SOUTH EL MONTE — Two South El Monte High School seniors who lost fingers in a tug-of-war mishap during a pep rally continued recovering from surgery Wednesday, officials said.
The students, football player Pablo Ocegueda and soccer player Edith Rodriguez, each had several fingers ripped off when the rope snapped during a game of tug-of-war. The accident took place during the lunch period Monday.
“The last I heard, surgeries went into the early evening (Monday),” El Monte Union High School District Superintendent Nick Salerno said.
“The report we got is that the surgeries went well,” Salerno said. But it was unclear if surgeons were able to reattach some or all of the severed digits.
Due to medical privacy laws, information on the conditions of the students was limited, Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center spokeswoman Rosa Saca said Wednesday.
“They’re stable right now,” she said. “They’re awake, alert; they’re recovering from the operation.”
The exact circumstances of the accident remained unclear Wednesday, as well as the type of rope that was being used in the tug-of-war.
There were conflicting reports regarding exactly how many fingers each student lost in the mishap, or from which hands, though officials reported both students had at least four fingers severed in the incident.
The tug-of-war was done as part of the school’s Spirit Week, which traditionally pits the campus’ junior and senior classes against each other in competition, Salerno said.
Meanwhile, school psychologists and counselors, along with outside counselors, were on-hand at South El Monte High School this week to address the concerns of other students.
“We’ve had a lot of kids coming in for counseling and support and wanting to talk,” Salerno said.
In addition to the injured senior, students affected by the incident included those who witnessed it and friends of the injured students, he said.
See video here
WEST COVINA — Authorities Wednesday continued seeking a motorcyclist who, along with more than 100 fellow bikers, shut down the 10 Freeway in West Covina over the weekend to propose to his now-fiancee.
The cyclists brought all traffic lanes to a halt and blocked an offramp for the proposal, as some bikers popped wheelies and turned donuts to celebrate.
Online comments posted on viral YouTube videos of Sunday’s 1:30 p.m. stunt on the eastbound San Bernardino (10) Freeway at Barranca Avenue range from support to fury.
The California Highway Patrol can be counted among those not amused by the stunt, which Sgt. Kurt Stormes called “dangerous.”
In addition to numerous traffic violations observed in the YouTube videos, officers are also investigating the incident as conspiracy to commit a crime, which can be prosecuted as a felony.
“It’s dangerous when you do something like that,” Stormes said. “You’ve got free flowing traffic; suddenly traffic comes to a stop and people don’t know what happened, and that’s when accidents happen.”
The motorcyclist had been identified and indicated he would turn himself in to investigators, Stormes said, however that had not taken place Wednesday morning.
The CHP and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office planned to prosecute the case to the “fullest extent” of the law, Stormes added.
Another group of men who intentionally stopped the Hollywood (101) Freeway in Los Angeles during rush hour in October of 2010 to promote their rock band were charged and convicted of felony charges last year.
The band members stopped a large truck plastered with an advertisement for their band on the southbound 101 Freeway at Sunset Boulevard, blocking all but one lane of the freeway, before climbing on top of the truck and playing their instruments, according to district attorney’s officials. The obstruction lasted about four hours.
The three members of an Orange County rock band each pleaded no contest to a felony count of conspiracy, as well as a misdemeanor county of creating a public nuisance and two misdemeanor counts of resisting, obstructing or delaying police.
Christopher Roy Wright, 34, David Paul Hale, 32, and Keith R. Yackey, 33, were sentenced to three years probation and 35 days of community service.
UPDATE: The FBI has dubbed this robber the “French Tip Bandit,” due to the fingernail polish worn during a Wednesday robbery at a Monrovia bank.
MONROVIA — A bizarrely dressed man claiming to have anthrax in a briefcase robbed a bank branch Wednesday, police said.
The robber wore lip gloss, candy apple red nail polish with a white trim, rectangular glasses, gold hoop earrings, a white bandana, a tan women’s track suit with the hood pulled up and dark-brown UGG Boots when he entered the Chase bank, 690 W. Huntington Drive, about 10 a.m., according to Monrovia police and FBI officials.
