Man and woman charged with Whittier-area random shooting rampage

Prosecutors filed a murder charge, 14 attempted murder charges and other allegations on Thursday and a man and woman they say embarked on a random shooting spree in the Whittier area over the weekend that left one man dead and three others wounded.
Alejandro Lazo, 21, and his girlfriend Reyna Gomez, 26, both of Whittier, who themselves were shot and wounded under mysterious circumstances following Saturday’s mobile rampage, have previously been considered “persons of interest,” in the series of violent crimes. Both suspects are self-described gang members with criminal records.
But Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Capt. Christopher Bergner announced Thursday that the couple has been formally arrested in connection with the crime spree.
And the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed one count of murder, 14 counts of attempted murder and one count of carjacking against each defendant, according to district attorney’s office spokesman Greg Risling. Gomez was additionally charged with torture for allegedly shooting a man in the groin during the bizarre attacks that unfolded in Whittier, La Mirada and Pico Rivera.
There was no known motive or explanation for the rampage, Bergner said.
“These were senseless acts of violence, acts committed on innocent people that were merely enjoying the day, running errands, in what they believed to be a safe area,” the captain said. “The individuals that were victims of this crime, these were random targets of violence that were unprovoked.”
The investigation continues, and detectives are seeking additional suspects believed to have played roles in portions of Saturday’s crime spree, Bergner said. He declined to comment further regarding any outstanding suspects.
In addition, “They’re also reviewing similar crimes in the area to see of the suspects were also involved in any additional crimes that we haven’t yet reported,” Bergner said.
The spate of violence began about 1 p.m. Saturday in the 10000 block of Carmenita Road in South Whittier, where a man was wounded in the leg in a drive-by shooting. The attackers, later identified as Lazo and Gomez, were in a white Kia Rio when they carried out the Carmenita Road shooting.
The suspect turned up again about 2:15 p.m. in the 11100 block of Rosehedge Drive in Pico Rivera, where they carjacked a man at gunpoint and fled in his green Nissan Pathfinder SUV, Deputy Lilian Peck of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. The victim was unhurt.
Just over an hour later, another shooting linked to the couple was reported behind a Starbucks coffee shop at Whittier Boulevard and Colima Road, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said. Gomez is accused of shooting a man in the groin from as he walked down the street, resulting in the torture charge filed against her, officials said. The victim, a man in his 50s, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The suspects then headed down Colima Road in the carjacked Pathfinder and opened fire at two motorists who were stopped at a traffic light near Lambert Road, Peck said. No one was injured in the car-to-car attacks.
The shooters continued south to Imperial Highway and La Mirada Boulevard, where they shot a man in the arm as he was sitting in a car about 4 p.m., according to Peck.
“Norwalk Sheriff’s Station deputies responded to the La Mirada shooting but quickly learned another shooting occurred just south of them, at the intersection of Santa Gertrudes Avenue and Alicante Road, La Mirada,” Peck said.
“The fourth victim, Jose Ricardo Sahagun, a 44-year-old father of two little boys, was struck multiple times with gunfire as he sat in his car, waiting at a traffic light. Other victims in nearby vehicles were also fired upon indiscriminately, but Jose cwas the only person injured and he was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Sahagun succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
The search for the killers continued for more than two hours before deputies found the carjacked Nissan Pathfinder abandoned at Amelia Mayberry Park in South Whittier shortly after 6 p.m.,Peck said. “It was there the suspects unloaded the vehicle they used as a mobile gun turret,” she said.
But gunfire erupted again about 8 p.m., this time outside a motel in the 15000 block of Carmenita Road, authorities said. This time, it was the suspects who had been wounded in a shooting.
“Both suspects were shot in the torso and when they realized the gravity of their injuries, they flagged down a concerned citizen and asked her to dial 911 for them,” Peck said.
Lazo and Gomez were found sitting in the white Rio believed to have used in the first shooting of the spree, officials said. A gun was recovered from the car, and has since been linked to the numerous nearby crimes scenes, Bergner said.
The circumstance of the suspect’ shooting remains under investigation by the Whittier Police Department. No suspect description was available.
Family members of Sahagun thanked the police and God for the arrests in the slaying of their loved one, as well as the community for its outpouring of support.
The Compton social worker and former school teacher left behind a wife and two sons, ages 4 and 7.
“While this is a positive step toward justice and closure, there’s no reconciling of the fact that the taking of a n innocent life has devastated both our family, and the community,” Maria Del Rosario Sahagun.
Family members described Jose Sahagun as an example for the community.
A fund to benefit Jose Sahagun has been set up online at
A viewing for Jose Sahagun has been scheduled for 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdau at the All Souls Mortuary, 4400 Cherry Ave. in Long Beach.
A Mass will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 8545 Norwalk Blvd. in Whittier, to be followed by burial at All Souls Cemetery in Long Beach.
Detectives described both Lazo and Gomez as self-identified gang members but declined to name the gang they belong to.
Both were released from jail late last year after serving time for prior convictions, officials said.
Los Angeles County court records show Lazo pleaded guilty to extortion and assault with a deadly weapon on Feb. 23, 2016. On the same date, he was also convicted of possession of methamphetamine on a separate case. He pleaded no contest to petty theft on Dec. 26. 2014.
Gomez pleaded no contest to possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia on July 6, 2015. She also pleaded no contest to possession of methamphetamine on July 9, 2015 and to possession of methamphetamine for sale on Jan. 8, 2014.
Gomez was convicted of assault likely to produce great bodily injury and possession of marijuana for sale on June 11, 2012.
She pleaded no contest to four counts of vandalism on Sept. 23, 2010 and one count of vandalism on Jan. 31, 2011. She was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon on Oct. 20, 2009.
According to county booking records, Lazo was being held without bail, while Gomez was being held in lieu of $12 million bail. They were scheduled to make their initial court appearance Friday in the Downey branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
If convicted as charged, the suspects could both spend the rest of their lives in prison.

