Montebello man killed in Alhambra motorcycle crash identified


ALHAMBRA >> Authorities have identified a 31-year-old motorcyclist from Montebello who died in a crash after being cut off by pickup truck on an Alhambra expressway on Friday.
Eric Kawai died at a hospital shortly after Friday’s 11:50 a.m. collision on the eastbound 10 Freeway, just east of Garfield Avenue, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records. He was initially described by California Highway Patrol officials as 32 years old.
Prior to the crash, Kawai was riding a 2015 Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle in the right-hand lane of the two-lane express way, which runs along the left-hand side of the eastbound 10 Freeway, Officer J. McKee of the CHP’s East Los Angeles Office said in a written statement.
A 1986 Toyota pickup truck being driven by a 19-year-old El Segundo man was heading east on the 10 Freeway in the fast lane, “in heavy stop-and-go traffic,” McKee said.
Kawai was overtaking the pickup truck when the driver veered across the solid double-white lines separating the freeway from the FasTrak expressway and directly into the motorcycles path of travel, McKee said. The motorcycle struck the pickup truck.
The teenage driver of the pickup truck, as well as three other young men who were riding as passengers, suffered no injuries in the crash, officials said.
Officers initially detained the teenage pickup truck driver, but he was not ultimately arrested, according to CHP officials.
Anyone with information regarding the fatal collision is asked to contact the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office at 323-980-4600.
A fund established online at www.gofundme.com/eric-kawai to help Kawai’s family had raised more than $6,000 as of Wednesday.

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CHP: Motorcyclist from Montebello died after being cut off by pickup truck on 10 Freeway in Alhambra


ALHAMBRA >> A motorcyclist from Montebello died in a crash on the 10 Freeway in Alhambra Friday after a pickup truck cut him off on an expressway, authorities said Saturday.
Authorities withheld the name of the motorcyclists, described as a 32-year-old Montebello man, pending notification of his family, California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said.
The crash took place about 11:50 a.m. on the eastbound 10 Freeway, just east of Garfield Avenue, California Highway Patrol Office Michelle Bond said.
Prior to the crash. the motorcyclist was riding a 2015 Kawasaki Ninja east in the right-hand lane of the two-lane FasTrak toll road, Officer McKee of the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office said in a written statement. A 19-year-old El Segundo man was driving a 1986 Toyota pickup truck “in heavy stop-and-go traffic” in the fast lane of the eastbound 10 Freeway, alongside the FasTrak expressway.
“This collision occurred when (the pickup truck) changed lanes from the No. 1 lane of Interstate 10 eastbound across the solid double white lines,” McKee said.
The truck ended up directly in the motorcycle’s path of travel, he said. The motorcycle struck the back of the pickup truck.
Paramedics took the badly injured motorcyclist to a nearby hospital with severe trauma to his torso, officials said. He was soon pronounced dead.
The teenager at the wheel of the pickup was arrested, according to the CHP. His identity, as well as the crime he is accused of, were not available Saturday afternoon.
The pickup truck driver, as well as two other young men who were riding as passengers in the truck, suffered no injuries in the crash, according to McKee.
Anyone with information can reach the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office during normal business hours at 323-980-4600.

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Help sought finding missing Montebello teen

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MONTEBELLO >> Police are asking the public’s help in finding a 17-year-old Montebello girl whose been missing for more than a month.
Isabel Frias was last seen on the night of Sept. 6 at her home in Montebello, prior to gong to sleep, Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
Her parents believed she had walked to school the following morning, but she never arrived, officials said.
“It is believed that Isabel may have run away with her boyfriend, Victor Alvarez, to an unknown location,” according to the statement.
“There have been possible sightings of Isabel in the East Los Angeles area near Obregon Park and Cesar Chavez Avenue,” the statement added.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Montebello police at 323-887-1313.

PHOTO courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.

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Creepy clown reports draw cops to schools in Pasadena, Rosemead

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Sightings, rumors and online chatter about menacing, sometimes-armed creepy clowns hanging around near Los Angeles County schools drew police responses on Thursday, but resulted in no arrests or incidents.
Police in Pasadena responded to Wilson Middle School, 300 Madre Street, about 10:45 a.m. in response to a “non-specific threat” involving possible sightings of clowns at the school, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
Officials evacuated the school and searched the campus, ultimately finding nothing unusual, Goodman said.
Students at Willard Elementary School, across the street, “sheltered in place” as police search the area and the Wilson campus, Pasadena Unified School District officials said.
The threat was determined to be “completely unfounded,” Goodman said. No further details regarding the nature of the reported threat were available.
“(Police) thoroughly assessed the entire campus. There was no threat on campus,” Wilson Principal Sarah Rudchenko said in a statement sent to parents.
The school resumed normal operation about 11:45 a.m.
“Teachers will be providing students with an opportunity to discuss and debrief the incident,” Rudchenko said. “Counselors will be on site to assist if needed.”
In Rosemead, an officials Mildred B. Janson Elementary School, 8628 Marshall Street, called deputies about 1:30 p.m. to report seeing what appeared to be someone dressed as a clown near the campus, possibly carrying a handgun, Lt. John McClure of the sheriff’s Temple City Station said.
Deputies searched the area, but did not find any clowns, armed or otherwise, he said.
Police in Montebello were also keeping an eye out after receiving word that social media posts had indicated the creepy clowns would be showing up soon in their city.
Glendora police arrested a 19-year-old Azusa man Wednesday on suspicion of criminal threats after he posted messaged via social media involving clown-related threats against his alma mater, Sierra High School, as well as vague threats in the city of El Monte.
The suspect, 19-year-old William Salazar, indicated to detectives the threats were intended to be a joke.

