UPDATED: Man found fatally stabbed in South El Monte front yard; two people detained by SWAT team

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SOUTH EL MONTE >> A man died after he was found stabbed in the neck in the front yard of a South El Monte home late Saturday, authorities said.
Deputies responded to the 11200 block of Broadmead Street about 11:30 p.m. after receiving word from Los Angeles County fire officials that a 42-year-old man had been found bleeding from a stab wound, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. James Long said.
Coroner’s officials had not yet identified the victim Sunday afternoon, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Fred Corrall said.
Paramedics rushed the man to a hospital, but he ultimately succumbed to his injuries, Long said.
“Detectives learned that evidence related to this incident was discovered in a residence in the 11200 Block of Broadmead Avenue,” Deputy Mike Barraza of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement.
A SWAT team was positioned in front of the involved home Sunday morning into the early afternoon.
0330_NWS_SGT-L-SEMSTAB2Deputies placed a handcuffed woman in the back seat of a patrol car and quickly drove away from the scene just after noon. A second person was also placed into a squad car and driven away from the scene.
Long confirmed the SWAT team had entered the home and detained two people. Their potential connections to the slaying were unclear.”
“At approximately 12 p.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Enforcement Bureau assisted homicide detectives with the service of a search warrant in which several individuals were detained,” Barraza said. “Detectives are trying to ascertain what their involvement is, if any, regarding the earlier stabbing. “
No arrests had been made Sunday afternoon, and no further details were released, officials said.
Deputies shut down traffic on nearby Durfee Road as the SWAT team kept the home surrounded Sunday morning. Yellow crime scene tape cordoned off a city-block-long section of Broadmead Street.
Neighborhood residents watched over the commotion but said they did not know what had taken place, or who had been killed.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

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UPDATED: Idaho man arrested in 1981 Pomona slaying of Anaheim boy

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POMONA >> A California sex offender living in Idaho is in custody in connection with the 1981 slaying of a 6-year-old Anaheim boy who disappeared while riding his bicycle before being found strangled to death the following day in Pomona, police announced Saturday.
Cold case detectives traveled to Sandpoint, Idaho, to help in Friday’s arrest of Kenneth Rasmuson on suspicion of the July, 981, strangulation death of 6-year-old Jeffrey “Jeffy” Vargo, Pomona police Lt. Eddie Vasquez said. Rasmuson was linked to the crime by DNA evidence.
He was convicted three times of violent sex crimes in California in the 1980s, according to a Bonner County, Idaho, sex offender registry.
Jeffrey Vargo was last seen alive riding his bicycle about 5:30 p.m. on July 2, 1981, near a fireworks stand at Imperial Highway and Santa Ana Road in Anaheim, Vasquez said.
“At approximately 7:20 p.m., his parents found his bike abandoned in an alley near the fireworks stand,” the lieutenant said in a written statement.
The following day, “Two construction workers found the child’s lifeless body near 34 Edgebrook Drive in the city of Pomona,” Vasquez said.
An autopsy concluded Vargo had been strangled to death, Vasquez said. “DNA evidence was confirmed and linked to Idaho resident Kenneth Rasmuson.”
The boy had reportedly been sexually assaulted.
Leads in the investigation dried up, and the case went cold for more than 30 years, Vasquez said.
DNA evidence collected during the initial investigation was not able to identify a suspect based on the technology of the time, Vasquez said.
In 2014, as technology continued to improve, Pomona police cold case investigators resubmitted the their DNA evidence. Forensic analysis was able to link the sample to Rasmuson.
0329_NWS_IDB-L-COLDCASE2Jeffrey Vargo’s mother, Connie Vargo, said the family was pleased to learn of the long-awaited arrest.
“It’s bittersweet, of course. We’re glad he has been captured and cannot hurt anyone else, but it also brings up a log of memories and things.”
“The Pomona PD never gave up on it. I really want to thank Detective (Jennifer) Turpin, who really has worked hard on this case,” the mother said.
Rasmuson was a stranger to the family, she said.
In addition to his mother, Jeffrey Vargo is survived by his father, Bob, and older brother, Michael.
Connie Vargo described Jeffrey as “brown-haired, brown-eyed, happy little boy.”
“He was only 6 years old. He had just started the first grade,” she said.
“He was a happy little guy,” Connie Vargo said. “Jeffy just liked to be outside. He loved anything with wheels. His skateboard, his big wheels.”
That’s why when she discovered Jeffrey’s bicycle abandoned while searching for him, she knew something was seriously wrong. “He wouldn’t leave that bike anyplace.”
According to Bonner County’s sex offender registry, Rasmuson was convicted of kidnapping for the purpose of committing a sexual offense in California in late-1981, as well as committing lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under 14 years old in 1987.
Sandpoint police, the FBI, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Bonner County District Attorney’s Office and the Anaheim Police Department took part in the investigation and subsequent arrest, police said.
Rasmuson was being held in the Bonner County Jail in Sandpoint, Idaho, pending extradition proceedings to bring him back to California to face charges, Vasquez said.
Connie Vargo said she was looking forward to seeing justice for her son.
“I’m sure it’s going to be a long, drawn-out process, but hopefully, justice will be served and he’ll never be able to hurt anyone ever again,” she said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Pomona police detectives at 909-620-2085. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTO: [TOP] Kenneth Rasmuson, 53, of Idaho. (Courtesy) [BELOW] Jeffrey “Jeffy” Vardo, 6, of Anaheim. (Courtesy)

