EL MONTE >> Police arrested an El Monte middle school teacher on suspicion of inappropriate behavior with female students last week, officials confirmed Wednesday.
Police arrested Marcos Miguel Bowers, 45, of Covina Friday on suspicion of committing lewd acts with four underage victims, according to El Monte police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. He posted $100,000 bail and was released from custody three hours later.
The arrest came at the end of a month-long investigation that began April 2, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said in a written statement. Police were notified that Bowers had been involved in “inappropriate physical contact” with a juvenile, Luna said. Bowers was placed on leave at the outset of the investigation.
“The investigation continued, which resulted in the identification of three additional victims,” Luna said. Police described the alleged victims all as juveniles under the age of 17. But the specific ages and genders of the students were not released Wednesday, nor was information regarding whether the alleged victims were students.
Bowers taught math and science teacher at Kranz Intermediate School, according to the school’s website.
Mountain VIew School District officials could not be reached for comment late Wednesday, nor could Bowers.
Bowers was scheduled to appear for arraignment July 9 in Pomona Superior Court, officials said.
EL MONTE >> The community is invited to have a free lunch with El Monte’s new police chief Saturday at Arceo Park.
The meet and greet with El Monte Police Chief David Reynoso, who took over the El Monte Police Department last month, will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the park, 3125 N. Tyler Ave., according to the El Monte Police Officers Association, which is hosting the event.
Free hot dogs, chips and drinks will be provided.
For more information, the department’s Community Relations Office can be reached at 626-580-2186.
– PHOTO by Walt Mancini
EL MONTE >> An El Monte Kung Fu instructor is accused of molesting three students at his Valley Boulevard studio, police said.
Police arrested Derick Lee, 49, of Temple City, Thursday on suspicion of child molestation, child annoyance and false imprisonment, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said late Friday in a written statement.
The investigation into the Kung Fu instructor began early Thursday morning, Luna said.
“El Monte Police Officers received information that a local martial arts instructor from the Elite Kung Fu Training Academy, 10423 Valley Blvd., El Monte, had inappropriate physical contact with a juvenile,” Luna said.
Detectives identified Lee as the suspect in the alleged molestation.
“A follow-up investigation resulted in the identification of two additional victims,” the sergeant said. “All of the assaults were committed against current and former students of Elite Kung Fu Academy and the assaults occurred inside of the business.”
The crimes occurred over the past year, Luna said. Police withheld the genders of the alleged victims, described only as under 17 years old.
Messages seeking comment left with the martial arts school via phone and email were not returned Saturday.
According to the martial arts studios’ website, Lee began instructing Kung Du in 2004, “with only a handful of students practicing at local parks and Sifu Lee’s own home.” Sifu is a respectful Chinese term used to described martial arts instructors.
Lee opened DLee’s Martial Arts in Temple City in 2006 before moving to El Monte in 2012 and renaming the academy Elite Kung Fu, according to the website.
Lee was being held in lieu of $550,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Monday in El Monte Superior Court, county booking records show.
Detectives sought any potential additional victims, and anyone with information regarding the case is asked to contact El Monte police at 626-580-2114.
EL MONTE >> Police arrested a teacher at Columbia School in El Monte Friday on suspicion of showing pornographic images to children in a classroom, authorities said.
Jeff Minh Ha, 42, was booked for exhibiting harmful matter in the presence of a minor, a felony, according to El Monte police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
In a written statement, El Monte police Sgt. Jason Chao said Ha displayed the inappropriate images to “a small group of minors inside a classroom.” The victims were described as about 12 years old.
Police arrested Ha at the school “without incident” about 1:50 p.m., Chao said.
El Monte City School District officials were fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation, Chao said.
No further details were released Friday.
According to the school’s website, Ha teaches the 6th grade at the campus, which instructs kindergarten through 8th grade.
Ha was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.
EL MONTE >> An alleged burglar rammed the car of a resident who arrived home to interrupt a break-in at his home last week, police said Sunday.
Adan Ramirez Vega, 19, of El Monte is accused of burglary and assault with a deadly weapon following the incident, which began about 11 a.m. Tuesday at a home in the 4000 block of Shirley Avenue, El Monte police Sgt. Jason Chao said in a written statement.
“The victim returned home and discovered the suspect, Adan Vega, walking out of the residence,” Chao said. The resident retreated back to his car upon seeing the intruder.
Unbeknown to the resident, Vega gad already loaded up items and more than $6,000 in cash from the house into a car parked at the home, which belongs to the victim’s daughter, Chao said. Vega had also taken the keys to the car from inside the home, which he used to flee.
A driveway gate, as well as the victim’s car, blocked the burglars escape route, police said.
