COMPTON — A 14-year-old girl died late Saturday after she was shot while riding her bicycle in what investigators are calling a gang-related attack.
The name of the girl was not released Sunday pending positive identification and notification of family members, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Capt. John Kades said.
Deputies encountered the fatally wounded teen after responding to a report of a shooting about 10:10 p.m. at Alameda Boulevard and Elm Street, Sgt. Harry Drucker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement. She was taken to an area hospital where she succumbed to her wounds.
“According to witnesses, the victim was riding a bicycle when she was shot,” Drucker said.
No suspects were in custody Sunday, and no description of the attacker or attackers was available.
“The victim is a member of a local street gang and the shooting is believed to be gang-related,” he said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously through L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
MONTEREY PARK — Officials Saturday have released the name of a 23-year-old woman found dead on suspicious circumstances inside her Monterey Park apartment and announced the arrest of her boyfriend on suspicion of her murder.
Jaqueline Alamillo was pronounced dead shortly after she was found unconscious about 4:30 a.m. Friday at her apartment in the 1700 block of College View Drive, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said.
Her boyfriend, 35-year-old Daniel Hernandez, was initially detained as a person of interest in the death, sheriff’s officials said.
But he was booked on suspicion of murder shortly after 8 p.m. Friday, according to officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Alamillo’s cause of death was not immediately apparent, sheriff’s investigators said, and an autopsy had not yet been carried out at the coroner’s office Saturday.
Deputies found Alamillo dead in a bedroom of her apartment after going there to check on her welfare at the request of relatives who had grown worried about her, according to Lt. Dave Coleman of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is assisting Monterey Park police in the investigation.
The suspect’s brother had left the apartment late Thursday because Hernandez was acting strangely, the lieutenant said.
Police received reports about an hour later of a man — later identified as Hernandez — behaving bizarrely and yelling at cars several blocks away, officials said.
At the time of his arrest, Hernandez was scheduled to appear in court Dec. 18 on an unrelated case, according to Los Angeles County booking records. Details of the ongoing case were not available Friday, however Hernandez had been freed
after posting $26,000 bail, documents show.
A man of the same name and birthdate has a violent criminal history listed in Los Angeles County Superior Court records, though officials were not available Saturday to confirm whether the murder suspect was the same man.
The listed criminal history includes three 2004 convictions for possession of a loaded firearm with previous felony convictions, a 1998 conviction for robbery, a 1997 conviction for participating in a street race and a 2007 conviction for assault.
Hernandez was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance in the murder case, scheduled for Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court.
— Staff Writer Ruby Gonzales contributed to this report.
ALTADENA — Homicide detectives are investigating the discovery of human skeletal remains along a remote section of Fair Oaks Avenue at the northern end of Altadena late Wednesday, authorities said.
Little information was available late Wednesday regarding the discovery, which was reported just before 12:30 p.m. in the 3900 block of Fair Oaks Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The remains were initially described as skeletal human remains, including a skull, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Joe Bale said. No further description of the bones or exactly where and how they were found was available.
With the remote location on the edge of the Angeles National Forest and diminishing daylight working against investigators, many questions were expected to remain unanswered until Thursday.
“Due to the terrain, weather and hour of darkness, detectives will respond tomorrow, along with personnel from the coroner’s office, and continue their investigation,” according to Lt. Holly Francisco of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
A 21-year-old man was sentenced to 90 years to life in prison for fatally shooting one man and trying to kill a second man near the railroad tracks in Santa Fe Springs in 2009.
Jose Zapata’s sentencing was held Tuesday at Norwalk Superior Court.
On Oct. 4, a jury convicted Zapata of the first-degree murder of 18-year-old Jonathan Gonzalez of Corning and the attempted murder of then 19-year-old Julio Serrano of Whittier, according to District Attorney spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales.
She said jurors found true the allegations the crimes were committed for the benefit of a street gang, that Zapata personally fired a handgun and used a gun.
The jury also found true the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery, murder during the commission of a carjacking and gang-murder, Davila-Morales said.
Zapata, who was 17 when the murder occurred, was tried as an adult. Whittier police said he was from West Covina at the time of his arrest.
The other defendant in the case, 22-year-old Erick Rodriguez of Whittier, was acquitted of the charges on Oct. 4., she said.
Whittier police said the shooting happened near the railroad tracks, just west of the 8900 block of Dice Road in Santa Fe Springs.
Officers checking out a call about gunfire at 12:20 a.m. Dec. 8, 2009, found the two victims.
Gonzalez was pronounced dead at the scene. The wounded Serrano was located on Dice Road and taken to a hospital.
Rodriguez and Zapata were identified as suspects in the shooting and arrested.
- Ruby Gonzales
LA MIRADA — Coroner’s officials Wednesday released the name of a Norwalk man found shot to death near a La Mirada bus stop Sunday evening.
