Employees bound during takeover robbery at Altadena Walmart

ALTADENA — A group of armed men bound employees and ordered a manger to open a safe during a takeover-style robbery at a Walmart store early Saturday, authorities said.
The crime took place about 3:30 a.m. at the store on Lincoln Avenue at Figueroa Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Booker Hollis said. A group of employees was outside the store taking a break when they were approached by four robbers, described only as male and wearing dark-colored hooded sweatshirts, who were carrying small-caliber handguns.
“They ordered the employees into the store,” Hollis said. “Once inside, the suspects zip-tied te employees’ hands.”
The employees were then ordered into an office where the store’s safe is stored and instructed to lie face-down on the floor, the sergeant said.
Hollis said the gunmen ordered a manager to open the safe and fled the store with $4,000 to $5,000. They were last seen running east from the store.
No injuries were reported, Hollis added.
Detectives continued following up on clues and checking surveillance cameras for evidence Saturday.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Altadena Station at 626-798-1131.

UPDATED: Fire destroys Altadena garage

ALTADENA — A fire blamed on a cigarette destroyed a residential garage and caused minor damage to two adjacent houses before being extinguished by firefighters Saturday, officials said.
The fire was first reported about 12:13 p.m. in a detached garage in the 3500 block McNally Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Bernard Peters said. It was declared “knocked down” just over 15 minutes later.
A woman in her 50s was taken to a hospital for treatment of a medical condition, though she was not believed to have been injured in the fire, Peters said.
It was not clear if she was a resident of one of the affected homes.
No one was displaced as a result of the fire, fire Capt. John Knowles said.
The fire, which caused about $40,000 worth of damage, was believed to have been sparked by a discarded cigarette, the captain added.

Shooting leaves blood, shell casings and mystery in Altadena

ALTADENA –
Deputies responding to calls about shots fired Tuesday found shell
casings and blood but no victim or shooter.
Lt. Elisabeth Sachs said callers reported hearing six to seven shots
on Stonehurst Drive and Lincoln Avenue at 11:25 p.m.
A white car was seen leaving the location, she added.
Sachs said deputies discovered three shell casings and a small amount
of blood on the street.
They also checked local hospitals and no gunshot victim has turned up, she said.
- Ruby Gonzales

Shots fired in Altadena neighborhood

ALTADENA – Deputies responding to calls about gunfire in a neighborhood Wednesday night found shell casings but no victims.
The shooting broke out around 9:30 p.m. in the 100 block of West Altadena Drive, according to Lt. Elisabeth Sachs of the sheriff’s Crescenta Valley Station.
She said the station received four to five calls about gunshots in the area. Deputies recovered seven shell casings.
While a nearby house had been hit in previous shootings, Sachs said it’s unknown if the suspect or suspects targeted the residence on Wednesday.
Nobody was injured and there was no evidence of property damage, she said.

- Ruby Gonzales

Man and woman arrested in 1997 Altadena cold case homicide believed to have stemmed from argument over CDs

