Taxi driver robbed, slashed with knife in Pasadena

PASADENA >> A taxi passenger turned into an armed robber late Wednesday when he slashed the cabbie with a knife while trying to skip out on the fare in Pasadena, police said.
The crime took place about 11:50 p.m. in the 300 block of Cordova Street, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
The victim, a 57-year-old Glendale man, dropped a passenger off after an $88 cab ride, the lieutenant said.
“The suspect fled the can and tried to run away without paying,” he said. The taxi driver chased after him.
“After he confronted the suspect, a fight ensued, during which the suspect produced a small knife and swung it toward the victim,” Goodman said.
The cab driver suffered a minor cut but declined medical treatment.
Police searched the area but did not find the robber, Goodman said. A details suspect description was not available.

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UPDATED — Hazmat: Spilled chemicals prompt closure of Foothill Blvd. in Pasadena

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PASADENA >> Firefighters and hazardous materials crews shut down a portion of Foothill Boulevard in Pasadena Saturday after three containers filled with potent acid fell from a passing truck, authorities said.
The incident was first reported about 11:40 a.m. along Foothill Boulevard, between Rosemead Boulevard and Halstead Street, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Three unlabeled, orange-colored, one-gallon plastic containers slipped off a truck and fell into the roadway, prompting safety concerns, Derderian said.
“They’re still trying to neutralize it,” she said shortly after 1 p.m. “Preliminary reports are it’s some kind of hydrochloric acid.”
The powerful and highly corrosive acid is used for many industrial purposes, such as controlling the acidity levels in swimming pools.
It was later confirmed the substance was, in fact, pool-cleaning acid, officials said.
Nearby businesses remained open, however workers and customers were being asked to “shelter in place,” Derderian said.
Firefighters cleared the jugs from the roadway shortly after 1:30 p.m., officials said. Both directions of Foothill Boulevard, as well as the Rosemead Boulevard offramp of the westbound 210 Freeway, were shut down as a result of the spill, officials said. Affected streets were expected to be reopened shortly after 2 p.m.

PHOTO courtesy of Landon Jensen/Pasadena Fire Department

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Shots fired as clerk, customers chase would-be robber from Pasadena market; suspect jailed

PASADENA >> A Pasadena man shot at a market clerk and a group of customers who chased him from the store during a robbery attempt Wednesday afternoon, police said.
A SWAT team ultimately apprehended Justin Shawn Bryson, 21, of Pasadena about five hours after the failed 12:50 p.m. heist at Chan’s Market, 1237 Lincoln Avenue, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He walked into the store with armed with a handgun and wearing a bandana over his face, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said. He demanded money from the cash register.
“(The clerk) walked away from the register area and began throwing items at the suspect,” Luna said. \
“The suspect fired a single shot from his handgun at the victim.” The bullet missed.
Luna said the would-be robber pointed his gun at a woman shopping at the store as he fled the market and ran north along Lincoln Avenue.
The clerk, a 57-year-old La Crescenta man, got into his car and chased after his attacker.
Three customers from the store got into their car as well and followed after the clerk, police said.
“(Bryson) turned around at one point and possibly fired at least one gunshot at the victims,” Luna said. He was last seen running down MacDonald Street, between Mentone and Glen avenues.
Neither the clerk nor the customers — described as a 70-year-old woman, a 50-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl — were injured.
Police cordoned off the neighborhood and searched for the suspect with the aid bloodhounds and a helicopter, Luna said. He was ultimated tracked to a home in the 200 block of MacDonald Street. “where he voluntarily surrendered,” Luna said.
“Detectives executed a search warrant at the location and evidence was recovered,” he added.
Bryson was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, Luna said.
He was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.

