An elderly woman died after she was struck by a vehicle in an Alhambra crosswalk late Tuesday, police said.
The fatal collision took place about 10:10 p.m. at the T-intersection of Valley Boulevard and Granada Avenue, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
The woman’s identity was not released Wednesday pending positive identification by coroner’s investigators and notification of family, police said. She was estimated to be in her 70s.
But items in the woman’s possession indicated she may have lived at a nearby senior-care facility, Alhambra police Sgt. Steven Carr said.
She was walking north within a marked crosswalk, traversing Valley Boulevard, when she was struck by an eastbound vehicle, according to Carr.
Paramedics took the badly injured woman to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, we she was soon pronounce dead, officials said.
The driver, described only as a man, remained at the scene and cooperated with police, Carr said. Impaired driving was not initially suspected.
The cause and circumstances of the collision, including the status of the signal lights at the intersection, remained under investigation.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Alhambra Police Department’s Traffic Section at 626-570-5119.
ALHAMBRA >> A Pasadena man is accused of vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run for allegedly fatally striking a woman with his SUV and fleeing the scene, police said Wednesday.
Erick Ulises Reyes-Melo, 28, of Pasadena was arrested hours after the collision, which took place about 1:50 p.m. on Tuesday at Main Street and Meridian Avenue, according to Alhambra police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The pedestrian struck by the SUV, identified as 50-year-old Maria Salazar of Inglewood, succumbed to her injuries Wednesday morning at Huntington Hospital, Alhambra police Sgt. Steven Carr said in a written statement.
Officers responded to reports of the collision and found Salazar “severely injured” at the scene, Carr said.
“The striking vehicle, described by witnesses as a dark-colored SUV, had fled the scene,” the sergeant said.
Within hours, investigators identified the involved SUV and the driver.
“Officers located the vehicle Reyes-Melo was driving, a black Nissan SUV, at his home and impounded it,” Carr said. “Reyes-Melo was initially held on a felony hit and run charge.”
Following the death of the victim, Reyes-Melo is now also expected to face a manslaughter charge, officials said.
The investigation indicated Reyes-Melo’s SUV struck Salazar as he was making a left turn from northbound Meridian Avenue to westbound Main Street, according to car. Salazar was walking north across Main Avenue in a marked crosswalk.
Intoxicated driving was not initially suspected, he said.
ALHAMBRA >> A manager at an Alhambra motel and mother of two died after she was shot during a botched robbery late Friday, authorities said.
The fatal shooting was reported shortly after 11 p.m. at the Ambassador Inn, 2720 Valley Blvd., according to Alhambra police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
A fellow worker at the motel first discovered the victim lying bleeding in the motel office and called for help, Alhambra police Sgt. Richard Aguayo said.
Police and paramedics responded and discovered the woman had been shot, officials said.
Paramedics pronounced Xiuxia Chen, 44, of Alhambra dead at the scene, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
“The victim was working as a clerk behind the counter of the local business when a male suspect attempted to rob her at gunpoint,” Deputy Trina Schrader of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. “During the commission of the robbery, the suspect shot the victim in the torso at least one time.”
“The male suspect fled the location in an unknown direction. It is unknown at this time if there was any property taken,” Schrader said.
No description of the gunman was available. Detectives were checking numerous area surveillance cameras for clues.
Chen’s husband, Armando Escanbdor, said his wife leaves behind an 11-year-old daughter and a son who served in the U.S. Navy.
“This devastation, I don’t know how to explain it,” he said.
Escandor said he was waiting to learn more about what happened to his wife, known to many as “Michelle.”
“The only thing I know is my wife is gone,” he said.
Chen had been working at the motel for the past six years, and served as manager the past two, according to her husband. Her shifts generally end at 11:30 p.m., when he routinely picks her up.
“I didn’t expect this to happen to her. The past six years I would always pick her up… except for last night.”
Escandor said he arrived at the motel like usual and found police swarming around the place, and yellow crime scene tape quartering off the motel’s office. He went inside to see what had happened and saw the body of his wife.
