UPDATED: SWAT team detains woman following standoff outside Pasadena Police Department


PASADENA >> A SWAT team detained a despondent woman who showed up at the Pasadena Police Department Thursday afternoon claiming to have a gun following a standoff that lasted for about more than an hour, authorities said.
The incident began shortly after 5:30 p.m. at the police station, 207 Garfield Ave., Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
SWAT officers on foot and in an armored vehicle approached the woman with guns drawn at the beginning of the standoff.
The woman claimed to have a gun, but none was seen, Pasadena police Sgt. Anthony Burgess said. The woman said she was feeling suicidal.
Officials locked down the nearby Pasadena Public Library, as well as City Hall and the courthouse, during the standoff.
Pasadena police Homeless Outreach-Psychiatric Evaluation Team members, as well as crisis negotiators, attempted to persuade the woman to surrender to police and accept help.
As darkness began to fall and the woman remained uncooperative, police shot her with less-lethal bean bag rounds and took her into custody without further incident, Lt. Tracey Ibarra said. No weapon was ultimately found.
She was taken to a hospital for examination, and was expected to be taken for psychiatric evaluation.
“The officers did an exceptional job,” Ibarra said

PHOTOS by Sarah Reingewirtz

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Deputies search Altadena elementary school campus in response to bomb threat

ALTADENA >> Deputies and explosive-sniffing dogs searched the campus of an Altadena elementary school early Wednesday after someone phoned in a mob threat, but ultimately found nothing out of the ordinary, authorities said.
An unidentified male adult called the school shortly before 10 a.m. “and indicated he was going to blow up the school,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. The threat involved no further specifics.
Deputies responded to the campus, 593 W. Woodbury Road to investigate.
“The deputies conducted a search of the school, along with the assistance of four K-9 bomb detection units and school personnel who were familiar with the campus,” according to the statement. “No explosive devices, or foreign unfamiliar devices were detected. Additionally, there was no known motives and there was no suspect identified.”
The school resumed normal operations once deputies sounded the all-clear.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Altadena Station at 626-798-1131. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Rowland Heights woman missing for more than 2 months

ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> Authorities are seeking the public’s help in finding a 34-year-old Rowland Heights woman who’s been missing for two-and-a-half months.
Chuanshuang “Jona” Yang was last heard from about 8 p.m. on Dec. 28, when she spoke with a friend on the phone, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Information Bureau said in a written statement.
She has not been seen or heard from since, Schrader said. “Her family and friends are very concerned and are asking for the public’s assistance.”
Yang is Asian, 5 feet 1 inch tall, 86 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She drives a white, 2014 Toyota Corolla with a California license plate 7GMD392.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau’s Missing Persons Unit at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Pasadena man and woman acquitted of murder charges in 1997 Altadena shooting case


PASADENA >> A man and woman accused of murder in connection with the fatal 1997 shooting of an 18-year-old man in Altadena are free after being acquitted by a jury on Tuesday, authorities said.
A Burbank Superior Court jury deliberated for six days before finding Darryl Johnson, also known as Darryl Lamont Callum, 42, of Pasadena and Dominique Raquel Evans, 44, of Pasadena not guilty of the murder of Johnis Jackson of Altadena at Fair Oaks Avenue and Harriet Street, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials and Superior Court records.
The two defendants, who were dating at the time of the killing, were arrested in May of 2013, more than a decade after the case had grown cold.
The current relationship between the acquitted defendants was not clear, though investigators have said they have children together.
Sheriff’s detectives and prosecutors alleged that Johnson was a member of the Bloods gang at the time of the deadly, Detective Michael Rodriguez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Cold Case Unit said shortly after the arrests.
Johnson and Evans had been at a party at Loma Alta Park in Altadena when an argument broke out between one of Johnson’s gang affiliates and Evans, the detective said. Evans accused the other man of stealing CDS, and the man slapped her.
Evans was heard making threats and left the park, accompanied by several other women.
Less than half-an-hour later, Jackson, who had tried to calm down the situation and offered to buy Evans new CDs, was gunned down as he walked to his car. He was described by authorities as a member of the Crips gang.
Rodriguez said investigators long suspect the defendants were involved, but did develop sufficient evidence to support arrests and charges until new leads were developed in 2013, Rodriguez said. Deputies obtained arrest warrants for Johnson and Evans on May 21, 2013, during separate traffic stops in Pasadena.
Following their acquittals, Johnson and Evans were released from custody Tuesday afternoon, records show.

