Man opens fire on El Monte police during pursuit, suspect arrested in Baldwin Park


EL MONTE >> A fleeing suspect fired gunshots at El Monte police during a high-speed pursuit before he was taken into custody in Baldwin Park late Wednesday.
Richard Cortez, 26, of Baldwin Park was ultimately arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on a peace officer, evading police, resisting arrest, burglary and hit-and-run, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said.
“He’s shooting at my vehicle,” an officer is heard calmly saying over the radio as the chase sped down the 60 Freeway. “My windshield’s now broken. We’re still westbound. Probably about five or six rounds.”
The incident began about 10 p.m. in the southwest portion of the city, when an officer spotted and began following a suspicious car, according to the sergeant.
When the officer tried to stop the car for a traffic violation, the driver sped away, initiating a chase that worked its way to the 60 freeway.
While on the 60 Freeway, the suspect opened fire on pursuing officers several times, Luna said. One officer initially believed his patrol car had been struck, but no damage was ultimately found.
Police continued chasing the suspect, who reached speeds as high as 100 mph, as he got onto the 10 Freeway and ultimately exited at Frazier Avenue in Baldwin Park.
He was involved in a minor crash with a parked car as he ditched his vehicle and continued to flee on foot.
Cortez fled through the neighborhood and broke into a home before he was apprehended with the help of a police K-9, Luna said. Television news helicopters broadcast footage of the chase arrest.
He was taken to a hospital for treatment prior to booking, officials said.
No additional suspects were believed to be outstanding.
The investigation was ongoing, Luna said.
According to Los Angeles County Superior Court records, Cortez was previously convicted of vandalism, brandishing a handgun and burglary in 2016; fighting in public and spousal abuse in 2013; possession of methamphetamine in 2012; and being under the influence of a controlled substance in 2010.
Cortez was being held without bail pending a scheduled arraignment hearing Friday in the El Monte branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, county booking records show.

Audio courtesy of @LABasinScanner on Twitter

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Man accused of burglary, attempted murder in attack on elderly man, son inside Pasadena home


PASADENA >> Police jailed a man late Tuesday after he attacked an 87-year-old man and his son inside their home, before the victims overpowered the suspect and held him until officers arrived, officials said.
Gregory Neal Park, 37, of Los Angeles was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and burglary following the 9 p.m. incident in the 100 block of Arlington Drive, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
The elderly man and his son, 63, were first alerted that something was wrong by the smell of smoke in the home, the lieutenant said.
The source of the odor was never determined, he said, but while investigating, the two men encountered Park in the kitchen of their home.
“A violent struggle ensued between the victims and the suspect,” Luna said “The suspect threatened to kill (the father) and struck him in the head with an unknown object.”
The elderly victim’s wife, 84, called 911.
Some type of glass object also became involved in the fight before the men managed to subdue the suspect and hold him down until police arrived and took him into custody without a struggle, Luna said.
The elderly man suffered an avulsion fracture to his head, while his son was treated for cuts to his forehead and bruising and abrasions to his face. The woman in the home was not hurt.
Both men’s injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, Luna said.
According to county booking records, Park was being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending his initial court appearance.

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UPDATED: Man wounded in Pasadena shooting


PASADENA >> A man was wounded in a shooting along Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena on Saturday afternoon in the same neighborhood where two people were killed and two more wounded Friday night while gathered at a vigil for a previous homicide victim, authorities said.
Saturday afternoon’s shooting took place shortly before 5 p.m. in the area of Claremont Street and Fair Oaks Avenue.
One man was hospitalized in serious condition, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
The victim, a 25-year-old Pasadena resident, suffered a gunshot wound to his thigh, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said. The injury was not considered to be life-threatening.
No suspect description was available.
The shooting came on the heels of another shooting in the same neighborhood that left two men dead and a man and woman wounded shortly before midnight on Friday.
A group of people had gathered along Fair Oaks Boulevard, near Hammond Street, for a vigil for a man who was shot to death at that spot on Dec. 22, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
An unknown attacker opened fire from a passing car, striking the four victims.
It was not immediately clear whether the two attacks were linked, but based on the proximity in both time and location, police were looking into the possibility, Goodman said.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Two men wounded in Duarte shooting


DUARTE >> Deputies are seeking a gunman who shot and wounded to other men in a residential neighborhood in Duarte on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 2:50 p.m. at Crestfield Drive and Bloomdale Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Frank Ruiz said.
Both victims were described as men estimated to be in their 20s or 30s, according the lieutenant.
One suffered a gunshot wound to the buttocks, while the other was wounded in the back, he said.
Officials rushed both victims to a hospital via helicopter for treatment, officials said.
They were conscious at the scene, Ruiz said. An update on their conditions was not available.
A detailed description of the shooter, who was believed to have fled the area on foot, was not known.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Man wounded in Monrovia drive-by shooting


