PASADENA >> A 75-year-old man turned himself in to police after striking and injuring a woman with his car and fleeing the scene on Friday afternoon, police said.
Carlos Sanchez of Los Angeles was ultimately booked on suspicion of felony hit-and-run in connection with the collision, which took place about 5 p.m. at Manzanita Avenue and Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
He struck the 51-year-old pedestrian with his vehicle and left the scene, the lieutenant said.
The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment of head injuries, he said. An update on her condition was not available.
As officers were still investigating the crash about two hours later, Sanchez showed up at the Pasadena Police Department.
“He was identified as the driver of the vehicle involved in the collision and was arrested without incident for felony hit and run,” Goodman said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Sanchez was released from custody Friday night pending his initial court appearance after posting $20,000 bail.
For more than a year, two former Long Beach police officers have made it their mission to honor each and every law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in the Unites States by outfitting each member of the officers’ departments with personalized black “mourning bands” to be worn over their badges as a sign of respect to their departed colleagues.
In a sight that’s become all too common in recent months, whenever a law enforcement officer falls in the line of duty, fellow officers traditionally don black mourning bands over their badges in tribute. HonorBands co-founder Laura Tartaglione of Monrovia said. The bands are generally nondescript, plain black bands of black elastic worn across the front of a badge.
Starting from their kitchens and working by hand, Tartaglione and partner Julia Walling of Los Alamitos set out to make sure that every fallen officer, deputy or trooper was honored with personalized mourning bands, featuring the badge number, name, or other personal aspects of the fallen officer, Tartaglione said. The home-based endeavor grew quickly, and Tartaglione and Walling soon rented out a space and equipment in Los Alamitos to create the more than 70,000 bands they’ve made since and sent throughout the country, free of charge, to honor fallen officers from coast to coast.
“This is our way of helping that department that’s crushed,” Tartaglione said. “It cannot bring an officer back, but this is a way to honor that man or woman one last time. It’s a beautiful tribute. It’s the last thing you get to do to honor that person.”
PASADENA >> Police arrested a parolee from Diamond Bar armed with a loaded handgun after he holed-up inside a Pasadena motel room on Wednesday night, officials said.
Jaime Garcia Jr., 28, was booked on suspicion of being a convicted felon in possession of a loaded handgun following his arrest about 10:15 p.m. at a motel in the 2000 block of East Colorado Boulevard, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officers first responded to the motel about 7:20 p.m. after staff reported a guest who had failed to pay his bill, refused to check and locked staff out of the motel room, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
When officers tried to speak with him, he closed the door on them as well, the lieutenant said.
After spending about an hour negotiating with the man for about an hour, officers persuaded him to surrender, Luna said.
Inside his motel room, police found a loaded handgun, he said. Garcia is on active parole for a prior robbery conviction.
Garcia was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.
PASADENA >> Police are seeking three men who pistol-whipped and robbed a woman in Pasadena on Saturday, officials said.
A 20-year-old Pasadena woman went to the 100 block of East Orange Grove Boulevard to meet a friend about 11:45 a.m., Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“Upon arrival, she was confronted by all three suspects,” he said.
One of the robbers pulled a handgun, ordered her out of her car and struck her in the back of the head with the pistol, according to the lieutenant.
The gunman then robbed the woman of her purse before one of the other two men rifled through her car and stole additional items, he said.
The woman’s cell phone was among the items stolen, Goodman said. Following the robber, she drove to a nearby store to call the police.
The victim did not wish to be taken to a hospital. Detailed suspect descriptions were not available.
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 man who drove to Pasadena to buy some jewelry after arranging a meeting with a prospective seller ended up being robbed at gunpoint, police said.
The crime unfolded about 10:15 a.m. after the victim, a 28-year-old Los Angeles man, arranged to sell some jewelry via the online marketplace, “OfferUp,” and met the purported buyer near Colorado Boulevard and Oakland Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said. A man and women met him.
“Upon meeting the suspects, one produces a handgun, the female, produced a handgun,” Goodman said.
Her male accomplice assaulted the victim and stole his money, as well as some jewelry he happened to be wearing, the lieutenant said. Police did not disclose the amount of money stolen. The victim declined to be taken to a hospital.
Police described the robbers a black woman between 21 and 23 years old, of thin build, with black hair and wearing dark gray clothes. The second robber was described only as a Latino man between 18 and 20.
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 >> An elderly woman continued recovering from serious burn injuries after accidentally set herself on fire while lighting a cigarette in front of a Pasadena grocery store on Thursday, police said.
The 78-year-old woman was initially hospitalized in critical condition following the apparent mishap, which took place about 4 p.m. outside of Vons in the Orangewood Center, 155 E. California Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said. An update on her condition was not available Saturday.
The woman and her husband arrived at the store in their car, the lieutenant said. The woman stayed in the car while her husband went inside to make some purchases.
While lighting a cigarette, “It appears she may have accidentally set her clothing on fire while seated in the vehicle,” Goodman said.
