Officials: Woman shot by Montebello police after charging at officer, boyfriend with car

MONTEBELLO >> Police shot and killed a woman they say drove a car toward an officer and her boyfriend as police were investigating a report of a domestic dispute at a motel in Montebello on Saturday afternoon.
The fatal officer-involved shooting unfolded just after 4 p.m. outside the Quality Inn & Suites, 7709 Telegraph Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Police were summoned to the pool area of the motel regarding a dispute between a woman and her boyfriend, both 28 years old, according to Deputy Kelvin Moody of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The couple, who were using the pool at the motel but were not guests, had been “drinking heavily during the day,” Moody said in a written statement.
“A verbal argument escalated to the point where the woman went inside the motel lobby and told the front desk clerk that her boyfriend had taken her purse,” Moody said. Motel staff called the police.
The woman then returned to her boyfriend and assaulted him, he said. She drove off just as a Montebello police officer was arriving.
“As the suspect drives away, she makes a U-turn and drives towards the officer and the boyfriend with her car, at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Moody said.
“The woman was struck several times in the upper body,” Moody said. “She was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.”
The woman’s name was not available Sunday pending positive identification and notification of family, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
No further details were released.

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Suspect wounded in Montebello police shooting

MONTEBELLO >> Police shot and wounded a man in Montebello on Saturday afternoon, officials said.
Few details were initially available regarding the officer-involved shooting, which took place about 4:05 p.m. in a commercial neighborhood in the 7700 block of Telegraph Road, according to Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“The suspect was struck by gunfire,” Rouzan said in a written statement.
“The suspect was transported to a local hospital in an unknown condition,” he said. “There is no additional information available and the investigation is ongoing.”
Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are spearheading the investigation, as is common practice for officer-involved shooting involving Los Angeles County police agencies.
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.

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CHP: Truck driver accidentally run over, killed by own big rig along 60 Freeway in Montebello

MONTEBELLO >> A 70-year-old truck driver died early Friday after a tow truck driver accidentally ran him over with his own big rig while assisting the trucker with a mechanical problem along the 60 Freeway in Montebello early Friday, authorities said.
Stephen Robert Lamb, 70, of Moreno Valley died at the scene of the incident, which took place just before 1 a.m. alongside the westbound lanes of the 60 Freeway, just east of Findley Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. An autopsy is pending.
He had been at the wheel of a big rig which had experienced brake problems and was being towed by a 2014 Peterbuilt heavy duty tow truck, CHP Officer I. Villareal said in a written statement.
“Both the tow truck driver and the driver of the vehicle being towed exited the tow truck to check on the problem,” he said.
The tow truck driver tried to fix the issue, then got back into the tow truck to move it forward and check that the problem had been corrected, according to the officer.
“For unknown reasons, (Lamb) crawled under the rear axle of the vehicle in tow, without advising (the two truck driver),” Villareal said. “ As a result, (Lamb) was struck by the rear wheels of the vehicle in tow and was pronounced deceased on scene.”
The tow truck driver, described as a 53-year-old Los Angeles man, was unhurt, officials said. DUI was not suspected to be a factor in the apparent accident.
The big rig being towed had been hauling a loaded nitrogen tank, CHP Officer Siara Lund said.
Any witnesses are urged to contact the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office at 323-980-4600.

— Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales

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Elderly Montebello woman killed, girl injured in Washington Boulevard crash

MONTEBELLO >> A 76-year-old Montebello woman died and her granddaughter suffered serious injuries Saturday in a crash along Washington Boulevard, officials said.
Maria Eva Espinoza Medina died in the 1:25 p.m. collision at Washington Boulevard and 5th Street, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
She was a rear passenger in a car being driven by her daughter, Montebello police Lt. Julio Calleros said. Medina’s 8-year-old granddaughter, who was also riding as a rear passenger, suffered significant injuries in the crash, while the woman at the wheel suffered apparently minor injuries.
A man at the wheel of the other car involved in the collision was unhurt, Calleros said.
The crash occurred as the car containing the women and girl was heading south on 5th Street, crossing Washington Boulevard, he said. Initial investigation indicated the car failed to yield to another car heading east on Washington Boulevard.
Northbound and southbound traffic on 5th Street is regulated at the intersection by stop sign.
Paramedics pronounced Medina dead at the scene, Molano said. The elderly woman and girl were not believed to have been wearing seat belts.
The investigation is being carried out by the Montebello Police Department’s traffic unit.
Anyone with information can reach Montebello police at 323-887-1313.

