PASADENA >> A group of juvenile attacker including a child believed to be as young as 10 beat and robbed a 14-year-old boy near Pintoresca Park late Tuesday, police said.
The incident unfolded shortly before 9 p.m. as the teenage victim was riding his bike near La Pintoresca Park, along Washington Boulevard near Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
Another teenage boy of about the same age riding a scooter began chasing the victim, the lieutenant said. When the victim reached Washington Boulevard and Los Robles Avenue, his pursuer rammed him with the scooter, knocking the victim off his bicycle.
Another four or so boys, including one described as about 10 years old, appeared, Goodman said. “They all began assaulting the victim.”
The teenage victim suffered bruising to his eye and injuries to a finger, but declined to be taken to a hospital, police said.
Goodman said the young suspects fled, one of them on the victim’s bicycle. Police searched the area but didn’t find them.
The scooter-riding suspect who first approached the victim made mention of a local street gang, he said.
COMPTON >> A pilot died when a small airplane crashed Sunday afternoon at Compton-Woodley Airport, authorities said.
The fatal crash took place about 12:35 p.m. at the airport, 901 W. Alondra Blvd., Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials confirmed the pilot died in the crash.
“A banner-towing aircraft crashed while picking up a banner at the Compton airport,” Gregor said.
The pilot was the only person on board the craft, described as single-engine Aviat A-1, he added.
There were no initial reports of any other injuries, sheriff’s officials said.
Compton Fire Department firefighters responded to the crash, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said. Deputies secured the scene and summoned officials from the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board to handle the investigation.
Images from the scene showed the airplane engulfed in flames.
The plane was registered to Cheyenne, Wyoming-based Wyoming Services LLC, according to F.A.A. records. It was manufactured in 1995 and had a valid flight status.
POMONA >> Pomona police shot and wounded an armed man along Center Street late Friday, officials said.
The shooting took place about 10:40 p.m. in the 300 block of East Center Street, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
“One male adult suspect was wounded and transported to a local hospital. His condition is unknown at this time,” Schrader said. No officers were hurt in the incident.
The wounded suspect was armed with a gun, Pomona Deputy Police Chief Michael Olivieri said.
No further details regarding the circumstances surrounding the officer-involved shooting were available.
Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are spearheading the investigation. Anyone with information was asked to contact detectives at 323-890-5500.
Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> Police officers chased down and arrested a transient Wednesday after receiving reports he was to himself in front of a Pasadena grocery store, officials said.
Kasim Iskander Haiat, 46, was booked on suspicion of indecent exposure and resisting or obstructing police, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officials received a report about 2:20 p.m. that a man was exposing and touching himself in front of Trader Joe’s, 610 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
The man ran when officers arrived, leading them on a foot chase through residential neighborhood that ended more than a mile away when he finally surrendered in the 700 block of South Arroyo Boulevard, the lieutenant said.
According to booking records, Haiat was released from custody with a misdemeanor citation pending his initial court appearance.
PASADENA >> A judge sentenced a Pasadena gang member to prison Wednesday for his role in luring a 20-year-old woman to a Pasadena market, where she was ambushed and fatally shot in 2008, authorities said.
Roberto Barajas Jr., 37, received a prison term of 50 years to life for the Aug. 19, 2008, shooting death of Jennifer Ortega outside a small shopping center in the 1800 block of Villa Street, said Deputy District Attorney Stefan Mrakich, who prosecuted the case.
Pasadena gang member Barajas, along with several other suspects have not been charged with the killing, killed Ortega, a gang members, because she had cooperated with police regarding a drug case four months before, the prosecutor said.
The gang had “green lighted” her for execution, he said.
“She was lured to that location by some friends,” Mrakich said. “She was cornered by the defendant and four other people and shot three times in the back.”
Several additional suspects were initially arrested in connection with the killing, but only Barajas was ultimately charged in connection with the fatal shooting, Mrakich said. There was insufficient evidence to move forward with cases against the other suspects, Mrakich said.
Barajas drove the attackers to and from the shooting scene, though he was not believed to be the shooter, Mrakich said.
Scents detected by police dogs on the spent bullet casings recovered from the scene matched Barajas, indicating he had handled the bullets used to shoot Ortega prior to the killing, Mrakich said.
The fatal ambush stemmed from a drug arrest that took place about four months earlier, Mrakich said. After being caught with methamphetamine, Ortega told investigators that it belonged to a fellow gang member, he said. That gang member received a year behind bars as a result of the drug case.
Word of Ortega’s cooperation with police, as well as police documents, circulated through the gang, Mrakich said. A vague letter from a gang member in prison appearing to instruct fellow gang members to take action against Ortega was found in the possession of one of the suspects who was not charged. Mrakich likened the letter to a “death warrant.”
Ortega had no listed city of residence, but was believed to be staying with friends in the Pasadena area, police said.
Pasadena Superior Court Judge Suzette Clover handed down Barajas’ sentence after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder May 1 following a six-week trial, officials said. The jury also found true the special allegations that the killing was gang-related, and that a gun was used in the crime.
PASADENA >> Two men fired a gunshot during a failed robbery at a Pasadena wireless store Sunday afternoon, but ultimately fled empty-handed, officials said.
No one was hurt in the 1:25 p.m. robbery attempt at a cellular store at Orange Grove Boulevard and Wheeler Lane, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said.
Two robbers entered the stores and immediately caught the attention of the two men working inside, Ibarra said.
“The employees though they were acting suspicious,” the lieutenant said. “They started going toward the back door.”
One of the suspects yelled to the employees not to run, she said. One of the two suspects then fired a single shot into the floor.
