Covina youth center reflects on slaying, legacy of namesake

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COVINA >> A nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping kids away from gangs, drugs and violence through sports, academic and life mentorship marked a bittersweet milestone on Thursday.
It was the 9th anniversary of the slaying of Manuel “Manny” Moreno, a 26-year-old graphic designer who was gunned down on Nov. 10, 2007, in his hometown of Covina. But out of his tragic death, Moreno’s family launched the Man-e Moreno Foundation in his memory.
The group started helping families individually, then obtained a “mobile teen center” in a trailer before ultimately achieving its goal of opening a permanent teen center, the 212 Academic and Athletic Training Center, at 542 N. 2nd Street in Covina in 2012.
More than 150 young people, from 8-year-olds to college students, as well as 25 adults, now attend the center to make use of state-of-the-art sports training facilities, an academic study hall and other resources.
Covina’s new Police Chief, John Curley, and other city officials were on hand to mark the anniversary.
“(We) marked the nine-year anniversary of Manny’s passing the only way we know how: to continue our healing and also continue our mission,” Man-e Moreno Foundation President Robert Moreno said.
He thanked the many “amazing people” in the community who have helped the Moreno family in their journey to seek justice, as well as to become part of the solution to senseless violence.
The Man-e Moreno Foundation presented Covina City Councilman John King, Covina police Sgt. Anthony Zavala, who is investigating Manny Moreno’s murder, and Covina Police Chief John Curley with certificated of appreciation. The Covina Police Department has been “beyond supportive” of the family in its endeavors, Robert Moreno said.
Looking forward, he said, “We have pledged to continue fighting for a cause as we develop the complete student athlete as well as encourage and challenge the youth in our community to live life with a purpose.”

PHOTO: Covina’s new Police Chief, John Curley, center, meets with members of The Man-E Moreno Foundation’s 212 Training Center as it commemorate the 9th anniversary of the slaying of Manuel “Manny” Moreno, a 26-year-old graphic designer who was gunned in 2007, in Covina on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. The 212 Training Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping kids away from gangs, drugs and violence through sports, academic and life mentoring. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, San Gabriel Valley Tribune/ SCNG)

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Electrical problems in Covina cause manhole cover explosion, power pole fire, outage


COVINA >> An underground equipment failure Covina on Saturday morning ripped a manhole cover from the street, caused a power pole to burst into flames and knocked out power to more than 2,000 homes and businesses, authorities said.
The problem involving an underground cable failure in the area of Covina Boulevard and Barranca Avenue was first reported about 8:20 a.m., Southern California Edison spokesman Paul Netter said. Slightly more than 2,000 customers were initially left in the dark, but all had their power restored by 10:35 a.m.
Police received reports about 8:40 p.m. that a power pole had burst into flames at Covina Boulevard and Glendora Avenue, Covina police Sgt. Tony Zavala said.
An apparent underground electrical vault explosion just after 10 a.m. blew off a manhole cover and ripped apart the street along Covina Boulevard, just east of Barranca Avenue, Zavala said.
The outage also affected area traffic signals both in Covina and neighboring Glendora, Zavala said.
No injuries or collisions were reported as a result of the incident.

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VIDEO courtesy of Lauren Gold, photo courtesy of the Covina Police Department.

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Two men charged with murder in fatal shooting of Covina man during alleged robbery