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Police: Man accidentally shoots, critically injures teenage girl in Montebello

MONTEBELLO >> A teenage girl remained hospitalized in critical condition on Friday, two days after she was shot by her neighbor in what was believed to be an accidental shooting at an apartment complex, police said.
The suspected accidental shooting took place shorty after 4 p.m. on Wednesday in the 200 block of North 6th Street, Montebello police Lt. Larry Jackson said.
Police responded to reports of a shooting and encountered a teenage girl suffering from a gunshot wound, he said.
“Preliminary investigation revealed the neighbor was manipulating a firearm in his apartment,” the lieutenant said. The handgun went off, sending a bullet through the wall separating the apartments and striking the girl in the abdomen.
Rescuers took the wounded teen to a hospital, where she was listed in critical condition after undergoing emergency surgery, Jackson said.
The neighbor, a man, was not arrested as the investigation continued, he said. He tried to help the girl and called 911 immediately after the shooting.
Once complete, detectives will turn over their findings to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for consideration of charges.

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Man found shot to death outside Montebello church identified

MONTEBELLO >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of a man found shot to death inside a car in a church parking lot in Montebello two weeks ago.
Ricardo Baltazar Mota, 33, died in the shooting, which was reported about 8:30 p.m. on March 27 in the 800 block of North Garfield Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Kelly Yagerliner said. His city of residence was unknown.
Reports of gunfire first led deputies to discover Mota mortally wounded inside a car, which had collided into another parked vehicle in the parking lot of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church, according to Sgt. Marcelo Quintero of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. He had been shot multiple times in the upper body.
It appeared Mota had either been parked in the lot, or just pulled in, when the shooting took place.
The circumstances and motive in the attack remained a mystery, and no suspect description was available.
Anyone with information is urged 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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Pico Rivera man sentenced for fatal beating of homeless man in Montebello

MONTEBELLO >> A Pico Rivera man began serving an 11-year prison sentence this week after being convicted of manslaughter for the beating death of a homeless man in Montebello in late-2015, authorities said.
Martin Emmannuel Bautista, 34, appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, where he entered a “no contest” plea to a count of voluntary manslaughter, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s spokesman Ricardo Santiago and Los Angeles Superior Court records. A charge of murder was dismissed.
The case stems from the Nov. 23, 2015, death of Fabian Ramirez, a 54-year-old homeless man, in a parking lot in the .
A motive in the fatal beating was not available. Montebello police Sgt. Julio Calleros has described the crime as “alarming” and “senseless.”
California law defines manslaughter as the killing of another person, “without malice.” Voluntary manslaughter describes a killing done without premeditation, “upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.
An autopsy determined Ramirez died from “blunt head trauma” and the death was ruled a homicide, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records.
Bautista was arrested in connection with the killing the day after it occurred. If he had been convicted of murder at trial, as initially charged, he could have faced up to 25 years to life in prison.
A second man initially described by police as an accomplice in the slaying, 29-year-old Eric Daniel DeLeon of Pico Rivera, was arrested following a fight with police in Whittier on Dec. 5, 2015, according to Whittier police officials. He allegedly threw a barbecue at an officer and struck the officer with a chair before being wrestled into custody.
But he was never charged in connection with Ramirez’s slaying, records show.
He pleaded “no contest” to a count of assault on a peace officer in August of 2016 and was sentenced to 15 years in state prison. A charge of attempted murder on the Whittier officer was dismissed.

