Deputy shoots at suspect near Azusa


AZUSA >> A deputy shot at a suspect at Lario San Gabriel River Trail Park in Azusa Thursday, though it was unknown if the suspect was struck by the gunfire, authorities said.
The incident unfolded about 2:10 p.m. at the park, 15701 Foothill Blvd., just east of Azusa, Deputy Tina Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
Sheriff’s Park Bureau Mounted Patrol deputies approached a man regarding county code violations in the park when he became “combative,” she said.
“The suspect injured one of the deputies with his vehicle in an attempt to flee the scene,” Schrader said. “Fearing for his partner’s life, another deputy shot one round from his weapon at the suspect in an attempt to stop the assault.
“It is unknown if the suspect was struck by gunfire,” the deputy said. “The suspect’s vehicle was struck on the passenger side mirror and possibly the passenger side window.”
Officials said the suspect was last seen driving east on Foothill Boulevard.
The injured deputy was taken to a hospital for treatment of “non-life-threatening” injuries, Schrader said. Further details regarding the nature of the injuries were not available.
The suspect fled the scene going eastbound on Foothill Boulevard and out of view.
Deputies described the suspect as a white or Latino man, between 25 and 30 years old, about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, with a muscular build. He wore a gray shirt. His car was a white, mid-2000s, two-door Acura with tinted windows.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Parks Bureau Detectives at 661-294-3544. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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UPDATED: Police shoot dog during search for San Marino home-invasion robber

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SAN MARINO >> Police shot a dog in a residential backyard while searching for a home-invasion robber in San Marino early Thursday, officials said.
The robber also stole the victim’s SUV in the 7:45 a.m. incident in the 900 block of Winston Avenue, according to San Marino police officials.
A woman estimated to be in her 30s working as a nanny at the home had just returned to the house after dropping children off at school, Police Chief John Incontro said.
“The suspect had ransacked the home and made additional demands for property,” police said in a written statement. “The victim then ran to the second floor where she locked herself in a room and called 9-1-1. The victim could hear the suspect yelling at her to get off the phone.”
Officers rushing to help made their way through the backyard of a home facing Sierra Madre Boulevard when they were confronted by a large dog, police said.
“One officer shot two rounds, one striking the dog.”
Police did not identify the involved officer.
0220_NWS_PSN-L-SMSEARCH2Officers found the frightened victim still hiding upstairs, Incontro said. The woman’s Mercedes-Benz SUV was gone. It was unclear what was stolen from the house.
Investigators found the SUV abandoned on a Ventura Boulevard offramp of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, Incontro said. The suspect remained at-large.
The chief added that the city has offered to pay the veterinary bills for the wounded dog.
After two surgeries and the successful removal of a bullet, the 6-year-old pit bull-terrier-boxer mix, named “Wheezy,” was expected to recover, said Rana Abdelal, a member of the family that owns the animal. One of the bullets grazed the dog in the head, while the other struck Wheezy in the chest.
Though saddened by the dog’s injury, Abdelal said they were not angry with the police.
“Because of the circumstances, we understand,” she said.
“They came, they apologized and they said they’d take care of it,” Abdelal said.
Authorities described the intruder as a black man, 28 to 30 years old, wearing a blue and black shirt and dark pants. He also wore a fanny pack.

PHOTOS: (Above) Photo of Wheezy the dog – courtesy. (Below) A San Marino police officer talks to neighborhood residents after an officer shot and wounded a family dog while responding to a home-invasion robbery in the 900 block of Winston Avenue early Thursday, Feb, 19, 2015.

