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

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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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Montebello woman sentenced for abuse, murder of disabled sister

MONTEBELLO >> A judge sentenced a Montebello woman to 15 years in state prison Friday for the abuse and murder of her disabled 60-year-old sister in 2011, authorities said.
Amy Sam Ho, 62, was convicted in Los Angeles County Superior Court in July of second-degree murder and dependent adult abuse resulting in death in connection with the death of Cora Sam of Montebello on Oct. 10, 2011, Los Angeles County district Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Ho was her sister’s full-time caregiver when she brought Sam to a Montebello hospital, seemingly already dead, according to prosecutors and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
“She appeared lifeless and in a state of rigor mortis,” according to the statement. “After medical staff tended to her, the victim was declared dead.”
“Upon examination after her death, Cora Sam had several large sores and only weighed 66 pounds. She died of sepsis because of the infected sores,” the statement said. “During the investigation, detectives learned that Amy Sam Ho stopped taking her sister to the doctor for approximately one year and failed to seek medical treatment when the sores became progressively worse.”
An autopsy found that Sam died from sepsis, with additional contributing factors of pneumonia, infected bed sores, cerebral malformation and malnutrition, coroner’s records show. The death was ruled a homicide.

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Video: Man in clown mask sought in Montebello knifepoint robbery


MONTEBELLO >> Police on Thursday released video depicting a man in a clown mask robbing a woman at knifepoint in a Montebello parking garage in hopes of generating leads from the public.
The robbery unfolded just after 8:10 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the parking garage of an apartment complex at 1620 Neil Armstrong Street, Montebello police Detective Paul Antista said.
A woman parked her car and was walking through the garage when the robber, who wore a clown mask, approached, Sgt. Marc Marty said while narrating surveillance video footage of the crime.
“An unknown male who was lying in way inside the garage ran up to her from behind,” Marty said. “The suspect grabbed the victim with his left hand and brandished a small knife in his right hand up to her face.”
After demanding the woman’s belongings and threatening to kill her if she didn’t comply, the grabbed the woman’s laptop computer and began running away.
But when the woman yelled out to the man pleading with him not to steal her computer, he turned around and returned.
The masked robber once again put his knife up to the woman’s face and demanded more property, Antista said. He then fled with both her laptop and her purse. The victim was unhurt.
Police described the robber as a Latino man of about 20 years old, wearing a clown mask, a Dodger hat, a black sweatshirt and blue jeans.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Antista at 323-887-1200, ext. 249. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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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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