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.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police detained a man after his wife was found lying in the street nude and suffering from two-dozen stab wounds in front of their Monterey Park home late Thursday, officials said.
Police first received reports of a stabbing about 8:25 p.m. at Newmark Avenue and Monterey Pass Road, Monterey Park police Lt. Scott Wiese said.
Callers reported, “a woman in the street, with no clothes on, bleeding,” he said.
Officers found the woman, 56, suffering from about 25 stab wounds or cuts, police said. She was taken to a trauma center for treatment.
The wounds to the woman’s head, face and torso appeared relatively superficial and were not initially believed to be life threatening, he said. She was conscious when taken to the hospital.
Officers then followed a trail of blood to a house in the 1200 block of West Newmark Avenue, where they detained the woman’s husband, 63-year-old Kam Hing Wong.
“They located the suspect outside of the residence and took him into custody without incident,” Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement.
He was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and domestic violence, police said.
Wong is pictured with what appears to be blood on his head and shirt in his police booking photo.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Wong was being held without bail pending a scheduled arraignment hearing Wednesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court Alhambra branch.
PHOTO of Kam Hing Wong, 63, courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department.
MONTEREY PARK >> Coroner’s officials Wednesday released the name of a 30-year-old man found shot to death in the trunk of a parked car in Monterey Park last week.
The body of Min Gu was discovered about 6 p.m. March 21 after residents called authorities to report a foul smell emanating from a black Lexus sedan parked in the 200 block of South Lincoln Avenue, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter. Gu’s city of residence was unclear.
An autopsy determined Gu died from “multiple gunshot wounds,” and the death was ruled a homicide, Winter said.
No arrests have been made in connection with the killing and no motive was available, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The body had already begun decomposing, officials said. Investigators believed Gu was fatally shot at least a day or two before his body was discovered.
The Lexus had not been reported stolen, Sgt. Bill Cotter of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
It was unclear whether detectives had managed to contact the car’s registered owner. Handling detectives could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Anyone with information is 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.
LOS ANGELES >> A Monterey Park doctor received a four-year jail sentence Friday for prescribing diet pills without a legitimate medical purpose and insurance fraud, authorities said.
Dr. Thomas Lin, 46, was scheduled to surrender Friday evening after pleading “no contest” in December to two felony counts, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
“Lin provided diet pills known as phentermine, a controlled substance, through his pediatrics clinic known as “Kid’s M.D.” on Atlantic Boulevard in Monterey Park,” according to the statement.
He also fraudulently billed Medi-Cal and other insurers for services never rendered, prosecutors said.
“Over the course of several months in 2012, investigators from the California Medical Board posed as new patients and were able to secure phentermine with little or no physical examination by Dr. Lin,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “Investigators received the drug either by paying his front office staff or receiving the drug for free.”
After serving two years in custody, Lin is to remain on mandatory supervision for another two years, officials said.
Prior to pleading “no contest” to the two felony charges, Lin was initially named in a 55-count indictment. If convicted on all original charges, he could have faced up to 34 years in state prison.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police jailed a parolee from Alhambra and a second man from Los Angeles in connection with a Saturday break-in at a Monterey Park home, officials said.
Christopher Molina, 23, of Alhambra and Trayvon Watson, 21, of Los Angeles are accused of residential burglary following their arrests about 1:20 p.m. in connection with a burglary at a home in the 1000 block of Hillvale Drive, Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement.
One of them waited outside in a getaway car as the other went into the backyard of the home and smashed the rear sliding window, police said. But the suspects fled after an alarm system startled them.
“Shortly after the burglary an officer located the vehicle and the two suspects in the area of Ramona (Avenue) and Garvey (Avenue). A traffic stop was initiated and an investigation was conducted,” according to the statement. “After the investigation was concluded, both suspects in the vehicle were arrested for residential burglary.”
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Watson was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court.
Molina, who is on parole following a January, 2015, conviction for vandalism, was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, also scheduled Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court, according to police and records.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police arrested two Pico Rivera teens Saturday in connection with an attempted break-in at a Monterey Park home the day before, officials said.
The failed burglary took place about 6:30 p.m. Friday in the 1000 block of East West Crest Way, Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement.
Two intruders got into the home’s backyard and tried to pry open a bedroom window, she said. But the would-be burglars fled when confronted by the homeowner.
Investigators obtained surveillance camera images of the suspect and soon identified them.
Monterey Park police arrested both suspects Saturday at their homes in Pico Rivera, officials said. Both were booked on suspicion of residential burglary.