Alleged armed gang member arrested after chase in Pasadena

PASADENA — Police arrested a Pasadena man on suspicion of being an gang member in possession of a loaded handgun following a short foot chase late Friday, officials said.
Officers responded to a report of a fight about 8:30 p.m. in the 100 block of Painter Street, Pasadena police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said. The caller described one man who had been armed with a gun.
There was no fight ongoing when police arrived, but a man matching the description of the armed man described by the caller ran from officers, Gourdikian said.
Officers chase the man about half a block before catching him and taking him into custody without further incident, the lieutenant said.
“Upon retracing the steps of the foot pursuit, a loaded firearm was recovered,” he said.
Carl Anthony Lloyd, 19, of Pasadena, was arrested on suspicion of felony gun possession, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records. The investigation was ongoing.
He was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

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Suspect wounded in Duarte deputy-involved shooting charged in court

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An alleged gang member wounded in a deputy-involved shooting near Duarte is out of the hospital and awaiting trial on charges of attacking deputies with an automatic assault pistol, authorities said Friday.
Andre Masayuki Goto, 34, is scheduled to appear Jan. 16 in Alhambra Superior Court for a preliminary hearing setting in connection with the Dec. 29 early-morning incident, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said.
He pleaded not guilty Dec. 31 to four counts of assault on a peace officer with an assault weapon, and two counts of assault on a peace officer, she said.
According to court documents, Goto is also accused of the special allegation that the crimes were gang-related, and that he has a previous conviction for assault with a firearm.
“His maximum (sentence), should he be convicted as charged, is 107 years in state prison,” Davila-Morales said. “Bail was set at $890,000.”
The encounter began just before 1:20 a.m as a short car chase of a man spotted with a gun and came to a violent conclusion in the 2400 block of El Toro Road in an unincorporated county area near Duarte, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
At the end of the brief chase, Goto is accused of ramming a sheriff’s patrol car, then pointing a loaded, automatic machine pistol resembling a MAC-10 at deputies, said Lt. Dave Dolson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said, which routinely investigated deputy-involved shootings. The suspect fired no shots.
The weapon was recovered at the scene, according to officials and witnesses.
Deputies fired on the Nissan Altima Goto and a passenger were in, striking both men, officials said. It was not clear Friday how many deputies fired their weapons during the incident, however a total of four deputies were listed as victims of Goto’s alleged assaults in court documents.
DUARTEDIS2Goto and the wounded passenger, a 36-year-old man who was ultimately released without charges “pending further investigation,” were both hospitalized following the shooting, Dolson said.
Goto has a listed address in Covina, but is believed to belong to a Duarte-area street gang, Dolson said. He declined to specify which gang.
Gang investigators were conducting extra patrols in the area in response to recent shootings, including two homicides, in the week leading up to the deputy-involved shooting.

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14-year-old girl shot to death while riding bicycle in Compton

COMPTON — A 14-year-old girl died late Saturday after she was shot while riding her bicycle in what investigators are calling a gang-related attack.
The name of the girl was not released Sunday pending positive identification and notification of family members, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Capt. John Kades said.
Deputies encountered the fatally wounded teen after responding to a report of a shooting about 10:10 p.m. at Alameda Boulevard and Elm Street, Sgt. Harry Drucker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement. She was taken to an area hospital where she succumbed to her wounds.
“According to witnesses, the victim was riding a bicycle when she was shot,” Drucker said.
No suspects were in custody Sunday, and no description of the attacker or attackers was available.
“The victim is a member of a local street gang and the shooting is believed to be gang-related,” he said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously through L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Police find guns, drugs, stolen car during Azusa arrests

AZUSA — A report of a man with a gun inside of a clothing store late Saturday resulted in three arrests, as well as the recovery of two guns, a stolen car and methamphetamine, police said.
Gabriel Triviso, 34, Dennis Ayon, 33, and Valerie Garcia, 33, were arrested shortly after 9:45 p.m. outside the Ross store at 820 E. Alosta Avenue, Azusa police Cpl. Robert Landeros said in a written statement. Triviso and Ayon were both described by police as documented gang members.
The incident began when police responded to a report that a man inside the store was armed with a handgun, police said.
Police surrounded the store and attempted to detain the group of three suspects as they exited the store, but Triviso allegedly ran, pulling a loaded semi-automatic handgun from his waistband and throwing it on the floor.
Officers recovered the gun and soon captured Triviso at a nearby parking garage, Landeros said.
As he and the other two suspects were being detained by police, officers discovered methamphetamine and a second loaded handgun inside the vehicle they had been driving, which had been reported stolen, Sgt. Randy Schmidt said. The sergeant declined to say exactly how much of the drug was recovered, but described it as consistent with “street sales.”
Triviso, Ayon and Garcia were each booked on suspicion of auto theft, possession of a controlled substance for sales and possession of a controlled substance with a firearm.
Triviso was additionally accused of illegal possession of a concealed firearm, while Ayon and Garcia were additionally booked on suspicion of possession of fake identification.
Azusa police were assisted in the arrests by a multi-agency anti-gang task force that was coincidentally performing gang suppression operations in Azusa at the time, Landeros said.
All three suspects were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending their initial court appearances, officials said.

