EL MONTE — Police shot and wounded an unarmed man early Friday who was earlier seen running and screaming in the street, according to officials and witnesses.
The shooting was reported at 3:57 a.m. in the 3500 block of Cogswell Road.
El Monte Police referred all calls to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials who are handling the investigation.
“Officers with the El Monte Police Department responded to a man with a gun call,” Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement issued Friday evening.
“When the officers arrived at the location, they saw a man that fit the description of the person described in the call,” she said. “As the officers contacted him, the suspect reached into his waistband and an officer-involved shooting occurred.
No weapon was found at the scene, Saldana said.
The wounded man, described by investigators as 34-years-old, was taken to a hospital where he was listed in stable condition.
The name of the wounded man was not released, nor were the identities of the involved officers.
Authorities Friday made no mention of potential criminal charges against the wounded man.
No officers were injured in the incident, officials said. Authorities did not say how many officers were involved in the shooting or how many shots were fired.
Neighbor Henry Ballesteros said his stepdaughter heard a commotion early that morning and called 9-1-1.
“My stepdaughter went to the porch, saw the guy running and screaming,” he said.
He pointed toward Ferris and Cosgwell roads where there is a stop sign. Ballesteros said the man started there then ran down Cogswell Road.
“He woke up people living there. A lot of people called 9-1-1. That’s how much noise he was making,” Ballesteros said.
Ballesteros said the man was seen running around the car port area of a blue apartment complex. One of the neighborhood kids told Ballesteros the man was seen earlier arguing with someone in a car.The man was heard addressing someone inside the car as Richard.
“My stepdaughter didn’t see anybody in the car,” Ballesteros said. The residents thought the man was either drunk or on drugs, he added.
The gunshots woke up several residents.
Ana Bustamante thought Fourth of July when she heard the sounds. From her door, she saw a lot of police and a man lying on the street.
“I saw the man right there,” Bustamante said and pointed to a spot on Cogswell Road where several blood stains were visible. “He said,’I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!’”
She didn’t recognize him.
Lou Jaramillo who lives at Ferris and Cogswell roads said he heard three gunshots.
“I’m a light sleeper. When I heard the first pop, my eyes opened up. I called my sister who lives in the house in front of me who said someone got shot,” Jaramillo said.
He hasn’t heard of a shooting in the neighborhood in the four years he’s lived there.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tipsters may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or text “TIPLA” plus the tip to 274637, or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.
IRWINDALE — Police are seeking a thief or thieves who stole $30,000 worth of sound equipment from the trailer of a Monrovia-based nonprofit children’s theater company as it was parked in Irwindale earlier this week.
The trailer was discovered missing from the 15500 block of Arrow Highway Monday morning, Irwindale police Sgt. George Zendejas said. The theft was believed to have taken place between 5:45 p.m. Nov. 1 and 3:30 p.m. Nov. 2.
Inside the trailer was sound equipment belonging to Center Stage, a nonprofit theater company that teaches children to sing, dance and act, the sergeant said.
“The sound equipment consisted of microphones, handheld transmitters, power antennas, mixers and other sound equipment,” Zendejas said.
The trailer was found the following day in the city of El Monte, however the equipment was missing, he said.
Anyone with information regarding the theft was asked to contact Irwindale police Detective Jose Vargas at 626-430-2290.
EL MONTE — Sheriff’s investigators Friday announced the arrest of four suspects and the seizure of more than 1,000 marijuana plants, ecstasy pills and “Mollies” on Halloween, when deputies went trick-or-treating armed with a search warrant at four El Monte homes.
The raids took place Oct. 31 at four homes located on the same lot in the 12400 block of Magnolia Street, just east of Durfee Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Capt. Christopher Nee said.
Sheriff’s narcotics detectives assigned to the sheriff’s Temple Station spearheaded the bust, which was originally intended to target only two homes, Sgt. Sherif Morsi said in a written statement.
“During the service of the warrant, narcotics detectives were able to identify the two additional adjacent residences as also being involved in the marijuana cultivation operation,” Morse said. “All four residences are located on the same lot, which is within two city blocks of Mountain View High School.”
