AZUSA >> Authorities have formally identified a 28-year-old Azusa man who drowned while swimming in the San Gabriel River earlier this month.
Adrian Joel Garcia died following the incident, which took place just after 5:30 p.m. on July 12 in the river along the 1900 block of North San Gabriel Canyon Road, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Kristy McCracken said. Coroner’s records listed no hometown for Garcia, however, police previously described him as an Azusa resident.
Friends of the Garcia, who were with him at the time of the drowning, told investigators he was swimming near a spillway went underwater, Azusa police Lt. Xavier Torres said at the time. When he resurfaced, he was unconscious.
The friends pulled Garcia from the water and performed CPR until paramedics arrived to take over treatment and rush him to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena.
Garcia was pronounced dead about an hour after the incident was reported, coroner’s officials said.
Garcia’s identity was previously withheld pending notification of family.
An autopsy was pending, McCracken said.
At least three people narrowly avoided injury in recent days after “celebratory gunfire” struck an Azusa swimming pool where a father and daughter were swimming on Tuesday evening, then another struck a moving car in Pasadena on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
A bullet apparently fired in celebration struck an above-ground swimming pool in the 200 block of East Roland Street as a man and his daughter were swimming in it between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Independence Day, according to Azusa police Officer Mike Bires.
*Video: Azusa police discuss swimming pool shooting
Neither the man nor the girl, who was approximately 8 years old, were hurt, he said.
“This is why you do not shoot a firearm up into the sky during celebrations, like 4th of July or New Year’s Eve,” Bires said.
“A father and his daughter were in the pool yesterday for 4th of July,” the officer said. “If the had bullet struck the child or the father, someone would have innocently been murdered on a holiday… Why? It’s not worth it. Just don’t do it.
The homeowner did not realized what had happened until the next day, Bires said. The man was looking for the cause of a leak on Wednesday when he discovered the 9mm or .40-caliber bullet at the bottom of the pool.
In another incident blamed on celebratory gunfire, a woman was “shaken up” but uninjured after her car was struck by a falling bullet fire up into the air in Pasadena on Wednesday afternoon, police said.
The incident took place just after 5:45 p.m. as the woman was driving her Nissan Altima along the 800 block of Magnolia Street, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
A 9mm bullet plummeted from the sky and struck the roof of the car, the lieutenant said. The driver thought they were being attacked, before officers ultimately pieced together what had taken place.
The bullet dented the car’s roof and punched a small hole, but did not manage to penetrate through the body of the car, Hettema said. Police found the projectile sitting atop the car.
There was no sign of where the gunshot originated, he said. Bullets fired skyward can easily travel more than a mile before falling back to earth.
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Authorities have identified a 46-year-old Glendora man who died in a motorcycle crash in the Angeles National Forest north of Azusa.
Jonathan Wayde Shoemaker died at a hospital a little more than two hours after the collision, which took place about 6:18 a.m. on Sunday near mile marker 27.19 of San Gabriel Canyon Road, north of the Morris Reservoir.
He was riding a 2005 Ducati 999 south along the mountain road when a northbound 2000 Honda Civic made an abrupt left turn in front of him while turning into an offroad parking lot, California Highway Patrol Officer C, Strautman said in a written statement.
Paramedics took Shoemaker to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries about 8:30 a.m., Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
The driver of the Honda, a 40-year-old Montebello man, suffered no injuries, Strautman said. DUI was not suspected to be a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation by the CHP’s Baldwin Park office.
AZUSA >> A woman escaped Friday night after being held captive for at least a week, during which time she was repeatedly beaten, by her boyfriend at an Azusa apartment, police said.
Investigators found and arrested her alleged attacker, 32-year-old Jack Albert Davis of Azusa, later the same night, according to Azusa police Sgt. Robert Landeros. He was booked on suspicion of kidnapping, false imprisonment, domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon.
Police received a report about 7 p.m. of a “seriously injured” woman in the 400 block of East 8th Street, “who advised that she fled from her apartment after being held against her will for at least one week,” Landeros said in a written statement.
