MONTEREY PARK >> A Bakersfield man received a sentence of more than 16 years in state prison Thursday for stabbing another man 15 times, killing, at a Monterey Park pizza parlor four years ago, officials said.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury in Burbank convicted Jose De Jesus Ruiz, also known as Jose De Jesus Salas, 26, in July of second-degree murder for the Oct. 6, 2012, stabbing death of 25-year-old Patrick Raymond Ortega at Shakey’s, 1955 S. Atlantic Blvd. The jury also found true the special allegation that Ruiz personally used a knife in the crime.
Judge Michael Carter sentenced Ruiz to 16 years to life in state prison, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The stabbing took place shortly after 7 p.m. as Ruiz was gathered at the restaurant with members of a youth football organization.
He became involved in a dispute with Ortega, who witnesses testified was being “disruptive” inside the pizza parlor while dining with friends, according to Deputy District Attorney Theodore Swanson, who prosecuted the case.
Ruiz briefly left the restaurant before returning and stabbing Ortega 15 times, Swanson said.
Ruiz was found hiding in his car several hours later and arrested, officials said. .
Second-degree murder is defined in California as the unlawful killing of another with malice, but without deliberation or premeditation.
If convicted of first-degree murder — a murder deemed deliberate, premeditated and with malice — Ruiz could have faced a maximum sentence of 26 years to life behind bars.
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.
MONTEREY PARK >> A man robbed a woman of her wallet at knifepoint along Atlantic Avenue early Saturday, police said.
The crime took place about 9:35 a.m. in the 1900 block of South Atlantic Boulevard, just south of Brightwood Street, Monterey Park police Lt. Tina Montoya said.
The woman was walking alone when she was approached from behind by a robber who brandished a knife and threatened to stab her if she didn’t give him money, the lieutenant said.
The woman handed over a small amount of cash, she said. Unsatisfied, the robber reached into the woman’s purse and snatched her wallet and cell phone as well. The victim was unhurt.
Police described the 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 Monterey Park police at 626-573-1311. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police released surveillance video footage Thursday in hoped of identifying a man who stabbed a woman in a seemingly random and unprovoked attack at a hair salon she owns last month.
The woman was working in her shop in the 2300 block of South Garfield Avenue when the attacker walked in about 3:42 p.m. on June 14, according to Monterey Park Lt. Bill Cuevas.
“The suspect… stabbed the unsuspecting victim without provocation and made no demands,” Cuevas said in a written statement. The assailant fled the area on foot, as captured on video by nearby surveillance cameras.
*Video: Monterey Park hair salon stabbing
Officers searched the area but did not find the attacker, police said.
The woman was treated for a non-life-threatening slash wound to her torso, Sgt. Bob Hung said.
No motive in the seemingly random stabbing was known, police said.
The attacker was described as a Latino man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, heavy-set, with a shaved head. He wore a white shirt with a large blue horizontal stripe, dark-colored shorts, a backward baseball cap and a bandana covering his face.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Monterey Park police detectives at 626-307-1236. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the correct date of the attack.
PASADENA >> Police arrested a Monterey Park man Thursday after he broke into several Pasadena businesses and cars, then attacked a business owner who confronted him with a brick, officials said.
Brian Anthony Wheeler, 45, was booked on suspicion of burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and making criminal threats following the incident, which unfolded about 6:25 a.m. in the 1000 block of South Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
A business proprietor caught Wheeler leaving his businesses, where a window had been smashed out with a brick, police said. Wheeler had stolen a can of beer.
Wheeler attacked the business owner with the brick, leaving him with redness to his face but no serious injuries, Luna said.
The attacker fled from the area, trying unsuccessfully to steal a car.
Witnesses pointed responding police officers in the direction where the fleeing suspect had jumped a fence onto Marengo Avenue.
Officers found Wheeler hiding in the community laundry room of a nearby apartment complex, Luna said.
Investigators soon found other windows allegedly smashed by Wheeler.
“Prior to this incident, the suspect attempted to enter two adjacent business and (several) cars,” Luna said.
Officials suspected Wheeler was under the influence of some sort of narcotic, he added.
According to county booking records, Wheeler was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
MONTEREY PARK >> A man who “viciously” stabbed another man to death at a Monterey Park pizza parlor is guilty of murder, a jury ruled Thursday.
The fatal stabbing of 25-year-old Patrick Raymond Ortega took place Oct. 6, 2012, at a Shakey’s restaurant, 1955 S. Atlantic Ave., according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials. He was stabbed 15 times with a large knife, with a blade measuring more than 6 inches long.
“The jury deliberated for two hours before finding Jose De Jesus Ruiz of Bakersfield guilty of second-degree murder,” district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement. The convict is also known as Jose De Jesus Salas.
The jury also found true the special allegation that Ruiz personally used a knife in the slaying.
“To stab an unarmed person so many times and in such a vicious manner is unfathomable,” said Deputy District Attorney Theodore Swanson, who prosecuted the case. “No one should have been killed that day.”
The deadly stabbing took place shortly after 7 p.m., according to sheriff’s investigators and Monterey Park police officials.
Evidence and testimony during the trial showed Ruiz was affiliated with a youth football organization that had met for a gathering at the pizzeria, Swanson said. Ortega was not affiliated with the sports organization and was at the restaurant with friends.
Testimony showed Ortega became “disruptive,” including gang references, the prosecutor said.
Surveillance video footage from a neighboring Bank of America branch showed Ruiz and another man exiting the restaurant just before the fatal attack.
“The defendant then reenters Shakey’s and stabbed the victims 15 times,” Swanson said.
Immediately after, Ruiz left the restaurant and returned to his car.
“He’s seen on video taking of his Dodgers jersey an hiding it under the wheel well of the car,” Swanson said. “He then gets into the back seat of the car and lies down.”
Police found Ruiz hiding in the car and arrested him several hours later, officials said.
The knife used in the killing was found hidden between the tire of a car Ruiz’s car had been parked next to, Swanson said. DNA tests determined blood on the knife, as well as Ruiz’s socks, belonged to Ortega.
The confrontation involved only Ruiz and Ortega, Swanson said. There may have been other arguments or fights among representatives of rival youth football teams, but the fatal stabbing was not believed to be related to the football rivalry.
A Monterey Park police officer fired a shotgun during the aftermath of the shooting, but injured no one, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The officer opened fire as a car drove toward him at high speed, authorities said at the time. A woman at the wheel of the car was arrested on suspicion of assault on a police officer, but she and her passengers were not suspected to be involved with the stabbing.
Ruiz’s trial began June 27.
Ruiz faces a maximum sentence of 16 years to life in state prison when he returns to the Burbank branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court for sentencing Sept. 1, Ardalani said.
If he had been convicted of first-degree murder, Ruiz would have faced up to 26 years to life behind bars.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police responding to reports of gunfire found a man shot to death inside a Mercedes-Benz sedan parked behind the apartment building where he lived on his 20th birthday early Thursday, authorities said.
Coroner’s official’s were yet to formally identify the victim, however family and friends identified him as Saieed Ivey, who recently moved to Los Angeles from Chicago, where he was reportedly a star basketball player at Simeon Career Academy.
Ivey was listed among the roster of the East Los Angeles College Huskies 2015-2016 basketball team.
Few details were initially released regarding the investigation, which was being spearheaded by detectives from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Monterey park police responded to a report of gunfire about 4:25 a.m. in the 800 block of El Repetto Drive when they discovered the victim suffering from apparent gunshot wounds inside a car, Monterey Park police Sgt. Bob Hung said.
Officials determined the death appeared to be a homicide, and requested assistance from their counterparts in the sheriff’s department, he said.
The victim was found in the back seat of the car, with the doors locked and the headlights on, Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. He had been shot in the “upper torso,” and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The circumstances of the shooting remained a mystery Thursday afternoon.
“Witnesses told detectives the victim was with a group of friends at a gathering,” Rouzan said. “They said the victim walked away from the group, and a short time later shots were heard.”
No further details were available.
Neighbors Wissem Chabchoub and his wife Sandra Simon said they heard no gunfire.
But about an hour before the shooting occurred, Simon said they said they heard “blood-curdling screams.”
The voiced appeared to be an argument between at least two people.
“It didn’t sound like English,” Simon added. She said they shouts may have been in Chinese, “possibly Mandarin.”
It was unclear whether the argument the couple heard was related to the fatal shooting.
Chabchoub said he did not know Ivey, but recalled seeing him in the apartment building’s stairwell on Wednesday.
Everything seemed normal and the young man said hello as he passed by, accompanied by three young women, Chabchoub said.
Ivey’s cousin, Alexandra Ossey of Hollywood, waited for information outside the still-cordoned-off apartment building Thursday afternoon.
She said Ivey moved to the apartment building from Chicago about eight months ago and enrolled in ELAC, where he was doing well. His older brother joined him at the apartment in recent months, while the rest of his family remains in Chicago.
