UPDATED — Officials: Man wounded by police after confronting officers with gun in Azusa

AZUSA >> Police shot and wounded a man late Friday who they said pointed a weapon at officers responding to a report of domestic violence.
The officer-involved shooting took place about 8:15 p.m. at a home in the 700 block of South Citrus Avenue, between Arrow Highway and Gladstone Street, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
Azusa police officers went to the home after receiving a call reporting domestic violence, Deputy Amber Smith of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarter’s Bureau said in a written statement issued late Saturday.
“When they arrived, the suspect opened the door and pointed a handgun at them and an officer-involved shooting occurred,” she said. “The suspect was struck once in the upper torso. He was transported to a local hospital and is expected to survive.”
Authorities withheld the identity of the wounded suspect Sunday, and no further details were released.
An officer was heard exclaiming, “He’s got a gun,” over police radio just prior to the shooting.
Radio traffic also indicated that the suspect remained confrontational and combative, even after handcuffed.
“A handgun was recovered at the scene,” smith said. “Neither the officers or the second person at the residence were injured.”
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are assisting Azusa police in the investigation.

Police: No policy violations in fatal shooting of El Monte family’s German shepherd

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EL MONTE >> More than nine months after police walked passed “beware of dog” signs, entered an El Monte family’s front yard and then fatally shot the family’s pet German shepherd when it charged at one of the officers, El Monte police have announced an internal investigation found no wrongdoing or policy violations on the part of the involved officers.
Detective Arlen Castillo and then-officer Ken Fraser, who has since been promoted to the rank of sergeant, responded to the home in the 4700 block of Maxson Road in El Monte on the afternoon of June 19 to collect a photograph of the teenage son of Cathy Luu and Chi Nguyen, whom they had previously reported had run away from home. The boy came home a short time later.
Video footage of the incident captured by the family’s home surveillance system depicts Fraser casually open a gate and enter the family’s front yard, followed closely by Castillo. The officers stood in front of the family’s front door before the family’s pet pit bull approached Fraser, and he petted the dog.
The family’s 2-year-old German shepherd then emerged from the back yard of the home, began barking and charged toward Castillo, who was standing at the home’s front door. Castillo shot and wounded the dog.
“The full incident was investigated, including both officers’ actions, with no sustained policy violations found,” El Monte Police Chief Steven Schuster said in an email.
Both Castillo and Fraser remain on active duty, police officials added.
“The El Monte Police Department has strict policies in place that describe the procedures in place to protect residents’ pets,” Schuster said. “This was an unfortunate and isolated situation in which, upon responding to a call from the residents asking for police assistance, the officers felt that their safety was compromised due to the dog.”
In a written statement, police officials said the department remains “committed to continued development” of policies regarding encounters between officers and dogs.
The department has “already integrated these procedures into our officer training,” according to the statement. No specific examples were given.
Following the shooting, police officials said the officers noted the “beware of dog” signs, shook the fence and looked around for the presence of dogs before entering the family’s yard.
But the video tape depicts the officers arriving in their patrol car, then opening the gate and entering the yard without breaking stride.
Schuster acknowledged the “discrepancy” between the account provided by the officers and the video of the incident, but the department found no policy violation on the part of the officers.
“The initial statement included information that was known to the reporting officer at the time, which was prior to knowledge of video evidence,” the Chief said. “As we learned about the discrepancy, we corrected the statement to the media and public and asked for the original video file to assist in our investigation. We completed a full investigation on this matter, and determined there were no sustained violations.”
In addition to the death of their dog, family members also initially complained of the manner in which they were treated after their dog was shot.
Police immediately seemed to begin investigating the family, demanding to see license paperwork for the wounded animal and other dogs at the home before providing veterinary help, family members said at the time. The video shows the dog lying wounded for more than an hour before being picked up by animal control officials.
Police also initially promised to pay for the dog’s medical care, but rescinded the offer after learning of the $7,000 price tag for the medical procedures, Luu said. The dog was eventually euthanized.
“We have apologized to the family numerous times for the loss of their beloved pet and we have worked with the family to try to rectify the situation,” Schuster said.
El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero said he empathized with the family and hoped police would use the incident, “as a learning experience.”
“It’s my understanding that they did review their policies and make sure going forward there’s additional training,” the mayor said. He added he was concerned about both the safety of residents’ pets, as well as the safety of police officers.
“I’m hoping, on a moving forward basis, that we’re going to be able to have no more incidents like this.”
Quintero said he was satisfied with the internal police investigation into the shooting.
“I believe they did review all the different aspects that they could,” he said.
Luu said she did not wish to comment on the findings Friday.
Mayor Quintero said he and then-acting city manager and current Assistant City Manager Jesus Gomez has met with the family and listened to their concerns.
“They were very kind, very gracious,” he said.
The family has not filed a claim against the city or the police department seeking damages.
Nonetheless, Quintero said, if the family was interested in getting a new dog, “I would do whatever I could to make sure that happened. I think everyone at city hall empathizes with the loss of a pet in those circumstances. Not a replacement, but a new pet to help them heal.”

