UPDATED: USC graduate student found dead in apartment after beating

LOS ANGELES >> A 24-year-old USC engineering graduate student from China was found dead in his apartment after he was beaten while walking home from a study group early Thursday, police said.
LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said the student, identified by USC officials as electrical engineering student Xinran Ji, was attacked about 12:45 a.m. out on the street along 29th Street, near Orchard Avenue.
“The victim was somehow able to get back to his residence, where he was discovered this morning,” Neiman said.
A trail of blood was visible leading up the street and into the City Park Apartments in the 1200 block of 30th Street, where the young man lived. “It’s safe to assume it’s the student’s (blood trail),” Neiman said.
Ji was pronounced dead at the scene.
While a specific suspect description was not available, “we do have information that leads us to believe that at least three subjects were involved in this assault,” Neiman said. A dark-colored vehicle was also possibly connected to the crime.
“It’s believed a blunt force object was used. It’s not known what that object was,” Neiman said.
The motive in the attack was unknown. It was not clear if anything of Ji’s had been stolen.
He was apparently involved in a study group and had just walked home a friend,” Neiman said.

…FULL STORY

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La Puente man, Panorama City man killed in Panorama City 7-Eleven shooting

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Two men who were fatally shot outside a Panorama City 7-Eleven on Thursday have been identified by coroners’ officials as police continued Sunday to hunt two suspects still at large.
The victims were identified as Maron States, 26, of La Puente and Miles DeShawn, 19, of Panorama City, said Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Investigations Unit. The precise cause of death was still pending Sunday morning.
A third man, who was also standing outside the store, was shot in the leg and was taken to a local hospital for treatment, officials said.
A radio call went out at 5:55 a.m. Thursday of an assault with a deadly weapon and shots fired outside the 7-Eleven at 8243 N. Sepulveda Boulevard, said Sgt. S. Carlsen, a watch commander with LAPD’s Mission Station.

… FULL STORY by Brenda Gazzar

PHOTO by Gene Blevins

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Pasadena family describes terror of shooting that killed three

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PASADENA >> A terrified family of six found themselves in the midst of a hail of bullets Saturday afternoon when they arrived home just as a shooting rampage began that left three people dead and two others wounded.
Sandra Barraza, 37, her husband, Alfredo Garcia, 41, and their four children had just returned from the store when they noticed a police SUV and a patrol car parked in front of their house, Garcia said.
They did not see the body of a woman who had been fatally shot lying behind a tree across the street, or the body of a man who also had been shot to death just up the street.
Suddenly, a group of police officers carrying rifles yelled to the family to get inside.
“We took two steps, and the shooting started,” said the couple’s 18-year-old daughter, Melissa Perez. Also in the driveway were Perez’s 12- and 15-year-old brothers and her 16-year-old sister.
An officer fled to cover behind the police SUV as the gunman, later identified by police as 44-year-old John Izeal Smith of Pasadena, continued shooting, riddling the vehicle with bullets. The family stood directly behind the SUV when the gunfire began.
Bullets flew on both sides of the family’s driveway as they ran for their home, Sandra Barraza said. Her husband added that he could see smoke rising from the AK-47-type rifle wielded by the gunman as he fired from the front lawn of the home across the street.
“It was horrible. Like a movie scene,” Barraza said. “I was so scared. He was right in front of us.”

…FULL STORY

Photo by James Carbone

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Victim of Pasadena shooting rampage identified

PASADENA — Coroner’s officials Sunday released the name of one of three people killed in a mass shooting on a residential Pasadena street that also left two others wounded.
Maria Teresa Aguiar, 59, died along with two men at the scene of Saturday’s deadly rampage in the 1700 block of North Summit Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Fred Corral said.
Her city of residence was not yet listed at the coroner’s office Sunday morning, however public records indicated Aguiar lived on the street where the shooting took place. A phone number listed as belonging to Aguiar was not working.
The identities of the two men killed in the attack have not been released.
A man and woman were also shot by suspect John Izeal Smith of Pasadena, who eventually surrendered to police after firing on an officer with a semi-automatic rifle and engaging in a brief stand-off, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said.
“We’re talking upwards of 40 rounds that were fired,” the chief said. Police did not return fire.

