Deputies honor slain comrade on 14th anniversary of murder in Irwindale

IRWINDALE >> As they have done each year for more than a decade, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on Friday spent 24 hours standing in silent, stoic tribute to fellow deputy David March at the site where he was murdered 14 years ago.
March, a 33-year-old deputy assigned to the sheriff’s Temple City Station, was shot to death in the line of duty on April 29, 2002, along Live Oak Avenue, just east of Peck Road. A permanent memorial to March stands at the roadside.
0430_NWS_SGT-L-MARCH3Deputies stood motionless in pairs in half-hour increments before ceremoniously switching positions with two other deputies. The process continued from midnight Friday morning to midnight Saturday morning.
Sheriff’s Temple Station Capt. Coronne Jacob and her husband, sheriff’s Sgt. Andy Jacob, took the first shift, Sgt. Jim Dexter said.
Visitors ranging from family members of the slain deputy to high-ranking officials from the sheriff’s department and other law enforcement agencies stopped by to pay their respects.
March’s killer, previously convicted felon and four-time deportee Jorge Arroyo Garcia, also known as Armando Garcia, fled to Mexico within 24 hours of the fatal 0430_NWS_SGT-L-MARCH4shooting and remained a fugitive until he was arrested in 2006. Garcia was returned to the U.S. to face trial, and pleaded guilty in 2007 to murder, with the special allegations of intentionally killing a peace officer in the line of duty and using a gun in the crime. He is now serving life without parole in state prison.
When Garcia was returned to the U.S. to face justice, deputies cuffed him with March’s handcuffs.


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CHP: Hit-and-run crash that injured 6 motorcyclists on 210 Freeway in Irwindale may have been intentional


IRWINDALE >> Six motorcyclists and two people riding in a sedan suffered injuries Saturday afternoon in a chain-reaction crash caused by a hit-and-run pickup truck that investigators say may have been an intentional attack.
The wreck occurred just after 7 p.m. on the westbound 210 Freeway, just west of Irwindale Avenue, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement.
Prior to the crash, six motorcycles were traveling in the fast lane at about 65 mph, and a BMW sedan was driving in the carpool lane, also at about 65 mph, officials said.
“Suddenly, a black pick-up truck traveled from the No. 4 lane, across the westbound lanes, and into the No. 1 lane, where it struck one motorcycle. This impact caused a chain reaction with the other five motorcycles, with at least two of them striking the BMW,” according to the CHP statement.
“Preliminary information indicates the pickup truck may have intentionally struck the motorcycles,” the statement continued.
The pickup truck fled the scene, and no further description was available, authorities said.
0418_NWS_SGT-L-MOTORCYCLES2Two of the motorcyclist were hospitalized in critical condition, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Ed Pickett said. Four more were treated for injuries, but declined to be taken to hospitals.
Two occupants of the BMW were also taken to a hospital for treatment, officials said.
Officials issued a Sig Alert for the carpool and two left lanes of the westbound 210 Freeway for about two-and-a-half hours as they investigated the scene and cleared the wreckage.
Any witnesses, or anyone with information, is asked to contact Officer Campos of the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office at 626-338-1164.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Irwindale Police Department.

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UPDATED: Woman, 2 kids hurt in 605 Freeway crash in Irwindale

IRWINDALE >> Paramedics rushed a woman and two children to a hospital after their SUV wen over off the side of the rain-slickened 605 Freeway in Irwindale, officials said.
The crash took place about 2:15 p.m. on the southbound 605 Freeway at Arrow Highway, according to California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials.
0410_NWS-SGT-L-605CRASHThe SUV tumbled down an embankment, rolled over several times and ended up in a culvert, fire Capt. Rudy Gilson said.
Firefighters had to cut the woman free from the wreckage, he added. The crash knocked down a power pole, but the wires did not pose a significant risk of electric shock at the scene.
Two boys of elementary school age were flown to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center by helicopter with injuries described as moderate, Gilson said. The woman was taken to the hospital by ambulance with injuries also described as moderate.
CHP officials shut down the Arrow Highway offramp of the southbound 605 Freeway as they investigated the scene and cleared the wreckage.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the Baldwin Park area office of the CHP.

PHOTO courtesy of the LA County Fire Department

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Rosemead motorcyclist killed in crash with alleged DUI driver in Irwindale identified

IRWINDALE >> Authorities Thursday released the identity of a motorcyclist from Rosemead killed in a collision with an alleged drunken driver earlier this month.
Maximiliano Michel, 29, died following the crash, which took place about 9:15 p.m. on Feb. 5 at Longden and Myrtle avenues, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said. His identification was delayed as coroner’s investigators worked to notify family members.
An autopsy determined Michel died from “traumatic injuries,” and the death was ruled an accident, according to the coroner’s office.
Michel was riding a 2009 Yamaha motorcycle north on Myrtle Avenue as a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu was turning left from southbound Myrtle Avenue onto eastbound Longden Avenue, according to Irwindale police Sgt. George Zendejas. the vehicles collided in the intersection.
Officers rushed Michel to a hospital, where he died a short time later, officials said.
The driver of the Chevrolet, 23-year-old Pamela Ramirez of Baldwin Park, was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI after officers determined she was under the influence of alcohol, police said.
County booking records show Ramirez was released from jail pending her initial court appearance two days after the crash after posting $100,000 bail.