More than 1,000 pot plants and cultivation equipment, valued at about half a million dollars, were seized from the four homes, officials said.
The suspects were living in one of the homes, and growing their illicit crop in the other three, Nee said.
Investigators also found a “sizeable quantity” of both ecstasy pills and “Mollies” — a methamphetamine derivative, Morsi said.
Four suspects, described as Asian men and suspected gang members, were arrested during the bust, the sergeant said.
Their names were not released Friday as the investigation continued, Nee said.
“It is estimated that this size of an operation could produce over $6 million worth of marijuana per year,” Morsi said.
Additionally, the suspects are accused of stealing the electricity used for the grow operation from Southern California Edison, valued at about $200,000 during the 2013 calendar year.
Detectives declined to discuss further details of the case, and was unclear whether it was related to any other marijuana growing operations discovered by law enforcement officials in the San Gabriel Valley.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
EL MONTE — A 68-year-old El Monte woman and her 18-month-old grandson who went missing during their morning walk Sunday morning were found safe in Pasadena Sunday night , authorities said.
Ying Wah Tan Jer and her grandson Bryant Tan were reported missing after going on a walk about 7 a.m. near their home in the 4400 block of La Madera Avenue, El Monte police Detective George Fierro said in a written statement.
Jer had the boy in a backpack carrier when she left their home for their routine walk, he said. They usually walk up and down La Madera Avenue before returning home.
“A few hours later, the parents of (Tan) became concerned that (Jer) and (Tan) had not returned home, so they drove around the neighborhood in an attempt to locate them, however they were not located,” Fierro said. “The parents then called the police to report them missing.”
Jer did not have a cell phone, and she left her wallet and identification at home, police said.
Police officers, detectives and Explorer scouts carried out a search for the missing woman and child, Fierro said.
The woman and child turned up unharmed in Pasadena about 8:30 p.m., however further circumstances of where they were found or how they ended up there were not immediately available.
Four people are accused of helping hide a gang member wanted for raping an El Monte convenience store employee.
El Monte Police Sgt. Roger Cobian said felony charges were filed Tuesday in El Monte Superior Court against Charlene Godinez, 39, of La Puente, John Godinez, 41, of La Puente, Lisa Beserra, 45, of El Monte and Mario Chavez, 43, Rowland Heights for allegedly assisting Joseph Amaya to evade capture and prosecution.
Booking records show the four suspects were arrested Saturday by El Monte police. Charlene and John Godinez are out on bond. Beserra is being held at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood on a $90,751 bail which includes bail for two other unrelated cases. The three have a Nov. 5 court date.
Chavez is in custody at the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles and his bail is $50,000. His booking slip doesn’t show the date for his next court appearance.
Detectives may seek charges against others believed to have helped hide Amaya for the week following the Oct. 19 rape of a 19-year-old woman in El Monte, according to Cobian.
Prosecutors alleged Amaya was at the mini mart in the 4100 block of Peck Road earlier and left. He returned while the employee was getting ready to close the store.
The woman tried to lock the doors but he allegedly forced his way in. Amaya allegedly barricaded the doors, dragged the woman to the back of the business and sexually assaulted her, authorities said.
Detectives searched for the 18-year-old suspect.
“Amaya had been hiding with family and friends moving from El Monte to La Puente and Hacienda Heights,” Cobian said.
He was arrested in West Covina on Saturday after a traffic stop. Cobian said Amaya was in a vehicle with six adults and one minor.
Amaya remains in custody on $5 million bail. His Wednesday arraignment at Pomona Superior Court was continued to Nov. 13, court officials said.
- Ruby Gonzales
EL MONTE — Police asked the public’s help Sunday in tracking down a 76-year-old man who suffers from Parkinson’s disease who went missing last week.
Victor Eusebio Carrera was was last seen about 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Win All EZ Inn, 10024 Valley Blvd., El Monte police officials said in a written statement.
