IRWINDALE >> As they have done each year for more than a decade, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on Friday spent 24 hours standing in silent, stoic tribute to fellow deputy David March at the site where he was murdered 14 years ago.
March, a 33-year-old deputy assigned to the sheriff’s Temple City Station, was shot to death in the line of duty on April 29, 2002, along Live Oak Avenue, just east of Peck Road. A permanent memorial to March stands at the roadside.
Deputies stood motionless in pairs in half-hour increments before ceremoniously switching positions with two other deputies. The process continued from midnight Friday morning to midnight Saturday morning.
Sheriff’s Temple Station Capt. Coronne Jacob and her husband, sheriff’s Sgt. Andy Jacob, took the first shift, Sgt. Jim Dexter said.
Visitors ranging from family members of the slain deputy to high-ranking officials from the sheriff’s department and other law enforcement agencies stopped by to pay their respects.
March’s killer, previously convicted felon and four-time deportee Jorge Arroyo Garcia, also known as Armando Garcia, fled to Mexico within 24 hours of the fatal shooting and remained a fugitive until he was arrested in 2006. Garcia was returned to the U.S. to face trial, and pleaded guilty in 2007 to murder, with the special allegations of intentionally killing a peace officer in the line of duty and using a gun in the crime. He is now serving life without parole in state prison.
When Garcia was returned to the U.S. to face justice, deputies cuffed him with March’s handcuffs.
PASADENA >> After more than two weeks of deliberations, a jury convicted to gang members Friday of murder and other charges for fatally shooting a community coach and sheriff’s employee with an errant bullet intended for a rival gang member on Christmas Day, 2012.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Bloods gang members Larry Darnell Bishop, 23, of Chino and Jerron Donald Harris, 28, of Pasadena, guilty of first-degree murder for the death of Victor McClinton, 49, of Pasadena, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
The verdict followed a mistrial last year and came, “after 15 days of court deliberations.” Santiago said.
In addition to first-degree murder, the jury also found true the special circumstances that the killing was gang related, and that the shots were fired from a moving vehicle, Santiago said. The jury also found that Harris personally used a firearm in the crime, but did not find true the prosecution’s allegation that Bishop also fired a gun in the killing.
Both men were also found guilty of one count of attempted murder each, Santiago said. The jury convicted Harris of shooting at an occupied dwelling, but acquitted Bishop of the same charge.
Though the special circumstances in the murder made Bishop and Harris potentially eligible for the death penalty, prosecutors did not seek capital punishment in the case, Santiago said. They were expected to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole when they return to court for sentencing July 15.
McClinton, a father of two who worked as a law enforcement technician for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and founded the Brotherhood Community Youth Sports League in Pasadena, was walking down the street in the 1900 block of Newport Avenue about a 11 a.m. with a Christmas gift in-hand when the shooting occurred, according to police and prosecutors.
Harris and Bishop spotted, then opened fire on, a rival gang member, officials said. The intended target was wounded. McClinton was struck by a stray bullet and succumbed to his wounds at a hospital a short time later.
PHOTOS: [TOP]: Victor J. McClinton. Portrait photographed at memorial on the steps of Pasadena City Hall in Pasadena on Dec. 27, 2012. (Correspondent Photo by James Carbone/SVCITY) [BELOW]: Pamela Simmons, left, and Pasadena Police Chief Phillip L. Sanchez, center, hold hands with family and friends, during a Candlelight Memorial in Remembrance of Victor J. McClinton, on the steps of Pasadena City Hall in Pasadena, Thursday, December 27, 2012. (Correspondent Photo by James Carbone/SVCITY)
PASADENA >> Trial is ongoing in Pasadena for a Rosemead gang member accused of murder in the mistaken-identity murder of a 17-year-old Gabrielino High School student in San Gabriel, which occurred 11 years ago today, authorities said.
Prosecutors made their case and continued calling witnesses Wednesday in Pasadena Superior Court in the trial of Daniel Guerrero, 29, in connection with the April 27, 2005, slaying of Ryan Dasalla, court officials said.
Guerrero, who was 18 at the time of the killing, along with then-23-year-old brother Daniel Guerrero and accomplice and fellow Varrio Nueva Estrada street gang member Sarah Toledo, then 17, shot and killed Ryan Dasalla in a case of mistaken identity, prosecutors said.