Frank Mario Sainz, 46, was pronounced dead shortly after he was found lying in a pool of blood about 6:10 p.m. Sunday in the 14300 block of Alondra Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Capt. John Kades said.
An autopsy determined he died from “multiple gunshot wounds,” Kades said. The death was ruled a homicide.
He was believed to have been seated on a bus stop bench when he was shot, according to Lot. Dave Coleman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. He was first spotted early Sunday by a bus driver.
No information regarding a shooter or a motive was available.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
WHITTIER — A 19-year-old West Covina man died late Thursday following a shooting along Pickering Avenue, authorities said.
Vincent Provencio died at PIH Health Hospital in Whittier 20 minutes after the shooting, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Whittier Police Lt. Steven Dean said the station received a call at 9:56 p.m. of shots being fired in the 6200 block of Pickering Avenue.
“When officers arrived, they were told an argument ensued between two males,” Officer Bradley White said. “The 19-year-old was shot during the argument.”
Provencio suffered a single gunshot wound to his chest, White said. But he had already been taken to PIH Health Hospital in Whittier by a good Samaritan.
“A passer-by saw a wounded man, picked him up and rushed him to the hospital.” White said.
But despite the efforts of the good Samaritan and doctors, the wounded man succumbed to his injuries at 10:16 p.m., Winter said.
No suspect description was available Friday, White said, and it was not clear what the argument that preceded the shooting was about.
“Our investigators are out canvassing the area for witnesses,” White added.
Anyone with information was asked to call Whittier police at 562-567-9200.
NORWALK — A judge sentenced a Los Angeles man to 40 years to life in prison Thursday for the slaying of a West Covina man, who was shot to death and robbed along with his cousin and friend when the men went to buy a car in South Whittier nearly a decade ago.
A Norwalk Superior Court jury convicted Briall Lee, 31, in August of second-degree murder, as well as the special sentence-enhancing allegation that he used a gun in the crime, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s and court officials said. He received the sentence from Judge Robert Higa.
Lee was found guilty of the Jan. 27, 2004, slaying of 23-year-old Mario Larios.
Larios, his cousin Edgar Valles, 22, of La Puente, and their friend Fernando Pina, 25, of Mexico, were also gunned down during the robbery, which took place at the South Whittier home of Lee’s co-defendant, 39-year-old Cimarron Bell.
The victims were shot to death when they met with Lee and Bell to talk about a Chevrolet Monte Carlo they were offering for sale for $8,5000.
Bell was convicted of killing all three victims, as well as his girlfriend Ineka Edmondson, 22, of Compton in an unrelated slaying in La Habra in November of 2003. He was sentenced to death in August of 2011.
Quadruple murderer sentence to death (Cimarron Bell)
Briall Lee conviction
A judge earlier this week handed down a prison sentence of 30 years to life to a man acquitted of murdering a woman found slain at a Pico Rivera park 15 years ago, but convicted of raping two other women several years later, officials said.
A Los Angeles Superior Court Jury convicted Shawn Lavaway Rankin, 46, of Los Angeles in May of two counts of rape, as well as one count of forced oral copulation in connection with two attacks that took place in Los Angeles in 2000 and 2001, said Deputy District Attorney Alison Meyers, who prosecuted the case.
But the jury acquitted him of the rape and fatal stabbing of 41-year-old Wyesser Cook of Los Angeles, whose body was discovered in the early morning hours of Nov. 1, 1997, at Bicentennial Park in Pico Rivera, Meyers said.
The investigations into both Cook’s slaying and the two rapes all ran cold until 2005, when DNA tied all three crimes together and provided detectives with new clues.
He had been arrested and convicted of a Los Angeles sexual battery in 2000, but at the time, a system was not in place to collect DNA samples from felons, Meyers said. Rankin fulfilled his registration requirements as a convicted sex offender following his conviction and release from prison.
In 2005, detectives announced that the same man’s DNA had been found at the scenes of the slaying and both rapes. But Rankin was not linked to the crimes.
“The case remained unsolved, essentially because Mr. Rankin’s DNA had never been taken and put into the system,” Meyers said.
Interviews with the surviving rape victims allowed LAPD sketch artist Marylin Diaz to create a composite drawing of the suspect, which Meyers described as “one of the best composite’s I’ve seen.”
In the years that followed, a detectives did collect a DNA sample from Rankin and entered it into their database, Meyers explained. Rankin was arrested when his DNA was found to match the profile of that in all three cases in September of 2007, according to officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
His trial began in April and drew to a close in May, when the jury found Rankin guilty of the sex crimes against the two surviving victims, but not guilty of raping and murdering Cook, Meyers said.
He was sentenced to consecutive terms of 15 years to life in prison for each count of rape, officials said, as well as another eight years, to be served concurrently, for the forced oral copulation charge.
In the 2001 attack, Rankin offered a woman a ride in his car, then assaulted her once she was inside, Meyers said. In the 2002 case, you gave a woman a ride home, then returned to her home later in the day to sexually assault her.
