Fireworks keep officials busy, but cause no major incidents in the San Gabriel Valley

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Police officers and sheriff’s deputies throughout the San Gabriel Valley kept busy handling fireworks complaints late Friday and early Saturday, though no major mishaps directly blamed on fireworks had been reported once the celebratory smoke had cleared, authorities said.
The Whittier Police Department, which patrols both Whittier and Santa Fe Springs, responded to 102 fireworks compliants between noon Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said. Eighty-seven of the calls came from Whittier, while 15 came from Santa Fe Springs.
An attic fire was reported about 1:30 a.m. at a home in the 12000 block of South Circle Avenue, though the cause had not yet been determined, Whittier Police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
Investigators had not ruled out fireworks as a possible cause of the fire, which scorched the home’s attic but did not displace the residents living there, police and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
Several tree fires in the Whittier area were also blamed on fireworks, but no additional structure fires were blamed on Independence Day celebration, fire officials added.
Deputies at the nearby sheriff’s Norwalk Station, which patrols Norwalk, La Mirada and nearby unincorporated county areas, responded to 112 fireworks calls, Lt. Jason Skeen said. Between 1 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Saturday, deputies issued 121 fireworks citations, and seized 85 pounds of illegal fireworks.
Specific statistics regarding the number of fireworks calls received by police was not available Saturday in Montebello, however Lt. Andy Vuncanon said the department responded to more than 150 calls overnight, which were primarily complaints about fireworks and loud parties.
Montebello firefighters assisted neighboring agencies with trash can fires throughout the region, however no significant fires were reported within the city, fire department officials said.
Deputies at the sheriff’s San Dimas Station responded to a total of 96 fireworks-related calls between noon Friday and 2:10 a.m. Saturday, sheriff’s officials said.
Lt. Andy Berg said the figure falls in line with previous Independence Days, with about 20 percent of the fireworks complaints coming from San Dimas, and 80 percent coming from the nearby unincorporated county areas also patrolled by
And while no major problems were directly attributed to fireworks, officials suspected the arson fire of a parked car in an unincorporated county area near Azusa may have been related to an argument between a resident and a group of people setting off illegal fireworks.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Industry Station, which patrols Industry, La Puente, Hacienda Heights, La Habra Heights, and nearby unincorporated areas, handled 82 fireworks-related calls between 9 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Saturday, Sgt. Robert Boese said. No major incidents were reported.
La Puente hosted a massive Independence Day celebration at La Puente Park July 3, which drew an estimated 20,000 spectators.
Covina police received 47 complaints regarding fireworks Friday, primarily at night, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said.
Toward the western end of the San Gabriel Valley, a fire reported about 7 p.m. at a detached residential garage in the 600 block of West Lime Avenue in Monrovia was determined not to have been ignited by fireworks, but rather a malfunctions egg incubator machine, Monrovia police lt. Jaime Alfaro said. No injuries were reported, though officials were worried about the structural integrity of the building.
A fire reported just before 4 a.m. inside a detached garage along Winnie Way, just west of Santa Anita Avenue, in Arcadia caused minor damage and no injuries, Arcadia Fire Department Battalion Chief Barry Spriggs said. The cause had not been determined Saturday.
Statistics regarding fireworks-related calls were not available in Pasadena Saturday, however Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said officials saw a “relatively low number” of fireworks-related incidents at the Rose Bowl during the Americafest Independence Day celebration.
Police made only one arrest during the massive event at the Rose Bowl, which attracted tens of thousands of spectators, both inside the stadium and around the outside, Pasadena police Lt. Art Chute said. The arrest was for drunken driving in the stadium parking lot.

PHOTO by Sarah Reingewirtz

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Teenage stabbing victim arrives at Pasadena hospital

PASADENA — A teenage boy showed up at a Pasadena hospital with a stab wound to the back of his neck late Friday, police said.
The victim, a 17-year-old Pasadena boy, arrived at Huntington Hospital shortly before midnight, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
“We received a call from a local hospital, who notified us that an intoxicated man had walked in with a laceration to back of his neck,” Luna said.
The wound was described as, “moderately serious, but not life-threatening,” the lieutenant said.
Little was known about how the teen ended up injured.
The exact location of the stabbing had no been determined, however it was believed to have taken place in the vicinity of Orange Grove Boulevard and Garfield Avenue, Luna said.

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Man seriously wounded in Pasadena shooting; attacker sought

PASADENA — An 18-year-old Pasadena man was seriously injured, but expected survive, after being shot in the chest late Friday in a residential neighborhood, police said.
The attack took place just before midnight in the 600 block of North Marengo Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
“The suspect confronted the victim on the sidewalk,” Luna said. “Following the confrontation, the suspect fired several rounds, striking the victim once.”
The wounded man was taken to an area hospital, where he was listed in “serious but stable” condition, the lieutenant said.
Details of the confrontation that preceded the shooting were not available Saturday, and a motive in the crime was unclear.
“The suspect fled the area on foot. The area was checked for the suspect and any additional victims, but none were located,” Luna said.
Police described the shooter as a black man in his late-teens or early-20s, wearing black clothing.

