SOUTH WHITTIER >> Hundreds of loved ones, including fellow Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Explorer Scouts, will march Friday to honor the life of a 19-year-old Whittier man shot to death four years ago along with 24-year-old friend, as well as renew their call for justice in the unsolved double-slaying.
Lifelong Whittier resident Cesar Rodriguez, who dreamed of becoming a sheriff’s deputy, was gunned down Aug. 28, 2011, along with Larry Villegas of Whittier as the two left a friend’s home in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue in unincorporated South Whittier.
The killing remains unsolved.
Friends, family members and law enforcement officials will gather for a Mass at 5 p.m. Friday at St. Pious X Church, 10827 Pioneer Blvd. in Santa Fe Springs, before gathering at 7 p.m. at Laurel Avenue and Beaty Street in South Whittier, said Rodriguez’s brother, George Rodriguez.
Marchers will then walk past the shooting scene to Amelia Mayberry Park, 13201 Meyer Road in South Whittier.
Similar marches were held 2014, 2013 and 2012.
Cesar Rodriguez worked as an explorer at the sheriff’s Norwalk Station for four years prior to his death and planned to pursue a career as a sheriff’s deputy, sheriff’s officials said.
George Rodriguez said he remains hopeful his brother’s killer will be found and brought to justice, and wanted anyone with information about the shooting to provide that information to investigators.
Detectives have followed up on information regarding possible persons of interest over the past year, but nothing has developed into a solid lead, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. “We’re back to square one.”
Corina also asked that anyone with information come forward. “They can be anonymous if they want,” he said.
Anyone with information can reach 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.
PASADENA >> A man died in a broad-daylight shooting along Washington Boulevard on Friday afternoon, police said.
The shooting took place just before 5:30 p.m. in a parking lot behind a series of business in the 1700 block of East Washington Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
Officers responding to several calls reporting shots fire found the victim, “lifeless,” suffering from gunshot wounds, the lieutenant said.
No further information regarding the circumstances of the shooting were released, and no suspect description was available as police continued their investigation late Friday.
Devastated family members of the victim gathered at the shooting scene identified the victim as 38-year-old Monte Russell of Los Angeles.
They said he was getting a haircut at a barbershop when the shooting occurred.
Russell’s mother, Yvonne Trice, said she was outraged but what she saw at the scene.
Trice said she believed police knew who Russell was when they encountered him and didn’t do everything they could to save his life or catch his killer.
Russell had a troubled past and was formerly involved with gangs, but had turned his life around and had become a hard-working father to three daughters, Trice said.
“They’ve been trying to kill my son for years,” Trice said. “Where’s the paramedics?”.
“I’m 3 to 4 miles away, and I got here before the paramedics,” said brother Rodney Trice.
Another brother said police at the scene asked him wither he owned a car which needed to be moved out of the crime scene, but did not ask him whether he heard or saw anything related to the shooting.
Yvonne Trice and other family members said they were also furious because the they didn’t think the shooting scene had been properly secured. People continued walking near, as well as in and out of the barbershop, as police investigated the scene, Yvonne Trice said.
“He wasn’t a gang banger,” the mother said. “He worked every day.”
Russell worked laying tile for a company in Altadena, family members said.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4501. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
EL MONTE >> Police arrested an alleged rapist also sought in connection with the murder of a Fresno County woman Friday after a neighborhood search that lasted about four hours, officials said.
Kaleo Kealoha Schreiner, 21, of Tracy, was ultimately arrested for rape, possession of a loaded gun in public and resisting police, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said in a written statement.
Police first received a report a woman had been raped about 5:10 a.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 4100 block of Tyler Avenue, the sergeant said. The attacker was reported to still be at the scene of the crime and armed with a handgun.
Police spotted a man matching the suspect description running in the 3800 block of Tyler Avenue and set up a search perimeter, Luna said. West Covina and Arcadia police joined in the search, along with a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter.
A police K-9 found Schreiner hiding behind a garage in the 3800 block of Esmeralda Ave., officials said.