“I’m trying to explain this to my daughter,” he said.
“We don’t have any family members here in America. All our relatives are in the Philippines abd China. It’s only the four of us. They took one.”
Escandor described his wife as a “lovely, very nice person who didn’t know how to fight even for her own safety,” he said.
He hoped someone would be able to help homicide detectives find the person responsible for Chen’s slaying.
“I’m really seeking for the public to help to solve this case,” he said. “I feel like my wife is beside me, telling me two do this. This is the least I can do for her right now,”
“All I want is justice,” he said.
Officers canvassing the motel found residents who said they heard a single gunshot earlier in the night, police said. But no one reported the gunfire.
One man staying at the hotel said he spoke with Chen, who brought him linens for his room, at about 11 p.m. He said he was shocked to learn the deadly shooting was believed to have taken place minutes later.
The man said he heard no gunshot, but added that his motel room was on the opposite end of the motel as the office, where the shooting took place.
Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau joined Alhambra police in the investigation.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Funds to benefit Chen’s family are being collected online at www.gofundme.com/michelle-chens-memorial-service.
PHOTOS: [TOP] – Photo of Xiuxia Chen, 44, of Alhambra. (Courtesy) [MIDDLE] – Photo of Xiuxia Chen, 44, of Alhambra and her family. (Courtesy) [BELOW] Photo of Ambassador in, 2720 Valley Blvd. in Alhambra. (By Brian Day)
ALHAMBRA >> Police found a woman safe in South Pasadena after went missing in Alhambra on Tuesday night.
Wei Li, 71, was last seen about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 100 block of North Third Street, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
“Li does not have a cellular phone and does not speak English,” according to the statement.
She’s described as Asian, 5 feet 4 inches tall and 138 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes.
But she was found safe in South Pasadena on Wednesday afternoon and reunited with her family, police said.
ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested a teacher at a Catholic all-girls high school on Wednesday on suspicion of carrying on a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student, officials said.
Diana Kelly Yniguez, also known as Diana Wendel, 42, of Azusa, was booked on suspicion of child molestation and contacting a minor for the purpose of committing sex crimes following her arrest about 2:30 p.m., according to Alhambra police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. She has been teaching at Ramona Convent Secondary School for the past three years, where the victim attended, and has taught at several parochial schools within the Los Angeles Archdiocese over the past 18 years.
The investigation began Tuesday after a relative of the alleged victim, a 17-year-old student at Ramona Convent Secondary School, found graphic text messages on the victim’s phone and alerted the girl’s father, police said in a written statement. The father turned the phone over to police.
“The investigation revealed the Yniguez had sent the text messages and had been involved in unlawful sexual contact with the minor,” according to the statement.
The alleged illegal relationship took place between March and May, officials said. No violence or threats are alleged on the part of Yniguez.
Yniguez has been placed on leave by the school pending the outcome of the investigation, Alhambra police Sgt. Steven Carr said.
Yniguez was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, scheduled Friday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, booking records show.
Investigators had not learned of any additional victims, but encouraged anyone with information to contact the Alhambra Police Department’s Detective Bureau Tip Line at 626-308-4875. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SOUTH PASADENA >> Police arrested two South Pasadena burglary suspects after they crashed their getaway car in Alhambra on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The incident began about 3:15 p.m. when a witness called police to reports a break-in at a home in the 1000 block of Milan Avenue, South Pasadena police Sgt. Spencer Louie said.
Responding officers caught sight of a vehicle matching the suspect description driving away from the area, he said. As officers attempted to catch up with the car, but before they tried to pull it over, the car crashed into another car at Fremont Avenue and Mission Road in Alhambra, the sergeant said.
Both suspect were arrested at the crash scene, he said. One complained of pain and was examined at a hospital prior to booking.
A man at the wheel of the car the fleeing suspects struck was unhurt, Louie added.
The suspects’ identities were not available pending the booking process.
PHOTO courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department
ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested an auto burglary suspect and recovered a stolen backpack containing a personal items including the cremated remains of the victim’s father on Tuesday, authorities said.
