Los Angeles police investigating a violent a well-organized Korea Town jewelry store robbery likened to “the plot of a Hollywood movie” Wednesday found and arrested two suspects near Covina before ultimately arresting a total of 10 alleged robbers, authorities said.
The robbery and initial two arrests took place Wednesday evening, according to Los Angeles police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
The robbery unfolded about 6:15 p.m. at the St. Cross Jewelry Store inside the Korea Town Center Mall, 928 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles police said in a written statement.
“Approximately nine male suspects had violently and with coordinated precision and speed, overpowered employees and took over the store to rob it of its loot of several hundred expensive designer watches,” according to the LAPD statement.
The robbers were armed with handguns, as well as sledge hammers.
“After overpowering employees and holding them at gunpoint, the suspects proceeded to smash the display cases with the sledge hammers and removed the watches,” the statement said.
The crime was over within minutes, and the suspects fled to a getaway van, police said.
“From video images inside the store as well as witness accounts, and the fact that the store was inside a mall filled with shoppers, it was obvious this was a well-planned, coordinated and practiced operation,” according to the LAPD statement.
LAPD officers tracked two of the suspects to an unincorporated county area near Covina about two hours later via GPS tracking devices hidden inside the expensive watches.
Authorities shut down Lark Ellen Avenue between Arrow Highway and Cypress Street as they stopped the car and took two suspects into custody, according to sheriff’s radio traffic.
The arrest was handled by LAPD, without direct assistance from local sheriff’s deputies, sheriff’s Lt. Tonya Edwards said.
Traffic was reopened within a matter of minutes.
Detectives continued following up on the investigation, ultimately arresting eight more suspects — five of them juveniles — overnight throughout Los Angeles and other nearby cities, according the LAPD.
Officers also recovered three guns and several sledge hammers believed to have been used in the robbery, as well as several hundred expensive watches taken in the heist.
Police said it was fortunate that no one was seriously injured during the crime.
“Although this sounds like the plot of a Hollywood movie, in reality this was a violent and dangerous crime that could have had disastrous results,” the statement said.
EL MONTE >> Los Angeles police shot and critically wounded an armed domestic violence suspect in El Monte early Friday at the conclusion of a two-hour car chase that began in South Los Angeles, authorities said.
The wounded suspect was rushed into surgery and hospitalized in critical condition following the shooting, which took place about 5:30 a.m. at Valley Boulevard and Mountain View Road, Los Angeles police Lt. John Jenal said.
The incident began two hours earlier, when officers from the LAPD’s Southeast Division responded to a report of a domestic assault in the are of 96th Street and Firth Avenue, the lieutenant said. They encountered a victim with significant injuries, but the suspect had already left.
Officers spotted the suspect driving a white Toyota minivan nearby and began a pursuit when he failed to pull over, Jenal said.
The slow speed chase continued for about two hours, primarily on surface streets, Jenal said. “Officers saw him waving a weapon.”
Police used a spike strip to flatten the minivans wheels, but the suspect continued driving on the van’s rims.
He stopped the minivan and exited at Elliot Avenue and Cogswell Road, Jenal said. Police first shot at the man with a bean bag gun before opening fire with bullets, he said. The suspect, who was not struck by the gunfire, returned to the minivan and continued driving.
The minivan again came to a stop, apparently disabled, at Valley Boulevard and Mountain View Road.
“He put a blanket over him as he exited the van, to the point where you could not see his hands,” Jenal said. “Shortly thereafter, the blanket fell to the ground. In his hand, he brandished that same handgun, that’s when the officer-involved shooting occurred.”
Jenal said the suspect suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was in “very critical condition” at an intensive care unit. His identity was not available. He was initially described as about 30 years old. Graphic video of the incident that emerged online showed the suspect brandishing a handgun in the moments before he was shot. The view of the suspect is obscured at the moment police open fire.
In the minutes leading up, police are seen on the video ordering the suspect to throw his gun out the window, stop his car and surrender.
At one point, the suspect tells police, “I don’t want to kill myself. I just want to drive.” He later tells an officer who orders him to stop his van, “I can’t. You don’t understand.”
POMONA >> Police seeking a missing rookie Los Angeles police officer who is being sought in connection with a fatal Pomona shooting found the officer’s car abandoned in Pomona on Sunday afternoon, officials said.
Investigators found a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta belonging to LAPD Officer Henry Solis, 27, of Pomona just before 1 p.m. at Main Street and Monterey Avenue, Pomona police Lt. Ron McDonald said.
The car was parked along the street several blocks north of the scene of Friday’s shooting, which took place about 3:30 a.m. at Main and Third streets, the lieutenant said. Police towed the car away so investigators could examine it in detail for evidence.
Police have described Solis as a “person of interest” in the shooting, which claimed the life of 23-year-old Salome Rodriguez Jr. of Ontario. But investigators have not labeled the LAPD officer a suspect in the slaying.
A gunman shot and killed Rodriguez during a fight, police said. Witnesses reported seeing a compact car fleeing the scene.
Further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting were not released.
Solir, who joined the LAPD in June, was assigned to the LAPD’s Devonshire Division, LAPD Officer Rosario Herrera said.
Solis has not shown up to work since the shooting, officials said.