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COVINA >> A man previously arrested but released without charges in the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Covina man during a robbery in Covina was re-arrested Wednesday after prosecutors filed a murder charge against him, authorities said.
Christopher Alexander Avila, 20, of Covina is accused of the Aug. 13 fatal shooting of 20-year-old Isaac Urena of Covina in the parking lot of Clearman’s North Woods Inn, at San Bernardino Road and Azusa Avenue, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
He joins co-defendant Adam David Hernandez, 21, of Covina behind bars as both await trial.
Both suspects were arrested the day after the killing.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Hernandez with being an accessory to murder, but released Avila due to insufficient evidence and requested further investigation.
Detectives continued gather clues and run forensic tests, developed new information and presented it to prosecutors, Peterson said.
“Based on the new evidence, The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed a murder charge (Wednesday) against Christopher Avila and amended the charge against Adam Hernandez to include murder,” according to Peterson.
Detectives found and arrested Avila at his home about 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Peterson said.
Investigators also arrested a third suspect at Avila’s home on suspicion of acting as an accessory to the slaying. Further details regarding that arrest were not available Wednesday night.
Hernandez has remained in custody since his arrest in August.
Both defendants were being held without bail.
The deadly shooting took place shortly before noon on Aug. 13 after the victim, Urena, was driven by a friend to the Clearman’s parking lot in order to meet a person who had agreed to buy jewelry Urena was offering for sale on the online marketplace OfferUp.com, police said.
The transaction turned into a robbery, which escalated into a shooting, police said. Avila allegedly produced a gun and shot Urena. Hernandez is accused of driving the car used in the crime.
Following the gunfire, Urena’s friend drove across the city border to the parking lot of Faith Community Church in West Covina, where paramedics ultimately pronounced Urena dead, officials said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Covina Police Department Detective Bureau at 626-384-5628. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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PHOTOS: [TOP} – BOOKING PHOTOS of Christopher Avila (left) and Adam Hernandez (right) courtesy of the Covina Police Deparmtent. [BELOW] – Police investigate outside the Clearman’s North Woods Inn parking lot in Covina where a 20-year-old Covina man was fatally shot on Saturday August 13, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

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7 kids, 2 adults hurt in when children’s train ride crashes in Covina

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COVINA >> Seven children and two adults suffered minor injuries Saturday when a small-scale train ride hired for a child’s birthday party overturned, officials said.
The mishap took place about 2:10 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 2100 block of Rancho Culebra Drive, according to Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson.
The children’s train ride, essentially a gas-powered tractor pulling carts behind it, flipped over when the driver lost control while traveling down a hill, Peterson said. The occupants spilled off the ride into the street.
Seven children between 3 and 7 years old, as well as two adults, suffered apparently minor injuries such as abrasions and bruises, he said.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the Covina Police Department’s Traffic Division.

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PHOTOS courtesy of the Covina Police Department

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UPDATED: Man killed in shooting near Covina


COVINA >> A man died following a shooting in a residential neighborhood near Covina early Saturday, authorities said.
The shooting was first reported at 1:13 a.m. in the 17600 block of East Brookport Street, in an unincorporated county area just outside of Covina, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“Several neighborhood residents reported they heard gunshots, then heard a car screeching away,” Lt. Thomas Reid said.
Responding deputies encountered a man in his 30s, lying wounded in a residential front yard.
Paramedics rushed the victim to an area trauma center, officials said.
The victim succumbed to his injuries Saturday afternoon, Lt. Mike Rosson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
The victim’s identity was not released pending positive identification and notification of family.
No eyewitnesses to the shooting had been located, Reid said.
Neighbors described hearing six to seven gunshots.
One neighbor, who asked his name be withheld due to safety concerns, said he looked outside following the gunshots and saw a man lying on a front lawn of a home, groaning in pain.
The neighbor added that he also heard the sound of a car speeding down the street immediately following the gunfire.
After realizing what had happened, the man said he gathered his family members in a hallway of their home until he heard deputies’ sirens outside.
No suspect description was available, and the motive remained under investigation. The shooting victim was not believed to live at the home where he was shot, Reid said.
The shooting occurred in front of a home neighbors said has been the center of problems, and that it has drawn a response from deputies in the past.
People often come and go from the home, staying for only a few minutes, they said. One neighbor said arguments and fights were common, and he once saw people fighting in front of the home with baseball bats.
No one answered the door at the home Saturday afternoon.
Anyone with information can reach 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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Man found dead in van outside Covina grocery store


COVINA >> Foul play was not suspected Sunday in the death of a man found slumped over the wheel of his van in the parking lot of a Covina grocery store, officials said.
A passer-by called authorities about 8 a.m. after noticing a man slumped over the steering wheel of a van in the parking lot of Stater Bros., 1023 N. Grand Ave., Covina police Sgt. Antonio Zavala said.
Paramedics responded and pronounced the man, who was estimated to be in his 50s, dead at the scene, the sergeant said.
It appeared the body may have gone unnoticed for several days, he said.
Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials planned an autopsy, however, there were no overt signs of foul play, and the death was believed to be due to natural causes.

