Suicidal man discovered fatally shot in La Verne

LA VERNE — A man who called La Verne police Wednesday threatening to kill himself was later found in a parked car with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
An officer found the car on C Street, south of Arrow Highway just after 6 p.m.
“We received a call from him,” Sgt. Ray Steitz said.
The man said by the time police found him it would be too late, according Steitz.
The sergeant said the man was taken to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

- Ruby Gonzales

UPDATE: 29-year-old killed in motorcycle crash on the 210 Freeway in La Verne

LA VERNE — A 29-year-old man died following a motorcycle crash early Thursday after being cut off by a van on the 210 Freeway, authorities said.
James Chappell was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after the 6:55 a.m. crash on the westbound 210 Freeway, just east of Fruit Street, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Dulong said. His address was listed in Crescent City, though he was believed to have been staying with family in Upland.
Chappell was riding hi 2002 Honda CBR600 motorcycle in the carpool lane at an undetermined speed prior to the crash, Dulong said.
Ahead of him and in the freeway’s fast lane, a 58-year-old Claremont man was driving a 2010 Ford E-350 van at 65 to 70 mph, the sergeant said.
“The van approached slower-moving traffic, braked and then changed into the carpool lane, crossing the double yellow line, directly into the path of the motorcyclist,” Dulong said.
Chappell was unable to avoid a collision and crashed into the rear of the van, he said.
Despite wearing a helmet, Chappell suffered major injuries including head injuries, according to Dulong. He was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, where he succumbed to his injuries.
The crash was being investigated by the Baldwin Park office of the California Highway Patrol. No arrests or citations had been made.
The wreckage blocked the carpool and fast lane of the westbound freeway for more than an hour as rescuers tended to the injured rider and CHP officers investigated the scene, CHP Officer Ed Jacobs said.

Deputies, La Verne police shoot two suspects in Hawaiian Gardens

HAWAIIAN GARDENS — Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and La Verne police shot and wounded two suspects Thursday during a multi-agency operation in Hawaiian Gardens, officials said.
The shooting took place jsut before 5:30 p.m. at Horst Avenue and 216th Street, according to Deputy Benjamin Grubb of the Sheriff’s Headquarter’s Bureau.
“The shooting occurred as a multiple police agency task force was conducting an investigation,” Grubb said in a written statement. “No deputies nor La Verne police officers were injured. Two suspects were wounded and transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. There are no outstanding suspects.”
“There is no further information at this time,” he added.

UPDATED: Plane crashes near Fairplex in Pomona; one fatality reported

POMONA — A single-engine airplane en route to Brackett Field in La Verne crashed at the Pomona Fairplex Friday, killing the pilot, authorities said.
The airplane, identified by Federal Aviation Administration officials as a Mooney M20M, “crashed under unknown circumstances around 2:15 p.m. approximately 1 mile southeast of Brackett Field, near the Pomona Fairgrounds,” FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said in a written statement.
One person was pronounced dead at the scene, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said. No other injuries were reported.
The airplane crashed near the southeast corner of the grandstands at the Fairplex’s racetrack, officials added. The crash did not ignite a fire.
The aircraft’s marking indicated it was registered to a Pasadena law firm.
Friday’s incident was the second fatal small plane crash near Brackett Field in recent years.
Husband and wife Charles and Renee Shaffer of La Verne died March 14, 2009, when their Piper Dakota suddenly lost altitude and went down in Pomona shortly after take-off from Brackett Field.
The couple’s plane crashed into a hillside near the 2600 block of Pomona Boulevard, about 2 miles from the scene of Friday’s crash.

Man gets 40 years to life for Whittier area shooting

NORWALK — A La Verne man received a sentence of 40 years to life in prison Tuesday for shooting another man in the head in an unincorporated county area near Whittier, court officials said.
Carlos Humberto Ramirez, 44, was convicted earlier this year of the February 2009 shooting of then-29-year-old Danny Rodriguez of Glendale on Esperanza Avenue
Rodriguez was sitting in the back seat of a car, which Ramirez opened fire on, when he was struck in the head by gunfire, authorities said. No one else was injured.
Ramirez was convicted of attempted murder, shooting at an occupied vehicle and being a felon in possession of a gun.

Covina man gets 15 years to life in prison for fatal DUI crash in La Verne

POMONA — A judge sentenced A Covina man to 15 years to life in state prison Tuesday for a drunken driving crash that killed his two passengers in La Verne last year.
Pomona Superior Court Judge Tia Fisher handed down the sentence to Alan Michael McConnell, 28, who pleaded guilty in April to two counts of murder for the deaths of Telassie Dague, 22, and Renee Hardy, 20, both of Alta Loma, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
The fatal crash took place about 12:45 a.m. Jan. 23, 2010, on Foothill Boulevard in La Verne, near Damien Avenue.
McConnell had a blood-alcohol level of .15 — nearly twice the legal limit — when he fled the scene of another minor traffic collision, lost control and crashed into a tree, officials said.
McConnell tried to withdraw his guilty plea earlier this month, though Fisher denied the motion.

