Azusa couple arrives home to find intruder inside house

AZUSA >> An Azusa couple arrived home to find a burglar inside their house late Saturday, police said.
Police jailed Luis Rafael Puga, 22, of Azusa on suspicion of burglary and violating his probation, Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said in a written statement. Puga is already on probation for a past burglary conviction.
The incident took place about 9:50 p.m. in the 400 block of West 10th Street, he said.
“A man and his wife walked into their home through their front door and were terrified to find Luis Puga standing inside,” Sutcliffe said. “The woman fled immediately and called the Azusa Police Department, who dispatched several officers, while her husband stayed inside and tried to talk with him.”
Puga was eating food in the couple’s kitchen when they encountered him, he added.
Officers surrounded the home and the husband emerged from the home, but Puga remained inside.
“After being ordered to exit the residence, Puga surrendered to officers and was immediately arrested,” Sutcliffe said.
Police later learned that Puga had knocked on the door of the home before breaking in, the sergeant said. When no one answered the door, he climbed into the home through a rear window.
According to county booking records, Puga was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his arraignment, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.

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Three wounded in shooting outside Azusa birthday party

AZUSA >> A gunman shot and wounded three young men early Sunday outside a birthday party in a residential neighborhood in Azusa, authorities said.
All three victims of the 2:20 a.m. shooting in the 100 block of North Soldano Avenue were expected survive their injuries, Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said in a written statement. They were described as a 19-year-old Azusa man, a 22-year-old Azusa man and an 18-year-old Hemet man.
Police rushed to the scene after two patrol officers heard the sound of gunfire emanating from the area.
“When officers arrived they found three men wounded from gunfire, and quickly learned a gunman approached a crowd attending a party and open fire with a handgun,” Sutcliffe said.
No arrests had been made in connection with the attack Sunday morning, and no suspect description was available.
“The preliminary investigation does not suggest this was a gang related attack, and investigators are actively interviewing witnesses and carefully examining the evidence,” Sutcliffe said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Azusa Police Department at 626-812-3200.

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Car sought in Azusa hit-and-run

AZUSA >> A hit-and-run driver struck and badly injured a man in an Azusa crosswalk early Thursday, police said.
The 28-year-old victim suffered serious injuries in the 12:23 a.m. hit-and-run on Irwindale Avenue, just north of McKinley Avenue, Azusa police Sgt. Xavier Torres said in a written statement. He was hospitalized in “guarded” condition, the sergeant said.
The man was crossing Irwindale Avenue inside a crosswalk when he was struck, police said.
“A vehicle traveling northbound on Irwindale Avenue struck the pedestrian without slowing down or stopping,” Torres said. “It was last seen northbound on Irwindale Avenue.”
The car involved in the collision remained at-large Thursday afternoon, Azusa police officials said. It was initially described as a dark-colored or tan BMW or Mercedes-Benz sedan with a possibly cracked or broken windshield and damage to the front, right portion.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Azusa police Sgt. Randy Schmidt at 626-812-3210, or the Azusa Police Department at 626-812-3241.

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UPDATED: Woman rescued after dangling from 210 Freeway overpass in Azusa

1128_NWS_SGT-L-JUMPER2 - Copy

AZUSA >> Police and a good Samaritan rescued a suicidal woman found dangling from an overpass of the 210 Freeway in Azusa Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The incident unfolded shortly after 12:30 p.m. at the Vernon Avenue overpass, according to California Highway Patrol and Azusa police officials.
Police responding to reports of the possible jumper encountered an Azusa woman in her 20s, who was threatening to jump, Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said.
The woman was outside of a chain link safety fence, he said. A man who saw the woman up on the overpass had used his belt to tie one of her hands to the fence so she would not plummet onto the freeway.
“A good Samaritan attempted to secure one of her wrists to the fence using a leather pants belt,” Sutcliffe said.
“While standing on the overpass, Azusa officers handcuffed both of the victims wrists to the fence which prevented her from falling,” the sergeant said.
Firefighters then used a ladder to help bring the woman down.
Officials took the troubled woman for psychiatric evaluation, Sutcliffe said.
Authorities shut down the three right lanes of the westbound 210 Freeway for just over 10 minutes, CHP Officer Jennifer Cassidy said.
The incident caused a significant backup for both directions of the 210 Freeway.

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Four hurt in crash on Arrow Highway in Azusa


AZUSA >> An SUV ran through a red light an plowed into another SUV in Azusa late Saturday, injuring four people, two of them seriously, police said.
The wreck took place about 7 p.m. in the intersection of Vincent Avenue and Arrow Highway, Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said in a written statement.
“A gold Chevrolet Tahoe was traveling north bound on Vincent Avenue through the intersection of Arrow Highway when it collided with a black Chevrolet Tahoe which was traveling west bound on Arrow Highway at the same intersection,” Sutcliffe said. “The impact caused the gold Tahoe to flip onto its roof and trap a male and female adult inside who were riding in the vehicle.”
Firefighters worked for about 45 minutes to free the man and woman from the overturned Tahoe, officials said. Paramedics took them to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center by helicopter with injuries described serious, but not not believed to be life-threatening.
A man and woman inside the black Tahoe suffered minor injuries, Sutcliffe said.
“Although the investigation is active and on-going, several witnesses at (the) scene told officers the gold Tahoe failed to stop for the red light,” Sutcliffe said. Police were looking into the possibility of DUI on the part of the man who was driving the gold Tahoe.