MONROVIA >> A man is recovering from gunshot wounds to both legs following a drive-by shooting in a residential Monrovia neighborhood early Wednesday, police said Friday.
The shooting took place just before 1:20 a.m. in the 1300 block of South Alta Vista Avenue, Monrovia police Sgt. Sarah Covarrubias said.
Police responded to numerous reports of gunfire heard in the area when they encountered the victim, a man in his 30s, suffering from “multiple gunshot wounds to both legs,” the sergeant said. The injuries were not life-threatening.
The shots were believed to have been fired from a passing vehicle, she said. No suspect description was available, and the motive in the shooting remained under investigation.
Anyone with information was urged to contact Monrovia police at 626-256-8000. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Santa Fe Springs woman denies charges in stabbing; father’s cause of death still unknown


SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A Santa Fe Springs woman arrested on suspicion of stabbing her father and her father’s girlfriend last week, after which the father died of undetermined causes, is awaiting trial on assault and other charges as coroner’s officials continue investigating what killed the man, officials said.
Janette Buena, 27, pleaded not guilty Dec. 22 to one count of assault with a deadly weapon on her father’s girlfriend, three counts of brandishing a knife at police while resisting arrest and one count of cocaine possession, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
No charge had been filed in connection with the death of her father, identified by coroner’s officials as 63-year-old Manuel Buena.
Manuel Buena suffered an apparently minor stab wound to his hand and declined medical treatment, Whittier police Lt. Kent Miller said. But minutes later, he collapsed and was rushed to a hospital, where he was ultimately pronounced dead.
Manuel Buena’s officials cause of death is yet to be determined by Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner investigators.
The incident unfolded about 9:45 p.m. on Dec. 20 at a mobile home the three shared in the 8000 block of Sorensen Avenue, according to Whittier police Lt. Kent Miller.
Buena allegedly attacked her father and his 46-year-old girlfriend with at least one large knife, police said in a written statement.
The father’s girlfriend suffered stab wounds to her head, hands and arms, police said. The father suffered a stab wound to his right hand.
Police said the victim’s locked themselves in the bathroom of the mobile home and called 911.
Responding officers encountered Janette Buena at the doorway, still armed with a knife, officials said. She retreated back into the mobile home and tried to force her way in to the bathroom where the two injured victim’s were.
Police fired three bean bag rounds at the suspect, but she refused to drop the knife, according to police. Officers then used a Taser to subdue her and take her into custody. Two 8- to 10-inch-long kitchen knives were recovered at the scene.
Janette Buena suffered a broken wrist during the incident, likely from the bean bag rounds, police added.
Manuel Buena’s girlfriend was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Miller said.
The lieutenant said Manuel Buena declined medical treatment of what appeared to be a relatively minor injury to his hand.
But about 15 minutes later, he collapsed in cardiac arrest, officials said. He soon died at a hospital.
Police initially arrested Janette Buena on suspicion of the murder of her father.
But as Manuel Buena’s cause of death remained unclear, prosecutors charged her only in connection with the stabbing of her father’s girlfriend, as well as brandishing knives at police and possession of cocaine.
According to county booking records, Janette Buena was being held in lieu of $106,500 bail. She is scheduled to appear Friday for a pre-preliminary hearing in the Norwalk branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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Man admits 3 counts of murder, other charges, for 2014 Pasadena shooting rampage

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PASADENA >> A man pleaded guilty to three counts of murder, as well as other charges, for a 2014 assault rifle shooting rampage in Pasadena that left three people dead and two others wounded, authorities said.
John Izeal Smith, 46, of Pasadena is expected to be sentenced to 181 years to life in state prison when he returns to the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Burbank branch for sentencing on Feb. 1, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
Under a negotiated plea arrangement, which took place just over two weeks before Smith’s trial was scheduled to begin, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, one count each of second degree murder, attempted murder and assault with an assault weapon on a police officer in connection with the July 12, 2014, bloodshed in the 1700 block of North Summit Avenue, according to district attorney’s office spokesman Greg Risling.
” Killed were Smith’s ex-girlfriend, 59-year-old Maria Aguiar, with whom he still lived, her 91-year-old father, Luis Aguiar, and 31-year-old Jose Hernandez Iribe, who was shot to death as he rushed toward the gunfire to help Maria Aguiar as she lied wounded in the sidewalk, according to Pasadena police.
Two other neighbors were also shot, but survived their injuries.
Smith barricaded himself inside his home and called police to report the shooting, which police said was carried out with an AK-47-style rifle.
The first arriving officer, John Woo, immediately came under fire, police said. His patrol SUV was riddled with bullets, but he was not struck.
Fellow officers placed an armored vehicle between Woo and the gunman to allow him to escape the line of fire, according to police officials and witnesses.
A police dispatcher ultimately persuaded Smith to surrender to exit the home and surrender to officers.
Smith fired more than 40 7.62x39mm rounds during the shooting spree, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said at the time.
Smith and Maria Aguiar had previously been involved in a dating relationship and were still living together at the time of the shooting, Risling said.
Smith is believed to have become became angry when Maria Aguiar confronted him about allegedly physically assaulting her mother, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said. He retrieved the rifle and began shooting.
Though the special circumstance of multiple murders made Smith potentially eligible for the death penalty, the prosecution did not seek capital punishment in the case, Risling said.
Chief Sanchez commended the work of involved officers.
“I could not be more proud of the team of detectives that committed themselves to this investigation, in particular Sgt. Carolyn Gordon who served as the lead investigator. It is through their efforts and dedication to duty that we achieve these types of outcomes,” Sanchez said in a written statement. “It is also my hope that today’s guilty plea helps to bring solace and closure to the family members that were victimized by suspect Smith on July 12, 2014.”

