Celebratory gunfire strikes swimming pool as man and daughter swim in Azusa, moving car in Pasadena


At least three people narrowly avoided injury in recent days after “celebratory gunfire” struck an Azusa swimming pool where a father and daughter were swimming on Tuesday evening, then another struck a moving car in Pasadena on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
A bullet apparently fired in celebration struck an above-ground swimming pool in the 200 block of East Roland Street as a man and his daughter were swimming in it between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Independence Day, according to Azusa police Officer Mike Bires.
*Video: Azusa police discuss swimming pool shooting
Neither the man nor the girl, who was approximately 8 years old, were hurt, he said.
“This is why you do not shoot a firearm up into the sky during celebrations, like 4th of July or New Year’s Eve,” Bires said.
“A father and his daughter were in the pool yesterday for 4th of July,” the officer said. “If the had bullet struck the child or the father, someone would have innocently been murdered on a holiday… Why? It’s not worth it. Just don’t do it.
The homeowner did not realized what had happened until the next day, Bires said. The man was looking for the cause of a leak on Wednesday when he discovered the 9mm or .40-caliber bullet at the bottom of the pool.
In another incident blamed on celebratory gunfire, a woman was “shaken up” but uninjured after her car was struck by a falling bullet fire up into the air in Pasadena on Wednesday afternoon, police said.
The incident took place just after 5:45 p.m. as the woman was driving her Nissan Altima along the 800 block of Magnolia Street, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
A 9mm bullet plummeted from the sky and struck the roof of the car, the lieutenant said. The driver thought they were being attacked, before officers ultimately pieced together what had taken place.
The bullet dented the car’s roof and punched a small hole, but did not manage to penetrate through the body of the car, Hettema said. Police found the projectile sitting atop the car.
There was no sign of where the gunshot originated, he said. Bullets fired skyward can easily travel more than a mile before falling back to earth.

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Woman’s car struck by falling bullet in Pasadena


PASADENA >> A woman was “shaken up” but uninjured after her car was struck by a falling bullet fire up into the air in Pasadena on Wednesday afternoon, police said.
The incident took place just after 5:45 p.m. as the woman was driving her Nissan Altima along the 800 block of Magnolia Street, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
A 9mm bullet plummeted from the sky and struck the roof of the car, the lieutenant said. The driver thought they were being attacked, before officers ultimately pieced together what had taken place.
The bullet dented the car’s roof and punched a small hole, but did not manage to penetrate through the body of the car, Hettema said. Police found the projectile sitting atop the car.
There was no sign of where the gunshot originated, he said. Bullets fired skyward can easily travel more than a mile before falling back to earth.

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Fire at Pasadena community center blamed on fireworks, labeled arson


PASADENA >> Police are seeking man and woman who tossed a firework into brush in front of the Villa Parke Community Center in Pasadena on Independence Day, scorching several hundred square feet of shrubbery, singing the building and causing a natural gas leak, officials said.
The fire ignited just before 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday in the planters in front of the community center at 363 E. Villa Street, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
“Some witnesses saw two people come up and throw a firework into the area,” the lieutenant said. They were described only as a Latino man and woman in their 30s. The woman was wearing a white dress.
The fire spread through the shrub-filled planters in front of the community center and made its way up against the building, causing minor damage, Hettema said. The fire damaged a natural gas regular, sending the flammable gas seeping into the air.
Firefighters made quick work of the fire and prevented serious damage to the structure, a city-owned facility used often for community events and programs, officials said.
Several palm tree fires in the city on Tuesday were also suspected to be the result of illegal fireworks, Hettema said.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241.

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Motorcyclist seriously injured in Pasadena crash

PASADENA >> A motorcyclist suffered major injuries when he collided with an SUV along Lake Avenue in Pasadena on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
The crash took place just before 1:50 p.m. at Lake Avenue and Green Street, Pasadena police Lt. Javier Aguilar said.
Initial investigation indicated the motorcyclist was heading north on Lake Avenue when he went through a red light and collided broadside with an SUV travelling east on Green Street, the lieutenant said.
Paramedics took the motorcyclist, described only as a man, to a hospital with serious injuries, he said. He was expected to survive.
No one inside the SUV was injured.

