MONTEREY PARK >> Police jailed a parolee from Alhambra and a second man from Los Angeles in connection with a Saturday break-in at a Monterey Park home, officials said.
Christopher Molina, 23, of Alhambra and Trayvon Watson, 21, of Los Angeles are accused of residential burglary following their arrests about 1:20 p.m. in connection with a burglary at a home in the 1000 block of Hillvale Drive, Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement.
One of them waited outside in a getaway car as the other went into the backyard of the home and smashed the rear sliding window, police said. But the suspects fled after an alarm system startled them.
“Shortly after the burglary an officer located the vehicle and the two suspects in the area of Ramona (Avenue) and Garvey (Avenue). A traffic stop was initiated and an investigation was conducted,” according to the statement. “After the investigation was concluded, both suspects in the vehicle were arrested for residential burglary.”
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Watson was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court.
Molina, who is on parole following a January, 2015, conviction for vandalism, was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, also scheduled Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court, according to police and records.
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)
ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested an alleged heroin dealer from San Bernardino early Wednesday after he was found driving through Alhambra with 25 small bindles of heroin in his pocket, officials said
Alejandro Fuentes, 31, was booked on suspicion of possession of heroin with intent to distribute following his 2:55 a.m. arrest in the area of Valley Boulevard and Marguerita Avenue, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said.
An officer noticed Fuentes at the wheel of car parked behind a closed medical office, the sergeant said.
As the officer approached the vehicle, it drove off, Johnson said. The officer pulled it over nearby. There were three passengers in the car with Fuentes.
Police soon determined Fuentes was unlicensed and discovered 25 small packages of heroin wrapped in clear plastic in his pocket.
The car was searched and Fuentes’ three passengers were not arrested.
Fuentes was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, Johnson said.
ALHAMBRA >> An automated license plate reader helped Alhambra police capture an escaped fugitive from Pennsylvania and a second man found riding in a stolen SUV with phony credit cards, $13,000 in cash and a loaded .45-caliber handgun Friday, authorities said.
A police officer was patrolling about 11 a.m. along Garfield Avenue, just south of Valley Boulevard, when an automated license plate reader mounted on his patrol car notified him it had detected a stolen car, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said.
The officer called for backup in preparation to pull the 2016 Ford Flex over, but before he could do so, the SUV rounded a corner and pulled into the parking lot of a restaurant and Valley Boulevard and 2nd Street, the sergeant said.
Police detained the driver, 46-year-old Ronald Bang of Pasadena, and passenger, 64-year-old Robert Richard Zgurzec, without a struggle, Johnson said.
“We searched the car. We found a loaded .45-caliber semi-auto handgun,”Johnson said.
Police also recovered a back containing more than $13,000 in cash, he said.
“As they keep searching, they’re finding different IDs, different debit and credit cards,” Johnson said. The documents were in the names of other people.
The SUV itself had been reported stolen last month in the Victorville area, Sgt. Joseph Mallette said.
Police soon learned that authorities in Pennsylvania had been seeking Zgurzec since “on or about Feb. 3,” when he escaped from a halfway house while serving a sentence for wire fraud, Johnson said.
Zgurzec was booked on suspicion of auto theft, possession of fraudulent credit and debit cards and being a felon in possession of a gun, officials said. Authorities in Pennsylvania have issued a “no bail” warrant for Zgurzec’s arrest.
Bang was booked on suspicion of auto theft and possession of fraudulent credit and debit cards, officials said.
Alhambra police were working with the U.S. Marshal’s service to determine whether Zgurzec would be returned to Pennsylvania before or after facing charges in California, Johnson said.
Bang was being held at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail in lieu of $25,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, while Zgurzec was transferred to a Los Angeles jail facility due to a pre-existing medical problem, he said. Zgurzec was being held without bail.
MONTEREY PARK >> Authorities and worried family members are seeking the public’s help in finding 15-year-old Monterey Park girl believed to have run away from home earlier this week.
Leilani Daisy Young, who is known to frequent the Alhambra and Monterey Park areas, was reported as a runaway to Monterey Park police on Monday, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
“She was possibly seen recently at both Alhambra and Mark Keppel High Schools,” police said.
Young is described as 5 feet tall, 115 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
She was last seen wearing light blue jeans, a powder blue hooded sweatshirt with a Star Wars logo, a light green windbreaker and White Nike Air Jordan shoes with red and black highlights, according to cousin Eileen Young.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Monterey Park police at 626-573-1311.
PHOTOS – courtesy
ARCADIA >> Prosecutors have filed murder charges against a San Gabriel Valley man accused of beating his two teenage nephews to death with a bolt cutter at their home in Arcadia last weekend, officials said Thursday.
Deyun Shi, also known as Jeff Shi, 44, was charged with two counts of murder, along with a count of domestic violence causing great bodily injury, as he awaits extradition proceedings in Hong Kong, where he was captured the day after the double-slaying, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
The murder charges listed in an extradition arrest warrant obtained Wednesday are accompanied by “an allegation that the defendant used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a bolt cutter, in the commission of the crimes,” district attorney’s office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said in a written statement.
The domestic assault charge stems from an alleged attack on Shi’s estranged wife at her La Cañada home on Jan. 21, the day before the bodies of his nephews Anthony Lin, 15, and his brother William Lin, 16, were found by their mother at the family’s home in the 400 block of Fairview Avenue in Arcadia.
In the domestic attack, Shi is accused of striking his estranged wife with a maul, or wood-splitting hammer, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials.
Arraignment was to be scheduled later pending extradition proceedings, officials said.