PHOTO by James Carbone

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Senior citizen stabbed by 14-year-old in Pasadena


PASADENA >> Police arrested a 14-year-old boy after he repeatedly stabbed a 72-year-old man in Pasadena on Tuesday afternoon, officials said.
Pasadena received calls about 3:49 p.m. reporting a person being stabbed on the 1200 block of E. Orange Grove Avenue, Lt. John Luna said. Officers encountered the elderly victim suffering from multiple stab wounds to his torso, back and arms.
The suspect, a 14-year-old boy, fled the location, but was found an hour later at Oakland Avenue and Walnut Street, police said.
“The suspect told a person he was a victim, and that person called the police,” Luna said.
The teen, who was identified by a witness, was arrested for attempted murder and transferred to juvenile hall.
The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment of what were ultimately found to be relatively superficial stab wounds and released the same day, Lt. Pete Hettema said.
The teenage suspect, who spent time living elsewhere before recently returning to the Orange Grove Avenue, told police he attacked the man because he recognized him as a man who had peeped on his sister in the past, Hettema said.
Police could not confirm whether the victim had any prior contact with the suspect or his family.

— Sandra Molina and Brian Day

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Stabbing, shooting in San Gabriel blamed on gang rivalry

SAN GABRIEL >> A man was stabbed, another was beaten and a car was struck by gunfire in a sudden spate of violence blamed on a gang rivalry late Wednesday, officials said.
Police first received reports of a fight involving rival gang members about 1:30 p.m. in the area of Del Mar and Clary avenues, San Gabriel police Lt. Fabian Valdez said.
The combatants had fled by the time officers arrived, the lieutenant said. But officials at nearby San Gabriel Valley Medical Center notified police about an hour-and-a-half later that a man in his 40s had arrived at the emergency room suffering from multiple stab wounds.
Though conscious, the stabbing victim would not cooperate with investigators, Valdez said.
Police were summoned to the same area about 8:20 p.m. after witnesses reported hearing gunshots at San Marino Avenue and Broadway, just around the corner from the scene of the earlier suspected gang fight, according to Valdez.
Again, officers found no suspects or victims at the scene.
A woman reported to police on Thursday morning that her husband had been beaten up by several other men, and her car had been struck by gunfire in incident at San Marino Avenue and Broadway, he said. The woman’s husband suffered cuts and bruises but no serious injuries.
All three victims were in their 40s, officials said.
Investigators believed the violence stemmed from a dispute between two groups of rival gang members.
The stabbing victim is suspected to be affiliated with a local street gang, Valdez said. The victims of the beating and shooting were believed to have ties to a South Los Angeles gang, and the second incident appeared to have been carried out in retaliation for the stabbing hours earlier.
Police are working to assess the situation and determine what resources and tactics may be helpful in preventing further gang violence, Valdez said. “
“The San Gabriel Police Department is currently developing a plan to address this matter,” he said.
Police asked the public to come forward with any relevant information.
Any with information can reach San Gabriel police at 626-308-3838. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Shuttle bus driver stabbed on South Whittier-La Mirada border, suspect jailed


SOUTH WHITTIER >> A man stabbed a female shuttle bus driver in the chest along the border between La Mirada and South Whittier on Thursday afternoon before deputies apprehended him nearby, officials said.
Paul Rivera, 41, of La Mirada was ultimately booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robin Limon said.
The attack took place about 3:10 p.m. on a Sunshine Shuttle bus, operated by the County of Los Angeles, at Leffingwell Road and La Mirada Boulevard, according to the lieutenant.
There were no other passengers onboard when Rivera got onto the bus at a bus stop along the north side of Leffingwell Road, she said.
He asked to be taken to destination that is not part of the shuttles route.
When the driver told Rivera he needed to take a different bus, he became enraged and pulled a knife, Limon said. He stabbed the woman in the abdomen and shoulder with a large steak knife.
The bus driver, a 51-year-old woman, fought back and pushed her attacker away before he abandoned his assault and ran away.
Paramedics took the wounded bus driver to an area trauma center with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, she said.
Responding deputies spotted Rivera, who matched the description of the attacker, nearby and arrested him without a struggle, Limon said. Deputies recovered the knife believed to have been used in the attack.

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