CYPRESS >> A La Mirada woman died and a Whittier man is accused of manslaughter and DUI following a three-car crash in Cypress early Easter Sunday.
Alexis Barragan, 22, died in the 12:40 a.m. crash at Katella Avenue and Valley View Street, according to Orange County coroner’s records.
She was a passenger in a car being driven by 22-year-old Nicholas Sanchez-McCormick of Whittier, Cypress police Sgt. Ken Ramsey said.
“During the investigation, it was determined that the vehicle driven by (Sanchez-McCormick) was traveling westbound on Katella and ran a red light at the intersection of Valley View,” Cypress police officials said in a written statement. “His vehicle collided with two other vehicles, which were traveling north and south on Valley View.”
Paramedics pronounced Barragan dead at the scene.
Three occupants of the other two involved cars were taken to a hospital as a precaution, police said.
Officers determined Sanchez-McCormick was under the influence of alcohol and arrested him on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony drunken driving, Ramsey said.
Sanchez-McCormick already had a pending DUI case at the time of Sunday’s crash, according to Los Angeles County booking records and sheriff’s officials.
He was arrested on Jan. 1 by deputies from the sheriff’s Norwalk Station on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Cunningham said.
He was issued a citation following that arrest and released from custody the same day, records show. Formal charges have yet to be filed.
Sanchez-McCormick pleaded “no contest” in 2015 in Los Angeles County Superior Court to a count of driving without a valid license, court records show. A second charge of driving on a suspended license was dismissed.
According to Orange County booking records, Sanchez McCormick was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the Central Jail branch of Orange County Superior Court.
LA MIRADA >> Officials are asking the public’s help in finding a 68-year-old La Mirada woman who suffers from dementia and has been missing since Thursday.
Sun Ja Choi was last seen about noon Thursday at her home in the 13000 block of La Jolla Circle, Deputy Kelvin Moody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Information Bureau said in a written statement.
“Ms. Choi suffers from dementia and the family is concerned for her well being,” he said.
She’s described as Asian, 5 feet tall, 90 pounds, with short black hair and brown eyes. She was wearing red shirt and blue jeans when she disappeared.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk station at 562-863-8711, or the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, Missing Persons Unit at 323-890-5500.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
SOUTH WHITTIER >> A man stabbed a female shuttle bus driver in the chest along the border between La Mirada and South Whittier on Thursday afternoon before deputies apprehended him nearby, officials said.
Paul Rivera, 41, of La Mirada was ultimately booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robin Limon said.
The attack took place about 3:10 p.m. on a Sunshine Shuttle bus, operated by the County of Los Angeles, at Leffingwell Road and La Mirada Boulevard, according to the lieutenant.
There were no other passengers onboard when Rivera got onto the bus at a bus stop along the north side of Leffingwell Road, she said.
He asked to be taken to destination that is not part of the shuttles route.
When the driver told Rivera he needed to take a different bus, he became enraged and pulled a knife, Limon said. He stabbed the woman in the abdomen and shoulder with a large steak knife.
The bus driver, a 51-year-old woman, fought back and pushed her attacker away before he abandoned his assault and ran away.
Paramedics took the wounded bus driver to an area trauma center with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, she said.
Responding deputies spotted Rivera, who matched the description of the attacker, nearby and arrested him without a struggle, Limon said. Deputies recovered the knife believed to have been used in the attack.
LA MIRADA >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of a 45-year-old La Habra man who was fatally shot by SWAT deputies following a 3-and-a-half-hour standoff at a La Mirada gas station early Tuesday morning.
Mark Daniel Sly died at the scene of the deputy-involved shooting, which took place just before 1 a.m. at the ampm convenience store and ARCO gas station at 13550 S. Beach Blvd., Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operation Ed Winter said.
He fired at deputies at least twice during the standoff, which began with a report of a robbery in progress at the business, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Deputies responding to the robbery encountered Sly, who matched the suspect description, standing at the front door of the convenience store armed with a handgun, Deputy Caroline Rodriguez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
Sly refused commands to drop his gun and surrender, and deputies summoned a SWAT team and a crisis negotiation team to the scene.
At one point during the hours-long standoff, the suspect fired at deputies through a front window of the business, Rodriguez said.
A deputy returned fire through a window, but it was unclear of Sly was wounded in that exchange.
Sly exited the store with a handgun and again fired on SWAT deputies at 12:55 a.m., officials said. Deputies fired back, fatally wounding Sly.
The investigation remains ongoing, and 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.
LA MIRADA >> A group of at least three robbers fled with electronics including cell phones and tablet computers, as well as employees’ wallets, following a takeover robbery at a La Mirada cell phone store Sunday afternoon, officials said.
The heist unfolded about 1:30 p.m. at a Sprint wireless store at La Mirada Boulevard and Telegraph Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Hank Ortega said.
Two men armed with handguns entered the store and demanded electronic items, such as cell phones, tablet computers and wireless internet hotspots, the sergeant said. They also demanded cell phones and wallets from the four employees working at the store.
The robbers placed the stolen merchandise into plastic trash bags and fled, Ortega said.