The employees proceeded to run out of the back of the store, Ibarra said. The robbers then fled without taking anything and were last seen getting into a white vehicle.
A detailed suspect description was not available.
PASADENA >> The Los Angeles Superior Court branch in Pasadena will continue operating with an altered courtroom schedule Monday as officials continue cleaning up the aftermath of a fire that has forced the closure of portions of the building.
The fire was blamed on oily rags that sparked on the third floor of the courthouse early July 27.
The courthouse will be open for business as usual Monday, but the second, third and fourth floors are to remain off-limits, court officials said in a written statement. Departments D, E, F, G, H and J will be open.
Cases scheduled in Department A will be heard in Department P; cases in Department B will be moved to Department H; Department C cases will be heard in Department E; Department K cases will be heard in Department R; and cases scheduled in Department S will be moved to Department 270.
The Public Defender’s Office is will be operating on the first floor, behind the Family Law Clerk’s Office, officials saisd. The Probation Department is conducting its business in the courthouse’s main corridor.
The court self-help desk has been temporarily moved to room 206 on the second floor.
For more information, visit www.lacourt.org.
LOS ANGELES >> A judge declared a mistrial Thursday after a jury became deadlocked in the case of two alleged gang members charged with capital murder for the fatal shooting of an innocent bystander investigators say became caught in gang crossfire in Pasadena on Christmas Day in 2012.
Reputed Bloods gang members Larry Darnell Bishop, 23, of Chino, and Jerron Donald Harris 27, of Pasadena, have been charged with murder and other crimes in connection with the Dec. 25, 2012, shooting that left 49-year-old Victor McClinton of Pasadena dead in the 1900 block of Newport Avenue in Pasadena.
After a trial that lasted more than a month, the Los Angeles County Superior Court jury hung with respect to both defendants, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said.
The jury hung 9-3 in favor of convicting Bishop of all charges, and 7-5 in favor of acquitting Harris, Risling said.
Judge Curtis Rappe declared a mistrial. It was unclear Thursday whether prosecutors would pursue a second trial.
“Our office hasn’t made a decision on whether to retry the case,” Risling said.
McClinton was walking with a friend to deposit a Christmas gift in the friend’s car when Bishop and Harris both opened fire on a rival gang member, police and prosecutors allege. McClinton became caught in the crossfire.
But the man allegedly targeted in the shooting, who was wounded in the hand, testified at a preliminary hearing that Bishop and Harris were not his assailants.
The two defendants were each charges with murder with special circumstances of discharging a firearm from a moving vehicle and murder to benefit a criminal street gang, attempted murder, two counts of shooting at an inhabited dwelling or vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon.
McClinton was a father of two, a former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department law enforcement technician of 18 years and a youth coach who founded the nonprofit Brotherhood Community Youth Sports League in Pasadena.
Bishop had benefitted from the state’s prison realignment of 2011, also known as AB 109, officials said. Under the sentencing guidelines, he was able to serve less than one year of a two-year sentence for a previous assault with a deadly weapon as a “nonviolent, non-serious” offender in county jail, rather than state prison. Also as a result of AB 109, Bishop was released from custody without parole supervision about six months before McClinton’s slaying. He had two prior felony convictions as well.
PASADENA >> The death of a man in his 30s found unconscious at a Pasadena bus stop Saturday is believed to be from natural causes, officials said.
Authorities responded to a bus stop at the parking structure of the Metro Sierra Madre Villa Station in the 100 block of North Halstead Street about 3:45 p.m. after receiving reports of a “man down,” Lt. Rich Maradiaga of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Transit Services Bureau said.
Pasadena Fire Department paramedics pronounced a man, estimated to be in his 30s, dead at the scene, the lieutenant said.
There no signs of foul play and the death appeared to be natural, he said.
An autopsy will be carried out by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.
PASADENA >> Authorities Thursday released the name of a 79-year-old retired priest who was killed when the ambulance he was riding in collided head-on with another vehicle on Fair Oaks Avenue over the weekend.
Nelson Munoz Vergara died at a hospital following Sunday’s 4 p.m. crash between a private ambulance and a Jaguar sedan on Fair Oaks Avenue, just south of Hammond Street, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said.
The release of his identity was delayed as coroner’s investigators unsuccessfully sought Vergara’s next of kin, Harvey said. It was determined that Vergara was a retired priest who was being cared for by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and living at a Pasadena convalescent home.
Vergara was a retired, visiting priest from South America, Archdiocese of Los Angeles spokeswoman Monica Valencia said.
“We are saddened that a retired priest, who was visiting us from Chile, was killed in a vehicle crash on Saturday,” Archdiocese officials said in a written statement.” “The Archdiocese of Los Angeles grieves the loss of our brother, who blessed us with his warmth and friendship, while he was with us. We pray for the strength and comfort of his family and friends, and offer our prayers for the repose of his soul.”
Vergara was being taken to a routine dialysis appointment when the crash took place, officials said.
The ambulance, operated by Montebello-based Lifeline Ambulance, was southbound on Fair Oaks Avenue when a northbound Jaguar crossed into opposing traffic lanes and collided with the ambulance, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said. Why the northbound Jaguar crossed into southbound lanes remained under investigation.
A 21-year-old San Bernardino man who was driving the ambulance and his partner, a 27-year-old Whittier man, suffered minor injuries in the crash, police said.
A 68-year-old Altadena woman at the wheel of the Jaguar suffered injuries including a broken leg, officials said. Her injuries were not life-threatening.
The results of toxicology tests were pending, however alcohol did not appear to be a factor, Hettema said.
No arrests were made as the investigation continued.