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.
Detectives were looking into the possibility an El Monte man accidentally shot his daughter Tuesday before intentionally shooting her girlfriend to death and committing suicide, officials said.
Harry Maldonado, 65, is believed to be the gunman who fatally shot his daughter, 32-year-old Evie Maldonado, and her girlfriend, 38-year-old Diana Amaya, about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday before turning the handgun on himself, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
The three, who lived together in a condominium in the 9900 block of Marshal Street, became involved in an argument inside the home’s garage when the shooting took place, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Detectives suspected the triple-fatal shooting may have started as an accident when Harry Maldonado brandished a semi-automatic handgun during an argument. The first person shot was his daughter.
“It could have been an accidental discharge,” Hernandez said. But then shots that rang out next were not believed to be accidental.
“He definitely intentionally shot (Amaya) and himself,” the lieutenant said.
It was unclear what the group was arguing about when the shooting occurred, he added.
Evie Maldonado and Amaya, who had been dating about 8 years, “had a tumultuous relationship.” Hernandez said.
A 21-year-old daughter of Amaya witnessed a great deal of the incident and was able to provide a description of what took place, Hernandez said.
Amaya’s daughter tried to intervene, striking Harry Maldonado with a broom stick, Amaya’s nephew, Eddie Ordonez said. He added he believed the gunman may have tried to shoot Amaya first, but missed, fatally wounding his daughter instead.
But with both the suspect and victims dead, Hernandez said exactly what unfolded on Marshall Street Tuesday night may never be known.
Friends said they were puzzled over how Harry Maldonado, who they described as calm and peaceful, could be responsible for the shooting. He was a former Marine who served two combat tours in Vietnam, Hernandez said.
Family members gathered at the Maldonado home Wednesday declined to comment.
Amaya is survived by four daughters and a son, Ordonez said.
“We’re taking it as a family really hard,” he said.
“If anyone ever knew Diana Amaya, they would know how special and one of kind she was,” Ordonez said in a written statement. “She would give the shirt off her back to help anyone in need and never ask for anything in return. Her laugh filled the room and was so contagious that everyone who heard couldn’t help but smile.”
“Her passing was too soon and she will forever be in the hearts of those who loved her,” the nephew said. “As a family, we stand together in this time of mourning and sorrow. We find strength and solace in the memories we have, and this will never be taken from us. Rest in Peace, Nana. We love and miss you.”
Donations to help with cost of Amaya’s services are being accepted online at www.gofundme.com/4uji0s.
PHOTO – Diane Amaya, 38, of El Monte, pictured with her five children. (Courtesy)
EL MONTE — Detectives and neighbors continued trying to make sense Wednesday of the fatal shooting of two women and a man in an apparent double-murder-suicide in an El Monte garage at an El Monte home.
Harry Maldonado, 65, of El Monte, Evie Maldonado, 32, of El Monte and Diana Amaya, 38, whose city of residence was unclear, were found dead inside the garage of home in the 9900 block of Marshall Street after police responded to a report of a shooting about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Investigators described the alleged shooter, Harry Maldonado, as Evie Maldonado’s father. The relationship between Amaya and the other two victims was unclear, though the Facebook pages of both Evie Maldonado and Amaya described each other as “partner.”
Neighbor Alfredo Borromeo said he had known Harry Maldonado for more than 15 years and was shocked to learn of the shooting.
“He seemed like a very nice man. I don’t know what happened,” Borromeo said.
He described Harry Maldonado as “very relaxed,” adding that he did not drink or use drugs.
Harry Madonado, a veteran of the U.S. Marines, appeared to have a good relationship with his daughter, Borromeo said. He said he did not know Amaya.
Amaya’s Facebook page lists four children and a son-in-law.
Hernandez said a daughter of one of the women may have witnessed the shooting, however further details were not available.
A memorial of candles and flowers marked the shooting scene Wednesday afternoon. The windows of the home were adorned with “Winnie the Pooh”-theme Halloween decorations that appeared to have been colored by children.
A woman who answered the door at the family home said the family was not ready to comment.
The shooting stemmed from an argument, however the nature of the dispute was not known, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. Sheriff’s homicide detectives are assisting El Monte police in the investigation.
A handgun was recovered from the scene, officials added.
Sheriff’s investigators released no further details Wednesday, and handling detectives could not be reached for comment.
A man killed his daughter and her girlfriend after a heated argument in El Monte, officials said. Here’s the complete story from reporter Ruby Gonzales.
EL MONTE — Coroner’s officials Saturday released the name of a 53-year-old man found dead in the Rio Hondo wash late last month in a possible homicide.
Passers-by reported finding the body of Felix Garcia-Bravo in the wash near the 3500 block of Santa Anita Avenue shortly before 4 p.m. June 29, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator McKracken said. She declined to give her first name. His city of residence was unclear.
A an official cause of death remained undetermined Saturday, however sheriff’s officials initially said the body showed signs of having been beaten and possibly stabbed.
Sheriff’s homicide detectives are assisting El Monte police in the investigation, and anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Crime Stopper by calling 800-222-8477.
