Man jailed following 6-hour standoff in Montebello


MONTEBELLO >> A man showed up at the Montebello home of his ex-girlfriend and their children, then barricaded himself inside for six hours on Friday before surrendering to a SWAT team, police said.
Jose Vera, 31, was ultimately booked on suspicion of violating a restraining order, as well as an outstanding arrest warrant, according to Montebello police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. He was described as a Maywood gang member, but his city of residence was not clear.
The standoff began about noon in the 100 block of North Montebello Boulevard, just north of Whittier Boulevard.
Vera arrived at the home of his ex-girlfriend, with whom he has children in common, in violation of a court order to stay, Montebello police Lt. Larry Jackson said.
When police arrived, Vera refused to exit the home, officials said. The woman and children got out safely, and police summoned their Special Response Team to deal with the holed-up suspect.
Vera finally came out of the home and surrendered about 6 p.m. without a struggle, Jackson said.
He was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.

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Montebello jail administrator charged with fatal shooting of ex-wife, wounding of man in South Whittier


SOUTH WHITTIER >> A Montebello jail administrator accused of fatally shooting his ex-wife and wounding her boyfriend during a child custody exchange at her South Whittier home is due to appear in court this afternoon to face charges that could send him to prison for more than 75 years, officials said.
Prosecutors charged Efrem Ruben Lozoya, 38, of Pico Rivera with murder and attempted murder in connection with Saturday’s 11:15 a.m. shooting at an apartment in the 13900 block of Coteau Drive, in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
He entered no plea, she said. His arraignment was continued to July 18 in the Downey branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Lozoya is also accused of the special allegation that he personally used a gun in the crimes, causing great bodily injury.
Killed was 33-year-old Nereida Villanueva, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials. Her boyfriend was wounded.
“Lozoya and his ex-wife, Nereida Villanueva, have two children together and had been divorced for several years,” Ardalani said in a written statement.
The suspect showed at his ex-wife’s apartment to drop off one of their children, officials said.
“Shortly after entering Villanueva’s residence, Lozoya allegedly shot his ex-wife and her boyfriend, who also was in the apartment,” Ardalani said. Lozoya then fled the scene.
Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the sheriff’s Information Bureau described the children as 7 and 9 years old. They were not injured in the shooting.
Lozoya, who works as a contracted jail administrator at the Montebello Police Department’s jail, turned himself in to authorities several hours later.
“If convicted as charged, Lozoya faces a possible maximum sentence of 75 years to life in state prison,” Ardalani said.
Lozoya was initially held in lieu of $2 million bail following his arrest. During Wednesday arraignment hearing, the judge granted a prosecution request that bail be increased to $5 million, Ardalani said.

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South Whittier woman shot to death during child custody exchange identified, Montebello police jail administrator jailed


SOUTH WHITTIER >> The Montebello Police Department’s jail administrator is accused of fatally shooting the mother of his children and another man during a child custody exchange at the woman’s South Whittier home on over the weekend, authorities confirmed Sunday.
Nereida Villanueva died at the scene of Saturday’s 11:15 a.m. shooting in the 13900 block of Coteau Drive in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said. A man was also wounded in the shooting, sheriff’s officials said.
Efrem Ruben Lozoya, 38, turned himself in at an area police station shortly after the shooting, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
He was arrested at 5 p.m. on Saturday and booked into jail just before 6 p.m. on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, according to records and sheriff’s officials.
The suspect and Villanueva, who had previously been involved in a relationship, were meeting for a child custody exchange when the shooting took place, Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said Saturday. Villanueva and a man she was with were wounded.
Paramedics pronounced Villanueva dead at the scene, Rouzan said. The wounded man was taken to a hospital “in an unknown condition.”
The two children, ages 7 and 9, were not injured, officials said. It was not clear if they witnessed the shooting.
After turning himself in, Lozoya was arrested about 5 p.m. Saturday and
Lozoya works as the jail administrator at the Montebello Police Department.
Sheriff’s department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida described Lozoya as an employee of a contracted company that provides custody services for the Montebello Police Department. He is not employed directly by the police department or the city.
Montebello police defrayed comment to the sheriff’s department. City officials could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
Lozoya was being held in lieu of $2 million pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Monday in the Downey branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, records show.
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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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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