Crime on the run

Making those round o calls this morning, the Whittier watch commander had this to say about whether anything was going on.

We have crime on the run. If you give us a day, crime will be completely eradicated in our area and you can take us off your phone list.

My response:
Is your refrigerator running too?


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Officer-involved shooting in BP

Busy week for Baldwin Park police and the sheriff’s detectives who are handling two cases out of the 80,000-population city this week.

Aside from the triple homicide Monday, authorities this morning are investigating an officer-involved shooting involving BP officers and a man. It happened about 5 a.m. in the 5000 block of Maine Street. The man’s condition is unknown at this point, though preliminary wire reports say he is “critically” wounded.

Sheriff’s deputies are still out at the scene, and one deputy told me the officers were conducting a search warrant when it happened.

Here’s what I just put up on our Web site:

BALDWIN PARK – Police officers conducting a search warrant shot and wounded a man this morning in Baldwin Park, authorities said.
The incident occurred about 5:10 a.m. in the 5000 block of Maine Avenue, said Ed Hernandez, a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department.
No officers were injured.
Hernandez did not know the condition of the man and had no details as to what prompted the shooting, except that officers had been serving a search warrant.
The sheriffs department was at the scene this morning investigating.
When something like this happens, Hernandez said, its probably because the officers fear they are in safety of their life.


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Coroner arrives more than 12 hours later

Trib Photographer Leo Jarzomb was out at the Baldwin Park crime scene this morning. He got photos of the coroner taking the victims away.

Our question here in the newsroom: We understand the nature of crime scenes, but doesn’t 15 hours for the coroner to arrive on scene at a triple homicide seem like a long delay? I can’t even imagine what that must have been like for family, friends and neighbors overnight.

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He said, she said

Two very different sides of the story about an incident that happened Saturday evening at a church in Walnut, where the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless was hosting a shelter.

Officials with the advocacy group claim two of their staff members were attacked by a man who came in demanding services, but refusing to give his name.
Colleen Castellano, director of the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless, said the man attacked the staff members with an unknown substance that caused them burns and “mutilation.”

Two deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department responded to the incident. Their log tells a very different story.

They claim the man was intoxicated, was arguing with staff members, and was combative, according to Sgt. Randy Lascurain. But deputies Jimmy Osorio and Jesus Hernandez said the guy eventually became cooperative and left the shelter on his own. No police report was filed because staff members at the shelter did not want to make an arrest, Lascurain said.

Castellano said her staff members DID want the man arrested, but the deputies didn’t want to help.

“When they arrived, the officer told us we asked for it because we bring these people in, we’re enablers,” she said. “They escorted the man off the premises and that’s it. They didn’t do anything.”

Guess we’ll never know what really happened. The coalition said they won’t be filing any sort of complaint because that’s not part of “what they do.”


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University not at fault in wreck, police say

Here’s a quick write-up of what I’ve been able to gather from police and Azusa Pacific University officials about Tuesday’s trolley crash.


AZUSA The driver of an Azusa Pacific University campus trolley will not faces charges in a collision Tuesday that has left a student in critical condition, according to police.
Azusa traffic investigators said they found no fault on part of the driver, the trolley or the university in the accident, which occurred about 11:15 a.m. in the 800 block of Foothill Boulevard between the universitys two campuses.

A 19-year-old Costa Mesa student who police say either lives on campus or nearby was riding her bicycle along the north curb line, weaving in and out of parked cars when she collided with the trolley, said Azusa Cpl. Dean Brewer, the lead investigator on the case.
The student, who police have not identified, was not wearing a helmet or any other safety gear at the time of the crash, Brewer said. She suffered head injuries and is in critical condition after having undergone surgery, he said.
Its looks better than it did (Tuesday), Brewer said of her condition.

This is the first time a campus trolley has been in a collision of this kind in its nearly 10 years of existence, university spokeswoman Allison Oster said.
The trolleys were in operation Wednesday.
It was such an upsetting incident, Oster said, Obviously for all of our campus yesterday. Our prayers go out to students family.

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No job for you

An interesting article from City News Service ran in our paper this morning about a former Covina cop and alleged drug user who won’t be getting his job back.

Victor Lupu petitioned in 2006 to have a judge overturn an earlier decision by Covina City Manager Paul Phillips to have him fired amid allegations Lupu was using methamphetamine and having an affair with a drug user. But a judge Tuesday said he found the initial firing was justified, despite Lupu’s claims that the termination was ungrounded and illegal.

Hey, you gotta give it to Lupu for trying.

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Early morning round-up

Its a familiar tale with cops: Anytime theres bad weather, the rain has stopped everything, they say, or nothings going on but the rain.

Regardless, I was able to get a few interesting things out of police this morning, namely an alleged drunken driver who led sheriffs deputies on a freeway chase in Norwalk about 12:40 a.m. today. The vehicle of choice? A U-Haul truck. In the end, the suspect who has only been identified as a 42-year-old man from Pico Rivera stopped the truck but then refused to get out. Sheriffs deputies had to break a window to detain him.

No updates on the condition of a Bassett man who was shot in the behind Tuesday night in the 300 block of Siesta Avenue. Authorities dont seem to think the injuries are life-threatening.


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Breaking news on Orta case

Here is some more information about the “person of interest” in Eileen’s murder.

 From the story:


POMONA – A parolee gang member relative of the husband of a Covina woman who was found murdered in her van on Saturday has been named a “person of interest” in the case by Pomona Police.

Police said Joseph Orta, 34 has not been officially named as a suspect in the murder of 22-year-old Eileen Ponce-Orta, who was found fatally stabbed in the neck on Saturday.

Orta, a former gang member out of Azusa, was convicted for the 2001 attempted murder of his step-father, according to family members of the victim.

Other notes from reporters Brian Day and Dan Abendschein:

HOWEVER – it seems Mr. Orta just got out of prison for an attempted murder in 2001 which we covered(below):

Also, per Dan, it appears the motive MAY have been some sort of psycho fatal attraction thing Joseph Orta had for Eileen Orta.

Man sought in stabbing of stepdad

San Gabriel Valley Tribune (West Covina, CA) – December 8, 2001

Author: Rodney Tanaka Staff Writer

WEST COVINA — Police were searching Friday for Joseph Gary Orta , 28, who allegedly stabbed his stepfather during an argument. Police responded to a stabbing in the 200 block of South Pima Avenue at 8:50 p.m. Thursday. Orta argued with his stepfather, Raul Sanchez, 26, over Orta ‘s alleged alcohol abuse, West Covina Police Lt. Mark Dettor said.

Sanchez suffered cuts to his neck and scalp and a puncture wound to his left side during the fight, although no knife has been found, Dettor said.

Sanchez was airlifted to County USC Medical Center and was listed Friday in stable condition.

Orta , a transient living in the area, is wanted for attempted murder. He has black hair, brown eyes, weighs 180 pounds and is 5 feet, 7 inches tall.

He has an “Azusa” tattoo on his neck and an “A” tattoo on his right arm, Dettor said. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and brown baggy pants.

Anyone with information on Orta ‘s whereabouts should call West Covina police at (626) 814-8557.


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