— Staff writer Ruby Gonzales contributed to this report.

PHOTOS: (crime scene map and picture of victim Jose Sahagun courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Man arrested for trespassing at home where elderly woman was found dead

ALHAMBRA >> A man found in possession of belongings of an elderly woman found dead outside her Alhambra home on Wednesday has been jailed on suspicion of trespassing as homicide detectives continue their investigation into what happened to her, officials said Thursday.
Moon Cheung, 78, was found dead shortly after 12:40 p.m. outside her apartment in the 1800 block of West Garvey Avenue, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
Police had responded to reports of a confrontation between a man and woman when they discovered Cheung unresponsive, Alhambra police officials said.
“(Cheung) sustained blunt force trauma to the upper torso and was pronounce dead at the scene,” Schrader said.
Police were told that man, later identified as 25-year-old Milton Isaias Chavez, had knocked at the door of the victim’s home, where a family member answered, according to sheriff’s officials and county booking records.
“(Chavez) showed the family member that the victim was laying on the ground,” she said. “When the family member exited the residence to assist the victim, the suspect entered the residence, shut the door and locked it. The family member called 9-1-1, and requested assistance.”
Responding officers searched the apartment, but the intruder was gone.
But officers found Chavez, who matched the description of the trespasser, several hours later after a resident called police to report a suspicious person in a shed near the victim’s home, Schrader said.
“Officers found the suspect was in possession of an item belonging to the victim,” the deputy said.
Chavez was booked on suspicion of trespassing as the investigation continued, officials said. His city of residence was not available.
Police announced they were seeking a “person of interest” in connection with the case in the hours immediately after Cheung’s body was found. But officials stopped short of labeling the man a suspect in her death.
According to county booking records, Chavez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Friday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are assisting Alhambra police in the investigation. Anyone with information 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.

PHOTO by Leo Jarzomb

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Search continues for killer in slaying of Diamond Bar couple


DIAMOND BAR >> Detectives have circulated flyers seeking information on the unsolved “brutal” stabbing deaths of a couple inside their Diamond Bar home earlier this month.
Chen “David” Long Wang, 60, and his wife Mei “Marian” Chu Chung, 57, were discovered fatally stabbed on the morning of Oct. 20 inside their home in the 3300 block of Bent Twig Lane, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
“Sometime between Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 7 p,m. and Thursday October 20, 2016 at 9 a.m., avid table tennis player and retired father of two, victim “David” Cheng Long Wang ,was brutally murdered in his Diamond Bar home along with his wife, victim “Marian” Mei Chu Chung,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Neighbors described Chung as an art teacher who taught classes out of her home.
After more than a week of investigation but no suspect in custody, detectives reached out to the public for assistance in solving the double slaying.
Officials this week have been handing out flyers featuring information about the crime and pictures of the victim in hopes of generating tips, Lt. John Corina of the sheriff’s homicide Bureau said.
“Detectives are seeking the public’s assistance and are asking any witnesses or anyone with information to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Wang and Chung are survived by two college-age children, officials said.
One of the children called a friend to check on the couple after not hearing from them for a while, Corina said. The friend went to the home and discovered the victims’ bodies.
Corina said there were signs of a struggle inside the home, but there were no indications the couple had been robbed. The motive in the double-fatal stabbing remained a mystery.
The bodies of Wang and Chung were found in different rooms in the house, officials said. The weapon used in the killings has not been recovered.
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.


