GLENDORA >> Authorities have officially identified a 63-year-old man who died in a fire at his mobile home in Glendora last month.
Brent Gielen died the fire, which ignited about 11:30 a.m. Feb. 4 at his mobile home in the Tropics Trailer Park, 428 E. Route 66, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said.
An autopsy determined he died from “thermal burns and smoke inhalation,” and the death was ruled an accident, according to the coroner’s office.
Gielen’s formal identification was delayed due to the condition of his body, officials said.
Investigators also determined the cause of the fire itself was accidental, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Randall Wright said. Further details on what specifically ignited the fire were not available.
A neighboring mobile home was damaged in the fire, but no other injuries were reported.
PHOTO by Walt Mancini
GLENDORA >> Police subdued a man with a Taser and arrested him after an unprovoked attack on a Glendora police officer Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
Miguel Arredondo, 30, tried to ram the officer with his car before attacking the officer and trying to grab his gun, Glendora police Lt. Scott Strong said. The officer suffered no significant injuries.
The officer first encountered Arredondo about 1:20 p.m. he was on patrol in the area of Gladstone Street and Burnaby Drive, the lieutenant said.
The suspect, driving a van, “made a sharp sudden turn in the path of the officer,” he said. “The officer had to make an evasive turn to avoid a collision.”
Arredondo then got out of the van and tried to open the passenger-side door of the police car before running around to the driver side, police said.
The officer exited his patrol car, Strong said. “A violent fight ensued.”
Officers ultimately subdued Arredondo and took him into custody with the use of a Taser, Strong said.
Arredondo’s city of residence was not unclear, nor was any motive for his alleged bizarre attack.
Police planned to seek charges including attempted murder of a police officer and assault with a deadly weapon, Strong said.
According to county booking records, he was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail at the Glendora Police Department’s jail pending a scheduled arraignment Friday in West Covina Superior Court.
GLENDORA >> Watchful neighbors helped Glendora police nab to convicted felons with a loaded handgun and items stolen from throughout the area early Wednesday, authorities said.
Gilbert Gonzalez, 25, and Gabriel Ibarra, 34, both of Pico Rivera, were jailed about 7 a.m., Glendora police Lt. Scott Strong said. Residents had called police about 5:30 a.m. to report a suspicious person looking into cars and homes in a neighborhood in the 500 block of Comstock Avenue, but the person was not found.
But police spotted a man matching the description of the prowler sitting in a car an hour-and-a-half later at Cullen and Bennett avenues, Strong said. He was accompanied by another man, and each was sitting in their own vehicle.
Gonzalez ran but was soon captured, the lieutenant said. Police arrested Ibarra without a struggle.
Inside their cars, police found a loaded handgun, as well as numerous items believed to have been stolen from car break-ins in Glendora, Monrovia, and other nearby cities, he said.
They were booked on suspicion of being felons in possession of a firearm, possession of stolen property and identity theft, Strong said.
According to county booking records, Gonzalez was being held without bail, while Ibarra was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
WEST COVINA >> Police cited and impounded the cars of five drivers who drove away from a courthouse in West Covina after having their licenses suspended or revoked, or being ordered by a judge not to drive, due to pending DUI cases, officials said.
Glendora police officers conducted the sting between 8 a.m. and noon Wednesday at the Los Angeles Superior Court’s West Covina Branch, 1427 W. Covina Parkway, Glendora police Community Service Officer Wendy Brewer said in a written statement.
Police officers staked out those offenders leaving the courthouse without a valid license who proceeded to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and drive away,” Brewer said.
The targeted drivers are intoxicated driving suspects, she explained. Some had their licenses suspended or revoked, while others had no licenses to begin with and had been ordered by a judge not to drive.
Officers followed 11 such people from the courthouse.
“While some offenders complied with the law and had alternate means of transportation, five individuals drove away despite judges’ orders,” Brewer said. “Those who chose to drive with their invalid license statuses were stopped by waiting officers, cited back into court and their vehicles were towed.”
They potentially face even longer license suspensions, along with other penalties,
The sting was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
GLENDORA >> Firefighters pronounced a person dead after extinguishing an intense fire at a Glendora mobile home Thursday, authorities said. Authorities initially feared two people had been killed in the fire, though it was ultimately determined that a single person perished in the blaze.
The identity of the victim was not released pending positive identification and notification of family, Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said. The person was initially described only as an adult.
Officials first received a 911 call at 11:32 a.m. reporting a 30-foot-long fifth-wheel trailer was on fire at the Tropics Trailer Park, 428 E. Route 66, Glendora police Lt. Matt Williams said.
Los Angeles County Firefighters arrived in 8 minutes and extinguished the flames by 11:53 a.m., the lieutenant said.
“The initial information from the joint investigation indicated there were two victims,” Glendora police offiials said in a written statement. “Upon the arrival of the Los Angeles County Coroner, the search of the trailer continued and only one victim was located.”
One adjacent mobile home sustained damage in the fire, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Randall Wright said.
The resident of the damaged unit was displaced, but unharmed.
