Vigil and march to honor sheriff’s Explorer Scout fatally shot in South Whittier

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SOUTH WHITTIER >> Hundreds of loved ones, including fellow Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Explorer Scouts, will march Friday to honor the life of a 19-year-old Whittier man shot to death four years ago along with 24-year-old friend, as well as renew their call for justice in the unsolved double-slaying.
Lifelong Whittier resident Cesar Rodriguez, who dreamed of becoming a sheriff’s deputy, was gunned down Aug. 28, 2011, along with Larry Villegas of Whittier as the two left a friend’s home in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue in unincorporated South Whittier.
The killing remains unsolved.
Friends, family members and law enforcement officials will gather for a Mass at 5 p.m. Friday at St. Pious X Church, 10827 Pioneer Blvd. in Santa Fe Springs, before gathering at 7 p.m. at Laurel Avenue and Beaty Street in South Whittier, said Rodriguez’s brother, George Rodriguez.
AR-140829514Marchers will then walk past the shooting scene to Amelia Mayberry Park, 13201 Meyer Road in South Whittier.
Similar marches were held 2014, 2013 and 2012.
Cesar Rodriguez worked as an explorer at the sheriff’s Norwalk Station for four years prior to his death and planned to pursue a career as a sheriff’s deputy, sheriff’s officials said.
George Rodriguez said he remains hopeful his brother’s killer will be found and brought to justice, and wanted anyone with information about the shooting to provide that information to investigators.
Detectives have followed up on information regarding possible persons of interest over the past year, but nothing has developed into a solid lead, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. “We’re back to square one.”
Corina also asked that anyone with information come forward. “They can be anonymous if they want,” he said.
Anyone with information can 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.

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UPDATED: Man fatally shot in Norwalk identified; suspect arrested

NORWALK >> Authorities have identified a man who was fatally shot at his Norwalk home Saturday and arrested his sister’s boyfriend in connection with the killing, officials said.
Joe Nava, 44, died at the scene of the 1:10 p.m. shooting in the 11400 block of Lindale Street, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. Fred Corral said.
Nava lived at the home with his sister and her boyfriend, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Deputies detained the boyfriend but did not formally declared him a suspect Saturday, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The detained man, 44-year-old Jose Ramos Nunez, was ultimately booked on suspicion of murder, Deputy Amber Smith said.
A rifle was recovered from the shooting scene, Smith added.
No further details were released.
According to county booking records, Nunez was being held without bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Bellflower Superior Court.
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.

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UPDATED: Man killed, suspect detained in Norwalk shooting


NORWALK >> A man died and a suspect was in custody after what began as a “family disturbance” escalated into a shooting at a Norwalk home Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
The shooting took place just after 1 p.m. at a home in the 11400 block of Lindale Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jack Jordan said.
Deputies found a man in his 40s suffering from a gunshot wound, Jordan said. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
A man believed to be the shooter was detained, and deputies were seeking no additional suspects, Jordan said.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the victim lived at the residence with his girlfriend and her adult brother,” Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez said in a written statement. “The adult brother has been detained, pending further investigation.” His identity was not released.
The name of the victim was withheld Saturday pending positive identification and notification of his family, coroner’s officials said.
No further details were available.
Neighbor Steve Garcia said he did not see or hear anything unusual before deputies swarmed the neighborhood.
“I just saw three cop cars drive down the street, and I went out to check,” he said.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau were summoned to the scene to take over the investigation.
Anyone with information can reach the homicide detectives at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Tall robber holds up Norwalk KFC restaurant


NORWALK >> Deputies are seeking an exceptionally tall man who robbed a Norwalk Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant Saturday afternoon, officials said.
The crime took place about 12:30 p.m. at the eatery, 10905 Imperial Highway, just west of Studebaker Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jack Jordan said.
A robber entered the restaurant and gestured as if he had a handgun, though none was seen, the sergeant said.
After obtaining an unknown amount of cash from the restaurant’s cash register, the robber was last seen running west along Imperial Highway, then sough along Hoxie Avenue toward the nearby Metro station.
Deputies described the suspect as a black man in his mid-30s, about 6 feet 5 inches tall, wearing a black baseball cap, black pants and a black T-shirt.

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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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One man killed, another wounded in shooting at Gerdes Park in Norwalk


NORWALK >> One man died and another was wounded when gunfire erupted at a Norwalk park late Saturday, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 9:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Gerdes Park in the 14700 block of Gridley Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“Homicide detectives have learned that two victims were standing in the parking lot of the location with a group of males when a male adult approached and began firing,” deputies from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. “The suspect then fled on foot to a waiting dark color sedan. The suspect vehicle was last seen heading southbound on Gridley Road and out of view.”
No further suspect description was available Sunday.
Deputies found two men suffering from gunshot wounds. Paramedics pronounced one of the victims dead at the scene. Coroner’s officials withheld his identity Sunday pending notification of his family.
The second victim was hospitalized in stable condition and expected to survive his injuries, Sgt. Ralph Gama 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.

