ARCADIA >> A driver struck a woman and her teenage niece in an Arcadia crosswalk and fled the scene before being captured nearby Saturday, police said.
Officers arrested Rebeca Gonzalez, 54, of Arcadia on suspicion of felony hit-and-run within minutes of the 6:08 p.m. hit-and-run along Huntington Drive, just east of Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said.
A 56-year-old woman and her 17-year-old niece suffered injuries described as moderate, he said.
They were crossing Huntington Drive mid-block, within a crosswalk, when they were struck by a Dodge sedan heading west in the left-hand lane, the lieutenant said.
The driver, later identified as Gonzalez, continued driving without stopping to check on the victims, Cullen said.
But a witnesses followed her until police stopped and detained her nearby, he said.
An update on the victims’ conditions was not available late Saturday.
Gonzalez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending her initial court appearance.
ARCADIA >> Police asked the public’s help in determining the identity of an elderly, disoriented man found disoriented on a bus in Arcadia last week.
The man exited a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus in Arcadia just before 4 p.m. on Friday, Arcadia police Sgt. Jason Davis said.
“The male subject pictured stated his name is Jose Rivera (and) he is 81 years old; however, a records check of that name and approximate (date of birth) could not identify him,” police said in a written statement.
“He stated he lives in Lincoln Heights or Pomona, although he could not provide an address,” the statement continued. “He was confused at the time LASD Deputies located him.”
The man had possibly been riding the bus for hours, making several full circuits along the route, Davis said. It was unclear when and where he first boarded the bus.
He appeared in good physical health, Davis said.
A check of recent missing person report yielded no results in helping identify the man, he added.
The man is 5 feet 7 inches tall and 115 pounds. He has white hair, worn shaved, and brown eyes. He has a distinct scar on his right shin, a small scar on his left thumb and a mole on the right side of his head. He primarily speaks Spanish.
PHOTO courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department
LOS ANGELES >> A San Gabriel Valley man officials say fled to Hong Kong in January after beating his two teenage nephews to death in their Arcadia home and attempting to kill his wife in La Canada Flintridge returned to Los Angeles County to face prosecution Friday afternoon.
Deyun Shi, 44, arrived at LAX Friday afternoon, escorted by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and FBI agents, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McConnell said.
“The suspect in one of our county’s most tragic cases is back in the United States and will face trial on multiple murder charges,” the sheriff said.
Shi, who is also accused of attempting to murder his wife in La Canada Flintridge just prior to killing his nephews, had been served with a restraining order in the weeks leading up to the attack and slayings.
He learned at a January 21 court hearing that his wife was seeking to divorce him, according to Deputy Lillian Peck of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“After leaving court, Suspect Shi allegedly disregarded the restraining order, went to the estranged wife’s La Canada Flintridge home, and assaulted her with a wood-splitting hammer,” Peck said. She suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, and was taken to ab area hospital.
The attack could have been worse, but the couples teenage son intervened in defense of his mother, Hernandez said.
Shi then broke into the Arcadia apartment where his sister, Vickey Huang, lived with her husband, David Lin, and their two sons 15-year-old Anthony Lin and 16-year-old William Lin, in the 400 block of Fairview Avenue, authorities allege.
Vickey Huang and her husband had gone went to the hospital late at night to check on Huang’s injured sister, leaving Anthony and William Lin asleep in their beds.
“While the injured wife and her brother and sister-in-law were at the hospital, suspect Shi allegedly drove to the Fairview Avenue home, forced entry, and fatally beat them with the tool as they lay in their beds,” Peck said.
Prosecutors described the tool used to kill the boys in court documents as a bolt cutter.
The boys’ parents arrived home in the early-morning hours and went to sleep without noticing anything amiss, Hernandez said. The mother awoke hours later to find her sons fatally bludgeoned.
Clutching pictures of his slain sons, David Lin thanked law enforcement for their work, and the community for it’s support.
“It’s been very difficult for me and by wife the past two and a half months. Every day and night, every moment, is a pain for us,” he said.
“We spent our effort, we used our love to raise these two boys. “(In) just one night, they are gone. They’re gone forever,” the father said.
In the hours that followed the killings, homicide detectives quickly identified Shi as the suspect in the attack and killings and determined he had boarded an airplane to Hong Kong,” Hernandez said.
Shi is a Chinese national who was living in the U.S. on a business visa, officials said.
With help from federal and Hong Kong authorities, Hong Kong police immediately apprehended Shi upon landing in the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, officials said.
“The entire Arcadia community was devastated by what happened to two young, innocent brothers earlier this year on Jan. 22,” Arcadia Police Chief Robert Guthrie said. “And since that day, we, alongside out law enforcement partners from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI, the DOJ, the State Department, Homeland Security, and other law enforcement agencies have worked tirelessly together to see this day through.”
Both Lin brothers were accomplished and well liked students at Arcadia High School, friends and family said.
Shi made two court appearances in Hong Kong, in which he expressed desire to return to the U.S., officials said. He did not challenge his extradition.
Deputy Lillian Peck of the sheriff’s Information Bureau described the extradition of the suspect from Hong Kong to Los Angeles County as “the first time in recent memory.”
Had Shi fled to mainland China, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S., extradition may have been impossible, Hernandez explained. Hong Kong, however, does have an extradition agreement with the U.S.
The complicated legal process of securing Shi’s return to Los Angeles County, involving local, federal and international law enforcement partners, “wasn’t easy,” McDonnell said.
“But justice will be served for the young teenage victims and a family shattered by tragedy,” McDonnell said.
VIDEO of Deyun Shi arriving at LAX courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. PHOTO of Deyun Shi Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
PHOTOS from press conference by Sarah Reingewirtz
ARCADIA >> An alleged burglar with a police radio scanner in his car led police and CHP officers on a high-speed chase that ended with his arrest in Westmont following a residential break-in in Arcadia late Friday, authorities said.
Arcadia police had received a report shortly before 9 p.m. of a suspicious person and vehicle in the driveway of a home in the 200 block of Monte Place, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement. The car drove away, and it was later determined a the home had been burglarized, and items stolen.
Police spotted the Nissan Altima as it got onto the 210 Freeway and tried to pull it over, but the driver sped away instead, officials said.
Arcadia officers gave chase as the Nissan sped down the southbound 605 and westbound 105 freeways at speeds reaching 100 mph.
Arcadia officers eventually turned the pursuit over to California Highway Patrol officers, who ultimately took the driver into custody when he came to a stop along 102nd Street in Westmont.
Officials recovered items taken during the Arcadia break-in inside the suspect’s car, along with a radio scanner programmed with the frequency of the Arcadia Police Department, allowing him to monitor police radio traffic, Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
Steve Gainer, 32, of Paramount was booked on suspicion of residential burglary and evading police, both felonies, police said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Gainer was being held in lieu of $125,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court.
PHOTOS: Steve Gainer, 32, of Paramount [TOP], police scanner recovered from car [BELOW], courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.
ARCADIA >> A GPS-laden “bait package” helped Arcadia police arrested two Canoga Park women driving through town in a stolen car filled with suspected stolen property early Thursday, officials said.
Devon Ricco Mendendez, 21, and Unique Rios, 19, were arrested when police stopped the stolen car they were riding in shortly after 5:15 a.m., according to Arcadia police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Just before the arrest, an alarm notified police that a GPS-equipped decoy package left out in the southeast portion of the city had been taken and was on the move, according to Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther.
Officers tracked the GPS package to a moving car and pulled it over, the sergeant said. The car was found to have been reported stolen.
Police found the GPS bait package inside the car, along with other items and pieces of mail believed to have been stolen in the area, Crowther said.
“Included in the suspected stolen property was an array of credit cards, checks, identifications, social security cards and other personal identifying information,” he said
Police also recovered drugs and drug paraphernalia from the car, Crowther added.
Mendendez — who is already on probation for auto theft — was booked on suspicion of grand theft, receiving stolen property, false impersonation and unlawful taking of a car, police said. Rios was booked on suspicion of grand theft, receiving stolen property and an outstanding warrant.
