Sheriff’s patrol car involved in crash in La Mirada

LA MIRADA >> A sheriff’s patrol car responding to a report of a collision became involved in an collision of its own on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The crash occurred about 5:20 p.m. at Imperial Highway and La Mirada Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Manuel Flores said.
The deputy was heading north on La Mirada Boulevard with emergency lights and sirens activated when the patrol car collided with another motorist driving through the intersection on Imperial Highway, the sergeant said. The deputy was responding to another reported car crash when the collision took place.
Officials said the deputy suffered injuries to his chest and ankle, possibly amounting to fractures, but suffered no apparent major injuries, Flores said.
A passenger in the second car involved in the collision complained of pain but declined to be taken to a hospital, he said. The driver of the second car was apparently unhurt.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Final suspect in La Mirada-based bank fraud ring captured

The last of 13 defendants charged in connection with an alleged La Mirada-based credit card skimming and drug trafficking ring has been captured in Orange County, authorities announced Friday.
Lloyd Luis Leyh, of Huntington Beach, was apprehended Thursday in Orange, FBI officials announced via Twitter. Details of his arrest were not available.
He joined a dozen other suspects already in custody in connection with the federal 27-count indictment announced last month.
The suspects —  many of which have ties to La Mirada- and Norwalk-area street gangs, such as the La Mirada Punks, the Carmelas and the Nazi Low Riders — are accused of using credit card skimming machines to steal the information from more than 500 credit cards, according to U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek. Many of the credit card numbers were obtained at a Huntington Beach restaurant.
Prosecutors allege the ring then made expensive purchases, then returned to items to stores for cash, netting more than $500,000.
Three of the defendants are also accused of methamphetamine trafficking, and one is charged with weapons violations.
Federal officials said the investigation has been ongoing for more than two years.

PHOTO courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Man and woman charged with Whittier-area random shooting rampage