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Shot fired during arrest in Altadena; no injuries reported

ALTADENA >> A deputy shot at, but did not strike, a man accused of stealing form parked cars in a residential Altadena neighborhood early Thursday, authorities said.
Marcus Lamar McGlothurn, 18, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor theft from unlocked vehicles following the encounter, which took place about 12:20 a.m. on El Molino Avenue, near Sacramento Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Lewis said. Neither he nor any deputies were injured during the incident.
Deputies received a call reporting a man peering through windows of parked vehicles and possibly burglarizing them, sheriff’s officials said.
“They located a suspect who fit the description given in the call,” Lewis said. “During the contact the deputies had with the individual, an officer-involved shooting occurred.”
The deputy fired a single shot. Lewis then surrendered.
Investigators found no weapon at the scene, he said. But deputies did recover several pieced of property allegedly stolen from parked cars in the area.
Officials released no information regarding what prompted the deputy to open fire.
The investigation was being spearheaded by sheriff’s gang detectives.
According to county booking records, McGlothurn was cited and ordered to appear in Pasadena Superior Court on April 10.

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UPDATED: Suspect killed in Hollywood officer-involved shooting

HOLLYWOOD >> Police shot and killed a knife-wielding suspect at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue late Friday, officials said.
Few details were initially available regarding the officer-involved shooting, which took place about 7 p.m., Los Angeles police Officer Jane Kim said.
“Officers were responding to a radio call for an assault with a deadly weapon in progress,” Kim said. “Upon their arrival, they found the suspect was armed with a weapon. That’s when the officer-involved shooting occurred.”
The suspect was taken to an area hospital in critical condition and later succumbed to his injuries, Kim said. No officers were hurt in the incident.
No further details were available.

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Officials: Pit bull fatally shot after attacking deputy in East Valinda

EAST VALINDA >> A deputy fatally shot a put bull as it attacked and bit his partner in the unincorporated county area of East Valinda Friday, officials said.
The shooting took place shortly before noon as two deputies were investigating a report of domestic violence in the 500 block of Richburn Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Nora Gutierrez said. Someone called deputies to report a boyfriend and girlfriend were involved in a fight in the backyard of a home.
No one responded at the home when deputies arrived, Gutierrez said. Based on the report of a possible domestic violence incident in progress, deputies made their way into the backyard to investigate.
A pit bull estimated to weigh 80 pounds attacked a female deputy in the yard, Gutierrez said. The deputy suffered a 2-inch cut to her forearm, as well as bruising all over her body.
Her partner opened fire on the dog, striking it three times, Gutierrez said. The dog died from its wounds.
The injuries deputy received treatment at a hospital, which released her Friday afternoon, the sergeant said.

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Two arrested in connection with early-morning Pasadena officer-involved shooting

PASADENA >> Police arrested a man and woman Sunday afternoon for allegedly assaulting an officer during an early-morning traffic stop, resulting in an officer opening fire, authorities said.
Neither the officer or the suspects were injured in the incident, which took place about 3:15 p.m. at La Tierra Street and Avocado Lane, Pasadena police officials said.
The Southwest Regional Pacific Fugitive Task Force tracked suspects Sanjay Kumar Varma, 32, of Pasadena and Crystal Buelas Orleans, 22, of Moreno Valley to a Van Nuys parking lot and took them into custody without a struggle about 4:20 p.m., according to police and Los Angeles County booking records. Police described Varma as a gang associate.
Varma and Orleans escaped from police after a brief pursuit that followed the alleged assault and officer-involved shooting, Pasadena police officials said in a written statement. Prior to the suspects’ arrest, it was unknown whether either had been wounded in the shooting.
An officer stopped an SUV containing the suspects for a traffic violation and saw the driver — later identified as Varma — had a handgun, Lt. Pete Hettema said.
The SUV then sped off, nearly striking an officer, police said. An officer fired at least one shot.
Varma and Orleans were booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, officials said.
According to county booking records, Varma was being held in lieu of $130,000 bail pending his initial court appearance. Orleans was being held without bail.