“If convicted as charged, Shi faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison,” Santiago said.
Deputies began seeking Shi late Jan 21, after he allegedly attacked his wife with a wood-splitting tool, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. The woman suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
The parents of the Lin brothers had gone to check on the injured victim late on Jan. 21, Hernandez said. They returned home in the early morning hours Jan. 22 and did not notice anything wrong before they went to bed.
About 12:40 p.m., Anthony and William’s mother awoke and discovered her sons dead, officials said. One of the boys was found on the first floor of the two-story apartment situated on top of a parking garage. The other brother’s body was found upstairs.
Shi is married to the sister of the slain brothers’ father, Hernandez said.
The manhunt for Shi intensified following the discovery of his nephews’ body.
His alleged violent crime spree began after he learned his wife had filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order against him, investigators said.
He was detained when his airplane landed in Hong Kong, officials said. Detectives initially said his ultimate destination may have been Beijing.
Officials said Shi had been staying with a friend in Alhambra and conducted business in San Gabriel at the time of the crimes.
Community members honored the Lin brothers Monday during a vigil at their school, Arcadia High School, where Anthony was a freshman and William was a junior, according to Arcadia Unified School District officials.
ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested a Downey man Wednesday after he robbed a woman while she was with her toddler outside an Alhambra market, authorities said.
Gabriel Jesse Acuna, 25, is accused of armed robbery following the 2 p.m. crime, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said.
He approached a woman in her 30s from behind as she was placing her 2-year-old child into her car outside a market a market at Valley Boulevard and 9th Street, Johnson said.
The suspect — later identified as Acuna — brandished what appeared to be a handgun and demanded the woman’s property, the sergeant said. She turned over her purse, and the robber ran off.
A Monterey Park police officer who happened to be in the area spotted the suspect running through the parking lot with the purse, police said.
The Monterey Park officer detained the fleeing suspect without a struggle until Alhambra police arrived to take custody of the alleged robber. Officers recovered the woman’s purse, as well as a realistic-looking airsoft pistol, designed to shoot plastic BBs.
Acuna was taken to a hospital following his arrest after he complained of a pre-existing medical condition, Johnson said.
He was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his arraignment hearing, scheduled Friday in Alhambra Superior Court, records show.
ALHAMBRA >> Police placed three Alhambra schools on precautionary lockdown Wednesday afternoon as they investigated reports of gunfire along the 10 Freeway.
Police first received reports about 1:23 p.m. of someone shooting a handgun on or near the westbound 10 Freeway near Atlantic Boulevard, Alhambra police Lt. Gabriel Ponce said.
The shooter has not been found, nor have any victims. Nearby Fremont Elementary School, 2001 Elm Street, Marguerita Elementary School, 1515 W. Mission Road, and Ramona Convent Secondary School, 1701 W. Ramona Road, were placed on lockdown as police searched the area along the freeway between Fremont Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard, officials said.
The lockdowns were lifted just over an hour later, Ponce said. No suspects or victims were found.
It was unclear if the reported gunfire came from a vehicle, or a person on foot along the roadside.
MONTEREY PARK >> Authorities have released the identity of an 82-year-old Alhambra man died after he was struck by a minivan in Monterey Park and dragged for half a mile into Alhambra Thursday afternoon.
Kwailing Hong died following the 3:30 p.m. collision on Hathaway Avenue, just south of Hellman Avenue, Monterey Park police Lt. Tina Montoya said.
Paramedics pronounced him dead once the Kia Sedona minivan that struck him ultimately came to a stop in front of the driver’s home in the 2400 block of Wetherhead Drive, according to Monterey Park police and Los Angeles County coroner officials said.
“According to investigators, a black KIA Sedona, driven by a 33-year-old female, (resident) of Alhambra, was traveling southbound on Hathaway Avenue from Hellman Avenue when she struck (Hong) walking in an unknown direction across the street,” police said in a written statement.
It appeared the driver of the minivan did not realize she had struck anyone until she arrived home about half a mile away from the collision scene, police said.
“(Hong) sustained internal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene,” according to the police statement.
The driver cooperated with investigators, he said, and no arrests or citations were made as the investigation continued, officials added.
Children rode inside the minivan as passengers, according to police and a witness.
Detectives obtained a blood sample from the driver as part of their investigation, though intoxicated driving was not initially suspected to be a factor, police said.
Anyone with information can reach Monterey Park police at 626-573-1311.
MONTEREY PARK >> An elderly man died Thursday after being struck by a car in Monterey Park, then dragged under the vehicle for nearly a mile into Alhambra, authorities said.
The incident was reported about 3:30 p.m. along Hellman Avenue, west of Atlantic Boulevard, along the border between Monterey Park and Alhambra, Alhambra police officials said.
A woman in her 30s struck the man, described as being in his 70s, but did not immediately realize it, Monterey Park police Lt. Scott Wiese said.
The woman continued driving home, ultimately stopping about three-quarters of a mile away, across the city border in Alhambra, Wiese said. She called 9-1-1 after discovering the victim’s body pinned beneath her car.
Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene, Wiese said. His identity was not available.
Police followed the blood trail left by the vehicle to the apparent point of impact at Hellman Avenue and Hathaway Street in Monterey Park, where the victim’s shoes were found in the roadway.
Though initially handled by Alhambra police, the investigation was turned over to police in Monterey Park after officials determined the point of impact was in their city, officials said.
Investigators obtained a blood sample from the driver, as is standard procedure in any fatal collision, but noted no obvious signs that intoxication played a role in the incident. The driver cooperated with police.
The investigation was ongoing.