Toledo helped the brothers target Dasalla under the wrong belief that he was part of a tagging crew that had beaten up the Guerreros younger brother the night before, according to prosecutors and Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide detectives. Dasalla was shot in the back.
Gabriel Guerrero and Toledo were arrested shortly after the fatal shooting, which took place about a block away from Gabrielino High School.
But the alleged triggerman, Daniel Guerrero fled and remained a fugitive until late-2013, when he was reportedly found and captured in Tijuana, Mexico, where he was living under an assumed identity.
He now faces charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, district attorney’s office spokesman Greg Risling said.
Records show jury selection in the case began April 4, and opening statement began April 20th, he said.
The other two defendants have since been convicted and begun serving lengthy prison terms.
Gabriel Guerrero received a sentence of 84 years to life in prison after a jury convicted him in 2010 of first-degree murder, and found true allegations the crime was gang-related and involved a gun.
Toledo received 50 years to life in prison in late 2011 after being convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, along with gang and gun enhancements.
BASSETT >> Sheriff’s homicide detectives are investigating a gun battle outside a Bassett restaurant that left a man dead and a woman wounded Tuesday, authorities said.
Dominick Gonzales, 38, of Palmdale died at the scene of the shooting, Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner Coroner said.
Lt. Joe Mendoza of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said Gonzalez also had a home address listed in Pacoima.
The shooting took place just after 9 p.m. in the 13100 block of Valley Boulevard, in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Deputies responding to a report of a shooting encountered a man wounded in the upper torso, and a woman who had been shot in her lower body, Deputy Trina Schrader of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
“The male adult was pronounced dead at the scene,” Schrader said. “The female adult was transported to a local hospital to be treated for her injuries.”
An update on the wounded woman’s condition was not available.
The victims were eating near a taco truck parked in front of the El Jalisco Cafe when the gunfire erupted, officials said.
“During the investigation, detectives learned there was a gunfight between at least two individuals at the location,” Schrader said.
The wounded woman appeared to have been an innocent bystander who got caught up in the crossfire, Lt. Joe Mendoza of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
It was not clear Wednesday whether Gonzales the shooting was also a bystander, or an intended target of the gunfire.
The motive in the shooting remained under investigation, and no suspect descriptions were available.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO by Keith Durflinger
LOS ANGELES >> A San Gabriel Valley man officials say fled to Hong Kong in January after beating his two teenage nephews to death in their Arcadia home and attempting to kill his wife in La Canada Flintridge returned to Los Angeles County to face prosecution Friday afternoon.
Deyun Shi, 44, arrived at LAX Friday afternoon, escorted by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and FBI agents, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McConnell said.
“The suspect in one of our county’s most tragic cases is back in the United States and will face trial on multiple murder charges,” the sheriff said.
Shi, who is also accused of attempting to murder his wife in La Canada Flintridge just prior to killing his nephews, had been served with a restraining order in the weeks leading up to the attack and slayings.
He learned at a January 21 court hearing that his wife was seeking to divorce him, according to Deputy Lillian Peck of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“After leaving court, Suspect Shi allegedly disregarded the restraining order, went to the estranged wife’s La Canada Flintridge home, and assaulted her with a wood-splitting hammer,” Peck said. She suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, and was taken to ab area hospital.
The attack could have been worse, but the couples teenage son intervened in defense of his mother, Hernandez said.
Shi then broke into the Arcadia apartment where his sister, Vickey Huang, lived with her husband, David Lin, and their two sons 15-year-old Anthony Lin and 16-year-old William Lin, in the 400 block of Fairview Avenue, authorities allege.
Vickey Huang and her husband had gone went to the hospital late at night to check on Huang’s injured sister, leaving Anthony and William Lin asleep in their beds.
“While the injured wife and her brother and sister-in-law were at the hospital, suspect Shi allegedly drove to the Fairview Avenue home, forced entry, and fatally beat them with the tool as they lay in their beds,” Peck said.
Prosecutors described the tool used to kill the boys in court documents as a bolt cutter.
The boys’ parents arrived home in the early-morning hours and went to sleep without noticing anything amiss, Hernandez said. The mother awoke hours later to find her sons fatally bludgeoned.
