POMONA >> Police jailed a suspect early Saturday following a shooting that left an Arizona woman dead and a Chino Hills man wounded, authorities said.
Robert Lee Bogan, 23, was arrested near the shooting scene and booked on suspicion of murder, according to Pomona police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The fatal shooting took place about 3:30 a.m. at Holt and San Antonio avenues, Pomona police Sgt. Bert Sanchez said in a written statement.
“Patrol officers heard numerous gunshot in the area of Holt Ave and San Antonio,” Sanchez said. “Soon after, two vehicles involved were located and stopped several blocks from each other.”
Inside one of the cars, a 2003 Chevrolet Impala, officers encountered a man and woman suffering from gunshot wounds, police said.
Deborah Gutierrez, 34, of Arizona, succumbed to her injuries at an area hospital, Sanchez said. The second victim, a 39-year-old Chino Hills, was treated for a superficial gunshot wound.
The second involved car, a 2003 Cadillac DTS, contained Bogan, who investigators identified as the gunman, the sergeant said. “
“He was taken into custody and he is believed to be the only suspect involved at this time. A handgun believed to have been used to commit this crime has been recovered,” Sanchez said.
According to county booking records, Bogan was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The investigation was ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Pomona police at 909-620-2085. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
WEST COVINA >> A La Puente woman who befriended an elderly West Covina man, stabbed him to death and set the house ablaze pleaded “no contest” to murder and arson charges Thursday, authorities said.
Brenda Armstrong, 40, is expected to be sentenced to 30 years to life in state prison when she returns to the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court for sentencing on Dec. 14, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
She was originally accused of the special circumstance of murder during the coarse of a burglary, but the special circumstance allegation was dismissed under the negotiated plea arrangement, Deputy District Attorney Tony Cho of the D.A.’s Elder Abuse Section said. If convicted as originally charged, Armstrong could have faced life in prison without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors previously decided not to seek the death penalty in the case.
Ralph Simonian, 82, was found dead on Nov. 15, 2012, inside his burning home in the 900 block of Holiday Drive, according to prosecutors and Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators, who assisted West Covina police in the investigation.
“His house had been set on fire and he had been stabbed multiple times,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
After a lengthy investigation, detectives determined Simonian, who lived alone at his home, had been slain by Armstrong during a burglary at his home, Sgt. Robert Gray of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said at the time.
She had befriended Simonian while working at J.B. Burgers in La Puente, where Simonian was a regular customer, officials said.
On the day of the slaying, a neighbor’s security camera captured images of a car Armstrong had borrowed arriving on the victim’s street, detectives and prosecutors said. Cell phone data also linked Armstrong to the crime scene.
Detectives first arrested Armstrong in connection with the slaying about two months after it occurred. But prosecutors declined to file charges, citing insufficient evidence. Armstrong promptly moved to Delaware.
Detectives continued gathering evidence and building their case. Prosecutors ultimately filed a murder charge and issued an arrest warrant for Armstrong, who was taken into custody in Delaware during a traffic stop on Sept. 13, 2013.
Deputies found no signs of forced entry at Simonian’s home. Detectives learned she had visited the victim on several occasions, Gray said.
There were no signs of forced entry at Simonian’s home, the sergeant said. The fire, which began in the master bedroom where Simonian was fatally stabbed, was believed to have been set in order to destroy evidence.
The entire incident lasted about 45 minutes, Cho said.
Many of the details surrounding the slaying remain a mystery, as there were no witnesses, and Armstrong has not detailed the crime.
Officials said theft was believed to be the motive in the murder, but it was unclear what was stolen.
A small safe was discovered missing from Simonian’s home following the slaying and fire, Gray said.
The safe has never been recovered.
“We don’t know what was in the safe,” Cho said.
Absent of eye witnesses or DNA evidence, the case was largely “circumstantial,” Cho said.
He praised the tenacity of homicide detectives for Thursday’s conviction.
“I would jut credit with the detectives with putting together all the circumstantial evidence in the case,” Cho said.
PHOTO by Keith Birmingham
PASADENA >> A jury convicted a man of murder and child abuse Wednesday for drowning his 1-year-old daughter five years ago in Pasadena, authorities said.
The jury deliberated for one day before finding Marquise Jackson, 26, of Lancaster guilty of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death in connection with the May 20, 2011, drowning of Mo’Nayjah Jackson according to Pasadena police and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
“According to the evidence presented at trial, Jackson drowned baby Mo’Nayjah Jackson at the apartment of the child’s mother, in the 100 block of West Del Mar Boulevard in Pasadena while the mother was at work,” district attorney’s office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said in a written statement.