Rankin’s defense attorney Lawrence Forbes declined to comment Friday.
Meyers said the murder case was less straight-forward than the rape cases for two primary reasons.
More than one man’s DNA was found in connection with Cook’s body, and a defense witness testified that another man, who is now dead, may have been responsible for the slaying.
Meyers said she believed, “a combination of the two created in the jurors minds a reasonable doubt.”
Meyers said at his sentencing, Rankin offered an apology in court, though the victims were not present to hear it.
“I’d like to think it was sincere,” she added.
Detectives were looking into the possibility an El Monte man accidentally shot his daughter Tuesday before intentionally shooting her girlfriend to death and committing suicide, officials said.
Harry Maldonado, 65, is believed to be the gunman who fatally shot his daughter, 32-year-old Evie Maldonado, and her girlfriend, 38-year-old Diana Amaya, about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday before turning the handgun on himself, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
The three, who lived together in a condominium in the 9900 block of Marshal Street, became involved in an argument inside the home’s garage when the shooting took place, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Detectives suspected the triple-fatal shooting may have started as an accident when Harry Maldonado brandished a semi-automatic handgun during an argument. The first person shot was his daughter.
“It could have been an accidental discharge,” Hernandez said. But then shots that rang out next were not believed to be accidental.
“He definitely intentionally shot (Amaya) and himself,” the lieutenant said.
It was unclear what the group was arguing about when the shooting occurred, he added.
Evie Maldonado and Amaya, who had been dating about 8 years, “had a tumultuous relationship.” Hernandez said.
A 21-year-old daughter of Amaya witnessed a great deal of the incident and was able to provide a description of what took place, Hernandez said.
Amaya’s daughter tried to intervene, striking Harry Maldonado with a broom stick, Amaya’s nephew, Eddie Ordonez said. He added he believed the gunman may have tried to shoot Amaya first, but missed, fatally wounding his daughter instead.
But with both the suspect and victims dead, Hernandez said exactly what unfolded on Marshall Street Tuesday night may never be known.
Friends said they were puzzled over how Harry Maldonado, who they described as calm and peaceful, could be responsible for the shooting. He was a former Marine who served two combat tours in Vietnam, Hernandez said.
Family members gathered at the Maldonado home Wednesday declined to comment.
Amaya is survived by four daughters and a son, Ordonez said.
“We’re taking it as a family really hard,” he said.
“If anyone ever knew Diana Amaya, they would know how special and one of kind she was,” Ordonez said in a written statement. “She would give the shirt off her back to help anyone in need and never ask for anything in return. Her laugh filled the room and was so contagious that everyone who heard couldn’t help but smile.”
“Her passing was too soon and she will forever be in the hearts of those who loved her,” the nephew said. “As a family, we stand together in this time of mourning and sorrow. We find strength and solace in the memories we have, and this will never be taken from us. Rest in Peace, Nana. We love and miss you.”
Donations to help with cost of Amaya’s services are being accepted online at www.gofundme.com/4uji0s.
PHOTO – Diane Amaya, 38, of El Monte, pictured with her five children. (Courtesy)
EL MONTE — Detectives and neighbors continued trying to make sense Wednesday of the fatal shooting of two women and a man in an apparent double-murder-suicide in an El Monte garage at an El Monte home.
Harry Maldonado, 65, of El Monte, Evie Maldonado, 32, of El Monte and Diana Amaya, 38, whose city of residence was unclear, were found dead inside the garage of home in the 9900 block of Marshall Street after police responded to a report of a shooting about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Investigators described the alleged shooter, Harry Maldonado, as Evie Maldonado’s father. The relationship between Amaya and the other two victims was unclear, though the Facebook pages of both Evie Maldonado and Amaya described each other as “partner.”
Neighbor Alfredo Borromeo said he had known Harry Maldonado for more than 15 years and was shocked to learn of the shooting.
“He seemed like a very nice man. I don’t know what happened,” Borromeo said.
He described Harry Maldonado as “very relaxed,” adding that he did not drink or use drugs.
Harry Madonado, a veteran of the U.S. Marines, appeared to have a good relationship with his daughter, Borromeo said. He said he did not know Amaya.
Amaya’s Facebook page lists four children and a son-in-law.
Hernandez said a daughter of one of the women may have witnessed the shooting, however further details were not available.
A memorial of candles and flowers marked the shooting scene Wednesday afternoon. The windows of the home were adorned with “Winnie the Pooh”-theme Halloween decorations that appeared to have been colored by children.
A woman who answered the door at the family home said the family was not ready to comment.
The shooting stemmed from an argument, however the nature of the dispute was not known, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. Sheriff’s homicide detectives are assisting El Monte police in the investigation.
A handgun was recovered from the scene, officials added.
Sheriff’s investigators released no further details Wednesday, and handling detectives could not be reached for comment.