He requires several medications, police added. Carrera was described as Latino, 5 feet 9 inches tall and about 170 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information was asked to call El Monte police Detective Carlos Molina at 626-258-8643
An 18-year-old alleged gang member was being held in lieu of $5 million bail Sunday in connection with the rape of a cashier at an El Monte convenience store last weekend.
El Monte and West Covina police captured Joseph Leo Amaya, who had been sought for a week in connection with the sexual assault, shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday during a traffic stop in West Covina, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
Officials Wednesday issued a $5 million arrest warrant for the suspected El Monte Flores gang member.
“El Monte Detectives have been working tirelessly since the attack which happened one week ago,” El Monte police Sgt. Roger Cobian said.
“The residents of El Monte and the surrounding areas can sleep a little better at night now that he’s in custody,” he said.
Cobian said tips from the public helped detectives track Amaya down,
Undercover detectives who had been seeking Amaya spotted him in a car in an unincorporated county area near La Puente and followed it, according to West Covina and El Monte police. The El Monte requested assistance from West Covina police as the car headed into their city.
Officers from both agencies stopped the car in the area of Vincent Avenue and the 10 Freeway.
“He was taken into custody without incident,” the lieutenant said.
Amaya is accused of the Oct. 19 sexual assault of a young woman who was working at a convenience store in the 4100 block of Peck Road, Sgt. Roger Cobian said.
The victim, a college student, was preparing to close the store for the night when an attacker grabbed onto her, dragged her into the back of the store and sexually assaulted her, Cobian said.
Detectives quickly identified Amaya, described as a member of a local street gang, as a suspect in the attack.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Amaya with two counts of forcible rape and three counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object Wednesday, as he remained a fugitive. An warrant was issued.
Following his arrest, “The resident of El Monte and the surrounding areas can sleep a little better at night knowing he’s in custody,” Cobian said.
Amaya was being held in lieu of $5 million bail pending his initial court appearance, which was scheduled for Monday in El Monte Superior Court, according to El Monte police and county booking records.
A search of Los Angeles County booking records indicated Amaya was previously convicted of resisting or obstructing police in June in El Monte Superior Court.
In addition to El Monte and Covina police, agencies that took part in the manhunt included the U.S. Marshals Service Southwest Fugitive Task Force, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Major Crime Surveillance Team, the Los Angeles County Department of Probation and the Los Angeles County AB 109 Task Force.
PHOTO courtesy of the El Monte Police Department
A transsexual woman has filed a federal civil rights claim alleging she was raped by an on-duty El Monte police officer last year.
The complaint, filed Oct. 18, seeks unspecified damages and lists the City of El Monte and an unnamed police officer as defendants. It also named up to eight additional unidentified defendants.
Court documents indicate the alleged attack took place between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Oct. 23, 2012, as the victim was walking at the northeast corner of Central and Garvey avenues.
The uniformed officer is accused of pulling up alongside the transsexual woman and ordering her to lean into the driver-side window of his marked patrol car. Fearing for her safety if she refused, the victim complied, according to the complaint.
“El Monte Police Officer John Doe groped her breasts,” the complaint alleged. “He then asked plaintiff if she was a ‘nasty she-male.’ Plaintiff responded that she was transsexual.”
The complaint goes on to allege that the officer ordered the victim into a nearby alley, then ordered her to follow him to a deserted and poorly lit loading dock area in the 10000 block of Garvey Avenue.
Once there, “El Monte Police Officer John Doe got out of his car and ordered plaintiff to perform oral sex on him.” according to the complaint.
“After a few minutes, El Monte Police Officer John Doe told plaintiff to stand up and bend over the trunk of the police car,” the complaint stated. The officer allegedly told the victim in course language that he was going to rape her.
The officer called the victim by a pejorative name and told her, “you like this, don’t you,” as the assault continued, court documents claim.
Once the assault was over, the officer allegedly told the woman to “get out of here,” before leaving the area himself in his patrol car.
After walking away from the area, the woman returned to the scene and collected a condom discarded by the officer during the alleged attack, according to the complaint. The condom was turned over the Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators, who are looking into the allegation.
