Ryan Dasalla, 17, of Rosemead (left) was shot to death near Gabrielino High School in San Gabriel on April 27, 2005. Daniel Guerrero, 29, of Rosemead (right) is on trial for the allegedly gang-related, mistaken-identity shooting. (Courtesy) Two other defendants, including Guerrero’s brother, have already been convicted and sentenced in the case.
PASADENA >> Trial is ongoing in Pasadena for a Rosemead gang member accused of murder in the mistaken-identity murder of a 17-year-old Gabrielino High School student in San Gabriel, which occurred 11 years ago today, authorities said.
Prosecutors made their case and continued calling witnesses Wednesday in Pasadena Superior Court in the trial of Daniel Guerrero, 29, in connection with the April 27, 2005, slaying of Ryan Dasalla, court officials said.
Guerrero, who was 18 at the time of the killing, along with then-23-year-old brother Daniel Guerrero and accomplice and fellow Varrio Nueva Estrada street gang member Sarah Toledo, then 17, shot and killed Ryan Dasalla in a case of mistaken identity, prosecutors said.
Toledo helped the brothers target Dasalla under the wrong belief that he was part of a tagging crew that had beaten up the Guerreros younger brother the night before, according to prosecutors and Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide detectives. Dasalla was shot in the back.
Friends of Gabrielino High student Ryan Dasalla mourn after school on April 28, 2005 at a makeshift memorial on Gladys Avenue, where he was fatally shot, about a block from the high school. (Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb)
Gabriel Guerrero and Toledo were arrested shortly after the fatal shooting, which took place about a block away from Gabrielino High School.
But the alleged triggerman, Daniel Guerrero fled and remained a fugitive until late-2013, when he was reportedly found and captured in Tijuana, Mexico, where he was living under an assumed identity.
He now faces charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, district attorney’s office spokesman Greg Risling said.
Records show jury selection in the case began April 4, and opening statement began April 20th, he said.
The other two defendants have since been convicted and begun serving lengthy prison terms.
Gabriel Guerrero received a sentence of 84 years to life in prison after a jury convicted him in 2010 of first-degree murder, and found true allegations the crime was gang-related and involved a gun.
Toledo received 50 years to life in prison in late 2011 after being convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, along with gang and gun enhancements.
WEST COVINA >> A car thief led police on a chase through West Covina late Sunday before heading the wrong way on the 10 Freeway, abandoning the stolen car on the freeway and escaping into Covina Hills, authorities said.
An officer spotted a stolen car just before 7 p.m. in the area of Azusa and Vine avenues, West Covina police Lt. Travis Tibbetts said.
The driver refused to pull over, initiating a chase.
Officers chased the Honda Accord as it got onto the eastbound 10 Freeway, exited at Barranca Street, then re-entered the freeway heading the wrong way in westbound lanes, the lieutenant said.
Police cancelled their pursuit as the suspect entered the busy freeway heading in the wrong direction, he said.
They soon found the car crashed into the center divider west of Via Verde, Tibbetts said. But the driver had continued fleeing on foot, north across freeway lanes and into the Covina Hills.
Police and CHP officers searched for the suspect, with help from a helicopter, but he suspect was not found.
A detailed description was not available.
PASADENA >> Police jailed a robbery suspect Sunday after he led officers on a car chase, then climbed onto the roof of an apartment building before ultimately surrendering, officials said.
Officers received a report of the “strong-arm” robbery of a woman about 10 a.m. in the 1500 block of West Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
The woman’s purse and cell phone had been stolen, he said. It was determined that the robbery took place across the city border in the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department. Further details regarding the robbery were not immediately available.
Pasadena police spotted a car matching the description of the robber’s vehicle 10 to 15 minutes later in the area of Lincoln Avenue and Washington Boulevard, the lieutenant said. The driver refused to pull over, kicking off a pursuit.
Police chased the suspect to the 100 block of East Orange Grove Boulevard, where he abandoned the car and fled into an apartment complex and climbed onto the roof of a building.
After about an hour, officers persuaded the man to climb down and surrender, Carrillo said.
The suspect’s identity was not available pending the booking process.
SAN GABRIEL >> Police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and witnesses took up a collection to help a single mother who was dragged 20 feet by a pickup truck while being robbed of her purse in San Gabriel Saturday, officials said.
The crime took place about 10:45 a.m. outside a dry cleaning business in the 400 block of West Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel police Lt. Riki Nakamura said.
A 36-year-old woman stopped into the dry cleaning shop as her 7-year-old son waited in the back seat of her car. The boy was dressed in a costume, as the mother and son were planning a trip to the movies to see The Jungle Book before heading to lunch.
The woman saw a man approach her car and open a door, the lieutenant said. Fearing her son was in danger, the woman ran out to confront the man, he said.
