$20K reward renewed in 2013 slaying of Azusa man on Altadena horse trail

ALTADENA >> The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday renewed a $20,000 reward in the case of a West Covina man whose body was found four years ago on an Altadena horse trail.
Marcus Anthony Nieto, 26, was pronounced dead at the scene by coroner’s officials on February 16, 2013 after he was discovered unresponsive by two riders near the 3800 block of Canon Boulevard, officials said in a written statement.
He died of “multiple blunt trauma to the head” and the death was ruled a homicide, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records.
Investigators said Nieto left his home to visit an acquaintance in Pomona, but may have returned to the Covina/Azusa area at some point before he went missing.
The reward, originally approved by the board in April of 2014, had expired before Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s motion reestablishing it for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of a suspect or suspects responsible for the murder.
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.

— Sandra Molina and Brian Day

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Man killed in Azusa police shooting


AZUSA >> Police shot and killed a man in Azusa late Sunday, authorities said.
The fatal officer-involved shooting took place at 11:21 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 200 block of Windsong Court, Deputy Jeffrey Gordon of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
The suspect, described only as a man, died at the scene, Gordon said.
No further details were available.
The sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is spearheading the investigation.

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Azusa gang member, woman arrested in Covina with stockpile of drugs

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COVINA >> Police jailed an Azusa gang member late Friday after he ran from a traffic stop with large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine and concentrated cannabis, as well as other people identifying documents, officials said.
Steven Anthony Quintana, 42, of Azusa, who was already on felony probation for previous robbery conviction under the terms of AB 109, was ultimately booked on suspicion of possession of drugs for sales, possession of identity theft-related materials and resisting arrest, according to Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Quintana’s passenger, 37-year-old Darlene Denise Martinez, whose hometown was unclear, was booked on suspicion of possession of drugs for sales and possession of identity-theft related materials.
An officer first tried to pull Quintana over for a traffic violation about 6:30 p.m., Covina police Sgt. Antonio Zavala said.
After a delay, Quintana pulled over in the 5300 block of Cedarglen Drive, where he ran from the car, the sergeant said.
A police helicopter which was already overhead directed officers on the ground to Quintana, who was found in the area and arrested without a struggle, Zavala said.
Quintana ditched his jacket while running from police, he said. Inside the jacket, police found 46 grams of methamphetamine, seven grams of cocaine and 32 grams of concentrated cannabis. Inside the car, police also found identifying documents in the names of other people.
Quintana and Martinez were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances, records show.

BOOKING PHOTOS of Steven Quintana and Darlene Martinez courtesy of the Covina Police Department.

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6-year-old boy struck, critically injured by pickup truck in Azusa


AZUSA >> A 6-year-old boy clung to life at a hospital in “critical-but-stable” condition after being struck by a car while crossing the street with his mother late Thursday, police said.
The incident took place just after 7:40 p.m. in the 700 block of North Vernon Avenue, according to Azusa police Sgt. Robert Landeros.
“The child and his mother attempted to cross the street outside of the crosswalk when the collision occurred,” Landeros said in a written statement. “The driver of the vehicle stopped after the collision and rendered aid to the child.”
The boy suffered serious injuries, including serious head trauma, officials said.
Paramedics rushed the young patient by helicopter to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment.
“The child suffered multiple injuries and is in critical but stable condition,” Landeros said. “However, the child is expected to survive.”
The man at the wheel of the involved pickup truck cooperated with investigators, officials said. Intoxicated driving was not suspected to be a factor.
No further details were available Friday morning.
Anyone with information can reach Azusa police at 626-812-3200.

— City News Service contributed to this report

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La Puente woman suspected of DUI after car plummets into San Gabriel River in Azusa

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AZUSA >> Police suspect drunken driving and excessive speed after a car plummeted 100 feet over the side of San Gabriel Canyon Road in Azusa early Thursday, ending up overturned in the San Gabriel River below.
The crash was first reported about 4:05 a.m. in the 2000 block of San Gabriel Canyon Road, Azusa police Sgt. Robert Landeros said in written statement.
A 25-year-old La Puente woman was at the wheel of the 2014 Toyota Corolla when it left the roadway and fell into the river along the Mountain Cove community, he said.
“The solo driver was able to exit her vehicle as it became submerged in the water,” Landeros said. “The driver swam to a nearby embankment and yelled for help.”
A nearby resident heard the woman’s screams and called police. A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter and search and rescue team joined in the effort.
Paramedics took the woman to a hospital with injuries described as moderate, according to the sergeant.
“Driving under the influence of alcohol and unsafe speed are both suspected factors in this collision,” Landeros said.
The investigation was ongoing, however the driver was expected to be booked on suspicion of drunken driving, he said.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Police seek missing Azusa man

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AZUSA >> Police asked the public’s help Wednesday in finding a 31-year-old man with mental disabilities who went missing from an Azusa group home on Tuesday.
Devaughn Demetrius Lindsey-Ramos left his group home in the 1000 block of E. Alford Street about 9 p.m. Tuesday and did not return, Azusa police Sgt. Terry Smith said in a written statement.
“Devaughn is currently in need of medication and he left his medication at home,” Smith said. “Devaughn is possibly headed to Pomona.”
He is described as black, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 125 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, and orange shirt and blue jeans.
Anyone who spots Lindsey-Ramos is asked to contact Azusa police at 626-812-3200.