PHOTO courtesy of the Azusa Police Department

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Rabid bat discovered in Azusa

AZUSA >> County health officials have issued a warning after a rabid bat was discovered in Azusa last week.
The bat was found Oct. 25, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials said in a recent statement.
Anyone who has recently had direct physical contact with any bats recently is encouraged to see a doctor for possible post-exposure anti-rabies treatment, officials said.
“Most bats in nature do not have rabies and are of no harm to people. However, it is important to never handle a bat,” according to the statement.
For more information, or to report sick or dead bats or encounters between bats and pets, contact the Department of Public Health’s Veterinary Public Health division at 213-989-7060.

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Search for armed man prompts brief lockdown at Azusa school

AZUSA >> Officials searched a neighborhood and locked down a school Wednesday after a man with a gun showed up at a home in an unincorporated county area near Azusa with a gun, police said.
The incident began about 10:45 in the 17600 block of East Renwick Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Vega sid.
A man arrived at a home with a handgun tucked into his waist and began pounding on the door, demanding to see a particular woman, Vega said.
A different woman who was home refused to let the man inside, but a teenage boy complied out of fear, Lt. Andy Berg said.
The gunman barged through the home looking for the woman he was seeking and left after becoming satisfied that she was not there, Berg said.
Police searched the neighborhood for the armed man, but did not find him, Berg said.
Officials at nearby Murray Elementary School elected to lock down the campus for about 20 minutes as the search was ongoing, sheriff’s officials said.
Deputies described the suspect as a Latino man in his mid-20s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, 160 pounds, with a shaved head and wearing a black hooded sweat shirt.
The investigation was ongoing.

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UPDATED: Azusa man accused of molesting 10-year-old girl


AZUSA >> Authorities charged an Azusa man with six felonies Friday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl earlier this week.
Prosecutors filed five charges related to child rape and molestation and one count of dissuading a witness from reporting a crime against Victor Carnio Martinez, 48, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
He entered no plea when appeared in Pomona Superior Court, she said. His arraignment was continued to Monday.
Police arrested him Wednesday after a 10-year-old girl told her mother she had been abused by Martinez two days earlier, Azusa police Sgt. Bruce Badoni said.
The family had trusted Martinez, whom police described as a family acquaintance, to take the girl on an outing to get some food when he attacked her, Badoni said.
“Suspect Martinez and the victim were in his vehicle on Monday evening when he drove to the rear of a local shopping center,” Badoni said in a written statement. “While in the vehicle, in a secluded area, Martinez sexually abused the child while she pleaded with him to stop. “During the incident Martinez threatened to harm the child and her family if she screamed, yelled for help or told anyone about what he was doing to her.”
Martinez returned the girl home nearly an hour later, “and once again threatened to harm the child and her family if she told anyone what had happened,” Badoni said.
The girl remained silent for two days, police said. She told her mother what had happened Wednesday, and the mother contacted police.
Officials took the traumatized girl to a hospital to be examined, Badoni said. Officers arrested Martinez Wednesday night.
Police lured Martinez to a shopping center where they arrested him about 9:40 p.m., according to police and booking records.
“During the initial contact, statements were made by Martinez that confirmed his involvement in this incident,” Badoni said. “In addition, he was identified by both the 10-year-old victim and her mother.”
Prosecutors charged Martinez Friday with seven felony counts related to child molestation, Badoni said.
He was being held in lieu of $1.2 million bail.
If convicted on all counts, Martinez faces up to 37 years to life in state prison, Ardalani said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Azusa police at 626-812-3200.

PHOTO of suspect Victor Carnio Martinez courtesy of the Azusa Police Department.

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Two men wounded in Azusa stabbing


AZUSA >> Two men suffered stab wounds in what was believed to be dispute between two family members at an Azusa home Thursday afternoon, police said.
The incident unfolded about 1:40 p.m. at Dalton Avenue and 11th Street, according to Azusa police and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials.
“We got a call of an assault with some sort of weapon,” Azusa police Lt. Paul Dennis said.
On arrival, police found two men in their 20s bleeding from apparent stab wounds, Lt. Mike Bertelsen said.
Both men were taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment, Bertelsen said. One was flown to the hospital by helicopter, while the other was transported by ambulance.
1003_NWS_SGT-L-AZSTABBING2An update on the conditions of the wounded men was not available.
The circumstances of the incident remained under investigation, however Bertelsen said the incident was believed to have been between the two men, and no suspect was being sought.
The two men were believed to be relatives, though their exact relationship was not clear.
Several other people at the home, including a small child, were not injured, police said.

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Azusa teen beaten with baseball bat, robbed of bicycle

AZUSA >> A suspect was behind bars Thursday and deputies sought several more after an Azusa teen was beaten with a baseball bat and robbed of his bicycle Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
Juan Reyes , 25, of Azusa was arrested on suspicion of robbery about an hour after the crime, according to Los Angeles County booking records. A second 25-year-old Azusa man was arrested along with Reyes, but released from custody Thursday morning pending further investigation.
The violent robbery took place shortly before 6:10 p.m. as the victim, a 15-year-old boy, was riding his bike near Valleydale Park, in an unincorporated county area just south of Azusa, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Vega said Vega said.
The teen reported he was “jumped” by a group of attackers, described as men in their 20s, the lieutenant said. One of the attackers wielded a baseball bat, with which he struck the teen in the head and hand.
The group fled with the teen’s bike, Vega said. At least some of them were seen fleeing in a car.
A witness was able to give deputies the license plate number of the car, officials said. Deputies went to the Azusa home where the car was registered, where they found and arrested Reyes.
A family member took the injured teen to a hospital, where he was treated for injuries including cuts to his head, Vega said. The injuries were not considered to be life-threatening.
Reyes was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, according to county booking records. He was scheduled for arraignment Friday in Pomona Superior Court.

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