Man accused of setting arson fire on Azusa Pacific College campus


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.

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Clues sought in fatal shooting of man in Azusa aqueduct


AZUSA >> Detectives continued seeking clues Wednesday into the slaying of a man found shot to death alongside an aqueduct in Azusa on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The body was first discovered about 3:30 p.m. among rocks and shrubbery along the bed of the channel that runs along the west side of Sierra Madre Avenue, just north of Todd Avenue, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials. The identity of the victim, described as a man in his 40s who was believed to be staying in a nearby homeless encampment, was not released pending notification of his family.
The man’s cause of death was not immediately clear once his body was found, however, it was ultimately determined he had been shot in the upper torso, Sgt. Troy Ewing of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
The fatal shooting was believed to have taken place well before the body was found, he said.
“We believe he was there for a few days,” the sergeant said.
Investigators collected “ballistic evidence” at the scene, but Ewing declined to discuss the evidence in greater detail.
No information regarding a suspect description or motive was available.
Anyone with information is urged 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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Bicyclist from Whittier badly injured in collision with bus in Azusa


AZUSA >> A bicyclist from Whittier suffered major injuries in a collision involving a Foothill Transit Bus in Azusa on Friday, officials said.
The collision took place about 6 p.m. in the 300 block of South Azusa Avenue, just south of the 210 Freeway, Azusa police Sgt. Robert Landeros said in a written statement.
Rescuers flew the injured bicyclist, a 33-year-old Whittier man, to a trauma center by helicopter for treatment, he said. He was listed in “critical-but-stable” condition.
“The cause of this collision is still under investigation by the Azusa Police Department Traffic Bureau,” Landeros said.
No further details were available Saturday.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Azusa police at 626-812-3200.

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Man and woman jailed after chase from Azusa to Duarte


AZUSA >> A man and woman led police on a pursuit that ended with a crash in Duarte before they were arrested late Friday, police said.
Driver Dennis Ayon,, 36, of Azusa was booked on suspicion of evading police and felony drug possession, Azusa police officials said in a written statement. Passenger Darla Abriel, 30, of Glendora was booked on suspicion of a misdemeanor drug offense and outstanding warrants, according to Azusa police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The pursuit began shortly after 8 p.m. after an Azusa police officer tried to stop the car they were riding in for a traffic violation near 5th Street and Dalton Avenue, Azusa police officials said in a written statement.
“The driver failed to stop and led officers on a vehicle pursuit from the City of Azusa through the City of Monrovia and ultimately into the City of Duarte,” according to the statement, “The vehicle lost control and collided with several parked vehicles in the 2000 block of Mountain (Avenue), City of Duarte.”
Both the driver and passenger were treated for apparently minor injuries prior to booking, officials said. Further details regarding he type and amount of drugs allegedly possessed by the suspects was not available.
Information regarding Ayon’s bail amount and initial court appearance was not available Saturday, as he remained hospitalized, officials said. He is already on felony probation under the terms of AB 109, records show.
Abriel was being held in lieu of $45,000 bail pending an arraignment hearing scheduled Monday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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Classes cancelled Monday at Valley View Elementary School in Duarte; K-rails continue to hold in Fish fire impact area


DUARTE >> Officials cancelled Monday classes at a Duarte elementary school at the center the Fish fire impact area, which was threatened by mudslides and flooding Sunday as a storm dropped inches of rain over the Southland on Sunday afternoon.
School will be cancelled Monday at Valley View Elementary School, 237 Melcanyon Road, according to city and Duarte Unified School District officials.
Mud piled up high alongside roadside K-rails guarding the surrounding neighborhoods, but continued to hold Sunday afternoon, despite a heavy downpour Sunday morning, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. James Long said.
“So far, everything is holding, and there’s been really very minor mudflow activity,” Duarte spokeswoman Karen Herrera said.
Mandatory evacuations remained in effect for the Fish fire impact area, affecting 180 homes.
•Map: Fish fire impact area
An evacuation center capable of taking in both people and pets has been set up by city and Red Cross officials at the Duarte Community Center, 1600 Huntington Drive. It is scheduled to remain open so long as the city’s Red Alert, and corresponding mandatory evacuation orders, remain in effect.
“Very few” people made us of shelter, Herrera said.
The majority of residents of the affected area chose not to heed evacuation orders, but to shelter in place instead, she said.
Voluntary evacuation orders were also issued for neighborhoods in the Colby fire impact area in Azusa, authorities said.
A Flash Flood Warning was to remain in effect in the area through 6 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

STORMphoto

PHOTO by Watchara Phomicinda

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UPDATED: Man killed, another wounded in Azusa shooting


AZUSA >> One man died and another was wounded after they were shot inside a car in Azusa early Sunday morning, authorities said.
Killed was Alexander Salazar, 21, of Azusa, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
The shooting was reported at 1:22 a.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 600 block of North Alameda Avenue, according to Deputy Lisa Jansen of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Following reports of gunfire heard in the area, deputies found a four-door Lexus sedan had crashed into a parked car, Lt. John Corina of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Salazar, a documented member of the Azusa 13 street gang, was shot in the head, he said. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The passenger, a 20-year-old Fontana man, was treated for a gunshot wound to his hand.
Further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting, including a suspect description, remained unknown Sunday afternoon, according to the lieutenant. The surviving victim did not appear to be fully cooperating with investigators, and no other eyewitnesses had been found, he added.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is assisting Azusa police in the investigation, at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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$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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