Shortly after his arrest, Jackson admitted the killing, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said at the time. ”He (said he) wanted to be alleviated of his responsibilities of being a father,” she said.
Jackson later denied the charges and unsuccessfully argued he was mentally incompetent to stand trial for the crime.
Jackson faces 25 years to life in state prison when he returns to the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court on Aug. 12.
SAN DIMAS >> Homicide detectives have identified a man already in custody for a custody in connection with armored car robberies and the shooting of an armored car driver as the alleged gunman in the fatal shooting of a San Dimas sandwich shop owner in San Dimas last year, authorities announced Friday.
Sergey Gutsu, 24, is suspected in the June 2, 2015, slaying of Pravin “Peter” Patel during a robbery at the Quiznos shop Patel owned and operated at 1034 W. Arrow Highway in San Dimas, Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
He is already in custody in Sonoma County, where he and alleged accomplice Ivan Morales, 24, are accused of shooting an armored car driver during a robbery in Windsor on Tuesday, then fired shots at deputies during a chase that preceded their ultimate arrests, according to Sonoma and Los Angeles county sheriff’s officials.
“During the course of the investigation, “(Violent Crimes Investigation Unit) detectives developed information that Gutsu and Morales were likely involved in other crimes throughout the state,” Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Cecile Focha said in a written statement.
“Although we cannot divulge specific details of the investigations, we are confident that one or both are responsible for an armored car robbery in Granada Hills and a robbery/homicide in San Dimas.”
Los Angeles County homicide detectives met with Gutsu in Santa Rosa on Wednesday, officials said.
“During the interview, the suspect admitted to being involved in the murder of victim Patel,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Morales had not been linked to the San Dimas slaying, Corina said.
In the San Dimas case, Patel was working behind the counter when a gunman robbed the sandwich shop, Lt. David Coleman of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said at the time.
Patel turned over the money from the register, amounting to no more than a few hundred dollars, when the robber threatened to shoot two customers inside the store, officials said.
But once the robber left, Patel followed him outside and became involved in a struggle with the robber, Corina said. The gunman opened fire, mortally wounding Patel.
Patel, 62, described by Coleman as a “loving, kind man,” worked alongside his wife at the family restaurant.
Authorities released a composite sketch of the killer and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of Patel’s killer. But the gunman remained elusive, and unidentified, until he implicated himself in the slaying on Tuesday, Corina said.
A gun seized from Gutsu at the time of his arrest in Sonoma County is of the same caliber used in Patel’s killing, Corina said. Forensic testing was pending to determined whether the weapons were one and the same.
Gutsu grew up in Arcadia, and more recently split his time between southern and northern California, Corina said.
According to Sonoma County booking records, Gutsu remains in custody without bail on charges of robbery attempted murder, along with special allegations that he personally used a gun.
The investigation into his alleged crimes in Los Angeles County and elsewhere remained ongoing, officials said.
“We’re still working our case and putting it together,” Corina said.
PHOTO of victim Pravin Patel, below (courtesy)
EL MONTE >> A man died Thursday night after he was shot in a residential neighborhood in El Monte, authorities said.
The victim died at a hospital shortly after the shooting at Cogswell Road and Klingerman Street, according to Deputy Lisa Jansen of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
The identity of the man, described as 23 years old, was not released Sunday.
“Detectives learned that at approximately 7:08 p.m., the victim, who was a passenger in a truck, was involved in an argument with the suspect (or suspects) in another vehicle,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “The argument escalated and a suspect shot the victim in the upper torso, then fled the scene.”
The driver of the truck was not wounded.
Officials described the attackers as at least two men inside a dark-colored SUV, possible a Dodge. No further details were available.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is assisting El Monte police in the investigation, at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
MONTEREY PARK >> A man who “viciously” stabbed another man to death at a Monterey Park pizza parlor is guilty of murder, a jury ruled Thursday.
The fatal stabbing of 25-year-old Patrick Raymond Ortega took place Oct. 6, 2012, at a Shakey’s restaurant, 1955 S. Atlantic Ave., according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials. He was stabbed 15 times with a large knife, with a blade measuring more than 6 inches long.
“The jury deliberated for two hours before finding Jose De Jesus Ruiz of Bakersfield guilty of second-degree murder,” district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement. The convict is also known as Jose De Jesus Salas.
The jury also found true the special allegation that Ruiz personally used a knife in the slaying.
