3rd UPDATE: La Puente father fatally shot in front of home

Tomas Salas, 23, of La Puente

LA PUENTE — Homicide detectives are seeking clues into the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old La Puente father in a driveway in front of his home late Thursday, authorities said.
Tomas Salas died at the scene of the shooting, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Little information was available regarding the 11:13 p.m. attack, which occurred in a shared residential driveway on Sierra Vista Court at Gilwood Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“The individual was by himself in a driveway,” Lt. Holly Francisco of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. “Witnesses heard a gunshot and came out and found him.”
A family member found Salas wounded in the “upper torso” and called for help, she said.
While several people reported hearing a gunshot or gunshots, no eyewitnesses to the shooting had been located Friday, officials said.
No arrests had been made early Friday, and no suspect description was available.
Salas is survived by a two year-old daughter named Kaylene, his girlfriend and the girl’s mother Krystle Silva said. He had been staying with Silva and Silva’s 10-year-old daughter, Samantha Rodriguez, who also had a close relationship with him.
Silva said she was inside her apartment folding laundry and Salas was just outside talking to his niece on his cell phone when she heard gunshots.
“When I looked outside, he was lying face-first on the grass,” she said.
“I put my arms around him just to let him know I was there,” Silva said. “When I put my arms around him, that’s when I felt all the blood and his chest was warm.”
“I told him to hang on. (Help) is coming. I told him he can’t leave. Kaylene needs him.”
Silva was still trying to breathe when paramedics arrived, Silva said.
The paramedics walked over to Salas and checked his pulse before laying him on his back she said.
Francisco said the shooting was being investigated as possibly gang-related.
Silva confirmed that Salas was involved with a local street gang. She added that his association with a gang did not justify his slaying, however it may have played a role in it.
“I don’t know who did this or why they did it,” she said. “Whatever happened, it was gang-related.”
Silva’s eyes filled with tears as she spoke of Salas.
“He was my world,” she said. “I love him with every part of me.”
The couple had been dating for four years, but had only recently gotten back together about two weeks ago after being separated for nine months, Silva said.
But even when living separately from Silva, Salas remained a dedicated father and went to court to obtain three days of custody per week.
“He loved his daughter. Everything he did was for her,” Silva said.
The energetic 2-year-old happily exclaimed “daddy” upon seeing a picture of her father. Silva said she has asked several times when her father is coming home, to which she responds that her father is an angel now.
Salas had been laid off from his job at a landfill , where he had worked for about a year, a month ago, Silva said.
She described him as friendly and funny.
“He was always joking. He was goofy. He was silly,” Silva said. “He was a very happy, outgoing guy who liked to have fun. He was just a great dad.”

Tomas Salas, 23, of La Puente (center) was fatally shot near his home in the 15800 block of Sierra Vista Court late Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013. He’s pictured celebrating his 22nd birthday with daughter Kaylene Salas (lap), girlfriend Kristle Silva (right) and Silva’s daughter Samantha Rosriguez (left). (Courtesy)

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La Puente woman accused of scamming more than a dozen SGV residents

Si Liu, 44, La Puente

A La Puente woman has been charged with 25 felony counts for promising to help more than a dozen people already in financial trouble get quick and easy loans, but instead using their personal information to steal from them, officials announced Thursday.
Si H. Liu, also known as Katie, 44, of La Puente, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges including burglary, grand theft, using an access card and possession of access card information, according to Monterey Park police and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials. She was arrested at her home July 12.
Sixteen victims had been confirmed, with additional victims yet to be contacted by police, Lt. Carrie Mazelin said.
“There might be more who haven’t reported it,” the lieutenant said.
“It started with one original report (in June),” she explained.
After launching an investigation and finding Liu in possession of other people’s sensitive documents and credit cards, detectives linked the suspect to similar crimes throughout the San Gabriel Valley, Mazelin said. Many of the known victims were located in Monterey Park, though some came from as far away as Hacienda Heights.
Liu would take out adds in Chinese language publications such as the Chinese Daily News, according to the police statement.
“Liu asked victims for their identification, social security numbers, and all of their credit cards so that she could ‘check their credit’ in order to obtain loans,” according to the statement. “Instead,Liu allegedly used the credit cards to obtain cash for herself using a credit card machine that she owned.”
Some of the victims also reported that Liu would accompany them to stores, such as Best Buy, where she would instruct them to open up a credit account as a way of building their credit, Mazelin said. Liu would instruct the victims to buy items for her, promising to pay them back, but never did.
The total amount of the alleged theft was not available Thursday, however some of the victims lost thousands of dollars, Mazelin said.
Liu would eventually return the victims’ credit cards, IDs and other documents, but only after making color copies, “possibly for the purpose of committing fraud and identity theft in the future,” the police statement said.
Liu, who speaks both Mandarin and English, has lived in the United Stated for about 10 years, officials said. She represents herself as a real estate agent and may also own a massage business in Fullerton.
Additional victims, or anyone with information was asked to contact Monterey Park police Detective Han at 626-307-1246.
According to officials and court records, Liu was being held in lieu of $560,000 bail pending her next court appearance July 30 in Alhambra Superior Court.