Officer Zachary McFarland as on patrol Tuesday morning when he noticed a man, who appeared to be transient, carrying two backpacks in the area of Atlantic Boulevard and Mission Road, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
The officer approached the man and soon learned he was on probation for robbery and obtained permission to search the backpacks, which contained a laptop computer, documents and other items.
“Additional items and a somewhat unbelievable story from the transient led Officer McFarland to the conclusion that the backpacks may have been stolen. The transient was arrested,” according to the statement.
After working for several hours to determine who the backpacks belonged to, McFarland identified the owner, an area man whose car was broken into the previous night, police said.
“While happy that his computer and work related material were found, the victim was especially concerned about a small box that he had in one of the packs,” according to the statement. The box was recovered along with the other property.
“The reason for the man’s concern for a small box, it contained the cremated ashes of his father. An irreplaceable item that was very dear to the victim’s heart,” the statement continued. “The victim was very appreciative for Officer McFarland’s efforts.”
The suspect’s identity was not available Wednesday.
ALHAMBRA >> A man suffered an apparent graze wound after a shot was fired during a robbery in Alhambra on Friday night.
The crime unfolded about 7:30 p.m. near 1st Street and Main Street, Alhambra police Sgt. Ruben Soriano said.
Two men approached the victim, who was on foot, and attempted to rob him, the sergeant said.
A struggle ensued, during which one of the two robbers fired a gunshot, he said.
The victim suffered what appeared to be a graze wound, but suffered no major injury, according to the sertgeant.
Further details, including a detailed suspect description, were not available.
ALHAMBRA >> Police on Friday released a sketch of a man they are seeking following a suspicious encounter with a 13-year-old in which he tried to get her to get in his car last week.
The incident took place about 2:30 p.m. on March 22 as the victim was walking in the 800 block of Westminster Avenue, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement. The girl was walking to a friend’s house from Emery Park Elementary School.
A man approached in a black sedan and began asking the girl a series of questions,
“The subject asked the victim if she was lost, if he could help her, and ultimately asked the victim if she wanted to go with him,” according to the statement. “The child did not respond to the questions and walked up to the friend’s house without additional comments or contact from the male adult. The suspect re-entered the vehicle and left the area.”
The suspicious man was described as Latino, 50 to 60 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with dark-but-graying hair and a dull beard. He wore blue denim pants and a gray flannel shirt.
His car was a black sedan, possibly a Toyota, with ha 6- to 10-inch dent on the trunk. It had wires sticking out of a hole in the trunk area.
A second person, described only as a Latina woman over 40 years old, was also riding in the car as a passenger, officials said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Alhambra police Sgt. Elizalde or Detective Montano at 626-570-5157. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SUSPECT SKETCH courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department/Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
ALHAMBRA >> Police chased down and arrested a teenage boy from Whittier after he brandished a loaded, stolen handgun at a man who confronted him about smoking marijuana at Alhambra Park on Sunday afternoon, officials said.
Police responded to the park, 500 N. Palm Ave., about 2:35 p.m. after receiving a report of the incident, Alhambra police Cmdr. Jennifer Wiese said.
A man noticed the young suspect smoking marijuana at the park and confronted him about it, the commander said.
Undaunted, the teen lifted his shirt to display a handgun in his waistband, according to Wiese.
The teen ran when officers arrived at the park, but was soon captured nearby, Wiese said. It appeared he surrendered once he realized police had brought a K-9 to the scene to aid in the apprehension.
The .40-caliber pistol the boy was carrying had a loaded, high-capacity magazine and had been reported stolen in 2012, Wiese said.
He was booked on suspicion of numerous weapons charges including possession of a stolen handgun, possession of a concealed handgun in public, possession of a loaded handgun in public, possession of a high-capacity magazine and possession of a handgun by a minor.
Wiese said the teen was also on pronation for robbery, and is accused of violating the terms of his supervision.
Although voters legalized recreational marijuana for adults in California last November, it remains illegal to use or possess for those under 21 years old, and smoking the plant in public remains prohibited.