“To stab an unarmed person so many times and in such a vicious manner is unfathomable,” said Deputy District Attorney Theodore Swanson, who prosecuted the case. “No one should have been killed that day.”
The deadly stabbing took place shortly after 7 p.m., according to sheriff’s investigators and Monterey Park police officials.
Evidence and testimony during the trial showed Ruiz was affiliated with a youth football organization that had met for a gathering at the pizzeria, Swanson said. Ortega was not affiliated with the sports organization and was at the restaurant with friends.
Testimony showed Ortega became “disruptive,” including gang references, the prosecutor said.
Surveillance video footage from a neighboring Bank of America branch showed Ruiz and another man exiting the restaurant just before the fatal attack.
“The defendant then reenters Shakey’s and stabbed the victims 15 times,” Swanson said.
Immediately after, Ruiz left the restaurant and returned to his car.
“He’s seen on video taking of his Dodgers jersey an hiding it under the wheel well of the car,” Swanson said. “He then gets into the back seat of the car and lies down.”
Police found Ruiz hiding in the car and arrested him several hours later, officials said.
The knife used in the killing was found hidden between the tire of a car Ruiz’s car had been parked next to, Swanson said. DNA tests determined blood on the knife, as well as Ruiz’s socks, belonged to Ortega.
The confrontation involved only Ruiz and Ortega, Swanson said. There may have been other arguments or fights among representatives of rival youth football teams, but the fatal stabbing was not believed to be related to the football rivalry.
A Monterey Park police officer fired a shotgun during the aftermath of the shooting, but injured no one, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The officer opened fire as a car drove toward him at high speed, authorities said at the time. A woman at the wheel of the car was arrested on suspicion of assault on a police officer, but she and her passengers were not suspected to be involved with the stabbing.
Ruiz’s trial began June 27.
Ruiz faces a maximum sentence of 16 years to life in state prison when he returns to the Burbank branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court for sentencing Sept. 1, Ardalani said.
If he had been convicted of first-degree murder, Ruiz would have faced up to 26 years to life behind bars.
ALTADENA >> A 4-year-old boy sitting on his mom’s porch was killed and a man was wounded in a shooting outside an Altadena home late Tuesday, authorities said.
Deputies and paramedics rushed Salvador “Chavita” Esparza III to a hospital following the 10:30 p.m. shooting in the 300 block of Figureoa Drive, just west of Grandeur Avenue, according to Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner coroner.
A 27-year-old man, described as a family friend, was also wounded by gunfire and was initially hospitalized in critical condition, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. An updated on his condition was not available Wednesday.
The search for the unidentified shooter who fled the scene in a black or dark-colored sedan continued Wednesday, as detectives and crime scene investigators scoured the scene for clues. A detailed suspect description was not available, and it was unclear of the shooter had any accomplices. The motive remained under investigation.
“An unknown suspect drove up to the residence and fired rounds toward a residence, striking both victims whom were on the porch, according to the sheriff’s department statement.
The boy was not believed to be the intended target of the shooting.
Andrew Ramos said he was in his house when he heard the gun shots.
“It had to be more than 10,” he said. Ramos said he heard on arguing or other sounds that caught his attention prior to the gunfire.
The gunman reportedly fires at least 13 rounds.
Ramos said his family initially thought the noise was from fireworks. Ramos’ father went outside to look around and discovered there had been a shooting.
Several others neighbors also said they thought the noises were due to fireworks at first.
Jonathan Franklin, 33, lives nearby and said he also mistook the noise for fireworks, before deputies flooded into the neighborhood.
He also recalled hearing numerous voices involved in some kind of “commotion” about the time of the shots, but couldn’t be sure if it was related.
Esparza’s aunt, Jackie Campos, said the family was still coming to grips with Tuesday’ night’s tragic violence.
“We don’t have any information,” Campos said. “We’re just waiting for answers. It’s not going to be easy.”
Esparza’s parents are separated, Campos said. The boy split his time between his father’s house in Monrovia and his mother’s house in Altadena. Neither parents has gang ties, she said.
Campos said she did not know who the adult wounded in the shooting was. Sheriff’s officials described him as a family friend, and not related to the young boy.
The aunt described Esparza as a calm, sweet boy, just an “average 4-year-old” who loved Spider-man and other superheroes.
“He lit up the room every time he walked in,” Campos said through tears, her voice quivering. “He was the kindest soul.”
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.
Funds to benefit the family are being collected online at www.gofundme.com/BabyChavita.
PHOTOSof scene by Walt Mancini. Photo of Salvador Esparza III courtesy of family.
