Suspect charged with shooting CHP officer in West Covina appears in court; officer recovering at home

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*VIDEOS: CHP Assistant Chief Marc Shaw discusses the shootout between CHP officers and a suspect in West Covina on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. – VIDEO 1; VIDEO 2

WEST COVINA >> A Fontana man accused of wounding a California Highway Patrol officer in a shotgun attack last week entered a not guilty plea Wednesday as investigators released new details regarding the West Covina shootout that erupted during a routine traffic stop.
John Alfred Garcia, 30, is accused of opening fire on CHP officer Felix Serpas with a semi-automatic shotgun after being pulled over at the Sunset Avenue offramp of the westbound 10 Freeway in West Covina just after 1:30 a.m. Friday.
The wounded CHP officer and his partner returned fire, wounding Garcia before he led West Covina police and other authorities on a high speed chase that ended with his arrest in Fontana.
Garcia pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of attempted murder of a peace officer, assault on a peace officer with a semi-automatic firearm and felony evading of police, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said. Garcia is also accused of the special allegations that her personally fired a semi-automatic firearm during the crime, and that the shooting resulted in great bodily injury to the officer.
Serpas and partner Jeremy Keller pulled over a Cadillac Escalade, suspecting the driver may be impaired, CHP Assistant Chief Marc Shaw said. Keller had one year experience with the CHP.
0917_NWS_SGT-L-CHPFOLO-01The SUV exited the freeway and stopped in a the parking lot of a business along Sunset Avenue, he said. Felix approached the Escalade to talk with the driver, later identified as Garcia.
“He greeted the driver of the vehicle and was able to get the words, “Good evening,” out when, immediately, an attempt to murder our officer occurred,” Shaw said.
“Our officer tactically retreated. The suspect exited with a semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun and continued his deliberate, aggressive and premeditated attack in his attempt to murder our officers,” Shaw said. “An officer-involved shooting occurred as they attempted to defend their lives, and an exchange of gunfire in excess of 30 seconds occurred at that point.”
It was unclear how many shot were traded by the suspect and officers.
Garcia got back into his SUV and fled. West Covina police officers soon spotted the Escalade, initiating a chase that reached speeds of more than 100 mph before coming to an end in Fontana. Officers took Garcia, who had been wounded in the shootout, into custody with help from a West Covina police K-9.
0917_NWS_SGT-L-CHPFOLO-04The reason Garcia attacked the officers remained unclear, officials said. He had no outstanding arrest warrants, and the SUV he was driving was not stolen.
A second occupant was believed to be inside the Garcia’s SUV when officers first stopped it, but was not present when the chase conclusion. It was unclear exactly when and where the second occupant exited the vehicle. The search for the passenger continued Wednesday.
Serpas, a 40-year-old with six years experience with the CHP, was discharged from a hospital Tuesday and was resting at home, said Capt. Steve Urrea of the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office, where Serpas works.
Though he sustained wounds to his torso, head, neck and both arms, ‘He’s expected to make a full recovery,” Urrea said.
The injuries could have been worse if not for the officer’s bullet-proof vest, Urrea said.
CHP officials thanked West Covina police, other agencies and medical professions who assisted helped in the aftermath of the shooting.
“This part incident could have happened in any city in California. We were blessed to be there at the right time and have the opportunity to get involved and assist in apprehending the suspect.,” West Covina Police Chief David Faulkner said.
Faulkner also thanked the numerous other agencies who took part in the apprehension and arrest.
Garcia was ordered back to court Oct. 27 for a preliminary hearing setting, Risling said. Bail was set at $2.075 million.

PHOTOS: [TOP] – Alleged gunman John Garcia, 30, of Fontana opens fire on two CHP officers after being pulled over in West Covina on Friday, Sept. 11, 2014. (Courtesy of the CHP) [CENTER] – CHP Officer Felix Serpas approaches an SUV moments before being shot and wounded. (Courtesy of the CHP) [BELOW] – CHP shooting suspect John Alfred Garcia, 30, of Fontana. (Courtesy of the CHP)

 

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Ex-convict killed by SWAT team after taking hostages in Downey restaurant identified

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Coroner’s officials identified the armed carjacking suspect who was fatally shot by deputies inside a Downey restaurant following a car chase through several communities and taking hostages inside the eatery.
Eddie Tapia, 41, died at the scene after being shot by SWAT deputies at the conclusion of Thursday night’s standoff, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operation Ed Winter said. His city of residence was unknown.
Sheriff’s officials said the man took four people hostage inside the Chris’ & Pitt’s BBQ restaurant at 9243 Lakewood Blvd.
Related: Suspect shot and killed after chase, standoff
Deputies shot Tapia when he didn’t comply with orders to put down his weapon and “posed as an imminent threat to the hostages”, according to a sheriff’s department statement. The department didn’t say how many deputies were involved in the shooting.
• Video: Sheriff’s press conference
Four hostages were rescued, and the suspect’s handgun was recovered. Lt. Darren Harris said the hostages weren’t injured.
“He posed a great risk to the public, and deputies made a split-second decision,” Harris said,
…FULL STORY

