Man killed in fiery freeway crash in Monterey Park named

MONTEREY PARK >> Coroner’s officials have released the name of a 33-year-old Maywood man who died in a fiery two-car crash last week.
Sergio Ramos Horta died at the scene of the crash, which occurred about 5:40 a.m. on Feb. 16 on the eastbound 60 Freeway, just west of Atlantic Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Kristy McCracken said.
His identification was delayed due to the burned condition of his body, coroner’s officials said.
Few details regarding the circumstances of the crash have been released.
California Highway Patrol officials responded to numerous 9-1-1 calls reporting a crash between a 2003 Infiniti and a 1982 Toyota, “with both vehicles fully engulfed in flames,” CHP officials said in a written statement.
The cause of the crash was under investigation by the CHP’s East Los Angeles office.

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Woman accused of stealing elderly woman’s bingo prize in Monterey Park


MONTEREY PARK – Police arrested a woman Thursday for allegedly stealing about $250 from an 86-year-old fellow bingo player at the senior center two weeks ago.
BINGO stillMaricela Bracamontes, 53, of Bell Gardens was booked on suspicion of felony elder abuse. Police didn’t recover the money.
“She was arrested for elder abuse because she targeted a senior,” said Lt. Tina Montoya of the Monterey Park Police Department.
Police said the crime was caught on camera…

FULL STORY by Ruby Gonzales in the Pasadena Star-News

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Officials: Man who shot self in front of Monterey Park police named

MONTEREY PARK >> Authorities have released the name of a reportedly suicidal Monterey Park man who police said fatally shot himself upon being pulled over by police over the weekend.
Tak Kuen Yeung, 65, died at a hospital shortly after Sunday’s 11:45 a.m. shooting in the 1800 block of West Garvey Avenue, which is being investigated as a suicide, according to Los Angeles County coroner and Monterey Park police officials said. An autopsy was pending Thursday.
Family members called police about 11 a.m. Sunday to report Yeung, who suffered from paranoia, anxiety and depression, had made statement leading them to believe he was suicidal, Monterey Park police Sgt. Art Rousseau said.
Coroner’s documents indicated that Yeung, “stated to family he no longer wanted to live,” coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Officers found Yeung driving and pulled him over.
He pulled to the side of the road before shooting himself once in the head with a handgun, the sergeant said.
Paramedics took Yeung to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

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Officials: Man fatally shoots self after being stopped by police in Monterey Park

MONTEREY PARK >> A Monterey Park senior citizen reported as potentially suicidal shot and killed himself when police pulled over his car Sunday, officials said.
Family members contacted police about 11 a.m. to report the 69-year-old man suffered from depression, anxiety and paranoia and had made statements indicating he may have been suicidal, Monterey Park police Sgt. Art Rousseau said. There was no indication the man was armed.
Officers found the man driving less than 45 minutes later and pulled over his car in the 1800 block of West Garvey Avenue, the sergeant said.
The driver pulled to the side of the road and shot himself once in the head with ha handgun, Rousseau said.
Paramedics rushed the man to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, he said.
An autopsy was to be carried out by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, Rousseau said.

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CHP: Alhambra fire engine at fault in collision with Monterey Park fire engine last year