He demanded cash from a teller while carrying a briefcase, the lieutenant said. “He said that it had anthrax in it,” Monrovia police Lt. Michael Lee said.
“He indicated the victim should comply with the demands if they wanted to see their family for Christmas,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
After obtaining an unknown amount of cash, the robber fled the bank, Lee said.
The man took the briefcase with him when he left the bank, police added.
“Police do not believe there is a credible threat of anthrax,” Eimiller said. “No weapon was seen.”
The robber was last seen getting into a late-model, silver Chrysler PT Cruiser with a waiting driver, Eimiller said.
No injuries were reported.
Police distributed a bulletin to other area police agencies in hopes of tracking down the unique-looking suspect.
He was described as 28 to 33 years old, 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall and of average build, Eimiller said. He spoke with a deep voice.
Officials were continuing to look into whether the robber was responsible for any other bank robberies, Eimiller said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Monrovia Police Department at 626-256-8000, or the FBI’s 24-hour Los Angeles-area tip line at 888-228-8443.
A fleeing burglary suspect tried to climb a fence but fell about 30 feet into a flood control wash Thursday night, deputies said.
Mark Spencer, 38, of Lake Elsinore was hospitalized for treatement of apparently non-life-threatening injuries suffered in the fall pending booking, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Greg Arnold said.
Authorities rescued the injured suspect, hoisting him out of the wash in a basket, officials said.
Sgt. Rob Jones of the sheriff’s Norwalk Station said witnesses saw a man breaking into a couple of vehicles in the 16800 block of Trojan Way at 9:43 p.m. They called the station.
Jones said witnesses tried to confront the man who ran and attempted to jump a fence. Instead, the man tumbled down a flood control channel at Trojan Way and Firestone Boulevard.
Jones said Buena Park police also responded since it is a border area.
Two officers qualified to do rescues went down the wash and handcuffed the suspect who was then hoisted up in a basket, according to Jones.
PICO RIVERA — Deputies jailed a crooked carpet cleaner Thursday after he attacked a competitor and carjacked a work van loaded with expensive equipment, authorities said.
Luis Efren Garcia, 49, of Lynwood was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled for Tuesday in Whittier Superior Court, according to county booking records.
He was believed to have an ongoing business dispute with a fellow carpet cleaner when he spotted the victim, a man in his 40s, about 8:20 a.m. in the 9500 block of Carron Drive, just east of Passons Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Smith said.
“The suspect happened to run across the victim, who had just gotten back from dropping his kids off at school,” the lieutenant said.
Garcia attacked the man, beating him in the head with an unknown blunt object which detectives suspected may have been a steel toe boot, Smith said. A sledge hammer was also recovered from the scene of the attack.
The victim had one of his eyes swollen shut by the beating but was not believed to have been seriously injured, officials said.
Officials said Garcia then fled in the victim’s work van, which was still running and loaded with more than $10,000 of carpet cleaning equipment.
Upon interviewing the victim and performing some initial investigation, deputies learned that Garcia may have been headed to either Bell Gardens or Lynwood.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Century Station spotted the work van, which had the victim’s business logo prominently displayed, parked on a street in Lynwood, Smith Smith said.
They watched as Garcia got into the stolen van and arrested him, authorities said. The victim identified him as his attacker.
“It was very good investigation by the initial deputy at the scene and follow-up by Century deputies and our detectives,” Smith said.
A second man, later identified as Garcia’s son, was with him when he arrived at the victim’s home but was not suspected of taking part in the attack or carjacking, Smith said.
The son was initially detained while cleaning a home in Montebello, but released after detectives determined he was not a participant in the crimes, Smith added.
Garcia was booked on suspicion of crimes including carjacking, grand theft and assault with a deadly weapon, he said.
Glendora police are looking for a man dressed all in black with a big Afro and mustache who escaped Tuesday from the station booking cage by squeezing through a 9-inch gap nine feet off the ground.
Lt. Joe Ward said the 12:45 p.m. escape was captured on video.
The man climbed the metal cage where suspects are placed while being booked at the station.
Police repaired the gap that has been there for 44 years.
“We’ve added welded steel reinforcements,” Ward said.
The man was arrested at 6:57 a.m. Tuesday on suspicion of having fraudulent license plates and for refusing to identify himself, Ward said.
