NORWALK >> Detectives are seeking a party bus that struck a Norwalk man and dragged him more than 200 feet before fleeing the scene early Saturday, officials said.
Efren Virgen, 26, was crossing Fairford Avenue, just south of Ratcliffe Street, about 2:30 a.m. when he was struck by southbound bus, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“The victim was dragged by the vehicle for over 200 feet and suffered major injuries,” Detective Carl Anna said in a written statement.
Rescuers took Virgen to a hospital, where he was in critical-but-stable condition in an intensive care unit Saturday afternoon, Lt. Eric Smitson said.
A witnesses described the bus as a black party bus of the type rented out by groups for special occasions, the detective said. “As the suspect’s vehicle drove past the witnesses, he saw that the interior neon lights were flashing, and heard music coming from inside.”
The bus was last seen heading west on Foster Road, Anna said.
“We are looking for witnesses to come forward that were either on the above ‘party bus,’ or have knowledge of any similar vehicle that may have been in the Norwalk area at or near the indicated time,” Anna said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
NORWALK >> Sheriff’s deputies will screen drivers for sobriety and valid licenses Thursday during a nighttime checkpoint, officials said.
The checkpoint will take place between 6 p.m. Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. The location of the checkpoint has not been disclosed.
Over the past three years in the cities and unincorporated areas patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, “DUI collisions have claimed 22 lives and resulted in 898 injury crashes harming 1,330 of our friends and neighbors,” Sgt. Daniel Dail of the Traffic Services Detail said.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
NORWALK >> Authorities arrested a man in Guatemala early Thursday in connection with the brutal stabbing death of a 50-year-old woman at her Norwalk home in 2012, officials and the victim’s sister said.
Luis Diofron, 22, is accused of sexually assaulting and fatally stabbing Denise Battey in the early-morning hours of Aug. 10, 2012, at her home in the 11900 block of Allard Street, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and Battey’s twin sister, Annese Battey.
Investigators recently received a tip that Diofron, whom they had been seeking for more than two years, had been spotted near Guatemala City, Detective Ray Lugo of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. Guatemalan police, along with FBI agents, arrested the alleged killer without a struggle Thursday morning.
Annese Battey said she was notified of the arrest Thursday morning.
“My family is just ecstatic,” she said. But the sense of justice that came with the arrest was accompanied by many painful memories.
“It’s bitter-sweet,” she said. “Everyone is breaking down. This is a day you just hope and wish for.”
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PHOTOS of Denise Battey, above, and Luis Diofron, below. (Courtesy)
NORWALK >> A pleaded “no contest” to a voluntary manslaughter charge Tuesday for fatally shooting another man during a dispute confrontation in early 2013, officials said.
A judge immediately sentenced Andrew Ramos, 29, of Norwalk to six years in state prison after he entered his plea in Norwalk Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Prosecutors initially charged Ramos with murder for the Jan. 2, 2013, fatal shooting of 32-year-old Jimmy Deleon Hernandez of Norwalk in the 14000 block of Gard Avenue in Norwalk, Ardalani said.
In a negotiated plea, Ramos entered a “no contest” plea to a single felony charge of voluntary manslaughter, she said.
Officials described Ramos and Hernandez as rival gang members. The shooting took place after Hernandez confronted Ramos at a Norwalk home.
“(Hernandez) confronted Ramos while he was on the porch,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement. “The two men had an exchange and Ramos shot Hernandez several times.”
Hernandez succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
“An eyewitness account linked Ramos to the crime and he was arrested a week later in connection with the killing,” the statement said.
NORWALK >> A Downey man pleaded no contest Wednesday to fatally stabbing a Long Beach man during a dispute at a Norwalk home earlier this year, authorities said.
William Edward Johnson, 38, entered a “no contest” plea in Norwalk Superior Court to a count of voluntary manslaughter for the March 4 stabbing death of 53-year-old Darin Sivley, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. Johnson also admitted the special allegation that he personally used a knife in the crime.
Under the negotiated plea arrangement, Johnson is expected to receive a 12-year prison term when he returned to court for sentencing Monday, Ardalani said. He had originally been charged with murder prior to the plea deal.
Sivley was found fatally wounded on along the road near Studebaker Road and Ferina Street shortly before 3 a.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
But the stabbing took a place while both Johnson and Sivley were at the home of a mutual acquaintance nearby, according to sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials.
“While there, Sivley began to irritate the homeowner, who wanted him to leave,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement. “As a result, Johnson pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim in the upper arm. The puncture severed a major artery and Sivley began to bleed profusely.”
Someone at the home place a tourniquet on Sivley’s wound before Sivley got on a bicycle to go to a hospital, officials said. But soon collapsed and bled to death.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau arrested Sivley in connection with the fatal stabbing two days later.
