One man killed, another wounded in Norwalk shooting


NORWALK >> A man died and another suffered serious injuries in a shooting in a Norwalk residential neighborhood early Saturday morning, authorities said.
Few details were initially available regarding the deadly shooting, which took place just before 2:30 a.m. in the 12000 block of Molette Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“Detectives have learned that Norwalk Station Deputies responded to a shots fired call,” according to the statement. “Upon arriving, two male Hispanic adults were found lying in the street suffering from gunshot wounds to their upper torsos.”
Paramedics took both wounded men to a hospital, officials said. One of the victims, who had been shot multiple times, soon succumbed to his injuries.
His identity was not available pending positive identification and notification of family, coroner’s officials said.
The second victim, who suffered a single gunshot wound, was listed in “serious” condition.
“There is no suspect information, nor any additional information at this time,” the statement said.
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.

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Man sentenced for Monterey Park pizza parlor murder


MONTEREY PARK >> A Bakersfield man received a sentence of more than 16 years in state prison Thursday for stabbing another man 15 times, killing, at a Monterey Park pizza parlor four years ago, officials said.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury in Burbank convicted Jose De Jesus Ruiz, also known as Jose De Jesus Salas, 26, in July of second-degree murder for the Oct. 6, 2012, stabbing death of 25-year-old Patrick Raymond Ortega at Shakey’s, 1955 S. Atlantic Blvd. The jury also found true the special allegation that Ruiz personally used a knife in the crime.
Judge Michael Carter sentenced Ruiz to 16 years to life in state prison, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The stabbing took place shortly after 7 p.m. as Ruiz was gathered at the restaurant with members of a youth football organization.
He became involved in a dispute with Ortega, who witnesses testified was being “disruptive” inside the pizza parlor while dining with friends, according to Deputy District Attorney Theodore Swanson, who prosecuted the case.
Ruiz briefly left the restaurant before returning and stabbing Ortega 15 times, Swanson said.
Ruiz was found hiding in his car several hours later and arrested, officials said. .
Second-degree murder is defined in California as the unlawful killing of another with malice, but without deliberation or premeditation.
If convicted of first-degree murder — a murder deemed deliberate, premeditated and with malice — Ruiz could have faced a maximum sentence of 26 years to life behind bars.

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Man sentenced for 1994 slaying of Diamond Bar gas station attendant

DIAMOND BAR >> A judge sentenced a man to life in prison for the fatal shooting of an Anaheim man during a botched robbery in Diamond Bar more than 22 years ago.
A jury convicted Lino Acero, 39, in March of first-degree murder for the Nov. 18, 1994 slaying 42-year-old Mahfouz Ghabour of Anaheim. The jury also found true the special allegations that Acero personally used a handgun in the crime.
At his sentencing in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles Superior Court, he received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
Ghabour was working at an ARCO gas station on Diamond Bar Boulevard when Acero and a still-unidentified accomplice entered.
“During the failed robbery, one of the suspects fatally shot Ghabour,” Ardalani said in a written statement. The two killers then fled empty handed.
Jurors were shown surveillance video of the killing during the trial.
In the video, “Acero is seen entering an employee hatch to get behind the counter before pulling out a gun,” Ardalani said. “Ghabour then grasps his chest and starts to bleed before he falls to the floor.”
The two killers fled the scene. The case would remain unsolved for more than 20 years.
Despite an exhaustive homicide investigation, the case went cold, officials said.
Ten years later, Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives who were continuing the investigation had the surveillance video of the shooting featured on television.
“The video’s appearance on TV led to a tip on the shooter, however detectives needed to continue to investigate the case,” Ardalani said.
Authorities arrested and charged Acero in connection with the killing in June of 2014.

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UPDATED: Murder-suicide suspected in double-fatal Walnut shooting

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WALNUT >> Homicide detectives are investigating the fatal shooting of a man and woman inside a Walnut home Thursday as a murder-suicide, authorities said.
Yusheng Zhuang, 68, fatally shot his 50-year-old wife, Guizhi Zhang, before turning the gun on himself, according to Deputy Guillermina Saldaña of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
A report of a “family disturbance” shortly before 11:30 a.m. first drew deputies to the home in the 100 block of Avenida Grulla, sheriff’s officials said.
While responding to the call, which came from someone outside of the home, deputies received information that there may be firearms inside the house, Sgt. Bill Cotter of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
ctkqu2jusae8breAfter receiving no answer at the door of the home, deputies surrounded the two-story house and called for a sheriff’s SWAT team to take over the scene, officials said.
Members of the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau made entry into the house about 4:30 p.m., Cotter said.
They discovered the bodies near one another on the first floor of the home, the sergeant said.
“A firearm was recovered at the scene and after the initial investigation, it was determined that a possible murder-suicide had occurred,” Saldaña said in a written statement.
Officials had no contact with anyone inside the home prior to the discovery of the bodies, according to Cotter.
No neighbors or deputies reported hearing gunshots at any point Thursday, he said.
While the shooting appeared to be a murder-suicide, detectives were still investigating who the shooter was, Cotter said.
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.