They got into a black pickup truck with a waiting driver, and possibly a fourth accomplice riding as a passenger, which sped away. The robbers ordered the employees into a room at the business before fleeing.
No injuries were reported. The value of the stolen goods was not immediately available.
Detailed suspect descriptions were not available.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LA MIRADA >> A bomb squad responded to a Jewish temple in La Mirada Wednesday after the synagogue received a “suspicious package” in the mail, ultimately finding it contained nothing dangerous, authorities said.
The incident began shortly before 2 p.m. at Temple Beth Ohr, 15721 Rosecrans Ave., at Santa Gertrudes Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The package, received via Priority Mail, was deemed suspicious due to its return address, Sgt. George Suarez said. Further details were not available.
The large box was addressed to the temple in handwriting, Rabbi Mark Goldfarb said.
“But the return address did not have a return address. Instead, in that area, there was a message: ‘Jason, the male child, to rule the world with an iron rod,” Goldfarb said. The statement appeared to be a reference to New Testament end times prophecies in the Book of Revelations.
Other “indecipherable things” were also scrawled on the box, the rabbi said. “That made the package suspicious in our minds.”
The package remained on an exterior porch at the south side of the building as deputies summoned a bomb squad team from the sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail to examine the package further, Suarez said.
Bomb squad members shredded the package with a powerful water cannon, sheriff’s and temple officials said.
Inside were found Bibles, coins and a music box, Goldfarb said.
“In the end, it turned out to be someone who tried to send us a gift,” he said. “But again, because of the strange and cryptic messages in the return address, it popped us as a suspicious package in our eyes.”
Deputies evacuated the temple, along with 50 to 60 children at the next-door United Methodist Church school and three to four nearby houses before officials sounded the all-clear, Suarez said. The evacuated students were taken to nearby Eastwood Elementary School, 15730 Pescados Drive.
Both Rosecrans and Santa Gertrudes avenues at their intersection for about two hours.
PHOTO via Keith Durflinger
LA MIRADA >> Sheriff’s deputies arrested three men who they say showed up at a La Mirada hotel to pay for sex with minors during an online sting operation last week, officials announced Thursday.
Matthew Brown, 32, of Long Beach, Jamie Rodriguez, 37, of Norwalk, and Jorge Garcia, 40, whose city of residence was not clear Thursday, were arrested for and subsequently charged with arranging and meeting with a minor for lewd behavior, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
“After ads were placed on websites, which commonly contain ads for sex workers, undercover deputies communicated via text and phone with potential buyers who attempted to purchase sex for money, making it clear that they were under 18,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “ After agreeing on a lewd act in exchange for money, the suspects responded to a meeting location.”
The men were arrested after arriving at a La Mirada hotel to meet who they believed to be were minors to exchange money for sex, Sgt. Jeff Walker of the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force said.
According to booking records, Garcia remained in custody Thursday in lieu of $75,000 bail. Brown and Rodriguez had been released from jail pending their initial court appearances after posting $75,000 bail each.
LA MIRADA >> Authorities have formally identified a 48-year-old woman found shot to death outside the La Mirada In-N-Out Burger where she worked early Friday morning.
Josefina Alcocer Estrada of Buena Park was pronounced dead after she was found lying wounded shortly before 5 a.m. in the parking lot of the restaurant where she worked at 14341 Firestone Blvd., Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator B. Kim said.
In-N-Out representatives previously identified the victim, an employee since 1996, as Josefina Alcocer.
The woman, who was wearing her In-N-Out uniform, died at the scene, officials said.
No suspect description was available, and the motive had not been determined, Lt. Steve Jauch of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
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.
PHOTO by Keith Durflinger
LA MIRADA >> Los Angeles and Orange county law enforcement officials detained two suspects in Buena Park within minutes of an armed robbery at a La Mirada cell phone store Saturday, authorities said.
The crime took place about 10:20 a.m. at a wireless store in the 15000 block of Imperial Highway, near La Mirada Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jaime Alvarez said.
At least one man entered the store armed with a handgun and demanded cell phones before fleeing with an unknown number of the devices, the sergeant said.
Police in Buena Park soon spotted a vehicle matching the description of the one used as a getaway car in the robbery and stopped it at Valley View Street and Orangethrope Avenue, just across the county line, officials said.
Two men were detained, and a handgun was recovered, Alvarez said.
The investigation continued Saturday afternoon.
LA MIRADA >> Officials Friday released the identity of a 61-year-old man found dead from an apparent suicide after a SWAT team surrounded his La Mirada home for five hours on Wednesday.
Dennis Solis died at the scene of the standoff, which came to an end about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday at a house in the 12000 block of Los Coyotes Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Solis was believed to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials. An autopsy was yet to be carried out Friday.
Deputies responded to the home shortly before 5:30 p.m. after family members reported he was suicidal and armed with a rifle, Lt. Robin Limon of the sheriff’s Norwalk Station said. The family members got out of the home unharmed.
After hearing gunshots, deputies summoned a SWAT team to take over the situation. After about five hours, sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau deputies forced their way into the home and found Solis dead.