PHOTO by Ryan Fonseca

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UPDATED: Man killed in La Mirada car-to-car shooting


LA MIRADA >> A man died after he was shot while driving in La Mirada late Friday, authorities said.
The deadly car-to-car shooting was reported about 8:30 p.m. in the 14100 block of Mansa Drive, just west of Valley View Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The identity of the victim, described as a 29-year-old man, was not released Saturday.
“Homicide Bureau investigators believe the victim was driving north on Parise Drive, turning onto Mansa Drive, while the suspect’s vehicle turned south on Parise Drive from Mansa Drive,” Deputy Trina Schrader of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. “As the two vehicles were passing each other, gunshots were fired from the suspect’s vehicle into the victim’s vehicle.”
Officials said the victim’s car continued traveling east and struck the attached garage of a home along Mansa Drive. No one at the home was hurt.
Paramedics took the wounded man to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 9:09 p.m., coroner’s records show. He had been shot in the “upper torso,” Schrader said.
The attacker or attackers fled south on Parise Drive, then west on Lynmark Street and out of sight in a light-colored vehicle, she said. No further description was available.
The motive in the attack was unclear. No further details were available.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Suicide suspected after teen falls from Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena


PASADENA >> Suicide is suspected after a teenage girl plummeted to her death from the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena on Friday afternoon, officials said.
The incident was first reported about 2:45 p.m. on the bridge spanning the Arroyo Seco, Pasadena police Lt. Javier Aguilar said.
Witnesses first reported seeing a young woman who appeared as though she was preparing to leap from the bridge, he said. Callers then reported the person had plummeted from the 144-foot-tall structure.
Paramedics pronounced the teenage girl dead at the scene.
Coroner’s officials will conduct a death investigation, however, foul play was not initially suspected, Aguilar said.

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Father of missing South Pasadena boy arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of murder

SOUTH PASADENA >> Detectives on Friday arrested the father of a 5-year-old South Pasadena boy, who’s been missing for two months, on suspicion of the child’s murder, authorities said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau detectives arrested 35-year-old Aramazd Andressian Sr. of South Pasadena about 1 p.m. in Las Vegas on suspicion of the murder Aramzd Andressian Jr., whose been missing since April 22, according to Deputy Grace Medrano of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The arrest followed a murder charge filed against Andressian Sr. by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
“After reviewing all of the evidence in this case, homicide investigators presented the facts to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and obtained a murder filing against the suspect,” Medrano said in a written statement.
“The suspect was booked at Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department with a bail of $10 million and will return to Los Angeles County pending the extradition process,” she said.
Detectives were assisted in the arrest by the sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau Fugitive Taskforce, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Taskforce of the United States Marshals Service, she said.
Andressian Jr. was reported missing by his mother on April 22. He was last seen the day before while with his father, who failed to turn over the child to his mother for a scheduled custody exchange.
Andressian Sr., was found unconscious on April 22 near his car, which was parked at the Arroyo Seco Park in South Pasadena. The vehicle was doused in gasoline and there was a rag sticking out of the gas tank.
He told police he had taken prescription pills that belonged to someone else and did not know what had happened to his son.
A massive search for the missing boy ensued in the following weeks, with officials and volunteers scouring every place the man and son were known to have visited, including the Arroyo Seco Park and the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area in Santa Barbara County.
Andressian Jr.’s remains have not been discovered, sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
Attorney Daniel Nardoni, who is representing Andressian Sr., said he was surprised to learn of the murder charge Friday afternoon.
“I’m shocked and surprised, particularly when you have someone, a client, who’s adamant that he does not know the whereabouts of his son, nor did he do anything to harm him,” Nardoni said.
The lawyer said he spoke with Andressian Sr. and advised him to waive extradition proceedings to speed up the legal process. Andressian Sr. was expected to appear in court in Nevada early next week.
No further details were released Friday regarding the arrest of Andressian Sr. Officials planned to discuss the case in more detail at a scheduled press conference on Monday.
Anyone with information on the case 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.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Man caught with duffel bag full of weaponry at Pasadena Gold Line station denies charges

PASADENA >> A Georgia man arrested with an assault rifle, a pistol, silencers, ammunition and a machete after he was caught urinating in public at a Pasadena Gold Line station earlier this week pleaded not guilty to a series of criminal charged on Friday, authorities said.
Prosecutors charged Christopher Harrison Goodine, 28, with two counts of possession of a silencer, two counts of possession of a high-capacity magazine, one count of possession of an assault weapon and one count of carrying a loaded, unregistered handgun, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
He denied the charges and was ordered back to the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court for a hearing on July 10, officials said.
Sheriff’s deputies first approached Goodine about 9 a.m. Wednesday after seeing him urinating in a planter outside the Sierra Madre Villa Metro Gold Line Station, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
A search of a duffel bag he was carrying revealed an AR-15-style rifle equipped with a silencer and 30-round magazines, a .40-caliber pistol fitted with a silencer and a high-capacity magazine, extra ammunition and a large machete.
It was unclear why he was carrying the weapons, or what he may have intended to do with them.
If convicted as charged, Goodine faces up to six years and four months in county jail, Ardalani said.
Goodine was initially being held in lieu of $10,000 bail, county booking records show. Prosecutors said they planned to seek an increase in bail to $1 million.