EL MONTE — A 50-year-old Alhambra woman died after being thrown from her pickup truck in a crash on the 10 Freeway early Sunday, authorities said.
Joann Palomares died at the scene of the 6:45 a.m. crash on the westbound 10 Freeway, just east of Durfee Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said.
The fatal collision involved a pickup truck and a sedan, California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs said.
The Alhambra woman was driving a 1998 Ford F-150 when, for reasons that remained under investigation, it crashed into the rear of a 2007 Mazda 6, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement.
“The pickup truck hit the center divider wall, overturned and ejected the driver,” Jacobs said. Palomares was pronounced dead at the scene.
She was not wearing a seatbelt, CHP officials said.
The other driver, a 38-year-old Rancho Cucamonga woman, was not hurt in the crash, officials said.
All but the right hand lane of the westbound freeway were shut down for about two hours as officials investigated the scene, Jacobs said.
All lanes were cleared at 8:55 a.m., according to CHP logs.
Officers from the CHP’s East Los Angeles office were handling the investigation.
PASADENA — Coroner’s officials Wednesday released the name of a 51-year-old El Monte man killed in a weekend motorcycle crash on the 210 Freeway in Pasadena, authorities said.
Carlos Kapun died at the scene of the collision, which took place about 3L30 a.m. Saturday on the eastbound 210 Freeway at Michillinda Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Fred Corral said.
Kapun was taking the Michillinda Avenue offramp at unknown speed when he lost control of his 1982 Honda motorcycle and crashed into the concrete barrier along the left side of the offramp, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement.
He was thrown from the motorcycle, ultimately coming to a rest about 200 yards away on the Rosemead Boulevard onramp to the 210 Freeway, officials said. His helmet was found about 60 yards from his body.
The crash was under investigation by the CHP’s Altadena office.
PASADENA — A 51-year-old El Monte man died early Sunday in a motorcycle crash along the 210 Freeway, authorities said.
The man’s name was not released pending confirmation that his family had been notified, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Joyce Kato said.
The crash was first reported about 3:30 a.m. on the MIchillinda Avenue offramp of the westbound 210 Freeway in an unincorporated county area just east of Pasadena, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement.
After investigating the scene, CHP officers determined that the rider had been eastbound on the 210 and was taking the Michillinda Avenue offramp at an unknown speed prior to the crash, according to the CHP statement.
For reasons that remained under investigation, the rider lost control and veered to the left, striking the concrete barrier lining the offramp and throwing the man from his motorcycle, CHP officials said.
“Subsequently, (The rider) was ejected over the bridge railing on to the eastbound onramp from Rosemead Boulevard to the I-210,” according the statement
Paramedics pronounced the rider dead at the scene, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
The body was found about 200 yards from the motorcycle, and about 30 yards from the rider’s helmet, she added.
The investigation was being carried out by officers from the Altadena office of the CHP.
EL MONTE — Police arrested wanted El Monte parolee and his girlfriend Wednesday after they allegedly stole cell phones from pedestrians along Peck Road, authorities said.
Carlos Gonzalez, 22, and Jessica Alexandra Ortiz, 20, also from El Monte, were arrested at the end of a short car chase that ended about 1 p.m. when the fleeing suspects drove into a cul-de-sac, according to El Monte police and Los Angeles County booking records.
Police began looking for the suspects about 11:30 a.m. when two pedestrians had their cell phones stolen from them in the area of Peck Road and Lambert Avenue, El Monte police Detective Ralph Batres said.
In one case, a teenage girl was approached by a man — later identified as Gonzalez — who put a gun to her head and demanded her cell phone, Batres said. The young woman turned over her cell phone and was not harmed in the crime.
In another incident nearby, a car pulled up alongside a man and a young woman inside — later identified as Ortiz — asked to borrow his cell phone, Batres said. The victim handed the woman his phone, and the car drove off.
Victims were able to provide information to police, including the fact that the black, newer-model car had Arizona license plates, the detective said. El Monte police notified neighboring law enforcement agencies to keep an eye out for the car.
Cpl. Gary Gall spotted a car matching the description shortly before 1 p.m. at Cogswell and Ferris roads, Batres said. He called for backup as he watched the car and dropped off two women, who were arrested on unrelated charges including drug possession and an outstanding warrant.
Officers then tried to stop the car on Peck Road near Bryant road.
“(Gonzalez) sped off southbound peck in northbound, driving against traffic,” Batres said. The fleeing sedan got back into southbound lanes just before running a red light at Ramona Boulevard at high speed.
But then the car took a turn down a dead and at Federal Drive, police said. Ortiz was arrested without further incident.
Gonzalez ran and hopped a fence into a nearby car dealership, where he was soon captured by officers. A BB gun was found in the suspects’ car.
Ortiz, who was booked on suspicion of petty theft, was released from jail Wednesday after posting $1,000 bail pending her initial court appearance,according to police and booking records.
Gonzalez, a wanted parolee who was already being sought in a separate battery case, was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance.