ROSEMEAD >> Police arrested a suspect in Rosemead on Friday in connection with the fatal stabbing of two senior citizens at a Chinatown social club on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
Detectives tracked down and arrested double-murder suspect Vinh Quok Dao, 37, about 4:30 p.m. in Rosemead, Los Angeles police officials said in a written statement.
The deadly attack took place about 2:40 p.m. on Thursday at the Hop Sing Tong Benevolent Association club at 428 Gin Ling Way, between Broadway Avenue and Hill Street,
Dao had previously been a member of the club, but had just returned to Los Angeles after being estranged for several years, officials said. He entered the club Thursday afternoon and demanded that one of the members, whom he knew, give him $400 to pay for vehicle impound fees.
“When the member refused to cooperate, Dao exhibited a 6-inch, Buck-style knife and attacked him,” according to the statement. “Another member tried to come to the victim’s aid, but Dao also attacked that person.”
Both victims died from their wounds at the scene.
The attacker fled the scene, initiating a manhunt. A bloodhound was brought into join in the search, but the suspect was not found on Thursday.
The attacker left behind a trail of blood, investigators said. It was not initially clear if the suspect himself was wounded, or if the blood was that of the victims.
“Central Homicide Detectives, along with the support of a joint apprehension task force, located Dao in Rosemead, California, around 4:30 p.m. (Friday) afternoon,” the statement said. “He was taken into custody without incident.”
Further details regarding Dao’s apprehension were not available late Friday.
Dao was expected to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court for an arraignment hearing on Tuesday.
The identities of the two victims, both described as club members in their 60s, were not released Friday pending positive identification and notification of their families, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said.
“The victims are both of Chinese descent and longtime members of the club,” according to the LAPD statement. “They spent most of their days at the club playing mahjong and visiting with friends.”
Anyone with information can reach LAPD Detective Tricia Hauck at 213-996-1878, or the LAPD’s 24-hour tip line at 877-527-3247. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
PHOTO via the Associated Press
SAN GABRIEL >> Two men accused of robbing a San Gabriel cell phone store on Wednesday afternoon led police on a high-speed chase before being cornered and apprehended in Los Angeles, authorities said.
An officer first tried to stop the suspects’ car about 5:51 p.m. for a routine traffic violation in the area of San Gabriel Boulevard, south of Valley Boulevard, San Gabriel Police Lt. Tony Hernandez said.
The driver failed to pull over, instead starting a chase during which he drove recklessly and at high speed down the westbound 10 Freeway, he said.
As the pursuit was ongoing, police received information that the car was believed to have been involved in a robbery that occurred about 5:45 p.m. at a cell phone store in the 800 block of Valley Boulevard, according to the lieutenant.
Two men with at least one gun had entered the store and fled with about 20 phones, he said. It was not immediately clear if cash was also taken.
Officers continued chasing the suspects as they exited the freeway at Mission Road in Los Angeles and crashed into another motorist, Hernandez said. The two suspects abandoned the car and continued to flee on foot. The other driver involved in the crash was unhurt.
The fleeing suspects ran directly into a commercial property enclosed by a 6-foot-tall, razor-wire-topped fence, he said. They surrendered once they realized they were trapped.
The suspects identities were not immediately available.
Police were re-tracing the path of the pursuit late Wednesday in search of items possible tossed from the suspects during the chase, he added.
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE >> A man found dead inside a vehicle in a La Canada Flintridge late Friday has been identified as a 40-year-old music video director and producer from Los Angeles who disappeared a week ago, officials said Saturday.
The body of Travis Joel Peterson was discovered about 7:25 p.m. Friday inside a car parked in a parking lot of a shopping center along the 900 block of Foothill Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
He was reported missing by family after vanishing on Dec. 30, Los Angeles police officials said in a written statement.
“Peterson was last seen on December 30, 2016, in the 1500 block of Foothill Boulevard, in the City La Canada Flintridge,” according to the statement. He had reportedly stopped at a gas station to buy a bottle of water. He was not seen or heard from again until his body was discovered.
Peterson’s cause of death was yet to be determined through a autopsy, Smith said.
But investigators did not note any overt signs of foul play at the scene, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Daniel Stanley said.
L.A. Weekly described Peterson as the “go-to music video director for L.A.’s indie rock scene,” having worked with artists including Glass Candy, Nite Jewel, Ariel Pink, Nedelle Torrisi, Julia Holter and Seth Bogart.
Once Peterson was found dead in La Canada Flintridge, the LAPD missing person’s case became a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau investigation.
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.
PHOTO: Travis Joel Peterson, 40, of Los Angeles. (Courtesy, LAPD)
LOS ANGELES >> A judge sentenced a West Los Angeles man who formerly worked as a teacher’s assistant to eight years in federal prison for distributing “sadistic” child pornography images online, authorities said.
Steven Petlak, 53, pleaded guilty to a single count of distribution of child pornography in July in federal court in Los Angeles, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
“In court filings, Petlak admitted that he made an effort to seek out the worst types of child pornography he could find — in Petlak’s words, “the really dark stuff,” Mrozek said in a written statement.
Images traded via a peer-to-peer file-sharing system included pornographic pictures of children under 15 years old, “including child images deemed to be ‘sadistic’ under the federal sentencing rules,” Mrozek said.
While out of custody and awaiting trial, “Petlak was caught by a law enforcement officer looking at what appeared to be graphic images of a juvenile female,” Mrozek added.
Officials said Petlak had previously worked as a teachers’ assistant, however DOJ officials did not disclose what school or schools he has worked for.
Petlak received his sentence from U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.
“Predators who seek out child pornography online threaten the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable in our real-world community. This defendant’s conduct exemplifies a horrific and dark part of our society, and the sentence today reflects the harm caused by defendants who trade in these heinous materials, ” U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Eileen Decker said.
Upon his release from federal prison, Petlak will be required to register as a sex offender and stay away from places where children are present.
SANTA ANA >> A Los Angeles man admitted to two felony charges in Orange County on Thursday after attempting to recruit an undercover investigator who he believed to be a teenage girl into prostitution via social media, authorities said.
Michael Joseph Mata, 34, pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court to one county of attempted pimping of a minor and one count of pandering by procuring, Orange County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
“Mata is a pimp who exploits women for financial gain,” according to the statement. “With the rise in popularity of social media and ease of meeting people on the Internet, many pimps and human traffickers utilize a variety of social media to locate potential victims,” according to the statement.
Between October and December of 2015, Mata was in contact with an undercover investigator, who he believed to be a 17-year-old girl, online via social media, prosecutors said.
“The defendant tried to recruit the officer to perform commercial sex acts for his benefit,” the statement said. “The defendant arranged to meet with the officer and was subsequently arrested by the Orange Human Trafficking Task Force at the arranged meeting spot.”
Mata was immediately sentenced to three years in state prison.
The case prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office’s Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit.
LOS ANGELES >> A Pasadena man who was allegedly drunk and on probation for a previous DUI conviction when he rear-ended a car on the 110 Freeway in Elysian Park, killing an infant who was riding as a passenger, has been charged with murder, authorities said.
Prosecutors on Tuesday filed a charges of murder, DUI causing injury or death and driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent against 26-year-old Jared Hale Lynch Silvestri of Pasadena in connection with Saturday evening’s crash on the northbound 110 Freeway near Stadium Way, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
An arraignment hearing scheduled Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles County Superior Court was postponed until Dec. 15, he said.
Four-month-old Melanie Brown of Carson, who was riding as a passenger in a car driven by her grandmother, died at a hospital following the crash, according to California Highway Patrol officials and prosecutors. The grandmother and another 9-year-old granddaughter who was also riding as a passenger were hurt.
The 48-year-old La Crescenta woman was pulling her Chrysler over to the right shoulder when Silvestri approached from behind in a Volkswagen Jetta and slammed into the slow-moving Chrysler at “a high rate of speed”, CHP officials said in a written statement.
A third car became involved in the collision, but the driver was unhurt, according to the CHP.
Paramedics tool the injured grandmother and her two granddaughters were taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where the infant girl succumbed to her injuries several hours later.
Silvestri was initially booked on suspicion of drunken driving following the crash, according to the CHP.
But after the young victim died, and it was determined that Silvestri has been convicted of DUI in another case eight months ago, prosecutors ultimately charged the defendant with murder.
Under California Law, a murder charge in a DUI case necessitates an accusation of “implied malice.”
Those convicted of DUI are generally issued what’s known as a Watson advisory upon sentencing. By signing the advisory, the convict is acknowledging that DUI is extremely dangerous to human life, and that if someone is killed as result of the convict’s DUI, prosecutors may file a murder charge.
Silvestri received just such a Watson advisory earlier this year, when he was convicted of misdemeanor DUI in March in a separate case, Santiago said.
He pleaded “no contest” to a count of driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than .08 percent in Pasadena Superior Court in March, Los Angeles County Superior Court. A second charge of driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage was dismissed. Silvestri was sentenced to three years of summary probation,fined $390 and ordered to attend a three-month substance abuse counseling program.
If convicted as charged in the new case, Silvestri could face up to 25 years to life in state prison.
According to county booking records, Silvestri was being held in lieu of $2 million bail.
LOS ANGELES >> A Pasadena man is accused of drunken driving in connection with a crash that killed a 4-month-old girl and injured a 10-year-old boy and a woman on the 110 Freeway in Elysian Park late Saturday, officials said.
Jared Silvestri, 26, was under the influence of alcohol during the 6:37 p.m. crash on the northbound 110 Freeway, just south of the 5 Freeway, California Highway Patrol Officer K. Herrera said in a written statement.
He was at the wheel of a 2001 Chevrolet when it slammed into the rear of a 2006 Chrysler that was slowing and pulling over to the right shoulder, officials said.
A 48-year-old La Crescenta woman, a 4-month-old Carson girl and a 10-year-old La Crescenta boy inside the Chrysler were all hospitalized with injuries, CHP Officer Stefan Brandt said.
The infant girl, who was initially listed in critical condition, was in cardiac arrest while rushed to the hospital, where she ultimately succumbed to her injuries, Brandt said.
The woman driving the Chrysler and the boy riding as a passenger suffered injuries describes as “moderate,” Herrera said.
The Chrysler had pulled halfway on to the right shoulder when it was struck from behind by Silvestri’s car ‘at a high rate of speed,” according to Herrera.
Following the initial impact, both vehicles careened out-of-control and struck another 2001 Chevrolet before coming to a rest, officials said. The driver of the third vehicle was not hurt.
“(Silvestri) was determined to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, and the proximate cause of this collisions, and was subsequently arrested,” Herrera said.
The suspect was treated for minor injuries before being booked into jail, officials said.
Following the death of the child, Silvestri may see a pending charge of DUI causing injury upgraded to a more serious crime, such as vehicular manslaughter.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Silvestri was being held in lieu of $2 million bail at the Los Angeles Police Department’s 77th Street Division pending his initial court appearance.
A body is removed by the Los Angeles County coroner staff after three people were killed during a shooting after a dispute at a pop-up Jamaican restaurant in Los Angeles on October 15, 2016 Three people were killed and at least a dozen more injured, police said Saturday. One person has been arrested and police have launched a manhunt for another in connection with the deadly incident in West Adams, in the southwestern part of the metro area, said spokesman Lieutenant Chuck Springer. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Police on Sunday announced the arrests of two in connection with a shoot-out at a home operating as a makeshift Jamaican restaurant that left three people dead and 12 others wounded in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles early Saturday.
Mowayne McKay, 33, and Deigo Reid, 25, both Jamaican nationals, were booked on suspicion of murder Saturday morning, according to Los Angeles Police Department officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
They’re accused of being involved in Saturday’s 12:30 a.m. shooting that sent a barrage of bullets flying through the crowded home in the 2900 block of Rimpau Street, striking 15 people in all, LAPD officials said in a written statement.
Both McKay and Reid were initially arrested in the hours immediately following the shooting, but were not formally booked until Sunday morning, records show.
Information regarding the suspects’ specific alleged roles in the complex shooting were unclear, and information regarding where and how they were arrested was not available.
The identities of the three people who died in the shooting were not released Sunday pending notification of their families, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said.
About 50 people were at the makeshift restaurant prior to the gunfire, officials said.
“A dispute broke out between one male individual and at least two other males, one of whom produced a handgun and shot the male individual,” according to the LAPD statement.
“Immediately following the shooting of this one individual, several other shots were fired indiscriminately in the crowd, including some that appeared to be ‘return’ fire from other party-goers in the direction of the suspects,” the statement said. “The initial shooter and at least one other associate, who is also believed to have fired in the crowd, fled the scene on foot.”
Nine men and six women were wounded. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics pronounced three of the victims dead at the scene.
The injuries suffered by the 12 survivors ranged from minor to severe, police said.
“Currently, one male victim is in extremely critical condition, while most of the other victims have been released from their local hospitals,” the statement said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact LAPS Criminal Gang Homicide detectives David Dilkes or Isidro Soto at 323-786-5110. During non-business hours or weekends, the LAPD can be reached at 877-527-3247. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LOS ANGELES >> Police sought the public’s help Saturday in finding a 71-year-old Pasadena man with Alzheimer’s disease who went missing in downtown Los Angeles Friday evening after being released from jail following a DUI arrest in downtown Los Angeles.
Gerald Masao Sakamoto was last seen just after 7:30 p.m., when he was released from the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles, according to Pasadena police and Los Angeles County booking records. He had been arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving by officers from the California Highway Patrol’s Glendale-Verdugo Hills area office about 3 a.m. after being involved in a freeway crash.
But two-and-a-half hours later, Sakamoto was nowhere to be found, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said. His wife reported him missing.
Sakamoto suffers from medical issues, including Alzheimer’s disease, police said.
He’s described as Asian, 5 feet 3 inches tall, 165 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pasadena Police Department at 626-744-4241.
EAST VALINDA >> Gunfire erupted following a house party in East Valinda early Saturday, leaving one man dead and another hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said.
The slaying was the sixth deadly shooting reported in Los Angeles County in less than 12 hours.
The deadly shooting took place just before 2:50 a.m. in the 400 block of Shipman Avenue, in the unincorporated county area between La Puente and West Covina, according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Both victims had just attended a house party.
“As the party ended and the guests dispersed, the victims were leaving the location but were confronted by an unknown suspect,” Saldana said in a written statement. “The suspect produced a handgun and opened fire fatally striking one victim in the upper torso. He died at the scene.”
The man’s identity was not released pending positive identification and notification of family, coroner’s officials said.
The second victim suffered gunshots to his “upper and lower torso,” she said. He was taken to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition.
No suspects were in custody, Saldana said. Investigators sought a white SUV seen speeding away from the shooting scene. It was last seen heading west on Northam Avenue.
No further details were available.
The attack was the last of six deadly shooting reported within 12 hours in Los Angeles County. Five men and one woman lost their lives in the afternoon and overnight violence.
Three of the deadly shootings occurred in the same neighborhood surrounding Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in an unincorporated county area just east of Los Angeles, officials said.
A man died in a 1 a.m. shooting in the 7600 block of Miramonte Avenue in an unincorporated county area just east of Los Angeles, according to the sheriff’s department.
“The victim was working on a car parked along the curb in front of a residence when an unknown suspect approached him,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “The suspect produced a firearm and opened fire striking the victim.”
The victim succumbed to his injuries at a hospital, authorities said.
Another man died in a 12:30 a.m. shooting in at Union Pacific Avenue and Bonnie Beach Place in East Los Angeles, Saldana said.
Deputies responding to reports of “shots fired” encountered a man lying on the sidewalk suffering from a gunshot wound, she said. He died at a hospital. No further details were available.
A woman died in an ambush attack in a 12:10 a.m. at Carson Street and Evonda Avenue in Carson, authorities said.
“…the victim was walking west on Carson Street when an unknown suspect approached her from behind,” according to a statement issued by the sheriff’s Information Bureau. “The suspect produced a firearm and opened fire striking the victim. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Two men were shot, one fatally, three hours earlier in the 1900 block of East 78th Street, less than a mile from the scene of the Miramonte Avenue shooting.
The victims were standing in a driveway with several other people when two men approached on a minibike, Deputy Trina Schrader of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
“One of the men on the minibike produced a handgun and opened fire. Following the shooting, the suspects rode away westbound and out of view,” according to Schrader.
Two men were struck by the gunfire, she said. One of them succumbed to his wounds at a hospital, while the other was hospitalized with injuries described as “serious.”
Friday’s violence began with a 3:47 p.m. shooting in the 7500 block of Compton Avenue in unincorporated Los Angeles, around the corner from the shooting on Miramonte Avenue.
The victim was riding his bike along the sidewalk when his attacker exited a white car parked along the curb and began shooting, Schrader said.
“The suspect got back into the vehicle and drove away southbound Compton Avenue to eastbound 76th Street and out of view,” she said.
The victim, who was shot multiple times, died at a hospital.
No suspects were in custody, and no suspect descriptions were available in any of the shootings.
And in Boyle Heights, a young girl, reportedly 10 years old, was wounded in the head by an errant bullet from a nearby shooting.
A male suspect in a vehicle shot at a bicyclist, also described only as male, about 6 p.m. Friday at Chicago Street and Rogers Avenue, Los Angeles police Officer Rosario Herrera said.
The gunfire missed the intended target, but a bullet struck the girl in the head, officials said.
An update on the girl’s condition was not available Saturday, but her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, Herrera said.
Anyone with information on any of the deadly shootings is asked contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anyone with information regarding the Boyle Heights shooting can reach the LAPD’s Hollenbeck Station at 323-342-4100.
Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.