SOUTH EL MONTE >> A judge dismissed charges this week against a man and woman previously accused of murder in connection with the fatal stabbing of an Upland man in South El Monte last year.
Randall Chinchilla, 35, and Andrea Montoya, 37, both of El Monte, were arrested and charged in June in the fatal March 28, 2015, stabbing of 49-year-old Dennis Baltierra.
But during a preliminary hearing Tuesday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mike Camacho of the Pomona courthouse dismissed the case against the man and woman, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
At a preliminary hearing, a judge listens to a summary of the case to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to order a defendant to stand trial.
Chinchilla and Montoya were both released from custody Tuesday after spending 11 months behind bars with bail set at $2 million each, county booking records show.
Authorities alleged Chinchilla and Montoya stabbed Baltierra to death when they got into an argument while all three were hanging out at the home of a mutual friend about 11:30 p.m. on March 28 in the 11200 block of Broadmead Street in South El Monte.
Baltierra exited the home and collapsed in the yard with a stab wound to his neck, sheriff’s officials said. He succumbed to his injuries at a hospital a short time later.
Detectives identified Chinchilla and Montoya as suspects and arrested them on June 12.
Anyone with information on the fatal stabbing 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.
PHOTOS: [TOP] Photo from stabbing scene in the 11200 block of Broadmead Street in South El Monte the day after the homicide on March 29, 2016. (By Brian Day) [BELOW] Dennis Baltierra, 49, of Upland. (Courtesy)
EL MONTE >> El Monte police cited 179 driver in April during their crackdown on distracted driving, officials said.
The vast majority of tickets written during the month-long enforcement campaign were for using a cell phone while driving, El Monte police Sergeant Jimmie Pitts said.
Police patrolled in cars, on motorcycles and on foot to seek out distracted drivers, he said.
In addition to using a phone, other common exampled of distracted driving include reading or applying cosmetics, officials said.
“It is recommended that if a call, text or other task is critical, then a driver should pull over to the side of the road and complete the task,” he said.
The number of tickets was up compared with a similar crackdown last year, in which officers issued about 140 citations.
Funding for the bulk of April’s distracted driving crackdown was provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.
EL MONTE >> A domestic violence suspect “erratically” driving a stolen car led El Monte police on a chase before crashing in Baldwin Park late Saturday, officials said.
Cesar Antonio Bobadilla, 23, of El Monte was ultimately booked on suspicion of domestic violence, auto theft, evading police, hit-and-run and resisting arrest following the chase, which began about 7:55 p.m., El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said in a written statement.
El Monte police had been seeking him in connection with an alleged April 16 battery on his girlfriend when officers spotted him driving a Black Acura Integra at Parkway Drive and Elliot Avenue, Luna said.
“The officer attempted a traffic stop of Bobadilla where upon Bobadilla accelerated his vehicle at a high rate of speed and fled. A vehicle pursuit ensued throughout the City of El Monte and then into the City of Baldwin Park,” Luna said.
“Bobadilla drove erratically, lost control of his vehicle and collided into a tree at the intersection of Los Angeles St. and Bresee Ave. (in) Baldwin Park,” the sergeant said.
The suspect ran from the crash, but was soon found hiding in a residential backyard in the 13900 block of Belgate Street, police said. The Acura he had been driving was found to have been reported stolen.
Officials took Bobadilla to a hospital for treatment of injuries suffered in the crash before booking him into jail.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, he was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
BOOKING PHOTO of Cesar Antonio Bobadilla, 23, of El Monte. (Courtesy, El Monte Police Department)
EL MONTE >> A fire broke out Saturday at vacant business that formerly housed a gunpowder manufacturing facility, authorities said.
The fire was first reported at 4:49 p.m. along Arden Drive, near the railroad tracks just north of Valley Boulevard, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Simms said.
Firefighters could see smoke rising from the 30-foot by 60-foot building as they were still a mile away, she said.
No significant explosions were reported, however firefighters approached the fire cautiously upon learning of its previous use, officials said.
But officials soon confirmed the building was vacant and empty, Simms said. Firefighters declared the blaze extinguished about 5:15 p.m. No injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation.
EL MONTE >> An alleged burglary at an El Monte warehouse Friday afternoon led police to discover more than 1,500 marijuana plants and nearly 250 pounds of processed pot inside, officials said.
Police received a report about 2:25 p.m. that two burglars had broken into a warehouse at 2646 Strozier Avenue through a glass door, according to El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna.
Officer soon found and detained 43-year-old Gale Berry of El Monte at the scene, he said. Officers searched the warehouse but did not find the second reported intruder.
“Further investigation determined that the burglarized property had been converted into an illegal marijuana cultivation operation,” Luna said in a written statement.
Detectives obtained a search warrant and ultimately seized more than 1,500 marijuana plants, “in various stages of growth,” along with 247 pounds of harvested pot, Luna said.
Berry was booked on suspicion of burglary, possession of burglary tools and possession of a controlled substance.
