One suspect released, the other charged in fatal Covina shooting

Police have Clearman's North Woods Inn parking lot cordoned off where they believe a man was shot late Saturday morning. The man was found fatally shot inside a Honda Civic in the parking lot of Faith Community Church on San Bernardino Road in West Covina Saturday August 13, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

COVINA >> Authorities have released one of two suspects in the weekend slaying of a 20-year-old Covina man stemming from an alleged robbery and filed charges against the other, officials said Wednesday.
Covina police arrested Christopher Avila, 20, and Adam Hernandez, 21, both of Covina, on suspicion of murder the day after Saturday’s late-morning shooting in a restaurant parking lot that left Isaac Urena dead.
But prosecutors declined to file a case against Avila, sending the case back “for further investigation,” according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
Avila was released from jail Tuesday morning, Los Angeles County booking records show.
District attorney’s officials filed a county of acting as an accessory to the killing after the fact, Ardalani said.
A scheduled arraignment hearing for Hernandez on Tuesday was postponed to Monday.
According to booking records, Hernandez was being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Covina Police Department Jail.
The fatal shooting took place shortly before noon after Urena was driven by a friend to the parking lot of Clearman’s North Woods Inn, along San Bernardino Road, just east of Azusa Avenue.
Urena had arranged to sell some jewelry via the online app OfferUp, according to police.

A man was found fatally shot inside a Honda Civic in the parking lot of Faith Community Church on San Bernardino Road in West Covina Saturday August 13, 2016. Police have the victim's body covered by a tent awaiting the Coroner Department's arrival. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

But the transaction turned deadly, and Urena was fatally shot, Peterson said.
His friend drove across the city border to the parking lot of Faith Community Church in West Covina where paramedics pronounced Urena dead, officials said.
Despite Avila’s release without charges, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said he remains the suspect in the fatal shooting of Urena.
“We’re confident we’ve identified the people responsible,” he said.
No additional suspects were being sought, he added.
Hernandez is accused of driving the car that brought the gunman to the scene, and Avila is suspected of wielding the gun, Peterson said.
Detectives will continue building their case, gathering evidence and conducting witness interviews
“We’ll continue working with detectives, and with the District Attorney, to ensure charged are filed when warranted,” Peterson said.
Detectives recovered a handgun while serving search warrants at the suspects’ homes, Peterson said. The results of forensic tests to determine whether the seized gun is the same one that killed Urena were still pending Wednesday.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Covina police detectives at 626-384-5628. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTOS by Leo Jarzomb

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Two suspects jailed in fatal shooting of 20-year-old Covina man during alleged robbery

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COVINA >> Police have arrested two suspect in the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Covina man while allegedly trying to rob him of jewelry after arranging a meeting online, officials said.
Isaac Urena died in Saturday’s 11:50 a.m. shooting in the parking lot of Clearman’s North Woods Inn, at San Bernardino Road and Azusa Avenue in Covina, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator A. Lopez said.
After following leads and serving search warrant through the night and into Sunday morning, Covina police detectives, aided by SWAT officers, arrested Adam Hernandez, 21, and Christopher Avila, 20, both of Covina, on suspicion of murder and robbery, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
“These guys were relentless in their pursuit of these suspects…working, literally, around the clock,” he said.

Police have Clearman's North Woods Inn parking lot cordoned off where they believe a man was shot late Saturday morning. The man was found fatally shot inside a Honda Civic in the parking lot of Faith Community Church on San Bernardino Road in West Covina Saturday August 13, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Police have Clearman’s North Woods Inn parking lot cordoned off where they believe a man was shot late Saturday morning. The man was found fatally shot inside a Honda Civic in the parking lot of Faith Community Church on San Bernardino Road in West Covina Saturday August 13, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Urena was the passenger in a Honda Civic, with a friend at the wheel, when the shooting took place, according to police.
He had made an arrangement online to sell some jewelry, and had gone to the restaurant parking lot to meet the prospective buyer, the sergeant said.
But the transaction turned into a robbery, and Urena was shot and mortally wounded, Peterson said.
The driver of the car Urena was riding in fled from the shooting scene and drove west along San Bernardino Road, coming to a stop in the parking lot of Faith Community Church across the city border in West Covina, police said.
It was there that paramedics pronounced Urena dead, officials said. The driver, also a young man, was not wounded in the shooting.
Detectives had yet to determine of the alleged killers successfully stole the jewelry they were after, or fled empty-handed, Peterson said.
As investigators pursued leads in the case, they identified Hernandez and Avila as suspects in the fatal shooting.
Police served a search warrant in the 1400 block of Armel Drive in Covina, where they apprehended Hernandez, Peterson said.
“As the investigation continued, it led us to the 1200 block of O’Malley Avenue (in Covina), where we served a search warrant with our Special Response Team,” Peterson said. Avila was taken into custody.
Police recovered a handgun during the searches, he said, but police were yet to determine it if was the weapon used in the slaying.
According to county booking records, Hernandez and Avila were being held in lieu of $1 million bail each pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court. Police planned to seek an increase in bail to $2 million, Peterson said.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Covina police detectives at 626-384-5628, Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