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Police: Officer shoots at armed man during traffic stop in Pasadena

PASADENA >> A police officer shot at an armed man following a traffic stop early Sunday, however it was unclear if the suspect was struck by the gunfire, officials said. The incident unfolded about 3:15 a.m. at La Tierra Street and Avocado Lane. An officer pulled over a black SUV for a traffic violation, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said. “When he approached the car, the driver was armed,” Hettema said. “He had a handgun.” The SUV suddenly accelerated, “and just about ran over the officer,” the lieutenant said. The officer fired at least one shot at the suspect, he said. The SUV continued fleeing. Officers briefly chased the SUV but lost sight of it on Sierra Madre Boulevard, Hettema said. It was unclear if the driver had been wounded, Hettema said. The officer was not injured. No further details were available Sunday morning.

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UPDATED: Pico Rivera man mistakenly shot and killed by sheriff’s deputy during gun battle with fleeing parolee

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PICO RIVERA >> A sheriff’s deputy was believed to have accidentally shot a Pico Rivera man Friday during a gun battle with a fleeing parolee who had broken into his home, authorities said Saturday.
A  SWAT team ultimately shot and killed the gunman after he held the homeowner’s wife hostage for eight hours, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Detective Division Chief William McSweeney. The hostage was rescued unharmed.
Coroner’s officials did not officially identify the slain homeowner Saturday, however family members identified him as Frank Mendoza. The rescued hostage was his wife, 60-year-old Lorraine Munoz, family members said.
Parolee Cedric Ramirez, 24, of Pico Rivera was killed about 1:30 a.m. as SWAT deputies forced their way into the home in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The incident began about eight hours earlier when Ramirez fled from officials and ran into the home, engaging deputies in a shootout, sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
0803_NWS_WDN-L-STANDOFF2The deadly encounter began about 5:30 p.m. Friday when sheriff’s gang deputies spotted Ramirez, a wanted parolee with two felony warrants, in the 9000 block of Reichling Lane.
“He entered the backyard of the victims’ residence where he exchanged gunfire with the deputies,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “Ramirez then broke into the victims’ home through a window.”
Pursuing deputies, fearful the occupants would be harmed, went to the home’s front door and began evacuating the residents from the house. An adult and two children were rushed from the house when Ramirez appeared in an interior hallway and began shooting at the Deputies. The Deputies returned fire and then retreated to the front yard, seeking cover,” McSweeney said.
“Within seconds of their exit, an adult male suddenly appeared in the front doorway,” the chief said. “Believing the man was Ramirez, a deputy fired two shots at the man.  The man dropped unconscious in the doorway and was subsequently recognized to be one of the residents. Preliminary information indicates those shots likely struck Mr. Frank Mendoza.”
Paramedics pronounced Mendoza dead at the scene.
Officials said Ramirez then fled into the home, taking the 60-year-old woman hostage. Nishida said. A SWAT team surrounded the home as a crisis negotiator spoke with Ramirez by telephone and tried to persuade him to surrender peacefully.
After eight hours, the SWAT team moved in.
“After an extended standoff, a Special Enforcement Bureau, special weapons team, entered the location which ended with the fatal shooting of the suspect,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. Deputies rescued the woman, and Ramirez died at the scene.
Family members of the victims and neighbors described a harrowing ordeal.
Frank Mendoza lived at the Rosehedge Drive home with his wife, four sons, and young grandchildren, daughter-in-law Tanya Mendoza said.
When the shooting began and Frank Mendoza was mortally wounded, one of his sons who was home at the time gathered his two young children and rushed them out of the home, family members said.
Deputies rushed them to cover behind a parked car, said Sandra Monge, whose 83-year-old mother and brother live next door to the involved home. They were trapped for about two hours before being evacuated by deputies through their back yard.
While continuing to trade gunfire with Ramirez, deputies pulled Frank Mendoza around the corner and out of the line of fire, neighbors said. It was there, at the corner of Lindsey Avenue and Reichling Drive, that the wounded man was pronounced dead.
Lorraine Munoz, who walks with difficulty and uses a wheelchair or cane, was not able to get out of the home.
Family members did not know Ramirez, Tanya Mendoza said, adding that it appeared he broke into a random house while fleeing deputies.
“This incident was beyond tragic, and all of law enforcement grieves with the Mendoza family,” McSweeney said. “We have made personal contact with the family, and have expressed our regret and sadness over these events.
“This investigation continues, and every aspect of this incident will be assessed for compliance with the law and Department policy,” McSweeney said.
Ramirez was in violation of his parole and being sought on warrants for being an convicted felon in possession of a firearm and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent when deputies encountered him Friday, officials said.
Los Angeles County court records show Ramirez was convicted in of possessing a loaded firearm along with narcotics in 2013, vandalism in 2008 and carrying a loaded gun in 2007.
Heartbroken family members described Frank Mendoza as a light-spirited and dedicated family man who had lived at the same home on Rosehedge Drive for 32 years.
“He was just a great guy,” sister Kathy Mendoza said.
“He was hard-working man,” she said, adding that her brother was three months away from retiring from his job working on machines for a grocery company, where he had worked since he was a young man.
In addition to his wife, he’s survived by four sons, one daughter, two step-sons and one step-daughter, Tanya Mendoza said. He had 12 grandchildren and two more on the way, and two great grandchildren.
“He was a joker. He was always willing to help,” Kathy Mendoza said.
“He was always the life of the party,” son Jeremy Mendoza said.
Tanya Mendoza thanked the community for its support following Friday’s tragedy.
The Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is spearheading the investigation. As is common procedure in Los Angeles County deputy-involved shootings, the incident is also being investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the County of Los Angeles Office of Independent Review.