NORWALK >> Paramedics rushed a wounded man to a trauma center after he was stabbed late Friday at a Norwalk hotel, officials said.
The stabbing was first reported about 8:20 p.m. at the Guesthouse Hotel, 12500 Firestone Blvd., according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire officials.
Someone brought the wounded man to Norwalk Hospital by private vehicle, sheriff’s Lt. Daniel Gillespie said. Medical staff there determined the victim needed to be transferred to a trauma center.
The victim suffered major injuries including a punctured lung but was expected to survive, Gillespie said.
Deputies sought two male suspects possibly seen running from the area, the lieutenant said. One was believed to be armed with a pocket knife, and the other with a large hunting knife. No further description was available.
The investigation remained in its early stages, however it initially appeared the man was inside a room at the hotel when some sort of fight erupted, he said.
No further details were available.
NORWALK >> Gunfire at a Norwalk park left one man dead early Saturday, authorities said.
The fatal shooting took place about 6:20 a.m. at Arthur Gerdes Park, 14700 Gridley Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Navares said.
Deputies responded to several calls reporting gunshots and a “victim down” when they encountered a man in his 20s who had been shot, the sergeant said.
Paramedics rushed the wounded man to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, Navares said.
No suspects were in custody, and no suspect description was immediately available.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are handling the investigation. Anyone with information can reacht he bureau at 323-890-5500.
NORWALK >> A man suffered serious injuries but was expected to survive after he was stabbed during a fight at a Norwalk bar early Saturday, authorities said.
The stabbing took place about 1:15 a.m. at the Agave Junction Cantina, 11957 Firestone Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. George Suarez said.
Responding deputies found a man suffering from stab wounds to his abdomen and thigh, Suarez said.
The stabbing was the result of a fight, he said. No suspect description was available.
Prosecutors Thursday charged a Norwalk man the FBI has dubbed the “Cold Blooded Bandit” in connection with three bank robberies over the past two months in Whittier, South Gate and Norwalk, officials said.
Mario Marques LLanes, 27, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Bellflower Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
He was charged Thursday with three counts of robbery and three counts of commercial burglary for the alleged spree of bank heists, officials said.
Llanes turned himself in Monday to police in Whittier, where the most recent robbery occurred Sept. 17 at a Union Bank branch inside the Quad at Whittier shopping center, Whittier police Officer Brad White said.
The robber handed a teller a note demanding money before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of cash, Whittier police Cpl. Carlos Arroyo said at the time.
The serial bandit used similar tactics in the other robberies, which occurred July 7 at a Union Bank branch in South Gate and June 30 at a Union Bank branch in Llanes hometown of Norwalk, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
The FBI nicknamed the serial bank robbery suspect the “Cold Blooded Bandit” prior to his arrest due to the heavy winter clothes he wore during the summertime robberies.
PHOTO: Mario Marques Llanes, 27, of Norwalk, is accused of being a serial bank robber the FBI has dubbed the “Cold Blooded Bandit,” linked to bank robberies in Whittier, South South Gate and Norwalk since late June. The bandit is pictured in this bank surveillance photo during a robbery at a Union Bank branch in Whittier on Sept. 17, 2014.
(Courtesy of the FBI)
NORWALK >> Officials have released the name of a man who was fatally shot at a Norwalk home last week, as the search for his killer continued.
Michael Ochoa, 27, died at a hospital following the 3:45 p.m. Sept. 15 shooting in the 12700 block of Rexton Street, Lt. Ed Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Ochoa was believed to be a Los Angeles County resident, however his hometown was not clear Wednesday, the lieutenant said.
No suspect had been arrested or identified Wednesday, as detectives continued following up on leads, conducting interviews and re-canvassing the neighborhood for clues, he said.
Detectives were also sorting through conflicting information given by witnesses.
Ochoa went to the home to visit a friend or girlfriend, Hernandez said. He became involved in an argument with a man in the backyard of the home.
“There was some time of struggle between the suspect and the victim,” Hernandez said. “That struggle escalated into the suspect retrieving handgun and shooting the victim.”
A description of the gunman was unavailable, and no getaway car was reported by witnesses in connection with the crime.
Detectives were still looking into the circumstances of the shooting and Ochoa’s connection to the home, as well as the shooters. Ochoa was not believed to have gang ties.
Witnesses reported hearing arguing and a gunshot coming from the Rexton Avenue home before seeing a wounded man stumbling to the street from the backyard, according to Deputy Amber Smith of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau. He walked toward the east for about a block before collapsing.
Paramedics rushed the man to the University of Southern California, Irvine Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries, Lt. Cynthia Chavez of the sheriff’s Norwalk Station said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.