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Azusa teens accused of spray-painting graffiti on convenience store, homeless man in Covina


COVINA >> Police arrested three Azusa teens early Saturday on suspicion of spray-painting graffiti on the back wall of a convenience store, as well as on the homeless man who was sleeping there, officials said.
Bowilliam Rendon, 18, Irving Aguilar, 18, and a 17-year-old boy, all from Azusa, were booked on suspicion of felony vandalism following their arrests shortly after 12:30 a.m. outside 7-Eleven, 1275 W. San Bernardino Road, Covina police Sgt. Ryan Davis said.
An officer spotted the three young men next to a car parked behind the convenience store and approached them, the sergeant said. They were detained as they started to leave.
Police discovered an estimated $500 worth of vandalism damage in the form of black graffiti, Davis said.
A homeless man who was asleep nearby had also been scrawled with graffiti on his back and hands, the sergeant said. He remained asleep during the incident and was awakened by police after it occurred. He did not wish to press charges.
Police released the juvenile suspect to his parents with a written promise to appear in court, Davis said.
According to county booking records, Rendon and Aguilar were being held in lieu of $5,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Tuesday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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West Covina man goes missing under suspicious circumstances

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WEST COVINA >> Police and worried family members are searching for a professional dancer of West Covina who disappeared earlier this week.
Rahkeem “Rocky” Reyes, 27, was last seen Monday, according to West Covina police officials and family friend Ronda Hampton.
His car was found later in the day in the 1500 block of McWood Street, Hampton said.
“His car was found running with the keys in the ignition and with all of his belongings in the car, including his laptop, wallet and other personal belongings, however, he was nowhere to be found,” she said.
“Rocky is a 27-year old professional dancer who has danced in several dance videos, movies, commercials and live stage performances,” Hampton said. “His family is very concerned about him as he has never gone missing and they are concerned that he may be in danger.”
Police confirmed they were investigating the disappearance as a person missing under suspicious circumstances, but declined to discuss the case in detail Thursday, citing the ongoing investigation.
Anyone with information can reach the West Covina Police Department at 626-939-8500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Woman shot in the face in drive-by attack near Covina


COVINA >> A woman narrowly escaped with her life after a bullet grazed her face in a drive-by shooting in an unincorporated county area near Covina late Sunday, police said.
The woman, estimated to be in her 40s, was standing in front of a home in the 5000 block of North Clydebank Avenue when two attackers approached in a gray, older-model car, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Terrence Smith said.
Two attackers drove up, yelled some type of possibly gang-related slogan and began shooting, the sergeant said.
“A gunshot grazed the victim in the face, below the eye,” he said.
Paramedics took the woman to a hospital, where she was listed in stable condition.
It was not clear if the was the intended target of the shooting, or merely a bystander struck by a stray bullet.
Further details, including a detailed suspect description, were not available Monday.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2709. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Two men rob Covina RadioShack store


COVINA >> Two men with a handgun robbed a Covina RadioShack store, as well as its employees, late Friday, police said.
The robbery unfolded shortly after 8:20 p.m. at the electronics store at 1065 Badillo Street, Covina police Lt. Dave Foster said.
The robbers first posed as customers and asked to see some items, the lieutenant said.
But when it came time to pay, one of the men pulled a small handgun instead, he said. The gunman demanded money from the cash register, as well as the two employees’ wallets and cell phones.
The robbers then grabbed the items they had selected from the counter and fled, according to Foster. They were last seen driving away in a dark-colored pickup truck.
The victims suffered no injuries.
Police described the robbers as two Latino men in their late-30s to early-40s. One stood about 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 190 pounds, while the other was about 5 feet 4 inches tall and 140 pounds.
Anyone with information can reach the Covina Police Department at 626-384-5665. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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