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.
COVINA >> An argument over a late pizza escalated into a stabbing when a pizza delivery driver slashed the customer late Saturday, police said.
The alleged attack unfolded about 11:30 p.m. at a home in the 600 block of North Mangrove Avenue, Covina police Sgt. Ryan Davis said.
The suspect, a driver for Dominos Pizza, delivered a pizza to the home and became involved in an argument with the customer, a man in his 20s, who claimed the pizza was late, the sergeant said.
The argument turned into a fight, during which the delivery man slashed the customer in the neck, wrist and hand with an unknown sharp object, Davis said.
Paramedics took the wounded man to a hospital for treatment of wounds described as significant, but non-life-threatening, he said.
Officers found and arrested the suspect, 31-year-old Michael Parker of Glendora, at the Domino’s Pizza shop on Glendora Avenue in Covina, Davis said.
Parker was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and released from custody Sunday morning pending a court appearance after posting $30,000 bail, records show.
BOOKING PHOTO of Michael Charles Parker, 31, of Glendora courtesy of the Covina Police Department.
ALHAMBRA >> An Alhambra man jumped a fence onto a school campus to confront and assault two students after accusing them of throwing a piece of candy cane at his truck, police said.
Jonathan Torres, 26, was booked on suspicion of trespassing on school grounds and battery on a student several hours after the incident, which unfolded just before noon at William Northrop Elementary School, 409 South Atlantic Blvd., Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said. The school instructs kindergarten through eighth grade.
Torres arrived at the school to pick up a preschool-age student, Johnson said.
“As he pulled into the parking lot, some kids who were on campus — junior high school students — either accidentally or on purpose threw a piece of candy cane at his truck,” the sergeant said. Torres became enraged.
“He ends up going over a fence, on campus, and confronts this group of junior high school students,” “He spits at them, shoves them and curses at them.”
A teacher who saw what happened told the man to leave the campus, and he fled in his truck, Johnson said.
Campus police determined the suspects identity and contacted him by telephone, he said. Torres agreed to return to the campus, where he was arrested shortly after 2:40 p.m.
The two students listed as victims in the incident were “shaken up,” but uninjured, Johnson said.
The sergeant said the school was placed on lockdown for about 15 minutes, before police were able to confirm the suspect had left the campus.
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Police are seeking a man caught on surveillance camera trashing a Santa Fe Springs liquor store and attacking the clerk with a coffee mug earlier this week after the clerk refused to let the man use his cell phone, officials said.
The bizarre rampage, which was caught on surveillance video, took place about 7:50 p.m. Monday at Bruce’s Liquors, 12623 Imperial Highway, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said in a written statement.
•VIDEO: Suspect attacker Santa Fe Springs liquor store clerk
The suspect walked up to the clerk, a man of about 60 years old, and asked to use his cell phone, the officer said.
“When the clerk refused, the suspect went into a rage and destroyed the cash register and several other items on the counter,” Scoggins said. “He then picked up a porcelain mug and threw it, striking the clerk in the head.”
The clerk was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries, police said. The attacker fled and remained at large Thursday.
Police described the attacker as a white or Latino man in his 20s, about 5 feet 5 inches tall, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, gray jeans and black Adidas tennis shoes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Whittier police Detective Rob Wolfe at 562-409-1869. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
VIDEO/PHOTO courtesy of the Whittier Police Department
WALNUT >> Two men robbed a woman of her purse at a Walnut shopping center Saturday, but one of them left deputies a clue in the form of his shoes, which fell off his feet as a ran from the crime scene, officials said.
The crime took place about 4:30 p.m. in front of a strip mall in the 20700 block of Amar Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Bruce Yoell said.
Two men pushed a woman and grabbed her purse, he said. The woman was unhurt.
As the robbers ran north from the area, one of them robbers lost his shoes, Yoell said.
Deputies watched over an apartment complex to the north of the shopping center, where the robbers were last seen, the sergeant said. They summoned a search dog to sniff the suspect’s shoes and try to follow the scent left by the barefoot robber, Yoell said.
But deputies called off the search about 8:50 p.m., he said. The suspects were not found, and the investigation continued.
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A Santa Fe Springs social worker who told police she was attacked with a caustic chemical last month made the story up, police said Thursday.
Mary Quinones reported to police that a man and woman had thrown an unknown caustic chemical on her on the afternoon of Aug. 19 outside her workplace at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services office, 10355 Slusher Drive, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said.
Few detailed were initially available regarding the alleged attack, officials said. Quinones was treated for burns to her arms.
“The Whittier Police Department conducted a thorough investigation into the facts in this case and determined that the assault did not occur,” police officials said in a written statement. “It was also determined that no other person was responsible for the injuries sustained by Quinones.”
Prosecutors at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed a misdemeanor count of filing a false police report against Quinones Thursday, Scoggins said.
She had not been arrested prior to the case filing, officials said. An arraignment date was yet to be scheduled.
Quinones age and city of residence were not available Thursday, nor was a motive in the alleged hoax.
ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> A woman is accused of intoxicated driving after she abruptly stopped her car along a major street, abandoned the vehicle and allowed it to careen into opposing traffic in a “bizarre” crash captured in a video that emerged this weekend, officials said.
The crash, which took place about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday along Harbor Boulevard between Vantage Point Drive and Pathfinder Road, was recorded by a dashboard camera in a video that quickly went viral after being uploaded to YouTube late Friday by user UlikeUC Here. By Saturday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 170,000 times.
As depicted in the video, titled, “Bizarre Accident,” a woman was at the wheel of a silver Hyundai Sonata heading downhill along the major thoroughfare when car suddenly came to a screeching halt. The driver exited the car and walked away casually, allowing the Hyundai to continue rolling out-of-control.
The Hyundai crossed over a center divider and into opposing traffic lanes, where it collided with an SUV. Another SUV then became caught up in the wreck as well before the driverless Hyundai continued to the side of the road and struck two trees along the sidewalk, according to Officer A. Stubblefield of the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office.
The drivers of the other two vehicles involved in the crash reported only minor injuries, officials said.
The driver of the Hyundai, 22-year-old Jasmine Lacey, of San Bernardino, was taken to an area hospital for “a non injury-related reason” before CHP officers arrived on scene, Stubblefield said.
“(Lacey) was later contacted and identified at St. Jude Medical Center facility and, after investigation of the traffic collision, was arrested for DUI,” he said.
But Lacey was released from custody early Saturday due to insufficient evidence to support a criminal complaint, according to Los Angeles County booking records.