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San Bernardino felon brothers arrested in Irwindale with stolen car, gun, phony credit cards


IRWINDALE >> A routine traffic stop Saturday led police to arrest two San Bernardino brother — both convicted felons — riding in a stolen car along with an unregistered handgun and identity theft materials, officials said.
Donnie Jesse Reyes, 27, and Ricardo Augustine Reyes, 37, were each booked on suspicion of taking a car without the owner’s consent, possession of fraudulent credit cards, possession of a concealed firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to Irwindale police Sgt. Rudy Gatto
An officer on patrol about 4:20 p.m. at Vincent Avenue and Arrow Highway noticed a black, 2005 Infiniti QX SUV with dealer plates make a traffic violation and pulled it over, police said. Donnie Reyes was at the wheel.
“During the officer’s investigation, he learned that the vehicle had been reported stolen to the California Highway Patrol (Santa Fe Springs office) in July, 2015,” Gatto said.
After arresting the two men for auto theft, a search of the car turned up an unregistered, .380-caliber handgun, along with fraudulent or altered credit cards and other people’s identifying documents, officials said.
“It was also learned that both of the suspects were convicted felons prohibited from possessing firearms,” Gatto added.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Donnie Reyes was being held in lieu of $145,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Wednesday in West Covina Superior Court. Ricardo Reyes, described by police as a documented gang member, was being held in lieu of $45,000 pending his arraignment, scheduled for the same date and courthouse.

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UPDATED: Motorcyclist killed, car driver accused of DUI following Irwindale crash

IRWINDALE >> A motorcyclist died and the driver of a car is suspect of drunken driving following a collision between the two vehicles in Irwindale late Friday, officials said.
The fatal crash took place about 9:15 p.m. at Longden and Myrtle avenues, Irwindale police officials said in a written statement.
The motorcyclist, whose identity was not available Saturday pending notification of family, died at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center shortly after the crash, police and coroner’s officials said. He was initially described as a 29-year-old man.
The motorcyclist was riding a 2009 Yamaha, while the allegedly drunken driver was at the wheel of a 2008 Chevy Malibu, Sgt. George Zendejas said.
“The motorcycle was north on Myrtle (Avenue) and the Malibu was making a left turn from southbound Myrtle (Avenue) to eastbound Longden (Avenue),” Zendejas said.
The two vehicles collided in the intersection.
Paramedics took the badly injured motorcyclist to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center where he died a short time later, officials said.
“During the investigation, it was determined that the driver of the passenger car involved in the collision was driving while under the influence,” according to the police statement.
Pamela Ramirez, 23, of Baldwin Park was treated for minor injuries before being booked on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated at the Glendora Police Department’s jail, officials said.
“The cause of the collision is still under investigation and will be determined at a later time,” according to the statement.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Ramirez was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment hearing Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact Irwindale police Sgt. Greg Gomez at 626-430-2245.

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Irwindale police personnel honored for valor, service