EAST VALINDA >> Gunfire erupted following a house party in East Valinda early Saturday, leaving one man dead and another hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said.
The slaying was the sixth deadly shooting reported in Los Angeles County in less than 12 hours.
The deadly shooting took place just before 2:50 a.m. in the 400 block of Shipman Avenue, in the unincorporated county area between La Puente and West Covina, according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Both victims had just attended a house party.
“As the party ended and the guests dispersed, the victims were leaving the location but were confronted by an unknown suspect,” Saldana said in a written statement. “The suspect produced a handgun and opened fire fatally striking one victim in the upper torso. He died at the scene.”
The man’s identity was not released pending positive identification and notification of family, coroner’s officials said.
The second victim suffered gunshots to his “upper and lower torso,” she said. He was taken to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition.
No suspects were in custody, Saldana said. Investigators sought a white SUV seen speeding away from the shooting scene. It was last seen heading west on Northam Avenue.
No further details were available.
The attack was the last of six deadly shooting reported within 12 hours in Los Angeles County. Five men and one woman lost their lives in the afternoon and overnight violence.
Three of the deadly shootings occurred in the same neighborhood surrounding Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in an unincorporated county area just east of Los Angeles, officials said.
A man died in a 1 a.m. shooting in the 7600 block of Miramonte Avenue in an unincorporated county area just east of Los Angeles, according to the sheriff’s department.
“The victim was working on a car parked along the curb in front of a residence when an unknown suspect approached him,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “The suspect produced a firearm and opened fire striking the victim.”
The victim succumbed to his injuries at a hospital, authorities said.
Another man died in a 12:30 a.m. shooting in at Union Pacific Avenue and Bonnie Beach Place in East Los Angeles, Saldana said.
Deputies responding to reports of “shots fired” encountered a man lying on the sidewalk suffering from a gunshot wound, she said. He died at a hospital. No further details were available.
A woman died in an ambush attack in a 12:10 a.m. at Carson Street and Evonda Avenue in Carson, authorities said.
“…the victim was walking west on Carson Street when an unknown suspect approached her from behind,” according to a statement issued by the sheriff’s Information Bureau. “The suspect produced a firearm and opened fire striking the victim. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Two men were shot, one fatally, three hours earlier in the 1900 block of East 78th Street, less than a mile from the scene of the Miramonte Avenue shooting.
The victims were standing in a driveway with several other people when two men approached on a minibike, Deputy Trina Schrader of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
“One of the men on the minibike produced a handgun and opened fire. Following the shooting, the suspects rode away westbound and out of view,” according to Schrader.
Two men were struck by the gunfire, she said. One of them succumbed to his wounds at a hospital, while the other was hospitalized with injuries described as “serious.”
Friday’s violence began with a 3:47 p.m. shooting in the 7500 block of Compton Avenue in unincorporated Los Angeles, around the corner from the shooting on Miramonte Avenue.
The victim was riding his bike along the sidewalk when his attacker exited a white car parked along the curb and began shooting, Schrader said.
“The suspect got back into the vehicle and drove away southbound Compton Avenue to eastbound 76th Street and out of view,” she said.
The victim, who was shot multiple times, died at a hospital.
No suspects were in custody, and no suspect descriptions were available in any of the shootings.
And in Boyle Heights, a young girl, reportedly 10 years old, was wounded in the head by an errant bullet from a nearby shooting.
A male suspect in a vehicle shot at a bicyclist, also described only as male, about 6 p.m. Friday at Chicago Street and Rogers Avenue, Los Angeles police Officer Rosario Herrera said.
The gunfire missed the intended target, but a bullet struck the girl in the head, officials said.
An update on the girl’s condition was not available Saturday, but her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, Herrera said.
Anyone with information on any of the deadly shootings is asked contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anyone with information regarding the Boyle Heights shooting can reach the LAPD’s Hollenbeck Station at 323-342-4100.
Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police responding to reports of gunfire found a man shot to death inside a Mercedes-Benz sedan parked behind the apartment building where he lived on his 20th birthday early Thursday, authorities said.
Coroner’s official’s were yet to formally identify the victim, however family and friends identified him as Saieed Ivey, who recently moved to Los Angeles from Chicago, where he was reportedly a star basketball player at Simeon Career Academy.
Ivey was listed among the roster of the East Los Angeles College Huskies 2015-2016 basketball team.