“The canine bit Schreiner, who resisted the canine and ignored officer’s commands to comply with the arrest,” Luna said. “A bean bag was deployed on Schreiner, who then complied, and was taken into custody.”
Police found a loaded handgun in the area where Schreiner had been hiding, Luna added.
Schreiner has been sought by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office for more than two weeks as a suspect in the slaying of Megan Troen, 20, of Tracy, whose body was discovered July 30 in the California Aqueduct, near W. Nees Avenue and the 5 Freeway in the Firebaugh area, Fresno County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Troen had left her home with Schreiner, an acquaintance of several years, July 20 and was never seen again. Investigators said Troen had a diminished mental capacity.
In the days and weeks that followed, Fresno sheriff’s homicide detectives identified Schreiner as a suspect in the slaying and issued a warrant for his arrent.
Officials took Schreiner suspect to a hospital for treatment prior to booking him into jail, he said.
PHOTO of Kaleo Schreiner courtesy of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office
WEST COVINA >> A 20-year-old West Covina man accused of stabbing his father to death during an argument at their West Covina home over the weekend denied a murder charge Friday, authorities said.
Maverick Jacob Jimenez pleaded not guilty to a count of murder, along with the special allegation that he personally used a knife in the slaying of his father, 49-year-old Joey Jimenez, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The fatal stabbing took place about 3:30 a.m. Sunday at the home of the father and son in the 900 block of Las Rosas Drive.
“Prosecutors said on Aug. 16, defendant Maverick Jimenez reportedly got into an argument with his father before he stabbed him,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement. Further information regarding the motive in the slaying were not available.
Police arrested Maverick Jimenez at the home, without a struggle, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said. His father died at the scene.
Maverick Jimenez is due back in court for a hearing Sept. 14, Ardalani said.
If convicted as charged, the defendant faces up to 26 years to life in state prison.
PASADENA >> Prosecutors have declined to file charges against a man who was arrested after another man he was involved in a fight with over the weekend died, officials said.
Police arrested Manuel Mejia Castillo, a 38-year-old transient, the morning after Sunday’s 9:30 p.m. fight with another transient in the 500 block of South Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena police officials said.
Police responding to a report of a man lying on the ground discovered an unconscious 64-year-old man, police said. The injured man was taken to a hospital where he died a short time later.
The name of the 64-year-old man has not been released pending notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. An autopsy had been completed, but the man’s cause of death had not been determined pending the results of additional testing.
Police found Castillo nearby and arrested him on suspicion of murder, police said.
But prosecutors who reviewed the case determined Wednesday there was insufficient evidence to support charges.
“At some point during the day, the 2 men began an argument,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney wrote on a charge evaluation worksheet.
“The only witness saw the 2 men struggling but did not see the suspect do anything that would cause the victim’s death. Nor did the witness see the beginning of the altercation. There is no video,” Dver wrote.
Both men had been drinking prior to the incident, and Castillo claimed the fight amounted to mutual combat and self defense, officials noted, adding that an officials cause of death was yet to be determined.
According to county booking records, Castillo was released from jail shortly after noon Thursday.
EL MONTE >> A man died after a “minor” argument escalated into a stabbing in a residential El Monte neighborhood late Wednesday, authorities said.
The fatal stabbing was firs reported at 8:43 p.m. in the 3400 block of Belcroft Avenue, just north of Exline Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“When homicide detectives arrived, they learned the victim was confronted by the suspect, and a minor verbal altercation ensued,” according to the statement. “The suspect then stabbed the victim and fled the scene.”
Paramedics took the wounded man to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Investigators held a “possible suspect” for questioning at the El Monte Police Department, the sheriff’s department statement said.
No further details were released.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are assisting El Monte police with the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked 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.
ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> A woman died early Sunday after she was stabbed inside a Rowland Heights townhouse, and her sister-in-law has been arrested in connection with the slaying, authorities said.
The stabbing took place about 2 a.m. in the 1900 block of Batson Avenue, Los Angles County Sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The victim was taken to a hospital where she succumbed to her injuries a short time later.