IRWINDALE >> The Irwindale police recognized officers and other personnel for acts ranging from charging toward an active shooter to resuscitating a lifeless baby during the department’s first-ever Employee Awards Banquet Wednesday.
Awards presented included the department’s Medal of Valor, awarded for “an act displaying extreme courage while consciously facing imminent peril”; the Life Saving Award, “when a life is saved or prolonged due to actions taken by an officer”; the Distinguished Service Award, “for performing exceptional service in a duty of great responsibility or of critical importance to law enforcement”; and the Meritorious Service Award, for “meritorious service similar to, but to a lesser degree than required for the Distinguished Service Medal,” Irwindale police officials said in a written statement.
“I just couldn’t be more proud of this department,” Chief Anthony Miranda said. “The men and women of this department are really doing, right now, the right thing for the right reason. That’s all any chief can ask for.”
Since the event was the department’s first awards ceremony, some of the recognitions were long overdue, official said.
Five sworn officers received the Medal of Valor, and a police dispatcher received a Distinguished Service Award for their efforts to stop a Dec. 16, 2011 mass shooting at an Irwindale Southern California Edison Office in which two people were killed and three others injured by a disgruntled coworker.
With the aid of Dispatcher Mariela Avila, Sgt. Greg Gomez, Cpl. Armando Lopez, Detective Jose Vargas, Sgt. Rudy Gatto, Officer Mario Camacho and Officer Jesse Bravo arrived within three minutes, police said.
“Without hesitation, these officers organized a six-person ‘active shooter’ entry team and entered the building,” according to the statement. Upon arrival, they immediately smelled burnt gunpowder and encountered panicked employees trying to flee.
“It is at this moment that each of these officers placed themselves in great danger and faced imminent peril as they closed in on the active shooter,” the statement said. “Dispatcher Mariela Avila was the voice and ears for these officers during this event and was the help the employees calling 9-1-1 needed to hear as she reassured them help was on the way.”
The gunman fatally shot himself as the officers closed in on him, officials said.
More than four years later, the involved officers were yet to be formally recognize for their heroism, Miranda said.
“For whatever reason, it didn’t happen. That didn’t sit right with me. It needed to be done. It really needed to be done,” the chief said.
Wednesday’s ceremony was held at a different SCE facility in Irwindale. SCE Vice President of Business Customer Division Lisa Cagnolatti was on-hand to express the utility’s gratitude to the first responders.
Sgt. John Fraijo and Officer Rudy Campos received Life Saving Awards for helping resuscitate and rescue a lifeless, choking toddler on Jan. 31, 2014. Sgt. Rene Sapien, Officer Joe Hardy and Dispatcher Sherry Peterson received Distinguished Service Awards for their roles in the same rescue.
Officer Rudy Campos received a second Life Saving Award for talking a suicidal man down from a 605 Freeway overpass on Aug. 20, 2014.
Officer Jesus Bravo received a Life Saving Award for performing CPR on a 60-year-old man for more than 10 minutes before paramedics arrived.
Sgt. George Zendejas, Sgt. Rudy Gatto and Officer Diego Cornejo received Meritorious Service Awards for their work to increase the department public outreach through social media and the Internet.
Also recognized were 2015 Officer of the Year Officer Rudy Campos; 2014 Officer of the Year Diego Cornejo; 2015 Civilian Employee of the Year Records Clerk Norma Ortiz and 2015 Civilian Employee of the Year Volunteer Dianna Hurst.

PHOTO courtesy of Glenn Purbaugh/Irwindale Police Department. — Chief Anthony Miranda, center, stands with award winners following the first-ever Irwindale Police Department Employee Awards Banquet on Wednesday, Jan, 27, 2016.

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Detectives investigating man’s death in Irwindale

IRWINDALE >> Homicide detectives are investigating a man’s death in Irwindale Friday afternoon.
The death was first reported about 3 p.m. in the 12900 block of Lower Azusa Road, near the 605 Freeway, according to Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
No information regarding the circumstances of the death were immediately released.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau responded to the scene to assist Irwindale police in the investigation.
Anyone with information 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.

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Baldwin Park man accused of DUI, auto theft after leading Irwindale police on chase


IRWINDALE >> Police working a DUI patrol in Irwindale late Christmas night arrested an alleged drunken driver who led them on a chase in a stolen pickup truck that ended in a crash at a park in Baldwin Park, authorities said.
Miguel Higuera Lujan, 36, of Baldwin Park remained jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail Saturday on suspicion of auto theft, DUI and hit-and-run, according to Irwindale police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Two officers were working an extra enforcement operation in search of intoxicated drivers just after 11 p.m. when they saw a 1994 Nissan pickup truck run a stop sign at Ramona Boulevard and Elton Avenue, Irwindale police Sgt. George Zendejas said.
The driver refused to pull over, starting a chase, the sergeant said. He fled for about 1227_NWS_SGT-L-DUICHASE2a mile, running through a red light otherwise driving recklessly, before driving the truck through the basketball court at Hilda L. Solis Park, at 15010 Badillo Street in Baldwin Park.
“Thankfully, there was no one in the area,” Zendejas said.
Lujan jumped from the still-moving truck and continued to flee on foot. The truck came to a stop after crashing into a chain link fence at the edge of a flood control channel, officials said. Police soon captured the fleeing suspect nearby.
Police determined the truck had been reported stolen in the Temple City area.
Zendejas commended the involved officers.
“This was outstanding work on behalf of the officers working the DUI enforcement patrol and taking another dangerous DUI driver off the streets to keep our citizens safe during the holiday season,” he said.
Lujan was scheduled to appear for arraignment Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.


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Officials to canvass Irwindale neighborhood in search of clues in fatal shooting


IRWINDALE >> Deputies plan to canvass a stretch of Foothill Boulevard early Monday in search of witnesses or anyone who may have information to help solve the mysterious slaying of a Duarte man found shot to death in his bullet-riddled car nearly a month ago.
Martin Diaz, 48,  was found fatally shot about 5:40 p.m. Nov. 25 in his car, which was stopped in the 15900 block of Foothill Boulevard, just west of Irwindale Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner officials said. The shooting is believed to have occurred between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m., as Diaz was on his way to work at an Azusa sprinkler company.
No further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting, the motive or a suspect description have been released.
In hopes of generating new leads, “Deputies and officers will be contacting drivers (and) passengers in an effort to obtain information from possible witnesses who may have seen anything related to the murder of 48-year-old Martin Diaz,” according to Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are assisting Irwindale police in the investigation.
Anyone with information 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 888-222-8477.


PHOTO of Martin Diaz courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Crime scene photo by Walt Mancini.

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