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Altadena man recaptured after mistaken jail release sentenced for 2011 Pasadena murder

PASADENA >> A man who fatally shot another man in Pasadena in 2011, and then was mistakenly released from jail while awaiting trial before being recaptured in Nevada, received a sentence of more than seven decades in prison this week, officials said.
Steven Lawrence Wright, 38, began serving his 75-year-to-life state prison term Monday following his sentencing in the Burbank Branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago.
A jury convicted him in November of murder for the Jan 19, 2011, fatal shooting of Donnell Taylor of Pasadena in the 1700 block of Summit Avenue. He was also convicted of attempted murder in December of 2015 for another attack that took place on March 15, 2011, according to court records.
Co-defendant Vernon Fisher, 44, of Altadena, pleaded “no contest” in November to a manslaughter charge for Taylor’s slaying, court records show. He was subsequently sentenced to 82 years to life in state prison.
Police alleged both Wright and Fisher were members of the Altadena Blocc Crips, though Taylor was not believed to be a gang member.
Officials at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office did not return requests for information on the case.
As Wright was awaiting trial for Taylor’s murder when he was mistakenly set free on Jan. 30, 2016, due to a paperwork error, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and court officials.
After refusing to cooperate as a witness in another trial, a judge held Wright in contempt and sent him to jail for five days.
But paperwork submitted by the court indicated Wright was to be released outright once he’d served his time for contempt of court, sheriff’s Commander Keith Swensson said at the time. Sheriff’s officials failed to catch the error and released Wright from custody, despite the pending murder case.
He remained a fugitive for nine days until he was found and recaptured at a motel in Boulder City, Nevada, on Feb. 8, 2016.
Wright’s case was unusual, but not entirely unique.
Another killer was also mistakenly released from Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, administered by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department just over three years earlier.
Johnny Mata of El Monte was awaiting trial for the murder for the Christmas Eve 2010 fatal shooting of David Anthony Deanda, 34, of Baldwin Park, on Christmas Eve, 2010, as well as a second nonfatal shooting in Baldwin Park 2012, when he was mistakenly released from custody.
Mata was recaptured a little over a year later in Mexico. He has since been sentenced to life, plus 111 years, in state prison.

PHOTO: Steven L. Wright (Courtesy)

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Altadena man jailed following Pasadena video game store robbery


PASADENA >> Police arrested an Altadena man hours after they say he robbed a Pasadena video game store on Wednesday afternoon.
Luis Javier Gallegos, 19, was booked on suspicion of robbery following the 1:45 p.m. robbery at Game Stop, 3401 E. Foothill Blvd., according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He entered the store and asked to see a PlayStation video game console, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said. Once the clerk returned with the item, Gallegos brandished what appeared to be a handgun and demanded it.
The robber also stole several hundred dollars from the store before fleeing the area in a car, Hettema said. But a witness managed to take down the fleeing vehicle’s license plate number.
Police, aided by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, made their way to the home where the getaway car was registered near Mariposa Street and Lake Avenue in Altadena, where they spotted the suspect’s car.
As officials took positions around the home in preparation to take the suspect into custody, he came out of his home and surrendered, the lieutenant said.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for the home and discovered the stolen video game console and cash, as well as a BB or airsoft pistol, he added. The victim identified Gallegos as the man who carried out the robbery.
Gallegos was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, record show.