 

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Man and woman found shot to death in Walnut home


WALNUT >> Reports of a family disturbance led deputies to discover a man and woman shot to death inside a Walnut home on Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The deaths were first discovered about 5 p.m. when deputies from the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar station forced their way into the home in the 100 block of Avenida Grulla, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
Once inside, they found the bodies of two people, described only as a man and woman, who had been shot to death, she said.
Deputies first received a call from the home about 11:30 a.m. reporting a “family disturbance” at the home, Schrader said.
But no one answered the door at the home, she said.
As the afternoon went on, deputies obtained a warrant to enter the home before discovering the bodies, she said.
No suspects were in custody, and there was no information regarding any possible suspect or suspects, Schrader said.
No further details were released. Officials at the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station deferred all inquiries to their counterparts in the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
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.

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Norwalk man sentenced for fatally shooting best friend, staging fake suicide scene


NORWALK >> A Norwalk man who fatally shot his friend and tried to stage the death as a suicide received a sentence of more than four decades in prison after pleading “no contest” to first-degree murder, authorities said.
Diego Arnold Castro, 33, of Norwalk, entered the plea in Norwalk Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement. He was immediately sentenced to 45 years to life in state prison.
An addition to a charge of murder, Ardalani said Castro also admitted the special allegation that he personally used a firearm in the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Jose Angel Rios, also a local resident, at Castro’s home in the 14500 block of Halcourt Ave.
Castro and his victim had gone to school together and been friends for “many years” prior to the shooting , Ardalani said.
“On Jan. 15, 2015, Castro picked up Alvarez and took him to the defendant’s Norwalk home,” Ardalani said.
“While Alvarez was sitting on Castro’s couch, the defendant came up behind the victim and shot him in the left side of his head,” she said.
“The defendant then shot himself in the leg to make it seem as though the victim had shot Castro and then committed suicide,” Ardalani said. The defendant called 911 and told authorities Alvarez had shot him and then killed himself, the prosecutor said.
Authorities initially believed Castro’s account, but suspicions grew as the investigation unfolded and evidence continued coming to light, officials said.
The victim was shot in the left side of his head, Syn said. The victim was right-handed.
After receiving treatment for his gunshot wound, detectives arrested Castro for Rios’ murder on Jan. 23, 2015, records show.
Castro never revealed a motive, however Syn said he suspected he was jealous of his friend’s wife.
The two had been involved in an affair previously, but the issue was believed to be resolved at the time of the killing, Syn said. The prosecutor said Castro and Rios were extremely close and described them as “best friends.”
On the day of the shooting, Castro sent Rios’ wife a text message, pretending to be Castro, saying that was going to kill himself and to “take good care of Diego,” according to Syn.
The negotiated plea came during what was scheduled to a hearing to set a preliminary hearing date, according to Deputy District Attorney Don Syn, who prosecuted the case.
Castro was initially accused of the special circumstance of lying in wait, which could have potentially made him eligible for the death penalty if convicted at trial. Authorities had not yet determined whether to pursue capital punishment in Castro’s case.

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UPDATED: Man shot to death in South El Monte


SOUTH EL MONTE >> Homicide detectives are seeking the killer or killers of a man found shot to death inside an SUV in a South El Monte parking lot Saturday night.
Deputies first received a report of a gunshot victim about 9:10 p.m. in a parking lot shared by several businesses in the 2000 block of Durfee Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“When they arrived, the deputies located the victim seated in the driver’s seat of an SUV in the parking lot,” according to Deputy Crystal Hernandez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau. “The victim had an undetermined number of gunshot wounds to his upper torso.”
Paramedics pronounced the victim, described only as a man, dead at the scene.
“Detectives are continuing to speak with possible witnesses, however there is no suspect description at this time. The investigation is still active and ongoing,” Hernandez said.
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.

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Officials: Bassett woman was strangled; death now investigated as homicide


BASSETT >> The death of a 24-year-old Bassett woman discovered unresponsive in her bed over the weekend is now being investigated as a homicide after it was determined the woman was strangled in the middle of the night as her parent slept in the same house, sheriff’s officials said Friday.
Kassandra Maricel Sandoval was pronounced dead by paramedics shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday after her mother discovered her not breathing at her home in the 13200 block of Gyna Lane in the unincorporated county area and called 911, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said.
No obvious signs of trauma were visible on Sandoval’s body and her cause of death was not initially clear, Deputy Crystal Hernandez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said at the time.
In the days since, “It was determined that the victim’s cause of death was asphyxiation,” Deputy Grace Medrano of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. “The case was ruled a homicide.”
“Homicide investigators are continuing their investigation to seek for the person (or persons) responsible for the death of Kassandra Sandoval,” Medrano said.
Lt. John Corina of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said the circumstances surrounding Sandoval’s slaying remained largely a mystery.
Her car was missing from her home when her body was discovered, but soon recovered less than a mile from the home, parked along Workman Mill Road, Corina said.
Her parents last saw her the day before, when she went out for the evening, the lieutenant said. It was not yet clear whether she returned home alone or was accompanied by someone.
At some point during the night, an unknown attacker strangled Sandoval and escaped from the home, undetected by Sandoval’s parents, who were asleep under the same roof.
There were no signs of forced entry to the house, Corina said.
“Somebody did come in the house. Something ended up occurring. That’s what we’re trying to piece together,” he said.
Salvador was unmarried and was not believed to be involved in a committed romantic relationship at the time of her death, Corina said.
“We’re not sure what the motive is here,” he said.
Sandoval’s official cause of death remained listed as “deferred” and remained under investigation at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner pending the result of toxicology tests, coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. But case notes described the death as a likely homicide, and Corina said the evidence already available made it clear that Salvador was the victim of a homicide.
Anyone with information is asked to call 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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Montebello man admits murder of wife in 2014

