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.
LOS ANGELES >> A Whittier man accused of three counts of murder and other charges in connection with an alleged street-racing crash on the 5 Freeway in Commerce that killed a two teens and a UPS driver denied the charges in court Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
Dealio Lockhart, 35, pleaded not guilty to three counts of second-degree murder and four counts of reckless driving causing injury in connection with the fiery, six-vehicle crash that took place just after midnight on Feb. 27, on the southbound 5 Freeway, near Triggs Street, just after midnight Feb. 27, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
He was driving a Dodge Challenger and racing Dodge Charger when the crash occurred, according to investigators from the California Highway Patrol.
“One of the vehicles lost control, causing a UPS truck to go airborne and land over the center median,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
The second driver involved in the race has not been found, officials said. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the second alleged street racer.
Killed in the crash were UPS driver Scott Treadway, 52, of Mira Loma; 19-year-old Michelle Littlefield of Santa Clarita; and 18-year-old Brian Lewandowski of Santa Clarita, who was the son of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide detective.
Four other people suffered serious injuries in the wreck, prosecutors said.
Lockhart was ordered back to court May 3 for a preliminary hearing setting, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
At Wednesday’s hearing, a judge denied a motion to reduce Lockhart’s bail, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Jane Robison said. He remains jailed in lieu of $6.2 million bail.
PHOTO courtesy of Caltrans
PASADENA >> The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $20,000 reward Tuesday for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of those responsible for the murder of an Altadena man last December.
Robert Arthur Calderon, 27, was gunned down about 10:45 p.m. on Dec. 18 in the 600 block of North Mentor Avenue, according to Pasadena police and Los Angeles County coroner officials. The case remains unsolved.
Raised in the Altadena and Pasadena areas, Calderon attended St. Elizabeth Parish School in Altadena, then St. Francis High School in La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena High School before ultimately obtaining his diploma from Pasadena City College, his mother, Sarah Mendoza-Jaime, said.
His family has worked tirelessly to seek justice ever since Calderon’s slaying, posting flyers near the crime scene and at Calderon’s hang-outs.
“On behalf of Robert Arthur Calderon’s family we want to thank Mike Antonovich and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for making the funds available to assist in my sons murder,” said Mendoza-Jaime, a longtime program coordinato at the Foothill Workforce Development Board in Pasadena.
“Our hopes are that by offering a reward the public will come forth and assist in finding those responsible for his heinous murder,”sje said.
Mendoza-Jaime said she had been trying to get an award established through Pasadena officials for months with no success. When the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors offered an award this week, she said she asked the city about contributing as well, to no avail.
“Through this process of grieving I have found that the Pasadena Police Department’s advocacy for parents is lacking for victims of homicides and more services should be provided to assist grieving parents and their families,” she said. “Fortunately, through my own effort I have learned about information such as Crime Stoppers, Victims of a Crime, Justice For Homicide Victims, Justice or Murdered Children, LA County Board of Directors Reward Request, and Clear Channel.”
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police Detective Tim, Bundy at (626) 744-3861 or the Pasadena Police Department at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO of Robert Calderon, courtesy.
MONTEREY PARK >> Sheriff’s officials Friday announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with the fatal shooting of a man whose body was discovered inside a parked car in Monterey Park last week.
Andy Chen, 37, of San Gabriel is accused of the murder of Min Gu, 30, whose body was discovered about 6 p.m. March 21 in the trunk of a Lexus left parked in the 200 block of South Lincoln Avenue, according to Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
Investigators took Chen into custody about 4 p.m. Thursday, according to county booking records.
Sheriff’s officials announced the arrest in a written statement issued late Friday afternoon.
“Detectives believe the motive for the murder was a financial dispute,” Rouzan said.
No further details were released Friday.
The investigation began after witnesses reported a foul odor emitting from a a Lexus sedan, officials said.
Deputies soon discovered Gu’s body, which appeared to have been dead for at least a day or two when discovered.
An autopsy determined Gu was shot multiple times, and died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to sheriff’s and coroner’s officials. Gu’s city of residence was unclear.
Chen was being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending a scheduled arraignment Monday in the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Alhambra branch.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is assisting Monterey Park police in the investigation.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s homicide detectives at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
MONTEREY PARK >> Coroner’s officials Wednesday released the name of a 30-year-old man found shot to death in the trunk of a parked car in Monterey Park last week.