 

Officials: Police officer shoots charging dog in Baldwin Park

BALDWIN PARK — A police officer shot a dog, wounding it the foot, after it charged toward a fellow officer late Tuesday, officials said.
The incident unfolded about 11 p.m. as two officers were responding to an unrelated report of a disturbance in the 13200 block of Francisquito Avenue, just west of Frazier Street, Baldwin Park police Sgt. Darryl Kosaka said.
“A dog came after one of the officers,” he said. “A second officer, to prevent the dog from biting the one officer, fired two shots. One hit (the dog) in the foot.”
No officers were hurt.
Police found the dog’s owners and turned the animal over to them for any veterinary treatment, Kosaka said.
Police described the animal as a “large dog,” however the breed was not available Wednesday afternoon.

Robbery suspect fatally shot by deputies after chase from Walnut to West Covina

Deputies shot and killed a robbery suspect Thursday following a pursuit from Walnut to West Covina, authorities said.
The identity of the man who died in the 5:15 p.m. deputy-involved shooting in the 19100 block of Elberland Street remained unclear late Thursday as detectives continued investigating multiple scenes Thursday night.
The incident began shortly before 5 p.m. when a man called 9-1-1 to report an apparent home-invasion robbery in the area of Lemon Avenue and Amar Road in Walnut, Lt. Steve Jauch of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
“A man said his mother was having money demanded from her,” Jauch said. The caller reported the man was armed with a handgun, and that a black car was parked in front of the home.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Walnut Station responded to the alleged robbery.
“As they neared the residence, a black vehicle matching the suspect description heads at them at a high rate of speed,” Jauch said. Deputies began chasing the car, which they later learned was occupied by a woman and a 5-year-old girl, in addition to the suspect.
The chase led to the parking lot of the Bestway Supermarket, 19050 La Puente Road, officials said, where the fleeing car crashed into a truck, destroying one of its tires.
The suspect got out of the car and ran in the front of the market and out of the back, Jauch said.
Deputies detained the woman in the parking lot and took the child into protective custody.
The man fled east into a nearby neighborhood, making his way through residential backyards, according to Jauch.
When the suspect encountered deputies in the back yard of a home at the corner of Elberland Street and Abelian Avenue, “a deputy-involved shooting occurred,” the lieutenant said. Further details regarding what prompted deputies to open fire were not clear.
More than one deputy was involved in the shooting, Jauch said, however the number of involved deputies was not available.
No weapon had been recovered from the scene late Thursday, he said, though deputies continued scouring the area and the pursuit route.
The woman detained at the end of the pursuit was considered criminal suspect, however it was not yet known exactly what crimes she was to be booked on suspicion of, Jauch said. Her name was not released.
The relationship between the man, woman and child was also unclear.
Nearby residents said they saw a group of deputies converge on the neighborhood from several directions just prior to the shooting.
Eugenia Montiel said as deputies approached the home, she saw a shirtless man come walking, not running, out of the backyard before apparently being chased back into the yard by deputies and cornered.
She then heard a string of gunshots in rapid succession, and saw the flash from the barrels of deputy’s pistols.
“I told my daughter, ‘Get down on the floor,’” she said.
Estimated given by neighbors of the number of shots they heard ranged from half a dozen to 18.
The investigation is being handled by detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.