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Man caught urinating at Pasadena Gold Line station found with guns, machete

PASADENA >> What began as an investigation into public urination at a Pasadena Gold Line station on Wednesday led deputies to seize two guns, high-capacity magazines, suppressors and a machete from the suspect’s duffel bag, authorities said.
Deputies first approached a man about 9 a.m. after spotting a man relieving himself in a planter along the sidewalk outside the Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line Station at Madre Street and Foothill Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The deputies confronted the man about the offense, and the suspect provided them with what turned out to be a false name, according to Deputy Katherine Zubo of the sheriff’s Transit Policing Division, who took part in the arrest. The man was carrying a duffel bag with him.
A search of the suspect’s bag turned up a loaded AR-15-style rifle, fitted wit with two 30-round magazines and a suppressor, as well as a .40-caliber pistol with a high-capacity magazine and a suppressor and a large machete-style knife, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said. The bag also contained a notebook full of writings and a Bible. He was booked for weapons violations.
“Marking on the handgun specified its use for restricted law enforcement or government only,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Investigators said they had not determined what the suspect, identified as 28-year-old Christopher Harrison Goodine of Union City, Georgia, may have ultimately intended to do with the weaponry.
“There is no intelligence to indicate there is a nexus to terrorism,” the sheriff’s said.
But he noted that any time a person is walking around with this type of armament in a duffel bag, “The outcome would not have been good no matter what he was going to do,” McDonnell said.
Goodine was believed to have boarded a train in Chinatown before exiting at the Sierra Madre Villa Station in Pasadena and encountering deputies, Zubo said.
Other than the public urination, Zubo said Goodine was not doing anything that would have attracted attention.
The deputy said she was glad she and her colleagues found the weapons before they became involved in a tragedy.
“Upon finding the bags, honestly, the first thing I felt was relief, because we got to this stuff first,” Zubo said.
McDonnell praised the actions of the involved deputies.
“Their proactive actions are commendable,” he said.
According to news reports and records, a man of the same name and birth month has faced similar allegations on the East Coast.
A Christopher Harrison Goodine, then-26 and a resident of New Rochelle, New York, was arrested in November of 2015 after trying to sneak into the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City while wearing body armor and carrying an empty gun holster and a ski mask, according to the New York Daily News. He told police at the time he wanted to take a shower. Information regarding the ultimate outcome of the case was not available Wednesday.
Records show the same man jailed in connection with the New York incident has multiple convictions around the country, including carrying a concealed weapon in Virginia in 2012, obstructing justice by force or threat in in Virginia in 2012 and obstructing police in Georgia in 2013. Records also show arrested in Florida and Washington, D.C.
Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said officials could not confirm whether the suspect arrested in Los Angeles County was the same man previously arrested on the East Coast.
According to county booking records, Goodine was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Friday in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

— Staff writer Larry Altman contributed to this report.

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Man gets two life terms in prison for double-fatal Pasadena boarding house arson

PASADENA >> A man received two life prison terms, plus an additional 14 years behind bars, on Wednesday for a 2012 arson fire at a Pasadena boarding home that left two of his roommates dead, authorities said.
Garth Allen Robbins, 54, will spend the rest of his life in state prison after receiving his sentence from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stan Blumenfeld at the court’s Pasadena branch, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s spokesman Greg Risling.
A Pasadena jury convicted him in April of two counts of first-degree murder, one count of arson causing great bodily injury and one count of arson of an inhabited structure for the Nov. 1, 2012, arson at the illegal boarding home at 1385 El Sereno Ave. The jury also found true the special allegations of multiple murder and murder during the commission of an arson.
Robbins was staying at the boarding home along with 17 other residents, who were asleep inside when he lit the three-story house on fire during the early-morning hours.
“Evidence presented at trial showed that Robbins started the fire at about 2 a.m. when 17 others were asleep inside the house,” Risling said in a written statement. “He doused his room with gasoline and set it ablaze.”
Residents Cliff Juan Clark, 56, and Paul Richard Boyd, 75, died in the fire, coroner’s officials said. Another 65-year-old resident of the boarding home suffered severe injuries, but survived.
At Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, “Robbins was sentenced to two consecutive sentences of life without the possibility of parole, plus an additional 14 years,” Risling said.
The motive in the deadly arson was never fully explained, officials said.
Robbins stated during the trial process that, “he wanted his life to go away,” but there was no indication that he was angry with his roommates, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
The owner of the boarding home subsequently pleaded guilty to 23 Pasadena city ordinance violations. She was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $6,200 in fines.

PHOTO: Garth Allen Robbins, 54, was convicted of two counts of murder and two counts of arson on Friday, April 7, 2017, for a Nov. 1, 2012, arson fire at a Pasadena boarding home that left two men dead and another badly burned. Robbins is pictured during his preliminary hearing Tuesday, June 18, 2013, in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court. File Photo

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