PASADENA >> A Pasadena gang member accused of shooting at a police officer before being wounded himself and arrested pleaded guilty to three felony charges in connection with the incident, authorities said Wednesday.
Francisco Flores, 23, pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of assault on a peace officer with a firearm, discharging a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of methamphetamine while armed with a handgun, with allegations the crimes gang-related, Pasadena police officials said in a written statement. He’s expected to be sentenced to 35 years in prison when he returns to Los Angeles County Superior Court for sentencing on March 17.
He was a passenger in a car two officers tried to pull over about 9:15 a.m. on April 8, 2016, at Buckeye Street and Los Robles Avenue. The car came to an abrupt stop at Buckeye Street and Adena Avenue, where Flores ran from the vehicle.
An officer followed Flores, according to the police statement. “While running, suspect Flores looked back at (the pursuing officer), pointed a gun at the officer and fired three rounds, fortunately missing.”
The officer returned fire, striking Flores, police said. Flores was treated for his wounds and has since recovered.
Flores was already out on bail pending an illegal gun possession case at the time of the shooting, officials said.
WHITTIER >> The gang member accused of killing a Whittier police officer and another man on Monday, as well as wounding another police officer, remained hospitalized in a intensive care unit Wednesday as detectives continued gathering evidence and the community continued mourning and seeking answers.
Investigators were yet to interview Michael Christopher Mejia, 26, of Los Angeles, as he continued receiving treatment for a gunshot wound to the back sustained in Monday morning’s gunfight with the Whittier, Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau said. His injuries were not considered life-threatening.
The tight-knit Whittier community has rallied around the family of Officer Keith Boyer, a 53-year-old Whittier resident, 28-year lawman, father, grandfather and classic rock drummer.
Officer Patrick Hazell, who was wounded in the abdomen in the shootout, was released from the hospital and continuing his recovery at home, Corina said. His father said the wounded officer did not wish to comment at this time.
Mejia, a documented gang member who was on felony probation, or “Post-Release Community Supervision,” under the terms of AB 109, is also accused of gunning down his cousin about 5:30 a.m. in the 1400 block of Volney Drive in East Los Angeles, less than three hours before the violent encounter with police in Whittier.
Family members said Mejia showed up the Torres home and confronted Torres inside the converted garage the victim used as his bedroom.
The men possibly became involved in an argument prior to the shooting, relatives said. Following the shooting, Mejia allegedly fled in Torres car, which he soon crashed in Whittier.
An autopsy determined Torres died from a single gunshot wound to the head, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. The death was ruled a homicide.
No further details of the East Los Angeles slaying, including a motive, have not been released.Mejia was driving a stolen car when became involved in a minor crash with two other vehicles at Colima Road and Mar Vista Avenue about 8 a.m., Corina said.
Police arrive at the scene after the other drivers had helped Mejia push the car he was driving to the side of the road.
“They asked him to get out of the car. That’s when the shooting occurred,” Corina said.
Mejia suddenly drew a semi-automatic handgun and opened fire, striking both officers.
One of the officer managed to return fire and wound Mejia, who was taken into custody at the scene by fellow officers, officials said.
It was unclear which of the officers wounded the suspect. Corina declined to discuss whether one, or both, of the officers fired their weapons.
Mejia’s gun was recovered at the scene, Corina said.
The involved officers were not wearing body camera, and Corina said he was not aware of any video recordings of the deadly encounter between Mejia and Whittier police.
Mejia was expected to be charged in connection with the case once he’s out of the hospital, the lieutenant said.
Mejia had prior convictions for robbery, and most recently, auto theft, officials said.
He as been re-arrested for probation violations five times since being released from prison for the auto theft conviction, each time resulting in 9- or 10-day “flash incarcerations,” under the terms of AB 109, also known as the “California Public Safety Realignment” of 2011, records show.
Details regarding the circumstances of each arrest were not available, however none resulted in the filing of a new criminal case.
At least one of the arrests was for possession of methamphetamine, Corina said.
Possession of methamphetamine had traditionally been a felony in California, punishable by a year or more in prison, but was reduced to a misdemeanor by Proposition 47, passed by California voters in 2014.
Mejia’s criminal record has raised concerns of law enforcement officers, politicians and others, who are questioning whether Mejia should have been behind bars, rather than out on the street, on Monday.
A documented gang member, and an apparently proud one, Mejia bears the letters “W” and “G” tattooed prominently across his face in capital letters. The same abbreviation, which stands for an East Los Angeles street gang, is also tattooed on Mejia’s neck in lower-case letters.
Services for Boyer have not been announced.
The Whittier Police Department is accepting donations to benefit Boyer’s family. He’s survived by a fiancee, four children and two grandchildren.
Checks can be made out to “WPOA Benevolent Fund,” and reference account No. 488879. Contributions can be dropped off in person at the Whittier Police Department, 13200 Penn Street, in person at the Credit Union of Southern California at 8028 Greenleaf Ave. or mailed to the Credit Union of Southern California, WPOA Benevolent Fund, attention David Valencia, PO Box 200, Whittier, CA 90608.
Any witnesses, or anyone with information, regarding Monday’s incident is encouraged to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
PHOTO of Michael C. Mejia courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Departement
— arlene (@qrlene) January 28, 2017
ALHAMBRA >> Police fatally shot a man who opened fire on them as they responded to domestic disturbance in Alhambra late Friday, authorities said.
The officer-involved shooting took place about 7:50 p.m. in the 2900 block of West Main Street, near Huntington Drive, according to Deputy Lisa Jansen of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Officers responded to the neighborhood after a woman called 911 to report a “domestic disturbance” involving herself, her husband and their 25-year-old son, she said. The woman added that her son may have a gun.
Gunshots rang out as officers neared the home, officials said.
“When the officers positioned themselves across the street from the suspect’s residence, the suspect shot several rounds at them, and an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Jansen said in a written statement.
Paramedics took the wounded suspect to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, deputy Trina Schrader said.
A shotgun and a revolver believed to have been wielded by the suspect were found at the scene.
No officers were hurt in the gunfight, and the suspect’s parents also suffered no injuries during the incident,
Video posted on social media by a witness shows two officer taking cover behind a car as they were seemingly shot at from across the street.
After firing a volley of apparent return fire with rifles, the two officers are seen running toward the source of the gunfire before additional shots can be heard a little more than 20 seconds later.
“Both Alhambra officers were wearing body cameras, and a review of the video footage will take place as part of the investigation,” Jansen said.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are handling the investigation. Anyone with information can reach the bureau at 323-890-5500.
AZUSA >> Police shot and killed a man in Azusa late Sunday, authorities said.
The fatal officer-involved shooting took place at 11:21 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 200 block of Windsong Court, Deputy Jeffrey Gordon of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
The suspect, described only as a man, died at the scene, Gordon said.
No further details were available.
The sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is spearheading the investigation.
PICO RIVERA >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of a 48-year-old man who died after being shot by sheriff’s deputies who responded to reports he was attacking family members with scissors in Pico Rivera on Christmas Eve.
Zhonghua Li, 48, of died in the deputy-involved shooting, which took place shortly after 5 p.m. on Saturday outside a home at Greenglade Avenue and Kells Place, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records.
Deputies were first summoned to the home in regard to a family disturbance involving a man with mental health issues, Deputy Kimberly Alexander of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said. While en route, the call was updated to say the suspect was stabbing family members with a pair of scissors.
Two deputies arrived and confronted Li in the street, Alexander said in a written statement. He began walking toward the deputies with what was ultimately found to be a pair of “threading scissors,” Lt. Steve Jauch of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
A deputy fired a bean bag round at Li, to no effect, and he continued approaching the deputies and refusing to drop the scissors, according to Alexander. Both deputies then fired their pistols, fatally wounding Li.
Li’s sister suffered a stab wound to her hand in the original family disturbance but declined to be taken to a hospital, Jauch said.
PICO RIVERA >> Deputies shot and killed a man in Pico Rivera after he reportedly attacked family members with scissors late Saturday, authorities said.
The deputy-involved shooting took place shortly after 5 p.m. on Greenglade Avenue near Kells Place, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. John Haynes said.
Deputies first responded to a call requesting help with a 50-year-old man suffering from mental health issues, the sergeant said. While en route, a second call reported the man had begun stabbing family members with a pair of scissors.
Two deputies encountered the man in the street, Deputy Kimberly Alexander of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
“He was holding an object in his right hand,” she said. “He began walking aggressively towards the deputies and refused the commands to stop and drop the object.”
One of the deputies shot the suspect in the torso with a “stun bag,” according to Alexander.