Carjacking suspect shot by police in Whittier

SOUTH WHITTIER — Police shot and wounded a carjacking suspect early Sunday at an apartment complex in unincorporated South Whittier, officials said.
The officer-involved shooting took place at 1:07 a.m. in the 14100 block of Mulberry Drive, according to Deputy Mark Pope of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau.
Prior to the shooting, police had been seeking two men involved in a carjacking that had occurred earlier in Whittier, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter detected a Lo-Jack signal being broadcast by the stolen car, and directed officers to it, officials said. The vehicle had been abandoned.
“During a search of the area, Whittier police officers located one of the suspects, who was armed with a handgun, in an apartment complex at the 14100 block of Mulberry Drive, (unincorporated) Whittier, at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred.
“The suspect was wounded in the left arm and transported to a local hospital where he is listed in stable condition,” the sheriff’s department statement said. No officers were injured during the incident.
Officials withheld the identity of the wounded suspect Sunday afternoon. The second alleged carjacker remained at-large.
The carjacking was reported at 12:37 a.m., and the stolen Honda Accord was spotted via Lo-Jack almost immediately, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
Further details regarding details regarding the shooting or the alleged carjacking that preceded it were not available.
As is common practice in officer-involved shootings by Los Angeles County police agencies, the investigation is being spearheaded by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.

Man wounded in El Monte police shooting released from custody after serving time for probation violation

EL MONTE — An unarmed El Monte man shot and wounded by a police officer after allegedly reaching for his waistband early last month was released from jail earlier this week after serving a month in jail for a probation violation, according to officials and records.
Raymond Alvarado, 34, was released from custody Tuesday after one month in custody following the Dec. 6 officer-involved shooting in the 3500 block of Cogswell Road, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
He admitted a probation violation during a Jan. 6 hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court and was sentenced to 45 days in county jail, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said. Further details about the probation violation were not available Friday, and it was unclear if Alvarado was released based on credit for time already served in jail.
Police encountered Alvarado just before 4 a.m. Dec. 6 after responding to reports of a man seen armed with a gun, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Guillermina Saldana said in a written statement. Alvarado matched the description of the person described by the caller.
As officers approached him, Alvarado reached into his waistband, Lt. Dave Dolson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. One of several officers on scene opened fire, striking Alvarado an undisclosed number of times.
Alvarado was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, Saldana said. No weapon as recovered at the scene.
The name of the involved officer was not released.
Public records indicate Alvarado lives around the corner from where the shooting took place. He could not be reached for comment Friday.
A search of Los Angeles County Superior Court records reveals an extensive criminal history.
Alvarado was convicted in 2010 of the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. In 2009, he was convicted of burglary, grand theft and receiving stolen property. Alvarado was convicted of drug possession in 2009 and domestic battery in May of 2007, records show.
Alvarado was convicted of violating a protective order in 2007. In 2006 six, he was convicted of violating a protective order, making criminal threats and violating a court order. He has two convictions for driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license in 2005, and another in 1999.