PHOTO: Pennywise the clown, from Stephen King’s 1990 film, “It.”

 

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Teen slashed with knife during robbery in Montebello


MONTEBELLO >> Police are seeking a man who slashed a teen’s hand with a knife during a robbery along Whittier Boulevard Saturday morning, officials said.
The teenage boy was walking at Whittier and Montebello boulevards about 10:40 a.m. when the robber approached, Montebello police Lt. Boris Zeissig said.
The robber brandished a knife and demanded property from the victim, ultimately fleeing with items including a cell phone, according to the lieutenant.
At some point during the robbery, the teen suffered a cut to his hand, he said.
A detailed suspect description was not available.
Detectives were looking into the possibility the crime was related to another knifepoint robbery reported just over an hour before and four miles away in Monterey Park, though a concrete link had not been established, authorities said.
In that case, a woman was walking alone in the 1900 block of South Atlantic Avenue when a man approached from behind, Monterey Park Lt. Tina Montoya said. He brandished a knife and robbed her of her cash, purse and cell phone.
Police described the Monterey Park robber as a Latino man in his early-30s, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, with short black hair and wearing all black clothing.
Anyone with information can reach Montebello police at 323-887-1313, or Monterey Park police at 626-573-1311. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Montebello man admits murder of wife in 2014

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MONTBELLO >> A Montebello man who beat and strangled his wife before stashing her body in the trunk of the family car and fleeing with the couple’s four children in late-2014 admitted charges of murder and child abuse Thursday, prosecutors said.
Daniel Diego Perez was charged with murder and other crimes for the slaying of 39-year-old Erica Perez, whose body was discovered on the afternoon of Dec. 10, 2014, in the trunk of the family’s 2010 Honda Accord, parked at 2nd Street and Harding Avenue, Montebello police Capt. Luis Lopez said at the time. The family of six was reported missing Dec. 9 after a relative reported they had not been seen since Dec. 5.
Police arrested Daniel Perez and recovered the four boys — then-ages 6, 8, 9 and 11 — following a pursuit that ended with a standoff near Santee.
During what was scheduled to be a pre-trial hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court, “Daniel Diego Perez, 45, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of of his 39-year-old wife, Erica,” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in written statement.
He also admitted two counts of child abuse for endangering his two younger sons during the pursuit and standoff leading up to his arrest. The search for the father and sons resulting in a statewide Amber Alert.
Judge Leslie Swain sentenced Perez to 15 years to life in prison for the murder, plus seven years and four months for the child abuse.
Daniel Perez previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, which originally included kidnapping as well.
An autopsy determined Erica Perez died from probably asphyxia and strangulation, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records. Investigators also noted multiple blunt force traumatic injuries as an additional significant cause of the death. The death was ruled a homicide.
When police were first seeking the missing couple, prior to the discovery of Erica Perez’s body, police relayed that family members had reported the couple’s marriage was “unstable” and there was a history of domestic violence.
The couple’s four children have since been placed in the care of family members.

PHOTOS; Erica Perez, left. Daniel Perez, right. (Courtesy)

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San Gabriel Valley cops crack down on DUI over holiday weekend; Azusa police invite public along online

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LOS ANGELES COUNTY >> Police throughout the region will be cracking down on drunken and drugged drivers with checkpoints and extra enforcement this Labor Day weekend, with one inviting the public to tag along virtually online.
Whittier, Montebello, Arcadia and Azusa police are each planning checkpoints in their respective cities Friday night into early Saturday, according to the departments.
In Azusa, police will be broadcasting their anti-DUI efforts and answering questions from the public online via Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, Officer Mike Bires said.
Azusa’s “Tweet from the Beat” will take place from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, he said. Follow along at www.facebook.com/AzusaPD, www.twitter.com/azusapd or www.snapchat.com/add/azusapd.
“(Officers will) explain what happens during a traffic stop, share accident investigation information and highlight traffic safety concerns for the city of Azusa,” Azusa police said in a written statement. “In addition to this, the community will be able to ask questions live, while the officers are in the field.
The checkpoints are being funded by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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Montebello man arrested following SWAT standoff