Misinformation spread via social media in the hours following the deadly shooting incorrectly asserted that Ivey had been shot to death by Los Angeles police.
“We’ve been told Saieed Ivey was locked out of his car & was trying to get in. Police thought he was stealing & killed him today on his bday,” Black Lives Matter Chicago posted on Twitter at 12:20 p.m. The tweet was deleted Thursday afternoon.
Popular musician Chance The Rapper repeated the misinformation nine minutes later via the social media network.
“LAPD killed Saieed on his birthday and no one knows why. Haven’t seen an article or police statement yet,” the rapper tweeted to his 1.69 million Twitter followers.
“Initial speculation that the shooting death was officer-involved is false,” Rouzan said. “There were no officers or deputies involved in the incident, and the suspect (or suspects) are still outstanding.”
Loved ones of Ivey also took to social media to mourn his loss and honor his memory.
“My eyes are teary, Saieed was a leader. He had a good head on his shoulders, he was very respectful and hard working. He inspired us all,” Twitter user Kayla Eubanks posted.
“Saieed loved his mother as much as anyone I know. The way he lived his life was an inspiration. A really special kid,” user Daniel Poneman posted on Twitter.
Anyone with information was asked 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.
PHOTO (Above) by Leo Jarzomb (Below) Saieed Ivey, courtesy, ELAC Huskies Athletics.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police on Wednesday arrested an Alhambra woman who fatally struck an elderly man with her minivan in Monterey Park in January, then dragged him half-a-mile to her home, officials said.
Police jailed Cecilia Morales DeToledo, 33, without incident about 8:50 a.m. on an arrest warrant issued by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, according to Monterey Park city officials and Los Angeles County booking records. She faces charges of felony hit-and-run, as well as misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and misdemeanor driving without a license.
She was at the wheel of Kia Sedona that struck 82-year-old Kwailing Hong of Alhambra about 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 on Hathaway Avenue, just south of Hellman Avenue, Monterey Park police Lt. Tina Montoya said at the time. The collision has remained under investigation ever since.
Morales DeToledo, who had children with her in the minivan, continued driving following the initial impact, police said. She stopped and called 911 upon reaching her home in the 2400 block of Wetherhead Drive, about half a mile away.
Police found the collision scene by following a trail of blood that ended at her home, authorities said.
Police initially said it appeared the driver was unaware she had struck anyone until she arrived home.
According to booking records, DeToledo was released from jail Wednesday afternoon after posting $50,000 bail, pending her initial appearance in Alhambra Superior Court.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police are seeking the driver who intentionally struck and critically injured an apparently transgender woman in front of a Monterey Park restaurant and fled the scene and fled the scene early Saturday, officials said.
Police first received a call about 2:40 a.m. reporting a female body lying on the ground in the 3700 block of Ramona Blvd., Monterey Park police officials said.
The victim had suffered injuries consisted with being hit by a car, but the vehicle and driver were nowhere to be found, the lieutenant said.
Further investigation revealed the injured person, “was the victim of an assault and struck by a vehicle,” police said in a written statement.
Police initially listed the victim as male, but it appeared the person was a transgender woman, officials said.
Investigators had not been able to speak with the still unidentified victim Saturday afternoon due to the severity of the injuries, Lt. Tina Montoya said.
No description of the hit-and-run vehicle was available, and there was no available information regarding a motive in the near-fatal attack, police said.
Anyone with information can reach Monterey Park police at 626-573-1311. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
MONTEREY PARK >> Sheriff’s officials Friday announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with the fatal shooting of a man whose body was discovered inside a parked car in Monterey Park last week.
Andy Chen, 37, of San Gabriel is accused of the murder of Min Gu, 30, whose body was discovered about 6 p.m. March 21 in the trunk of a Lexus left parked in the 200 block of South Lincoln Avenue, according to Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
Investigators took Chen into custody about 4 p.m. Thursday, according to county booking records.
Sheriff’s officials announced the arrest in a written statement issued late Friday afternoon.
“Detectives believe the motive for the murder was a financial dispute,” Rouzan said.
No further details were released Friday.
The investigation began after witnesses reported a foul odor emitting from a a Lexus sedan, officials said.
Deputies soon discovered Gu’s body, which appeared to have been dead for at least a day or two when discovered.
An autopsy determined Gu was shot multiple times, and died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to sheriff’s and coroner’s officials. Gu’s city of residence was unclear.
Chen was being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending a scheduled arraignment Monday in the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Alhambra branch.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is assisting Monterey Park police in the investigation.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s homicide detectives at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.