Whittier police plan motorcycle safety crackdown

Police in Whittier are planning a crackdown on motorcycle safety next week, officials said.
The specialized “Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation” will be held throughout the city on Tuesday, Whittier police Sgt. David Elizarraras said in a written statement.
“Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur,” he said. “Officers will be looking for violations made by drivers and riders alike that can lead to motorcycle crashes.”
Motorcycle-related deaths in California have spoked by more than 28 percent over the past decade, according to Elizarraras.
Over the past three years, Whittier police have investigated 71 motorcycle crashes that resulted in three deaths, 18 severe injuries and 50 other injuries, officials added.
“Operations like this are aimed at curbing any more rises in motorcycle deaths and sending the numbers back downward,” Elizarraras said.
Funding is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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Father and son convicted in slaying of Baldwin Park woman

A father and son are awaiting sentencing after they were each convicted last week of charges stemming from the fatal shooting of a woman during a burglary at her Baldwin Park home in 2014, authorities said.
A Pomona Superior Court jury found Juan Carlos Santana, 45, of Baldwin Park guilty on Sept. 1 of murder, burglary and receiving stolen property, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. The jury also found true the special allegation that he personally fired a gun during in the Oct. 18, 2014, slaying of 63-year-old Patricia Sigala-Salva at her home in the 3700 block of Idaho Street.
Also convicted in connection with the case was Santana’s son, Andres Santana, 22, Ardalani said in an email. He pleaded “no contest” on Aug. 31, amid his trial, to a single count of voluntary manslaughter, along with the special allegation that a gun was used in the crime.
Juan Santana faces up to 40 years to life in state prison when he returns to court for sentencing on Oct. 25. His son is expected to be sentenced to 12 years in prison at his sentencing, scheduled on Sept. 19.
Juan Santana’s girlfriend, 47-year-old Deborah Curiel, has been convicted of receiving stolen property and acting as an accessory after the fact in connection with the case, Ardalani said. She’s scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 14.
Curiel was renting out a room in her home to Curiel at the time of the killing, Ardalani said. Her boyfriend, Juan Santana, was temporarily staying with her, along with his son.
(“Sigala-Salva) kicked all three of them out when she noticed money and jewelry missing from her home,” Ardalani said.
As a result of the dispute, Juan Santana shot her to death, officials said.
“It was argued during the trial that while Andres was an aider and abettor to the killing, it was actually Juan Santana who pulled the trigger,” Ardalani said.
The victim’s body was first discovered shortly before 2 p.m. on Oct. 18 after neighbors reported suspicious circumstances” at her home, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau said at the time. Neighbors said they had not seen Sigala-Salva in several days, and that a man had been seen running from the garage of the home carrying beer.
An autopsy determined Sigala-Salva died from “multiple gunshot wounds,” and the death was ruled a homicide.
Investigators arrested all three defendants the following day, records show.

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Man stabbed in face after leaving Covina bar


A man stabbed another man in the face after following him away from a Covina bar early Saturday, authorities said.
Jonathan Chi, 36, was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon following the stabbing, which took place about 2:40 a.m. in a residential neighborhood on Benbow Street, just west of Citrus Avenue, in an unincorporated county area near Covina, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Terrence Smith. The suspect’s hometown was not clear.
He was at a nearby bar on Citrus Avenue in Covina, along with the victim, prior to the violent confrontation, the sergeant said.
The victim, a 32-year-old man, and a woman left the bar and walked to a home around the corner on Benbow Street, according to Smith.
Chi, who had followed the couple from the bar, approached them armed with a “large knife,” he said. Chi then allegedly stabbed the victim in the face.
Paramedics took the injured man to a hospital. An update on his condition was not available.
Covin police quickly found and detained Chi in the area and turned him over to their counterparts in the sheriff’s department for booking, Smith said.
The motive in the stabbing was not available.
According to county booking records, Chi was released from custody later the same day, pending his initial court appearance, after posting $30,000 bail.

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Bicyclist injured in Rosemead drive-by shooting


ROSEMEAD >> A bicyclist escaped with minor injuries following a drive-by shooting in Rosemead early Sunday, authorities said.
The shooting occurred about 12:30 a.m. as a 43-year-old El Monte man was riding a bicycle east along Garvey Avenue, near Walnut Grove Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. James Long said.
The victim saw a white full-size pickup truck pass by, also heading east, the sergeant said. An arm emerged from the passenger side of the truck before the victim saw flashes and heard the sounds of gunfire.
He suffered grazing wounds to two of his fingers, Long said. The attack caused the victim to crash his bike, and the attackers sped away.
Long said the man rode to his home in El Monte before notifying authorities of the shooting. The motive was unclear.
Any witnesses, or anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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UPDATED: UFO sighting over the San Gabriel Valley


SAN GABRIEL VALLEY >> A spherical object spotted hovering silently over the San Gabriel Valley this week had residents gazing skyward and wondering what they were witnessing.
The object appeared in the sky over the San Gabriel Valley Monday morning.
One video, posted by YouTube user Julian Lopez, appears to show a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter circling around the object for an inspection around 7 a.m. over West Covina.
“Well, my friends, there’s a UFO over the San Gabriel Valley,” the videographer said.
“A helicopter is circling it,” he added. “It looks like a big eyeball.”
While the object resembled a large balloon, “There’s nothing holding it down, though. That’s the thing,” Lopez.
Lopez said he had just finished washing his car when he spotted the object out of the corner of his eye.
The sphere was metallic gray in color and made no noise, he said.
“It was just weird because it didn’t budge,” Lopez said. The witnesses went into his house to tell his 6-year-old son to come take a look, as well as to retrieve his cell phone to record video.
The man and his son watched as two helicopters flew in close proximity to the object. At least one of them circled around it before leaving the area.
After sitting motionless for several minutes, the object slowly began moving toward the west, Lopez said. He had to stop recording in order to prepare his kids for school and go to work.
But another witnesses in Arcadia spotted and photographed the object several hours later, about 10 miles to the northwest.
Daniel Acosta was with his wife when they noticed the metallic object floating motionless in the sky. Acosta estimated the object was hovering at least 1,000 feet above Altadena and appeared to be 6 to 10 feet in diameter.
“It’s the strangest thing. I have no idea,” he said.
The object’s lack of motion was particularly striking, he said.
“We watched it for 10 minutes. It didn’t move,” he said. “It didn’t seem to be tethered.”
Acosta said he initial reaction was: “That doesn’t belong there, and it doesn’t make sense.”
Officials at the sheriff’s Aero Bureau said a sheriff’s helicopter often checks out potential airborne hazards that are spotted in the sky, but no information about the object was available Sunday. The crew that manned the helicopter on Monday morning was not on duty Sunday.
Local police and sheriff’s officials had no information regarding the sightings, and Federal Aviation Spokesman Allen Kenitzer said he also had no information regarding the incident, which resulted in no report by the FAA.
The National UFO Reporting Center keeps a database of unusual sighting in the sky, however, reports from Monday were yet to be uploaded to the archive over the weekend.
As conversation and speculation about the object swirled through the community, both online and real, local sleuths offered a possible answer to the mystery: an advertising balloon.
“I noticed the UFO Monday around 10 a.m. from Monrovia,” Jon Gollihugh said in a email. “It was (hovering) over the mouth of San Gabriel Canyon. There was a large buzz about it on Facebook with residents of Sierra Madre.
“One person took a telephoto shot of it. It appeared to be an advertisement balloon for a THC (E-cigarette) that got away.” he said. “I followed it across the foothills from above Sierra Madre towards Monrovia canyon around 11:30 a.m.”
Several witnesses reported seeing a large, white advertising balloon emblazoned with a corporate logo in the same time and vicinity of the object.
One photograph captured the logo of a company called “Brass Knuckles,” which sells marijuana extracts and vaporizing products.
It was not clear Sunday night whether the advertising balloon was the same object that triggered Monday’s UFO sighting reports.
Lopez said the incident has left him more curious.
“I’m kind of looking up more at the sky,” he said.

UPDATE: Some local sleuths think the object was this advertising balloon. Reads: “Brass Knuckles,” the name of a cannabis concentrate/vape company: (courtesy)

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Car plows through salon supply store in Pasadena

The structure remains sound, and officials said the damage was primarily, well… cosmetic:

A car plowed through the front of a Pasadena salon supply store Saturday morning, causing significant damage but resulting in no injuries, officials said.
The crash was reported just after 10 a.m. at CosmoProf, 2237 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
For reasons that were under investigation by police, a Honda car smashed through the front plate glass window and ended up inside the store, officials said.
No one inside the store was injured, and the driver declined to be taken to a hospital, according to Derderian.
Officials examined the building at found it remained structurally sound, despite the damage, she said.