“The suspect continued aggressing towards the deputies, refusing to drop the object. As a result a deputy involved shooting occurred with both deputies firing their duty weapons,” the deputy said.
Paramedics pronounced the wounded man dead at the scene, officials said. HIs identity was not available.
No injuries to deputies were reported.
“A sharp bladed object was recovered near the suspect’s body,” Alexander added.
It was unclear later Saturday whether any of the suspect’s family members had been injured.
“Detectives are beginning interviews with family members who were with the suspect at the time of the 911 call to determine if any victims were stabbed,’ Alexander said.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers.
EL MONTE >> Police in El Monte shot and killed a man as he allegedly charged at officers with an SUV late Friday, authorities said.
The incident took place about 9:35 p.m. at Esto Avenue and Fieldcrest Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are handling the investigation into the officer-involved shooting.
The identity of the suspect was not released Saturday pending notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Capt. John Kades said.
Prior to the shooting, El Monte tried to pull over a mid-size SUV near Valley Boulevard and Tyler Avenue, suspecting that the driver was intoxicated, according to Deputy Trina Schrader of the sheriff’s Information Bureau. The driver refused to stop, starting a pursuit.
The suspect crashed into another motorist during the chase and continued fleeing, she said. The driver of the car struck by the suspect was not hurt.
Police continued chasing the SUV until it came to a stop at the intersection of Esto Avenue and Fieldcrest Street, Schrader said. Officers got out of their cars and approached the suspect.
“The suspect then drove into the cul-de-sac, turned around and drove towards the officers, who were standing outside their vehicles,” Schrader said. “An officer-involved shooting occurred.”
Paramedics pronounced the wounded suspect dead at the scene.
Three officers fired their weapons in the incident, officials said. No officers were injured.
Another El Monte officer collided with a civilian car while responding to the pursuit. The driver of that car was treated for injuries described by officials as minor.
Further details were not available.
Anyone with information was urged to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Authorities have identified a 60-year-old Hacienda Heights man fatally shot by deputies after allegedly confronting them with a gun outside his home late Thursday.
Robert James Hess died at the scene of the deputy-involved shooting, which took place about 10:50 p.m. in the 15600 block of Windrush Drive, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
He was first approached by police in Downey about 1 p.m. who responded to reports he was armed with a knife and a gun and had threatened to kill family members, according to Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Hess fled from police on a motorcycle and eluded pursuing officers on the 5 Freeway, she said.
Downey police went to Hess’s home in Hacienda Heights and set up a stake-out to wait for the suspect, authorities said. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy were summoned to assist when Hess was spotted walking up the street Thursday night.
Deputies used less-lethal weapons to try, unsuccessfully, to subdue Hess as he reached for a handgun in his pocket, Schrader said. He grabbed the gun and deputies opened fire, mortally wounding him.
No deputies were injured, officials said. A handgun was recovered from the scene.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips also may be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LA MIRADA >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of a 45-year-old La Habra man who was fatally shot by SWAT deputies following a 3-and-a-half-hour standoff at a La Mirada gas station early Tuesday morning.
Mark Daniel Sly died at the scene of the deputy-involved shooting, which took place just before 1 a.m. at the ampm convenience store and ARCO gas station at 13550 S. Beach Blvd., Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operation Ed Winter said.
He fired at deputies at least twice during the standoff, which began with a report of a robbery in progress at the business, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Deputies responding to the robbery encountered Sly, who matched the suspect description, standing at the front door of the convenience store armed with a handgun, Deputy Caroline Rodriguez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
Sly refused commands to drop his gun and surrender, and deputies summoned a SWAT team and a crisis negotiation team to the scene.
At one point during the hours-long standoff, the suspect fired at deputies through a front window of the business, Rodriguez said.
A deputy returned fire through a window, but it was unclear of Sly was wounded in that exchange.
Sly exited the store with a handgun and again fired on SWAT deputies at 12:55 a.m., officials said. Deputies fired back, fatally wounding Sly.
The investigation remains ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
GLENDORA >> Police shot and wounded a man in Glendora on Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
The officer-involved shooting took place about 2:35 p.m. in the 700 block of West Bagnall Street, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are spearheading the investigation.
“The suspect, a male adult, was struck by gunfire and transported to a local hospital for treatment of his non-life-threatening injuries,” Navarro-Suarez said. “No officers were injured.”
Glendora police declined to comment, deferring questions to the sheriff’s department.
No further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting were available.