“At all times, plaintiff felt threatened by El Monte Police Officer John Doe’s actions and only complied with his directions out of fear for her physical safety,” the complaint stated. “At no point did El Monte Police Officer John Doe have probably cause to detain the plaintiff.”
In a written statement, El Monte Police Chief Steve Schuster said the department was taking the allegation seriously.
“These allegations are very disturbing and clearly not representative of the expectations we have for the men and women who serve the El Monte Police Department. We take any allegation against our police department or individual police officers very seriously because we hold our officers to the highest standard,” Schuster said.
“The officer in question has been put on administrative leave while an internal investigation (is) conducted. We have asked the Los Angeles (County) Sheriff’s Department to conduct a criminal investigation of the claims and are fully cooperating with that process.”
Department spokeswoman Valerie Martinez said the officer was placed on leave immediately once the allegation was made in October of last year.
Lt. Bob Peacock of the Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Bureau confirmed detectives have been investigating the El Monte officer.
“El Monte police requested we conduct a criminal investigation,” he said. He added that detectives expect to turn over their finding’s to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for consideration of charges within the next few months.
Investigators were still waiting on a few bits of evidence, including the results of DNA analysis, Peacock said.
The officer, whom Peacock declined to name, had not been arrested in connection with the investigation.
Rancho Cucamonga-based attorney Robert Kitson, who is representing the alleged victim, said the officer’s identity was not yet known to himself or his client.
He declined to discuss the case in detail, since it is already headed toward litigation. The City of El Monte and it’s police department were served with a court summons Tuesday, records show.
“The complaint is quite detailed. It speaks for itself,” Kitson said.
The El Monte officer is not the only San Gabriel Valley law enforcement officer currently accused of sexually assaulting a woman while on-duty.
In another lawsuit filed in April, a Chino woman alleges that then-Irwindale police Sgt. David Fraijo forced her to perform oral sex on him during a traffic stop on Oct. 20, 2012. The suit, which is pending, seeks $1 million in damages.
In addition to alleging civil rights violations on the part of the officer allegedly involved in the sexual assault, the lawsuit claims that police department supervisors, “failed to properly train and supervise El Monte Police Officer John Doe. Their acts or omissions were the product of a deliberate indifference to the constitutional and legal rights of plaintiff.”
EL MONTE — The El Monte Police Department has received an $80,00 grant to combat drunken and drugged driving, officials announced Wednesday.
The grant, issued by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is to fund a year-long program to prevent deaths and injuries caused by DUI crashes, El Monte police Cpl. Glen Eugenio said in a written statement.
“We are committed to driver safety and reducing the number of traffic collisions in our city, particularly those involving impaired drivers,” Police Chief Steve Schuster said. “Our current and past partnership with the OTS has been an integral part of our traffic safety program.”
Activities to be funded by the grant will include specialized training for recognition of drunken or drugged motorists, DUI saturation patrols, seat belt and child safety seat enforcement, warrant service operation on repeat DUI offenders and more.
Officials sought the public’s help this week in finding potential additional victims of a physicians assistant who worked in El Monte and Anaheim and is accused of molesting a patient under the guise of a medical examination.
Rocael Gomez, 48, of La Mirada was arrested Oct. 8 and charged the same day with sexual penetration by a foreign object of an unconscious victim and sexual battery by fraud, Orange County District Attorney’s officials said.
The alleged crime took place Jan. 4 at the Anaheim Market Clinic in Anaheim, district attorney’s officials said in a written statement issued Tuesday. At the time, he was also working at the Bansuan Medical Clinic in El Monte.
The victim, a 51-year-old woman, was being examined for back pain when Gomez allegedly molested her, prosecutors said.
“He is accused of sexually touching the victim under the guise that his actions served a legitimate professional purpose,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
Officials said the victim reported the incident the same day it occurred.
Gomez, who was out of custody on $250,000 bail, was scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 12 in Orange County Superior Court.
If convicted as charged, Gomez faces up to nine years in prison and would be required to register as a sex offender for life, officials said.
Anyone with information, or anyone who believed they may have been victimized by the defendant is asked to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Paul Carvo at 714-347-8794.
PHOTO of Rocael Gomez courtesy of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.