PHOTOS: [ABOVE] Cheng “David” Long Wang, 60, and his wife Mei “Marian” Chu Chung, 57, were found stabbed to death inside their Diamond Bar home on Oct. 20, 2016. (Courtesy, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department) [BELOW] Los Angeles Sheriff’s homicide detectives investigate the deaths of a man and woman who were found fatally stabbed at a Diamond Bar home in 3200 block of Bent Twig Lane on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, San Gabriel Valley Tribune/ SCNG)




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Coroner: Elderly woman, man found dead in Hacienda Heights home were stabbed

HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Coroner’s officials have identified an elderly woman who was found stabbed to death inside her Hacienda Heights home along with a yet-unidentified man.
JUNE COLLINSJune Collins, 84, and the unidentified male victim were discovered dead on the afternoon of Oct. 7 inside Collins’ home in the 16600 block of Carriage Place in Hacienda Heights.
An autopsy determined both victims had been stabbed to death, and both deaths have been ruled homicides, Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said Wednesday.
The second victim, described only as a man, remained listed at the coroner’s office as John Doe.
When found by deputies asked to check on the elderly resident, both bodies were already well into the stages of decomposition, slowing the investigation, sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said.
Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said investigators the slayings occurred about a week before the victims were discovered.
No suspects had been identified Wednesday in connection with the mysterious double-homicide, and the motive remained unclear. But detectives continued gathering clues.
“It’s moving forward. Slowly, but it’s moving forward,” Corina said.
There were no signs of forced entry at the home, the lieutenant said. But inside, “There were signs of struggle.”
It was unclear what type of sharp weapon was used in the killings, Corina said.
Robbery was not believed to the motive, investigators said.
Collin’s Toyota Corolla was discovered missing from her home. It was found the following afternoon, abandoned in the 12100 block of Magnolia Street in El Monte, according to Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Detectives continue looking into how the car ended up in El Monte, Corina said, and the car was being examined by crime lab investigators.
The identity of the man found dead along with Collins remains a mystery.
Detectives had not yet linked any missing persons’ cases to the double-homicide investigation, Corina said.
Many people would often come and go from the home, he said.
Collins had a son who was in jail at the time of the killings in connection with an elder abuse case, officials said. Collins had a restraining order against him.
Officials and neighbors said deputies had responded to the home several times in the past to deal with her the son when he lived there,.
Associates of the son, including drug addicts, continued to show up even after the son was jailed, sometimes staying there, authorities said.
Capt. Tim Murakami of the sheriff’s Industry Station said the elderly woman had dementia, which the frequent visitors appeared to be taking advantage of.
Because of the ongoing issues at the home, deputies would regularly checked on Collins, the captain said.
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.

PHOTO of June Collins, 84, of Hacienda Heights courtesy of the California DMV.

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Shotgun slaying of Norwalk father and son remains a mystery

0718_NWS_WDN-L-NORWALK-SHOOTFOLO1NORWALK >> Detectives continue seeking clues into the mysterious shotgun slaying of a father and son found fatally shot inside their Norwalk home earlier this week.
Walter Vicente, 49, and Andrew Vicente, 24, were found shot to death shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday at their house in the 12300 block of Gettysburg Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner officials said.
A family member, who was a son to the older victim and brother to the younger victim, found the men shot to death when he stopped by to visit, Lt. Dave Coleman of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. It was unclear when exactly the shooting took place, though it was believed to have been within a matter of a day or days.
No suspect has been identified in the double-homicide, and the motiveremains unclear.
“There’s nothing apparent that indicated it was a robbery,” Coleman said. The shots were fired from within the house, however there were no signs of forced entry into the home.
Walter Vicente’s body was discovered in the living room of the home, while Andrew Vicente’s body was found in an adjacent bedroom.
0718_NWS_WDN-L-NORWALK-SHOOTFOLO2Neither the father or son appeared to have no ties to gang acivity, and investigators were aware of no one who would want to do them harm, the lieutenant said. Walter Vicente was a plumber, he said, adding that he believed his son was also involved in the trade.
“It’s a mystery,” Coleman said. “We just don’t have much at this time. We’re obviously going to get into their personal lives.”
Detectives were also still trying to determine the last time someone saw the father and son alive.
An autopsy determined the men both died from shotgun wounds to the head, and both cases were ruled homicides, coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
An exact time of death was not clear, however coroner’s reports indicated a neighbor reported hearing possibly gunfire shortly after 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Anyone with information was aksed 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.

