Man pleads not guilty in fatal Monterey Park stabbing

ALHAMBRA >> A Rosemead man pleaded not guilty to murder Thursday following the fatal stabbing of a Monterey Park man last month, officials said.
Angel Octavion Garcia, 18, is accused of fatally stabbing Alhambra Parks and Recreation Department employee Edward Mendoza, 35, Oct. 14 in a parking lot in the 1700 block of Potrero Grande, near Arroyo Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
He entered his plea in Alhambra Superior Court, where he was ordered to return Jan. 9 for a preliminary hearing setting, Los Angeles County district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
“There are no indications the two men knew each other,” according to the statement. A motive for the slaying has not been released.
Mendoza called 9-1-1 to report he had been stabbed, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. Investigators have declined to release further details of the 9-1-1.
Paramedics rushed Mendoza to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.
“Soon after the incident, a person came forward to police and identified Garcia as the assailant,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
Mendoza had worked a part-time recreation leader for the Alhambra Parks and Recreation Department since 2001, city officials said. Most recently, he served as a children’s football referee at Almansor Park in Alhambra.
Recently, Ray said Mendoza was refereeing football for the children at Almansor Park, 800 S. Almansor St. in Alhambra.
Sheriff’s investigators arrested Garcia Oct. 18, according to Los Angeles County booking records. He was being held in lieu of $1.025 million bail.
Loved ones have created a memorial video in tribute to Menoza at www.eddiemendoza.org.

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Police plan checkpoint in Whittier

WHITTIER >> Police plan to screen drivers for sobriety and valid driver licenses Friday during a checkpoint in Whittier, officials said.
The Whittier Police Department will hold the checkpoint from 7:30 p.m. Friday to 2:20 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within the city, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
“Over the course of the past three years in the cities of Whittier and Santa Fe Springs, DUI collisions have claimed four lives and resulted in 134 injury crashes harming 190 of our friends and neighbors,” Sgt. Rob Hanson said.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Man denies charges in fatal Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet stabbing

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> The second of two defendants denied murder and assault charges in connection with the fatal stabbing of a La Mirada woman during a fight over a parking space at the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet last month, officials said.
Reggie Cervantes, 22, of South Los Angeles pleaded not guilty to one count of murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon for the Oct. 17 stabbing in the parking lot of the swap meet at 13963 Alondra Boulevard, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Cervantes is additionally accused of the special allegation that he personally wielded a knife in the crime, officials said.
Cervantes’ co-defendant Brenda Jasmine Rangel, 19, of South Los Angeles pleaded not guilty to murder and assault charges Oct. 21 in Norwalk Superior Court.
The two suspects are accused of fatally stabbing 43-year-old Elizabeth Yanez of La Mirada during a dispute over a parking space about 9;30 p.m., Whittier police officials said.
Yanez was in a vehicle with her two adult children when she got into an argument with Cervantes and Rangel, who were in another car, police and district attorney’s officials said.
“At some point, Cervantes exited his car and attempted to stab Yanez’s son, but was unsuccessful,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “Cervantes then allegedly walked over to Yanez and stabbed her,”
Yanez succumbed to her injuries at an area hospital.
Investigators found and arrested Cervantes and Rangel in connection with the fatal stabbing the following morning at a South Los Angeles apartment, according to Whittier police Lt. Kent Miller said.
Prosecutors said Cervantes was previously convicted of robbery in 2009 and receiving stolen property in 2010.
Both face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted as charged, officials said.
Cervantes and Rangel were being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending trial, according to booking records. They were scheduled to return to court Dec. 15 for a preliminary hearing.

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Downey man pleads ‘no contest’ in fatal stabbing of Long Beach man in Norwalk

NORWALK >> A Downey man pleaded no contest Wednesday to fatally stabbing a Long Beach man during a dispute at a Norwalk home earlier this year, authorities said.
William Edward Johnson, 38, entered a “no contest” plea in Norwalk Superior Court to a count of voluntary manslaughter for the March 4 stabbing death of 53-year-old Darin Sivley, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. Johnson also admitted the special allegation that he personally used a knife in the crime.
Under the negotiated plea arrangement, Johnson is expected to receive a 12-year prison term when he returned to court for sentencing Monday, Ardalani said. He had originally been charged with murder prior to the plea deal.
Sivley was found fatally wounded on along the road near Studebaker Road and Ferina Street shortly before 3 a.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
But the stabbing took a place while both Johnson and Sivley were at the home of a mutual acquaintance nearby, according to sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials.
“While there, Sivley began to irritate the homeowner, who wanted him to leave,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement. “As a result, Johnson pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim in the upper arm. The puncture severed a major artery and Sivley began to bleed profusely.”
Someone at the home place a tourniquet on Sivley’s wound before Sivley got on a bicycle to go to a hospital, officials said. But soon collapsed and bled to death.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau arrested Sivley in connection with the fatal stabbing two days later.

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Whittier police, Salvation Army host holiday toy drive

WHITTIER >> Police are once again teaming with the Salvation Army to collect toys for needy local families, officials said.
Toy donations are being accepted through Dec. 10, Whittier police officials said in a written statement. Collection sites are at the Whittier Police Department, Whittier City Hall, Palm Park, Parnell Park, the Whittier Senior Center, the Whittier Community Center, the Whitwood Branch Library, and the Whittier Public Library.
Salvation Army officials are coordinating family sign-ups for the toy distribution for family’s in need of a helping hand this holiday season. The last day to sign up is Dec. 5. For more information, or to apply, contact Nadine Alvarez
The Salvation Army is coordinating family sign-ups for the distribution of toys. The last day to sign up is Wednesday, December 5th.To enroll, contact Nadine Alvarez of the Salvation Army at (562) 698-8348, extension 201.
Other questions can be directed t Whittier police Sgt. Kevin Ramos at 562-567-9272.