The body of Min Gu was discovered about 6 p.m. March 21 after residents called authorities to report a foul smell emanating from a black Lexus sedan parked in the 200 block of South Lincoln Avenue, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter. Gu’s city of residence was unclear.
An autopsy determined Gu died from “multiple gunshot wounds,” and the death was ruled a homicide, Winter said.
No arrests have been made in connection with the killing and no motive was available, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The body had already begun decomposing, officials said. Investigators believed Gu was fatally shot at least a day or two before his body was discovered.
The Lexus had not been reported stolen, Sgt. Bill Cotter of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
It was unclear whether detectives had managed to contact the car’s registered owner. Handling detectives could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
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.
MONTEREY PARK >> A jury convicted a South San Gabriel man Friday of murder for the seemingly random fatal stabbing of another man in a Monterey Park parking lot in 2014, authorities said.
An Alhambra Superior Court jury found Angel Octavion Garcia, now-20, guilty of second-degree murder for the Oct. 14 slaying of Alhambra Parks and Recreation Department employee Edward Mendoza, 35, in a commercial parking lot in the 1700 block of Portrero Grande, near Arroyo Drive, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
Jurors also found true the special circumstance that Garcia personally used a knife in the murder, she said. The deliberations took about one day.
He faces 16 years to life in state prison when he returns to court for sentencing April 8.
Garcia and Mendoza were strangers when they encountered one another by chance in the parking lot about 9:10 p.m., according to prosecutors and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
“It appears Mendoza was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Ardalani said.
Garcia, who was 18 at the time, stabbed Mendoza, “after he was humiliated over a failed drug transaction involving another person from earlier in the night,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Though Mendoza had nothing to do with the prior incident, “The defendant took his anger out on Mendoza,” the statement said.
The men briefly argued before Garcia pulled a knife and stabbed Mendoza once in the upper torso, Lt. John Corina of the sheriff’s homicide bureau said shortly after the killer’s capture.
Mendoza managed to call 911 after being wounded, according to Deputy District Attorney Theodore Swanson, who prosecuted the case.
He managed only to tell the dispatcher he had been stabbed in the heart, and gave his location, before the line went silent.
Paramedics found Mendoza collapsed in the parking lot, officials said. He succumbed to his injuries at a hospital about an hour later.
Garcia initially escaped capture.
“Soon after the incident, a person came forward to police and revealed Garcia had confessed to the stabbing a man,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
Deputies found and arrested Garcia at his home on Oct. 22, eight days after the fatal attack. He denied the charges.
Mendoza had worked part-time as a recreation leader for Alhambra’s Parks and Recreation Department since 2001, city officials said. He had also begun refereeing kids’ football games at Almansor Park in Alhambra, coworkers said.
“It was a tragic case that resulted in the death of what appears to be a man who had a number of family and friends who loved him,” Swanson said.
Loved one’s have created a tribute video for Mendoza, which can be viewed online at www.eddiemendoza.org.
PHOTO: Edward Mendoza, 35, of Monterey Park was fatally stabbed late Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, in a commercial parking lot in the 1700 block of South Portrero Grande Drive in Monterey Park. Angel Octavion Garcia, 20, of South San Gabriel, was convicted of the murder on Friday, March 18, 2016. (Courtesy)
PASADENA >> Two separate homicide cases stemming from a single tragic Christmas Day in Pasadena that left three innocent bystanders dead in 2012 are nearing conclusion.
Trial is ongoing in Los Angeles Superior Court for two gang members accused of fatally shooting 49-year-old civilian sheriff’s employee and community youth coach Victor McClinton. And another man is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in Pasadena Superior Court for crashing into a minivan while fleeing police, killing two members of a family visiting the area for the holidays.
In the McClinton case, prosecutors allege Bloods gang members Larry Darnell Bishop, 23, of Chino and Jerron Donald Harris, 28, of Pasadena, gunned down Victor McClinton of Pasadena with an errant bullet intended for a rival gang member on Christmas morning, 2012.
Their ongoing trial for murder with special circumstances, along with additional charges, continues Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
It is the second trial for the two suspects. A previous trial ended with a hung jury last July, and the presiding judge declared a mistrial.
Jurors deadlocked 9-3 in favor of convicting Bishop, and 7-5 in favor of acquitting Harris, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said at the time.
Though the special circumstance allegation of murder for the benefit of a criminal street gang makes the two defendants eligible for capital punishment if convicted, prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment in the case, officials said.
“They’re not seeking the death penalty,” Risling said.
McClinton was walking with a friend and carrying a Christmas gift about 11 a.m. in the 1900 block of Newport Avenue when Bishop and Harris both opened fire on a rival gang member nearby, police and prosecutors allege. The intended target was wounded, but a stray bullet struck and killed McClinton.
The father of two, who founded the nonprofit Brotherhood Community Youth Sports League in Pasadena, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
In Los Angeles Superior Court, a man convicted of manslaughter and other crimes for the deaths of a Glendale woman and Daly City boy after running a red light and slamming into their family’s minivan on Christmas evening, 2012, while fleeing from FBI and police officials in Pasadena is also due in court Monday for sentencing.
A Pasadena Superior Court jury in November convicted Darrell Williams, 25, of Pasadena of the voluntary manslaughter of 25-year-old Tracey Ong Tan and her 11-year-old cousin, Kendrick Ng, as well as five counts of assault with a deadly weapon in November for the crash, which took place about 8 p.m. at Marengo Avenue and Maple Street.
Ong and Ng died at the
Ng’s parents and his sister, who were also in the minivan, suffered serious injuries.
The family was visiting the area for the holidays when their minivan was struck by an SUV driven by Williams as he led an FBI agent and Pasadena police officer on a chase.
The chase started when police and FBI officials, who were working gang suppression in the wake of McClinton’s shooting earlier in the day, tried to stop the SUV, but Williams fled instead. He is not suspected in the McClinton slaying.
William’s girlfriend and passenger in the fleeing SUV, 23-year-old Brittany Washington of Los Angeles, pleaded no contest in early 2014 to charged of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and received a two-year jail sentence, according to district attorney’s office spokesman Ricardo Santiago.
Williams faces up to 150 years in prison.
PHOTO: Candles in front of a photograph of Victor J. McClinton, is posted during a Candlelight Memorial in Remembrance of Victor J. McClinton, on the steps of Pasadena City Hall in Pasadena, Thursday, December 27, 2012. On Christmas Day, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department employee and youth sport volunteer, Victor J. McClinton was shot and killed, when he was caught in the cross fire between two gang members. (Correspondent Photo by James Carbone)
COMMERCE >> The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has authorized a $10,000 reward for information leading to an alleged street racer who fled the scene of 5 Freeway crash in Commerce that left three people dead over the weekend.
The crash, which killed a UPS driver, a 19-year-old college student and the 18-year-old son of a homicide detective, took place just after midnight Saturday on the 5 Freeway, just north of Triggs Street, authorities said.
The crash was blamed on an illegal street race between a Dodge Challenger and a Dodge Charger, California Highway Patrol officials said.
The driver of the Challenger, 35-year-old Dealio Lockhart of Whittier, was arrested at the scene and has been charged with three counts of murder.
But the Dodge Charger he was believed to be racing, as well as its driver, remain at large, officials said.
In hopes of generating tips in the investigation, the Board of Supervisors approved a $10,000 reward this week for information leading to the capture and conviction of the second driver, Solis’ spokeswoman Rosa Santana said in a written statement.
Killed were UPS driver Scott Treadway, 52, of Mira Loma; 19-year-old Michelle Littlefield of Santa Clarita; and 18-year-old Brian Lewandowski of Santa Clarita.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the CHP’s East L.A. area office at 323-980-4600. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO courtesy of Caltrans
CITY OF COMMERCE >> A Whittier man is accused of three counts of murder in connection with an alleged street racing crash on the 5 Freeway in Commerce early Saturday that killed a UPS driver, the son of a homicide detective and a young woman, authorities said.
Initially booked on suspicion of manslaughter, David Lockhart, 35, was being held on suspicion of three counts of murder Sunday, according to California Highway Patrol officials.
Lockhart was racing another car when he lost control of his Dodge Challenger on the southbound 5 Freeway near Triggs Street in Commerce just after midnight Saturday, striking a UPS truck and sending the big rig hurling over the center median and into opposing traffic lanes, CHP Officer Doris Peniche said. The UPS truck struck a Nissan sedan, shearing off the tops, as well as a Ford Explorer. The big rig burst into flames.