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17-year-old Pasadena boy accused of raping 14-year-old girl he met online

PASADENA — Detectives arrested a 17-year-old Pasadena boy Friday on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old girl he met online, authorities said.
The teenage suspect was taken into custody about 1:30 p.m. at a home in the 700 block of Cypress Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said. He was arrested on suspicion of rape and taken to a juvenile hall. His name was not released due to his age.
Investigators had identified him as a suspect in the alleged rape, which took place in Pasadena in recent weeks.
“The suspect met the victim via a social media site,” Luna said. “He lured her to a secluded site in Pasadena where he forcibly raped her.”
The date and location of the alleged crime were not available Saturday.
“Detectives conducted an investigation, and through their investigation, they identified the suspect,” Luna said.
No further details were available.

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Man wounded in Pasadena stabbing

PASADENA — A man was hospitalized with stab wounds but expected to survive after a fight escalated into a stabbing late Thursday, police said.
The attack took place about 8:45 p.m. in the 1000 block of North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
The victims, a 26-year-old Pasadena man and a 14-year-old boy, were walking down the street when they were confronted by two men who were standing in a yard, the lieutenant said.
The group became involved in a fight, during which one of the suspect pulled a knife, Luna said.
The 26-year-old man suffered a stab wound to his back, as well as slashes to his face and arm, he said. The teenage victim suffered minor injuries including bruising on the side of his head.
Police said the attackers were last seen on foot.
The knife-wielding man was Latino man in his mid-20s, about 6 feet 2 inches tall, of muscular build, clean-shaven with a shaved head, Luna said. The second attacker was described only as a Latino man in his 30s.
The incident was believed to be gang-related, Luna said.

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200 marijuana plants seized from commercial building in Pasadena

PASADENA — Pasadena police seized about 200 marijuana plants that were growing inside a commercial building earlier this week, officials said Sunday.
The bust on Altadena Drive, just north of Colorado Boulevard, resulted from an anonymous caller who reported a “strong odor of marijuana emitting from the building,” Wednesday, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said in his weekly letter to the community.
An officer identified the source of the odor in a commercial unit and turned the investigation over to detectives, the chief said.
After obtaining a search warrant, officers entered the building and found about 200 pot plants, Sanchez said.
“The farm was a very sophisticated hydroponic system,” he wrote.
NO arrested were made during the search, Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said. The investigation was ongoing.
Police in Monrovia uprooted 600 marijuana plants and seized and two pounds of dried pot the same day from a Monrovia house after a resident reported smelling marijuana emanating from the home.

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UPDATED: Body found on Pasadena sidewalk; cause of death unclear

PASADENA — A man was found dead from an undetermined cause on a Pasadena sidewalk early Sunday, authorities said.
Passers-by reported finding the body just before 7 a.m. in the 2000 block of N. Los Robles Avenue, just south of Woodbury Road, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
The dead man was identified as Steven Daniel Hayes, 57, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Fred Corral said
Hayes was listed at the coroner’s office as a Los Angeles resident, however police described him as an Altadena resident.
Public records indicate Hayes lived in Altadena about a mile to the north of where his body was discovered.
There were no initial obvious signs of trauma on the body, he said.
“The cause of death is unknown,” Clawson said. “It’s being deferred to the coroner for further investigation.”

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Transient accused of Pasadena residential burglary

PASADENA — Police jailed a man Friday after he was spotted burglarizing Mar Vista Avenue home, officials said.
Justin Hampton, a 31-year-old transient known to frequent Pasadena, was arrested on suspicion of residential burglary in connection with the break-in, which occurred shortly after 9 p.m. in the 1300 block of Mar Vista Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
A witness called police after seeing a man — later identified as Hampton — leaving the home of neighbors who were on vacation, he said.
“Officers found one of the doors had been smashed. Someone had been inside,” Clawson said.
Hampton was found during a search of the neighborhood and taken into custody without a struggle, the lieutenant said. It was not clear what, if anything, had been taken from the burglarized home.
Hampton was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, according to Los Angeles County booking records.

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Man threatened at gunpoint in Pasadena

PASADENA — A man escaped unharmed after a group of apparent gang members threatened him at gunpoint late Friday, police said.
The incident took place about 10:30 p.m. at Lake Avenue and Claremont Street, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
A 23-year-old Pasadena man was walking when a car containing a group of suspects approached, the lieutenant said. A detailed description of the vehicle or its occupants was not available.
“One of the occupants yelled out a gang slogan, then pointed what was believed to be a handgun at the victim,” Clawson said.
The victim ran away, he said. No shots were fired.

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Police checkpoint planned next weekend in Pasadena

PASADENA — Police are planning to hold a checkpoint next weekend in Pasadena to screen drivers for sobriety and valid licenses, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held from 8 p.m. to 3 p.m. June 27 at an undisclosed location within the city, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said in a written statement.
Over the past three years, four people have died and 95 others have been injured in DUI-related crashes, according to Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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