4-year-old boy killed, man wounded in barrage of gunfire on porch of Altadena home

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ALTADENA >> A 4-year-old boy sitting on his mom’s porch was killed and a man was wounded in a shooting outside an Altadena home late Tuesday, authorities said.
Deputies and paramedics rushed Salvador “Chavita” Esparza III to a hospital following the 10:30 p.m. shooting in the 300 block of Figureoa Drive, just west of Grandeur Avenue, according to Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner coroner.
ChavitaA 27-year-old man, described as a family friend, was also wounded by gunfire and was initially hospitalized in critical condition, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. An updated on his condition was not available Wednesday.
The search for the unidentified shooter who fled the scene in a black or dark-colored sedan continued Wednesday, as detectives and crime scene investigators scoured the scene for clues. A detailed suspect description was not available, and it was unclear of the shooter had any accomplices. The motive remained under investigation.
“An unknown suspect drove up to the residence and fired rounds toward a residence, striking both victims whom were on the porch, according to the sheriff’s department statement.
The boy was not believed to be the intended target of the shooting.
Andrew Ramos said he was in his house when he heard the gun shots.
“It had to be more than 10,” he said. Ramos said he heard on arguing or other sounds that caught his attention prior to the gunfire.
The gunman reportedly fires at least 13 rounds.
Ramos said his family initially thought the noise was from fireworks. Ramos’ father went outside to look around and discovered there had been a shooting.
Several others neighbors also said they thought the noises were due to fireworks at first.
Jonathan Franklin, 33, lives nearby and said he also mistook the noise for fireworks, before deputies flooded into the neighborhood.
He also recalled hearing numerous voices involved in some kind of “commotion” about the time of the shots, but couldn’t be sure if it was related.
ALTA SHOOTING2Esparza’s aunt, Jackie Campos, said the family was still coming to grips with Tuesday’ night’s tragic violence.
“We don’t have any information,” Campos said. “We’re just waiting for answers. It’s not going to be easy.”
Esparza’s parents are separated, Campos said. The boy split his time between his father’s house in Monrovia and his mother’s house in Altadena. Neither parents has gang ties, she said.
Campos said she did not know who the adult wounded in the shooting was. Sheriff’s officials described him as a family friend, and not related to the young boy.
The aunt described Esparza as a calm, sweet boy, just an “average 4-year-old” who loved Spider-man and other superheroes.
“He lit up the room every time he walked in,” Campos said through tears, her voice quivering. “He was the kindest soul.”
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.
Funds to benefit the family are being collected online at www.gofundme.com/BabyChavita.

PHOTOSof scene by Walt Mancini. Photo of Salvador Esparza III courtesy of family.

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Child and adult wounded in Altadena shooting

ALTADENA >> A in residential neighborhood in Altadena left a child and an adult seriously wounded late Tuesday, authorities said.
A deputy came across the two wounded victims shortly before 11 p.m. in the area of Figueroa Drive and Olive Avenue, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
Paramedics rushed a child and an adult to the hospital for treatment, she said.
Both victims were listed in critical condition, officials said.
No further details were immediately available.

Developing…

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72-year-old South Carolina man killed in Angeles Crest Highway motorcycle crash identified

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ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Authorities have released the identity of a 72-year-old South Carolina man who died in a collision with a Jeep along Angeles Crest Highway in the forest north of Altadena over the weekend.
Richard Bucci died at following Sunday’s 1:45 p.m. crash near mile marker 46 of Angeles Crest Highway, deep in the Angeles National Forest, just south of Mount Mooney Road, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said.
A 52-year-old Covina woman and a 53-year-old Walnut man suffered injuries in the collision between their 2006 Jeep SUV and Bucci’s 2011 BMW motorcycle, Officer A. McAllister of the California Highway Patrols’s Altadena area office said in a written statement.
Bucci was riding east along Angeles Crest Highway just prior to the crash, McAllister said. The Jeep, being driven by the Covina woman with the Walnut man riding as a passenger, was westbound. Conditions were clear, cool and dry.
“As both vehicles approached each other, the motorcycle crossed into the westbound lane and struck the (Jeep),” the officer said.
Paramedics pronounced Bucci dead at the scene, officials said.
The driver and passenger from the Jeep were treated for injuries described as moderate, McAllister said.
An autopsy found that Bucci died from “multiple blunt trauma,” and the death was ruled accidental.
The cause of the collision remained under investigation. No arrests were made.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer McAllister at the CHP’s Altadena area office at 626-296-8100.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Man killed in Angeles Crest Highway motorcycle crash

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ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> A man died and two other people suffered serious injuries in a crash between a motorcycle and a car Sunday afternoon on Angeles Crest Highway, deep in the Angeles National Forest north of Altadena, authorities said.
The collision was reported about 1:45 p.m. near mile marker 46.35 of the winding mountain road, on the forest road just south of Mount Mooney Road, California Highway Patrol Officer Alex Rubio said.
A man died at the scene of the crash, Rubio said.