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Trial begins for two men accused of killing one man, wounding another in 2009 Santa Fe Springs shooting

Trial was underway Thursday for a Whittier man and a West Covina man accused of the gang-related slaying of one man and the attempted murder of another along a set of railroad tracks in Santa Fe Springs in late 2009, officials said.
Erick Rodriguez, now-22, of Whittier and Jose Zapata, now-21, of Whittier are accused of the Dec. 8, 2009 killing of 18-year-old Jonathan Gonzalez of Corning, along with the non-fatal shooting of then-19-year-old Julio Serrano of Whittier, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Officials and court documents. Rodriguez, who was 17 at the time of the crime, is being tried as an adult.
Jury trial for the men began Wednesday in Norwalk Superior Court with jury selection, which continued Thursday, court officials said.
In addition to the charges, the two defendants are accused of the special allegations that both men personally fired handguns in the crime, and that the shooting was gang-related.
The shooting took place about 12:20 a.m. along a secluded section of railroad tracks just west of the 8900 block of Dice road in Santa Fe Springs, Whittier police Officer Mike Dekowski said at the time.
Gonzalez died at the scene of the shooting, officials said. Serrano was found wounded nearby.
The following afternoon, investigators identified Rodriguez and Zapata as suspects in the shooting and arrested them in the 8600 block of Alburtis Avenue in an unincorporated county area just west of Whittier, police said.
According to county booking records, Rodriguez was being held without bail, while Zapata was being held in lieu of $2 million bail.

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Authorities name woman found shot to death in Pico Rivera

PICO RIVERA — Coroner’s investigators Sunday released the name of a 27-year-old Pico Rivera woman who was found shot to death in a residential driveway last week.
Jessica Gomez died at the scene of Wednesday’s shooting, which took place shortly before 9:45 p.m. on Church Street, just south of Underwood Street, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said.
Investigators described the shooter only as a Latino man who fled the scene in a white Dodge Magnum, which one witness said had tinted windows.
The attack was believed to be gang-related, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Neighborhood residents said they heard what sounded like at least five gunshots in the shooting.
Gomez was believed to have been walking with another person when she was shot, officials said, however no further information regarding that second person was available Sunday.

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Baldwin Park man shot while standing in front yard with wife

BALDWIN PARK — Two male attackers shot and wounded a Baldwin Park man as he stood in front of his home with his wife late Saturday, police said.
The shooting took place shortly before 11:50 p.m. in the 4800 block of Jerry Avenue, Baldwin Park police Sgt. Darryl Kosaka said.
“We received a call of shots fired in the area,” he said. “Officers arrive. They find a 47-year-old male with multiple gunshot wounds to the (legs) in front yard.”
He was hospitalized with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, the sergeant said.
The man’s wife suffered a minor injury when she was struck by a bullet fragment, Kosaka said.
The couple was standing in front of their home when they were approached by a vehicle described only as a dark-colored, “smaller” compact car, he said. Two attackers inside were described only as male.
They asked the victim where he was from — a common gang challenge — before opening fire, the sergeant said.

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Gang members sentenced for Pico Rivera teen’s slaying