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Detectives investigate shooting death in Norwalk


NORWALK >> Homicide detectives are investigating the fatal shooting of a man inside a Norwalk home Friday afternoon, officials said.
It was unclear whether the shooting death was a crime, an accident or a suicide as the investigation remained in its early stages, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Cynthia Chavez said.
A resident of the 12000 block of Nava Street first called deputies at 2:37 p.m. to report hearing a gunshot inside a neighbor’s home, the lieutenant said.
Deputies arrived to find a man who had been shot, she said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau were summoned to the scene to investigate.

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Nightly closures of 5 Freeway begin in Santa Fe Springs, Norwalk

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SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Caltrans is kicking off three weeks of overnight closures of both directions of the 5 Freeway in Santa Fe Springs and Norwalk Friday as crews demolish the old Carmenita Road Bridge as part of an ongoing construction project, officials said.
0711_NWS_WDN-L-BRIDGE2The entire 5 Freeway between Valley View Avenue in Santa Fe Springs and Rosecrans Avenue in Norwalk will be closed from midnight to 5 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, as well as from 11 p.m. Fridays to 7 a.m. Saturdays, Caltrans officials said in a written statement.
The closure will allow workers to demolish the old two-lane Carmenita Road bridge spanning the freeway, officials said.
The new 10-lane bridge was opened to traffic on July 3, although until new ramps are constructed, only four lanes are accessible in each direction.
0711_NWS_WDN-L-BRIDGE4The westbound 91 Freeway connector to the northbound 5 Freeway will also be shut down nighty between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., as well as the southbound 605 Freeway connector to the southbound 5 Freeway.
The construction project will widen the 5 Freeway between Alondra Avenue and Shoemaker Avenue with an additional carpool lane and an additional general use lane in each direction. The shoulders are also being widened, and a center median built.
For more information, visit www.my5la.com/carmenita-road-interchange.

PHOTOS courtesy of Caltrans

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Man’s body found inside van parked outside Norwalk clothing store

NORWALK >> Deputies checking on a report of a suspicious van discovered the body of a man inside the vehicle in the parking lot of a Norwalk clothing store Friday, officials said.
The discovery was made shortly after 5 p.m. in a van parked outside T.J. Maxx, at Firestone and Pioneer boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Eric Smitson said.
A witness called authorities to report that a van had been parked in the lot for several days and was emitting a foul odor, the lieutenant said.
Deputies opened the van to discover the body of man in the rear portion, he said. It initially appeared the man may have been living out of the van.
Homicide detectives responded to the scene to take over the investigation, Smitson said. It was not initially clear whether or not the death may have involved foul play.
Anyone with information can reach the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

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Former Norwalk man extradited back to L.A. County to face trial in rape, slaying of disabled neighbor

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NORWALK >> A man accused of sexually assaulting and fatally stabbing his disabled neighbor in Norwalk before fleeing to Guatemala returned to the U.S. Friday to face charges, authorities said.
Luis Fernando Diofron, also known as Luis Fernando Diofron Lemus, 22, was extradited back to Los Angeles County via LAX following his Dec. 4 arrest in San Miguel, Escuinta, Guatemala, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
Diofron is suspected in the brutal stabbing death of 50-year-old Denise Battey Aug. 10, 2012, at her home in the 11900 block of Allard Street, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials
He’s charged with murder, with the special circumstances of rape and burglary, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
After Diofron allegedly fled the country, federal authorities also charged the suspect with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. But the federal case is expected to be dismissed as the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office prosecutes the murder case.
Diofron, who was living near Battey while in the U.S. on a work visa, attacked and sexually assaulted Battery as she watered her garden, according to sheriff’s officials and her twin sister, Annese Battey.
He then dragged her inside her home and stabbed her to death, authorities allege.
0412_NWS_WDN-L-DIOFRON2Denise Battey worked as a system support analyst for the U.S. Social Security Administration and tutored students in college preparation part time, according to her twin sister, Annese Battey. She was an avid gardener and a classic movie buff.
And the victim was defenseless against her attacker, authorities and family members said. She had just undergone back surgery and suffered from severe sciatica in her left leg.
Diofron was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.

PHOTOS: TOP: Murder suspect Luis Fernando Diofron (courtesy). BELOW: Homicide victim Denise Battey (courtesy)

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