Officials learned the woman had been held captive by her boyfriend.
“During the time she was held against her will by the suspect, he allegedly beat her repeatedly causing serious injuries to her face and body,” Landeros said. “Due to the severity of the victim’s injuries, she was transported to a local hospital emergency room for treatment.”
Officers quickly found and apprehended Davis in connection with the alleged series of crimes.
Davis, who is already on felony probation, or Post-Release Community Supervision, under the terms of AB 109 due to a prior conviction, was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records.
Court records show Davis, also known as Jack Albert Hutchinson, has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2003, at age 18.
Davis was briefly jailed for violating his parol in March, and again in June, records show.
Prior convictions in Los Angeles County include petty theft with a prior theft conviction in 2012; drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia in 2011; domestic violence in 2008; vandalism in 2005; as well as domestic violence, burglary, battery, assault with a deadly weapon and driving a car without the owner’s consent in 2004.
Davis was scheduled to appear for an arraignment hearing Tuesday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
AZUSA >> Rescuers rushed a man to a trauma center after he was stabbed in Azusa late Friday, officials said.
The stabbing was reported shortly before 7:30 p.m. at or near a convenience store at Citrus Avenue and Gladstone Street, Azusa police Cpl. Jason Kimes said.
The victim, initially described as an Azusa man, then showed up at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital in Glendora, where doctors decided to have him flown by helicopter to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in Los Angeles for further treatment, he said.
An update on the victim’s condition was not immediately available, nor were details regarding the circumstances of the stabbing, according to the corporal.
Anyone with information can reach Azusa police at 626-812-3200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
AZUSA >> Police jailed two Azusa men during an early-morning raids in connection with the baseball bat beating and stabbing attack outside a liquor store that left two men badly injured two weeks ago, authorities said.
Police, including SWAT team members, carried out search warrants at four locations in Azusa, two of them on the same property, Azusa police Detective Seth Chapman said.
Albert Ventura, 19, was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, felony vandalism and drug sales, the detective said. Eduardo Montesdeoca, 21, was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, according to Azusa police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Both suspects were taken into custody without a struggle, according to Chapman. Investigators continued seeking additional outstanding suspects.
The arrests stem from an attack that took place just after 5:30 p.m. on May 22 in the parking lot of Benny’s Market & Liquor, 208 N. Azusa Ave..
The victims, a man in his 20s and a man in his 40s, were accosted by a group of men, the detective said. After a brief exchange of words, the attacker struck both victims in the head with a baseball bat.
Chapman said the attackers then proceeded to stab the younger victim before fleeing.
Ventura is also accused of smashing up a car belonging to one of the victims with the baseball bat, resulting in the vandalism charge.
The older victim has since been released from the hospital, but was believed to have suffered permanent injuries as a result of the attack, Chapman said. The younger victim was expected to make a full recovery.
The motive was unclear, Chapman said. There was no indication that any argument or disagreement immediately preceded the violence. It was unclear if the suspects were familiar with the men they allegedly attacked prior to the violent encounter.
Detectives continued following leads in the case until the identified Ventura and Montes as suspects.
While serving search warrants, police seized, “evidence that would indicate drug sales,” from Ventura’s home, Chapman added.
Ventura was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, booking records show. He was free on bail at the time of his arrest, awaiting trial on charges of DUI, DUI by a minor and evading police in a motor vehicle that were first filed in March, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court and booking records. He was previously convicted of possession of drugs for sales in June of last year.
Montesdeoca was being held in lieu of $2 million bail, records show.
AZUSA >> Police used a less-lethal bean bag shotgun to subdue a man who threatened police while claiming to have a gun at a park in Azusa on Friday, officials said.
The incident began just before noon when police received a call from a man who said he was at Zacateca’s Park, 924. W. First Street, Azusa police Cpl. Billy Johnson said in a written statement.
The man told police he was armed with a handgun, “and ready to engage with police using his firearm,” the corporal said. The caller described himself to police and told them his position within the park.