In addition to the three people killed, two other occupants of the Nissan were hospitalized with major injuries, and two more people suffered minor injuries in the crash, officials said.
The deceased young man and woman, both Santa Clarita teens, who were reportedly returning from a visit to Disneyland in a gray Nissan. Both were passengers.
Los Angeles County coroner officials identified one of the victims from the Nissan as 18-year-old Brian Lewandowski.
Lewandowski was the son of Lt. Victor Lewandowski of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, who investigates homicides throughout Los Angeles County, sheriff’s officials said.
“Brian was an incredible young man and every parent’s dream for a son,” the Lewandowski family said in a written statement. “We are absolutely devastated by our loss. Our hearts go out to the other victims and their families and our prayers are for the survivors’ recovery. We are very thankful for the love and support of family and friends throughout this time.”
In addition to his father, Brian Lewandowski is survived by his mother, Jocelyn Lewandowski, and two brothers, sheriff’s officials said.
The young woman killed while riding in the Nissan was identified by her parents as 19-year-old Michelle Littlefield, a student studying business at College of the Canyons and an employee at Six Flags Magic Mountain, according to media reports.
The third victim was identified on a Teamsters Local 396 Facebook page as 52-year-old Scott Treadway of Mira Loma who had been with UPS for 30 years.
“The Teamsters Local 396 Executive Board, Staff and Membership send our heartfelt condolences to the Family of our dear, departed Brother Scott Treadway, who we lost suddenly, in a tragic feeder accident last night. Scott was admired and loved by his friends and co-workers at UPS. We are still trying to come to grips with this horrible loss,” the organization posted. “We love and miss you Brother!”
Fellow teamsters held their meeting Sunday, “under such difficult circumstances,” in honor of Treadway, who worked out of a Cerritos UPS facility, according to the union chapter.
“The members honored Scott’s memory by sharing their thoughts and memories regarding Scott’s remarkable legacy as a UPS Teamster Brother,” Teamsters Local 396 wrote online.
The Dodge Charger Lockhart was allegedly racing, as well as it’s driver, had not been found Sunday, officials said.
Both directions of the 5 Freeway remained closed in the area of the crash through Sunday morning as officials made repairs to the damaged road surface and barriers, according to Caltrans and CHP officials.
According to county booking records, Lockhart was being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles pending his arraignment hearing, scheduled Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Anyone with information regarding the crash was asked to contact officers Fonseca or Flores of the CHP’s East Los Angeles area office at 323-980-4600.
— City News Service contributed to this report.
PHOTOS: Crash scene [ABOVE] courtesy of Caltrans; Photo of Brian Lewandowski, 18, of Santa Clarita [2nd FROM TOP] courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; Photo of Michelle Littlefield, 19, of Santa Clarita via Facebook; Photo of Scott Treadway, 52, of Mira Loma via Teamsters Local 396 Facebook page.
NORWALK >> Two separate shootings in Norwalk Saturday left two men wounded, but expected to survive, authorities said.
Deputies received reports about 4:15 a.m. that a person had been shot at Adoree Street and Dalwood Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robin Limon said.
Officials found no victim at the scene, but were soon informed that a gunshot victim had been brought to a local hospital, the lieutenant said.
The victim, a 45-year-old Norwalk man, told investigators he had been driving down the street when he was flagged down by someone, Limon said.
“The victim said he remembered being hit in the head and shot,” she said. He was being treated for a gunshot wound to his back that did not appear to be life-threatening.
No suspect description was available, nor were further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting.
A little more than 10 hours later, and about 2 miles away, authorities received another report of gunfire in the area of Clarkdale Avenue and Walnut Street, Limon said.
Deputies found a Norwalk man in his 20s in an a nearby alleyway suffering from a gunshot wound to his ankle, she said.
The injured man did not cooperate with investigators, and no further details were available. His wound was also no considered life-threatening.
The motives in both shooting remained under investigation, however sheriff’s gang detectives were tasked with the cases, Limon said.
The violence came after a fatal shooting Wednesday that left a Norwalk man dead at outside a 7-Eleven Store at Alondra Boulevard and Studebaker Road, as well as a fatal deputy-involved shooting of a Norwalk man at the same intersection on Thursday. Anyone with information on the non-fatal shootings can reach from the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Anyone with information on the fatal shooting or the deputy-involved shooting 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.