Darryl Johnson, 38, Pasadena

PASADENA — Detectives Tuesday arrested a man and woman in connection with a 1997 cold case slaying in Altadena believed to have stemmed from a dispute over CDs.
Blood gang member Darryl Lamont Johnson, also known as Darryl Callum, 38, of Pasadena, was once linked to the infamous 1993 Halloween Homicides, Detective Michael Rodriguez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Cold Case Unit said.
In addition to murder, Johnson, affiliated with the Pasadena Denver Lanes gang, was also accused of the special allegations of personal use of a firearm and that the crime was gang-related.
Also arrested Tuesday on suspicion of murder was Dominique Raquel Evans, 41, of
Darryl Lamont Johnson, 38, of Pasadena and Dominique Evans, 41, of Pasadena were arrested Tuesday, May 21, 2013, on suspicion of the June 21, 1997 shooting death of 18-year-old Johnis Jackson in his hometown of Altadena.
Pasadena. She was also described as a Blood gang affiliate.
Dominique Evans, 41, PasadenaThe two are accused in the 1997 shooting death of Johnis Jackson, 18, of Altadena at Fair Oaks Avenue and Harriet Street, the detective said.
“After all these years, this is something that I wanted. I wanted that closure,” said Vivian Knox, mother of Jackson.
Johnson was also once expected to testify as a witness, but ultimately refused, in the case of the fatal 1993 Halloween shooting that left three boys dead.
Investigators Rodriguez and Gary Sica described Jackson’s 1997 slaying as senseless and cowardly.
“We believe that the murder all stemmed from a disagreement regarding some possible stolen CDs,” Rodriguez said.
Johnson and Evans were arrested hours after detectives secured charges against the suspects and obtained a warrant for their arrests, Rodriguez said. A scheduled arraignment Wednesday in Pasadena Superior Court was postponed until May 28, court officials said.
Johnson and Evans were boyfriend and girlfriend at the time of the early morning June 21, 1997, slaying of Johnis Jackson at Fair Oaks Avenue and Harriet Street, the detective said. Their current relationship is unclear, though they have children together.
Jackson was a member of a Crips gang in Altadena, investigators said.
After attending a party, he was congregating with some other gang affiliates at Loma Alta park in Altadena, Rodriguez said. An argument broke out between one of Johnson’s gang affiliates and a woman at the park, who detectives identified Wednesday as Evans.
Evans accused Jackson’s gang-affiliate of stealing CDs, and the man slapped her, Rodriguez said.
After making threats, Evans left the park, he said. She was accompanied by several other women.
Jackson tried to calm the situation, and even offered to buy the angry woman new CDS to replace the ones she claimed were missing, Rodriguez said.
But less than half an hour later, Jackson was shot to death at Fair Oaks Avenue and Harriet Street as he was walking to his car with another young man, officials said.
Though investigators had long had leads in the case, they were not previously able to obtain a criminal filing, Rodriguez said.
As the investigation has continued through the years, “We had several people come forward,” he said.
New information, “coupled with the statements that witnesses gave us years ago,” assisted detectives in securing the charges Tuesday, Rodriguez said. He declined to comment on the specifics of new information received by investigators.
“(Past) accounts of the incident implicating both Evans and (Johnson) were corroborated. ”
Following more than 15 years of investigation, detectives Tuesday secured charges against Johnson and Evans and obtained warrants for their arrests, Rodriguez said. They were taken into custody later in the day during separate traffic stops in Pasadena.
Evangelina Young of Los Angeles, who said she’s known Evans for 25 years, disputed sheriff’s investigators assertion that she was involved with gangs, and said she did not believe Evans was involved with the fatal shooting. ”
She’s not gang member, and not affiliated,” Young said. “She would never be a part of somebody murdering somebody.”
Evans was a community-oriented and deeply religious woman, the friend added.
She would never get wrapped up in something like that,” Young said. “She’s not that person. It’s just not who she is.”
Young said she was less familiar with Johnson, though she was acquainted with him through Evans.
“He’s very quiet,” she said. “He’s a businessman. He’s a smart guy. He’s always been there for his family. That’s all I know.”
Long before he allegedly shot and killed Jackson in 1997, Johnson played a significant role in one of Pasadena’s most notorious homicide cases: the fatal shooting of two 14-year-old boys and a 13-year-old boy in the 500 block of North Wilson Avenue on Halloween night in 1993.
Johnson implicated Aurelius Duane Bailey in the Halloween slayings before a grand jury and in interviews with Pasadena police detectives, however those statements were not admissible as evidence in court.
Johnson was later arrested in September of 2002 while driving a stolen truck in Duarte with Aurelius Duane Bailey, who was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading no contest to three counts of voluntary manslaughter and five counts of attempted murder for his role in the Halloween slayings.
The Halloween homicide, along with Jackson’s slaying and other violent incidents of the 1990s, helped spur the formation of the federally funded Community Law Enforcement and Recovery program, known as CLEAR, to combat gang violence in the Pasadena and Altadena areas.
Johnson was ultimately sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation after pleading no contest to the truck theft. Bailey received a six year prison sentence due to his previous criminal record.
According to county booking records, Johnson was being held in lieu of $2 million bail, while Evans was being held in lieu of $1.5 million.

