Riverside man fatally shot in El Monte identified

EL MONTE >> Coroner’s officials have released the name of a 21-year-old Riverside man who was fatally shot when two gunman opened fire on a parked car he was sitting in on an El Monte Street earlier this week.
Jose Manuel Valenzuela died at hospital shortly after Monday’s shooting, which also left another man critically wounded, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
The shooting took place shortly after midnight in a residential cul-de-sac in the 2600 block of Sastre Avenue, just north of Fern Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Lt. David Coleman of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said Valenzuela and the surviving victim, a 29-year-old El Monte man, were rear passengers in a parked car with two other occupants when the attackers approached in another car.
Two gunmen exited the approaching car and immediately began shooting into the rear of the victims’ car, Coleman said.
No description of the shooters was available, nor was a description of their car, which investigators said was last seen speeding south on Sastre Avenue.
The victims’ companions drove them to Greater Community Hospital in South El Monte, Coleman said.
Valenzuela succumbed to his injuries about 12:30 p.m., Winter said. The other wounded man was hospitalized in critical condition. An update on his condition was not available.
No further details were released.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Burglary suspects jailed after neighborhood search in South Pasadena

SOUTH PASADENA >> Police jailed two residential burglary suspects Thursday following an extensive search of a South Pasadena neighborhood, authorities said.
Kenny Franklin, 22, of Lakewood and Michael Ward, 26, of Los Angeles were ultimately arrested following the failed break-in about 1 p.m. at a home in the 800 block of Rollins Street, South Pasadena police Sgt. Matt Petersen said.
A witness called police after hearing a neighbor’s security alarm sounding, then seeing two men running away from the home, the sergeant said.
The two suspects fled down a nearby pathway known as the Snake Trail before emerging on Flores De Oro, Petersen said. Franklin was immediately captured, but Ward continued to run.
With help from other nearby police agencies, South Pasadena police set up a search perimeter to seek the outstanding burglary suspect, Petersen said.
A police dog found and bit Ward about two hours later as he was hiding in a backyard shed in the 1300 block of Meridian Avenue, Petersen said. He was booked into jail after being treated for dog bite injuries.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Police plan checkpoint Friday in Whittier

WHITTIER >> Police are planning a sobriety and driver’s license checkpoint late Friday, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7:30 p.m. Friday to 2:30 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location with Whittier, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
Over the past three years in Whittier and Santa Fe Springs, four people have died and 167 people have been injured in DUI-related crashes, according to Whittier police Sgt. Rob Hanson.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Driver sentenced for fatal hit-and-run of senior citizen in Uptown Whittier

WHITTIER >> A man received a two-year prison sentenced Thursday in connection with the fatal hit-and-run of a 69-year-old Whittier man in Uptown Whittier.
Isaiah Storey, 25, of Whittier pleaded “no contest” last month to a felony charge of hit-and-run and a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter for the Oct. 21, 2013, death of Gregory Reyes.
Norwalk Superior Court Judge Lori Ann Fournier sentenced him Thursday to two years in state prison, and ordered him to pay $12,400 in restitution to Reyes’ family, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The fatal collision occurred about 6:40 p.m. as Reyes was using his walker as he crossed Greenleaf Avenue, just south of Philadelphia Avenue, according to district attorney’s officials and Whittier Police Department investigators. Reyes was within a crosswalk when he was struck by a Merdedes-Benz SUV being driven by Storey.
“The car slowed down for a brief moment, but then continued going,” Ardalani said.
Rescuers rushed Reyes to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries three days later, officials said.
Storey was promptly arrested after police found is damaged SUV abandoned nearby in the area of Greenleaf Avenue and Hadley Street, Whittier police Lt. Jay Tatman said.
Reyes, who had been free on bail before and during the trial process, was taken into custody at Thursday’s sentencing hearing to begin serving his sentenced, according to county booking records.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Gang members sentenced for fatal shooting of Whittier teen