Witnesses noticed the fire and pulled the woman from the car before rescuers arrived, he added.
Paramedics rushed the woman to a hospital with “significant” burn injuries, Goodman said.
Police recovered a disposable cigarette lighter at the scene.
Though the incident appeared accidental, police and Pasadena fire officials still investigating, Goodman said. “There’s nothing to suggest there was any foul play.”
PASADENA >> Police arrested a man and teen following a brief pursuit in a stolen car, as well as the man’s brother, who they say interfered with the arrest on Friday, officials said.
Jose Ibarra, 19, of Pasadena and a teenage boy were booked on suspicion of auto theft, while Ibarra’s brother, Rafael Ibarra, was accused of resisting police with violence and resisting or obstructing police, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
The incident began about 1:25 p.m. when patrol officers received a notification from an automated license plate reader that a Ford Escape driving in the area of Penn Street and Garfield Avenue had been reported stolen, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
The driver, later identified as Jose Ibarra, refused to pull over, initiating a chase, he said.
The teenage passenger got out of the car and ran in the area of Howard Street and Fair Oaks Avenue, but was soon captured, the lieutenant said.
The driver of the Ford Escape continued until he reached Navarro Avenue, just south of Howard Street, where he pulled over near his home, Hettema said. As officers took the driver into custody, his older brother came outside and interfered with the arrest, Hettema said. Rafael Ibarra scuffled with officers before being arrested on suspicion of resisting police with violence and resisting or obstructing police. He was treated for a minor injury suffered in the scuffle before being booked into jail.
According to county booking records, Jose Ibarra was being held in lieu of $75,000 pending his initial court appearance, while Rafael Ibarra was being held in lieu of $51,000 bail.
PASADENA >> Police are seeking a man who they say robbed a teenage girl of a bottle of soda at knifepoint on Wednesday afternoon.
The crime took place about 5 p.m. at Lincoln Avenue and Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
The robber approached a teenage girl, grabber by the arm, brandished a knife and demanded her cell phone, Luna said.
When the girl refused to turn over her phone, the robber snatched a bottle of soda she was holding and ran away, according to the lieutenant.
He was last seen running west along Orange Grove Boulevard. The girl was not injured.
Police described the robber as a white or Latino man in his late-teens, about 5 feet 2 inches tall, of thin build, wearing a T-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241.
PASADENA >> Police on Sunday identified the six Pasadena police officers involved in subduing and arresting a man who ultimately died in police custody late last month, contradicting claims by the man’s family’s attorney that one of the involved officers was the same who was involved in the controversial police shooting of an unarmed 19-year-old man in 2012.
A wrongful death claim filed Friday against Pasadena police by attorney Caree Harper named two Pasadena police officers — Officer Mathew Griffin and Sgt. Aguilar, whose first name was not listed — as being involved in the arrest of Reginald Thomas Jr., 35, of Pasadena early on Sept. 29 at an apartment in the 200 block of East Orange Grove Blvd. Griffin was one of two officers who was involved in the March, 2012, shooting of Kendrec McDade.
But in a written statement issued Sunday, Pasadena police released the identities of six officers the department who “took part in the altercation” with Thomas. Neither of the two officers named in the wrongful death claim were present, according to police.
The involved officers were identified as: Officer Thomas Butler, Officer Robert Griffith, Officer Michael Orosco, Officer Phillip Poirer, Officer Raphael Santiago and Officer Aaron Villacana.
One of the two officers involved in the McDade shooting arrived on the scene after Thomas had already been detained, but it was Officer Jeffrey Newlen, not Mathew Griffin, police said.
“After Mr. Thomas had been restrained, Officer Jeffrey Newlen arrived at the location and assisted with CPR,” according to the police statement.
Pasadena Police Phillip Sanchez could not be reached for comment over the weekend.
Harper maintained her position.
“We stand behind several eye witness statements which place Officer Griffin and Sgt. Aguilar inside the apartment. We also stand behind the videotape clip that appears to be Griffin,” she said.
“Unless Chief Sanchez discloses the identity of the officer depicted in the photo and provides a specific denial that Griffin and Aguilar were not involved, we have no reason to question eyewitness’ account at this time,” she said.
Thomas died after being shocked with Tasers and taken into custody after confronting officer with a knife and a fire extinguisher, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives, who are spearheading the investigation into Thomas’ death. Police responded to calls from the home reporting that Thomas was armed with a knife, acting strangely and apparently under the influence of drugs.
Harper alleges that police punched, kicked and struck Thomas in the head and upper body with batons and “hogtied” him before he stopped breathing, causing his death. Thomas officials cause of death has not been released by coroner’s investigators, and details of the coroner’s investigation are being withheld due to a “security hold” placed on the normally public information by sheriff’s investigators.
Sheriff’s investigators said Thomas was not beaten, and that although his wrists were handcuffed and his ankled tied together, he was never hogtied with his wrists and ankles linked.