BOOKING PHOTO courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department

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La Puente man suspected of DUI after collision with sheriff’s patrol car

Deputy Crash 1

LA PUENTE — A La Puente man is suspected of drunken driving after crashing into a sheriff’s patrol car early Thursday, authorities said.Deputy Crash 2
The 3 a.m. crash on Hacienda Boulevard at Ector Street resulted in major damage to the patrol car, but no serious injuries to either the deputy or the suspect, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Boese said in a written statement.
Salvador Sanchez, 27, was arrested on suspicion of felony drunken driving after being treated for minor injuries, Boese said.
He was at the wheel of a Honda Civic and was turning left from northbound Hacienda Boulevard to Ector Street when the Honda struck the left front portion of the patrol car, which was southbound on Hacienda Boulevard, Boese said.
The impact caused the deputy to lose control of the patrol car, he said.
“The patrol car traveled across the southbound lanes of Hacienda Boulevard, eventually jumping onto the west sidewalk and crashing into a concrete light pole,” Boese said. The pole fell over on top of the patrol car.
The deputy managed to get out of the wrecked patrol car on his own and was taken to a hospital for evaluation before being released later in the day, officials said.
Deputies determined that Sanchez was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash and arrested him at the hospital before booking him into jail, Boese said.
According to county booking records, Sanchez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

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La Puente man killed in West Covina crash identified

WEST COVINA — Authorities Friday released the name of an 83-year-old La Puente man killed in a two-vehicle crash on Shadow Oak Drive.
Carmen Manriquez died in the crash, which occurred just after 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Shadow Oak and Shakespeare drives, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
He was driving a Ford Focus that collided with a Honda Pilot in the intersection, West Covina police Lt. Pat Cirrito said.
Manriquez was turning left from northbound Shakespeare Drive to westbound Shadow Oak, he said.
The Honda, which was being driven west on Shadow Oak Drive by a woman in her early-20s, collided with the Focus, officials said. Paramedics pronounced Manriquez dead at the scene.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, however nothing criminal was initially suspected, Cirrito said.

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La Puente woman killed in collision with school bus on Whittier-Pico Rivera border identified

Coroner’s officials Saturday identified a 60-year-old La Puente woman killed in a wrong-way collision involving a school bus.
Orieta Noriega died in the crash, which was reported about 12:50 p.m. Friday on westbound Beverly Boulevard near the 605 Freeway, on the border between Whittier and Pico Rivera, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said. Though initially described by California Highway Patrol officials as a Los Angeles residents, coroner’s officials listed her city of residence as La Puente.
Her car was on the wrong side of the road when it collided with a 2010 Lexus IS 250 and a school bus carrying 10 students from La Serna High School, CHP Sgt. Joe Zizi said in a written statement.
She was driving a 2009 Toyota Camry east on Beverly Boulevard when, “For reasons still under investigation, (Noriega) allowed her Toyota to veer into westbound lanes, directly in front of the school bus and the Lexus,” Zizi said.
Paramedics pronounced Noriega dead at the scene.
All ten high school students aboard the Pupil Transportation Cooperative bus, as well as the driver — a 46-year-old La Habra woman — were unharmed, officials said.
A 63-year-old Montebello woman who was behind the wheel of the Lexus was treated for minor injuries, Zizi said.
Authorities shut down Beverly Boulevard around the crash scene for about three hours as they investigated the scene.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation by officers from the Santa Fe Springs office of the CHP.

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Teens convicted in La Puente High School sexual hazing case

LA PUENTE — Three former La Puente High School soccer players have been convicted and sentenced for their roles in the sexually violent hazing of fellow students last year, officials said Wednesday.
The teenagers, whose names have not been released because they were juveniles at the time of the crimes, were accused of taking part in hazing rituals which included sodomizing other players with a javelin, officials said.
At an May 14 hearing before a juvenile court judge, all three defendants pleaded guilty or no contest to charges leveled in connection with the attacks, which took place between April and August of 2012, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
A 16-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man, who was 17 at the time of the hazing, pleaded no contest to one felony count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and a misdemeanor count of hazing, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said.
A third defendant, who is 17 years old, admitted a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon, in the form of a broken flagpole, as well as a misdemeanor count of hazing, Davila-Morales said.
The now-18-year-old defendant was sentenced to three months in a juvenile camp, Davila-Morales said.
The 16 – and 17-year old boys were each sentenced to probation, she said.
“There is not a set term, but the minor(s) can be put on probation to the juvenile court until age 21,” Davila-Morales said.