PHOTOS: (TOP) Family members of a slain homeowner and Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators congregate in front of the home where a wanted parolee allegedly engaged deputies in a shoot-out, killing 54-year-old Frank Mendoza. Ramirez then allegedly took Mendoza’s 60-year-old wife hostage for about eight hours before he was shot and killed by a SWAT team in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive in Pico Rivera in the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. (Staff photo by Brian Day) BELOW: Frank Mendoza, 54, of Pico Rivera (right), pictured with wife Lorraine Munoz, 60. Mendoza died during a shoot-out between sheriff’s deputies and a fleeing parolee as the suspect forced his way into the couple’s home. Munoz was held hostage by the suspect for more than eight hours before a SWAT team killed him and rescued her in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive in Pico Rivera in the early morning hours on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014.
(Courtesy of the Mendoza family)

BELOW:

 

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UPDATED: Bystander killed following shoot-out between suspect, deputies in Pico Rivera; stand-off ongoing

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PICO RIVERA >> A person believed to be a innocent bystander died and an armed parolee remained holed-up inside a Pico Rivera home with a hostage following a shoot-out between the suspect and deputies Friday afternoon, authorities said.
It was not clear Friday if the bystander had been shot by the suspect or struck by deputies’ gunfire, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
The incident began about 4:30 p.m. in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive, just east of Rosemead Boulevard, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said. Sheriff’s gang investigators had been hunting for a wanted parolee when they spotted him.
Deputies had been searching for an armed man witnesses had reported seeing in the area when they encountered the suspect, Crosthwaite said.
Sgt. Crosthwaite of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station said. He declined to give his first name.
The man fled as deputies approached and ran toward the backyard of a nearby home, said Sgt. Crosthwaite of the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station. He declined to give his first name.
“He turned and fired at deputies,” the sergeant said.
The deputies, who were not struck by the suspect’s bullets, returned fire, Crosthwaite said. It was not known if the suspect was wounded in the exchange.
A man exited the home with at least one gunshot wound a short time later, Crosthwaite said. The wounded person, believed to be an innocent bystander in the incident, was pronounced dead.
No deputies were injured, officials said.
0802_NWS_WDN-L-DIS1The armed parolee was believed to have a woman as a hostage as a SWAT team engaged the suspect in a standoff that continued into the evening, Nishida said.
A sheriff’s crisis negotiator had been speaking with the suspect by phone, urging him to surrender and allow his hostage to leave, officials said.
“Crisis negotiators are trying to communicate with him and have him surrender peacefully,” Nishida said.
The identity of the 24-year-old parolee was known to investigators, but withheld late Friday as the stand-off continued, she said.
There was no known connection between the suspect and the home where he was believed holed-up, Crosthwaite said.
Deputies evacuated homes along Rosehedge Drive between Rosemead Boulevard and Lindsey Avenue as the situation continued Friday night.
The Red Cross opened a shelter for evacuated residents at El Rancho High School, 6501 Passons Blvd.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Loved ones mark anniversary of fatal La Puente deputy-involved shooting