The robber grabbed the woman’s purse from the front passenger seat of her car and fled to his own vehicle, a pickup truck.
Nakamura said the victim clung to the truck as the robber accelerated.
“He heads north on Ardmore (Drive), while she’s clinging on the driver-side door,” he said. “She’s asking for help and pleading with him to stop.”
The woman fell from the vehicle, tumbling in the roadway, before the suspect sped away, Nakamura said.
“I don’t know what possessed me. I guess it was just adrenaline,” said the mother, who asked her name be withheld due to safety concerns.”
She suffered injuries to her arms and legs, but declined to be taken to a hospital.
Despite her injuries, and the loss of her money and other personal belongings, including their movie tickets and Souplantation gift card, “She was more worried about breaking a promise to take her son to the movies,” the lieutenant said.
Touched by the scene, police officers, firefighters, EMTs and passers-by who witnessed the incident took up a collection to present to the woman, Nakamura said. They presented the mother and son with tickets to the same theater they were planning to attend, as well as extra money for popcorn or lunch.
Though sore and healing from deep abrasions and an injured knee, the mother said she was recuperating well Sunday.
Her son was also doing well, though she said the incident left him a bit nervous.
“He’s a little afraid now where he’ll stay with me. He doesn’t want to leave me,” she said. She planned to seek counseling for him.
The youngster also told his mother he was worried because he feared the “bad guy” now knows their home address from the items stolen from his mother’s purse.
But despite Saturday’s ordeal, the mother and son made it to the movies as planned, the grateful mother said.
With her family in Northern California, and while dealing with financial challenges, the woman said the kindness of strangers made her not feel alone following the frightening incident.
“I couldn’t believe it. What started off as a really dark, horrible situation ended up being jut an uplifting situation,” she said. “Complete strangers filled us with love and comfort and made us feel so secure.”
Police and the victim described the robber as a Latino man in his 40s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, 130 pounds, with a dark complexion. He drove a lowered, orange or copper pickup truck, possibly a Chevrolet Silverado, with dark tint on the windows. The truck’s paint was very shiny and clean.
Anyone with information is asked to contact San Gabriel police at 626-308-2828.
LA HABRA >> A man remained hospitalized Sunday with a gunshot wound to his face following shooting in a residential neighborhood in La Habra Friday night, officials said.
The circumstances of the 10:05 p.m. shooting in the 700 block of West Rye Avenue remained unclear, La Habra police Sgt. Clint Angle said.
The wounded, a 24-year-old La Habra man, suffered a gunshot wound that shattered his jaw, but was expected to survive, officials said. But his medical condition prevented investigators from communicating with him.
Police first responded to the neighborhood and found the victim after receiving several reports of an argument and a gunshot heard, Angle said.
Witnesses indicated the victim had been chasing two others — described as male teens in dark clothing — down the street prior to the shot ringing out, the sergeant said.
But it remained unclear whether the teens who were being chased fired on their pursuer, or if the man accidentally shot himself, he said.
A single spent bullet casing was found at the scene, but no gun.
Investigators suspected the incident was gang-related.
Anyone with information can reach La Habra police at 562-383-4300.
ARCADIA >> A driver struck a woman and her teenage niece in an Arcadia crosswalk and fled the scene before being captured nearby Saturday, police said.
Officers arrested Rebeca Gonzalez, 54, of Arcadia on suspicion of felony hit-and-run within minutes of the 6:08 p.m. hit-and-run along Huntington Drive, just east of Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said.
A 56-year-old woman and her 17-year-old niece suffered injuries described as moderate, he said.
They were crossing Huntington Drive mid-block, within a crosswalk, when they were struck by a Dodge sedan heading west in the left-hand lane, the lieutenant said.
The driver, later identified as Gonzalez, continued driving without stopping to check on the victims, Cullen said.
But a witnesses followed her until police stopped and detained her nearby, he said.
An update on the victims’ conditions was not available late Saturday.
Gonzalez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending her initial court appearance.
COVINA >> Two cousins are accused of attempted murder after a fight at a convenience store escalated into a stabbing late Friday, officials said.
Manuel Luis Melendez, 19, of West Covina and Eric Sebastian Garcia-Melendez, 21, of Pasadena, are each being held in lieu of $2 million bail pending their initial court appearances, according to Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The incident unfolded about 2:10 a.m. at 7-Eleven, at Vincent Avenue and Badillo Street, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
Both suspects and the victim, a 27-year-old man, were inside the store when the victim accidentally bumped up against one of the cousins with his bicycle, the sergeant said.
An argument turned into a fight outside the store, and one of the two attackers pulled a knife and stabbed the victim in the abdomen and shoulder, Peterson said.
Paramedics took the victim to a hospital, where he was listed in stable condition after undergoing surgery, he said.
As the investigation into the stabbing continued, West Covina police received a report of a possible prowler in a backyard near the 7-Eleven, but across the city border in West Covina, Petson said.
