gathering clues, interviewing witnesses and following leads since Feb. 2, but the case remains unsolved.
“As we have exhausted those leads, the FBI is offering a reward up to $20,000 for any information that leads to tips and information that identifies the individual or group involved in this act,” Fike said.
To that end, authorities released surveillance camera video footage from a Ralph’s grocery store at 320 W. Colorado Blvd., where Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said the suspect went immediately after the “homemade pyrotechnic device” was tossed into the restaurant. The footage shows a bearded man with a pigeon-toed gate walking through the store.
The video, “captured images of the suspect wearing a white T-shirt and carrying dark clothing, originally worn at the time of the incident,” Sanchez said.
The suspect is later seen discarding the black item of clothing in a trash can. The garment was not recovered, Sanchez said.
Police have described the suspect as a possibly Latino or Middle Eastern man of about 6 feet tall, with a heavy beard, wearing all-black clothing.
Sanchez said investigators had conducted surveillance on another man who turned out not to be involved.
Officials declined to describe the recovered explosive device in detail. It was unclear whether it had detonated to its full potential, or malfunctioned. The device caused only minor damage inside the restaurant.
Mayor Terry Tornek previously said the device was more akin to a firecracker than a bomb.
And the intent of the man who lobbed the device also remains unknown.
“The truth of the matter is we don’t know, and our evidence will take us where we need to be. If it was an elaborate prank, that’s what the evidence will show. If it was something greater than that, we have extraordinary investigators in the FBI and the Pasadena Police Department.”
Between the reward and the clear video footage, Fike said investigators were optimistic that new information will come to light.
“We believe that once this video is released, it will lead to tips coming in that will support the investigation, she said.
“Until we really identify who the individual is, determine the motive for this action and have an opportunity to interview him and any associates, we really don’t know,’ Fike said.
“We have no reason right now, we have no evidence to believe it was a terrorist attack. But again, we do not know the motive, and that’s why we’re reaching out to the community,” she said.
Once the suspect has been identified and interviewed, “We’ll follow the facts from there.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles tip line at 800-225-5324. Tipsters can remain anonymous, Fike said.
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE >> A 66-year-old Sylmar man died late Wednesday after the car he was riding as a passenger in was rear-ended by another vehicle on a freeway transition road in La Canada Flintridge, authorities said.
The crash took place shortly after 6 p,m, on the northbound 2 Freeway connector to the westbound 210 Freeway, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
The victim who died was riding as a passenger in a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta being driven by a 38-year-old Sylmar man, CHP officials said in a written statement. The Jetta was stopped behind traffic on the transition road.
“A (2015) Subaru Outback was approaching the Jetta from behind at a speed greater than 35 mph when the driver suddenly swerved to the left as he collided into the rear of the Jetta,” according to the statement. Thirty-five mph is the posted speed limit on the transition road.
“The impact from the collision caused the Jetta to spin in a westerly direction, where it collided into the rear of a stopped (2015) Honda CRV,” the statement said.
Both the driver and passenger of the Jetta were taken to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena for treatment, officials said. The passenger succumbed to his injuries a short time later. The driver suffered injuries described as moderate.
The 25-year-old Woodland Hills man at the wheel of the Outback suffered minor injuries, according to the CHP. The driver of the CRV was unhurt.
No arrests were made as the crash remained under investigation by the CHP’s Altadena-area office. Intoxicated driving was not initially suspected to be a factor.
Anyone with information can reach the CHP’s Altadena-area office at 626-296-8100.
PASADENA >> Police released a composite sketch of one of four men sought in connection with a January shooting that left two men dead and two other victims wounded during a vigil for a previous homicide victim in Pasadena.
Antoine Dewayne Sutphen Jr. and Ormani Dajan Duncan, both 24 and from Pasadena, died in the barrage of gunfire that erupted just before midnight on Jan. 6 at Fair Oaks Avenue and Claremont Street, according to Pasadena police and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
The victims had gathered for a vigil in memory of 25-year-old Brandon Douglas of Pasadena, who was gunned down on the same corner on Dec. 22.