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Man wounded in Hacienda Heights shooting


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A man is expected to survive after he was shot in a residential neighborhood in Hacienda Heights late Wednesday, officials said.
Deputies responded to reports of “shots fired” about 11 p.m. along Three Palms Street, west of Hacienda Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. James Beamon said.
They soon found a victim, described only as a man, suffering from a gunshot wound, the sergeant said. He was taken to a hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
No further details, including a suspect description, were available.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Industry Station at 626-330-3322. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Police, sleuthing mother recover teen’s stolen snowboard in West Covina; suspect jailed

WEST COVINA >> A cyber-sleuthing mother helped police to get her 13-year-old daughter’s stolen snowboard back and arrest a man on suspicion of the theft, as well as at least three others, officials said.
Tony Jesus Cruz, 20, was booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property on March 8 after police arranged to meet him in West Covina in response to online advertisements he’d posted for stolen snowboards, West Covina police Officer David Sifling said.
Sophia Hert, 13, was snowboarding at the Mountain High Resort in Wrightwood on March 4 when someone snatched her snowboard, along with others, from a rack, the officer said.
Adding insult to injury, Sophia had worked hard to purchase the snowboard herself, Sifling explained.
“She makes homemade dog biscuits and treats,” he said. Selling the pet treats, “She raised enough money to buy her own snowboard,” he said.
The girl’s mother, Jennette Hert, took to the internet and soon found her daughters snowboard, which was recognizable due to distinctive features, being advertised for sale on the online marketplace OfferUp, Sifling said. She posed as a buyer and arranged to meet the seller at a mall in West Covina on March 8 to complete the transaction, and notified police.
Sifling said he then contacted the same seller, later identified as Cruz, posing as a potential buyer interested in another snowboard. An meeting was arranged about the same time and place as the other meeting arranged by the victim’s mother.
Police arrested Cruz when he showed up at the meeting place with the girl’s stolen snowboard, as well as a second stolen board, Sifling said. A search of a Covina home where Cruz had been staying turned up to additional allegedly stolen snowboards.
Police had yet to determine the value of the recovered snowboards, he said, though each was likely worth several hundred dollars.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Cruz was released from jail the same day of his arrest pending his initial court appearance after posting $20,000 bail.

PHOTO: West Covina Police Officer David Sifling, left, poses for a picture with 13-year-old Sophia Hert after police, aided by the girls’ mother, recovered the teen’s stolen snowboard and arrested the alleged thief on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. (Courtesy)

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San Gabriel man pleads not guilty in slaying of El Monte fast-food worker

EL MONTE >> A San Gabriel man accused of gunning down a fast-food worker during a botched robbery in El Monte last year denied a capital murder charge on Wednesday, authorities said.
Louie Francisco Herrera, 20, pleaded not guilty in connection with the Oct. 21 shooting at a Jack in the Box restaurant at 9220 Flair Drive that claimed the life of 25-year-old Juan Manuel Vidal of El Monte. Vidal was engaged to be married to his longtime girlfriend, had just graduated pharmacy technician school and was looking forward to starting his new career, according to family members and investigators.
Prosecutors allege the special circumstance that Herrera committed murder during an attempted robbery, as well as the special allegation that her personally used a handgun in the crime, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
The special allegation makes Herrera potentially eligible for the death penalty if convicted, however, prosecutors have yet to determine whether the death penalty will be sought in the case, according to Ardalani. If capital punishment is not pursued, Herrera could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
After entering his not guilty plea, Herrera was ordered back to the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court on April 17 for a hearing in the case.
Vidal was working at the cash register when a masked man entered the restaurant holding a handgun, demanded money, and immediately fired shot, which mortally wounded Vidal. The gunman then fled empty-handed.
The violent robbery attempt was captured on video by store surveillance cameras.
•Video: Surveillance camera footage of deadly El Monte Jack in the Box robbery
The case remained unsolved for more than three months, as authorities from El Monte, the County of Los Angeles and Jack in the Box established a reward fund totaling $55,000 in the case.
Tips from the public helped officials identify Herrera as a suspect in the deadly shooting, investigators said. Sheriff’s deputies found him riding as a passenger in a car in Alhambra on Jan. 9 and arrested him without a struggle, according to Detective Adan Torres of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau.
Herrera also faces robbery charges in connection with other heists that took place on Oct. 2, 5, 15 and 19 in Irwindale, San Gabriel, Alhambra and Monterey Park, according to sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials.

