Officials: No gun recovered from suspect wounded in DEA agent shooting in Montebello

MONTEBELLO >> Details slowly continued to emerge over the weekend after a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent shot and wounded an unarmed suspect as he fled from a Montebello home Friday afternoon.
DEA special agents were teamed with Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies when the shooting took place about 1:50 p.m. Friday behind a home in the 700 block of Carmelita Place, according to DEA and sheriff’s officials.
“The special agents were conducting a narcotics investigation and were in the process of contacting the occupants of a residence when several individuals ran out the back of the house,” Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said in a written statement.
“One suspect, a 35 year-old man, jumped a fence and ran through neighboring yards before encountering other DEA special agents who were positioned on the next street over,” Corina said. “At that point, an officer-involved shooting occurred.”
The suspect was struck once by gunfire and was taken to a hospital where he was expected to survive, Corina said.
“A gun was not recovered from the scene, but the investigation is ongoing,” the lieutenant said.
Sheriff’s officials withheld the suspect’s name, and it was unclear if he was to face any charges. No further details were released Sunday.
As in all Los Angeles County officer-involved shootings, a parallel investigation is also being carried out by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, officials said.

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Suspect shot by DEA agent in Montebello

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MONTEBELLO >> A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent shot and wounded a suspect at a Montebello home Friday afternoon, authorities said.
Little information was initially released regarding the officer-involved shooting, which was reported at 1:47 p.m. in the 700 block of Carmelita Place, Deputy Amber Smith of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said.
No information regarding the condition of the suspect was released Friday evening. There were no initial reports of any injuries to law enforcement officers.
“A Drug Enforcement Administration agent was involved in a shooting at a residence in Montebello, California, during a joint narcotics enforcement operation with our local counterparts,” DEA Special Agent Vijay Rathi said.
The DEA agents were partnered with deputies from the sheriff’s Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Apprehension Crime Taskforce, also known as L.A. IMPACT
Rathi deferred all further comment to the sheriff’s department, which is spearheading the investigation.
Sheriff’s detectives routinely assist Montebello police in investigating officer-involved shootings in their jurisdiction.
Dozens of DEA, Montebello police and sheriff’s officials responded both to to the scene of the shooting at a beige, single-story home, and at a large command post set up around the corner at a Montebello Unified School District facility.
No further details were available.

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Firefighters make quick work of fire at Montebello condominium complex

MONTEBELLO — A fire tore through a condominium at a large Montebello complex Wednesday afternoon, but was extinguished by firefighters before it could spread to other units, authorities said.
The fire was reported at 1:53 p.m. in a second-floor unit of a two-story, multi-unit condominium complex in the 1600 block of Neil Armstrong Street, Verdugo Fire Communications Center Dispatch Supervisor Lynda Sims said.
The first firefighters on-scene declared a second-alarm and called for reenforcements, however they quickly got control of the flames, Sims said. Officials declared the fire “knocked down” at 2:12 p.m.
No injuries were reported to civilians or firefighters, Sims said. It was not immediately clear if the unit was occupied when the fire broke out.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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Officials to discuss gun safety, give out gun locks this weekend in Montebello

MONTEBELLO >> Police are inviting local families to a town hall meeting Saturday to discuss gun safety.
The Montebello Police Department and Project Child Safe are hosting the meeting at 9 a.m. at the Montebello Senior Center, 115 S. Taylor Avenue, Montebello police Capt. Luis Lopez said.
After a discussion on safe firearm storage, free gun locks will be provided at the Montebello Police Department, 1600 W. Beverly Blvd., officials said. McGruff the Crime Dog will be on-hand to meet with children.
For more information, visit www.projectchildsafe.org.

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UPDATED: Police investigate apparent suicide at Montebello retirement home

MONTEBELLO >> Police are investigating the death of a man found dead at the base of a building late Wednesday as a suicide, officials said.
Officials responded to the Golden Manor Retirement Center on Beverly Boulevard near Howard Avenue shortly at 7:12 p.m. after someone reported seeing a man fall from a second story window of the retirement home, Montebello police Lt. Mike Flores said.
Officials found the man lying in the parking lot of the bowling alley next door.
“The victim had injuries consistent with a high-altitude fall,” Flores said.
The death was being investigated as a suicide, and no foul play was initially suspected, he said.
The identity of the man was not available, Flores said, however he was believed to be a resident of the retirement home in his mid-60s.

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Officials: Fatal West Covina crash took place as suspects fled robbery; two men charged with murder

WEST COVINA >> Prosecutors filed charges of murder and robbery Tuesday against two men in connection with a fatal car crash police said took place as the suspects were fleeing the scene of a robbery.
Angel Andres Rojo, 24, of Covina and Jose Flavio Diaz, 24, of Montebello entered no pleas when they appeared at the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement. An arraignment hearing was set for April 9.
They’re each accused of one count of murder and one count of second-degree robbery in connection with an alleged series of events late Saturday that resulted in the death of Manuel Ernesto Rodriguez, 26, of Rowland Heights, according to investigators and coroner’s officials. Rodriguez was a passenger in a Dodge sedan that crashed into a tree while being driven by Diaz.
“Several men, including Diaz and Rojo, were partying at a West Covina apartment complex just before robbing a woman and fleeing the scene,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “The defendants drove away with their friend, Manuel Ernesto Rodriguez, and traveled at a high rate of speeds on city streets.”
Diaz lost control of the car along a curve where Hollenbeck Street becomes Casa Grande Drive, West Covina police officials said. The car struck a tree and overturned.
Rojo ran from the wrecked Dodge Intrepid but was quickly captured, officials said. Diaz, who suffered major injuries including a broken ankle, was taken into custody at the crash scene. Rodriguez died from his injuries at the scene.
Police determined Diaz was under the influence of alcohol and arrested him on suspicion of drunken driving, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
As officers were responding to the crash, police received a call notifying them of the robbery, which took place at an apartment complex near Azusa and Puente avenues, West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez said.
Detectives withheld details of the robbery as they continued seeking witnesses and clues, Lopez said. The woman who was allegedly robbed was not injured, and police recovered property believed to have been stolen during the robbery from the crashed Dodge.
Because officials allege Diaz and Rojo were in the process of committing a felony — robbery — when the fatal crash occurred, they are eligible to be charged with murder under a California law known as the felony murder rule, Lopez explained. The law allows that deaths resulting from the commission of felonies be charged as murder cases.
Rojo already has a 2013 conviction for assault likely to produce great bodily injury, district attorney’s officials said.
He was arrested Dec. 13 of last year and released from custody on probation Jan. 21, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
Both men were being held in lieu of $1 million bail, records show. Diaz remained hospitalized due to his injuries Wednesday, While Rojo was being held at Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles.
If convicted as charged, both men could face maximum sentenced of life in prison.
Anyone with information regarding the fatal crash or the alleged robbery that preceded it was asked to contact West Covina police.

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Montebello police seek 3 fugitives in unrelated child molestation cases

SUSPECTS

MONTEBELLO — Montebello police sought the public’s help Wednesday in tracking down three longtime fugitives accused of child molestation in three unrelated cases.
All three men, former Montebello residents, have been identified as suspect in the molestations of young girls, Montebello police Detective Sgt. Julio Calleros said.
“Cases have been filed, and warrants have been obtained,” he said. “They know they’re being sought.”
But the suspects remain at-large, even after detectives have scoured the state in search of them, the sergeant said. “We’ve reached a dead end.”
So investigators Wednesday released their images to the public in hopes of generating tips.
Police have been seeking Paul Angel Candelas, 24, since 2011, when he allegedly molested the disabled, 6-year-old daughter of an acquaintance, Calleros said.
Candelas comes from a wealthy family and may be hiding out in the Inland Empire, the sergeant said.
Jose Luis Pineda, 44, is accused of molesting a 7-year-old female relative from 2011 to 2012, when the alleged crimes were discovered, Calleros said.
“(Pineda) possibly drives a gray Nissan Altima with tinted windows,” police said in a written statement. Before his disappeared, he was believed to work nights at the El Rodeo Night Club in Pico Rivera.
Hector Huerta, 30, has been sought by police since last year in connection with the alleged sexual abuse of a now-13-year-old family member between 2007 and 2013, Calleros said.
He is known to work as a mechanic for big rigs, and also as a big rig tire repair man, according to the police statement.
He has ties to Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego and Texas, police said.
Both
Pineda and Huerta are both believed to have ties to Mexico, police added.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Montebello Police Department at 323-887-1313. Anyone who spots one of the fugitives is encouraged to contact local police by calling 9-1-1.

PHOTOS of fugitives Paul Candelas, Jose Pineda and Hector Huerta courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.

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Montebello mayor’s husband charged with alleged methamphetamine sales

Prosecutors Thursday filed seven felony charges related to the sale of methamphetamine against the husband of Montebello’s mayor following his arrest earlier this month, authorities said.
Ruben Guerrero, 44, was arrested two weeks ago during an early-morning raid at the home he shares with Montebello Mayor Christina Cortez in the 1500 block of Los Angeles Avenue.
Sheriff’s officials have said Cortez is not a suspect in the investigation.
“Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives arrested suspect Guerrero on Oct. 17, 2013, after he allegedly sold methamphetamine more than once during the previous weeks to an undercover sheriff’s detective, Capt. Mike Parker of the Sheriff’s Headquarter’s Bureau said in a written statement.
Guerrero sold drugs three times to an undercover investigator during the investigation, Los Angles County District Attorney’s officials said.
“The sales took place in a parking lot across the street from Montebello Intermediate School in the City of Montebello and were audio and video recorded by sheriff’s investigators,” Parker added.
He was charged Thursday in Los Angles Superior Court with three counts of felony sales of a controlled substance, three counts of transportation for sales of narcotics and one count of selling narcotics within 1,000 feet of a school.
Montebello Intermediate School is about a block away from the home of Guerrero and Cortez.
At the Oct. 25 city council meeting, Cortez thanked her supporters and said she had no plans of stepping down.
Guerrero was ordered back to court for an arraignment hearing Nov. 7, officials said. At the hearing, prosecutors were expected to ask that Guerrero’s bail be increased to $120,000.
He has remained free on $60,000 bail since the day of his arrest, according to county booking records.

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Armed, wanted man arrested after chase from Pico Rivera to Montebello

PICO RIVERA — Deputies arrested wanted suspected gang member and recovered a gun following a pursuit that led from Pico Rivera to Montebello late Tuesday, authorities said.
Rojelio Jimenez, 21, was accused of evading a police, being a convicted felon in possession of a gun, reckless driving following the incident, which began about 11:20 p.m. when a deputy spotted Jimenez driving recklessly in the area of Whittier Boulevard and Paramount Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Smith said. Jimenez was also being held on two outstanding felony arrest warrants.
A deputy tried to pull over Jimenez for driving erratically, but he refused to pull over and instead lead deputies on a chase north and west into Montebello, Smith said.
He abandoned his car and continued fleeing on foot on Madison Avenue near Poplar Avenue, officials said. He was found hiding in a nearby yard and surrendered once a sheriff’s K-9 started barking at him.
A magazine loaded with ammunition was found in Jimenez’s car, and a handgun was found discarded nearby, Smith said. “There was a live round in the chamber.”
According to county booking records, Jimenez was being held without bail pending a scheduled arraignment Friday in Downey Superior Court.

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Cause of Montebello man’s death in police custody still unclear after coroner’s investigation

MONTEBELLO — A coroner’s examination of the body of a man who died in police custody after struggling with officers and getting shocked with a Taser in May was unable to determine exactly how he died, attributing the death to a combination of drug intoxication, “agitated behavior” and being restrained by police, according to a coroner’s report released this week.
Guillermo Pablo Cedano, 44, of Montebello died at a hospital following a May 17 confrontation with Montebello police officers outside his home in the 1000 block of Carob Way, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s and sheriff’s officials.
Upon completion of the coroner’s examination, Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Lawrence Nguyen determined, “The cause of death is multiple drug intoxication combined with agitated behavior and multimodal restraint,” according to the autopsy report. The specific manner in which police restrained Cedano was not specified.
But the autopsy and subsequent toxicology tests failed to determine the mode of death, such as accidental or homicide.
“The manner of death is undetermined,” Nguyen wrote in his report.
Cedano suffered from an enlarged left ventricle in his heart, though the condition was not found to be directly related to his death, according to the autopsy report. Coroner’s investigators also noted the discovery of a “mild” brain bleed and two fractured ribs.
According to the coroner’s report, Cedano himself called 9-1-1 shortly after midnight and reported “someone was outside of his home to hurt him,” coroner’s investigator Kelly Yagerliner wrote. Police arrived and encountered Cedano outside of his home.
“He turned around to fight and police Tased him twice,” Yagerliner wrote. “The decedent pulled a probe out and charged at police. A physical altercation occurred and he was subdued.”
Neighbors reported hearing police tell Cedano repeatedly to show them his hands.
One of the involved police officers suffered a broken arm in the struggle with Cedano, according to deputy Aura Sierra of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau.
Cedano was then found to be unresponsive and was taken by ambulance to Beverly Hospital in Montebello, where he was pronounced dead, according to sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
Toxicology tests found the presence of methamphetamine, amphetamine and phentermine in Cedano’s system.
“According to the decedent’s wife, she had left the house with the children because she was concerned about his behavior and paranoia,” Yagerliner wrote in the autopsy report. “He had a history of rock cocaine addiction but had been clean for the past ten years. He recently lost weight and was reportedly taking diet pills, but she said he seemed to be back on drugs.”

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