The shooting involved four attackers, according to Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo. Investigators received conflicting reports of whether the men fired from inside a passing vehicle or exited their car before opening fire.
Police released descriptions of the suspect earlier this week in hopes of generating tips from the public, the lieutenant said. The plan worked.
“Since our most recent request for assistance, witnesses have come forward and provided further information, resulting in a composite sketch of one suspect,” Carrillo said.
Witnesses have described the killers as four black men. One was 20 to 25 years old, of dark complexion, 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall, between 210 and 220 pounds, police said.
The other three suspects were all described as 25 to 30 years old. One was 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall and 240 to 250 pounds and of dark complexion. The third was 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 210 to 220 pounds and of medium complexion. The final suspect was 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 1 inch tall, 180 to 190 pounds and of light complexion.
No description of the attackers’ car was available.
Investigators hoped more witnesses are yet to come forward with vital information that may help them solve the double-slaying, Carrillo said.
In addition to the two Pasadena man who lost their lives in the Jan. 6 shooting, a 24-year-old woman was critically injured and a 25-year-old man suffered non-life-threatening wounds.
The bloodshed continued the following afternoon, when another shooting erupted at the same street corner, police said. A 25-year-old man was shot in the thigh.
Investigators have said it appears the shooting, as well as others in the region since, are the result of an escalating rivalry between gangs in the Pasadena, Monrovia, Duarte and Pomona areas.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police homicide detectives at 626-744-4511. The department can be reached 24 hours a day at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SKETCH courtesy of the Pasadena Police Department/Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. PHOTO: Outside Kings Villages in Pasadena a candle is lit on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 by friends of Ormoni Duncan who was fatally shot along with Antoine Sutphen, Jr., in a shooting that also left two other victims wounded on Friday night. The victims were headed to a vigil for Brandon Douglas who was killed on Dec. 22, 2016. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)
SAN DIMAS >> A man held up a San Dimas gas station attendant at gunpoint early Wednesday, officials said.
The robbery took place about 8:20 a.m. at a 76 Station at 1790 S. San Dimas Ave., at Via Verde, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Thomas Reid said.
A man entered the business, brandished a handgun and demanded money form the clerk, the lieutenant said. After obtaining an undetermined amount of cash, the gunman was last seen fleeing the area in a gray sedan.
Deputies described the robber as a Latino man in his 30s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and 190 to 200 pounds.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2700. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA >> A former San Gabriel Mission High School athletic director received a sentence of at least two years in prison this week for absconding to Nevada with a 15-year-old then-student, officials said.
Juan Barajas, 37, received a sentence of 24 month to 72 months in state prison during his sentencing hearing on Tuesday in the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, according to Clark County Deputy District Attorney Alexander Chen. Barajas must serve a minimum of 24 months behind bars before becoming eligible for parole, he explained. The maximum amount of time he will spend behind bars in Nevada is six years.
Additionally, Barajas will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Chen said.
Police found Barajas with the teenage Pico Rivera girl and arrested him on Aug. 2 in Henderson, Nevada, officials said.
The man and girl had been missing since July 29, when they fled after the girl’s family learned of their inappropriate and illegal relationship. The girl had been a student at the school, a private Catholic high school operated by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
A Henderson police officer spotted Barajas and the girl hours after Los Angeles Police, who handled the investigation, asked the public for help in finding the missing teen and suspect.
He pleaded guilty in November to a single count of statutory sexual seduction,
Following his arrest, prosecutors initially charged Barajas with first-degree kidnapping, sexual assault of a minor under 16, lewdness with a minor under 16, statutory sexual seduction and committing a sex act in public, authorities said. If convicted as charged, could have faced between 20 and 50 years in state prison.
PHOTO of Juan Barajas (courtesy)