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MONTEREY PARK >> A California Highway Patrol investigation into a crash between Alhambra and Monterey Park fire trucks last year that sent one of the engines careening into a dim sum restaurant, resulting in 15 injuries, has determined the Alhambra Fire Department truck was at fault for the collision.
The crash occurred shortly after 3 p.m. on April 16 at Garfield and Emerson avenues. Both trucks were responding to a report of a house fire in Monterey Park with emergency lights and sirens activated, officials said. The agencies often cooperate with each other in responding to emergencies.
The large truck’s collided in the intersection, sending the Monterey Park engine hurtling into the Lu Dumpling House. Four pedestrians who were walking in front of the restaurant were injured, one of them critically, authorities said. Six people inside the restaurant were also hurt, along with six firefighters.
A summary of the investigative findings released by the CHP Thursday states that the Alhambra fire engine’s driver drove unsafely just prior to the collision.
The Alhambra engine was southbound on Garfield Avenue at about 15 mph when it entered the intersection through a red light about the same time as the Monterey Park engine entered the intersection through a green light while heading east on Emerson Avenue at about 25 mph, according the CHP statement.
“The Alhambra fire engine failed to ensure the intersection was safe to enter against the red signal light,” according to the statement. “ Due to Alhambra fire engine’s unsafe operation, the front of Alhambra’s fire engine collided into the front of Monterey Park’s fire engine.”
No charges were to be filed in connection with the crash, CHP officials said.
The Alhambra engine was driven by 46-year-old Alhambra Fire Department Firefighter Bryan Butler. Monterey Park Fire Department Firefighter Nicholas Lima, 31, was at the wheel of the Monterey Park fire engine, according to the CHP.
Alhambra City Attorney Joseph Montes said 22 civil claims have been filed in connection with the crash. He declined to comment on the CHP findings.
“We’ve received the report. We’re in the process of analyzing and reviewing it,” Montes said. “We have pending litigation and in light of all that we are not in a position to make any further comment at this time.”
— Staff Writer Stephanie Baer contributed to this report.

PHOTO by Walt Mancini

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30 jailed during San Gabriel Valley AB 109 compliance sweep

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY >> A task force charged with monitoring convicts released from jail under AB 109 guidelines arrested 30 people during a compliance check throughout the western San Gabriel Valley early Wednesday, officials said.
The task force visited the listed homes of 88 people who are free on Post-Release Community Supervision, under the 2011 state prison alignment plan, Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores said in a written statement. The probationers were contacted at 61 of the homes, while the remaining 27 were either not home or not longer living at their listed addresses.
Compliance checks took place in Arcadia, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Monrovia, El Monte and Monterey Park, Sgt. Brett Bourgeous said.
“The zero-tolerance focus of the enforcement campaign was aimed at apprehending AB 109 absconders with outstanding warrants, and conducting compliance checks in accordance with a person’s probation conditions,” Flores said. “Many of the probationers contacted during the course of the operation were known to have previous court violations to include weapons charges, assault charges and property crimes.”
The 30 probationers arrested Wednesday were accused of crimes ranging from violating probation to drug charges, officials said. Officers jailed at least one of the probationers on suspicion of gun possession and seized a firearm.
The West San Gabriel Valley Anti-Crime Task Force is comprised of officers from the Arcadia, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Monrovia, El Monte and Monterey Park police departments, as well as the Los Angeles County Probation Department. Officials from the Long Beach, Burbank, Glendale and San Fernando police department also took part in Wednesday’s campaign, along with Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and officials from the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services.

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Man pleads not guilty in fatal Monterey Park stabbing

ALHAMBRA >> A Rosemead man pleaded not guilty to murder Thursday following the fatal stabbing of a Monterey Park man last month, officials said.
Angel Octavion Garcia, 18, is accused of fatally stabbing Alhambra Parks and Recreation Department employee Edward Mendoza, 35, Oct. 14 in a parking lot in the 1700 block of Potrero Grande, near Arroyo Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
He entered his plea in Alhambra Superior Court, where he was ordered to return Jan. 9 for a preliminary hearing setting, Los Angeles County district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
“There are no indications the two men knew each other,” according to the statement. A motive for the slaying has not been released.
Mendoza called 9-1-1 to report he had been stabbed, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. Investigators have declined to release further details of the 9-1-1.
Paramedics rushed Mendoza to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.
“Soon after the incident, a person came forward to police and identified Garcia as the assailant,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
Mendoza had worked a part-time recreation leader for the Alhambra Parks and Recreation Department since 2001, city officials said. Most recently, he served as a children’s football referee at Almansor Park in Alhambra.
Recently, Ray said Mendoza was refereeing football for the children at Almansor Park, 800 S. Almansor St. in Alhambra.
Sheriff’s investigators arrested Garcia Oct. 18, according to Los Angeles County booking records. He was being held in lieu of $1.025 million bail.
Loved ones have created a memorial video in tribute to Menoza at www.eddiemendoza.org.