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San Dimas woman arrested in mother-in-law’s slaying

DIAMOND BAR >> Sheriff’s officials Thursday announced the arrest of a 42-year-old San Dimas woman who was found driving in Orange County with the remains of her slain mother-in-law in an SUV Wednesday following a fire at the mother-in-law’s Diamond Bar home.
Unyoung Lee had been a “person of interest” in the investigation ever since she was found driving in Tustin early Wednesday morning, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
After a day of questioning, detectives arrested Lee about 9 p.m. Wednesday, according to Los Angeles County booking records. She was booked on suspicion of murder and was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail pending her arraignment, scheduled Friday in Pomona Superior Court.
Orange county coroner’s officials withheld the identity of Lee’s alleged victim and 77-year-old mother-in-law.
A large fire that broke out shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday at the victim’s house in the 1200 block of N. Diamond Bar Boulevard first drew emergency personnel to the home, according to deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Firefighters found no one inside the home.
But Tustin police soon received a tip that the resident of the home had been killed, the house had been set on fire intentionally, and the possible killer was driving in the Tustin area with the victim’s remains in the car.
Tustin police quickly found the car and detained Lee as detectives continued their investigation both in Tustin and in Diamond Bar.
A motive in the slaying has not been released.

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Montebello man, 75, sentenced for wife’s murder

MONTEBELLO >> A 75-year-old man convicted of strangling his wife of 44 years at their Montebello apartment received a sentenced of 15 years to life behind bars Wednesday, authorities said.
Baghdo Hayrapetyan, 75, received the sentence from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta, court officials said.
A jury convicted him Oct. 30 of second-degree murder for the March 5, 2012, strangling death of his wife, 63-year-old Anahit Hayrapetyan, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials. At a hearing the following month, the same jury determined that Baghdo Hayrapetyan was sane at the time of the killing.
The couple, who had been married for more than four decades, became involved in an argument at their home in a seniors’ apartment complex in the 2000 block of West Whittier Boulevard.
Rescuers and police arrived at the scene to find Anahit Hayrapetyan unconscious and not breathing, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. Baghdo Hayrapetyan was also suffering from stab wounds on his torso that were believed to be self-inflicted. He was initially hospitalized in critical condition before receiving medical treatment and facing trial.
The crime was first discovered by worried family members who went on the apartment to heck on the couple after being unable to contact them, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.