Police also disputed the allegation set forth in the wrongful death claim that police delayed providing CPR to Thomas, as well as calling in paramedics to help.
“Upon restraining Mr. Thomas, the officers observed him not breathing, at which time, they immediately began CPR and life-saving measures,” according to the police statement.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are investigating the in-custody death, along with simultaneous investigations by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner and Pasadena police administrators.
*UPDATED with comment from attorney Caree Harper
PASADENA >> The attorney representing the family of a man who died in police custody after being subdued with the use of Tasers in Pasadena late last month has filed a wrongful death claim against the city and its police department. One of the involved officers is identified by the attorney as one of two involved in the controversial shooting of an unarmed 19-year-old black man in 2012.
Reginald Thomas Jr. 35, died early Sept. 29 after police used Tasers on him and wrestled into custody at an apartment complex after he confronted officers while armed with a large knife and a fire extinguisher, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials, who are spearheading the investigation into Thomas’ death.
In a claim seeking unspecific damages filed Friday, attorney Caree Harper accused Pasadena police of wrongdoing and negligence resulting in Thomas’ death.
While the officers involved in the incident have not been officially identified, Harper asserted that one of them was Officer Mathew Griffin, one of two officers involved in the fatal shooting of Kendrec McDade, 19, of Azusa in March of 2012. A second officer, Sgt. Aguilar, is named in the claim by rank and last name only.
Harper represented McDade’s mother in a civil suit against Pasadena, which ultimately resulted in a $1 million payment by Pasadena to settle two wrongful death suits, filed separately by McDade’s mother and father.
In Thomas’ case, the conduct of city employees “constitutes federal and State constitutional violations, which include wrongful death, assault, battery, false imprisonment, negligence, negligent hiring, negligent training, negligent retention, specifically as to Officer Mathew Griffin, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and civil code violations,” according to the claim.
Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Once Thomas was handcuffed, as well as bound at the ankles, officials noticed he stopped breathing, authorities said. The father of eight was pronounced dead at the scene.
An officials cause of death has yet to be determined pending the result of toxicology tests, officials said. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner’s findings thus far are being withheld by sheriff’s investigators, citing the ongoing investigation.
The account of events asserted by Thomas’ family differs from that of police and sheriff’s investigators.
The claim alleges Thomas himself initially called 911 for help while having a “medical crisis,” according to the claim.
But sheriff’s officials released an audio recording of the three 911 calls received by Pasadena police related to the incident that don’t include Thomas’ voice. Rather, a family member is heard urging police to respond quickly, as Thomas was armed with knife and acting strange while apparently under the influence of some sort of drug. A second person is heard in the background also urging police to hurry up.
Two additional calls were received by Pasadena police, but both times the caller hung up without saying anything, Lt. Mike Rosson of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. Rosson said the released recording represents all phone contact between Thomas’ family and Pasadena police, edited only to remove long pauses and personal information.
Sheriff’s officials also released grainy footage taken from a motion-activated apartment complex surveillance camera, but details are not visible in the low-quality video.
While police and sheriff’s officials have said Thomas was armed with a fire extinguisher and a large knife when confronted by officers, Harper noted in her filing that the knife was not in-hand. “It was located under his armpit.”
Both police and Harper agreed that officers used Tasers to force Thomas to drop the items.
Rosson said the arrest that followed was more akin to a wrestling match than a “knock-down, drag-out fight” involving blows. There was no indication that officer struck him with batons or beat him, the lieutenant said. After being handcuffed and tied at the ankles, but not “hogtied” with his ankles and wrists tied together, Thomas became unconscious and died.
But the claim filed by the family alleges officers used excessive force on Thomas after the Taser shocks knocked him tot he ground.
“Three additional Pasadena Police units, including Mathew Griffin an Sgt. Aguilar, arrived and violently battered Mr. Thomas,” according to the claim. “The officers ‘piled on’ and used violent physical force to restrain and hogtie him although he never kicked or attempted to kick anyone.”
“The force used consisted of but is not limited to kicks to the decedent’s upper torso and head; and baton strikes to that same area,” the claim continues. “At the time of the beating, Mr. Thomas screamed in pain and went limp. This occurred in front of multiple eye-witnesses.”
The claim also accuses officials of delaying CPR and other first-aid measures, as well as a delay in calling paramedics.
And the family accused the Pasadena Fire Department of allowing Thomas to die at the scene.
Pasadena Fire Department firefighters and paramedics, “strolled into the apartment as though strolling through the park,” according to the document. “Firefighters/Paramedics were negligent when they failed to sustain CPR, continue life saving measures and transport Mr. Thomas to the closest medical facility where trained physicians could continue to attempt to revive him.”
About 200 demonstrators marched through Pasadena on the night of Thomas’ death, decrying Thomas’ death as a murder and demanding justice.
By law, the city and police department have 30 days in which to file a response to the claim.