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Three stabbed in Pasadena street brawl

PASADENA >> Three men showed up at a Pasadena emergency room with stab wounds following a large street brawl in northwest Pasadena early Saturday, police said.
The melee took place about 1:45 a.m. in the 100 block of West Claremont Street, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
“We received multiple calls of a large group fighting in the middle of the street,” he said.
The combatants scattered and fled as police arrived, the lieutenant said.
Staff at a local hospital called police about 10 minutes later to report that three stabbing victims had just shown up at the emergency, Mercado said.
A Colton man in his mid-20s suffered stab wounds to his head and neck, he said. A Pasadena man in his late-teens was stabbed in the chest, and another Pasadena man in his early 20s was treated for a slash to one of his arms.
Mercado said all three victims were in stable condition, but “uncooperative” with investigators.
No suspect description was available.

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Pasadena Black Lives Matter organizer convicted of trying to snatch arrestee from police custody

PASADENA >> A jury convicted a Pasadena Black Lives Matter organizer Wednesday of a felony charge of attempting to snatch a person from police custody stemming from a confrontation with police that followed the arrest of another woman accused of fighting with staff at a local restaurant, authorities said.
The Pasadena jury deliberated for about three hours before finding Jasmine Richards, 29, guilty of “attempting to unlawfully take a person from the lawful custody of a peace officer,” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. The trial began on May 25.
The crime is often referred to as “lynching,” though prosecutors no longer use the term to described the offense, Ardalani said.
The arrest took place Sept. 2 as Richards and others were holding a rally at La Pintoresca Park.
A woman came to the park after allegedly being involved in a fight with staff at a nearby restaurant after failing to pay her bill, police said.
As police arrested the woman, Richards and others interfered with the arrest and tried to unlawfully seize control of the arrestee, officials said.
Police initially jailed Richards on suspicion of additional crimes including inciting a riot, resisting or obstructing police and child endangerment, but those allegations were not formally charged.
Local BLM representatives decried the arrest via Facebook as unjust retaliation for her activism.
Richards was previously arrested by police on suspicion of making criminal threats and other misdemeanors in connection with a previous BLM rally in Pasadena in March of 2015. She is scheduled to make an appearance in that case Tuesday as well, records show.
Supporters and demonstrators reportedly packed the courtroom Wednesday and expressed outrage over the conviction.
Richards, who had been free on bond pending the trial process, was taken into custody following Wednesday’s conviction, records show.
She is scheduled to return to court Tuesday for sentencing.

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Bear tranquilized in Pasadena after straying far from forest


PASADENA >> Officials tranquilized a 300-pound bear and returned it to the forest after it wandered more than two miles out of the forest and into a Pasadena neighborhood Saturday morning, authorities said.
Police and California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials chased the bear through a neighborhood for about three hours after it was first spotted about 9 a.m. in the 1300 block of E. Washington Boulevard, Pasadena Police Lt. John Mercado said.
Officials followed the bear as meandered through the neighborhood and ultimately settled in a tree in a residential yard in the 1000 block of N. Michigan Avenue, Mercado said.
Fish and Wildlife officials tranquilized the bear before loading it into a pickup truck for lift back to the Angeles National Forest.

PHOTO courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department.

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Police to hold checkpoint in Pasadena Friday night

PASADENA >> Pasadena police are planning a sobriety and driver’s license checkpoint Friday night, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within the city, Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
In Pasadena, police have responded to 76 DUI-related crashes resulting in four deaths and 112 injuries over the past three years, police said.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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Suspect in shooting of West Covina police officer arrested in Valinda after 6-day manhunt