…FULL STORY

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Three killed in Pasadena shooting; suspect in custody


PASADENA >> A man armed with a rifle allegedly shot and killed three people, wounded two more and opened fire on a police officer before ultimately surrendering Saturday afternoon.
The 4:20 p.m. shooting in the 1700 block of North Summit Avenue was believed to have stemmed from a dispute between a landlord and tenant, though the details were not yet clear, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said.
The shooter was identified as 35-year-old John Izeal Smith of Pasadena.

…FULL STORY

Photo by James Carbone

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Suspect jailed in connection with fatal Montebello shooting

A suspect is behind bars in connection with the fatal shooting of a Montebello man earlier this month, authorities said.
Montebello police investigators arrested Michael Joseph Fimbres, 44, of Montebello Wednesday in Pomona, according to Montebello police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail on a lesser felony charge Friday at the Montebello Police Department’s jail pending an expected murder charge, officials said. The date of his next court date was not available late Friday.
He’s accused of the July 1 fatal shooting of 35-year-old Frank Burnell Taylor of Montebello, who was found mortally wounded in the 500 block of Maple Street about 7:15 p.m., police and Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s officials said. Burnell was pronounced dead at the scene.
Detectives began seeking Fimbres after identifying early in the investigation as a suspect in Burnell’s slaying, Montebello police Sgt. Julio Calleros said. They had been keeping Fimbres under surveillance when they stopped a car he was in and arrested without incident about noon Wednesday on Fairplex Drive near the 10 Freeway in Pomona.
The suspect and victim were not strangers to one another, though the nature of their relationship was not certain, Calleros said.
“They were acquainted. They knew each other,” he said.
Calleros said the fatal shooting was believed to have been motivated by a “personal dispute.” He declined to discuss the dispute between the men in further detail.
Burnell was walking along Maple Street when nan attacker, later identified as Fimbres, approached in small pickup truck, Lt. Andy Vuncanon said.
Fimbres exited the truck, approached Burnell, pulled a handgun and shot the victim once in the chest, the lieutenant said.

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Man fatally shot in Montebello

The Los Angeles County Coroner has identified a man fatally shot Tuesday in Montebello, coroner officials said.
Frank Burnell Taylor, 35, was shot once in the chest in the 500 block of Maple Street, Los Angeles Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said. He died at the scene.
Winter did not have a residence for Taylor.
Montebello Police officers found Taylor laying in the street around 7:15 p.m., officials said.
“Upon investigation it appeared that the victim was a pedestrian walking in the area,” Lt. Andy Vuncanon said.
Vuncanon said a suspect pulled up near the man and exited his vehicle.
“(He) approached the victim and produced a handgun and fired a shot at the victim which struck him in the chest,” Vuncanon said. “The suspect walked back to his car, got in, fled, and is outstanding.”
Police have not determined if both the victim and suspect were alone during the shooting, Vuncanon said. A motive has not been determined.
The suspect is described as a Latino male in his late 20s, 6-feet, 180 pounds, clean shaven with short black hair, and wearing a white T-shirt.
He was seen driving a silver small-sized pickup truck. The model is unknown.
Witnesses are asked to call Montebello Police investigators at 323-887-1248.

- Venusse Navid

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Gang member sentenced for shotgun slaying of Covina man