“Vega rammed he gate at the apron of the driveway and the victim’s car,” Chao said. The fleeing suspect rammed the victim’s car three times to make his getaway.
The fleeing, stolen car struck the resident as it fled, inflicting a minor injury, police said.
Police spotted Vega in the stolen car a short time later, Chao said. He crashed the car and continued fleeing on foot before being captured. All of the stolen property was recovered.
EL MONTE >> Police arrested a 16-year-old Arroyo High School junior Friday after he allegedly posted a threat against two of his teachers online via Twitter, officials said.
School officials first learned of the threat posted on social media about 9:40 a.m. Friday, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said in a written statement.
“A 16-year-old student of the school had posted a specific threat via his ‘Twitter’ account to harm two faculty members,” Luna said. Both victims were the student’s teachers.
Though it was not discovered until Friday, “The threat was posted (Thursday) while the student was in class,” Luna said.
Upon learning of the threat, school officials notified the school resource officer, who investigated the threat and ultimately arrested the student on suspicion of making criminal threats, the sergeant said. No harm came to either of the two teachers named in the threat.
No further details were released.
EL MONTE >> An El Monte man died Wednesday in a shooting at an Elliot Avenue apartment, officials said.
Juan Carlos Salazar, 22, died in the shooting, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
The fatal shooting took place about 6:45 p.m. in the 11000 block of Elliot Avenue, just east of Tyler Avenue, El Monte police Lt. Ben Lowry said.
After receiving a call reporting gunshots, “Officers responded to the location and found a male in his 20s who was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds,” Deputy Kelvin Moody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. The victim died at the scene.
The shooting took place inside an apartment, sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said.
Though a local resident, Salazar was not believed to have lived in the apartment where he was shot, Lt. Dave Dolson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. It was unclear why was there.
“The incident appears to be gang related,” Moody said.
No suspect information was available, and further details were released Thursday.
Police went door-to-door talking to residents of the street, which is densely packed with apartments.
Other officers kept watch over the rear side of the shooting scene facing Schmidt Avenue. Police with flashlights examined a wall to the rear of the Elliot Avenue apartments.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are assisting El Monte police in the investigation, Lowry said.
Anyone with information can reach 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.
EL MONTE >> An unknown gunman shot an El Monte man in the back Friday afternoon in a seemingly unprovoked attack along Maxson Road, authorities said.
Lt. Ben Lowry said El Monte police received a call about a shooting in the 3700 block of Maxson Road at 3:24 p.m.
Police found no victims at the scene, however a person showed up at a local emergency room with a gunshot wound a short time later, the lieutenant said. The wounded man had been taken to a hospital by private vehicle.
The man suffered a gunshot wound to his back and was being treated for injuries not considered to life-threatening, Lowry said.
The 21-year-old victim reported he was walking down the street when a Latino man of this build carrying a black handgun approached him from behind, police said.
Five or six shots were fired, but only one struck the man, Lowry said.
The motive in the shooting was not clear.
Officials briefly placed nearby Baker Elementary School and Jerry Voorhis Elementary School on lockdown following the gunfire, Lowry said.
EL MONTE >> An unlicensed SUV driver sheared off a fire hydrant and damaged a power pole in El Monte after falling asleep at the wheel, police said.
The crash took place about 12:50 a.m. in the 12100 block of Lower Azusa Road, El Monte police Lt. Richard Kano said.
“It appears that (the driver) fell asleep,” the lieutenant said. “He ran into an electrical pole and a fire hydrant.”
Police found the driver on foot near the crashed 1998 Ford Explorer, Kano said.
He was cited for driving without a valid license and released, he added.
Police shut down both directions of Lower Azusa Road for several hours as repairs were made.
EL MONTE >> The driver of a Mitsubishi Eclipse fled the scene of a crash that sent another car careening into a stopped California Highway Patrol car on the 10 Freeway in El Monte early Saturday, authorities said.
Two CHP officers were outside of their patrol car, which was parked along the right shoulder of the eastbound 10 Freeway just east of Peck Road, when the series of crashes occurred about 2 a.m., California Highway Patrol officials said.
“The CHP officers observed a rear-end traffic collision between two vehicles, just west of their location,” CHP officials said in a written statement.
“One of the vehicles traveled to the right, struck the sound wall, and traveled toward the patrol vehicle where it struck the patrol vehicle at the right rear and overturned onto its roof,” the statement said.
The second car involved in the crash, described as a dark-colored Mitsubishi Eclipse, sped away from the scene, CHP Officer Tony Polizzi said.
Two people inside the overturned vehicle, a Scion xB, suffered minor injuries and were taken to a local hospital for treatment, officials said. The CHP officers were not hurt.
Officers from the East Los Angeles office of the CHP are handling the investigation.