BOOKING PHOTOS of Christopher Avila (left) and Adam Hernandez (right) courtesy of the Covina Police Deparmtent.

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Man found shot to death at West Covina church following Covina attack

A man was found fatally shot inside a Honda Civic in the parking lot of Faith Community Church on San Bernardino Road in West Covina Saturday August 13, 2016. Police have the victim's body covered by a tent awaiting the Coroner Department's arrival. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

A man was found fatally shot inside a Honda Civic in the parking lot of Faith Community Church on San Bernardino Road in West Covina Saturday August 13, 2016. Police have the victim’s body covered by a tent awaiting the Coroner Department’s arrival. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

WEST COVINA >> A young man died after he shot in the passenger seat of a friend’s car in Covina while meeting someone to sell property via an online advertisement, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 11:50 a.m. in the parking lot of Clearman’s North Woods Inn, at San Bernardino Road and Azusa Avenue, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
Immediately following the shooting, the driver of the car drove away from the shooting scene, heading west across the city border into West Covina, the sergeant said.
“After the shooting, the victim’s friend drove away from the location and into the parking lot of Faith Community Church in the City of West Covina,” Peterson said.
It was there that first-responders encountered the victim.
“When fire department personnel arrived, he was in full arrest,” West Covina Fire Department Captain Esteban Rodriguez said.

Police have Clearman's North Woods Inn parking lot cordoned off where they believe a man was shot late Saturday morning. The man was found fatally shot inside a Honda Civic in the parking lot of Faith Community Church on San Bernardino Road in West Covina Saturday August 13, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Police have Clearman’s North Woods Inn parking lot cordoned off where they believe a man was shot late Saturday morning. The man was found fatally shot inside a Honda Civic in the parking lot of Faith Community Church on San Bernardino Road in West Covina Saturday August 13, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Police, and then paramedics performed CPR on the wounded man, but he was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene, according to the captain.
The black Honda Civic in which the victim was riding came to a stop within a painted parking stall at the northwest end of the sprawling church property, 1211 E. Badillo Street.
Police covered the body with a sheet and a tent as they awaited the arrival of coroner’s officials.
The driver of the Honda, also a young man, spoke with investigators at the church Saturday afternoon.
He declined to comment and appeared angered by the presence of media.
The victim’s identity was not released Saturday.
The investigation remained in its early stages Saturday, however it initially appeared the victim and his friend had gone to the parking lot in Covina to sell some property after arranging the transaction online, Peterson said.
Police declined to say exactly what was being sold, but said the transaction did not involve contraband.
The shooter was described only as male, Peterson said. It was unclear if he was alone, or if was accompanied by accomplices.
No further details were available.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Covina police detectives at 626-384-5628, Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Police, sheriff’s deputies, CHP officers host ‘Coffee with a Cop’ in La Puente


LA PUENTE >> Local sheriff’s deputies, police officers and CHP officers will be meeting with the community this week for a “Coffee with a Cop” event in La Puente, officials said.
The informal gathering will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday at Starbucks, 1283 N. Hacienda Blvd., organizers said in a written statement.
Deputies from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Industry Station’s La Puente Special Assignment Team will chat with residents, as well as Covina police officers, West Covina police officers and California Highway Patrol officers.
There are no agendas or speeches planned, “just a chance to meet your deputies and officers,” according to the statement.
For more information, contact Deputy Viviana Marez at 626-934-3061.