Clutching pictures of his slain sons, David Lin thanked law enforcement for their work, and the community for it’s support.
“It’s been very difficult for me and by wife the past two and a half months. Every day and night, every moment, is a pain for us,” he said.
“We spent our effort, we used our love to raise these two boys. “(In) just one night, they are gone. They’re gone forever,” the father said.
In the hours that followed the killings, homicide detectives quickly identified Shi as the suspect in the attack and killings and determined he had boarded an airplane to Hong Kong,” Hernandez said.
Shi is a Chinese national who was living in the U.S. on a business visa, officials said.
With help from federal and Hong Kong authorities, Hong Kong police immediately apprehended Shi upon landing in the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, officials said.
“The entire Arcadia community was devastated by what happened to two young, innocent brothers earlier this year on Jan. 22,” Arcadia Police Chief Robert Guthrie said. “And since that day, we, alongside out law enforcement partners from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI, the DOJ, the State Department, Homeland Security, and other law enforcement agencies have worked tirelessly together to see this day through.”
Both Lin brothers were accomplished and well liked students at Arcadia High School, friends and family said.
Shi made two court appearances in Hong Kong, in which he expressed desire to return to the U.S., officials said. He did not challenge his extradition.
Deputy Lillian Peck of the sheriff’s Information Bureau described the extradition of the suspect from Hong Kong to Los Angeles County as “the first time in recent memory.”
Had Shi fled to mainland China, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S., extradition may have been impossible, Hernandez explained. Hong Kong, however, does have an extradition agreement with the U.S.
The complicated legal process of securing Shi’s return to Los Angeles County, involving local, federal and international law enforcement partners, “wasn’t easy,” McDonnell said.
“But justice will be served for the young teenage victims and a family shattered by tragedy,” McDonnell said.
VIDEO of Deyun Shi arriving at LAX courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. PHOTO of Deyun Shi Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
PHOTOS from press conference by Sarah Reingewirtz
BASSETT >> A homeless man received a sentence of 15 years to life in prison Thursday after pleading “no contest” to fatally beating another homeless man with a hammer following a dispute over a sleeping spot near a dumpster in La Puente, authorities said.
Marco Antonio Villanueva, 37, admitted to second-degree murder for the fatal beating of 56-year-old Ruben Zermeno, who was found “stomped on and beaten” June 18, 2014, in the 13900 block of Valley Boulevard, in the unincorporated county area of Bassett, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
In addition to a dispute over a sleeping spot, Villanueva told investigators that “God told him” to kill Zermeno, Lt. Steve Jauch of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said shortly after the arrest.
Deputies had already arrested Villanueva after he was found sleeping on someone’s porch in Hacienda Heights nearly three hours before Zermeno’s body was found by a passer-by, and Villanueva was linked to the killing.
“When Villanueva was taken into custody, he admitted to investigators that he got mad at the victim for taking his spot near the dumpster and as a result, struck Zermeno with a hammer,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
If he had been convicted of first-degree murder, Villanueva could have faced 25 years to life in prison.
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A man and teen face murder charges in connection with the alleged gang-related slaying of a 23-year-old Commerce man at a Santa Fe Springs park last week, authorities announced Thursday.
Daniel Charles Esquer, 27, and Marcus Rene “Spunky” Garcia, 17, are each charged with murder for the April 5 fatal shooting of Anthony Palomares at Friendship Park, at Telegraph Road and Bartley Avenue, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials and county booking records. Garcia is being charged as an adult.
Whittier police officials described both suspects as transients with ties to Pico Rivera area.
The shooting took place about 6:30 p.m., Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
“Witnesses reported seeing two suspects approach the victim and soon thereafter, one suspect produced a handgun and shot the victim,” according to the statement.
Palomares died at a hospital the next day of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
Police initially sought as many as three suspects witnesses reported seeing running from the scene.
Officers detained two men in the area and arrested them in connection with the shooting.
Cruz Bermudez, 27, of Santa Fe Springs and Adam Giavelli, 27, of Pico Rivera, were ultimately released without charges related to the shooting, booking records show. But police re-arrested Bermudez in connection with a different cases being held without bail.
Continued investigation led police to find and arrest Esquer on suspicion of murder April 7, police said. Investigators arrested Garcia Tuesday.