Suspect wounded in Duarte deputy-involved shooting charged in court

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An alleged gang member wounded in a deputy-involved shooting near Duarte is out of the hospital and awaiting trial on charges of attacking deputies with an automatic assault pistol, authorities said Friday.
Andre Masayuki Goto, 34, is scheduled to appear Jan. 16 in Alhambra Superior Court for a preliminary hearing setting in connection with the Dec. 29 early-morning incident, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said.
He pleaded not guilty Dec. 31 to four counts of assault on a peace officer with an assault weapon, and two counts of assault on a peace officer, she said.
According to court documents, Goto is also accused of the special allegation that the crimes were gang-related, and that he has a previous conviction for assault with a firearm.
“His maximum (sentence), should he be convicted as charged, is 107 years in state prison,” Davila-Morales said. “Bail was set at $890,000.”
The encounter began just before 1:20 a.m as a short car chase of a man spotted with a gun and came to a violent conclusion in the 2400 block of El Toro Road in an unincorporated county area near Duarte, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
At the end of the brief chase, Goto is accused of ramming a sheriff’s patrol car, then pointing a loaded, automatic machine pistol resembling a MAC-10 at deputies, said Lt. Dave Dolson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said, which routinely investigated deputy-involved shootings. The suspect fired no shots.
The weapon was recovered at the scene, according to officials and witnesses.
Deputies fired on the Nissan Altima Goto and a passenger were in, striking both men, officials said. It was not clear Friday how many deputies fired their weapons during the incident, however a total of four deputies were listed as victims of Goto’s alleged assaults in court documents.
DUARTEDIS2Goto and the wounded passenger, a 36-year-old man who was ultimately released without charges “pending further investigation,” were both hospitalized following the shooting, Dolson said.
Goto has a listed address in Covina, but is believed to belong to a Duarte-area street gang, Dolson said. He declined to specify which gang.
Gang investigators were conducting extra patrols in the area in response to recent shootings, including two homicides, in the week leading up to the deputy-involved shooting.

Two men wounded in Duarte deputy-involved shooting

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Deputies shot and wounded two men, one of whom was allegedly armed, following a brief car chase early Sunday in a neighborhood near Duarte, authorities said.
Both suspects, described as a 24-year-old man and a 36-year-old man, were expected to survive the injuries suffered in the 1:20 a.m. shooting at El Toro Road and Van Meter Street, in an unincorporated county area just outside of Duarte, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The incident began when sheriff’s gang detectives, who have increased their presence in the area in recent weeks in response to a spate of shootings spotted a man with a gun at Ivory Drive and Galen Street at the south end of Duarte, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
1230_NWS_PSN-L-DUARTEDIS2The man got into a nearby car, which drove away, officials said. The detectives began chasing the car.
“The pursuit, which lasted for approximately 30 seconds, ended when the vehicle collided with a curb at the 2400 block of El Toro Road (in an unincorporated county area),” according to Lt. Dave Dolson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
“One of two Suspects Brandished a firearm, which resulted in a deputy-involved shooting,” Dolson said.
No deputies were hurt, said. “A weapon believed to be the suspect’s was recovered at the scene.”
Further details, including the identities of the suspects, the number of deputies involved in the shooting or the number of shots fired were not released Sunday.
1230_NWS_PSN-L-DUARTEDIS3A black Nissan Altima at the scene was riddled with more than two-dozen bullet holes. A dozen bullet holes were visible in the car’s rear windshield, and more than a dozen more dotted the driver-side of the car, with at least four through the driver-side window.
Neighbor Roger Villarreal, 29, said he was awakened by gunfire. He and other neighbors described hearing “more than 25” shots.
He said he dropped to the floor and pulled his fiancee to the floor as well as the shots continued ringing out.
“I heard commands after the gunfire,” he said. Deputies shouted at the men inside the car to exit the vehicle and show their hands.
One deputy yelled, “Where’s the (expletive) gun?” Villarreal said.
The driver crawled out of the car before being dragged and handcuffed by deputies, he said. He did not see whether the second man exited the car following the shooting.
Villarreal and his brother, Robert Villareal, 31, both said they saw deputies remove what appeared to be an automatic machine pistol, resembling a MAC-10, from the suspects’ car.
Rovert Villarreal added he was thankful no innocent bystanders were injured with so many bullets flying in the residential neighborhood.
The investigation was being spearheaded by detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, and anyone with information can reach the bureau at 323-890-5500.