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Home struck by gunfire in Hacienda Heights; no injuries reported

HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Bullets tore through a Hacienda Heights family’s home early Wednesday, though no injuries were reported in the shooting, authorities said.
Deputies received a report of gunshots about 12:40 a.m. in the 1700 block of Charlemont Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Boese said.
They found that a nearby home had been struck by gunfire, and several spend bullet casings were collected from the ground, the sergeant said.
A family, including children, was inside the home, however no one was struck by the gunfire, he said.
No suspect description was known, and no further details were available.

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Two arrested in connection with early-morning Pasadena officer-involved shooting

PASADENA >> Police arrested a man and woman Sunday afternoon for allegedly assaulting an officer during an early-morning traffic stop, resulting in an officer opening fire, authorities said.
Neither the officer or the suspects were injured in the incident, which took place about 3:15 p.m. at La Tierra Street and Avocado Lane, Pasadena police officials said.
The Southwest Regional Pacific Fugitive Task Force tracked suspects Sanjay Kumar Varma, 32, of Pasadena and Crystal Buelas Orleans, 22, of Moreno Valley to a Van Nuys parking lot and took them into custody without a struggle about 4:20 p.m., according to police and Los Angeles County booking records. Police described Varma as a gang associate.
Varma and Orleans escaped from police after a brief pursuit that followed the alleged assault and officer-involved shooting, Pasadena police officials said in a written statement. Prior to the suspects’ arrest, it was unknown whether either had been wounded in the shooting.
An officer stopped an SUV containing the suspects for a traffic violation and saw the driver — later identified as Varma — had a handgun, Lt. Pete Hettema said.
The SUV then sped off, nearly striking an officer, police said. An officer fired at least one shot.
Varma and Orleans were booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, officials said.
According to county booking records, Varma was being held in lieu of $130,000 bail pending his initial court appearance. Orleans was being held without bail.

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San Dimas deputies arrest man in connection with Via Verde burglary

SAN DIMAS >> Deputies arrested an Oak Hills man early Sunday after a Via Verde homeowner caught him in the act of a residential break-in, authorities said.
Victor Chirino, 40, was ultimately booked on suspicion of burglary, possession of burglary tools and bringing drugs into a sheriff’s station, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Rebecca Rodriguez said.
A man in his 40s called police about 6:50 a.m. to report finding a man inside his home in the 1000 block of Camino Del Cerritos, the sergeant said.
“The homeowner heard noise in the living room,” she said. He encountered a man breaking into the home through a window.
The burglar ran from the home and fled in a car after being confronted by the homeowner, Rodriguez said. The homeowner provided deputies with the intruder’s license plate number.
Responding deputies found Chirino and his vehicle in the same neighborhood, Rodriguez said. He was in possession of a crowbar and other alleged burglary tools.
Rodriguez said Chirino also had a small amount of suspected methamphetamine, which was not discovered until after he was brought into a secure portion of the sheriff’s station, resulting in an additional felony allegation.
According to county booking records, Chirino was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.
Due to technical problems with Los Angeles County booking records Sunday, information regarding Chirino’s bail and initial court appearance was not available.

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Four hurt in crash on Arrow Highway in Azusa

1117_NWS_SGT-L-AZCRASH

AZUSA >> An SUV ran through a red light an plowed into another SUV in Azusa late Saturday, injuring four people, two of them seriously, police said.
The wreck took place about 7 p.m. in the intersection of Vincent Avenue and Arrow Highway, Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said in a written statement.
“A gold Chevrolet Tahoe was traveling north bound on Vincent Avenue through the intersection of Arrow Highway when it collided with a black Chevrolet Tahoe which was traveling west bound on Arrow Highway at the same intersection,” Sutcliffe said. “The impact caused the gold Tahoe to flip onto its roof and trap a male and female adult inside who were riding in the vehicle.”
Firefighters worked for about 45 minutes to free the man and woman from the overturned Tahoe, officials said. Paramedics took them to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center by helicopter with injuries described serious, but not not believed to be life-threatening.
A man and woman inside the black Tahoe suffered minor injuries, Sutcliffe said.
“Although the investigation is active and on-going, several witnesses at (the) scene told officers the gold Tahoe failed to stop for the red light,” Sutcliffe said. Police were looking into the possibility of DUI on the part of the man who was driving the gold Tahoe.

PHOTO courtesy of the Azusa Police Department

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Police: Officer shoots at armed man during traffic stop in Pasadena

PASADENA >> A police officer shot at an armed man following a traffic stop early Sunday, however it was unclear if the suspect was struck by the gunfire, officials said. The incident unfolded about 3:15 a.m. at La Tierra Street and Avocado Lane. An officer pulled over a black SUV for a traffic violation, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said. “When he approached the car, the driver was armed,” Hettema said. “He had a handgun.” The SUV suddenly accelerated, “and just about ran over the officer,” the lieutenant said. The officer fired at least one shot at the suspect, he said. The SUV continued fleeing. Officers briefly chased the SUV but lost sight of it on Sierra Madre Boulevard, Hettema said. It was unclear if the driver had been wounded, Hettema said. The officer was not injured. No further details were available Sunday morning.

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