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Car of missing LAPD officer sought in connection with fatal Pomona shooting found

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POMONA >> Police seeking a missing rookie Los Angeles police officer who is being sought in connection with a fatal Pomona shooting found the officer’s car abandoned in Pomona on Sunday afternoon, officials said.
Investigators found a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta belonging to LAPD Officer Henry Solis, 27, of Pomona just before 1 p.m. at Main Street and Monterey Avenue, Pomona police Lt. Ron McDonald said.
The car was parked along the street several blocks north of the scene of Friday’s shooting, which took place about 3:30 a.m. at Main and Third streets, the lieutenant said. Police towed the car away so investigators could examine it in detail for evidence.
Police have described Solis as a “person of interest” in the shooting, which claimed the life of 23-year-old Salome Rodriguez Jr. of Ontario. But investigators have not labeled the LAPD officer a suspect in the slaying.
A gunman shot and killed Rodriguez during a fight, police said. Witnesses reported seeing a compact car fleeing the scene.
Further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting were not released.
Solir, who joined the LAPD in June, was assigned to the LAPD’s Devonshire Division, LAPD Officer Rosario Herrera said.
Solis has not shown up to work since the shooting, officials said.

PHOTO of LAPD Officer Henry Solis courtesy of the Pomona Police Department.

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Man sentenced for 2013 fatal shooting of El Rodeo nightlcub valet in Pico Rivera

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PICO RIVERA >> A judge sentenced an Oxnard man who fatally shot a valet and wounded a security guard at the El Rodeo nightclub to prison Wednesday, two days before the club’s owner is due in federal court to answer to charges of laundering money for drug traffickers, officials said.
A Norwalk Superior Court jury convicted Sebastian Zazueta, 22, in January of first-degree murder, as well as four counts of attempted murder, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. The jury also found true special allegations that he personally used a gun in the crimes.
He received a sentence of 114 years to life in state prison, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Brandon Wong said.
Melvin Ernesto Cortez-Ortega, 37, of Hacienda Heights died following the Sept. 22, 2013, early-morning shooting outside nightclub, 8825 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
A then-26-year-old security guard was also shot several times in the attack but survived his injuries, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators and prosecutors.
Zazueta unleashed a barrage of bullets after he got into an argument with a security guard who told him to leave the parking lot after the club had closed, Wong said.
…FULL STORY

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2nd UPDATE: Man fatally shot in El Monte

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EL MONTE >> An El Monte man died Wednesday in a shooting at an Elliot Avenue apartment, officials said.
Juan Carlos Salazar, 22, died in the shooting, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
The fatal shooting took place about 6:45 p.m. in the 11000 block of Elliot Avenue, just east of Tyler Avenue, El Monte police Lt. Ben Lowry said.
After receiving a call reporting gunshots, “Officers responded to the location and found a male in his 20s who was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds,” Deputy Kelvin Moody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. The victim died at the scene.
The shooting took place inside an apartment, sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said.
Though a local resident, Salazar was not believed to have lived in the apartment where he was shot, Lt. Dave Dolson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. It was unclear why was there.
“The incident appears to be gang related,” Moody said.
No suspect information was available, and further details were released Thursday.
Police went door-to-door talking to residents of the street, which is densely packed with apartments.
Other officers kept watch over the rear side of the shooting scene facing Schmidt Avenue. Police with flashlights examined a wall to the rear of the Elliot Avenue apartments.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are assisting El Monte police in the investigation, Lowry 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.

