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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
COVINA >> A Covina man angered over his misdemeanor arrest ended up right back behind for felony vandalism after he smashed the front glass door of the Covina Police Department with a rock immediately upon his release from jail Friday afternoon, police said.
Jose Alberto Melendez, 54, was released just after 5:10 p.m. from the Covina Police Department’s jail, 444 N. Citrus Ave., after being arrested earlier in the afternoon on suspicion of trespassing and possession of drug paraphernalia, Covina police Lt. Dave Foster said.
He immediately walked from the back of the building, where he was released, to the front of the police station, the lieutenant said.
Melendez threw a rock through the plate glass door of the station, which was seen and heard by several department personnel, according to the lieutenant. Officers then re-arrested him just outside the police department.
According to county booking records, Melendez was being held in lieu of $5,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
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.
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
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.