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NORWALK — A judge sentenced three gang members Friday for the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old Pico Rivera boy with no gang ties and the attempted murder of his teenage friend.
Norwalk Superior Court Judge John Torribio sentenced Michael “Whisper” Barrios, 30, of Pomona and Thomas “Soldier” Arellanes, 28, who was homeless at the time of his arrest, to 82 years to life in prison for the Nov. 1, 2010 slaying of El Rancho Robert Velazquez, 17, Pico Rivera2High School student Robert Velazquez of Pico Rivera in the 4000 block of Zola Avenue, said Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Brock Lunsford, who prosecuted the case. Velazquez’s friend, Ruth Rodriguez, escaped injury.
Fellow convict Enrique “Wacky” Medina, 34, of Pomona received a sentence of 42 years to life, Lunsford said. He is Barrios’ step-brother.
All three killers are members of the Brown Authority street gang, officials said. In addition to charges of murder and attempted murder, the jury also found true a special, sentence-enhancing allegation that the crime was gang-related.
The jury further found true another special allegation on the parts of Barrios and Arellanes that a gun was used in the slaying, Lunsford said.
“We got justice that was fair,” said Velazquez’s father, Jose Velazquez. “Now my son can rest completely, be in peace.”
“They’ll never hurt anyone else again,” the father added.
“I think this is a fair sentence,” the prosecutor said. “It’s obviously not going to bring Robert back to life, but at least there’s some justice being served. I hope this brings some sense of closure and peace to the Velazquez family.”
Robert Velazquez’s mother, Janice Rodriguez, also said she felt justice had been served for her son.
“As sad as it is, they got everything that they deserved,” she said. “I hope they feel remorse, I hope they feel sorrow and I hope they feel guilt for what they did, because they’ll have plenty of time to think about it,” Rodriguez said.
At the time of Velazquez’s killing, Brown Authority was feuding with another area gang, Pico Viejo, Lunsford said.
Velazquez was not involved with gangs, Lundsford said. “He just happened to be in a neighborhood that is considered Pico Viejo territory.”
According to court testimony, the killers were out looking for a rival gang member when they came across Robert Velazquez, who was standing in front of a home with a female friend.
In the hours leading up to the shooting, two men testified they were approached by gang members who questioned them about their gang affiliation and asked whether they belong to Pico Viejo.
When the men responded they were not involved with gangs, the gang members left after patting down their pockets and checking one of their arms for gang tattoos, according to testimony. One of the men identified Medina as the man who approached him prior to Velazquez’s slaying.
Velazquez was not confronted before being fatally shot, investigators said. One of the killers opened fire without warning from a passing SUV.
“Barrios’ SUV actually circled the block several times before the shooting occurred,” Lunsford said, likening the gang members to “a shark circling its prey.”
Janice Rodriguez said she often thought of her son’s young friend Ruth Rodriguez, who witnessed his slaying and narrowly avoided being shot herself.
“I just pray she didn’t get affected,” Janice Rodriguez said. “She’s so young.”

PHOTOS:

TOP: Defendants Enrique Medina, left, Michael Barrios, center, and Thomas Arrellanes, right, receive guilty verdicts in the drive-by shooting death of a 17-year-old Pico Rivera resident at Norwalk Superior Court on Thursday December 6, 2012. They were found guilty in the Nov. 1, 2010, drive-by shooting of Robert Velazquez , of Pico Rivera, and the attempted murder of his friend, Ruth Rodriguez, in front of her home in the 4000 block of Zola Avenue.(SGVN/Staff photo by Keith Durflinger)

BELOW: Robert Velazquez, 17, of Pico Rivera, was shot to death Nov. 1, 2010, in a shooting in the the 4000 block of Zola Avenue. Three gang members have been convicted of first-degree murder for the slaying. (Courtesy)

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Man fatally shot while riding skateboard in La Puente

LA PUENTE — A La Puente man died after being shot while riding a skateboard down a street late Saturday, according to sheriff’s officials and neighbors.
The identity of the shooting victim was not released Sunday pending confirmation that his family had been notified, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said. He was initially described as 35 years old.
He died at a hospital shortly after the attack, which took place about 11:15 p.m. on 2nd Street, just south of Main Street, authorities said.
“The suspects were last seen driving a silver Honda Accord,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. They were initially described only as three Latino men.
“Preliminary investigation seems to indicate that the shooting was gang related,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “There is no further information available at this time.”
The killing was described in coroner’s documents as a drive-by shooting, MacWillie said.
Several neighbors said they heard a series of gunshots, followed by the sound of a car speeding away. Neighbors’ estimates of the number of gunshots they heard ranged from six to 12.
“There were 10 to 12 shots at least,” said on neighbor, who asked that his name be withheld for fear of retaliation. “Then I heard a car buzzing off. Zooming off.”
When the neighbor looked outside, he said he saw the wounded man lying in the street.
“He was awake, crying, saying, ‘Help me, I’m dying,’” the witness said. “It was really scary.”
But within a few minutes, the wounded man was no longer moving or speaking, he said.
Another nearby resident, who also asked his name be withheld, also said he heard the cries of the wounded man.
Before he was shot, the shooting victim had been riding his skateboard south on 2nd Street, he said.
The slaying came as a shock on what is normally a quiet street, the man added. “Thirteen years we’ve lived here. “Nothing like this has ever happened.”
The fatal shooting occurred about a block from La Puente City Hall, and about a quarter-mile away from the sheriff’s Industry Station.
While neighbors said they did not know the identity of the victim, several of them said they prayed for him, and were saddened to learn Sunday morning that he succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

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Local, federal officials target gangs in Montebello

MONTEBELLO — A task force made comprised of both local and federal law enforcement officers took part in a large sweep targeting gangs in Montebello early Wednesday, culminating a lengthy investigation that has resulted in the arrest of multiple murder suspects, authorities said.
Agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms joined Montebello police and other agencies in Wednesday’s raids, which came at the end of an investigation that’s been underway for several years, Montebello police Lt. Luis Lopez said.
Further details of the operation were to be released at a press conference late Wednesday morning.

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