Sightings, rumors and online chatter about menacing, sometimes-armed creepy clowns hanging around near Los Angeles County schools drew police responses on Thursday, but resulted in no arrests or incidents.
Police in Pasadena responded to Wilson Middle School, 300 Madre Street, about 10:45 a.m. in response to a “non-specific threat” involving possible sightings of clowns at the school, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
Officials evacuated the school and searched the campus, ultimately finding nothing unusual, Goodman said.
Students at Willard Elementary School, across the street, “sheltered in place” as police search the area and the Wilson campus, Pasadena Unified School District officials said.
The threat was determined to be “completely unfounded,” Goodman said. No further details regarding the nature of the reported threat were available.
“(Police) thoroughly assessed the entire campus. There was no threat on campus,” Wilson Principal Sarah Rudchenko said in a statement sent to parents.
The school resumed normal operation about 11:45 a.m.
“Teachers will be providing students with an opportunity to discuss and debrief the incident,” Rudchenko said. “Counselors will be on site to assist if needed.”
In Rosemead, an officials Mildred B. Janson Elementary School, 8628 Marshall Street, called deputies about 1:30 p.m. to report seeing what appeared to be someone dressed as a clown near the campus, possibly carrying a handgun, Lt. John McClure of the sheriff’s Temple City Station said.
Deputies searched the area, but did not find any clowns, armed or otherwise, he said.
Police in Montebello were also keeping an eye out after receiving word that social media posts had indicated the creepy clowns would be showing up soon in their city.
Glendora police arrested a 19-year-old Azusa man Wednesday on suspicion of criminal threats after he posted messaged via social media involving clown-related threats against his alma mater, Sierra High School, as well as vague threats in the city of El Monte.
The suspect, 19-year-old William Salazar, indicated to detectives the threats were intended to be a joke.
PHOTO: Pennywise the clown, from Stephen King’s 1990 film, “It.”
COVINA >> A Covina man angered over his misdemeanor arrest ended up right back behind for felony vandalism after he smashed the front glass door of the Covina Police Department with a rock immediately upon his release from jail Friday afternoon, police said.
Jose Alberto Melendez, 54, was released just after 5:10 p.m. from the Covina Police Department’s jail, 444 N. Citrus Ave., after being arrested earlier in the afternoon on suspicion of trespassing and possession of drug paraphernalia, Covina police Lt. Dave Foster said.
He immediately walked from the back of the building, where he was released, to the front of the police station, the lieutenant said.
Melendez threw a rock through the plate glass door of the station, which was seen and heard by several department personnel, according to the lieutenant. Officers then re-arrested him just outside the police department.
According to county booking records, Melendez was being held in lieu of $5,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
DIAMOND BAR >> Deputies tried their hand at goat-herding Wednesday after about 70 goats escaped from a Diamond Bar field where they were being used to clear brush, authorities said.
Deputies first received a report just before midnight on Tuesday that a large group of goats had broken loose and was wandering in the area of Canyon Ridge Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Hugo Reynaga said. Officials did not locate the wayward herd in the darkness, he said. But about 6:30 Wednesday morning, a second caller reported seeing the goats wandering along Fallow Field Drive, chomping on grass as the went.
“Deputy (Aaron) Scheller was able to corral the goats in the front yard of a residence, turn them around and herd them back to a nearby open field,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“Apparently, over 200 goats had been brought in to clear the open field of dry overgrown brush and grass. However, sometime during the night, they hatched their escape plan by pushing over a perimeter fence,” the statement said. “It took two hours but all of the 200 goats were captured and returned to their corral.”
“One of the great parts of a law enforcement career is the variety,” the statement continued. “Every day there is something new.”
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
AZUSA >> Police are seeking the owner of a baby goat found wandering the streets of Azusa Thursday evening.
A business owner found the apparently 1.8-pound kid, which police were calling, “Billie,” wandering in the area of Foothill Boulevard and Coney Avenue and brought it to the police station shortly before 7 p.m., officials said.
The baby barnyard animal was happy to keep police dispatchers company as police searched for the owner.
One dispatcher happened to be married to a veterinarian, who planned to take charge of the wayward juvenile in the meantime.
The owner of the goat can reach Azusa police at 626-812-3200.
ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> A former fugitive from San Bernardino charged with a laundry list of criminal charges in connection with a bizarre Rowland Heights car crash depicted in a viral YouTube video is behind bars, officials confirmed Wednesday. Jasmine Lacey, 23, is charged with driving under the influence of drugs, hit-and-run with a runaway car, auto theft, taking a car without the owner’s consent and driving without a valid license in connection with the Sept. 1 crash along Harbor Boulevard, between Vantage Point Drive and Pathfinder Road, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
•VIDEO: Bizarre Rowland Heights crash caught on camera
California Highway Patrol officers soon found and arrested an allegedly highly intoxicated Lacey on foot in the area, CHP officials said.
She was released from custody without charges four days later, however, pending the result of blood analysis.
But charged were filed against Lacey in February, but she failed to show up for a scheduled Feb. 10 arraignment hearing in the Los Angeles Superior Court’s West Covina branch, Ardalani said. A bench warrant was issued for her arrest.
Lacey was re-arrested April 18, according to county booking records. The circumstances of her re-capture were unclear Wednesday.
She pleaded has since not guilty to all charges.
But the legal process is again on hold as officials look into Lacey’s psychiatric health, Ardalani said.
“On May 5, a doubt was declared as to the defendant’s mental competency,” she said.
According to court records, Lacey is next scheduled to appear in the Mental Health Courthouse in Los Angeles May 19 for a mental competency hearing. She is then scheduled for a hearing in the West Covina courthouse the following day.
The unusual incident, which resulted in no significant injuries, was captured on video by the dashcam of another car. The footage was posted to YouTube by user “UlikeUC Here”, where it has since garnered more than 5 million views.
She was at the wheel of a stolen car when the suddenly slammed on the brakes, bringing the car to a halt, the video shows.
Lacey then inexplicably exits the car and begins walking down the center median as the driverless car rolled downhill and into opposing traffic lanes. An SUV was struck by the car before it ultimately struck a tree and stopped.
Lacey was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail, records show.
A Covina man who was allegedly stabbed by a Domino’s Pizza delivery man during an argument over late pizza in January is suing the restaurant chain and the driver.
Austin Reilly, 20, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Domino’s and driver Michael Charles Parker, seeking unspecified damages on allegations of negligence, battery and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Also named as plaintiffs are Reilly’s parents, Owen and Christie Reilly, who witnessed the attack on their son, the suit alleges.
A Domino’s Pizza representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
Parker delivered a pizza to Reilly’s family home in the 1600 block of North Mangrove Avenue about 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 2, Covina police Sgt. Ryan Davis said at the time.
He became involved in an argument with Reilly, who claimed the pizza was late, the sergeant said. The argument turned into a fight, during which the delivery man allegedly slashed the customer in the neck, wrist and hand with an unknown sharp object.
Paramedics took Reilly to a hospital for treatment of wounds described as significant, but not life-threatening.
Police found and arrested Parker, 31, of Glendora shortly before 1 a.m. the following morning at the restaurant on Glendora Avenue in Covina, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records.
Parker was released the day of his arrest after posting $30,000 bail, records show.
Charges were yet to be filed Wednesday, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Officials said. The case remained under consideration, officials said.
The lawsuit alleges that Parker used a box cutter intending to “disfigure and slay” Reilly and that his injuries were life-threatening.
Domino’s had an obligation to make occasional checks to see that its stores — including the one in Covina where Parker worked — were hiring people fit for the job of dealing with customers in their homes as opposed to in a normal restaurant setting, the suit states.
Staff and wire report
Photo of Michael Charles Parker, 31, of Glendora courtesy of the Covina Police Department.
PASADENA >> Postal inspectors arrested a Monrovia woman Wednesday on suspicion of chasing down and pepper-spraying a mail carrier while screaming racial slurs in an incident of road rage in Pasadena two weeks ago, officials said.
Ruby Guerrero Valenzuela, 64, was arrested on suspicion of assault on a U.S. Postal Service employee in connection with the bizarre attack, reported about 10:40 a.m. on April 20 in the 1000 block of North Lake Avenue, according to Pasadena police and U.S. Department of Justice officials.
Valenzuela became enraged after the 55-year-old postal worker, who was driving a mail truck, accidentally cut her off in traffic in the area of Claremont Street and Mar Vista Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said at the time.
“Valenzuela shouted obscenities and followed the victim to her next stop (on Lake Avenue),” U.S. DOJ spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
“Valenzuela ran up the victim, who had walked the entrance of building on Lake Avenue,” Mrozek continued. “According to witnesses, Valenzuela screamed additional obscenities and racial epithets at the victim before spraying the victim in the face with pepper spray, which caused the victim to suffer severe pain and blurred vision.”
The postal carrier declined to be taken to a hospital, Luna said.
