EL MONTE >> Police in El Monte are planning to field extra officers Monday to in a traffic crackdown aimed at improving safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The Bike & Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operation will take place Monday throughout the city, El Monte police officials said in a written statement.
The campaign will focus on areas where auto collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrian tend to occur, police said.
Officers will be on the lookout for violations committed by motorists, pedestrians and cyclists that can lead to injury collisions.
Over the past three years, police in El Monte have investigated 305 crashes involving pedestrians or bicyclists involving injury or death, officials said.
Funding for Monday’s campaign is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.
EL MONTE >> Police arrested an alleged rapist also sought in connection with the murder of a Fresno County woman Friday after a neighborhood search that lasted about four hours, officials said.
Kaleo Kealoha Schreiner, 21, of Tracy, was ultimately arrested for rape, possession of a loaded gun in public and resisting police, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said in a written statement.
Police first received a report a woman had been raped about 5:10 a.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 4100 block of Tyler Avenue, the sergeant said. The attacker was reported to still be at the scene of the crime and armed with a handgun.
Police spotted a man matching the suspect description running in the 3800 block of Tyler Avenue and set up a search perimeter, Luna said. West Covina and Arcadia police joined in the search, along with a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter.
A police K-9 found Schreiner hiding behind a garage in the 3800 block of Esmeralda Ave., officials said.
“The canine bit Schreiner, who resisted the canine and ignored officer’s commands to comply with the arrest,” Luna said. “A bean bag was deployed on Schreiner, who then complied, and was taken into custody.”
Police found a loaded handgun in the area where Schreiner had been hiding, Luna added.
Schreiner has been sought by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office for more than two weeks as a suspect in the slaying of Megan Troen, 20, of Tracy, whose body was discovered July 30 in the California Aqueduct, near W. Nees Avenue and the 5 Freeway in the Firebaugh area, Fresno County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Troen had left her home with Schreiner, an acquaintance of several years, July 20 and was never seen again. Investigators said Troen had a diminished mental capacity.
In the days and weeks that followed, Fresno sheriff’s homicide detectives identified Schreiner as a suspect in the slaying and issued a warrant for his arrent.
Officials took Schreiner suspect to a hospital for treatment prior to booking him into jail, he said.
PHOTO of Kaleo Schreiner courtesy of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office
EL MONTE >> A man died after a “minor” argument escalated into a stabbing in a residential El Monte neighborhood late Wednesday, authorities said.
The fatal stabbing was firs reported at 8:43 p.m. in the 3400 block of Belcroft Avenue, just north of Exline Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“When homicide detectives arrived, they learned the victim was confronted by the suspect, and a minor verbal altercation ensued,” according to the statement. “The suspect then stabbed the victim and fled the scene.”
Paramedics took the wounded man to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Investigators held a “possible suspect” for questioning at the El Monte Police Department, the sheriff’s department statement said.
No further details were released.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are assisting El Monte police with the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact 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.
WEST COVINA >> An El Monte gang member led West Covina police on a chase early Saturday before crashing into a brick wall, officials said.
Manuel Reyes, 36, was jailed following the pursuit, which kicked off just before 1 a.m., West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said. He was already on Post-Release Community Supervision under AB109 guidelines following a previous criminal conviction.
Officers tried to pull over a car for not having license plates in the area of Pacific Avenue and the 10 Freeway, but the car failed to stop, Patton said.
The driver, later identified as Reyes, led officers on a pursuit to El Monte, then backtracked into Industry before crashing into a brick wall at Valley Boulevard and California Avenue, the lieutenant said.
Reyes through a laptop computer and several other items from the car during the chase, he said. Investigators were still working to determine whether the items were stolen.
The suspect was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries prior to being booked into jail on suspicion of crimes including evading police and destruction of evidence, Patton said.
EL MONTE >> Police, aided by two K-9s, arrested two El Monte robbery suspects who fled into the San Gabriel Riverbed after leading officers on a chase in a stolen car late Friday, authorities said.
Freddie Huato, 26, and Julian Gutierrez, 24, were booked on suspicion of robbery following their 10 p.m. arrest in the riverbed near in South El Monte, according to El Monte police Lt. Ben Lowry and Los Angeles County booking records. Their cities of residence were not available.