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LA PUENTE >> More than three-dozen family members and friends gathered with candles last weekend to mark the first anniversary of the fatal shooting of a La Puente man who officials said fled from a traffic stop while armed with a handgun.
Ceaser Joe Mendoza, 24, died at a hospital soon after he was shot and wounded by a sheriff’s deputy about 9:50 p.m. June 22 along Loukelton Street just west of Ballista Avenue, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
0628_NWS_SGT-L-MENDOZA3“Even several weeks after he was gone, I kept walking around thinking I’d seen him,” sister-in-law Joeie Martinez said.
“He was the happiest person ever. He would always make the best of any situation,” she said. “He was so giving. If you needed something, he’d find a way to give it to you.”
Mendoza was a passenger in a car with two other men when it was pulled over by a sheriff’s patrol car for running a stop sign, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials. One deputy remained with the two men in the stopped car, while Deputy Chad Sessman chased after Mendoza.
Authorities allege he reached for a 9mm handgun that was tucked into his waistband while fleeing, Sessman to open fire.
Shortly after the shooting, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement that Mendoza twice faced Sessman and reached for the handgun while running, though detectives said he never fully removed it from his pants.
Family members conceded that Mendoza was armed and that he ran from deputies, but have said they don’t believe he assaulted a deputy, or intended to. And the autopsy report confirmed the family’s assertion that Mendoza had been shot in the back.
Officials at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office ultimately determined the deputy-involved shooting was lawful self-defense.
0628_NWS_SGT-L-MENDOZA2Another passenger of the Nissan Altima told investigators that Mendoza became “extremely nervous” when the car was pulled over by deputies, and said that he had a gun on him and needed to run, according to the district attorney’s office report on the shooting.
“As Mendoza ran from Sessman, he tripped and fell onto the ground landing on his buttocks facing Sessman,” according to the report. “Sessman saw that Mendoza had a chrome handgun in his waistband. Mendoza looked directly at Mendoza, reached for his waistband and grabbed the handgun with both hands. Believing Mendoza was preparing to draw the firearm and shoot him, Sessman drew his service weapon and fired at Mendoza.”
Mendoza returned to his feet and continued running west on Loukelton Street, officials said.
“As Mendoza ran, he kept his arms in front of him near his waist. Mendoza was moving his hands near his waist and periodically looking over his left shoulder toward Sessman,” the district attorney’s report said. “Sessman moved into position behind a concrete fence post and fired a second salvo at Mendoza.”
“Sessman believed Mendoza was attempting to draw his firearm from its holster and scanning over his left shoulder for Sessman. Believing that Mendoza was preparing to shoot him, Sessman fired his weapon again to end what he perceived to be a deadly threat,” according to the district attorney’s report.
The district attorney’s report differed from the initial statement released by the sheriff’s department, which stated that Mendoza, “turned around a second time reaching for his waistband.”
Mendoza fell wounded and was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries less than an hour later, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Sessman fired five shots, according to the district attorney’s office.
Mendoza was struck by three .45-caliber bullets, according to the coroner’s autopsy report. The fatal wound was to the center of his back. Another bullet struck him struck him on the left, rear side of his up, and third penetrated through the back of his right arm.
The district attorney’s investigation into the shooting was completed on April, concluding that , “LASD Deputy Chad Sessman acted lawfully in self-defense. We are closing out file and will take no further action in this matter.”
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