PHOTO courtesy of the Azusa Police Department

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Azusa man dies after being shot outside his home


AZUSA >> A 30-year-old Azusa man died Wednesday night after an unknown assailant shot him several times outside his home.
Sgt. Marcelo Quintero of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said Paul Espinosa, who was shot in the upper torso, made his way back to the house where he collapsed. He died at the scene.
Detectives have not found the shooter.
The shooting broke out just before 11 p.m. in the 17800 block of E. Newburgh Street, in an unincorporated county area near Azusa.
Espinosa stepped outside for a few minutes and his family heard three to four shots, according to Quintero.
The sergeant said Espinosa entered the house, said he’d been shot and told relatives to call 911. He said Espinosa collapsed on a couch.
Azusa police found him bleeding and unresponsive with gunshot wounds to his chest. Coroner’s spokesman Ed Winter said firefighters pronounced Espinosa dead at the scene at 11:10 p.m.
Investigators are looking for witnesses.
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.

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Gunman sought in Azusa 7-Eleven robbery

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AZUSA >> Police are seeking a man armed with a handgun robbed an Azusa 7-Eleven store early Wednesday morning, officials said.
The crime took place about 1:45 a.m. at the convenience store, 803 E. Arrow Highway, near Lark Ellen Avenue, Azusa police Detective Seth Chapman said in a written statement.
A man entered the store and demanded the clerk give him money from the cash register, the detective said.
“When the cashier refused, the suspect removed a black semi-automatic handgun from his front waistband and showed it to the cashier,” Chapman said. “Fearing for his life, the cashier turned over the money from the cash register to the suspect. The suspect proceeded to flee the store eastbound.”
The clerk suffered no injuries, he said.
Officials described the robber as a Latino man between 18 and 21 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, 145 pounds,, wearing a black zippered hooded sweatshirt, light colored pants and skateboarding-style shoes.
Police released surveillance camera images of the suspect in hopes of generating tips from the public as to his identity, officials said.
Anyone with information can reach Detective Chapman at 626-812-3200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

SURVEILLANCE CAMERA IMAGE courtesy of the Azusa Police Department.

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Auto theft suspect arrested after jumping from moving car in Azusa


AZUSA >> Police in Azusa arrested an auto theft suspect Wednesday morning after he jumped from the still-moving vehicle and tried to make his escape on foot, authorities said.
The incident began about 10 a.m. when an officer on patrol near Citrus Avenue and Basline Road spotted a passing car that had been reported stolen in Ontario earlier in the morning, Azusa police Sgt. Xavier Torres said.
“As the Officer attempted to catch up to the vehicle, it entered a residential tract in the unincorporated area of Azusa and began to speed up,” Torres said in a written statement. “As the Officer was about to stop the vehicle, the driver jumped out of the moving vehicle in the area of Viceroy (Avenue) and Ghent (Street) and began to run away.”
The abandoned stolen car continued until it went up onto a sidewalk and came to a stop in a residential front yard, Torres said.
The driver ran through several backyards before they found and arrested the suspect hiding in a nearby yard with help from alert neighbors and a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter, Torres said.
The suspect, whose name was not available Wednesday afternoon, was booked on suspicion of auto theft and resisting arrest, police said. He was expected to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.

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Los Angeles man who drowned in San Gabriel River in Azusa identified


AZUSA >> Coroner’s officials on Saturday released the identity of a Los Angeles man who drowned in the San Gabriel River at the northern edge of Azusa last week after falling into the water.
Mark Christopher Clayton, 55, died at a hospital following the mishap, which took place about 4:40 p.m. on Nov. 9 in the river along San Gabriel Canyon Road, near the bike trail, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith.
Clayton was recreating with friends when he fell into the water from a raft or inner tube, Azusa police officials said.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter crew hoisted the man from the river and flew him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, officials said.
Foul play was not suspected, police said. Clayton’s cause of death was yet to be determined by coroner’s investigators.
Azusa police Lt. Paul Dennis said the area where the accident occurred is private property, forbidden to the public, and unsafe for swimming or water sports due to “extremely dangerous” currents.

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