PHOTO courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department

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Protective dog chases burglar from Pasadena home


A protective dog chased a burglar from its owner’s home and into the arms of police in Pasadena late Friday, authorities said.
The break-in occurred about 9:40 p.m. at a house in the 700 block of South El Molino Avenue, according to Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe.
A woman was awakened by the sound of her dog barking, the lieutenant said. A burglar had made his way into the home through an unlocked front door.
“The victim saw the suspect walk in, but then the dog scared off the suspect,” Grisafe said.
Responding officers found and arrested a suspect nearby, he said.
Castle Michael Brusa, 22, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of burglary, according to Pasadena police and Los Angeles County booking records. He was being held in olieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

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Fire guts 131-year-old Pasadena home

A large fire gutted a 131-year-old Victorian-style home in Pasadena early Saturday, causing nearly $1.5 million worth of damage, authorities said.
The two-alarm blaze was first reported at 2:40 a.m. at the vacant, two-story home at 30 West Mountain Street, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Forty-three firefighters from Pasadena and neighboring cities extinguished the flames, she said. Two firefighters were evaluated for minor injuries and returned to duty, according to Derderian.
Officials estimated the fire caused $1.4 million worth of damage to the house, and another $50,000 in damage to contents stored inside, she said.
Mary Wright Falvey, 75, of Monrovia, said her great grandfather, Amos Wright, built the home in 1886.
Though she never lived in the home, Falvey said she feels a strong connection to it because of her family’s history there.
“I’m just sick,” she said. “It was just beautiful. It had the most beautiful oak baniser curled about the entrance,” she said.
Falvey said she’s been trying to work with the city in recent months to try to have the home designated a historical landmark. She was still trying when the fire occurred.
Several investigators were summoned to the scene to look into the cause of the fire, which was yet to be determined Saturday afternoon.
Falvey said she reported spotting trespassers at the vacant home in April and has been concerned about possible squatters there. She also once visited the home to find the rear door had been forced open.
Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe said officials received reports of people seen leaving the home after the fire broke out. It was unclear who they were, or whether they had any involvement in the fire.

PHOTOS courtesy of Jamie Nicholson/Pasadena Fire Department

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80-year-old woman vanishes in Baldwin Park

Authorities are seeking an 80-year-old Baldwin Park woman who suffers from Alzheimer’s and vanished during a routine trip to a local park on Thursday morning.
Shirley Tsung was last seen about 10 a.m. when she left home to take a bus to Morgan Park, 4100 Baldwin Park Blvd., Baldwin Park police Sgt. Andy Velebil said.
Her family last heard from her later in the morning when she spoke with them by phone and said she was heading home via the bus, like usual, the sergeant said. But she never made it home, and she hadn’t been seen or heard from since.
Tsung suffers from Alzheimer’s and also has other medical conditions requiring treatment, according to Velebil.
She’s described as Asian, 5 feet 1 inch tall, 105 pounds, with brown hair, gray eyes and a mole on her forehead. She was last seen wearing a purple shirt, black pants and a large red hat.
The ongoing heat wave, which has brought sweltering triple-digit temperatures to the Southland in recent days, made the search for Tsung all the more urgent, Velebil said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Baldwin Park police at 626-960-1955.

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Man accused of stabbing another man in the head at El Monte bus station


A man is accused of stabbing another man in the head at a bus station in El Monte on Friday afternoon before being captured and arrested with the help of witnesses, authorities said.
The alleged attack took place about 5 p.m. at a terminal at the El Monte Bus Station, 3501 Santa Anita Ave., Lt. Lester Trull of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Transit Service Bureau said.
Deputies responded to a report of a stabbing and found a 53-year-old man who had been slashed in the forehead, the lieutenant said. He was taken to a hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
The stabber had fled the scene, but was pointed out by witnesses to nearby El Monte police officers, according to Trull. Police detained the suspect, also 53, before deputies arrived and arrested him on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. The knife believed to have been used in the stabbing was found during the investigation.
While the motive in the stabbing remained under investigation, “this was not random,” Trull said. The suspect and victim knew one another prior to the stabbing, though their specific relationship was unclear.
The identity of the suspect was not available pending the booking process, he said.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Transit Services Bureau at 323-563-5000. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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