PHOTOS of Walter Vicente, 49, of Norwalk (above) and Andrew Vicente, 24, of Norwalk (below) courtesy of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

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Deputies to canvass Pomona neighborhood seeking witnesses in La Verne double-slaying


POMONA >> Sheriff’s homicide detectives investigating the mysterious slaying of an Elderly La Verne couple in their home late last year plan to canvass a Pomona neighborhood Friday for motorists, pedestrians and train passengers who may have key information to help solve the case, officials said.
Armie “Troy” Isom, 89, and wide Shirley Isom, 74, were found fatally stabbed and beaten on Dec. 26, inside their home at the end of secluded Roughrider Road in an unincorporated near La Verne, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
The case remains unsolved.
““We have not determined a motive,” Lt. David Coleman of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said last week.
“We’re still working all the clues that came in,” the lieutenant said. “We have multiple leads we are following.” Coleman declined to discuss what those leads were.
The search continues for a man spotted by neighbors walking away from the Isoms’ sprawling estate shortly before the couple was found mortally wounded.
The man, who has since been labeled a suspect in the killing, was last reported to be walking south from the isolated neighborhood where the victims lived. But he has not been found.
In an effort to develop new leads in the investigation, and track down the mysterious suspect, deputies plan to pass out fliers to drivers in the 3100 block of Garey Avenue in Pomona Friday.
The flier will include a composite sketch of the suspect previously released to the public in early January, sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said. The canvassing will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday in the 3100 block of Garey Avenue, just south of the Isom’s neighborhood.
The operation is being held on the same day of the week as the killing, and covering the same time of day. Troy and Shirley Isom were discovered slain shortly after 1 p.m. on the day after Christmas.
“As people come through, we’ll hand out fliers and ask them a couple simple questions,” Lt. Andy Berg of the sheriff’s San Dimas Station said.
Deputies will ask drivers and pedestrians if they were in the same area on the afternoon of Dec. 26, and whether they’ve seen the man pictured in the sketch.
Deputies will strive to delay motorists as briefly as possible, Berg said. Deputies will not be looking for traffic violations, he said. They will not even ask driver’s names, unless they have information pertinent to the double-homicide investigation. Homicide detectives will be on-hand to interview anyone who may be able to help.
At the same time, deputies will be aboard commuter trains on the nearby San Bernardino Line passing out fliers and questioning passengers, Nishida said. No trains will be delayed as a result of the canvassing.
Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
— Staff writer Ruby Gonzales contributed to this report.

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Death of Pasadena toddler under investigation

This from the Star-News: 

PASADENA — An autopsy is scheduled to be performed today on a 2-year-old Pasadena boy found dead in his crib yesterday, county coroner’s officials said this morning.

Some preliminary results could be available late this afternoon, officials said.

Police received a frantic call from the boy’s mother saying the toddler was unresponsive. Paramedics rushed to the home in the 500 block of North Summit Avenue on Tuesday morning, but were unsuccessful in their attempts to revive the child, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have not said whether they suspect criminal conduct. Their investigation coincides with a push by LA county supervisors to better monitor the county’s child welfare system.

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LAPD bomb squad seen travelling east on 10 Freeway toward ONT

Earlier this afternoon, a convoy including the LAPD Bomb Squad and several blacked out SUVs was spotted travelling at a high rate of speed east on the 10 Freeway toward Ontario.

There’s been plenty of speculation as to why, but no answers from LAPD, other than a terse statement that the crew was headed to a sensitive situation.
Several Twitter users caught sight of the convoy as well including:
Any thoughts?
Here’s some newsroom speculation:
  • A situation at ONT, which is technically part of Los Angeles
  • Escorting a high level dignitary
  • Taking Michael Jackson’s body somewhere.
What do you think?
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Moe chimp news


Esquire ran the definitive Moe story on its Web site today. The tale, by Richard Shapiro, tells the story of Moe through the words of St. James and LaDonna Davis. It’s a touching tale much of it familiar to residents of West Covina and the San Gabriel Valley.

Here’s the final paragraph of the piece titled “St. James, LaDonna and Little Moe: The Worst Story I Ever Heard.”


After all the years St. James and LaDonna shared with Moe and everything they’ve endured, how could he be gone forever? How could they not someday see their boy again?

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Sanford Clark and the Wineville Chicken Ranch Murders

Reporter Ruby Gonzales put together an interesting piece about Sanford Clark for today’s papers.

Clark, the nephew of Gordon Stewart Northcott, was ultimately sentencedto five years at Nelles for his role in the case that led to the deaths of Walter Collins, Lewis and Nelson Winslow, and an unidentified latino youth.

Here’s the top of Ruby’s story:


Jerry Clark, 17, was on his way to a hockey game when his father, Sanford, pulled the car over and revealed a shocking past.

When he was 15, Sanford Clark became the main witness against his uncle, Gordon Stewart Northcott, who kidnapped boys from the Southland in the 1920s then molested and killed them at a chicken ranch in Wineville.

Not only did his uncle rape and beat him, Clark told authorities he was made to help dispose of the bodies and, at gunpoint, ordered to shoot one of the boys.

“Sanford said he never planned to tell Jerry the story,” said Anthony Flacco , who is writing a book about Clark and was at the Whittier Museum last week doing research.

But he said Clark was worried reporters working on an unrelated killing near their town would unearth his past. His concern was that his children would hear about it from others. His fear didn’t materialize.

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