0628_NWS_SGT-L-NAVARETTEA judge sentenced a gang member to 80 years to life in prison this week for the shotgun slaying of a Covina man in October of 2012.
Fred Navarette, 31, of Covina was on a mission to gun down rival gang members when he came upon a group of five people gathered on a sidewalk in the 300 block of North Vecino Avenue in Covina about 3:30 a.m. on October 28, 2012, according to investigators and prosecutors.
Navarette was armed with a shotgun and driving a pickup truck he had stolen earlier in the day, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Robert Serna said.
“He went into a known gang area with the shotgun and the stolen truck, pulled up to a group of people on the sidewalk, racked the shotgun, yelled out, ‘West Covina,’ and fired one shot at the group,” Serna said.
The shotgun blast fatally wounded Thomas Fernandez, the 23-year-old father of a then-22-month-old son who lived nearby, officials said. Fernandez ran into the carport area of an apartment complex a block to the south where he collapsed and died. No one else in the group was wounded.
Navarette received a term of 80 years to life in state prison Wednesday in the courtroom of Pomona Superior Court Judge Bruce Marrs, officials said.
A jury convicted him earlier this month of murder, along with the special allegations that the killing was gang-related and that Navarette personally used a firearm in the slaying, Serna said. He was also convicted of auto theft, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a short-barrelled shotgun.
The conviction comes as Navarette’s second strike, as he has a prior conviction for assault with intent to cause great bodily injury, also with the special allegation that the crime was gang-related, Serna said.
Covina police arrested Navarette two days after the fatal shooting, Marquez said.
He was first charged only with auto theft as detectives continues gathering evidence, police said. Prosecutors charged Navaratte with Fernandez’s murder in March of 2013,
A passenger who was in the pickup truck with Navarette at the time of the shooting testified against him, and Navarette’s DNA was found on the shotgun used in the shooting, as well as the driver-side of the pickup truck used in the killing, Serna said.
Officials described Navarette as member of the West Covina 13 street gang.
During his trial, he grew hair over tattoos on his head, including a set of horns, Serna said.
Authorities described Fernandez and as an affiliate of the El Monte Flores gang.
His girlfriend, Jessica Martinez, said at the time of the shooting that although Fernandez had associated with the gang in the past and had friends who were involved with it, Fernandez was not a gang member.
Martinez described Fernandez as a good father and a kind man who loved music and dreamed of becoming a rapper.
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PHOTOS:
TOP: Fred Navarette, 31, of Covina, was sentenced to 80 years to life in prison Wednesday, June 25, 2014, for the Oct. 28, 2012, shotgun slaying of Thomas Fernandez, 23, of Covina, in the 300 block of North Vecino Avenue in Covina. (Courtesy of the Covina Police Department)
BELOW: Mourners gather at the scene where 23-year-old Thomas Fernandez of Covina died after being wounded in a shooting on October 28, 2012. Fred Navarette, 31, of Covina, has since been convicted of murder and other crimes in connection with the killing and sentenced to 80 years to life in prison.
(Staff photo by Brian Day)

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UPDATED: Man fatally stabbed outside South Whittier market

SOUTH WHITTIER — A 29-year-old man died following a stabbing outside a meat market in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier late Friday, authorities said.
Israel Lopez of Whittier died at UCI Medical Center at 7:56 p.m. according to Orange County coroner’s officials.
The fatal stabbing took place shortly after 7 p.m. in front of a meat market in the 11800 block of Carmenita Road, just south of Meyer Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“Detectives have learned deputies from the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station responded to the location regarding an assault with a deadly weapon call. Upon their arrival, they found the victim lying on the curb suffering from stab wounds,” deputies from the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement.
Lopez taken to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana.
No information regarding a suspect was available, and no further details were released.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously via L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Man sentenced for Monterey Park double-slaying

A judge sentenced a man to spend the rest of his life in prison Thursday for the fatal shooting of his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend in Monterey Park in early 2010, authorities said.
Richard Tauch, 49, of Corona received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole in Pasadena Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
A jury convicted him in November of two counts of first-degree murder for the Jan. 19, 2010, shooting deaths of Jenny Sor, 40, of Los Angeles and Wenwa Chao, 53, of Alhambra. The jury also found true the special allegations of multiple murder and lying in wait.
Officials described Tauch as a casino security guard who was obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Sor.
“Tauch and Sor were in a relationship for a year before she broke up with him in December 2009 and started dating Chao,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
On the day of the killings, Tauch went to Sor’s workplace at the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood and hid himself in her car, investigators said. He remained concealed in her car as she drove to an assisted living facility in the 200 block of Northj Chandler Avenue in Monterey Park, where Chao was visiting his father.
“When Sor arrived at the care home, she went inside and Tauch followed,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “The defendant then accosted Sor and Chao and shot them multiple times. The victims died at the scene.”
Tauch fled the scene following the double-slaying, but detectives arrested him the following day.

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