Two other patients were flown to a hospital by helicopter for treatment, sheriff’s officials said. Their conditions were not clear, and officials could not immediately confirm initial reports that the two injured patients had been riding in the car that collided with the motorcycle.
The CHP issued a Sig Alert affecting both directions of Angeles Crest highway through the late afternoon, logs show.

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PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Pilot killed in Angeles National Forest airplane crash identified as San Diego doctor

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ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of the 57-year-old San Diego doctor killed over the weekend when his single-engine airplane he was piloting crashed into a mountainside amid poor weather in the forest north of Altadena.
Thomas Bruff died in the crash, believed to have taken place about 9 a.m. Sunday, when his Cessna 182 disappeared from radar, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s and sheriff’s officials.
Bruff was reportedly a medical doctor with offices in San Diego and El Centro, who had traveled to Nepal and Ecuador to help with earthquake relief, according to NBC7 San Diego.
An autopsy determined Bruff died from “multiple blunt traumatic injuries,” and the death was determined to be accidental, according to coroner’s records. Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease was listed as a significant factor in the death.
Sheriff’s search and rescue teams spent more than seven hours searching for the wreckage after the airplane, registered to a San Diego-based company, disappeared by radar while en route to Santa Monica Airport from Montgomery Field in San Diego, according to sheriff’s and Federal Aviation Administration officials.
Rough weather and low visibility slowed the initial hours of the search efforts, as conditions did not allow for the use of search helicopters, according to sheriff’s Lt. Randy Tuinstra.
Once the crash site was located near Brown Mountain Sunday afternoon, paramedics pronounced Bruff dead at the scene. A lengthy process then began to recover his remains.
The FAA is carrying out an investigation into the cause of the crash.

PHOTO of June 15, 2016, airplane crash site near Mr. Brown in the Angeles National Forest north of Altadena courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Man bit by rattlesnake above Altadena recovering well


ALTADENA >> A mountain biker bitten by a rattlesnake in the forest north of Altadena was recovering well Saturday, his sister said.
Avid cyclist Brad Adams, 25, of Los Angeles was out for his usual Friday morning ride shortly before noon, heading up Brown Mountain Trail in the Angeles National Forest just north of Altadena, when he encountered the rattlesnake, according to his sister, Candace Adams.
“He briefly stopped at a crest to wait for his friend when a rattlesnake bit him above his right ankle without warning,” she said in an email. “He did not feel the bite until the snake had finished its assault.”
Brad realized he had been bitten, but had not cell phone reception, his sister said.
“(He) immediately hopped on his bicycle and began the 5-mile descent to the trailhead,” she said. Brad sped down the mountain as fast as he could.
“Within the 15 minutes, he said he could feel the effects of the venom course through his foot and the rest of his body,” Candace said. “It was moments after that Brad reached the base that the other cyclists had caught up. One of the cyclists managed to call 911.”
Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire department officials treated the injured bicyclist and rushed him to a hospital by helicopter, sheriff’s Lt. Douglas Mohrhoff said.
His recovery was progressing well Saturday in an intensive-care unit, Candace said. He responded well to antivenom, and no surgery was expected to be needed.
Though he was warned that he will experience swelling for about a week and should avoid strenuous activity, she said, “He should be going home (Sunday).”

