Throughout the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, cops have been working to brighten the holidays of needy and disadvantaged kids.
Police and California Highway Patrol Officers, as well as Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, have been busily playing the roles of elves distributing toys, food and cheer to young people in need of some holiday spirit.
The California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have run large-scale toy drives to collect gifts for kids who might otherwise go without this holiday season.
And sheriff’s officials even brought Santa Claus, via helicopter, to meet with kids in Compton Saturday as deputies took them on a special Target shopping trip. Sheriff’s deputies also hosted an annual party Dec. 7 for abused and neglected children.
Police officers from both the Irwindale and Covina police departments have delivered toys to the young patients at the City of Hope in Duarte this month.
Police agencies including those in Whittier and West Covina, as well as some sheriff’s stations, joined Target stores for the “Heroes & Helpers” program, in which officers take needy youths shopping for gifts, officials said.
In La Puente, deputies visited schools and churches and neighborhood to hand out about 300 bags full of groceries Friday, sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said. And more food giveaways are planned this week.
Baldwin Park police attracted an estimated 2,000 kids to their police station Friday as they handed out more than 3,500 toys, according to the Baldwin Park Police Association. And of course, Santa Claus was on-hand as well.
PHOTOS: (top to bottom) 1.)Covina police officials deliver toys to children at the City of Hope in Duarte on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. (Courtesy) 2.) Whittier police take children shopping at Target in Whittier as part of the “Heroes & Helpers” program on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. (Courtesy) 3.) Principal Mona Diaz of Workman Elementary School in La Puente stands in front of a patrol car as Sgt. John Suh unloads bags of groceries to be handed out to families to help out for the holidays on Friday, Dec. 18, 2014. (Courtesy) 4.) Children meet with Santa Claus at the Baldwin Park Police Station as the Baldwin Park Police Association handed out more than 3,500 toys. (Courtesy) 5.) Irwindale police and city officials from Irwindale and La Puente deliver donated toys to City of Hope in Duarte on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. From left to right: La Puente City Councilman David Argudo, Irwindale police Officer Shawn Cory, Irwindale police Officer Diego Cornejo, Irwindale police Detective Jose Vargas, Irwindale police Capt. Ty Henshaw and Irwindale Mayor Mark Breceda. (Courtesy) 6.) West Covina police take children shopping at Target in Whittier as part of the “Heroes & Helpers” program on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. (Courtesy)
DUARTE >> A man fled with an unknown amount of cash after robbing a Little Caesars pizzeria late Saturday, officials said.
The crime took place about 9:15 p.m. at the restaurant, 1336 Huntington Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Julie Geary said.
A robber with a black handkerchief covering his face entered the store and demanded money from a female employee, the sergeant said. The victim complied, and the robber fled the area in a green Nissan vehicle.
No weapon was seen during the robbery, Geary added.
A detailed suspect description was not available.
DUARTE >> Deputies used a Taser to subdue a fleeing suspect armed with two Samurai swords in Duarte Thursday, officials said.
The bizarre incident began about 10:30 a.m. when the suspect’s mother called deputies to report that her 38-year-old son had swung a sword at her at her home in the 2000 block of Royal Oaks Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ismael Chavez said. The woman, who was in her 50s, was not injured.
Following the alleged assault, the suspect fled from the home with two Samurai swords, Chavez said. Deputies encountered Andrew Kao about 10 minutes later several blocks to the south along Huntington Drive.
“He had the two swords on him in his waistband,” Chavez said. “He was refusing to cooperate with deputies. He ended up trying to grab the weapons and they Tased him.”
Officials took Kao to a hospital to be examined and treated prior to booking him on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Chavez said.
Kao stays with her intermittently, Chavez said.
DUARTE >> Sheriff’s deputies and wildlife officials kept watch Sunday morning as a female bear with two cubs loitered in a Duarte neighborhood for more than five hours Sunday.
Authorities first received reports about 6:50 a.m. of a bear and two cubs wandering in the 1000 block of Junipero Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Loy McBride said.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials responded and found the female bear hiding in a front yard tree, but did not spot the cubs, McBride said.