PHOTOS of Darryl Jackson and Dominique Evans courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Search and rescue team goes after injured hiker in Eaton Canyon

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Search and rescue team members headed into Eaton Canyon Sunday to rescue a woman who broke her foot in a hiking mishap, officials said.
Rescuers received a call about 11:30 a.m. reporting the accident near the second waterfall of Eaton Canyon, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Angela Shepherd said.
The injured hiker, an El Monte woman in her late 40s, was hiking with two adult family members, who remained with her as rescuers hiked their way to the scene, the lieutenant said.
It was not immedlately clear exactly how the woman became injured, Shepherd said, however the area in which she was hiking is known for slippery, treacherous terrain.
Lt. Brian Fitch said the rescuers ultimately reached the injured woman and brought her out of the canyon and to an area hospital for treatmentment.

Woman finds bear in kitchen of Altadena home

ALTADENA — A woman encountered a large burgling bear inside the kitchen of her home at the northern end of Altadena Friday, officials said.
The four-legged intruder was reported about 11:10 a.m. at a house in the 1300 block of Sunny Oaks Circle, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Booker Hollis said.
A woman walked into her kitchen to find a bear helping itself to her food, the sergeant said.
“She screamed,” he said. “The bear went out, did some rummaging in a trash can, then left prior to deputies’ arrival.”
Fish and game officials were also notified, Hollis added, but the bears were gone before they arrived, Hollis said.
The bear was seen heading back into the woods, accompanied by two cubs, officials said.

Altadena man wounded in Pasadena shooting

PASADENA – Police officers checking a call about gunfire in a neighborhood later discovered a man with a gunshot wound to the leg at a hospital Thursday, officials said.
Pasadena police Sgt. Paul Carpenter said shots were heard around 6 p.m. on Tremont Street between Summit Avenue and Marengo Avenue.
The injured man, an Altadena resident in his 20s, drove himself to the hospital, Lt. Jason Clawson said.
The circumstances of the shooting, as well as a description of the shooter, were not available as the wounded man was not cooperating with investigators, police said. Police continued seeking witnesses Friday.

- Staff report

Altadena man accused of trying to carjack three drivers in Pasadena

PASADENA — Police jailed an Altadena man Saturday who tried to carjack three different cars before one of the drivers struck him with a vehicle, officials said.
Cory Howard Macy, 27, was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail Sunday at the Pasadena Police Department’s jail after being booked on suspicion of attempted carjacking, according to Pasadena police and Los Angeles County booking records.
The ill-fated crime spree took place about 5:25 p.m. near Holliston Avenue and Elizabeth Street, Pasadena police Lt. Ed Calatayud said.
“The suspect approached three different vehicles that were travelling in the general area and flagged them down,” the lieutenant said.
He first attempted to steal the cars of a 73-year-old woman, then a 58-year-old woman, he said.
“He was yelling at victims to open the doors and give him their cars,” Calatayud said. “The victims had their car doors locked, and when they became aware that they were being the victims of a crime, they sped away.”
In the third carjacking attempt, Macy demanded the driver exit his vehicle while attempting to open the car door, police said.
The driver, a 48-year-old man, began driving away, Calatayud said. Macy allegedly jumped onto the hood of the victim’s car before rolling off.
Officers found and arrested Macy in the area, he added. He was taken for a medical examination before being booked into jail.
Calatayud said all three victims were wise to have their doors locked while driving around, which police normally recommend.
“The victims are commended for using safe practices,” he said.

UPDATE: Search for hikers in Eatyon Canyon resulted from misunderstanding

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Rescuers launched a search in Eaton Canyon early Friday in response to report of a group of missing hikers, but learned the report stemmed from a misunderstanding, authorities said.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials received a call about 7 a.m. Friday from a man reporting that his daughter had gone to Eaton Canyon with four others about 8 a.m. Thursday, Sgt. Booker Hollis said. They never returned from what was planned to be an eight-hour hiking and rappelling outing.
But the hikers, in their mid-20s, had apparently made plans to spend the night in the forest, Hollis said. The concerned family member was not aware the trip was going to be overnight, and worried when he could not reach his daughter via cell phone.
Members of the Altadena Search and Rescue Team found the group of hikers shortly before 11 a.m. near the canyon’s second waterfall, officials said.
“There were no injuries,” the sergeant said. “They did have food and water with them.”
Rescuers escorted the group out of the canyon.