Checkpoints planned this weekend in Pico Rivera, La Mirada

Sheriff’s officials are planning to screen drivers for sobriety and valid drivers’ licenses during checkpoints Friday and Saturday in Pico Rivera and La Mirada, authorities said.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station are planning a checkpoint from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within Pico Rivera, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Norwalk Station are planning another checkpoint from 7 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday at an undisclosed location within La Mirada, officials added.
The checkpoints are being funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Norwalk man found shot to death at La Mirada bus stop identified

LA MIRADA  — Coroner’s officials Wednesday released the name of a Norwalk man found shot to death near a La Mirada bus stop Sunday evening.
Frank Mario Sainz, 46, was pronounced dead shortly after he was found lying in a pool of blood about 6:10 p.m. Sunday in the 14300 block of Alondra Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Capt. John Kades said.
An autopsy determined he died from “multiple gunshot wounds,” Kades said. The death was ruled a homicide.
He was believed to have been seated on a bus stop bench when he was shot, according to Lot. Dave Coleman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. He was first spotted early Sunday by a bus driver.
No information regarding a shooter or a motive was available.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

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Man found dead in pool of blood in La Mirada; circumstances unclear

LA MIRADA — Homicide detectives are investigating the mysterious death of a man who was discovered lying in a pool of blood along Alondra Boulevard in La Mirada Sunday afternoon.
A bus driver first came across the man and called authorities about 6:10 p.m. in and industrial area in the 14300 block of Alondra Boulevard, Deputy Kim Manatt of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement.
“A driver of a Metro bus was traveling westbound on Alondra Boulevard before slowing at a bus stop,” she said. “The driver noticed a man laying in a pool of blood in the gutter of the roadway near the bus stop.”
The man was pronounced dead at the scene, Manatt said. His cause of death was unclear, and no information was released regarding what sort of injuries he may have suffered. An autopsy was to be carried out by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.

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La Mirada man turns up stabbed at West Covina convenience store

WEST COVINA – A man ended up at a convenience store after being stabbed at a house party early Saturday, however the circumstances of the attack were unclear,police said.
Police responded to 7-Eleven, 2887 Valley Blvd., just before 3:20 a.m. after the a La Mirada man in his 20s with a stab wound to his upper torso was brought there by friends, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
The group was looking for a hospital when they elected to stop at the convenience store and call 9-1-1, the lieutenant said. The injured man was hospitalized in stable condition.
Officers learned the victim had been at a nearby house party when a fight broke out and he was stabbed, however police were not able to find exactly where it took place, Patton said. No suspect description was available.

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Physician assistant from La Mirada who worked in El Monte, Anaheim accused of molesting patient

1024_NWS_SGT-L-CLINICMOLESTOfficials sought the public’s help this week in finding potential additional victims of a physicians assistant who worked in El Monte and Anaheim and is accused of molesting a patient under the guise of a medical examination.
Rocael Gomez, 48, of La Mirada was arrested Oct. 8 and charged the same day with sexual penetration by a foreign object of an unconscious victim and sexual battery by fraud, Orange County District Attorney’s officials said.
The alleged crime took place Jan. 4 at the Anaheim Market Clinic in Anaheim, district attorney’s officials said in a written statement issued Tuesday. At the time, he was also working at the Bansuan Medical Clinic in El Monte.
The victim, a 51-year-old woman, was being examined for back pain when Gomez allegedly molested her, prosecutors said.
“He is accused of sexually touching the victim under the guise that his actions served a legitimate professional purpose,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
Officials said the victim reported the incident the same day it occurred.
Gomez, who was out of custody on $250,000 bail, was scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 12 in Orange County Superior Court.
If convicted as charged, Gomez faces up to nine years in prison and would be required to register as a sex offender for life, officials said.
Anyone with information, or anyone who believed they may have been victimized by the defendant is asked to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Paul Carvo at 714-347-8794.

PHOTO of Rocael Gomez courtesy of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

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UPDATED: Whittier burglary suspected arrested in Santa Fe Springs; no charges filed

UPDATE: No burglary charges were filed against Michael Sanchez prior to his court appearance Monday due to insufficient evidence, according to Los Angeles County booking records. He was held in custody until Wednesday, however, before being released with “time served” in connection with an unrelated case out of Antelope Valley Superior Court, records show.

SANTA FE SPRINGS — Deputies arrested a man they had been seeking in connection with a burglary investigation Thursday with help from a tipster, officials said.
Michael Anthony Sanchez, 22, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of burglary stemming from two break-ins in an unincorporated county area near Whittier, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Authorities released Sanchez’s photo and asked the public’s help in tracking him down Sept. 17. He was described as a homeless man who had recently been spotted in the Creek Park area of La Mirada, though he was also believed to have ties to Pico Rivera and the Antelope Valley.
Acting on a tip from the public, deputies from the sheriff’s Norwalk Station found and arrested Sanchez about 7:30 a.m. Thursday in Santa Fe Springs, sheriff’s officials said.
According to county booking records, Sanchez was being in held in lieu of $20,000 bail at the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles pending a scheduled arraignment Monday in Downey Superior Court.