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UPDATED: CHP officer shot in West Covina; suspect jailed in Fontana following chase


WEST COVINA >> A gunman shot and wounded a California Highway Patrol officer during a traffic stop in West Covina early Friday before being apprehended following a pursuit that ended in Fontana, authorities said.
The officer was hospitalized in stable condition following the 1:40 a.m. shooting along the Sunset Avenue offramp of the westbound 10 Freeway, CHP Officer Tony Polizzi said.
He had pulled over a Cadillac Escalade containing a man and woman.
“During the course of the traffic stop, one of the suspects shot and struck the officer,” Polizzi said.
The officer returned fire, he said. It was unclear whether either suspect was struck.
After wounding the officer, the suspects fled but were quickly spotted by West Covina police officers, Polizzi said.
Police chased the SUV on multiple freeways until the pursuit came to an end following a crash at Arrow Boulevard and Citrus Avenue in Fontana, where the alleged shooter was captured, officials said.
It was not immediately clear whether the woman who accompanied the suspect was also in custody. No further details were available.

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Man wounded in West Whittier deputy-involved shooting


WEST WHITTIER >> Deputies shot and wounded a man late Wednesday in a residential neighborhood just west of Whittier, officials said.
The shooting took place about 11:40 p.m. in the 12000 block of Rosehedge Drive, in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, Deputy Kelvin Moody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
“The suspect’s condition is unknown,” Moody said. “No deputies were injured.”
No further details were available early Thursday.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are spearheading the investigation.

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Man killed in West Covina police shooting identified

WEST COVINA >> Authorities Sunday released the identity of a West Covina man fatally shot by police after allegedly stabbing his brother, then charging at an officer with a knife.
Cesar A. Limon Juarez, 27, died at the scene of Friday’s 8:10 p.m. officer-involved shooting at Valley Boulevard and Nogales Street, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Betsy Magdaleno said.
He had just stabbed his brother at their apartment in the 4100 block of Sentous Avenue minutes earlier when a West Covina police officer confronted him on the street, Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
The officer shocked Juarez with a Taser as the suspect advanced on the officer with a large kitchen knife, Corina said. Juarez fell to the ground but got back up and again approached the officer with the knife still in-hand.
The officer opened fire, fatally wounding Juarez, officials said. No officers were hurt.

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UPDATED: West Covina police officer fatally shoots knife-wielding stabbing suspect

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WEST COVINA >> A West Covina police officer fatally shot a knife-wielding man who had just stabbed his brother late Friday, authorities said.
The officer-involved shooting took place about 8:10 p.m. in the area of Valley Boulevard and Nogales Street at the southern edge of the city, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The incident began 10 minutes earlier when police received a 9-1-1 call reporting a man had been stabbed at an apartment in the 4100 block of Sentous Avenue, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
“According to the victim, he and his brother, the suspect, live together in the same apartment,” Corina said. “His brother was trying to leave the apartment with a knife. When the victim tried to stop him the suspect stabbed him. The suspect then left the apartment walking.”
The stabbing victim was hospitalized with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
West Covina police officers found the suspect walking along Nogales Street, still armed with a large kitchen knife, Corina said.
“When the officer went to contact the suspect, the suspect closed in on him with the knife so the officer used his (Taser) on the suspect,” the lieutenant said. “The suspect went to the ground but got back up and advanced at the officer, again, with the knife in his hand. The officer then shot the suspect with his duty weapon.”
Paramedics pronounced the suspect dead at the scene. His name was withheld Saturday pending notification of his family.
No officers were hurt in the incident, officials said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is leading the investigation into the incident, as is common practice in shootings involving Los Angles County police agencies.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

PHOTO courtesy of https://instagram.com/evolwaysinc.xv/

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Suspect wounded in Azusa officer-involved shooting


AZUSA >> Police shot and wounded a suspect late Wednesday in a residential Azusa neighborhood, officials said.
The shooting took place about 11:40 p.m. in the 5400 block of N. Conwell Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Kyle Sanford said. Paramedics took one patient to a hospital in unknown condition.
No officers were hurt, officials said.
Police deferred further inquiries the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is spearheading the investigation, as is common practice in officer-involved shooting in the county. No further details were released.
The shooting was the second this week involving Azusa police officers.
An officer fatally shot a 24-year-old burglary suspect Sunday during a confrontation in the 400 block of East Lee Drive, officials said.