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Anaheim teens arrested in Covina, accused of stealing $3,000 in razors, baby formula, Rogaine

COVINA >> Police jailed three Anaheim teenagers Saturday amid an alleged massive theft spree in which they collected more than $3,000 worth of razors, baby formula and Rogaine from stores in Covina, Glendora and La Habra, authorities said.
Jailed were Mirabela Stoican, 18, of Anaheim, as well as a 17-year-old Anaheim girl and a 15-year-old Anaheim girl, Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan said.
Security guards at Rite Aid, 139 N. Grand Ave., first called police about 3 p.m. to report three young women had just tried to steal a large amount of razors from the store, but dropped the goods and fled empty-handed, according to the lieutenant.
Security watched as the trio went across the street into a Vons supermarket and pointed them out to arriving police officers as they left, the lieutenant said. Police pulled over the suspects’ car and detained them. Stoican’s infant child was also in the car.
A large amount of baby formula believed to have been stolen from the Vons was recovered from the car, Doonan said.
“A further search of the car located six 30-gallon trash bags filled with stolen property,” he said. The items were primarily baby formula, razor blades and the hair regrowth product Rogaine.
“The property we recovered is valued at about 3,000,” Doonan said..
Investigators suspected the items had been stolen previously during the day during visits to at least one other store in Glendora, and two in La Habra, he said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Stoican was released from custody later in the day pending her initial court appearance after posting $20,000 bail.
The two underage suspects were taken to Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, Doonan said.

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CHP: West Covina woman killed after SUV blows through red light, slams into her truck near Covina


COVINA >> A 33-year-old West Covina woman died in a crash early Saturday after an SUV ran a red light and slammed into her pickup truck in an unincorporated county area just outside of Covina, authorities said.
Leslie Mendiola died in the 6 a.m. collision in the intersection of Lark Ellen Avenue and Cypress Street, according to Officer J. Smith of the California Highway Patrol’s Baldwin Park area office.
She was driving a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck south on Lark Ellen Avenue in the left-hand lane just prior to the crash, Smith said. A 27-year-old Covina woman was driving a 2002 Ford Expedition west on Cypress Avenue.
“(The driver of the Expedition) failed to stop at the circular red light at the intersection of Lark Ellen Avenue and Cypress Street,” Smith said. “Due to (her) failure to stop at the circular red light, the front of the Ford Expedition collided into the left side of the Ford F-150.”
Paramedics pronounced Mendiola dead at the scene.
The driver of the Expedition was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries described as minor, Smith said.
The investigation was ongoing Saturday afternoon, and the driver had not been arrested.

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Covina grandmother missing for two months after mysterious disappearance

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COVINA >> Sheriff’s detectives and worried family members sought the public’s help Thursday in finding a Covina grandmother who disappeared more than two months ago under suspicious circumstances.
Tamara “Tammy” Rummel, 49, was last seen on May 20 on surveillance camera, accompanied by an unidentified man, using a an ATM machine in Covina on the afternoon of May 20, according to Deputy Lilian Peck of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
0729_SGT_NWS_SGT-L-COVINA-MISSING-sketchJust before arriving at the Covina bank, Rummel is believed to have left her home in the unincorporated county area of Covina, “in an unfamiliar sports-utility vehicle with an unknown person(s),” Peck said in a written statement.
“Also suspicious, Tamara’s cell phone activity ended hours after the ATM transaction, and she has not been seen or heard from since,” Peck said. “Detectives would like to learn the identity of the man seen with Tamara at the bank, who may offer critical information in locating her.”
Detectives released bank surveillance camera photos of Rummel and the unidentified man in hopes of generating leads. Authorities had yet to determine whether the man seen in the bank surveillance camera images is the same who left Rummel’s home with her earlier in the day.
Rummel is a mother of four grown children and a “doting grandmother” of six, Peck said. She retired from a position as media director with a resource center for parent’s with special needs children about a decade ago.
“She is a responsible person who enjoyed home ownership, and interacting with friends and family,” Peck said. “Tamara’s family said her disappearance and complete lack of communication since Friday, May 20, 2016, is highly uncharacteristic and has caused them great worry for her welfare.”
0729_SGT_NWS_SGT-L-COVINA-MISSING-conferenceRummel is described as white, 5 feet 3 inches tall and 145 pounds. She has light brown hair and blue eyes.
Investigators also released a composite sketch of the man who accompanied Rummel to the ATM.
The person of interest pictured with her in the bank surveillance camera photos wore a white T-shirt and a baseball cap with a logo, possible a “B,” on the front.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sergeant Ken Perry or Sgt. Dan McElderry of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau’s missing persons unit at 323-890-5500.
Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Man killed by off-duty LAPD officer during alleged robbery attempt at Covina Carl’s Jr. identified