Covina man pleads guilty to murder charges for double-fatal DUI crash in La Verne

LA VERNE — A Covina man pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of murder in connection with a a drunken driving crash in La Verne that killed his two passengers, authorities said.
Alan McConnell, 28, faces 15 years to life in prison when he returns to Pomona Superior Court for sentencing on April 22, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
McConnell had become involved in a minor traffic crash on Jan. 23, 2010, at Foothill Boulevard at Damien Avenue and was fleeing the scene in his 2000 Pontiac Grand Am when he struck a center median and a tree at Foothill Boulevard and Wheeler Avenue, prosecutors and police said.
His passengers, 22-year-old Telassie Dague and 20-year-old Renee Hardy, 20, both of Alta Loma, suffered fatal injuries in the crash.
McConnell had nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood at the time of the crash, officials added.
In exchange for his guilty plea, district attorney’s officials said, authorities dropped seven misdemeanor charges, including hit-and-run, drunken driving and driving on a suspended or revoked license.

Sentencing delay will allow World Series ring thief from Azusa to avoid state prison

POMONA — The sentencing for an Azusa man who stole a 1988 World Series ring, along with other jewelry, from former Dodger Jimmy Campanis last year was postponed Thursday until late this year.
Frank Jose Carrillo, 40, pleaded guilty in early January to stealing the items from Campanis’ golf bag as he participated in a charity golf tournament in Chino Hills on Nov. 15 of last year.
He was expected to be sentenced to two years in state prison Thursday, but the sentencing was continued until Dec. 13, court officials said.
The delay will allow Carrillo to serve his sentence in county jail instead of state prison, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
Pomona Superior Court Commissioner Wade Olson granted Carrillo’s request to avoid state prison over the objections of the prosecution, Robison said.
Carrillo will remain in county jail until he returns to court on Dec. 13, she said, when he’s still expected to be sentenced to two years behind bars.
With credit for the time he will have already served in county jail, officials said, he will be able to serve the remainder of his sentence in a county facility after his sentencing.
Carrillo pleaded guilty Dec. 13 of last year to three counts of grand theft of personal property, two counts of second-degree commercial burglary and one count of receiving stolen property, the district attorney’s office said in a written statement.
Carrillo was arrested two days after the theft by by La Verne police, authorities said. Investigators recovered the World Series ring, as well as several Rolex watches, wallets and other items while executing a search warrant at Carrillo’s home.
Carrillo admitted stealing the items from golf bags and golf carts between June 2009 and November 2010.

La Verne man, Duarte man arrested in Medi-Cal fraud case

Officials arrested nine people Thursday, including two San Gabriel Valley residents, on suspicion of stealing money from both the Medi-Cal system and senior citizens.
The alleged scam involved employees of Montclair-based Community Extended Care Hospital and their associates who are accused of stealing more than $150,000 from patients and defrauding Medi-Cal, California Department of Justice officials said in a written statement.
“This scam ripped off both senior citizens and our desperately needed public health funds,” California Attorney General Jerry Brown. “These thieves callously stole thousands of state dollars meant to be spent on seniors in this skilled nursing facility.”
David Carmona, 74, of LaVerne, and Andy Tricas, 46, of Duarte were among those arrested during the five-month long investigation, authorities said. They and all the other suspects were being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the San Bernardino County Jail.
Carmona was the neighbor of another suspect, who has since died, and Tricas was the boyfriend of the now-deceased suspect.
Seven other suspects from throughout Southern California were also arrested Thursday morning, according to the D.O.J. statement. A tenth person charged in the case, Maribel Velazquez, 36, New Mexico, remained at large.
The alleged scam took place from 2006 to 2009, officials said.
After billing Medi-Cal for 100 percent of some patients bills, hospital employees are accused of soliciting additional money from elderly patients and their families, according to the D.O.J. The suspects allegedly placed the money in a patient trust accounts, then wrote checks on those accounts for their own gain.
“The scam involved hospital employees writing checks, ranging from $250 to $6,900, from the patient accounts to individuals in the gang, including a UPS driver, their own relatives, and a next door neighbor, who would then cash the checks, take a percentage of the stolen funds and return most of the cash to the hospital employees,” the D.O.J. statement said.
The investigation into the hospital, carried out by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, began in January following a preliminary investigation by the California Department of Health Care Services, officials said.

Fatal motorycle crash reported in La Verne

LA VERNE — A motorcyclist died Saturday after colliding with another vehicle on the 210 Freeway, authorities said.
Lincoln Juarez, 37, of Canyon Country died at the scene of the crash, coroner’s officials said.
The crash was reported just after 9 a.m. on the eastbound 210 Freeway, just west of Fruit Street, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jesse Holguin said in a written statement.
The rider was thrown from his 2008 Harley Davidson and pronounced dead at the scene after colliding with a 2006 Jeep Cherokee being driven by a 19-year-old Cypress man, Holguin said.
It appeared that either the motorcycle or the Jeep made an unsafe lane change, he said, however officials were continuing to investigate which vehicle caused the crash.
Any witnesses to the crash are asked to call the Baldwin Park office of the CHP at (626) 338-1164.