No firefighters were injured, Wright added.
Firefighters found the victim during their initial efforts to extinguish the fire, Williams said.
A secondary search turned what was initially believed to be additional remains, though a closer inspection revealed the object was actually debris, officials said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, however, there were no signs of a crime, Williams said.
“It’s too early in the investigation to know what happened,” he said.
A distraught woman at the scene said she believed the victim to be her brother and awaited information from authorities. She declined to comment further.
Investigators from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail joined Glendora police in the investigation.
With the exception of the two scorched units, the residents of the 29-space mobile home park were allowed to return to their homes Thursday afternoon, Williams said.
Eastbound Route 66 remained closed to traffic into the afternoon as the investigation continued.
PHOTO/VIDEO by Walt Mancini
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Officials plan to shut- down a portion of Glendora Ridge Road in the Angeles Nation Forest north of the San Gabriel Valley between Christmas Eve and Monday due to snow and icy conditions, authorities said.
The closure will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday on Glendora Ridge Road, between Glendora Mountain Road and Mt. Baldy Road, County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works officials said in a written statement.
“Depending on whether conditions, the road is expected to reopen on Monday,” according to the statement. “Public Works will monitor conditions and respond as conditions warrant.”
Drivers who find themselves navigating through snowy or icy conditions are urged to exercise “extreme caution,” especially in mountain areas, officials said.
A full list of weather-related road closures in Los Angeles County is available online at www.dpw.lacounty.gov/roadclosures.
Police in Covina, West Covina, Azusa, Glendora and Los Angeles County have teamed up to create a specialized team to deal with people suffering from mental health crises.
The newly-formed East San Gabriel Mental Evaluation Team began last month and provides mental health intervention services 40 hours a week in the four cities it serves, Covina police officials said in a written statement.
The team consists of one police officer and one mental health clinician, officials explained. Each participating department provides a police officer for 10 hour each week to partner with the clinician, provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
Police formed the team in response to a “significant increase” in police contacts with people with troubled mental states, police said.
“For the last several years, front line law enforcement has become first responders to more and more incidents involving those in our communities in need of mental health services,” Covina Police Chief Kim Raney said. “By having a mental health clinician embedded in our patrol cars 40 hours a week, this is a tremendous opportunity to provide services to those in need.”
The ESGMET team is designed to help police deal with the mentally ill in a more compassionate and productive manner than is otherwise possible, police said. Instead of only being able to provide short-term solutions, such as 72-hour psychiatric holds, the program also allows departments to offer more long-term help such as case management, homeless outreach, crisis intervention and additional resources and referrals.
The program is similar to others already operating in the region, such as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Mental Evaluation Team, also known as MET, the Pasadena Police Department’s Homeless Outreach-Psychiatric Evaluation, or HOPE, team and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Mental Evaluation Unit.
GLENDORA >> Police arrested a woman and a teenage boy after finding them with stolen SUV in a Glendora neighborhood Friday afternoon, officials said.
Sureilyn Rodriguez, 20, and a teenage boy were arrested on suspicion of auto theft, Glendora police Lt. Scott Strong said.
A resident of the 1200 block of Swain Street called police about 5 p.m. to reports two suspicious people loitering near a Chevrolet Suburban, the lieutenant said.
The teenage boy ran as officers approached, but was quickly apprehended nearby, Strong said. Rodriguez remained with the stolen SUV and was arrested without a struggle.
Officers soon determined the Suburban had been reported stolen out of Baldwin Park, he said.
GLENDORA >> A pair of burglars smashed their way into three neighboring businesses along Route 66 early Friday, police said.
Officers first responded to reports of smashing window glass at the Frozen Ropes Baseball and Softball Training Center, 2244 E. Route 66, just before 3 a.m. and discovered the front glass had been shattered, Glendora police Lt. Scott Strong said.
They also soon discovered that two neighboring businesses — Mauricio’s Mexican Food and A&J Cake and Candy Supplies — had also been burglarized in the same fashion.
The two burglars stole cash from at least one of the three businesses, officials said.
A detailed suspect description was not available.
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> A man and woman robbed three people at gunpoint at a turnout along San Gabriel Road in the forest north of Glendora early Friday, officials said.
A man and woman from La Puente and a West Covina man were outside their about 12:10 a.m. at a turnout near mile marker 23.58, about two miles south of East Fork Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The two robbers, a man and woman, approached in a White Acura sedan, according to Lt. Andy Berg.
“The male suspect produced a pistol and demanded the victim’s property,” Berg said in a written statement. “One of the male victims surrendered $25 and his car keys. The second male victim gave the suspect $22.”
“During this time, the female suspect entered the car of the female victim and stole a purse containing a cell phone,” Berg added.
The victims, who were between 25 and 28 years old, made their way down the mountain and called for help, he said. They were unhurt.
Deputies described the male robber as a Latino man between 18 and 20, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, 150 pounds, with a shaved head. His female accomplice was Latina, 18-20, 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 120 pounds, with dark hair.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2700. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.