PASADENA >> What began as an investigation into public urination at a Pasadena Gold Line station on Wednesday led deputies to seize two guns, high-capacity magazines, suppressors and a machete from the suspect’s duffel bag, authorities said.
Deputies first approached a man about 9 a.m. after spotting a man relieving himself in a planter along the sidewalk outside the Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line Station at Madre Street and Foothill Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The deputies confronted the man about the offense, and the suspect provided them with what turned out to be a false name, according to Deputy Katherine Zubo of the sheriff’s Transit Policing Division, who took part in the arrest. The man was carrying a duffel bag with him.
A search of the suspect’s bag turned up a loaded AR-15-style rifle, fitted wit with two 30-round magazines and a suppressor, as well as a .40-caliber pistol with a high-capacity magazine and a suppressor and a large machete-style knife, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said. The bag also contained a notebook full of writings and a Bible. He was booked for weapons violations.
“Marking on the handgun specified its use for restricted law enforcement or government only,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Investigators said they had not determined what the suspect, identified as 28-year-old Christopher Harrison Goodine of Union City, Georgia, may have ultimately intended to do with the weaponry.
“There is no intelligence to indicate there is a nexus to terrorism,” the sheriff’s said.
But he noted that any time a person is walking around with this type of armament in a duffel bag, “The outcome would not have been good no matter what he was going to do,” McDonnell said.
Goodine was believed to have boarded a train in Chinatown before exiting at the Sierra Madre Villa Station in Pasadena and encountering deputies, Zubo said.
Other than the public urination, Zubo said Goodine was not doing anything that would have attracted attention.
The deputy said she was glad she and her colleagues found the weapons before they became involved in a tragedy.
“Upon finding the bags, honestly, the first thing I felt was relief, because we got to this stuff first,” Zubo said.
McDonnell praised the actions of the involved deputies.
“Their proactive actions are commendable,” he said.
According to news reports and records, a man of the same name and birth month has faced similar allegations on the East Coast.
A Christopher Harrison Goodine, then-26 and a resident of New Rochelle, New York, was arrested in November of 2015 after trying to sneak into the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City while wearing body armor and carrying an empty gun holster and a ski mask, according to the New York Daily News. He told police at the time he wanted to take a shower. Information regarding the ultimate outcome of the case was not available Wednesday.
Records show the same man jailed in connection with the New York incident has multiple convictions around the country, including carrying a concealed weapon in Virginia in 2012, obstructing justice by force or threat in in Virginia in 2012 and obstructing police in Georgia in 2013. Records also show arrested in Florida and Washington, D.C.
Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said officials could not confirm whether the suspect arrested in Los Angeles County was the same man previously arrested on the East Coast.
According to county booking records, Goodine was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Friday in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
— Staff writer Larry Altman contributed to this report.
ARCADIA >> Police jailed an Altadena man who punched one person, then grabbed a sword from a karate studio and attacked three employees before being subdued by the martial artists and some good Samaritans, authorities said.
There was no apparent motive for the bizarre and unprovoked rampage, which unfolded just before 8 p.m. in the area of Huntington Drive and 1st Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Vaughn Whalen said.
“The suspect entered a business in the 100 block of East Huntington Drive and punched an employee,” according to the lieutenant. “The suspect then entered a karate dojo in the same block and armed himself with a sheathed samurai sword from a display.”
He struck three employees of the karate studio with the sword while it was still sheathed, Whalen said said.
“He removed the sheath and swung the sword at the employees,” Whalen said. “The suspect then fled into a rear alley where the three employees and a couple of citizens held him down until officers arrived and took custody of him.”
Richard Sanchez, 24, of Altadena was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.
No significant injuries were reported in the incident.
ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested an auto burglary suspect and recovered a stolen backpack containing a personal items including the cremated remains of the victim’s father on Tuesday, authorities said.
Officer Zachary McFarland as on patrol Tuesday morning when he noticed a man, who appeared to be transient, carrying two backpacks in the area of Atlantic Boulevard and Mission Road, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
The officer approached the man and soon learned he was on probation for robbery and obtained permission to search the backpacks, which contained a laptop computer, documents and other items.
“Additional items and a somewhat unbelievable story from the transient led Officer McFarland to the conclusion that the backpacks may have been stolen. The transient was arrested,” according to the statement.
