LOS ANGELES COUNTY >> Authorities arrested more than 400 people Saturday — 124 of them in Los Angeles County alone — during a statewide sting operation targeting adults who agree to buy alcohol for minors, officials said.
California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control officials teamed with more than 80 police and sheriff’s departments throughout the state to conduct “shoulder tap” operations, ABC spokesman John Carr said.
Officials made 413 arrests and citations during the sting, he said. Nearly 340 of the arrests were for furnishing alcohol to minors, while 70 others were arrested for other reasons, such as having open containers of alcohol, possessing fake IDs, public drunkenness, drug possession or outstanding warrants.
In the Southland, in addition to the 124 arrests made in Los Angeles County, officials made 57 arrests in Orange County, 29 in Riverside County, 10 in San Bernardino County and 2 in Ventura County, Carr said.
“Under the program, a minor under the direct supervision of a peace officer will stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol,” Carr explained. “The minor indicates in some way he or she is underage and cannot purchase the alcohol. If the adults agree, and purchase alcohol for the minor, officers then arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to the minor.”
Those busted for furnishing booze to kids can expect a minimum penalty of a $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.
Funding for many of the local operations was provided by grants from the ABC, as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.
PASADENA >> Coroner’s officials Friday released the identities of a Monrovia man and Los Angeles woman who died after their motorcycle collided with ah car in Pasadena last week.
Motorcyclist Kirk Allan Mirkamali, 24, and passenger Darling Elizabeth Avila, 26, died at a hospital following the Oct. 2 crash at Lake Avenue and Union Street, Lt. R. Hayes of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said.
Mirkamali was described as a Monrovia resident, officials said. A city of residence for Avila was not listed at the coroner’s office, however police said she was from Los Angeles.
The man and woman were south on Lake Avenue on a motorcycle when the cycle collided in the intersection with a Mini Cooper making a left turn from northbound Lake Avenue onto westbound Union Street, Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
A 27-year-old Pasadena woman driving the Mini Cooper suffered no significant injuries, officials said.
The cause of the crash was under investigation by Pasadena police.
PASADENA >> An Arcadia woman who went missing in Los Angeles Friday was found in Pasadena Sunday morning, authorities said.
Barbara Jean Joseph, 44, disappeared after leaving a Los Angeles substance abuse treatment center to attend a family funeral, according to Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther. The woman has a history of psychological issues, prompting loved ones to report her missing.
Police in Pasadena found Joseph about 9:40 p.m. Saturday in the 2000 block of East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
Officers responding to a report of a woman lying on the ground found Joseph, who appeared intoxicated but unharmed, the lieutenant said. She was taken to a hospital for examination, and it was soon determined she had been reported missing.
COVINA >> A man accused of stabbing a 23-year-old Glendora woman in an unprovoked attack last week was behind bars Sunday, authorities said.
Peter William Cooley, described as a 24-year-old transient, was arrested by LAPD Saturday afternoon, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
LAPD officers jailed him in connection with an attempted kidnapping case before realizing he was wanted for the Aug. 2 stabbing at Tri-Community Adult School, 20350 E Cienega Ave. in an unincorporated county area near Covina, sheriff’s Sgt. Nicole Davis said. Further details regarding the alleged kidnapping attempt in Los Angeles were not available.
He’s accused of stabbing the victim, a high school acquaintance, as she skateboarded with friends at the school about 12:45 P.M., according to Lt. Andy Berg.
Without uttering a word, Cooley approached the woman on a bicycle, then stabbed her four to five times in the torso and arm, Berg said. He then abandoned his bicycle and ran away.
The woman was hospitalized in fair condition following the stabbing, officials said.
According to county booking records, Cooley was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
PHOTO of stabbing suspect Peter Cooley, 24, courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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. Alvarado 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)