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MONTBELLO >> A Montebello man who beat and strangled his wife before stashing her body in the trunk of the family car and fleeing with the couple’s four children in late-2014 admitted charges of murder and child abuse Thursday, prosecutors said.
Daniel Diego Perez was charged with murder and other crimes for the slaying of 39-year-old Erica Perez, whose body was discovered on the afternoon of Dec. 10, 2014, in the trunk of the family’s 2010 Honda Accord, parked at 2nd Street and Harding Avenue, Montebello police Capt. Luis Lopez said at the time. The family of six was reported missing Dec. 9 after a relative reported they had not been seen since Dec. 5.
Police arrested Daniel Perez and recovered the four boys — then-ages 6, 8, 9 and 11 — following a pursuit that ended with a standoff near Santee.
During what was scheduled to be a pre-trial hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court, “Daniel Diego Perez, 45, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of of his 39-year-old wife, Erica,” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in written statement.
He also admitted two counts of child abuse for endangering his two younger sons during the pursuit and standoff leading up to his arrest. The search for the father and sons resulting in a statewide Amber Alert.
Judge Leslie Swain sentenced Perez to 15 years to life in prison for the murder, plus seven years and four months for the child abuse.
Daniel Perez previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, which originally included kidnapping as well.
An autopsy determined Erica Perez died from probably asphyxia and strangulation, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records. Investigators also noted multiple blunt force traumatic injuries as an additional significant cause of the death. The death was ruled a homicide.
When police were first seeking the missing couple, prior to the discovery of Erica Perez’s body, police relayed that family members had reported the couple’s marriage was “unstable” and there was a history of domestic violence.
The couple’s four children have since been placed in the care of family members.

PHOTOS; Erica Perez, left. Daniel Perez, right. (Courtesy)

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El Monte man already serving life for one Baldwin Park shooting sentenced for another

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BALDWIN PARK >> An El Monte man already condemned to spend life behind bars received a new sentence of 86 years to life in state prison on Tuesday for the fatal shooting of a rival gang member on Christmas Eve in 2010, prosecutors said.
Johnny Mata, 35, who has also been convicted of a second, non-fatal gang shooting in Baldwin Park in 2012, spent more than a year as a fugitive after he was accidentally released from jail in 2013 while awaiting trial, then recaptured in Mexico in Mexico.
A jury Convicted Johnny Mata, 35, guilty last month of two felony counts of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon in the fatal shooting of 31-year-old David Deanda Jr., Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said. Jurors also found true the special, sentence-enhancing allegation that the killing was gang-related.
Co-defendant Jesus Arroyo Lule, 35, pleaded “no contest” in 2014 to a felony count of voluntary manslaughter for Deanda’s slaying and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 17 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Pomona Branch.
Lule drove Mata to rival gang territory in the 13200 block of Francisquito Avenue in Baldwin Park. Baldwin Park in the predawn hours of Dec. 24, district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
“Once there, Mata exited the car and walked up to a house where David Deanda Jr., 31 was standing in the driveway,” according to the statement. “Mata then fatally shot Deanda in the torso before fleeing the scene, the prosecutor added.
Mata exited the car and walked up to Deanda Jr. who was standing in the driveway of a residence, Barkhurst said. Mata then fatally shot Deanda in the torso before fleeing the scene.
A third defendant, then-27-year-old Christina Montenegro, was initially charged in connection with the 2012 shooting, but the charges were ultimately dropped.
Deanda, who worked as a welder, was survived by his wife, a son, a daughter and a stepdaughter, according to family.
Prior to being arrested
In April 2012, Mata shot at the home of another rival gang member in Baldwin Park, and was found guilty of attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a felon in a 2015 trial. He was sentenced to life, plus 25 years, in state prison for those crimes. But the jury deadlocked on the murder charge stemming from Deanda’s fatal shooting, leading to a second trial.
Following his initial arrest in May of 2012 in connection with the Baldwin Park slaying, Mata spent more than a year on the lam after he as accidentally released due to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department clerical error.
He was re-captured in April of 2014 in Mexico and returned to the U.S. to face justice.
Following Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Mata is now serving a total sentence of life in prison, plus 111 years to life in prison.

PHOTO: Johnny Mata of El Monte, (Courtesy)

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