Despite the racial slurs allegedly uttered by Valenzuela, both the suspect and victim are Latina, police said.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service joined Pasadena police in the investigation, as did Monrovia police, once the suspect was identified as a Monrovia resident.
Federal officials arrested Valenzuela on Wednesday morning, and she made her initial appearance in federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon, Mrozek said.
She entered no plea and was released after posting a $10,000 bond, Mrozek said. She was scheduled to return to court for an arraignment hearing on May 31.“The evidence in this case indicates that a postal carrier carrying out her duties was the victim of an unwarranted attack,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of California’s Central District said. “All federal employees should be able to carry out their duties without fear of attacks based on the performance of those duties.”
If convicted as charged, Valenzuela faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
PASADENA >> A woman allegedly tried to run down at least one of her parents with an SUV in Pasadena Friday night before leading police on a pursuit that came to an end in Downtown Los Angeles, where she stripped nude before being taken into custody.
The bizarre string of events began about 10:30 p.m. when police received a report of a family dispute at a home in the 1300 block of Linda Vista Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said.
Officers learned a woman had gotten into an argument with her parents, during which she allegedly tried to run them down with an SUV.
“She tried to strike one or both of her parents,” Gourdikian said. “They had to jump out of the way.” The parents were not injured.
The suspect also struck her parents’ parked car with her SUV and smashed a car window with a brick, Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
The woman fled the scene before police arrived, but officers soon spotted the woman driving near the Rose Bowl, the lieutenant said. She refused to pull over, initiating a chase.
News helicopters broadcast live as police chased the SUV down the 134, 101, 118 and 210 freeways toward Los Angeles.
Police cancelled their pursuit as a safety precaution and planned to seek the woman later, as they knew her identity, Gourdikian said.
But news helicopters continued to follow and broadcast live online as the woman got onto the 110 Freeway, exited in Downtown Los Angeles and parked the SUV in a parking lot along 3rd Street, just east of Main Street.
The woman exited the SUV and began walking down the street, speaking with several passers-by, a live stream broadcast online by CBS Los Angeles. More than 15 minutes passed for Los Angeles police arrived.
In the meantime, a freelance news photographer arrived on the scene. He approached the woman, camera in-hand, and appeared to speak with her briefly.
As police approached, the woman suddenly stripped off all of her clothing. Police handcuffed the suspect and tried to cover her with a shirt before placing her into a squad car.
She made “incoherent” statements to officers during her arrest, Carrillo said.
Simone Megan Gonzalez, 32, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism and evading police, according to police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officials had yet to determine Saturday whether Gonzalez’s bizarre behavior may have been the result of mental illness or intoxication.
She was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, records show.
SOUTH PASADENA >> A man who kicked and violently swung his Chihuahua in the lobby of the South Pasadena Police Department two months ago while department cameras recorded pleaded “no contest” to an animal cruelty charge, authorities said. Christian Andrew Najera, 48, of Los Angeles pleaded “no contest” to a misdemeanor count of cruelty to an animal in the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Alhambra branch, Los Angeles County district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Judge Rupa Goswami immediately sentenced Najera to 120 days in jail and three years of summary probation, officials said. He was also ordered to attend 24 animal cruelty classes and take part in a six-month residential treatment program through Assessment Intervention Resources.
“Furthermore, Najera cannot own, possess, maintain, reside with or care for an animal for five years,” according ti district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
The case stems from a bizarre incident that unfolded about 10 a.m. on Feb. 6 at the Pasadena Police Department, 1422 Mission Street, Pasadena police and district attorney’s officials said.
Police department surveillance camera video shows Najera walking into the lobby of the department with his 2-year-old Chihuahua, Daisy, on a leash.
Station personnel watched on a live video feed as Najera kicked the tiny dog, and swung it violently by its leash, police said.
A police clerk and a dispatcher followed the abuser — later identified as Najera — until officers took him into custody, according to South Pasadena police Capt. Mike Neff. It was unclear why Najera, who is believed to suffer from psychological problems and has a criminal history including previous violent crimes, went to the police station in the first place, police said.
The dog was placed in the care of the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, police said. The injuries were not significant.
PHOTOS — Surveillance video, Christian Najera [top], “Daisy” the Chihuahua [below] and courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department.
COVINA >> Police are seeking a 50-pound tortoise stolen from a Covina backyard Friday.
The pet reptile — valued at about $450 — was reported missing about 9 p.m. in the 1500 block of East Adams Park Drive, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said.
Its owner arrived home to find the side gate leading to the backyard open and the tortoise gone, officials said.