“Due to several people in the park, including a group of mentally disabled subjects and their caretakers, officers composed a tactical plan of approach to safely detain to the subject,” Johnson said. “Officers simultaneously secured the several subjects in the park as other officers approached the subject.”
The man failed to comply with officers’ orders, at which point they shot him with a bean bag round fired by a shotgun, according to Johnson. The man fell to the ground and was taken to a hospital for evaluation. He suffered no serious injuries.
No gun was found at the scene, police said.
PASADENA >> An Azusa man admitted breaking into a Glendale woman’s home and sexually assaulting her at knifepoint before being chased away by her adult son in 2015, officials said.
Justin Amador Rios, 20, pleaded guilty Thursday in to one count of forcible sexual penetration in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said. Rios also admitted to a special allegation that he personally used a knife in the crime.
Rios did not know his victim prior to the crime, Santiago said. “It was a random attack.”
The attack took place on June 3, 2015, in the 900 block of Orange Grove Avenue, officials said.
“The defendant broke into the 38-year-old victim’s home and assaulted her at knifepoint,” Santiago said in a written statement. “When she managed to scream for help, her adult son woke up and stopped the attack.”
Glendale police found and arrested Rios in connection with the attack the following day.
Two additional counts of forcible oral copulation and one additional count of burglary were dismissed during Thursday’s hearing, which was the result of a negotiated plea arrangement, according to Santiago and court records.
Rios is expected to receive 24 years to life in state prison when he returns to court for sentencing on May 16, Santiago said.
AZUSA >> A wanted Azusa man remained behind bars in lieu of more than half a million dollars bail on Wednesday after leading police on a pursuit in a stolen car earlier in the week, authorities said.
Ricardo Angel Guzman, 36, was booked on suspicion of possession of a stolen car, evading police, drug possession and driving on a suspended license following the chase, which took place just after 9:30 p.m. on Monday, Azusa police Lt. Michael Bertelsen said. He also had three outstanding arrest warrants.
The incident began when someone called police from a residential neighborhood in town to report seeing a suspicious vehicle, the lieutenant said.
“On arrival, (officers) attempted to contact two occupants of the vehicle,” Bertelsen said. “The driver sped away. A pursuit followed.”
The driver, later identified as Guzman, led officers on a chase through city streets for about 20 minutes, according to Bertelsen. A woman was riding in the car as a passenger.
Officers soon determined the car had recently been reported stolen in Ontario, he added.
At one point, the car ran into a dead end on Kirkwall Road. But the driver drove through the adjacent Valleydale Park, 5525 N. Lark Ellen Ave., and continued the pursuit, Bertelsen said. The car also briefly sped toward an officer as he was sitting in a patrol car blocking traffic.
The car ultimately came to a stop in the 300 block of South Louise Avenue, where the Guzman exited the car and ran, but was soon apprehended, according to the lieutenant. The female passenger was detained at the scene and treated for an existing medical condition, but was not arrested.
Guzman was booked into the Azusa Police Department’s jail, where he was being held in lieu of $620,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Thursday in West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
AZUSA >> An Azusa man is accused of arson for intentionally lighting fire to a field of grass on the campus of Azusa Pacific University on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
Jesus Moreno, 31, was booked on suspicion of arson in connection with the fire, which was first reported about 3 p.m. on a grass median in the parking lot of college’s west campus, 701 E. Foothill Blvd., Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said.
Upon receiving reports of the fire, officials encountered a 60-foot by 60-foot area of grass on fire, he said. Los Angeles County firefighters made quick work of the flames.
Police were investigating the scene when they noticed Moreno walking nearby, Sutcliffe said.
“What caught their attention was the fact the entire right side of the baggy, button-up shirt he wore had clearly been burned,” according to the sergeant. Moreno himself was uninjured.
“Once detained, Moreno told officers he did not have a place to stay, and intentionally lit the fire to get the attention of police officers,” he said. He provided no further explanation for his actions.
Moreno succeeded at both. He was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Azusa Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance.