Suspect in fatal Pasadena shooting, found dead in Brentwood, identified

Authorities have released the identity of a Brentwood man suspected of shooting a 24-year-old Pasadena man outside his home early Friday before fatally shooting himself later in the day near his own home in Brentwood.
Brandon Rafiepour, 24, was found dead inside his car from what was believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound about 4 p.m. in the West Los Angeles area, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
The suspected suicide took place in the 300 block of North Kenter Avenue, where public records indicate Rafiepour lived.
He was being sought in connection with the shooting death of Joseph McMahon, which took place shortly after 2 a.m. Friday outside McMahon’s home in the 3600 block of Yorkshire Road, in an unincorporated county area east of Pasadena, she said.
McMahon, was pronounced dead at the scene after sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of gunfire, officials said.
He was described as a former associate producer on the television reality series “The Deadliest Catch,”
A woman who identified herself as McMahon’s sister said she heard seven or eight gunshots just after McMahon left the house, but did not know what had taken place.
No details regarding the circumstances or motive in McMahon’s fatal shooting have been released.
Rafiepour has no history of violent crime listed in Los Angeles County Superior Court records. He was convicted of driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit last year, and of driving while in possession of marijuana in 2009.
Anyone with information was asked to contact 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.

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LAPD officers shoot armed domestic violence suspect in El Monte


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.”

CAUTION: GRAPHIC VIDEO

 

 

 

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Officials from schools in Alhambra, Los Angeles accused of ‘pay-to-stay’ immigration fraud scheme

LOS ANGELES >> Federal officials on Wednesday arrested the owner and two manager of a chain of four schools, including one in Alhambra, on charges of running a “pay-to-stay” scheme officials allege helped hundreds of foreign nationals remain in the U.S. as foreign students without attending classes.
A federal grand jury returned a 21-count indictment against the three defendants Tuesday, U.S. Department of Justice spokesoman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. The involved schools are the Likie Fashion and Technology College in Alhambra, Prodee University/Neo American Language School in Los Angeles; Walter Jay M.D. Institute, and Educational Center in Los Angeles; and the American College of Forensic Studies in Los Angeles.
“Given the implications for national security and public safety, we will move aggressively to target individuals who compromise the integrity of our nation’s immigration system out of greed and self-interest,” HSI in in Los Angeles Special Agent in Charge Claude Arnold said. “Simply put, those who exploit the benefits of the student visa program can expect to get a lesson in criminal justice.”
The schools were authorized by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations to sue Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status for academic and languages students, Mrozek said. The school-issued forms, known as form I-20, made students eligible to obtain F-1 student visas allowing them to remain in the United States.
The schools’ enrollees paid up to $1,800 “tuition” for six months of enrollment, Mrozek said. The schools collected as much as $6 million per year in purported tuition payments.
But HSI officials who made an unannounced visit to Prodee University’s main campus in 2011 investigators to Prodee University’s main campus found only three students attending a single English class, although records indicated more than 900 students were enrolled at the university’s two campuses, Mrozek said. Another inspection the same day as the American College of Forensic Studies turned up a single student sitting in one religion class, officials said. Federal records reflected that the school should have had more than 300 active students.
His investigators also found dozens of purported foreign students, primarily from South Korea and China, who originally entered the U.S. to attend other schools, but transferred to the Prodee Network, Mrozek said. “These students lived across the nation, indicating that they were not actually attending classes at Prodee or the other schools,” he said.
School network owner Hee Sun Shim, 51, of Beverly Hills, who is also known as Leonard Shim and Leo Shim, is charged in the indictment along with alleged co-conspirators Hyung Cham Moon, 39, of Los Angeles, also known as Steve Moon, and Eun Young Choi, 35, of Los Angeles, also known as Jamie Choi, according to the DOJ.
All three are charged with conspiring to commit immigration fraud, Mrozek said. Shim is also charged with 13 counts of use or possession of an immigration document procured by fraud, three counts of encouraging illegal residence and two counts of money laundering.
Moon and Choi are each accused of one count of use or possession of an immigration document procured by fraud.
HSI officials planned to immediately seek withdrawal of the schools’ Student and Exchange Visitor Program certification, Mrozek added.
Any students enrolled at the involved schools were advised to contact SEVP representatives at 703-603-3400 for further instructions, officials said. Information is also available online at the SEVP page of ICE’s website at www.ice.gov/sevis/whats-new.

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Off-duty Whittier police officer shoots at intruder in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES >> An off-duty Whittier police officer fired a shotgun at an intruder at his Los Angeles home late Thursday, though it was unclear if the suspect, who fled, was struck, authorities said.
The officer-involved shooting took place in the 3200 block of Military Avenue about 10 p.m. Thursday, said Sgt. John Marquez of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Station.
“The officer was in his home, sitting in the living room when he saw a male black about 20 years old wearing dark clothing standing in his kitchen,” Marquez said.
The officer ran to another room and armed himself with a shotgun, LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery said.
“Once he was armed, he exited the side door of his residence,” the sergeant said.
The officer encountered the intruder behind the house, near the back door, he said.
“It was at that point that am officer-involved shooting occurred,” Montgomery said. It was unclear exactly what promted the officer to open fire.
The suspect ran off, officials said.
Police searched the area but were unable to find the suspect, Montgomery said.
It was unclear if the suspect was struck by the gunfire.
“No one has turned up at a hospital or medical facility with a gunshot wound as far we know,” Marquez said. “So we have no idea where the suspect is at this point.”
Immediately following the shooting, the officer checked to make sure his two roommates were okay, then dialed 9-1-1, Montgomery said.
Whittier police officials deferred comment to the LAPD.

– Staff and wire report

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UPDATED: Missing Pasadena woman found safe in Los Angeles

PASADENA >> A missing autistic woman with bipolar disorder and high blood pressure who went missing Wednesday turned up safe and sound at a Los Angeles bus stop Saturday, police said.
Authorities sought the public’s help in finding Gena Richardson, 46, after she disappeared from her home Pasadena home Wednesday afternoon. She had possibly been spotted at the Memorial Park Gold Line Station the same day.
A woman who recognized Richardson from media coverage saw her Saturday morning at a bus stop at the corner of Adams Boulevard and Figueora Street, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said. The good Samaritan flagged down a Los Angeles police officer.
Luna said Richardson was unharmed and was being reunited with her family.

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Woman hurt in alleged DUI, hit-and-run crash in West Covina dies from injuries

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WEST COVINA >> A 31-year-old Los Angeles woman who was severely injured in an alleged DUI, hit-and-run crash in west Covina last week succumbed to her injuries Thursday, authorities said.
Sherry Yu has been hospitalized in critical condition since Dec. 30, when accused drunken driver Raymond Simon Alvarado, 21, of San Bernardino ran a red light while drunk, slamming into a car Yu was riding as a passenger in, according to West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez.
Yu died from her injuries Thursday at a hospital.
Police said Alvarado blew through a red light at Azusa Avenue while speeding west on Rowland Avenue about 9:15 p.m. His Honda Civic struck the Acura Integra Yu was riding in, which was making a left turn from eastbound Rowland Avenue onto northbound Azusa Avenue.
Yu’s boyfriend, who was driving the Acura suffered non-life-threatening injuries, officials and friends said.
0101_NWS_SGT-L-DUICRASHAlvarado then tried to flee the scene on foot, but was pointed out by a witness and arrested, Lopez said.
He appeared in Pomona Superior Court Monday and pleaded not guilty to charges of DUI causing great bodily injury, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than .08 percent causing great bodily injury, felony hit-and-run and driving without a license, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said. He was ordered back to court for a hearing Jan. 28.
Police notified prosecutors of Yu’s death for consideration of additional charges, such as vehicular manslaughter, authorities said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Alvarado remained behind bars Thursday in lieu of $210,000 bail at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic.
West Covina police traffic investigators returned to the scene of the crash Thursday evening to take measurements and photographs as part of the ongoing investigation, Lt. Pat Cirrito said. The intersections was closed to traffic overnight.
Family and friends have set up an online fund to help cover medical and burial expenses at http://www.gofundme.com/SherryinComa.

PHOTOS: Top – Sherry Yu, 31, of Los Angeles. (courtesy) Below – Raymond Simon Alvarado, 21, of San Bernardino. (courtesy)

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UPDATED: Suspect killed in Hollywood officer-involved shooting

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.

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6 arrested during Friday’s Ferguson protests in Los Angeles

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.

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Man accused of kidnapping, raping Monterey Park woman; victim escaped by jumping from moving car on freeway in El Monte

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MONTEREY PARK >> A task force arrested a man Tuesday in East Los Angeles whom Monterey Park police had been seeking for kidnapping, raping and assaulting his ex-girlfriend last week, authorities said.
The terrified victim may have saved her own life by jumping from a moving car on the 60 Freeway in El Monte on Oct. 28, the day after she was kidnapped at gunpoint by ex-boyfriend Benny Torres, 29, Monterey Park police Lt. Bill Cuevas said. Torres’ last listed address was in Montebello, though he was believed to have most recently been transient.
The woman, a Monterey Park resident in her 20s, was treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries she suffered at the hands of her captor, as well as in her escape, Cuevas said.
“She bravely, by her actions, basically saved her own life.”
Prosecutors Wednesday filed 11 felony charges against Torres, according to a felony complaint filed in Alhambra Superior Court.
The charges include kidnapping, two counts of rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by a foreign object, two counts of making criminal threats, assault with a deadly weapons, assault with a firearm, burglary and false imprisonment.
The victim had recently broken up with Torres amid allegations that he had assaulted her in an incident of domestic violence in Montebello, Cuevas said.
Torres arranged to meet his ex-girlfriend on the afternoon of Oct. 27 in Los Angeles, Cuevas said.
But when she arrived, Torres pulled a handgun, got into her car and ordered her to start driving, officials said.
The attacker eventually took the wheel of the woman’s car himself and drove her to a motel in El Monte, where he held her captive overnight, the lieutenant said.
“The victim was both sexually and physically abused,” Cuevas said.
Torres ordered the woman back into her car the following morning and began driving her somewhere, police said. The woman did not know where Torres was taking her.
“The victim was in fear for her life,” Cuevas said.
As the car travelled down the 60 Freeway, near the 605 Freeway in El Monte, the woman saw an opportunity to escape.
“At one point, while they were driving, she was able to jump out of the vehicle,” Cuevas said.
It was unclear how fast the car was driving when she leapt.
A good Samaritan found the woman wandering in the area and took her to a hospital, officials said. The hospital notified authorities once they determined the woman had been the victim of an attack.
The woman suffered injuries both at the hands of Torres, as well as when she jumped from the moving car, Cuevas said. She had since been treated and released from an area hospital.
Detectives began hunting for Torres with help from the West San Gabriel Anti Crime Task Force, which is made up of officers from the Monterey Park, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, El Monte police departments, as well as officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Probation, task force coordinator and Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores said.
Task force members found and arrested Torres about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday at a relative’s home in the 4000 block of E. 2nd Street in East Los Angeles, according to officials and booking records. Officers arrested him without a struggle.
Torres entered no plea at an appearance Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court, court officials said. His arraignment hearing was postponed to Nov. 24.
If convicted as charged, Torres could face life in state prison, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Torres remained behind bars Wednesday at the Monterey Park Police Department’s jail in lieu of $2.35 million bail, officials said.

PHOTO of Benny Torres, 29, courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department.

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Boy fatally struck by ice cream truck in South Los Angeles

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.

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