Police impounded the man’s vehicle and took him to the Glendora Police station at 150 S. Glendora Avenue to be booked.
Ward said fingerprints identified the man as 23-year-old Arthur Guerrero.
But Guerrero didn’t stay long at the station. Police said he was last seen on Route 66 by Santa Fe Avenue.
Guerrero was described as Latino, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 175 pounds with brown eyes, a large black Afro and a mustache. He was unshaven and was wearing a black tank top, black shorts and a black leather jacket.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts are asked to call Glendora police at 626-914-8250.
- Ruby Gonzales
SAN DIMAS — A man beat up and disarmed a drugged parolee who attacked him with a large kitchen knife and a pot outside of a children’s Halloween party early Saturday, authorities said.
Martin Garcia, 34, of San Dimas was ultimately arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, possession of methamphetamine, being under the influence of methamphetamine, possession of narcotics paraphernalia and violating parole, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Kirk Smith said.
The incident began shortly after midnight in the area of Rennell Avenue and Venton Street as a 37-year-old man was supervising children outside a Halloween party, the sergeant said.
A neighbor, later identified as Garcia, approached the victim acting strangely and was asked to leave, Smith said. After initially refusing to leave, Garcia ran off when the man began walking toward him.
“But (Garcia) comes back later with a large cooking pot and a knife,” the sergeant said. Garcia allegedly swung the large pot and serrated kitchen knife with a 9-inch blade at the victim.
The would-be stabbing victim avoided the blows and delivered some of his own, punching his attacker several times, Smith said.
Garcia fell to the ground and dropped the knife and pot before getting back up and fleeing, he added. The victim was unhurt.
Responding deputies spotted Garcia in the area an arrested him once he was identified by the victim as the attacker.
According to county booking records and sheriff’s officials, Garcia — already on parole for drug and burglary convictions — was being held without bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — A man is accused of biting a portion of his brother-in-law’s ear off Saturday during a dispute, authorities said.
Paramedics and deputies responded shortly after 3:30 p.m. to the alleged attack in the 1800 block of Foothill Boulevard, just west of Hillard Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Richard Bodmer said.
They found a man in his 30s who had the top portion of his ear bitten off, the captain said. The missing portion of ear, which was about the size of a dime, was recovered and sent to the hospital along with the injured man in hopes doctors could reattach it.
Deputies arrested the suspect, who appeared to be in his late 20s, nearby, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Galbraith said.
Ken Hosoda, 26, was booked on suspicion of mayhem, legally defined as disabling, disfiguring or otherwise maiming another person, according to Lt. Angela Shepherd.
It was unclear what the men argued about that led up to the alleged attack.
According to county booking records, Hosoda was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
COVINA – A man became angry with an acquaintance, punched him in the face, forced him out of his car and tried to carjack the vehicle Tuesday, police said.
He tried to get away in the hybrid vehicle around 9:10 a.m. at Barranca Avenue and Covina Boulevard but was arrested after he was unable to start the car, according to Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan.
While the suspect tried to figure out how to start the car, he said the acquaintance hitched a ride with a passing vehicle and came to the police station to report the incident.
Officers located the suspect in a nearby parking lot after he had walked eastbound on Covina Boulevard.
Phillip Osuna, 19, of Covina was arrested on suspicion of attempted carjacking. Booking records show he is being held at Twin Towers Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Osuna will be arraigned Thursday at West Covina Superior Court.
- Brenda Gazzar
The Portland Oregonian sets this story with a compelling lede:
It was close to midnight Sunday when Woodburn resident James Curths saw the 12-year-old boy running down the street toward him. Curths said the child, panting and out of breath, begged for help, telling him a man was chasing him.
Moments later, a man rounded the corner wearing only underwear. He stood a short distance away, trying to wave the boy over as Curths and his sister-in-law prepared to drive the boy to relatives.
Turns out the man in underwear was 46-year-old Angel Armando Perez, priest at St. Luke in Salem, Ore. He may have taken cell phone pictures of the alleged molestation.
In any event Perez, who said the incident was brought on by too much drink, has been charged with a host of sex crimes and DUI.