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Man wounded in El Monte officer-involved shooting

EL MONTE — Police shot and wounded an unarmed man early Friday who was earlier seen running and screaming in the street, according to officials and witnesses.
The shooting was reported at 3:57 a.m. in the 3500 block of Cogswell Road.
El Monte Police referred all calls to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials who are handling the investigation.
“Officers with the El Monte Police Department responded to a man with a gun call,” Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement issued Friday evening.
“When the officers arrived at the location, they saw a man that fit the description of the person described in the call,” she said. “As the officers contacted him, the suspect reached into his waistband and an officer-involved shooting occurred.
No weapon was found at the scene, Saldana said.
The wounded man, described by investigators as 34-years-old, was taken to a hospital where he was listed in stable condition.
The name of the wounded man was not released, nor were the identities of the involved officers.
Authorities Friday made no mention of potential criminal charges against the wounded man.
No officers were injured in the incident, officials said. Authorities did not say how many officers were involved in the shooting or how many shots were fired.
Neighbor Henry Ballesteros said his stepdaughter heard a commotion early that morning and called 9-1-1.
“My stepdaughter went to the porch, saw the guy running and screaming,” he said.
He pointed toward Ferris and Cosgwell roads where there is a stop sign. Ballesteros said the man started there then ran down Cogswell Road.
“He woke up people living there. A lot of people called 9-1-1. That’s how much noise he was making,” Ballesteros said.
Ballesteros said the man was seen running around the car port area of a blue apartment complex. One of the neighborhood kids told Ballesteros the man was seen earlier arguing with someone in a car.The man was heard addressing someone inside the car as Richard.
“My stepdaughter didn’t see anybody in the car,” Ballesteros said. The residents thought the man was either drunk or on drugs, he added.
The gunshots woke up several residents.
Ana Bustamante thought Fourth of July when she heard the sounds. From her door, she saw a lot of police and a man lying on the street.
“I saw the man right there,” Bustamante said and pointed to a spot on Cogswell Road where several blood stains were visible. “He said,’I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!’”
She didn’t recognize him.
Lou Jaramillo who lives at Ferris and Cogswell roads said he heard three gunshots.
“I’m a light sleeper. When I heard the first pop, my eyes opened up. I called my sister who lives in the house in front of me who said someone got shot,” Jaramillo said.
He hasn’t heard of a shooting in the neighborhood in the four years he’s lived there.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tipsters may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or text “TIPLA” plus the tip to 274637, or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.

UPDATE: Fatal officer-involved shooting reported in Azusa

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AZUSA — Police shot and killed a man late Friday after he allegedly confronted officers with a handgun, authorities said.
Lorenzo Cesar Aguilar, 23, of Azusa died in the officer-involved shooting, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said.
The shooting took place shortly before 9:30 p.m. along Rockvale Avenue near Fifth Street.
But the incident began minutes earlier when an Azusa police officer tried to pull over a suspected drunken driver in the 700 block of East Alosta Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The driver neglected to yield and evaded officers for a short time,” according to the statement.
The driver — later identified at Aguilar — ultimately stopped the car, got out and began walking away from officers with a gun in his hand, officials said.
“As assisting units arrived, the suspect failed to comply with orders and turned toward officers with the handgun in his hand, at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred,” according to the sheriff’s statement. “The suspect was struck by gunfire several times in the torso area.”
It was unclear how many officers fired, or how many times.
Paramedics pronounced Aguilar dead at the scene, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
A search of Los Angeles County Superior Court records turned up no criminal history on the part of Aguilar.
No officers were hurt in the incident, authorities added.
1130_NWS_SGT-L-AZOIS2Police cordoned off a wide crime scene, which included the parking lot of the nearby Santana’s restaurant.
Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau were handling the investigation, as is common practice when dealing with officer-involved shootings in the county. Azusa police deferred comment to the sheriff’s department.
No further details were available.