PHOTOS/VIDEO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Mountain biker rushed to hospital after snake bite in forest north of Altadena


ALTADENA >> Rescuers flew a 25-year-old mountain biker out of the Angeles National Forest north of Altadena for medical treatment after he was bitten by a rattlesnake Friday, authorities said.
The man stumbled upon the venomous reptile about 11:40 a.m. along Brown Mountain Trail, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Douglas Mohrhoff said.
Sheriff’s deputies, including those in department’s “Air-5” helicopter, and Los Angeles County firefighters headed up the trail and found the snake bite victim, the lieutenant said.
“He was transported by Air-5 to (Huntington Hospital in Pasadena) for further medical treatment,” Mohrhoff said.
“He was conscious at the time,” Mohrhoff said. An update on the man’s condition was not available.
With spring upon us, officials urged those recreating in the forest, conducting yard work or otherwise spending time outdoors to me mindful of rattlesnakes.
A 3-year-old girl suffered a rattlesnake bite in Chino Hills on Tuesday, according to San Bernardino Fire Department officials.
She was hiking on a trail near Soquel Canyon Road and Pipeline Avenue when she was bit in the leg, officials said. She was flown to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where she listed in stable condition.
And some experts suspect California’s long-running drought may be encouraging the snakes to slither out of their usual, more secluded habitats in search of food and water.
“As springtime calls people and snakes alike to the outdoors, encounters with snakes become inevitable,” according to a California Department of Fish and Wildlife fact sheet. “California has a variety of snakes, most of which are benign. The exception is California’s only native venomous snake — the rattlesnake.”
Though not common, it’s wise to have a plan in place in the event of a rattlesnake bite, officials said.
“Carry a portable phone, hike with a companion who can assist in an emergency, and make sure that family or friends know where you are going and when you will be checking in,” according to the CDFW statement.
If bitten, a person should stay calm; wash the bite area gently with soap and water; remove watches, rings or other items which may constrict swelling; immobilize the affected area; and seek medical care immediately.

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PHOTOS, VIDEO via Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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$20,000 reward offered in the 2015 murder of Altadena man in Pasadena

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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.

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Torrance man killed in suspect mountain biking accident in forest north of Altadena


ALTADENA >> A 49-year-old Torrance man reported missing while mountain biking in the Angeles National Forest north of Altadena was found dead from an apparent fall Saturday following a 13-hour search, authorities said.
The man’s name was not released Sunday pending notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said.
Search and rescue teams searching for the missing man found about 10:30 a.m. Saturday along the Brown Mountain Truck Trail, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Kim Shelton said.
The body was discovered a short distance from the man’s bicycle, and showed signs of trauma consistent with taking a fall from his bike, she said. No crime was initially suspected.
Sheriff’s officials received notification from Torrance police about 9 p.m. Friday that the cell phone of a missing Torrance man had been traces to a popular hiking trailhead north of Altadena, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The missing man’s SUV was found in the parking lot of the Millard Canyon Campground, Shelton said.
Officials from the Altadena, Montrose, Sierra Madre, San Dimas, Santa Clarita and Malibu search-and-rescue teams joined in the search, along with Sheriff’s Department helicopters, according to the statement. Additional resources from the California Air National Guard were requested, however the search concluded before they joined the search.
Investigators determined the missing man had started out for a mountain bike ride Friday morning.
Although the missing person was an experienced mountain biker, he was reported to have limited supplies with him, a storm was predicted to come in and there is over 30 miles of trail to search,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
Searchers handed out fliers with pictures of the missing man and his bicycle, Shelton said.
A hiker told authorities about 10 a.m. that he had seen the bicycle pictured on the flier in a remote area about three miles up the trail, officials said.
Officials quickly located the bike.
“After further searching, a body of a male was discovered,” according to the statement. “Sheriff’s Air Rescue 5 lowered a paramedic and the person was pronounced deceased at approximately 10:30 a.m.”
The investigation is ongoing.

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Car crashes through Altadena bank; no injuries reported

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ALTADENA >> A car smashed through the front of an Altadena bank branch Wednesday morning, creating a mess of shattered glass and twisted metal but resulting in no injuries, authorities said.
A 69-year-old woman accidentally stepped on the accelerator about 7:40 a.m. as she parked her Honda Accord in front of a Bank of America branch at 2345 N. Lake Ave., California Highway Patrol Officer Michael Hughes said.
The car lurched forward, crashing through metal hand rails and jumping up a curb before crashing through the glass doors and windows in front of the bank’s ATM foyer, Hughes said.
The bank was not yet open for business, however a woman was reported to have been using an ATM inside the foyer when the crash occurred, Hughes said. She had left the scene when CHP officers arrived.
The bank was expected to remain closed for the rest of the day, Hughes said. But the building was spared any structural damage.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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