Glendale man arrested in Pasadena on suspicion of Los Angeles carjacking

PASADENA — Police arrested a carjacking suspect after spotting him driving in the allegedly stolen car Thursday afternoon, officials said.
Mark Bravo, 29, of Glendale was booked on suspicion of carjacking following his 3:45 p.m. arrest at Parke Street and Marengo Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
Officers were on patrol when they saw a car being driven by Bravo and also occupied by a passenger and realized the vehicle had been reported stolen in Los Angeles, the lieutenant said.
The officers stopped the car and arrested Bravo without a struggle, he said. A passenger fled on foot and was not found, though police believed they knew his identity.
Pasadena police turned Bravo over to Los Angeles police for booking, according to officials and county booking records. He was being held in lieu of $90,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

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Report of Dorner sighting prompts lockdown at L.A. jail, courthouse; determined to be ‘false alarm’

The Twin Towers Correctional Facility and adjacent Central Arraignment Court in Los Angeles went on lockdown, and an area search launched, after a civilian employee reported to her supervisor about 8:45 a.m. that she saw “somebody outside who resembled suspect Dorner,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Steve Whitmore said.
“Out of a preponderance of caution, we locked down the facility as well as the streets in front,” Whitmore said.
The search was called off about 11:30 a.m. after investigators determined, “It was a false alarm,” Whitmore said.

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Suspicious package closes Union Station in LA

Union Station Map

This from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department via press release:

Union Station has been evacuated and closed due to a suspicious package left on the Red Line platform.
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and Metro public information officers are available to speak to media at 530 Ramirez Street (the corner of Ramirez Street and Vignes Street), Los Angeles.

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AP: Rodney King, central figure in L.A. riots, found dead at Rialto home

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LOS ANGELES — Rodney King, the black motorist whose 1991 videotaped beating by Los Angeles police officers was the touchstone for one of the most destructive race riots in the nation’s history, died Sunday. He was 47.
King’s fianc called 911 at 5:25 a.m. to report she found him at the bottom of the swimming pool at their home in Rialto, Calif., police Lt. Dean Hardin.
Officers arrived to find King unresponsive in the water, Hardin said. He was transported to Arrowhead Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m.
There were no signs of foul play, Hardin said. The San Bernardino County coroner will perform an autopsy within 48 hours.
The 1992 riots, which were set off by the acquittals of the officers who beat King, lasted three days and left 55 people dead, more than 2,000 injured and swaths of Los Angeles on fire. At the height of the violence, King pleaded on television: “Can we all get along?”
King was stopped for speeding on a darkened street on March 3, 1991. Four Los Angeles police officers hit him more than 50 times with their batons, kicked him and shot him with stun guns.
A man who had quietly stepped outside his home to observe the commotion videotaped most of it and turned a copy over to a TV station. It was played over and over for the following year, inflaming racial tensions across the country.
It seemed that the videotape would be the key evidence to a guilty verdict against the officers, whose trial was moved to the predominantly white suburb of Simi Valley, Calif. Instead, on April 29, 1992, a jury with no black members acquitted three of the officers; a mistrial was declared for a fourth.
Violence erupted immediately, starting in South Los Angeles.
Police, seemingly caught off-guard, were quickly outnumbered by rioters and retreated. As the uprising spread to the city’s Koreatown area, shop owners armed themselves and engaged in running gun battles with looters.
During the riots, a white truck driver named Reginald Denny was pulled by several black men from his cab and beaten almost to death. He required surgery to repair his shattered skull, reset his jaw and put one eye back into its socket.
The police chief, Daryl Gates, came under intense criticism from city officials who said officers were slow to respond to the riots. He was forced to retire. Gates died of cancer in 2010.
In the two decades after he became the central figure in the riots, King was arrested several times, mostly for alcohol-related crimes. He later became a record company executive and a reality TV star, appearing on shows such as “Celebrity Rehab.”
In an interview earlier this year with The Associated Press, King said he was a happy man.
“America’s been good to me after I paid the price and stayed alive through it all,” he says. “This part of my life is the easy part now.”
- From the Associated Press
PHOTO: Associated Press
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Jury recommends death for convict in Jamiel Shaw slaying

LOS ANGELES — A jury has recommended a death sentence for a gang member convicted of killing a standout Los Angeles High School football player for carrying a red Spider-Man backpack.
Jurors reportedly reached their verdict Wednesday in the penalty phase of trial for Pedro Espinoza. The same panel convicted Espinoza of murdering 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw on May 9.
Prosecutors say Shaw was gunned down in 2008 because of his red backpack, the signature color of the Bloods gang, and Espinoza assumed he was a gang rival. Espinoza has a tattoo near his left ear that is short for “Blood killer.”
Shaw was shot twice, in the abdomen and head, as he was talking to his girlfriend on the phone near his home.
Sentencing has been scheduled for Sept. 21.
- From the Associated Press
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Alhambra man arrested for 1981 killing after 31 years as fugitive