After working for several hours to determine who the backpacks belonged to, McFarland identified the owner, an area man whose car was broken into the previous night, police said.
“While happy that his computer and work related material were found, the victim was especially concerned about a small box that he had in one of the packs,” according to the statement. The box was recovered along with the other property.
“The reason for the man’s concern for a small box, it contained the cremated ashes of his father. An irreplaceable item that was very dear to the victim’s heart,” the statement continued. “The victim was very appreciative for Officer McFarland’s efforts.”
The suspect’s identity was not available Wednesday.
LA HABRA >> Police arrested a man for drug possession after finding him living in an elaborate makeshift shelter set up on top of a La Habra auto parts store late Saturday.
Employees of O’Reilly Auto Parts, along Whittier Boulevard just east of Hacienda Road, called police shortly after 10 p.m. to report hearing footsteps on the roof of the building, La Habra police Sgt. Rob Diehl said.
Officers climbed up onto the roof and discovered the source of the noise.
A man had set up a small but well-furnished living space under the eaves overhanging the roof, police said. It included a queen-size bed and a toilet fashioned from a bucket and a toilet seat.
While it was unknown how long the man had been residing on top of the auto parts store, “He must have been up there quite a while,” Diehl said.
Police also discovered the man was in possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia, he said.
Martin Rowe, 45, was arrested on suspicion of possessing the contraband before being released with a citation, Diehl said.
ARCADIA >> A woman had to be freed by firefighters after locking herself in handcuffs last week, officials said.
Firefighters responded to the Arcadia Police Department, 250 W. Huntington Drive, on Thursday after a woman arrived at the police station to seek help, according to Arcadia Fire Department logs.
The woman, “had placed a pair of privately owned handcuffs on her wrists but did not have a key to unlock them,” according to the log. “Fire personnel used extrication tools to remove enough metal material to access the lock with a small screwdriver.”
The woman required no further assistance once freed from the handcuffs, officials said.
The incident was not the first time in recent memory that a local resident have required help from authorities to free them from self-placed handcuffs.
A man arrived at the Alhambra Police Department just over a year ago on Nov. 20 of 2015 with a similar problem.
“While trying out his new handcuffs for his new job, the subject placed the handcuffs around his wrists and secured them,” Alhambra police said via their Facebook page. “It was then determined that the handcuff keys were not compatible with the type of handcuffs he had.”
After confirming the man’s story, “the subject was freed fro mhis own arrest and happily sent on his way,” the statement said.
PASADENA >> An ex-con shot and wounded himself, and grazed a waitress with a bullet, when a gun he was carrying went off accidentally inside a Pasadena Denny’s restaurant on Saturday night, police said.
The incident unfolded about 10:10 p.m. at the diner, 2627 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
“We responded to a call of ‘shots fired’ at the location,” the lieutenant said. “(The suspect) was in one of the booths and a gun discharged on his person somewhere.”
A bullet struck the man in the hand and leg, and also grazed a waitress, Clawson said.
The waitress, 36, suffered a minor injuries and was treated by paramedics at the scene, he said. The gunman fled the restaurant before police arrived.
But police said they soon found the suspect’s car in the parking lot of a nearby hospital.
The suspect, a 32-year-old man, was inside being treated for his wounds, Clawson said. He was listed in stable condition.
Police determined he was a convicted felon, barred from possessing a firearm, he said. Officers recovered a revolver from his car.
Deandre Stringfellow, 32, of Pasadena was expected to face a charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm once released from the hospital, officials said.
ARCADIA >> Rescuers freed a young deer from a predicament after the animal became stuck in a backyard fence in Arcadia over the weekend.
Officials received word about 11:30 a.m. on Friday that the juvenile doe — a deer, a female deer — had become stuck between the bars of a metal gate in the 1200 block of Oakhaven Avenue, Arcadia Fire Department officials said in a written statement.
“Upon arrival, fire personnel found a deer stuck within a wrought iron gate,” the statement said. “Fire crews assisted Pasadena (Humane Society & SPCA) with freeing the deer.”
The animal was nor worse for the wear, officials said.
According to the statement, “The deer was released back into the hillside with its herd.”
PHOTO courtesy of the Arcadia Fire Department
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