Officials continued monitoring the bear, but avoided using tranquilizers or other aggressive means to shoo the bear away because it had cubs.
By noon, officials kept watch as the bear and cubs slowly made their way north back toward the forest, McBride said.
It was not clear if the bruin family was the same that visited a Monrovia neighborhood just over a mile away earlier this month to pilfer avocados.
The animals drew a large crowd of onlookers Sept. 10 as they spent the entire afternoon in the 200 block of East Olive Avenue before scampering off at dusk.
DUARTE — A man showed up at a hospital emergency room Wednesday after he was wounded in a stabbing in Duarte, officials said.
Arcadia police first responded to the Methodist Hospital in Arcadia about 6:30 p.m. after being notified a man had arrived there with stab wounds, Arcadia police Sgt. John Bonomo said.
But it was soon determined the stabbing took place in Duarte, and the investigation was turned over to deputies from the sheriff’s Temple Station, which patrols that area, according to Arcadia police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
Little information was initially available, however investigators believed the stabbing took place in the 1900 block of Mountain Avenue in Duarte, sheriff’s Lt. William Wicker said.
The wounded man was taken by private car to Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, the lieutenant said. Staff at the hospital transferred the wounded man to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, where he underwent surgery late Wednesday. An update on his condition was not available.
Investigators continued trying to piece together the circumstances of the stabbing Wednesday night, and no suspect description was available.
A man suffered grazing wound to the side of his head late Saturday in a shooting in a residential neighborhood between Duarte and Monrovia, officials said.
Deputies responded about 11 p.m. to reports of three to four gunshots heard in the area of Broderick Avenue and Beckville Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Alan Liu said.
They found the victim, described as a local man in his mid-40s, suffering from a grazing gunshot wound to the side of his head, Liu said. He was taken to a hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
The circumstances of the shooting remained under investigation, he said, and no suspect description was available. Detectives were yet to fully interview the injured man due to his medical condition.
DUARTE >> Rescuers rushed an injured motorcyclist to a trauma center Friday following a crash on the 210 Freeway in Duarte, authorities said.
The crash involved the motorcycle, and SUV and a third vehicle and was first reported about 6:02 p.m. on the eastbound 210 Freeway, just west of the 605 Freeway, Los Angeles County Fire Department and California Highway Patrol officials said.
The cyclist, a 48-year-old man, appeared to have rear-ended the SUV, fire Capt. Jeffrey Myers said. “His helmet went through the back window.”
But the Northridge man was conscious and breathing as paramedics loaded him into a helicopter at nearby Encanto Park and rushed him to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment.
“His injuries are major,” CHP Officer Monica Posada said.
Myers said the rider was likely spared more severe injuries by his protective gear, including a helmet and leathers.
The driver of the SUV, a 46-year-old West Covina man, was also taken to a hospital with apparently minor injuries, Myers said.
CHP officials described the SUV as a Nissan Pathfinder which sustained “moderate” rear-end damage.
Details regarding the third vehicle involved in the crash were not available, however two 40-year-old San Bernardino men inside of it were not injured, Posada said.
CHP officials issued a Sig Alert for the carpool and two left lanes of the freeway for about an hour following the crash.
Officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP were investigating the collision. No further details were available.
PHOTO: Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
DUARTE — Officials feared a man may lose his arm after it was crushed by a forklift in an industrial accident in the parking lot of the City of Hope early Thursday, officials said.
The rescue call came shortly after 8 a.m. in the parking lot of City of Hope, 1500 block of East Duarte Road, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire officials.
It initially appeared the man, who was part of a crew contracted to perform construction work at the hospital, was helping unload a forklift from a truck, sheriff’s Lt. Ismael Chavez said.
The man’s left arm became pinned between the forklift and a hydraulic leg used to stabilize the piece of construction equipment, the lieutenant said.
Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Keith Mora said the man was freed at 8:48 a.m.
The man’s injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, though it was not clear if he would lose his arm as a result of the mishap, Chavez said.
Further details were not available Thursday as the injured man was rushed to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Cetner by helicopter before investigators could speak with him, Chavez said. The California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health was notified of the incident.
– Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales
An alleged gang member wounded in a deputy-involved shooting near Duarte is out of the hospital and awaiting trial on charges of attacking deputies with an automatic assault pistol, authorities said Friday.
Andre Masayuki Goto, 34, is scheduled to appear Jan. 16 in Alhambra Superior Court for a preliminary hearing setting in connection with the Dec. 29 early-morning incident, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said.
He pleaded not guilty Dec. 31 to four counts of assault on a peace officer with an assault weapon, and two counts of assault on a peace officer, she said.
According to court documents, Goto is also accused of the special allegation that the crimes were gang-related, and that he has a previous conviction for assault with a firearm.
“His maximum (sentence), should he be convicted as charged, is 107 years in state prison,” Davila-Morales said. “Bail was set at $890,000.”
The encounter began just before 1:20 a.m as a short car chase of a man spotted with a gun and came to a violent conclusion in the 2400 block of El Toro Road in an unincorporated county area near Duarte, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
At the end of the brief chase, Goto is accused of ramming a sheriff’s patrol car, then pointing a loaded, automatic machine pistol resembling a MAC-10 at deputies, said Lt. Dave Dolson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said, which routinely investigated deputy-involved shootings. The suspect fired no shots.
The weapon was recovered at the scene, according to officials and witnesses.
Deputies fired on the Nissan Altima Goto and a passenger were in, striking both men, officials said. It was not clear Friday how many deputies fired their weapons during the incident, however a total of four deputies were listed as victims of Goto’s alleged assaults in court documents.
Goto and the wounded passenger, a 36-year-old man who was ultimately released without charges “pending further investigation,” were both hospitalized following the shooting, Dolson said.
Goto has a listed address in Covina, but is believed to belong to a Duarte-area street gang, Dolson said. He declined to specify which gang.
Gang investigators were conducting extra patrols in the area in response to recent shootings, including two homicides, in the week leading up to the deputy-involved shooting.
Deputies shot and wounded two men, one of whom was allegedly armed, following a brief car chase early Sunday in a neighborhood near Duarte, authorities said.
Both suspects, described as a 24-year-old man and a 36-year-old man, were expected to survive the injuries suffered in the 1:20 a.m. shooting at El Toro Road and Van Meter Street, in an unincorporated county area just outside of Duarte, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The incident began when sheriff’s gang detectives, who have increased their presence in the area in recent weeks in response to a spate of shootings spotted a man with a gun at Ivory Drive and Galen Street at the south end of Duarte, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The man got into a nearby car, which drove away, officials said. The detectives began chasing the car.
“The pursuit, which lasted for approximately 30 seconds, ended when the vehicle collided with a curb at the 2400 block of El Toro Road (in an unincorporated county area),” according to Lt. Dave Dolson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
“One of two Suspects Brandished a firearm, which resulted in a deputy-involved shooting,” Dolson said.
No deputies were hurt, said. “A weapon believed to be the suspect’s was recovered at the scene.”
Further details, including the identities of the suspects, the number of deputies involved in the shooting or the number of shots fired were not released Sunday.
A black Nissan Altima at the scene was riddled with more than two-dozen bullet holes. A dozen bullet holes were visible in the car’s rear windshield, and more than a dozen more dotted the driver-side of the car, with at least four through the driver-side window.
Neighbor Roger Villarreal, 29, said he was awakened by gunfire. He and other neighbors described hearing “more than 25” shots.
He said he dropped to the floor and pulled his fiancee to the floor as well as the shots continued ringing out.
“I heard commands after the gunfire,” he said. Deputies shouted at the men inside the car to exit the vehicle and show their hands.
One deputy yelled, “Where’s the (expletive) gun?” Villarreal said.
The driver crawled out of the car before being dragged and handcuffed by deputies, he said. He did not see whether the second man exited the car following the shooting.
Villarreal and his brother, Robert Villareal, 31, both said they saw deputies remove what appeared to be an automatic machine pistol, resembling a MAC-10, from the suspects’ car.
Rovert Villarreal added he was thankful no innocent bystanders were injured with so many bullets flying in the residential neighborhood.
The investigation was being spearheaded by detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, and anyone with information can reach the bureau at 323-890-5500.