PHOTO: Martin Bautista (Courtesy)

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Montebello man arrested after bicyclist killed in hit-and-run

Authorities arrested an 18-year-old Montebello man who they say fatally struck a bicyclist with an SUV before fleeing the scene, crashing into several parked cars and ultimately being detained by neighborhood residents until police arrived.
John F. Saldivar, 18, is accused of hit-and-run in connection with the fatal collision, which took place about 7:30 p.m. on Concourse Avenue, just south of Allston Street, on the border between East Los Angeles and Montebello, according to Officer E. Anguiano of the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office.
The bicyclist, described as a 35-year-old Los Angeles man, died at the scene, officials said. His identity was not available Sunday.
Saldivar was driving a 2002 Ford Expedition south on Concourse Avenue prior to the collision, Anguiano said. The bicyclist was also southbound, traveling ahead of the SUV.
“For unknown reasons, (Saldivar) failed to notice the bicyclist ahead and collided with the bicyclist,” Anguiano said in a written statement. The cyclist was thrown from his bicycle.
The driver allegedly fled before crashing into several parked cars a few blocks away.
“(Saldivar) was detained by local residents until CHP arrived on scene,” Anguiano said.
Intoxicated driving was not believed to a factor in the crash, he added.
Any witnesses are encouraged to contact the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office at 323-980-4600.

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Montebello high school teacher accused of sex with teenage former student


WHITTIER >> Police jailed a teacher from Vail High School in Montebello on Friday on suspicion of carrying on a sexual relationship with a then-17-year-old student of the school, officials said.
Brian Lee Ward, 46, of Whittier was booked on suspicion statutory rape following his 2:30 p.m. arrest at his home on Comstock Avenue, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
“Ward had developed a sexual relationship with the student over the course of several months in 2016,” according to the statement. “Though she was not his student, she did attend Vail High School at the time, where Ward is a teacher.”
Montebello Unified School District officials notified Montebello police upon learning of the allegation in December, police said. Montebello police turned the investigation over to their counterparts in Whittier after learning the alleged crimes took place at Ward’s home in their jurisdiction.
“Whittier Detectives were able to develop enough information to file for an arrest warrant out of Norwalk court,” the police statement said.
He was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, officials said.
Ward’s employment status with the MUSD was unclear late Friday.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Whittier police at 562-567-9255. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

BOOKING PHOTO of Brian Lee Ward courtesy of the Whittier Police Department.

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3 suspects jailed, 1 sought following Montebello cell phone store robbery

MONTEBELLO >> Montebello police arrested three suspects, including one found hiding in a trash can, and sought a fourth following a robbery at a cell phone store on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
The robbery took place about 1:45 p.m. at a MetroPCS store at 1102 W. Beverly Blvd., Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
Four men had entered the store and demanded employees turn over four new cell phones, according to the statement. The employees complied, and the suspect fled the business on foot.
Two officers who happened to be nearby spotted the group running from the store, officials said. The officers were not aware of the robbery that had just taken place, but attempted to stop the men because of the suspicious behavior.
“The suspects did not stop and split up,” according to the statement.
Officers quickly detained one of the suspects, but the other three continued fleeing. Police set up a search perimeter, with help from neighboring police agencies, to seek the outstanding suspects.
One additional suspect was caught after he tried to run from officers in the 600 block of Howard Avenue, police said.
The third suspect was apprehended about 7:25 p.m. after witnesses called police to report seeing a man matching the description released by police via social media. Officers were preparing to search the neighborhood when an officer heard a loud noise coming from a nearby side yard. A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Depatment helicopter noticed a trash can had been turned upside down.
“While attempting to contact the residents at the location regarding their trash cans, one of the officers saw shoes sticking out from underneath the trash can,” the police statement said. “Moments later, the suspect was found to be hiding inside the trash can and he was taken into custody.”
The fourth and final suspect was not found.
The identities of the three arrested suspects were not available Wednesday morning.

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