SOUTH WHITTIER >> Two Whittier gang members were each sentenced to spend decades in prison Thursday for the fatal 2012 shooting of a 17-year-old Whittier boy on a busy street corner in what the prosecutor described as an orchestrated gang hit.
A Norwalk Superior Court jury convicted Whittier 13 gang members Eudiel Eddie Lopez, 21, and Daniel Cesar Stopani, 20, both of Whittier, Sept. 4 of the murder of Michael Soto of Whittier. Soto was shot to death about 12:30 p.m. on March 26, 2012, at a strip mall at the corner of Mulberry Drive and Painter Avenue in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier.
At Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Judge John Torribio sentenced both killers to the maximum sentence allowed by law, officials said.
Lopez, who was convicted of first-degree murder, was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. Stopani, who was convicted of second-degree murder, received a sentence of 40 years to life in prison.
Torribio ordered each convict to pay $5,000 in restitution to the Victims Compensation Board, and $5,885 to Soto’s mother for funeral costs and lost wages, Ardalani added.
In addition to convicting Lopez and Stopani of Soto’s murder, jurors also found true the special allegations that a gun was used in the crime and that the killing was gang-related, Deputy District Attorney Brock Lunsford of the District Attorney’s Hardcore Gang Division said.
Lunsford said the shooting stemmed from a brief exchange of words between Lopez and Soto about a month prior to the shooting.
Lopez had told Soto that he was a Whittier 13 gang member, and Soto responded that he did not care. The perceived disrespect was enough to prompt Lopez to target Soto in what Lunsford described as an orchestrated gang execution.
On the day of the killing, Stopani approached Soto from the front as Lopez snuck up behind him, Lunsford said.
Stopani shouted out the name of his gang and punched Soto before Lopez drew a revolver from his waistband and began shooting, the prosecutor said. Lopez continued shooting even after the teen had fallen wounded to the ground.
Lopez was arrested for the killing within hours, officials said. Stopani was interviewed the day of the slaying, but not formally charged until February of 2013.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Azusa teen beaten with baseball bat, robbed of bicycle

AZUSA >> A suspect was behind bars Thursday and deputies sought several more after an Azusa teen was beaten with a baseball bat and robbed of his bicycle Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
Juan Reyes , 25, of Azusa was arrested on suspicion of robbery about an hour after the crime, according to Los Angeles County booking records. A second 25-year-old Azusa man was arrested along with Reyes, but released from custody Thursday morning pending further investigation.
The violent robbery took place shortly before 6:10 p.m. as the victim, a 15-year-old boy, was riding his bike near Valleydale Park, in an unincorporated county area just south of Azusa, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Vega said Vega said.
The teen reported he was “jumped” by a group of attackers, described as men in their 20s, the lieutenant said. One of the attackers wielded a baseball bat, with which he struck the teen in the head and hand.
The group fled with the teen’s bike, Vega said. At least some of them were seen fleeing in a car.
A witness was able to give deputies the license plate number of the car, officials said. Deputies went to the Azusa home where the car was registered, where they found and arrested Reyes.
A family member took the injured teen to a hospital, where he was treated for injuries including cuts to his head, Vega said. The injuries were not considered to be life-threatening.
Reyes was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, according to county booking records. He was scheduled for arraignment Friday in Pomona Superior Court.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Man escapes West Covina carjacking, robbery attempt

WEST COVINA >> A man who agreed to give a woman a ride in West Covina Tuesday ended up face to face with an armed man who demanded his wallet and car, police said.
The incident began shortly before 5:10 a.m. when the victim was approached by a woman in the parking lot of a gas station at Cameron and Glendora avenues, West Covina police Lt. Dave Lee said.
The woman asked the man for a ride, and he agreed, the lieutenant said. He drove the woman a short distance to the 1100 block of Wescove Place.
Once they arrives, the victim was approached by a man who brandished a handgun, demanded his wallet and ordered him out of his car, Lee said.
The victim refused, Lee said. “He was able to accelerate the vehicle away from the suspect.”
Police described the female suspect as a white woman between 35 and 40 years old, with blonde hair and blue eyes. The gunman was described as a black man between 40 and 50 years old, about 6 feet tall and 210 pounds.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Man wounded in police shooting near Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles police shot and wounded an armed man Wednesday afternoon, authoriites said.
Few details were initially available regarding the officer-involved shooting, which took place about 5:30 p.m. at Marengo and State streets, near Los Angeles-USC Medical Center, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Drake Madison said.
“Officers responded to a radio call of a man with a gun,” Madison said.
“Upon their arrival, officers encountered the suspect with the gun, and an officer-involved shooting occurred.”
The suspect was wounded and taken to a hospital in unknown condition, Madison said. No description of the suspect was available.
No officers were injured, Madison said. The shooting involved officers from the LAPD’s Hollenbeck Station.
The investigation remained in its early stages.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Mistrial declared in fatal Pasadena barbershop stabbing case