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Woman struck by car, badly injured while riding bike in Monterey Park

MONTEREY PARK >> A woman suffered major injuries Saturday when she was struck by a car while riding a bicycle in Monterey Park, officials said.
The collision took place about 3:30 p.m. as the woman was riding a bicycle in a crosswalk at Garvey and Orange avenues, Monterey Park police Lt. Eric Kim said.
The woman suffered serious injuries, however an update on her condition was not available, Kim said.
She was crossing Orange Avenue inside a crosswalk when she was struck by a car making a right turn onto Orange Avenue from eastbound Garvey Avenue, the lieutenant said.
A woman who was driving the car remained at the scene and cooperated with police, Kim said.
The investigation remained in its early stages Saturday afternoon.
Officials shut down Orange Avenue between Garvey and Mabel avenues as they investigated the scene, Kim said. The road was expected to remain closed into Saturday night.

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Monterey Park man pleads not guilty to Arcadia child molestation charges

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PASADENA >> A Monterey Park man pleaded not guilty Thursday to molesting two 10-year-old boys inside the bathroom of an Arcadia restaurant last week and earlier this week, authorities said.
Kwan Yven Chow, 31, appeared in Pasadena Superior Court, where he denied two counts of committing lewd acts on a child under 14 years old, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement. He was ordered back to court Dec. 2 for a hearing in his case.
In addition to the two felony charges, prosecutors also accuse Chow of the special circumstance of multiple victims.
The alleged molestations took place Monday and Nov. 8 in a restroom at Dave & Busters at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall, 400 S. Baldwin Ave., according to Arcadia police officials.
Police jailed Chow Monday afternoon after the mother of the victim and the manager chased after him, and mall security detained him until police arrived, Arcadia police Lt. Roy Nakamura said. Investigators later learned about the second alleged victim, who was allegedly groped inside the same bathroom two days earlier.
Bail was set at $1.25 million, officials said.

BOOKING photo of suspect Kwan Chow courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.

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Chino man gets 374 years to life in prison for spree of follow-home robberies targeting San Gabriel Valley women

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ALHAMBRA >> A judge sentenced a Chino man to 374 years to life in prison Thursday for a spree of follow-home robberies targeting lone Asian women throughout the San Gabriel Valley in 2011, officials said.
An Alhambra Superior Court convicted Jose Lewis Avila, 33, of nine counts of robbery, one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of dissuading a witness from reporting a crime and one count of child abuse. The 12 charges stem from a eight incidents in March and April of 2011, investigators said.
Three robberies, one of which involved two victims, occurred in Alhambra, officials said. Three of he robberies occurred in San Gabriel, one occurred in Arcadia and one took place in Monterey Park.
“The defendant targeted women driving alone,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “Once the victims arrived at their homes, Avila accosted them and demanded their money and property. During each robbery, the defendant used a BB gun and covered his face with a bandana or mask.
But detectives managed to identify Avila the culprit in the crimes through surveillance video and credit card charges, officials said.
Additionally, Avila’s “unique” and “pretty” eyes helped victims point him out as their attacker, said Deputy District Attorney David Ayvazian, who prosecuted the case with Deputy District Attorney Gabriel Kim.
Avila was convicted of a similar string of crimes in 2005, Ayvazian said.
The assault with a deadly weapon charge was the result of Avila shooting one of his victims in the face with a BB gun during a robbery in Arcadia, officials said. He also threatened a witness not to contact the police, leading to the charge of dissuading a witness. And one of the robbery victims was holding a child in her arms during the crime, resulting in the charge of child abuse.
According to district attorney’s officials, the jury also found true special allegations that Avila used a deadly and dangerous weapon, the BB gun, in his crimes, and that he inflicted great bodily injury.

PHOTO of Jose Avila, 33, of Chino, courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department.

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