Few details were initially released regarding the investigation, which was being spearheaded by detectives from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Monterey park police responded to a report of gunfire about 4:25 a.m. in the 800 block of El Repetto Drive when they discovered the victim suffering from apparent gunshot wounds inside a car, Monterey Park police Sgt. Bob Hung said.
Officials determined the death appeared to be a homicide, and requested assistance from their counterparts in the sheriff’s department, he said.
The victim was found in the back seat of the car, with the doors locked and the headlights on, Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. He had been shot in the “upper torso,” and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The circumstances of the shooting remained a mystery Thursday afternoon.
“Witnesses told detectives the victim was with a group of friends at a gathering,” Rouzan said. “They said the victim walked away from the group, and a short time later shots were heard.”
No further details were available.
Neighbors Wissem Chabchoub and his wife Sandra Simon said they heard no gunfire.
But about an hour before the shooting occurred, Simon said they said they heard “blood-curdling screams.”
The voiced appeared to be an argument between at least two people.
“It didn’t sound like English,” Simon added. She said they shouts may have been in Chinese, “possibly Mandarin.”
It was unclear whether the argument the couple heard was related to the fatal shooting.
Chabchoub said he did not know Ivey, but recalled seeing him in the apartment building’s stairwell on Wednesday.
Everything seemed normal and the young man said hello as he passed by, accompanied by three young women, Chabchoub said.
Ivey’s cousin, Alexandra Ossey of Hollywood, waited for information outside the still-cordoned-off apartment building Thursday afternoon.
She said Ivey moved to the apartment building from Chicago about eight months ago and enrolled in ELAC, where he was doing well. His older brother joined him at the apartment in recent months, while the rest of his family remains in Chicago.
Misinformation spread via social media in the hours following the deadly shooting incorrectly asserted that Ivey had been shot to death by Los Angeles police.
“We’ve been told Saieed Ivey was locked out of his car & was trying to get in. Police thought he was stealing & killed him today on his bday,” Black Lives Matter Chicago posted on Twitter at 12:20 p.m. The tweet was deleted Thursday afternoon.
Popular musician Chance The Rapper repeated the misinformation nine minutes later via the social media network.
“LAPD killed Saieed on his birthday and no one knows why. Haven’t seen an article or police statement yet,” the rapper tweeted to his 1.69 million Twitter followers.
“Initial speculation that the shooting death was officer-involved is false,” Rouzan said. “There were no officers or deputies involved in the incident, and the suspect (or suspects) are still outstanding.”
Loved ones of Ivey also took to social media to mourn his loss and honor his memory.
“My eyes are teary, Saieed was a leader. He had a good head on his shoulders, he was very respectful and hard working. He inspired us all,” Twitter user Kayla Eubanks posted.
“Saieed loved his mother as much as anyone I know. The way he lived his life was an inspiration. A really special kid,” user Daniel Poneman posted on Twitter.
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.
PHOTO (Above) by Leo Jarzomb (Below) Saieed Ivey, courtesy, ELAC Huskies Athletics.
SAN GABRIEL >> Coroner’s officials have identified a 38-year-old Rosemead man who was fatally shot in the back during a gang-related dispute in South San Gabriel last week.
John Daniel Pollerana died at a hospital about 45 minutes after Thursday’s 11:47 p.m. shooting in the 1600 block of Del Mar Avenue, in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said.
He was among three men who became involved in an altercation with fourth other men in the parking lot of a motel, Lt. Jose Mendoza of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. The dispute was believed to be gang-related.
One of the four men pulled a handgun and shot the victim in the back, according to sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
One of the attackers drove away from the shooting scene in a white, four-door sedan, Mendoza said. The other three suspects fled the area on foot.
Deputies quickly found one suspect — later identified as 31-year-old Juan Luis Colin of Bell Gardens — on foot in the area and detained him, officials said.
Juan Luis Colin, 31, of Bell Gardens, was treated for cuts to his arms he suffered while fleeing from deputies through backyards before being booked on suspicion of murder, Mendoza said.
Investigators determined Pollerana was staying at the motel along with two friends, Mendoza said. The group had ties to a local street gang.
The four suspects, who are tied to an East Los Angeles street gang, had been staying in another room at the motel, he said.
The groups encountered one another in the parking lot and an argument ensued before “at least one” of the suspects pulled a handgun and opened fire.
Pollerana was mortally wounded. Another man who was with him suffered a grazing wound, it was later determined.
The three additional suspects remained at large Wednesday.
According to county booking records, Colin was scheduled to appear in the El Monte branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday for an arraignment hearing. He was being held in lieu of $2 million bail.
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.