PASADENA >> A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday after a jury failed to reach a verdict in the trial of a man accused of fatally stabbing a Pasadena barbershop owner during a robbery in 2011, officials said.
After four days of deliberations, the Pasadena Superior Court jury announced they were deadlocked, and Judge Darrel Mavis declared a mistrial in the murder trial for Davon Moore, 25, of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
Prosecutors plan to re-try Moore on the murder charge, he said. A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Sept. 25.
Santiago said the jury hung 11-1 in favor of convicting Moore of the first-degree murder of 43-year-old King E. King, who was found shortly after 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 21, 2011, lying in a pool of blood behind his business, King King’s Barber and Beauty Salon in the 900 bock of East Washington Boulevard in Pasadena.
In addition to murder, Moore is accused of the special allegations that the killing was committed during the course of a robbery and burglary, and that Moore personally used a knife in the slaying.
The alleged special circumstance of murder during the course of a robbery and burglary made Moore eligible for the death penalty if convicted, though officials declined pursue a capital case against him, Santiago said. If convicted as charged, Moore could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Co-defendant Sabrina King, 21, of Compton, who is not related to King King, pleaded “no contest” in March to charges of voluntary manslaughter and robbery in connection with the slaying. She faces up to 21 years in state prison when she returns to court for sentencing.
Pasadena police initially arrested two men and two women in connection with King’s slaying, however the other two people arrested along with Moore and Sabrina King were subsequently released without charges.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

UPDATED: 5 human cases of West Nile Virus confirmed in Pasadena area

PASADENA >> Pasadena Public Health Department officials confirmed on Wednesday that five people have become infected with West Nile Virus over the past month.
The last confirmed human case of West Nile Virus within the jurisdiction of the Pasadena Public Health Department was reported in December of 2012, Pasadena city officials said in a written statement. The Pasadena Public Health Department’s reporting jurisdiction encompasses the city of Pasadena, as well as portions of Altadena and San Marino, Pasadena spokesman William Boyer said.
“It is of concern,” Boyer said of the recent findings. “In extreme cases, it can be fatal. Our health department tracks this and we’re obligated to report out to the public when we have confirmed cases.”
None of the Pasadena-area WNV cases were fatal, Boyer said. But due to medical privacy laws, he said specific information regarding the WNV cases in Pasadena were not available.
“As far as I know, they’ve all sought treatment through their own physicians,” Boyer said. He added that none of the five cases were believed to involve major illness.
Symptoms of the virus, which is transmitted by bites from infected mosquitos, include fever, body ache, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache, health officials said.
“Up to about 80 percent of people infected have no apparent symptoms and can go undiagnosed,” according to the health department statement. “Severe cases, while rare, can include brain inflammation, paralysis or death.
Pasadena Health Department officials encouraged anyone who suspects possible WNV infection to seek medical care immediately.
“It’s certainly not the first time we’ve had West Nile Virus here in the Pasadena area, and it probably won’t be the last,” Boyer said.
The proportion of WNV-infected mosquitos detected in California is at an all-time high, officials said. And the risk of infection is highest during summer weather and drought conditions.
City health officials patrol the city at least once a week to treat gutters, puddles and other collections of standing water, where mosquitos breed. Pasadena Public Health Department officials said they collaborate with police to search for stagnant pools and green standing water from the air.
“We want people to be aware. We want people to take precautions,” Boyer said.
The risk of getting bitten is highest around dusk and dawn, he added.
To reduce the risk of getting WNV, state and local health officials suggest residents empty all standing water containers left outside, check for mosquito larvae in any standing water,wear long sleeves and pants when outside, wear insect repellents containing DEET, avoid areas known to be inhabited by mosquitos around dusk and dawn and keep swimming pools well-maintained.
As the hot summer months prompt some people to sleep with windows open, Boyer advised them to make sure that screens are in place and free from holes to prevent the bloodthirtsy insects from getting indoors.
So far this year, 311 human cases of WNV have been reported in California, according to the California Department of Public Health. Seventy-three new cases were reported over the past week alone, with 20 of them in Los Angeles County.
Twelve WNV-related deaths have been reported this year, officials added. Three deaths have been reported in Orange County; two have been reported in Los Angeles County; two were reported in Sutter County; two were reported in Stanislaus County; and single WNV-related deaths have been reported in Glenn, Sacramento and Shasta counties.
The number of humans infected with the virus this year more than doubles the 150 human infections reported at the same point last year, and more than triples the five-year average of 95 cases, according to state data.
But while the numbers of cases are increasing, fewer counties have reported WNV detection so far this year than last.
The virus has turned up in 38 California counties so far this year, compared with 41 affected counties as of Sept. 17, 2013. An average of 37 counties have reported finding WNV over the past five years.
More than 2,800 infected mosquito samples have been found during 2014, officials said. Officials turned up 193 new infected mosquito samples throughout California over the past week, with 24 of them found in Los Angeles County.
Health officials have detected 2,017 dead birds infected with the virus statewide this year, according to the California Department of Public Health. Thirty-eight infected birds were discovered over the past week, though none were found in Los Angeles County.
To report stagnant water, residents are encouraged to contact the Pasadena Public Health Departments Environmental Health Division at 626-744-6004.
Dead birds and squirrels can be reported to the West Nile Virus and Dead Bird Hotline at 877-968-2473.
For more information, visit www.westnile.ca.gov, or www.cdc.gov.westnile.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email