Prosecutors filed a murder charge, 14 attempted murder charges and other allegations on Thursday and a man and woman they say embarked on a random shooting spree in the Whittier area over the weekend that left one man dead and three others wounded.
Alejandro Lazo, 21, and his girlfriend Reyna Gomez, 26, both of Whittier, who themselves were shot and wounded under mysterious circumstances following Saturday’s mobile rampage, have previously been considered “persons of interest,” in the series of violent crimes. Both suspects are self-described gang members with criminal records.
But Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Capt. Christopher Bergner announced Thursday that the couple has been formally arrested in connection with the crime spree.
And the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed one count of murder, 14 counts of attempted murder and one count of carjacking against each defendant, according to district attorney’s office spokesman Greg Risling. Gomez was additionally charged with torture for allegedly shooting a man in the groin during the bizarre attacks that unfolded in Whittier, La Mirada and Pico Rivera.
There was no known motive or explanation for the rampage, Bergner said.
“These were senseless acts of violence, acts committed on innocent people that were merely enjoying the day, running errands, in what they believed to be a safe area,” the captain said. “The individuals that were victims of this crime, these were random targets of violence that were unprovoked.”
The investigation continues, and detectives are seeking additional suspects believed to have played roles in portions of Saturday’s crime spree, Bergner said. He declined to comment further regarding any outstanding suspects.
In addition, “They’re also reviewing similar crimes in the area to see of the suspects were also involved in any additional crimes that we haven’t yet reported,” Bergner said.
The spate of violence began about 1 p.m. Saturday in the 10000 block of Carmenita Road in South Whittier, where a man was wounded in the leg in a drive-by shooting. The attackers, later identified as Lazo and Gomez, were in a white Kia Rio when they carried out the Carmenita Road shooting.
The suspect turned up again about 2:15 p.m. in the 11100 block of Rosehedge Drive in Pico Rivera, where they carjacked a man at gunpoint and fled in his green Nissan Pathfinder SUV, Deputy Lilian Peck of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. The victim was unhurt.
Just over an hour later, another shooting linked to the couple was reported behind a Starbucks coffee shop at Whittier Boulevard and Colima Road, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said. Gomez is accused of shooting a man in the groin from as he walked down the street, resulting in the torture charge filed against her, officials said. The victim, a man in his 50s, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The suspects then headed down Colima Road in the carjacked Pathfinder and opened fire at two motorists who were stopped at a traffic light near Lambert Road, Peck said. No one was injured in the car-to-car attacks.
The shooters continued south to Imperial Highway and La Mirada Boulevard, where they shot a man in the arm as he was sitting in a car about 4 p.m., according to Peck.
“Norwalk Sheriff’s Station deputies responded to the La Mirada shooting but quickly learned another shooting occurred just south of them, at the intersection of Santa Gertrudes Avenue and Alicante Road, La Mirada,” Peck said.
“The fourth victim, Jose Ricardo Sahagun, a 44-year-old father of two little boys, was struck multiple times with gunfire as he sat in his car, waiting at a traffic light. Other victims in nearby vehicles were also fired upon indiscriminately, but Jose cwas the only person injured and he was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Sahagun succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
The search for the killers continued for more than two hours before deputies found the carjacked Nissan Pathfinder abandoned at Amelia Mayberry Park in South Whittier shortly after 6 p.m.,Peck said. “It was there the suspects unloaded the vehicle they used as a mobile gun turret,” she said.
But gunfire erupted again about 8 p.m., this time outside a motel in the 15000 block of Carmenita Road, authorities said. This time, it was the suspects who had been wounded in a shooting.
“Both suspects were shot in the torso and when they realized the gravity of their injuries, they flagged down a concerned citizen and asked her to dial 911 for them,” Peck said.
Lazo and Gomez were found sitting in the white Rio believed to have used in the first shooting of the spree, officials said. A gun was recovered from the car, and has since been linked to the numerous nearby crimes scenes, Bergner said.
The circumstance of the suspect’ shooting remains under investigation by the Whittier Police Department. No suspect description was available.
Family members of Sahagun thanked the police and God for the arrests in the slaying of their loved one, as well as the community for its outpouring of support.
The Compton social worker and former school teacher left behind a wife and two sons, ages 4 and 7.
“While this is a positive step toward justice and closure, there’s no reconciling of the fact that the taking of a n innocent life has devastated both our family, and the community,” Maria Del Rosario Sahagun.
Family members described Jose Sahagun as an example for the community.
A fund to benefit Jose Sahagun has been set up online at www.gofundme.com/jose-ricardo-sahagun.
A viewing for Jose Sahagun has been scheduled for 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdau at the All Souls Mortuary, 4400 Cherry Ave. in Long Beach.
A Mass will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 8545 Norwalk Blvd. in Whittier, to be followed by burial at All Souls Cemetery in Long Beach.
Detectives described both Lazo and Gomez as self-identified gang members but declined to name the gang they belong to.
Both were released from jail late last year after serving time for prior convictions, officials said.
Los Angeles County court records show Lazo pleaded guilty to extortion and assault with a deadly weapon on Feb. 23, 2016. On the same date, he was also convicted of possession of methamphetamine on a separate case. He pleaded no contest to petty theft on Dec. 26. 2014.
Gomez pleaded no contest to possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia on July 6, 2015. She also pleaded no contest to possession of methamphetamine on July 9, 2015 and to possession of methamphetamine for sale on Jan. 8, 2014.
Gomez was convicted of assault likely to produce great bodily injury and possession of marijuana for sale on June 11, 2012.
She pleaded no contest to four counts of vandalism on Sept. 23, 2010 and one count of vandalism on Jan. 31, 2011. She was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon on Oct. 20, 2009.
According to county booking records, Lazo was being held without bail, while Gomez was being held in lieu of $12 million bail. They were scheduled to make their initial court appearance Friday in the Downey branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
If convicted as charged, the suspects could both spend the rest of their lives in prison.


— Staff writer Ruby Gonzales contributed to this report.

PHOTOS: (crime scene map and picture of victim Jose Sahagun courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

UPDATED: Man and woman wounded in Santa Fe Springs shooting being investigated in connection with Whittier-La Mirada shooting rampage