Covina police and detectives investigating shooting that happened inside Carl Jr. and Green Burrito building in Covina. An off-duty Los Angeles Police Department reserve officer fatally shot a man who tried to rob him at gunpoint inside a fast-food restaurant, officials said.The shooting occurred Wednesday, July 6, 2016 at Carl’s Jr., 573 N. Azusa Ave., Covina police and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said. The off-duty reserve officer had stopped in for lunch when a suspected gunman approached and apparently tried to rob him, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said. “The preliminary investigation revealed the suspect brandished a weapon at the off-duty officer, who then shot the suspect in the upper torso,” Peterson said. The sergeant said the suspect was struck multiple times.Paramedics pronounced the wounded man dead at the scene, according to fire department Dispatch Supervisor Melanie Flores.His identity was not available pending positive identification and notification of family members, authorities said.Covina police are handling the investigation into the incident. The name of the involved off-duty LAPD officer was not released Wednesday.(Photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News)

(Photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News)

COVINA >> Coroner’s officials have identified a 19-year-old man who was fatally shot by an off-duty reserve Los Angeles police officer during an alleged armed robbery attempt at a Covina Carl’s Jr. restaurant last week.
Victor Vidal Sigala died at the scene of the shooting, which took place just before 3:15 p.m. on July 6 at the restaurant at 573 N. Azusa Ave., Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Mario Sainz said. His city of residence was unclear.
The off-duty LAPD officer was having lunch when Sigala approached him and brandished a handgun an apparent robbery attempt, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
The officer drew his own weapon and shot Sigala, mortally wounding him, police said.
The suspect’s gun was recovered at the scene, LAPD officials said. The identity of the involved officer was not released.
There was no indication the officer and Sigala knew one another prior to the shooting, Peterson said.
Covina and Los Angeles police are working together to investigate the shooting.
Anyone with information can reach the Covina Police Department’s Detective Bureau at 626-384-5628.

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Woman sought in theft of package from Covina porch

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COVINA >> Police are seeking a woman caught on camera pilfering a package from a porch in Covina earlier this week.
The theft took place about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at a house in the 1300 block of East Puente Street, Covina police Sgt. Trevor Gaumer said.
A resident had been awaiting the delivery of a package, valued at about $150, but it seemingly never arrived, the sergeant said.
The woman reviewed her home surveillance camera footage, which had captured video of a woman walking up to the porch and taking the package immediately after it was delivered, Gaumer said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Covina police at 626-384-5995.

PHOTO courtesy of the Covina Police Department

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Officials: Off-duty LAPD officer fatally shoots armed robber at Covina Carl’s Jr.


COVINA >> An off-duty Los Angeles Police Department reserve officer fatally shot a man who tried to rob him at gunpoint inside a fast-food restaurant, officials said.
The occurred just before 3:15 p.m. at Carl’s Jr., 573 N. Azusa Ave., Covina police and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
The off-duty reserve officer had stopped in for lunch when gunman approached and apparently tried to rob him, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
“The preliminary investigation revealed the suspect brandished a weapon at the off-duty officer, who then shot the suspect in the upper torso,” Peterson said.
The sergeant said the suspect was struck multiple times.
Paramedics pronounced the wounded man dead at the scene, according to fire department Dispatch Supervisor Melanie Flores.
His identity was not available pending positive identification and notification of family members, authorities said.
Covina police are handling the investigation into the incident.
The name of the involved off-duty LAPD officer was not released Wednesday.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Covina Police Department’s Detective Bureau at 626-384-5628, or the watch commander at 626-384-5665. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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