Police found Melendez and Garcia-Melendez hiding in the backyard and arrested them in connection with the stabbing, officials said.
Both suspects are scheduled to appear for arraignment hearings Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
BOOKING PHOTOS of anuel Luis Melendez, 19, of West Covina [left] and Eric Sebastian Garcia-Melendez, 21, of Pasadena [right] courtesy of the Covina Police Department.
ALTADENA >> A mountain biker bitten by a rattlesnake in the forest north of Altadena was recovering well Saturday, his sister said.
Avid cyclist Brad Adams, 25, of Los Angeles was out for his usual Friday morning ride shortly before noon, heading up Brown Mountain Trail in the Angeles National Forest just north of Altadena, when he encountered the rattlesnake, according to his sister, Candace Adams.
“He briefly stopped at a crest to wait for his friend when a rattlesnake bit him above his right ankle without warning,” she said in an email. “He did not feel the bite until the snake had finished its assault.”
Brad realized he had been bitten, but had not cell phone reception, his sister said.
“(He) immediately hopped on his bicycle and began the 5-mile descent to the trailhead,” she said. Brad sped down the mountain as fast as he could.
“Within the 15 minutes, he said he could feel the effects of the venom course through his foot and the rest of his body,” Candace said. “It was moments after that Brad reached the base that the other cyclists had caught up. One of the cyclists managed to call 911.”
Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire department officials treated the injured bicyclist and rushed him to a hospital by helicopter, sheriff’s Lt. Douglas Mohrhoff said.
His recovery was progressing well Saturday in an intensive-care unit, Candace said. He responded well to antivenom, and no surgery was expected to be needed.
Though he was warned that he will experience swelling for about a week and should avoid strenuous activity, she said, “He should be going home (Sunday).”
PHOTOS/VIDEO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
WHITTIER >> Police jailed a Whittier burglary suspect Saturday after he escaped man and son who tried to capture him, then ran from officers and hid under a house, authorities said.
Jonathan Eugene Ramirez, 34, of Whittier was ultimately arrested on suspicion of burglary following the alleged break-in, which took place about 7:45 a.m. in the 8400 block of Davista Drive, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
A man and his son saw Ramirez outside their home, snatching objects through a window, the lieutenant said.
The man and son struggled with the suspect in an attempt to detain him, but the burglary managed to break free and run, Ellis said. The man suffered minor injuries in the scuffle.
A woman at the home called 911 and reported what was happening, Ellis said. Responding officers spotted Ramirez fleeing through the neighborhood and chased him for several blocks before he climbed into the crawl space of a house in the 14000 block of High Street, Ellis said. No one was inside the home.
After a brief standoff, a police K-9 was brought to the scene, he said. The dog’s barking was sufficient to persuade the suspect to give up.
“He wisely decided to come out,” Ellis said.
PASADENA >> A woman allegedly tried to run down at least one of her parents with an SUV in Pasadena Friday night before leading police on a pursuit that came to an end in Downtown Los Angeles, where she stripped nude before being taken into custody.
The bizarre string of events began about 10:30 p.m. when police received a report of a family dispute at a home in the 1300 block of Linda Vista Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said.
Officers learned a woman had gotten into an argument with her parents, during which she allegedly tried to run them down with an SUV.
“She tried to strike one or both of her parents,” Gourdikian said. “They had to jump out of the way.” The parents were not injured.
The suspect also struck her parents’ parked car with her SUV and smashed a car window with a brick, Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
The woman fled the scene before police arrived, but officers soon spotted the woman driving near the Rose Bowl, the lieutenant said. She refused to pull over, initiating a chase.
News helicopters broadcast live as police chased the SUV down the 134, 101, 118 and 210 freeways toward Los Angeles.
Police cancelled their pursuit as a safety precaution and planned to seek the woman later, as they knew her identity, Gourdikian said.
But news helicopters continued to follow and broadcast live online as the woman got onto the 110 Freeway, exited in Downtown Los Angeles and parked the SUV in a parking lot along 3rd Street, just east of Main Street.
The woman exited the SUV and began walking down the street, speaking with several passers-by, a live stream broadcast online by CBS Los Angeles. More than 15 minutes passed for Los Angeles police arrived.
In the meantime, a freelance news photographer arrived on the scene. He approached the woman, camera in-hand, and appeared to speak with her briefly.
As police approached, the woman suddenly stripped off all of her clothing. Police handcuffed the suspect and tried to cover her with a shirt before placing her into a squad car.
She made “incoherent” statements to officers during her arrest, Carrillo said.
Simone Megan Gonzalez, 32, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism and evading police, according to police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officials had yet to determine Saturday whether Gonzalez’s bizarre behavior may have been the result of mental illness or intoxication.
She was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, records show.