A man and woman were found shot in a stolen car in the parking lot of a Santa Fe Springs motel late Saturday, four hours after a shooting rampage that left one man dead and another wounded in Whittier and La Mirada, officials said.
The man and woman wounded in the Santa Fe Springs shooting were being held on suspicion of auto theft and gun possession Sunday as detectives continued investigating whether they were connection to the earlier shooting spree, according to Whittier police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials. Their identities were not released.
The couple matched the general description of the man and woman being sought in connection with the spate of shootings, Sgt. Vincent Plair of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. The suspect description has not been disclosed.
“It is unclear whether the detained individuals are the suspects in the earlier shooting,” Plair said. “Homicide Bureau investigators are following up on all possible leads and working with Whittier Police Department to solve these crimes.
“As of now there have not been any arrests made in connection with these incidents,” he said.
Officers responded to reports of “shots fired” at 8 p.m. at the Budget Inn, 13420 Firestone Blvd., according to Whittier police Sgt. Ramos, who declined to give his first name.
The circumstances of the shooting were unknown and no suspect description was available, Ramos said.
Both the man and woman were taken to the University of Southern California, Irvine Medical Center for treatment, the sergeant said.
The woman was shot once, he said. Her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
The man suffered multiple gunshot wounds. An update on his condition was not available.
Police soon learned that the car the man and woman were in had been reported stolen, Whittier police Lt. Brian Ellis said. Officers also recovered a gun from the couple.
Without a suspect description, it was unclear whether the shooting was related to a spate of three shootings in Whittier and La Mirada Saturday afternoon that left one man dead and another man wounded.
The violence began about 3 p.m. with a carjacking carried out by a man and woman in Pico Rivera, according to sheriff’s officials.
The carjacked Nissan Pathfinder showed up at a Starbucks coffee shop at Whittier Boulevard and Colima Road in Whittier about 30 minutes later, Ellis said.
The suspects opened fire on a man in his 50s in an alley to the rear of the coffee shop. He was wounded in the leg.
Within minutes, the occupants of the SUV again opened fire at the intersection of Colima and Lambert roads, Ellis said. A car was struck, but the people inside were unhurt.
A third shooting believed to involve the same carjacked SUV and suspects unfolded about 4 p.m. at Santa Gertrudes Avenue and Alicante Road in La Mirada, sheriff’s officials said.
The victim, 44-year-old Jose Shagun of Norwalk, succumbed to his injuries at the University of California Medical Center, Irvine, at 4:51 p.m., according to Orange County coroner’s records.
Deputies found the Nissan SUV believed to have been used in the three shootings shortly after 6 p.m., abandoned at Amelia Mayberry Park in South Whittier.
Anyone with information can reach 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.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

UPDATED: One man dead, several others wounded in spate of shootings in Whittier, La Mirada areas; Man and woman in SUV sought

One man died and several other people were wounded in a string of shootings in the Whittier, La Mirada and Norwalk areas on Saturday afternoon which were believed to linked to the same carjacked car, authorities said.
The attacks took place beginning about 3:30 p.m. in the jurisdictions of the Whittier Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Norwalk Station, according to Whittier police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials. A man died at a hospital following one of the shootings in La Mirada, officials said.
The series of crimes was believed to have begun with the carjacking of a dark green or black Nissan Pathfinder SUV in the Pico Rivera area about 3 p.m., officials said.
The vehicle was occupied by a man and a woman, both armed with guns, when it pulled through the rear alley of a Starbucks coffee shop at Whittier Boulevard and Colima Road about 3:30 p.m., Whittier police Lt. Brian Ellis said. A man in his 50s was walking in the alley.
“The suspects pulled up to him and shot him in the leg,” Ellis said. The victim was treated for injuries not believed to be life threatening.
There was no apparent motive for the attack, which appeared to be random, he said.
The SUV then headed south on Colima Road, where the attackers opened fire on another car at Colima Road and Lambert Road, according to Ellis. The victim’s car was struck, but no one inside was injured.
The SUV was last seen heading west on Lambert Road following the car-to-car shooting.
The same SUV is believed to be linked to a fatal shooting about 30 minutes later in La Mirada, Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
A man was shot and mortally wounded about 4 p.m. at Santa Gertrudes Avenue and Alicante Road, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead,” according to the statement.
Deputies were also looking into possible additional shootings.
“There are additional shootings in the surrounding areas involving multiple victims,” the sheriff’s department statement said. “The number of victims, as well as their conditions are unknown at this time. There is no additional information available at this time, and the investigation is ongoing.”
Deputies found the SUV believed to have been used in the shootings parked, unoccupied, at Mayberry Park in South Whittier shortly after 6 p.m., officials said. But the suspects remained at large.
The spate of violence followed another shooting in unincorporated South Whittier early Saturday afternoon in which a man was wounded.
A man was shot in the leg about 12:45 p.m. along Carmenita Road, just north of Telegraph Road, sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Nevarez said.
It was unclear whether the earlier afternoon shooting had any connection to the spate of shootings that occurred later in the afternoon.
Anyone with information can reach 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.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

UPDATED: Whittier man accused of DUI in Cypress crash that killed La Mirada woman


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.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Senior citizen with dementia goes missing in La Mirada

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

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Shuttle bus driver stabbed on South Whittier-La Mirada border, suspect jailed


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.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

La Habra man fatally shot by SWAT team following La Mirada standoff identified

The robbery suspect stands inside by himself with a shot up window as Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies surround an AMPM Arco gas station on Beach Boulevard at Hillsborough Drive in La Mirada on Monday November 21, 2016. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)

The robbery suspect stands inside by himself with a shot up window as Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies surround an AMPM Arco gas station on Beach Boulevard at Hillsborough Drive in La Mirada on Monday November 21, 2016. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)

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.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Takeover robbery reported at La Mirada cell phone store


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.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email