“According to witnesses, the victim was arguing with her sister-in-law inside their apartment,” according to Deputy Crystal Hernandez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. “During the argument, the sister-in-law — a female-Hispanic, 19 years old — stabbed the victim in the neck and then fled the location. The sister-in-law was located a short time later and taken into custody without incident.”
Detectives detained the suspect for questioning before ultimately arresting her on suspicion of murder, officials said. Her identity was not released Sunday.
WEST COVINA >> A 20-year-old West Covina man stabbed his father to death at an apartment early Sunday, police said.
Joey Alfred Jimenez, 49, of West Covina, died in the 3:30 a.m. stabbing in the 900 block of Las Rosas Drive, according to West Covina Police spokesman Rudy Lopez.
His son, 20-year-old Maverick Jacob Jimenez of West Covina, has been arrested on suspicion of murder, Lopez said.
“The first officer on scene located (Joey Jimenez) on the floor inside the residence with a stab wound and immediately began CPR,” Lopez said.
West Covina Fire Department paramedics soon followed and pronounced the victim dead at the scene.
PASADENA >> A judge sentenced a Pasadena gang member to prison Wednesday for his role in luring a 20-year-old woman to a Pasadena market, where she was ambushed and fatally shot in 2008, authorities said.
Roberto Barajas Jr., 37, received a prison term of 50 years to life for the Aug. 19, 2008, shooting death of Jennifer Ortega outside a small shopping center in the 1800 block of Villa Street, said Deputy District Attorney Stefan Mrakich, who prosecuted the case.
Pasadena gang member Barajas, along with several other suspects have not been charged with the killing, killed Ortega, a gang members, because she had cooperated with police regarding a drug case four months before, the prosecutor said.
The gang had “green lighted” her for execution, he said.
“She was lured to that location by some friends,” Mrakich said. “She was cornered by the defendant and four other people and shot three times in the back.”
Several additional suspects were initially arrested in connection with the killing, but only Barajas was ultimately charged in connection with the fatal shooting, Mrakich said. There was insufficient evidence to move forward with cases against the other suspects, Mrakich said.
Barajas drove the attackers to and from the shooting scene, though he was not believed to be the shooter, Mrakich said.
Scents detected by police dogs on the spent bullet casings recovered from the scene matched Barajas, indicating he had handled the bullets used to shoot Ortega prior to the killing, Mrakich said.
The fatal ambush stemmed from a drug arrest that took place about four months earlier, Mrakich said. After being caught with methamphetamine, Ortega told investigators that it belonged to a fellow gang member, he said. That gang member received a year behind bars as a result of the drug case.
Word of Ortega’s cooperation with police, as well as police documents, circulated through the gang, Mrakich said. A vague letter from a gang member in prison appearing to instruct fellow gang members to take action against Ortega was found in the possession of one of the suspects who was not charged. Mrakich likened the letter to a “death warrant.”
Ortega had no listed city of residence, but was believed to be staying with friends in the Pasadena area, police said.
Pasadena Superior Court Judge Suzette Clover handed down Barajas’ sentence after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder May 1 following a six-week trial, officials said. The jury also found true the special allegations that the killing was gang-related, and that a gun was used in the crime.
NORWALK >> Authorities have identified a man who was fatally shot at his Norwalk home Saturday and arrested his sister’s boyfriend in connection with the killing, officials said.
Joe Nava, 44, died at the scene of the 1:10 p.m. shooting in the 11400 block of Lindale Street, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. Fred Corral said.
Nava lived at the home with his sister and her boyfriend, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Deputies detained the boyfriend but did not formally declared him a suspect Saturday, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The detained man, 44-year-old Jose Ramos Nunez, was ultimately booked on suspicion of murder, Deputy Amber Smith said.
A rifle was recovered from the shooting scene, Smith added.
No further details were released.
According to county booking records, Nunez was being held without bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Bellflower Superior Court.
Anyone with information is asked 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.