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UPDATED: Man killed, woman injured in Baldwin Park stabbing

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BALDWIN PARK >> A man died and a woman was hospitalized following a stabbing at a Baldwin Park townhouse Thursday afternoon , officials said.
The incident was first reported at 5:36 p.m. in the 4700 block of Maine Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Al Jackson said.
Paramedics pronounced a 23-year-old man dead at the scene, fire Capt. Matt Boyan said. A woman, described as 18 or 19 years old, was taken to a trauma center with stab wounds described as moderate.
No outstanding suspects were being sought in what Lt. Steve Jauch of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said initially appeared to be an incident of domestic violence between the man and woman.
“The male and female do have some type of dating relationship,” the lieutenant said.
The man lived at the home where the stabbing took place, while the woman was believed to live elsewhere in town, Jauch said.
The circumstances of the violence that unfolded at the townhouse remained unclear as the investigation was in its early stages, he said. There was no evidence to indicate anyone else was involved, but Jauch said it was too early to label either the dead man or the woman as a criminal suspect.
Police first responded to the scene after a neighbor discovered the wounded woman on the front porch of a neighboring home, Jauch said. Police found the man in the garage of his home a short time later.
Jauch declined to discuss any statement the woman may have made prior to being hospitalized. Detectives planned to interview her soon.
Both the man and woman suffered stab wounds to their upper torsos, Jauch said. But investigators had not recovered any weapons believed to be involved in the incident.
Neighbors and workers at a nearby business said they did not see or hear anything out of the ordinary before police swarmed into the neighborhood and began cordoning off a townhouse with yellow crime scene tape.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau responded to help Baldwin Park police with the investigation. 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 Sarah Reingewirtz

 

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Man fatally shot inside his own home in Valinda

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VALINDA >> A man died at the scene of a shooting inside his own home in Valinda home early Sunday, authorities said.
The shooting took place just before 4 a.m. at a house in the 16000 block of Garrett Court, in the unincorporated county area of Valinda, Deputy Jeffrey Gordon of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
0223_NWS_SGT-L-VASHOOTING3A man gathered with family members at the corner of the small cul-de-sac said the home was that of his brother. The man said he did not know what had happened and he was waiting for information from the sheriff’s department. He did not wish to comment further.
The street was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape as investigators continued gathering clues inside the well-kept, beige, two-story home.
Detectives, coroner officials and forensic investigators continued working at the home through Sunday afternoon.
Nearby neighbors said they did not hear any gunshots, or anything else unusual in the early-morning hours.
0223_NWS_SGT-L-VASHOOTING2Tony Hoke was sleeping at the home a friend next to the shooting scene.
“What woke us up was the sirens,” he said.
Deputies knocked on his door a short time later to ask if he’d heard or seen anything regarding the shooting, he said.
No information regarding the circumstances of the shooting or any possible suspects was released.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Three convicted of Pasadena shotgun slaying stemming from robbery attempt

PASADENA >> A jury convicted three men of murder and other crimes Friday for the 2013 shotgun slaying of a Pasadena man in an attempted robbery during a marijuana transaction, authorities said.
Gang members Peter Parra, 37, of Pasadena, Kevin Jessie Cabrera, 27, of north Hollywood and Raymond Frank Conchas, 26, of Covina each face life in prison without the possibility of parole when they return to Los Angeles Superior Court for sentencing April 17, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said in a written statement.
A jury found each of the three men guilty of first-degree murder, attempted robbery and conspiracy to a commit a crime for the Jan. 15, 2013, slaying of 21-year-old Zane Goldstein at Maple Avenue and Chester Street in Pasadena, officials said.
“The jury also found true the special circumstance allegation that the murder was committed during a robbery and allegations that a shotgun was used and the crime was for the benefit of a gang,” Santiago said.
The victim was riding in a car with his then-24-year-old brother when the shooting occurred.
Prior to the fatal attack, the brothers had arranged to meet the suspects in an alleyway to by a small amount of marijuana, which police described as less than an ounce.
“When the victim arrived, the defendants attempted to rob him and shot him in the head with a shotgun as he tried to escape near Maple Street and Chester Avenue,” Santiago said. Goldstein’s brother escaped serious injury.
A fourth suspect in the slaying, 21-year-old Michael Piepoli, received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole in November after being convicted of the killing, officials said. And a fifth defendant, 20-year-old Ward Lacey, is scheduled to go on trial for the killing in Feb. 23.

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