PHOTOS: [TOP] Photo of murder suspect Louis Francisco Herrera displayed on a poster during a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department press conference on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. (Leo Jarzomb) [MIDDLE] Photo of homicide victim Juan Manuel Vidal, 25, of El Monte. (Courtesy) [BELOW] Photograph of crime scene taken one day after the slaying. (Brian Day)

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$30K reward offered in ‘brutal’ slaying of retired Diamond Bar couple

DIAMOND BAR >> Authorities offered $30,000 in reward money Wednesday for information in the mysterious and brutal stabbing deaths of a retired couple last October during an apparent robbery at their Diamond Bar home.
Chen “David” Long Wang, 60, and Mei “Marian” Chu Chung, 57, were discovered stabbed to death on the morning of Oct. 20 at their house in the 3300 block of Bent Twig Lane.
The slaying was believed to have taken place the previous night, investigators said. The bodies were discovered when a family friend went to check on the couple after they had not been heard from for a while.
“They were savagely attacked. It as a very brutal, violent altercation,” Capt. Steve Katz of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau said.
And while the motive in the attack was unknown in the initial stages of the investigation, detectives now believe the killings took place during the course of a robbery, the captain said.
Between $10,000 and $15,000 in cash that was hidden inside the victims’ home was believed to have been stolen, according to Katz. The money was hidden in such a way that it appeared the killer or killers may have known where to look for it, and detectives were looking into the possibility the attacker or attackers may have had prior knowledge that the cash was there.
Authorities and the victims’ family reached out to the public on Wednesday to call on anyone with information to come forward and offer a $30,000 incentive to do so.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn announced that the Board of Supervisors approved a $20,000 reward she had requested for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
Diamond Bar city officials increased the reward, adding another $10,000, officials said.
In addition to imploring any potential witnesses to come forward, Hahn offered a warning to the perpetrator or perpetrators: “We will ultimately find you. We will bring you to justice.”
Wang and Chung were well-known and well-liked in the community and their senseless slaying shocked the community, according to Hahn and Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.
McDonnell described them as “A classic example of an American success story.”
They’d lived in Diamond Bar for 16 years after immigrating to the U.S. from Taiwan in 2000, the sheriff said. They had since endeared themselves to their neighbors through their passions for art and community service.
Wang was a retired computer programmer and Chung was a retired teacher and art instructor.
The couple ran an art studio out of their home, teaching painting and other arts to local children.
They are survived by a son and a daughter, who are both doctors, as well as grandchildren.
Their son, Dr. Gary Wang, shared memories of his parents and encouraged anyone with information to do the right thing.
“My parents were educators. They touched the lives of many children and their parents by creating something beautiful,” he said. “They were taken away from my life so suddenly and so brutally by burglars. They don’t deserve a death like this. “
“I’m, imploring you, please, if you hear something or know something, please come to the police station,” Gary Wang said. “I’m not asking much. I’m just asking for some justice for my parents.”+
Anyone with information is urged to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTOS: [ABOVE] Right to left: LASD Homicide Bureau Capt. Steve Katz, L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Dr. Gary Wang, L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell and LASD Walnut Station Capt. Alfred Reyes gather to announce a $30,000 reward for information in connection with the Oct. 19, 2016, stabbing deaths of a retired couple in their Diamond Bar home. (staff) [BELOW]  Chen “David” Long Wang, 60, and Mei “Marian” Chu Chung, 57. (courtesy)

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