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La Mirada man dies in South Whittier motorcycle crash

SOUTH WHITTIER — Authorities Wednesday identified a 37-year-old La Mirada man who died in a motorcycle crash on Telegraph Road early Tuesday.
Camron Gasser died at the scene of Tuesday’s 7 a.m. crash at Telegraph Road and Gunn Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
He was westbound on Telegraph Road when his Harley-Davidson collided with a sedan making a left turn from eastbound Telegraph Road onto Gunn Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer Al Perez said.
The driver of the sedan, a 27-year-old La Habra man, was not hurt, he said.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation and witnesses were being sought, however no arrests or citations were initially made in connection with the fatal collision.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Santa Fe Springs office of the CHP at 562-858-0503.

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Corona man sentenced for slaying of 17-month-old girl

NORWALK — A judge sentenced a Corona man to 25 years to life in prison Wednesday for killing his girflriend’s 17-month-old daughter while baby-sitting her in La Mirada, authorities said.
A Norwalk Superior Court Jury convicted Mark Edward Vaughn, 22, of murder and assault on a child causing death Jan. 25, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
He was charged with the death of Jayden Brianne Turner, who suffered injuries while in Vaughn’s care at his girlfriend’s home in the 15200 block of Valeda Drive on Jan. 20, 2011. The child died four days later at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center.
He returned to court Wednesday for sentencing, where Norwalk Superior Court Judge Thomas McKnew handed down the sentence of 25 years to life in state prison, court officials said.
Vaughn told investigators the child fell off a chair and hit her head, however officials said detectives became suspicious after noting the baby fell onto a carpeted floor from a chair less than two feet above the ground, which was inconsistent with the injuries suffered by the toddler.

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Man seriously wounded in La Mirada shooting

LA MIRADA — One man was critically wounded, one suspect was in custody and two more were being sought following a shooting inside a La Mirada apartment early Friday, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 7:30 a.m. in the 13600 block of Santa Gertrudes Avenue, across the street from the La Mirada Golf Course, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire officials.
The wounded man, estimated to be in his 20s or 30s, was shot multiple times in the upper torso and taken to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center in critical condition, fire Capt. Steve Augustine said.
The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately available, however a car that left the scene with three people inside was believed to have been involved, sheriff’s Lt. Frank Rivera said.
Deputies found the car abandoned in a neighborhood a little over a mile away near Imperial Highway and Valley View Avenue in unincorporated South Whittier, officials said.
One man found walking in the area was detained and arrested after he was identified as one of the people who had been inside the abandoned car, Rivera said. Deputies continued seeking two other suspects believed to have fled from the vehicle.
The shooting was being investigated as possibly gang-related, he added. The investigation was ongoing, and the name of the suspect in custody was not available.

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UPDATE: Whittier-area doctor not guilty of molesting patients

A jury late last week acquitted a Whittier physician accused of inappropriately touching female patients during medical exams, authorities said.
Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said Steve Vouis, 67, was acquitted Friday on three counts of sexual battery by fraud.
Vouis was originally charged with six molestation counts involving five victims, however three of the charges were dismissed by the judge after the jury failed to a reach a verdict, deadlocking heavily toward acquittal, said his attorney, Jennifer Keller.
“He’s pleased and relieved, but his life has been really ruined by this,” Keller said.
“His practice that he spent the last 30 yeas building is destroyed,” the attorney said. ““He’ll never get his good name back. It’s not possible for it to have a truly happy ending, but we’re truly grateful that the right thing happened in court.”
Authorities said the alleged molestations occurred between 2007 and 2009 at his offices in Whittier and La Mirada. Three women testified at Vouis’ preliminary hearing that the doctor inappropriately touched them during breast or gynecological examinations.
Devoted colleagues and patients supported Vouis throughout the legal process, Keller said.
She said she did not know if he would again be able to open a practice, adding that, “There’s many patients who hope he will.”
Keller declined to comment on why she believed the five women made allegations against Vouis in the first place.
Evidence presented at trial showed two of them had already filed civil suits against the doctor, she said.
Another one of the accusers has been receiving benefits from the county due to her alleged status as a crime victim, Keller said. But the woman did not make her accusation until more than three years after the alleged incident, after other victims had accused Vouis of misconduct during examinations.
But despite being cleared in the eyes of the law, the doctor’s life is forever changed, Keller said.
“This has taken an enormous toll on him,” she said. “It’s a really sad situation, because he is an innocent man.”
Vouis’ trial began March 21 in Norwalk Superior Court.
Whittier police arrested Vouis March 17, 2010, after learning of allegations. He pleaded not guilty the at an arraignment the following day and was released on $125,000 bail pending trial.

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