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MONTEBELLO >> A SWAT team used teargas and a K-9 to apprehend a suspect following an hours-long standoff at a Montebello apartment complex late Tuesday into early Wednesday, police said.
Edward Palacios, 39, of Montebello was ultimately arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting or obstructing police the standoff, which began about 11 p.m. Tuesday in the 200 block of S. 7th Street, Montebello police Capt. Luis Lopez said in a written statement.
A family member of Palacios called police a short time earlier to report the suspect had threatened him with a gun, Lopez said.
“When Officers arrived they made contact with Palacios, however he quickly barricaded himself inside his apartment,” the captain said. “Officers then contained the apartment and continued their efforts with communicating with him.”
Police learned a woman, Palacios’ girlfriend, was also inside the apartment, Sgt. Julio Calleros said. The woman, who was not being held against her will, exited the apartment amid the standoff. She was not arrested.
But Palacios refused to surrender, remaining holed-up inside the apartment, police.
0630_NWS_SGT-L-MONTEBELLO-STANDOFF2A Los Angeles County sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau team was summoned to take over the standoff.
After several hours, deputies used teargas to smoke Palacios out of the apartment, Calleros said. He continued to struggle once outside and was apprehended with the help of a police dog.
Palacios was taken to a hospital for treatment of dog bites described as minor to moderate prior to booking, officials said.
He was expected to be held without bail pending his initial court appearance.

PHOTOS: [TOP] Edward Palacios booking photo courtesy of the Montebello Police Department. [BELOW] Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau deputies during standoff, courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Ex-Montebello cop pleads guilty to on-duty assault; sentenced to probation

MONTEBELLO >> A former Montebello police officer charged with slamming a tagging suspect’s head into the pavement during an arrest will avoid jail time after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge Tuesday, authorities said.
Mark Jason Ryan, 37, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of assault under color of authority in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Los Angeles at what was scheduled to be a hearing to set a date for his preliminary hearing, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
He was immediately sentenced to 36 months of summary probation and 300 hours of community service, and ordered to stay 100 yards away from the victim for the term of his probation, Robison said.
Prosecutors initially filed a felony charge against Ryan for the on-duty attack, which took place on Halloween of 2014.
If convicted of the felony charge, Ryan could have faced up to three years in state prison.
Ryan worked as a corporal with the Montebello Police Department when he responded to a report of two men tagging in the 2100 block of West Whittier Boulevard.
While arresting then 26-year-old Anthony Acosta, Ryan slammed Acosta’s head into the pavement in an unjustified assault, prosecutors said.
“He was roughed up pretty good,” said Acosta’s father, Oscar Acosta said. His son, who already suffered from mental health issues, remains depressed and anxious and has been dealing with memory loss issues since the incident.
“Since it happened, he hasn’t been the same,” Oscar Acosta said.
And even following the conviction, the victim, his family and their attorney, Brian Claypool of the Pasadena-based Claypool Law Firm, said they have many questions about exactly what happened that day.
Oscar Acosta said he and his son first learned of the arrest through media reports and were not notified of the pending plea arrangement.
While the assault was reportedly captured on video by the surveillance camera of a nearby restaurant, authorities have not released the video.
Since the case ended in a plea arrangement prior to trial, the video was not entered into evidence and would not be released by the district attorney’s office, Robison said.
Montebello Police Chief Kevin McClure deferred to the district attorney’s office regarding the video. “Everything evidentiary was turned over to the District Attorney and they have authority over it,” he said in an email.
Claypool said he intended to file a lawsuit to pursue more information.
“We plan on getting to the bottom of this. We want to see that video tape,” he said.
“We’re going to file a civil lawsuit,” Claypool said. “We’re also going to file a preservation of evidence letter,” Claypool said, which would seek to prevent authorities from deleting or discarding any video or other evidence.
Ryan retired from the Montebello Police Department in early 2016, officials said.
He worked for the department for 13 years, according to his online resume. Prior to that, He served in the U.S. Army from 1999 to 2003
Ryan served as president of the Montebello Police Officers’ Association in 2015.
McClure declined to comment on Tuesday’s conviction.
“Mark Ryan was a former officer so we were not made aware of today’s proceeding’s,” McClure said. The Montebello PD does not have any comment related to this case.”
Ryan was scheduled to return to court for a probation progress report in one year, Robison said.

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10 horses killed in Montebello stable fire


MONTEBELLO>> Ten horses died in a fire that tore through a Montebello stable early Sunday, officials said.
The fire was first reported a few minutes after midnight at a large stable in the 300 block of South Bluff Road.
It quickly grew to consume a 120-foot by 170-foot section of the large stable, Montebello Fire Department Battalion Chief Richard Fredrickson said.
“It took about an hour for us to get more-or-less control,” he said. The fire was declared extinguished about two hours after it began.
Ten horses inside the stables died in the fire, Fredrickson said. No people were hurt.
Montebello police and firefighters managed to evacuate another 22 horses unharmed, according to Montebello police and fire officials.
Representatives of the stable could not be reached for comment Sunday.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, Fredrickson said.
“We’re still looking into everything. We haven’t ruled anything out,” the battalion chief said.
Police had not been asked to get involved to get involved investigation Sunday, Montebello police Lt. Rick Rojas said.
A dollar-value estimate of the damage was not available.

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