Mendendez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, while Rios was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
PHOTOS: Unique Rios, 19, of Canoga Park [left] and Devon Ricco Mendendez, 21, of Canoga Park [right]. (Courtesy, Arcadia Police Department)
PASADENA >> Less than one day after commuters rejoiced in the long-anticipated opening of the expanded Gold Line light-rail route connecting Pasadena to Azusa, a fiery big rig crash early Sunday brought the trains to a halt between the Allen and Sierra Madre Villa stations in Pasadena and the newly-operational Arcadia station, officials said.
The big rig driver suffered minor injuries after he lost control of his tractor-trailer shortly before 3 a.m. on the westbound 210 Freeway at Madre Street, California Highway Patrol Officer Monica Posada said.
But the powerful impact sent the truck smashing through the center median and into the divider, where the Gold Line tracks sit.
The big rig quickly became “fully engulfed” in flames, according to CHP logs.
The driver was able to walk away from the crash, Posada said.
The carpool lane and the two left-hand lanes of the westbound 210 Freeway were expected to remain closed through Sunday afternoon, according to the CHP and Caltrans.
Crews cleared the still-hot wreckage and debris from the roadway and median about 11:30 a.m., Metro officials said. A Metro crew worked to assess the extent of the damage to the train tracks.
The extent of the damage to the tracks themselves was not immediately clear.
Shuttle buses carried passengers between the affected train stations, Metro officials said in a written statement.
“Trains are running every 15 minutes between Union Station and Allen Station and every 15 minutes between Arcadia Station to APU/Citrus College Station,” the statement said. “If looking for an alternative one-seat ride, Foothill Transit’s 187 Bus runs between Azusa and Old Pasadena with stops in Duarte, Irwindale, Monrovia and Arcadia.”
The crash severed the Gold Line route between Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley just one day after an estimated 30,000 riders crowded onto trains following a ceremony Saturday morning to commence operation of the new route.
The 11.5-mile Gold Line Foothill Expansion connects Pasadena to Azusa.
PHOTO courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department
ARCADIA >> A homeless man pleaded received a two-year jail sentence Thursday for attacking two Arcadia police officers who approached him about panhandling last July, officials said.
David King Brewster, 25, who is known to frequent the Monrovia area, pleaded “no contest” to a felony charge of battery with injury on a police officer in Pomona Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
Under the negotiated plea arrangement, an additional charge of battery with injury on a police officer was dismissed, along with two counts of resisting arrest and one count of being under the influence of drugs, Santiago said.
The conviction stems from a July 6 encounter between Brewster and two Arcadia police officers in the 400 block of E. Huntington Drive.
“Brewster choked an officer and punched another as they attempted to talk to him about panhandling in the area,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
On the day of the incident, Brewster was booked on suspicion of crimes including attempted murder of a peace before being formally charged with lesser crimes.
The involved officers suffered no major injuries, Santiago said.
Following his plea Thursday, Brewster was immediately sentenced to two years in state prison, to be served in county jail, officials said.
TEMPLE CITY >> A man received a sentence of more than 15 years in prison Friday for a car crash following a police pursuit in Temple City that killed his passenger, officials said.
Richard John Villareal Jr., 28, pleaded “no contest” in Pasadena Superior Court to one count of gross vehicular manslaughter and one count of evading a police officer, Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
Under a negotiated plea arrangement in Pasadena Superior Court, charges of murder, fleeing a police officer causing death, possession of methamphetamine, and driving without a valid license were dismissed, Santiago said.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dorothy Shubin immediately sentenced Villareal to 15 years and 8 months in state prison.
Killed in the June 2 crash at Lower Azusa Road and Arden Drive in Temple City was Villareal’s 38-year-old friend, Michael Sandoval Jr.
“The defendant led Arcadia police officers on a high-speed pursuit after they attempted to pull him over for driving a stolen car near Workman and Baldwin avenues,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Arcadia police called off the chase, but Villareal continued speeding away in the 2001 Honda Accord.
“Following the pursuit, Villareal sped through a red light at the intersection of Lower Azusa Road and Arden Drive and was struck by another vehicle,” according to the statement. Following the initial impact with a Toyota Avalon, the Honda subsequently struck two minivans, officials said.
Sandoval died at the scene of the crash, while Villareal suffered moderate injuries and one driver of one of the other involved vehicles suffered minor injuries, officials said.
The car the two men were fleeing from police in had been reported stolen two days earlier in Monterey Park.
PHOTO by Walt Mancini