PASADENA >> A woman asked a man for dollar and then robbed him of his backpack when he tried to grant her request outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Friday night, authorities said.
A 54-year-old Monrovia man was walking around the stadium, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, just before 8:30 p.m. when a woman on a bicycle stopped to talk to him, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“The suspect asked the victim of he had a dollar to spare,” the lieutenant said.
The man was willing to help, but the woman apparently was not satisfied with his generosity.
“When the victim opened his backpack, the suspect grabbed the backpack out of the victim’s hands and fled on her bicycle,” the lieutenant said.
A good Samaritan followed the woman in a car and called 911, he said. Officers soon found the suspected robber, arrested her and recovered the victim’s backpack.
Goodman said Lucy Bermudez, 28, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of robbery. According to county booking records, she was being held in lieu of $76,000 bail pending her initial court appearance.
PASADENA >> A gunman carjacked a Fontana man of his rental car in a residential neighborhood in Pasadena on Friday afternoon, police said.
The victim, a 23-year-old man, was sitting in the rented car at Hurlbut Street and Jane Place about 4:25 p.m. when the carjacker approached on foot and brandished a handgun, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“The suspect demanded the victim exit the vehicle. The victim got out of the vehicle, at which time the suspect got in and drove away,” according to Goodman.
The stolen car was a cream-colored, 2017 Hyundai Accent. Police described the carjacker as a black man of unknown age, about 6 feet tall, of thin build, with dreadlocks in his hair and wearing all black clothing.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> Police and FBI officials released surveillance video on Friday depicting a man suspected off tossing a homemade explosive device into a crowded Pasadena Cheesecake Factory restaurant last month and offered a $20,000 reward for information in the case.
No one was hurt during the bizarre incident, which took place just after 6 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the restaurant at 2 W. Colorado Blvd. But the unexplained attack left nerves on edge, and investigators continue seeking the man responsible.
The FBI offered a $20,000 reward for information leading the arrest of the person or people responsible for the incident, said Deidre Fike, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.
Investigators have been gathering clues, interviewing witnesses and following leads since Feb. 2, but the case remains unsolved.
“As we have exhausted those leads, the FBI is offering a reward up to $20,000 for any information that leads to tips and information that identifies the individual or group involved in this act,” Fike said.
To that end, authorities released surveillance camera video footage from a Ralph’s grocery store at 320 W. Colorado Blvd., where Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said the suspect went immediately after the “homemade pyrotechnic device” was tossed into the restaurant. The footage shows a bearded man with a pigeon-toed gate walking through the store.
The video, “captured images of the suspect wearing a white T-shirt and carrying dark clothing, originally worn at the time of the incident,” Sanchez said.
The suspect is later seen discarding the black item of clothing in a trash can. The garment was not recovered, Sanchez said.
Police have described the suspect as a possibly Latino or Middle Eastern man of about 6 feet tall, with a heavy beard, wearing all-black clothing.
Sanchez said investigators had conducted surveillance on another man who turned out not to be involved.
Officials declined to describe the recovered explosive device in detail. It was unclear whether it had detonated to its full potential, or malfunctioned. The device caused only minor damage inside the restaurant.
Mayor Terry Tornek previously said the device was more akin to a firecracker than a bomb.
And the intent of the man who lobbed the device also remains unknown.
“The truth of the matter is we don’t know, and our evidence will take us where we need to be. If it was an elaborate prank, that’s what the evidence will show. If it was something greater than that, we have extraordinary investigators in the FBI and the Pasadena Police Department.”
Between the reward and the clear video footage, Fike said investigators were optimistic that new information will come to light.
“We believe that once this video is released, it will lead to tips coming in that will support the investigation, she said.
“Until we really identify who the individual is, determine the motive for this action and have an opportunity to interview him and any associates, we really don’t know,’ Fike said.
“We have no reason right now, we have no evidence to believe it was a terrorist attack. But again, we do not know the motive, and that’s why we’re reaching out to the community,” she said.
Once the suspect has been identified and interviewed, “We’ll follow the facts from there.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles tip line at 800-225-5324. Tipsters can remain anonymous, Fike said.
PASADENA >> Police released a composite sketch of one of four men sought in connection with a January shooting that left two men dead and two other victims wounded during a vigil for a previous homicide victim in Pasadena.
Antoine Dewayne Sutphen Jr. and Ormani Dajan Duncan, both 24 and from Pasadena, died in the barrage of gunfire that erupted just before midnight on Jan. 6 at Fair Oaks Avenue and Claremont Street, according to Pasadena police and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
The victims had gathered for a vigil in memory of 25-year-old Brandon Douglas of Pasadena, who was gunned down on the same corner on Dec. 22.
The shooting involved four attackers, according to Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo. Investigators received conflicting reports of whether the men fired from inside a passing vehicle or exited their car before opening fire.
Police released descriptions of the suspect earlier this week in hopes of generating tips from the public, the lieutenant said. The plan worked.
“Since our most recent request for assistance, witnesses have come forward and provided further information, resulting in a composite sketch of one suspect,” Carrillo said.
Witnesses have described the killers as four black men. One was 20 to 25 years old, of dark complexion, 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall, between 210 and 220 pounds, police said.
The other three suspects were all described as 25 to 30 years old. One was 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall and 240 to 250 pounds and of dark complexion. The third was 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 210 to 220 pounds and of medium complexion. The final suspect was 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 1 inch tall, 180 to 190 pounds and of light complexion.
No description of the attackers’ car was available.
Investigators hoped more witnesses are yet to come forward with vital information that may help them solve the double-slaying, Carrillo said.
In addition to the two Pasadena man who lost their lives in the Jan. 6 shooting, a 24-year-old woman was critically injured and a 25-year-old man suffered non-life-threatening wounds.
The bloodshed continued the following afternoon, when another shooting erupted at the same street corner, police said. A 25-year-old man was shot in the thigh.
Investigators have said it appears the shooting, as well as others in the region since, are the result of an escalating rivalry between gangs in the Pasadena, Monrovia, Duarte and Pomona areas.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police homicide detectives at 626-744-4511. The department can be reached 24 hours a day at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SKETCH courtesy of the Pasadena Police Department/Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. PHOTO: Outside Kings Villages in Pasadena a candle is lit on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 by friends of Ormoni Duncan who was fatally shot along with Antoine Sutphen, Jr., in a shooting that also left two other victims wounded on Friday night. The victims were headed to a vigil for Brandon Douglas who was killed on Dec. 22, 2016. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)
PASADENA >> A man stabbed and wounded two homeless men in Pasadena on Saturday night, officials said.
Police jailed Alejandro Dunnick, 46, of Pasadena on suspicion of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon immediately following the double-stabbing, which took place about 8:30 p.m. at Lake Avenue and Villa Street, according to Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman.
“Officers were dispatched to the area on report of several males fighting,” he said. “On arrival, two victims were found with injuries to their legs. One of the victim was also found to have sustained an injury to his abdomen.”
Officers detained Dunnick at the scene and found he had a folding knife, Goodman said.
One of the victims, a 50-year-old homeless man, was treated at the scene for cuts to his abdomen and one of his legs. The second victim, a 60-year-old homeless man, was taken to a hospital with a puncture wound to one of his legs.
The stabbing followed a long-running dispute between Dunnick and the victims, Goodman added.
“The victims stated that the suspect has confronted them regularly over the past several years because they are homeless,” he said.
PASADENA >> Police are seeking a senior citizen who robbed a Pasadena 99 Cents Only Store on Friday night.
The crime took place just after 8 p.m. at the store, 1720 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
A 20-year-old woman was working at a register when the robber made his move, the lieutenant said.
“The suspect grabbed money from the register while the victim had the drawer open making change for a customer,” he said. “When the victim tried to push the suspect away, he told her he was in possession of a handgun. No gun was seen.”
The robber got into an older-model, beige minivan and drove east away from the store, Goodman said. He was described as a white man between 60 and 70 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 215 pounds, wearing a white baseball cap, a white shirt and green-and-brown shorts.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> Three men with guns robbed another man as he walked home early Saturday, authorities said.
Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said the robbery unfolded about 2 a.m. as the victim, a 19-year-old man, was walking at Raymond Avenue and Villa Street.
“The victim was walking home when he was approached by the suspects, all of whom were reportedly armed with handguns,” according to Goodman. “The suspects demanded he victim’s money and he complied.” The victim was not hurt.
All three robbers got into a four-door sedan, which was last seen heading north.
They were described as a black man of about 19 years old, 6 feet 6 inches tall, 200 pounds, with a black shirt and dark blue pants; a black man of about 20, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 170 pounds, wearing a black shirt and dark blue pants; and a Latino man of about 27, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 165 pounds, wearing a black shirt and dark blue pants.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> A SWAT team detained a despondent woman who showed up at the Pasadena Police Department Thursday afternoon claiming to have a gun following a standoff that lasted for about more than an hour, authorities said.
The incident began shortly after 5:30 p.m. at the police station, 207 Garfield Ave., Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
SWAT officers on foot and in an armored vehicle approached the woman with guns drawn at the beginning of the standoff.