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ALHAMBRA — After 31-years as a fugitive, cold case homicide investigators have arrested an Alhambra man on suspicion of murdering a man on Los Angeles on New Year’s Day, 1981, authorities announced Friday.
Abraham Tovar, 73, was arrested Wednesday at his Alhambra home by detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Homicide Due Diligence Team, LAPD officials said in a written statement.
His brother, Andrew Tovar, was arrested, tried and convicted for the Jan. 1, 1981 slaying of 36-year-old Charles McGee at a vacant lot in the 2300 block of South Central Avenue in Los Angeles, officials said. Andrew Tovar served a state prison sentence and has since died.
Though always suspected in the killing, “Abraham Tovar was never brought to justice and remained a fugitive from the law for 31 years,” according to the LAPD statement.
Investigators picked up Abraham Tovar’s trail several months ago in Alhambra, police said. 
The three-decade-old manhunt collimated with Abraham Tovar’s arrest about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at his home in the 1500 block of South Chapel Avenue in Alhambra, LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman said. He was taken into custody without incident.
The Due Diligence Team concluded a several-month investigation that resulted in two search warrants being issued, several days of surveillance and numerous interviews with the suspect’s family members and friends in order to locate and apprehend him,” the police statement said.
The Tovar brothers had a dispute with an unidentified man at the vacant lot where McGhee’s body was later found, officials said.
“Armed with a handgun and a hatchet, the Tovar brothers returned to the lot for revenge,” according the police statement. “However, the brothers were unable to find the person they were looking for, so they turned their anger toward Charles McGhee and (a second victim) Wayne Alexis instead.”
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Abraham shot both men, investigators said. Alexis survived his wounds and testified against Andrew Tovar during his trial.
“This is a perfect example of how, sooner or later, the long arms of the law will catch up with criminals,” the statement added.
Information on Abraham Tovar’s initial court appearance was not available Friday due to technical problems with county booking records.
A case had not been filed with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Friday afternoon, officials said.
PHOTOS: (above)1981 murder suspect Abraham Tovar, 73, of Alhambra shortly after his arrest Wednesday, May 16, 2012. (below) Abraham Tovar, photographed in September of 1985.
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Experts: Teachers need training to spot campus molesters

LOS ANGELES–Many school teachers across the nation are trained to pick up on clues of child abuse and neglect, but most are not trained to spot the signs of classroom pedophiles, leaving a gray area that could help teacher molesters operate undetected on campuses.

Experts say better training of school teachers and administrators in red-flag behavior could aid in catching molesters, pointing to the case of a former Los Angeles third-grade teacher who is charged with feeding some two dozen students semen-laced cookies, and blindfolding and gagging them over a five-year period.

“There are clear and consistent patterns of behavior. If you know what they are, they jump right out at you,” said Diane Cranley, founder of Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids based in Laguna Niguel, Calif. “But there’s no awareness.”

Only a fraction of the nation’s 3 million educators are involved in any sexual misconduct with children. Although no national statistics are kept, a 2007 Associated Press investigation found 2,500 cases nationwide over five years where educators were punished for sexual abuse.

But that number is believed to be only a sliver of all sexual misconduct incidents.

…FULL STORY from the Associated Press

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$100 million worth of PCP seized in L.A. bust

LOS ANGELES — Authorities say $100 million worth of PCP and nearly $400,000 in cash has been seized at multiple locations in Los Angeles and Culver City.
The seizure is reportedly being described as a major bust of a national drug-trafficking organization that was distributing to Texas, New York, Washington D.C. and other cities.
The huge cache of PCP totals roughly 10 million individual doses, which in the Los Angeles area sell for between $10 and $20 each
The drug was found at two storage facilities and several other locations. Two assault weapons were also seized.
Two suspects were arrested Wednesday at a UPS store in Culver City where they were allegedly trying to ship narcotics.
The bust was announced by the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force.
- From the Associated Press
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UPDATE: Single-engine plane carrying 40 pounds of pot escorted to ground by F-16s after infringing on President Obama’s airspace

Defense officials scrambled to F-16 fighter jets to intercept a single-engine airplane that violated a temporary flight restriction over Los Angeles related to President Barack Obama, authorities said.
The Cessna 182 was intercepted by the fighter jets, which were dispatched from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, shortly after 11 a.m., North American Aerospace Defense Command officials said in a written statement.
“After intercepting the aircraft, the F-16s followed it until it landed without incident at approximately (11:30 a.m.), where the plane was met by local law enforcement,” the statement said.
NORAD is responsible for safeguarding airspace over the U.S. and Canada to prevent potential air attacks.
At least one news agency reported the plane was found to be carrying a significant amount of marijuana, however that could not be confirmed Thursday afternoon.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Second accused Miramonte school teacher released from jail on bond

LOS ANGELES — One of two teachers accused of sexual misconduct at Miramonte Elementary School in South Los Angeles — an Alhambra man — was released from jail Friday after posting bond, authorities said.
Martin Springer, 49, was arrested one week ago after two girls came forward with allegations that he touched them inappropriately in the classroom, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials said.
Prosecutors have charged Springer with three counts of committing lewd acts on a child in connection with one of the girls’ allegations, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said, while they declined to file charges based on the other girl’s claims.
Springer posted $300,000 bail about 2 a.m. Friday and was released from the Los Angeles jail facility where he was being housed, sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker said.
“He was fitted with a court ordered ankle monitoring device before his release,” the captain said.
The victim was about 7 years old when the alleged molestation took place in April, May and June of 2009, according to sheriff’s and D.A.’s officials.
Springer pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. He’s due back in court for a hearing Feb. 16.
If convicted as charged, Springer could face up to 12 years in prison.
The allegation against Springer came forward in the wake of the high-profile arrest of another Miramonte Elementary School teacher, 61-year-old Mark Berndt, earlier in the week on suspicion of sexually abusing 23 of his students.
Berndt remains jailed in lieu of $23 million pending his Feb. 21 arraignment, according to county booking records.
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