“It was determined that 2646 Strozier had been sub-let, and the responsible party is still to be determined,” Luna said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Berry was being held in lieu of $105,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
Anyone with information is asked to contact El Monte police at 626-580-2114, or via email at email@example.com.
SCENE PHTOO/BOOKING PHOTO of Gale Berry, 43, of El Monte courtesy of the El Monte Police Department
EL MONTE >> Police issued more than three-dozen tickets to distracted drivers in El Monte Thursday during an extra enforcement campaign to coincide with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, authorities said.
Officers stopped 45 vehicles during the day-long, city-wide campaign, ultimately citing 36 driver, primarily for using cell phones while driving, El Monte police Sgt. Jimmie Pitts said.
One driver stopped as part of the campaign ended up being arrested due to an outstanding warrant, the sergeant said.
Police plan to hold another distracted driving crackdown Monday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., he said.
Funding is being provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety.
PHOTO: Through both sunshine and rain, El Monte Police Officer Andrew Avila urges motorist to avoid distracting driving during an extra enforcement campaign to coincide with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month along Ramona Boulevard in El Monte on Thursday, April 7, 2016. (Courtesy, El Monte Police Department)
EL MONTE >> Police and school officials in El Monte teamed up to return a lost class ring Wednesday to a 1985 Arroyo High School graduate who lost it 29 years ago, authorities said.
Custodian Beto Gonzalez was working at Arroyo High School, 4921 Cedar Ave., when found the ring on campus and turned it over to his wife, El Monte High School Counselor Carol Gonzalez, El Monte police Capt. David Vautrin said in a written statement.
“Carol realized the ring could possibly be reunited with its owner,” he said. She gave it to El Monte High School Resource Officer Joe Garcia.
“The ring had some identifying features which enabled Officer Garcia to locate the owner Richard Mason who had attended Arroyo High School,” Vautrin said. “Garcia confirmed Mason attended Arroyo and graduated in 1985. Officer Garcia worked with the staff of the El Monte High School District and was able to locate Mason, who now lives in the city of Azusa with his family.”
Mason told police he last saw the ring in 1987, after giving it to his then-girlfriend, the captain said. After the couple parted ways, he never saw the ring again.
“He was very happy to get his ring back and thanked Officer Garcia and the entire El Monte Police Department for getting his ring back to him,” Vautrin said.
PHOTOS courtesy of the El Monte Police Department.
EL MONTE >> Two teen suffered injuries when they tried to stop another teen, 14, from taking his mother’s car in El Monte early Sunday, police said.
The incident unfolded about 2:15 a.m. when the 14-year-old boy got into his mother’s car at a home in the 2600 block of Lexington Avenue and began to drive away, El Monte police Sgt. Jimmie Pitts said.
“His 15-year-old sister and 16-year-old friend attempted to stop him, because they believed he was intoxicated,” the sergeant said.
The teenage girl and boy suffered “minor to moderate” injuries when they fell from the car, Pitts said. They were not run over.
Paramedics took the injured teens to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment, he said.
Officers detained the 14-year-old driver and found no evidence he was intoxicated, Pitts said. He was not arrested as police continued their investigation.
The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services was also notified of the incident.
PASADENA >> Police arrested two burglary suspects with a freshly stolen handgun after a car chase that ended with a crash in El Monte Tuesday afternoon, police said.
Timothy Dwayne Johnson, 29, of Compton and Dale Terrelle Cross, 25, of Los Angeles were booked on suspicion of burglary and evading police following their arrests Tuesday afternoon, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The incident began shortly after 12:30 p.m. when a witness called police to report seeing two men break into a home in the 3700 block of Mayfair Drive, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
Arriving officers spotted the two alleged burglars leaving the area in a car driven by a third suspect, the lieutenant said.
The fleeing car led police on a pursuit for more than 8 miles before it crashed at Bryant Road and Whistler Avenue in El Monte, according to Pasadena and El Monte police officials.
All three suspects ran from the car, Luna said.
Officers searched the area and found two of the suspects, later identified as Johnson and Cross. One of them was apprehended with the help of a police dog and suffered dog bite injuries during his arrest.
Among the allegedly stolen items recovered from the suspects was a firearm, Luna said.
According to county booking records, Johnson was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, while Cross was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
EL MONTE >> Police issued 48 tickets and arrested one drunken driver Saturday during an extra enforcement campaign aimed at pedestrian and bicycle safety in El Monte, officials said.
Traffic officers focused extra attention between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on spots throughout the city that tend to have higher numbers of accidents involving pedestrians and bicycles, El Monte police Sgt. Jimmie Pitts said.
Saturday’s efforts focused primarily on the pedestrian and cyclists themselves, he explained. Other similar extra enforcement campaigns primarily target drivers that commit traffic violations that place pedestrians and cyclists in jeopardy.
Police wrote 46 citations to pedestrians or cyclists for violations such as jaywalking or riding a bike on the wrong side of the road, Pitts said.
Two drivers were cited, and one of them was ultimately jailed on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, the sergeant said.
Funding for the campaign was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.