“The motive appears to be a disagreement between the suspects and the victim,” according to the police statement. “(The) victim and suspects knew each other prior to the shooting.”
Both suspects are charged with murder, along with the special allegations that the crime was gang-related, and that in involved a handgun, according to the felony complaint filed against them in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Esquer is accused of pulling the trigger.
he formal charges were filed Monday.
Esquer and Garcia both pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing Thursday. They are scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court April 26 for a preliminary hearing setting, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Anyone with information can reach Whittier police at 562-567-9200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SOUTH WHITTIER >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of a 65-year-old South Whittier man investigators say shot his wife to death in South Whittier before turning a shotgun on himself Friday.
Walter Maholick was pronounced dead at the scene of the alleged murder-suicide, which was first discovered about 10:40 a.m. Friday at the home he shared with his wife in the 13500 block of Lanning Drive, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records.
Authorities did not formally identify his wife Saturday pending notification of kin.
Deputies from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Norwalk Station went to the home in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier after a close friend reported not seeing the couple in several days, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
The friend provided deputies with a key, he said. They entered the home and discovered the bodies of Maholick and his wife.
Sheriff’s investigators determined Maholick killed his wife before taking his own life, officials said.
An autopsy was pending Saturday.
COVINA >> A woman died in a possible arson fire in an unincorporated county area just outside of Covina Friday afternoon, officials said.
The fire was first reported at 2:01 p.m. at a house in the 20900 block of Mesarica Road, Los Angeles County Fire Department Firefighter Humberto Agurcia said.
“The first units arrived at 2:07 p.m. and reported a single-family dwelling with smoke showing from the rear,” he said. The fire was extinguished 15 minutes later.
Sheriff’s officials said firefighters entered the house, put out the fire and discovered the charred remains of an adult in a bedroom. The person was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officials initially described the victim as a woman,said the person’s gender, ethnicity and age were yet to be determined
The deadly fire was being investigated as an arson, Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said. But officials released no information regarding why He didn’t say why arson was suspected.
The fire primarily involved a bedroom toward the rear of the house where the remains of the victim were found.
Neighbor Steve Campanella said an elderly woman lives at the home with her grandson.
He said he didn’t know his elderly neighbor well, but would sometimes see her in her front yard. The woman and her grandson moved to the neighborhood about eight years ago, neighbors said.
Gabriel Garcia, 22, of Glendora, a friend of the 18-year-old man who lives at the home with his grandmother, said he arrived to visit the grandson as the fire was starting.
The fire was not visible from the street, he said. The grandson told Garcia the house was on fire and his grandmother was inside, Garcia said.
“We went through the back. We tried breaking in,” Garcia said. “We eventually broke (a glass door), but we couldn’t go in. It was so hot.”
Garcia said he wanted to help. He said he saw no flames, only thick smoke.
“There was so much smoke, I could barely see the bed,” he said.
Garcia said the grandson arrived shortly before him.
Both fire-cause investigators and sheriff’s homicide detectives were summoned to the scene.
Investigators continued combing over the scene for evidence Friday night.
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.
PHOTO by Watchara Phomicinda
SOUTH WHITTIER >> A man shot his wife to death before turning a shotgun on himself at the couple’s South Whittier home, authorities said Thursday.
The suspected murder-suicide was discovered about 10:30 a.m. Thursday at a house in on a cul-de-sac in the 13500 block of Lanning Drive, in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
A close family friend called deputies to report the had not seen the couple that lives in the home for a few days, according to Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. The friend gave deputies a key to the home.
“Deputies entered the location and found the husband laying on the bed, with a gunshot wound to the upper torso,” Rouzan said. “A shotgun was recovered near the husband’s body. The gunshot wound appears to be self-inflicted.”
The body of the man’s wife was also found inside the home, he said. “She also had a single gunshot wound to the upper torso.”
Investigators determined the man fatally shot his wife before killing himself, Rouzan said. It was unclear exactly when the shooting took place prior to the discovery of the grisly crime scene.
The identities of the man and woman were withheld pending notification of family, officials said.
“There is no additional information available at this time and the investigation is ongoing,” Rouzan said.
Officials at the sheriff’s Norwalk Station, which patrols South Whittier, deferred comment to their counterparts at the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Anyone with information was 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.