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Man fatally wounded in Azusa officer-involved shooting

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The 24-year-old man died at a hospital following the shooting, which took place just before 1 p.m. in the 400 block of E. Lee Drive, said Lt. Holly Francisco of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is leading the investigation. His name was not released.
“A family members called 9-1-1 stating one of their family members was acting insane and had injured himself,” Francisco said. “The call was updated that the suspect was breaking into a house nearby.”
“When officers got on scene, they found the suspect, who had broken into a house, and as they cleared the house, an officer-involved shooting did occur,’ Francisco said. No officers were hurt.
No gun was from the scene, Francisco said. Several items, such as tools, were found near the spot where the shooting occurred, but it was not clear whether they may have played a role in the incident.
0622_NWS_SGT-L-AZSHOOT2Further details regarding the shooting were not available Sunday, as investigators were yet to interview the involved officer, Francisco said.
Nearby resident Jesse Zarate, 76, said he saw a police officer shoot a bloody man who had broken into a neighbor’s home.
The officer confronted the man behind the home and ordered him to stop, Zarate said. The man responded “shoot me, shoot me” and continued running toward neighboring homes.
The officer fired three times, seemingly striking the man in the back, Zarate said. The man fell to the ground wounded.
“I don’t blame the police,” Zarate said. “What if he could have gotten out and hurt somebody else.”
0622_NWS_SGT-L-AZSHOOT3When police first encountered the suspect, “He was bloody. All the house was bloody,” Zarate said.
It was not clear if the blood was due to the injuries the suspect inflicted on himself at the outset of the incident, or due to the several windows in the home that had been smashed, Francisco said. The lieutenant declined to discuss exactly where on his body the suspect had been shot, but said he had not been shot in the back.
Distraught family members of the fatally wounded suspect gathered at the scene and consoled each other. They declined to comment.
The home that was broken into was empty at the time, officials and neighbors said. The residents returned to the neighborhood as the investigation continued. They also declined to comment.

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LAPD officers shoot armed domestic violence suspect in El Monte


EL MONTE >> Los Angeles police shot and critically wounded an armed domestic violence suspect in El Monte early Friday at the conclusion of a two-hour car chase that began in South Los Angeles, authorities said.
The wounded suspect was rushed into surgery and hospitalized in critical condition following the shooting, which took place about 5:30 a.m. at Valley Boulevard and Mountain View Road, Los Angeles police Lt. John Jenal said.
The incident began two hours earlier, when officers from the LAPD’s Southeast Division responded to a report of a domestic assault in the are of 96th Street and Firth Avenue, the lieutenant said. They encountered a victim with significant injuries, but the suspect had already left.
Officers spotted the suspect driving a white Toyota minivan nearby and began a pursuit when he failed to pull over, Jenal said.
The slow speed chase continued for about two hours, primarily on surface streets, Jenal said. “Officers saw him waving a weapon.”
Police used a spike strip to flatten the minivans wheels, but the suspect continued driving on the van’s rims.
He stopped the minivan and exited at Elliot Avenue and Cogswell Road, Jenal said. Police first shot at the man with a bean bag gun before opening fire with bullets, he said. The suspect, who was not struck by the gunfire, returned to the minivan and continued driving.
The minivan again came to a stop, apparently disabled, at Valley Boulevard and Mountain View Road.
“He put a blanket over him as he exited the van, to the point where you could not see his hands,” Jenal said. “Shortly thereafter, the blanket fell to the ground. In his hand, he brandished that same handgun, that’s when the officer-involved shooting occurred.”
Jenal said the suspect suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was in “very critical condition” at an intensive care unit. His identity was not available. He was initially described as about 30 years old.
Graphic video of the incident that emerged online showed the suspect brandishing a handgun in the moments before he was shot. The view of the suspect is obscured at the moment police open fire.
In the minutes leading up, police are seen on the video ordering the suspect to throw his gun out the window, stop his car and surrender.
At one point, the suspect tells police, “I don’t want to kill myself. I just want to drive.” He later tells an officer who orders him to stop his van, “I can’t. You don’t understand.”

CAUTION: GRAPHIC VIDEO

 

 

 

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Suspect shot by deputy following car chase in Azusa sentenced to prison

AZUSA >> A parolee shot and wounded by a deputy at the end of as short pursuit in Azusa last week has begun serving a four-year prison sentence after pleading “no contest” to charges connected to the incident Tuesday, officials said.
Paul Valenzuela, 30, suffered a gunshot wound to his shoulder in the June 4 deputy-involved shooting, Lt. Dave Coleman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Officials said at the time that he led deputies on a short chase before exiting his car brandishing a handgun.
At a Tuesday appearance in Pomona Superior Court, Valenzuela pleaded “no contest” to charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, ammunition possession by a convicted felon and evading police, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Valenzuela was already on parole for robbery, Coleman said.
He was immediately sentenced to four years in state prison, she said.

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