Huato was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the El Monte Police Department’s jail, records show.
Gutierrez was hospitalized in an intensive care unit Saturday for treatment of injuries suffered prior to or during his arrest, Lowry said. It was unclear if the injury, described as a possible cut to the femoral artery, was suffered as Gutierrez fled through the riverbed or when he was ultimately apprehended by a police dog.
The series of events began about 6:30 p.m. when the suspects robbed a man and woman as they stood in front of their home in the 9700 block of Cortada Street in El Monte, Lowry said. After demanding property from the man and woman at gunpoint, the robbers fled the area in a car. A check of the car’s license plate indicated it had been reported stolen.
Officers spotted the car a short time later driving in the north end of the city, Lowry said. The suspects led police on chase for about eight minutes before abandoning the stolen car near Thienes Avenue and Parkway Drive in South El Monte.
After the suspects refused orders to surrender, two West Covina Police Department K-9s were sent in after them, Lowry said. Both were quickly found and arrested with the help of the dogs.
BALDWIN PARK >> Police arrested a woman and her brother on suspicion of kidnapping and other crimes after the siblings snatched the woman’s toddler son from the home of the boy’s father in Baldwin Park Friday, officials said.
Elizabeth Arias, 25, and Anthony Arias, 22, both of Baldwin Park, were ultimately jailed on suspicion of kidnapping, burglary and domestic violence, Baldwin Park police Lt. Chris Kuberry said.
The incident began about 8:30 a.m. when the brother and sister went to the father’s home in the 14800 block of Central Avenue and forced their way inside, the lieutenant said.
“The suspects became involved in a physical altercation with the father,” Kuberry said. “(Elizabeth Arias) kicked open a bedroom door and took the baby.” The woman and her brother then left in a black SUV.
Detectives found and arrested Anthony Arias in El Monte about 12:20 p.m., Kuberry said. When asked where the toddler was, “He was not cooperative.”
Investigators spotted Elizabeth Arias driving in El Monte about 4:30 p.m. and pulled her over, he said. Police found the boy, unharmed, inside the vehicle and arrested his mother.
There was no legal custody arrangement between the boy’s parents, Kuberry said.
EL MONTE >> The police department will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on Friday in an effort to lower deaths and injuries, officials announced.
Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur, looking for violations made by drivers and riders alike that can lead to motorcycle crashes, El Monte police Sgt. Jimmie Pitts said in a statement.
“Last year, two motorcyclists lost their lives in collisions in our city; as well as eight who suffered serious injuries” El Monte police Chief David Reynoso said in a statement. “We all need to be more aware of motorcyclists in order to save lives and promote public safety in our community.”
Drivers are reminded to signal when changing lanes, check mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles and leave more distance when following a motorcycle. Motorcyclists are reminded to wear proper safety gear, obey traffic laws and to ride defensively.
POMONA >> A 28-year-old Rowland Heights man was sentenced Tuesday to 26 years to life in prison for stabbing to death an ex-boyfriend in an industrial area in La Puente, authorities said.
Andres Aguirre was convicted June 2 of the first degree murder of Joseph Chacon of El Monte, whose body was found behind a business in the 15900 block of Old Valley Boulevard on Feb. 12, 2014, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. The men had been involved in a previous relationship but were friends at the time of the stabbing.
Ardalani said Aguirre drove him to La Puente, Ardalani said. Chacon got out of the car to urinate when Aguirre followed after him and stabbed him in the chest and back.
The prosecution argued that Aguirre stabbed Chacon because he felt angered and disrespected by Chacon for taking phone calls while the men spent the evening together. Aguirre’s defense attorney, Louisa Pensanti said her client acted in what he believed to be self-defense.
“He wasn’t angry, he was fearful,” she said.
Chacon had on the phone with a man Aguirre believed to be involved with gangs, Pensanti said. Believing Chacon was arranging an attack of some kind, Aguirre stabbed him, Pensanti said.
Pensanti also disputed the prosecution’s assertion that Aguirre provided Chacon with a large amount of alcohol prior to the fatal stabbing. Pensanti said Aguirre brought only two beers with him, though Chacon drank more of his own alcohol. “He wasn’t plied with liquor,” Pensanti said.