VALINDA >> A SWAT team captured the suspect in last week’s shooting of a West Covina police officer during an early-morning raid in Valinda Thursday, bringing an end to a six-day manhunt, authorities said.
Jose Luis Chavez, 47, of West Covina is accused of the attempted murder of Officer Kenny Benitez, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and West Covina police officials said. Benitez suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen in the gunfight, which unfolded about 11:20 p.m. on May 20 on Yaleton Avenue, just north of Badillo Street in West Covina.
0522_NWS_SGT-L-WCOISLaw enforcement officer from throughout the region launched a manhunt for Chavez the night of the shooting, serving search warrants and offering a $20,000 reward in connection with the case, but the alleged shooter remained at large, until Thursday morning.
“Detectives developed information over the past few days that related to his possible whereabouts,” Lt. Steve Jauch of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. “A search warrant was written, and this morning at around 2 a.m., sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau personnel served that search warrant at a residence in the 1200 block of Foxworth Avenue in an unincorporated area (patrolled by the) Industry sheriff’s station.”
The arrest was made about one block from the scene of Friday night’s shooting.
SWAT deputies surrounded the home and ordered Chavez to surrender, Jauch said. He complied, emerging from a detached garage on the property.
“He was taken into custody without incident,” Jauch said.
Chavez had a gunshot wound to his left arm, he said. The wound likely resulted from the gunfight with the West Covina officer, who returned the suspect’s gunfire, however forensic testing was yet to be completed.
Chavez has gang ties, as well as “a violent criminal history” and is on felony probation under AB 109 guidelines following a previous conviction, Jauch said. A full account of Chavez criminal history was not available Thursday.
It was unclear whether others would face charges related to helping Chavez flee from justice.
“There were other people on the property and they were interviewed,” Jauch said. No arrests had been made.
It also remained unclear whether a $20,000 reward offered by West Covina for information leading to Chavez’s capture and conviction would be claimed.
Chavez was walking with a woman and pushing a bicycle when Benitez first approached him. Chavez ran, and Benitez gave chase.
Chavez allegedly produced a gun and fired multiple times, striking the officer. Benitez shot back, but the suspect managed to flee the scene.
Jauch said investigators on Monday found a gun not far from where Chavez ran from the officer, but he said they hadn’t determined whether the gun was used in the shooting.
The wounded officer has since been released from the hospital to continue his recovery at home, West Covina police Chief David Faulkner said. He was fortunate that the bullet somehow missed all vital organs.
“Officer Benitez is recovering. He’s doing much better than he was and improving every day. We’re very pleased about that,” Faulkner said.
Benitez is a 9-year law enforcement veteran who joined the West Covina Police Department a little over a year ago, the chief said. Prior to police work, he was a U.S. Marine and served three tours of duty overseas.
The chief said he was proud of West Covina officers, as well as the many other law enforcement officers who worked, “almost around the clock, tirelessly, to support the sheriff’s department in being able to track and locate this suspect.”
According to county booking records, Chavez was being held without bail at the jail ward of Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center pending his initial court appearance.

PHOTOS: [TOP] West Covina Police Chief David Faulkner speaks at a press conference oustide the West Covina Police Department on Thursday, May 26, 2016, regarding the arrest of Jose Luis Chavez, 47, of West Covina, for allegedly shooting and wounding a West Covina police officer in a gunfight a week earlier. (Staff photo by Brian Day) [BELOW] Photo of Jose Luis Chavez, 47, of West Covina (Courtesy, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

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Pedestrian fatally struck by car in Pasadena

PASADENA >> A pedestrian died after being struck by a car on Washington Boulevard in Pasadena late Wednesday.
Few details were initially available regarding the fatal collision, which took place just before 9:50 p.m. along Washington Boulevard, between Lake Avenue and Prime Court, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna
“The driver remained at the scene,” Luna said.
No arrests had been reported late Wednesday.
The victim, who died at the scene, was initially described only as an adult.
Police shut down both directions of Washington Boulevard between Lake and El Molino avenues as investigators continued working at the scene Wednesday night, Luna said.
No further details were available.

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UPDATED: 72-year-old woman with dementia goes missing in Pasadena; found safe in Altadena

PASADENA >> Police, aided by a good Samaritan, found a 72-year-old woman with dementia who went missing in Pasadena late Wednesday safe in Altadena, authorities said.
Darlene Ann Tave was last seen about 7:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of Wotkyns Drive, Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
She requires medication for dementia, police added.
A good Samartian spotted Tave Wednesday night and notified authorities, who reunited her with her family, police said.

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