PHOTO of LAPD Officer Henry Solis courtesy of the Pomona Police Department.
HOLLYWOOD >> Police shot and killed a knife-wielding suspect at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue late Friday, officials said.
Few details were initially available regarding the officer-involved shooting, which took place about 7 p.m., Los Angeles police Officer Jane Kim said.
“Officers were responding to a radio call for an assault with a deadly weapon in progress,” Kim said. “Upon their arrival, they found the suspect was armed with a weapon. That’s when the officer-involved shooting occurred.”
The suspect was taken to an area hospital in critical condition and later succumbed to his injuries, Kim said. No officers were hurt in the incident.
No further details were available.
LOS ANGELES >> The fourth day of Los Angeles protests over developments in Ferguson, Missouri ended with six arrests, including one for battery on a peace officer, authorities said.
Two groups of several dozen protesters each took to the streets of Los Angeles Friday afternoon and evening, one marching through Los Angeles’ Westlake District, and the other marching in Downtown Los Angeles.
No arrests took place in Downtown Los Angeles Friday, however officers arrested six people near Alvarado Street and Beverly Boulevard, LAPD Officer Jane Kim said.
One person was arrested on suspicion of committing battery on a peace officer, Kim said. Further details of the incident that led to the arrest were not available.
Five others were arrested for failing to comply with lawful police orders, she said.
The groups demonstrating Friday were signiciantly smaller than those seen earlier in the week, during which police made more than 350 arrests.
SOUTH LOS ANGELES >> A young boy died after being struck by an ice cream truck late Wednesday, and bystanders attacked the driver at the scene, police said.
The collision took place about 7:15 p.m. in the 200 block of east 97th Street, near Wall Street, Los Angeles police Officer Muria Vanegas said.
“An ice cream truck struck the little boy, who was on a bicycle,” Vanegas said. “He was transported to a hospital in serious condition, and unfortunately, he passed away.”
The boy’s exact age was not available.
Neighbors at the scene assaulted the ice cream truck driver, who suffered apparently minor injuries, Vanegas said.
There were no initial signs of any crime on the part of the driver, she added.
Detectives from the LAPD’s South Traffic Division were handling the investigation.
SYLMAR >> A 3-year-old boy died Wednesday after climbing into a car at his family home in Sylmar and becoming overcome by the afternoon heat, police said.
The incident, which police were investigating as a “tragic accident,” was first reported about 3:30 p.m. at a home in the 14400 block of Foothill Boulevard, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Bruce Borihanh said.
“The boy was playing by himself in the front yard when he climbed into a car,” Borihanh said. The boy was apparently unable to get out of the car and became overcome by the heat, as the temperature in Sylmar soared into the mid-90s Wednesday afternoon.
It was unclear how long the boy had been inside the hot car before he was discovered there by his brother, Borihanh said. The distraught parents immediately summoned paramedics.
“The child was unresponsive when freed from the car and was declared dead at a hospital,” Borihanh said.
Foul play was not initially suspected, he said, and no arrests were made as the investigation continued.
The child was taken to Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, where he was pronounce dead a short time later, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Elissa Fleak said.
The child’s identity was not released Wednesday, as coroner’s officials were yet to recover the body from the hospital, she said.
The car was parked in a driveway in the residential neighborhood, officials said.
The death came just one day before a planned LAPD press conference to remind parents of the dangers hot vehicles can pose to children.
LOS ANGELES >> A 24-year-old USC engineering graduate student from China was found dead in his apartment after he was beaten while walking home from a study group early Thursday, police said.
LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said the student, identified by USC officials as electrical engineering student Xinran Ji, was attacked about 12:45 a.m. out on the street along 29th Street, near Orchard Avenue.
“The victim was somehow able to get back to his residence, where he was discovered this morning,” Neiman said.
A trail of blood was visible leading up the street and into the City Park Apartments in the 1200 block of 30th Street, where the young man lived. “It’s safe to assume it’s the student’s (blood trail),” Neiman said.
Ji was pronounced dead at the scene.
While a specific suspect description was not available, “we do have information that leads us to believe that at least three subjects were involved in this assault,” Neiman said. A dark-colored vehicle was also possibly connected to the crime.
“It’s believed a blunt force object was used. It’s not known what that object was,” Neiman said.
The motive in the attack was unknown. It was not clear if anything of Ji’s had been stolen.
He was apparently involved in a study group and had just walked home a friend,” Neiman said.
Two men who were fatally shot outside a Panorama City 7-Eleven on Thursday have been identified by coroners’ officials as police continued Sunday to hunt two suspects still at large.
The victims were identified as Maron States, 26, of La Puente and Miles DeShawn, 19, of Panorama City, said Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Investigations Unit. The precise cause of death was still pending Sunday morning.
A third man, who was also standing outside the store, was shot in the leg and was taken to a local hospital for treatment, officials said.
A radio call went out at 5:55 a.m. Thursday of an assault with a deadly weapon and shots fired outside the 7-Eleven at 8243 N. Sepulveda Boulevard, said Sgt. S. Carlsen, a watch commander with LAPD’s Mission Station.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are squaring off in a boxing ring in Montebello with Los Angeles police officer tonight at 7 p.m. to raise money for the City of Hope in Duarte during the 20th Annual Fight for Life.