The defense asked the jury to convict Aguirre of the lesser crime of manslaughter, but the jury sided with the prosecution and found Aguirre guilty of first-degree murder.
POMONA >> An El Monte gang member has begun serving a sentence of 80 years to life in prison for the fatal shooting of a fellow gang member in El Monte in 2012.
A Pomona Superior Court jury convicted Frank Escalante, 27, in April of the June 14, 2012, slaying of 34-year-old German Palacios of El Monte in the 11500 block of Medina Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Convicted along with Escalante was 27-year-old Noah Akuna of Pomona, who was sentenced earlier this month 50 years in life in state prison. The jury found both guilty of murder with special gun allegations, conspiracy to commit murder and being convicted felons in possession of a firearm. Escalante also admitted a previous conviction for assault with a deadly weapon.
Both men fired on Palacios, Deputy District Attorney Robert Serna said.
Pomona Superior Court Judge Thomas C. Falls sentenced Escalante Tuesday to 83 years to life in state prison, Ardalani said.
Homicide detectives said Escalante and Akuna, along with two other attackers, shot Hicks 16 times because they believed he was involved in the April 12, 2008, slaying of Jack Edward Hicks, 35, of El Monte in a tent trailer parked behind a friend’s house in the 5200 block of Cogswell Road. Officials also suspected Palacios was targeted for disrespecting a higher-ranking gang member.
Detective Ray Lugo of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau confirmed that investigators had looked into Palacios in connection with Hicks’ slaying, but charges were never filed.
Two other men charged in connection with Palacios’ killing — Richard Sanchez of Covina and Michael Dominguez of El Monte — have pleaded “no contest” to charges of voluntary manslaughter.
Sanchez helped plan the killing, and Dominguez provided Akuna with a handgun used in the shooting, Serna said.
Sanchez has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, while Dominguez is scheduled to be sentenced July 8.
PHOTOS: [Above] -Convicted killer Frank Escalante, 27, of El Monte [Below] – Homicide victim German Palacios. (Courtesy)
EL MONTE >> Los Angeles police shot and critically wounded an armed domestic violence suspect in El Monte early Friday at the conclusion of a two-hour car chase that began in South Los Angeles, authorities said.
The wounded suspect was rushed into surgery and hospitalized in critical condition following the shooting, which took place about 5:30 a.m. at Valley Boulevard and Mountain View Road, Los Angeles police Lt. John Jenal said.
The incident began two hours earlier, when officers from the LAPD’s Southeast Division responded to a report of a domestic assault in the are of 96th Street and Firth Avenue, the lieutenant said. They encountered a victim with significant injuries, but the suspect had already left.
Officers spotted the suspect driving a white Toyota minivan nearby and began a pursuit when he failed to pull over, Jenal said.
The slow speed chase continued for about two hours, primarily on surface streets, Jenal said. “Officers saw him waving a weapon.”
Police used a spike strip to flatten the minivans wheels, but the suspect continued driving on the van’s rims.
He stopped the minivan and exited at Elliot Avenue and Cogswell Road, Jenal said. Police first shot at the man with a bean bag gun before opening fire with bullets, he said. The suspect, who was not struck by the gunfire, returned to the minivan and continued driving.
The minivan again came to a stop, apparently disabled, at Valley Boulevard and Mountain View Road.
“He put a blanket over him as he exited the van, to the point where you could not see his hands,” Jenal said. “Shortly thereafter, the blanket fell to the ground. In his hand, he brandished that same handgun, that’s when the officer-involved shooting occurred.”
Jenal said the suspect suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was in “very critical condition” at an intensive care unit. His identity was not available. He was initially described as about 30 years old. Graphic video of the incident that emerged online showed the suspect brandishing a handgun in the moments before he was shot. The view of the suspect is obscured at the moment police open fire.
In the minutes leading up, police are seen on the video ordering the suspect to throw his gun out the window, stop his car and surrender.
At one point, the suspect tells police, “I don’t want to kill myself. I just want to drive.” He later tells an officer who orders him to stop his van, “I can’t. You don’t understand.”