The woman claimed to have a gun, but none was seen, Pasadena police Sgt. Anthony Burgess said. The woman said she was feeling suicidal.
Officials locked down the nearby Pasadena Public Library, as well as City Hall and the courthouse, during the standoff.
Pasadena police Homeless Outreach-Psychiatric Evaluation Team members, as well as crisis negotiators, attempted to persuade the woman to surrender to police and accept help.
As darkness began to fall and the woman remained uncooperative, police shot her with less-lethal bean bag rounds and took her into custody without further incident, Lt. Tracey Ibarra said. No weapon was ultimately found.
She was taken to a hospital for examination, and was expected to be taken for psychiatric evaluation.
“The officers did an exceptional job,” Ibarra said
PHOTOS by Sarah Reingewirtz
PASADENA >> A man and woman accused of murder in connection with the fatal 1997 shooting of an 18-year-old man in Altadena are free after being acquitted by a jury on Tuesday, authorities said.
A Burbank Superior Court jury deliberated for six days before finding Darryl Johnson, also known as Darryl Lamont Callum, 42, of Pasadena and Dominique Raquel Evans, 44, of Pasadena not guilty of the murder of Johnis Jackson of Altadena at Fair Oaks Avenue and Harriet Street, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials and Superior Court records.
The two defendants, who were dating at the time of the killing, were arrested in May of 2013, more than a decade after the case had grown cold.
The current relationship between the acquitted defendants was not clear, though investigators have said they have children together.
Sheriff’s detectives and prosecutors alleged that Johnson was a member of the Bloods gang at the time of the deadly, Detective Michael Rodriguez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Cold Case Unit said shortly after the arrests.
Johnson and Evans had been at a party at Loma Alta Park in Altadena when an argument broke out between one of Johnson’s gang affiliates and Evans, the detective said. Evans accused the other man of stealing CDS, and the man slapped her.
Evans was heard making threats and left the park, accompanied by several other women.
Less than half-an-hour later, Jackson, who had tried to calm down the situation and offered to buy Evans new CDs, was gunned down as he walked to his car. He was described by authorities as a member of the Crips gang.
Rodriguez said investigators long suspect the defendants were involved, but did develop sufficient evidence to support arrests and charges until new leads were developed in 2013, Rodriguez said. Deputies obtained arrest warrants for Johnson and Evans on May 21, 2013, during separate traffic stops in Pasadena.
Following their acquittals, Johnson and Evans were released from custody Tuesday afternoon, records show.
PASADENA >> A man who fatally shot another man in Pasadena in 2011, and then was mistakenly released from jail while awaiting trial before being recaptured in Nevada, received a sentence of more than seven decades in prison this week, officials said.
Steven Lawrence Wright, 38, began serving his 75-year-to-life state prison term Monday following his sentencing in the Burbank Branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago.
A jury convicted him in November of murder for the Jan 19, 2011, fatal shooting of Donnell Taylor of Pasadena in the 1700 block of Summit Avenue. He was also convicted of attempted murder in December of 2015 for another attack that took place on March 15, 2011, according to court records.
Co-defendant Vernon Fisher, 44, of Altadena, pleaded “no contest” in November to a manslaughter charge for Taylor’s slaying, court records show. He was subsequently sentenced to 82 years to life in state prison.
Police alleged both Wright and Fisher were members of the Altadena Blocc Crips, though Taylor was not believed to be a gang member.
Officials at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office did not return requests for information on the case.
As Wright was awaiting trial for Taylor’s murder when he was mistakenly set free on Jan. 30, 2016, due to a paperwork error, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and court officials.
After refusing to cooperate as a witness in another trial, a judge held Wright in contempt and sent him to jail for five days.
But paperwork submitted by the court indicated Wright was to be released outright once he’d served his time for contempt of court, sheriff’s Commander Keith Swensson said at the time. Sheriff’s officials failed to catch the error and released Wright from custody, despite the pending murder case.
He remained a fugitive for nine days until he was found and recaptured at a motel in Boulder City, Nevada, on Feb. 8, 2016.
Wright’s case was unusual, but not entirely unique.
Another killer was also mistakenly released from Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, administered by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department just over three years earlier.
Johnny Mata of El Monte was awaiting trial for the murder for the Christmas Eve 2010 fatal shooting of David Anthony Deanda, 34, of Baldwin Park, on Christmas Eve, 2010, as well as a second nonfatal shooting in Baldwin Park 2012, when he was mistakenly released from custody.
Mata was recaptured a little over a year later in Mexico. He has since been sentenced to life, plus 111 years, in state prison.
PHOTO: Steven L. Wright (Courtesy)