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Man killed in La Puente shooting named

LA PUENTE — Coroner’s officials Thursday released the name of a 35-year-old La Puente man shot to death over the weekend while riding a skateboard.
Antonio Ojeda Jr. died at a hospital shortly after Saturday’s 11:15 p.m. drive-by shooting on 2nd Street , just north of Main Street, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said.
The attackers were described only as three Latino men in a silver Honda Accord, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. The shooting was being investigated as possibly gang-related.
Neighbors said the man was southbound on 2ns Street when he was shot.
Several said they heard a series of gunshots, then seeing Ojeda lying on the floor asking for help.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

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La Puente man, Downey man killed in Pomona freeway crash identified

POMONA — Authorities Thursday released the names of a La Puente man and a Downey man killed in a violent crash between two trucks on a freeway transition road in Pomona.
Jose Antonio Garcia, 25, of La Puente and Jorge Garcia, 61, of Downey died in the crash, which took place about 8:50 a.m. Wednesday on the connector road between the eastbound 60 Freeway and the southbound 71 Freeway, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said.
Jose Garcia was a passenger in a 1999 Chevrolet box truck hauling snack food and change, according to California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials. The truck was being driven by a 34-year-old Riverside man.
Prior to the collision, Jorge Garcia was standing beside his 2010 Volvo big rig, which was parked along the right shoulder with its hazard lights activated and the engine running, CHP Officer Robert Ruiz said in a written statement. He was believed to be standing on the driver-side of the truck, nearest to the roadway.
The driver of the box truck, “allowed his vehicle to drift onto the shoulder of the connector road, where the right front portion of (the box truck) struck the left, rear portion of (the big rig’s) trailer,” Ruiz said.
Jose Garcia was severely injured in the impact, officials said. The out of control box truck continued moving forward and struck Jorge Garcia.
Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.
The box truck came to rest in traffic lanes of the transition road, spilling its entire load into the roadway, fire Capt. Larry Jordan said.
The box truck was nearly unrecognizable, he added. “It looked like it exploded.”
The driver of the box truck was hospitalized with moderate injuries, including lacerated tendons in his arm, officials said.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation.
The connector road remained shut down for about six hours as officers investigated the scene.

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La Puente man fatally struck by big while riding bike in Industry identified

INDUSTRY — Authorities Sunday released the name of a 55-year-old La Puente man who was fatally struck by a big rig while riding a bicycle.
Jose Munoz died at the scene of the 3:05 p.m. collision in the 17600 block of Valley Boulevard, just east of Hurley Street, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner officials said.
Little information was available regarding the circumstances of the crash, however the man was initially believed to have been riding on the wrong side of the road when struck, according to Sgt. Desiree Rodriguez. The big rig driver was not initially cites or arrested, however the investigation was ongoing.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Industry Station were handling the investigation.

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Man fatally shot while riding skateboard in La Puente

LA PUENTE — A La Puente man died after being shot while riding a skateboard down a street late Saturday, according to sheriff’s officials and neighbors.
The identity of the shooting victim was not released Sunday pending confirmation that his family had been notified, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said. He was initially described as 35 years old.
He died at a hospital shortly after the attack, which took place about 11:15 p.m. on 2nd Street, just south of Main Street, authorities said.
“The suspects were last seen driving a silver Honda Accord,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. They were initially described only as three Latino men.
“Preliminary investigation seems to indicate that the shooting was gang related,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “There is no further information available at this time.”
The killing was described in coroner’s documents as a drive-by shooting, MacWillie said.
Several neighbors said they heard a series of gunshots, followed by the sound of a car speeding away. Neighbors’ estimates of the number of gunshots they heard ranged from six to 12.
“There were 10 to 12 shots at least,” said on neighbor, who asked that his name be withheld for fear of retaliation. “Then I heard a car buzzing off. Zooming off.”
When the neighbor looked outside, he said he saw the wounded man lying in the street.
“He was awake, crying, saying, ‘Help me, I’m dying,’” the witness said. “It was really scary.”
But within a few minutes, the wounded man was no longer moving or speaking, he said.
Another nearby resident, who also asked his name be withheld, also said he heard the cries of the wounded man.
Before he was shot, the shooting victim had been riding his skateboard south on 2nd Street, he said.
The slaying came as a shock on what is normally a quiet street, the man added. “Thirteen years we’ve lived here. “Nothing like this has ever happened.”
The fatal shooting occurred about a block from La Puente City Hall, and about a quarter-mile away from the sheriff’s Industry Station.
While neighbors said they did not know the identity of the victim, several of them said they prayed for him, and were saddened to learn Sunday morning that he succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

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