SOUTH EL MONTE >> A passenger died and the driver fled following a solo-car crash on a freeway on-ramp late Friday which investigators suspect may be connected to a shooting that had just occurred in Pico Rivera, officials said.
The rollover crash took place just before 9:40 p.m. on the northbound Rosemead Boulevard on-ramp to the eastbound 60 Freeway, near the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, California Highway Patrol Officer Tony Polizzi said.
An unidentified driver had two passengers in a 2006 Mitsubishi Galant headed north on Rosemead Boulevard at an unknown speed just prior to the crash, CHP Sgt. T. Kinzler said in a written statement.
The driver lost control and the car struck the curb along the west side of the on-ramp, he said.
“(The Mitsubishi) traveled down the dirt embankment and overturned,” Kinzler said.
The driver fled from the wreck wand was not found, officials said. Two guns were discovered inside the crashed car.
Paramedics pronounced one of the passengers, a man estimated to be 20 years old, dead at the scene, CHP officials said.
His identity was not available Saturday morning pending positive identification and notification of family, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
A second passenger also rode inside the Mitsubishi, officials said, though it was not initially clear whether that person remained at the crash scene or fled along with the driver.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau detectives are also looking into the fatal crash and its possible connection with a shooting minutes earlier.
Prior to the crash, deputies responded to a local hospital after a gunshot victim arrived seeking treatment, officials from the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement.
“While they were at the hospital investigating, deputies received a traffic collision call of a rolled over vehicle with a man found dead inside,” the statement said. “They responded to the scene and found two firearms inside the vehicle.”
“Detectives are investigating reports that the occupants in the vehicle that rolled over may have been involved in some type of altercation with the gunshot victim from the hospital,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “It is unknown at this time if the two incidents are related.”
No further details were released as detectives continued their investigation Saturday morning.
Both the northbound and southbound Rosemead Boulevard on-ramps to the eastbound 60 Freeway, remained shut down overnight, as well as the Rosemead Boulevard off-ramp of the eastbound 60 Freeway.
PICO RIVERA >> A man shot at two gas company employees with what ultimately turned out to be a pellet gun Wednesday as they performed work at his mother’s Pico Rivera home, authorities said.
Deputies arrested Raul Zardenetta, 68, of Pico Rivera on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon following the bizarre, unprovoked attack shortly after 8:30 a.m. at a home near Arma Street and Acacia Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said.
Two Southern California Gas Company employees were performing work at the home of the suspect’s elderly mother prior to the incident, the lieutenant said.
For unknown reasons, Zardenetta appeared with what was later determined to be a pellet gun and began shooting at the workers, who fled from the home, Villanueva said. Neither was struck by the projectiles, which they believed at the time to be bullets, rather than airgun pellets.
Deputies evacuated nearby homes before ordering Zardenetta to come out and surrender, Villanueva said. The suspect complied and was taken into custody without a struggle.
According to county booking records, Zardenetta was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Wednesday in Downey Superior Court.
PICO RIVERA >> A legally blind Pico Rivera man suffered a gunshot wound to his chest in a drive-by shooting late Friday, officials said.
The shooting took place just before 10 p.m. in the 9500 block of Bradhurst Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said.
The victim, a 24-year-old documented gang member, was in the front yard of a home when shots were fired from a passing car, the lieutenant said.
The attackers were described only as two male suspects in a red, four-door sedan.
An update on the victim’s condition was not available.
Tobias Ruben Cabrera, 39, is accused of Tuesday afternoon’s slaying of 35-year-old Raymond Zabala of East Los Angeles, Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
“Deputies from Pico Rivera Station and the Major Crimes Bureau developed information about the possible whereabouts of Cabrera, and set up a surveillance in the area of Whittier Boulevard and the San Gabriel River,” Rouzan said. “Major Crimes Bureau personnel observed the suspect, and were able to take him into custody without incident.”
Deputies booked Cabrera for murder at the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station, according to Los Angeles County booking records. He was being held in lieu of $1.08 million bail pending his scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Downey Superior Court.
Zabala worked for Petra Towing & Auto Repair in Montebello, which contracts with the Automobile Club of Southern California for roadside service, said manager Ron Lopez, who described Zabala as, “an outstanding young man” survived by a girlfriend, a 2-month-old son and a stepson.
Zabala arrived about 4:20 p.m. Tuesday in the 8400 block of Buhman Avenue after Cabrera’s mother called AAA for help with a dead battery in her minivan, sheriff’s officials said.
As Zabala talked to Cabrera’s mother, the suspect approached and stabbed Zabala in the neck in a seemingly random attack before fleeing on a bicycle, authorities said. He remained a fugitive until Friday.
Meanwhile, a website to collect donations to help Zabala’s family with funeral and service expenses as been set up at www.gofundme.com/ray-ray#. Family members could not be reached for comment Friday.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
PHOTO of fatal stabbing suspect Tobias Cabrera (Courtesy)
PICO RIVERA >> Deputies jailed two suspected gang members who ran from a stolen car after a crash, leaving a gun behind, after a neighborhood search Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The incident began shortly after 5 p.m., when a deputy spotted a car that had been reported stolen driving in the area of Paramount and Beverly boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Sergio Escobedo said.
The driver realized the deputy was following and crashed into another car in opposing traffic as the car maneuvered to get away from the deputy, Escobedo said. The driver of the other car, a pregnant woman, was taken to a hospital as a precaution but appeared unhurt.
Two men exited the crashed car and ran, Escobedo said. Deputies apprehended the driver almost immediately. A gun was found inside the stolen car.
The passenger ran into a nearby mobile home park, where he was found hiding about an hour later, officials said.
Both suspects, whose names were not available pending booking, we’re believed to be gang members, he said. They were expected to be booked on suspicion of auto theft, hit-and-run and weapons charges.
PICO RIVERA >> A man fled with cash after robbing a Whittier Boulevard bank branch Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The bank robbery occurred about 1 p.m. at the Bank of the West, at Whittier and Rosemead boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Chapman said.
A man handed a teller a note demanding money before fleeing with an unknown amount, the sergeant said.
Deputies described the robber as a Latino man of about 40 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and of medium build. He had a salt and pepper mustache and a tattoo on his left neck and shoulder area. He wore a black and blue Yankees cap, sunglasses, a white T-shirt and blue jeans. He was last seen on Rosemead Boulevard on foot.
PICO RIVERA >> Deputies sought a woman late Thursday after she shot and wounded her girlfriend during a dispute at a Pico Rivera apartment, authorities said.
The shooting victim, a 27-year-old Pico Rivera woman, suffered a “through-and-through” wound to her leg and was hospitalized in stable condition, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Sergio Escobedo said.
The alleged attack took place about 8:15 p.m. during a domestic dispute at the women’s apartment in the 4600 block of Rosemead Boulevard, the lieutenant said.
Escobedo said the suspect, a 24-year-old woman, fled following the shooting and remained at large.
Family members took the injured woman to Beverly Hospital before officials arrived at the scene.
Officials withheld the suspect’s name as they continued seeking her Thursday night.
PICO RIVERA >> A man broke into a relative’s home, fired a handgun and engaged deputies in a seven-hour standoff before surrendering late Saturday, authorities said.
Deputies ultimately jailed Adrian Robert Casey, 21, of Pico Rivera on suspicion of burglary and negligently discharging a firearm, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
The incident began about 2:45 p.m. at a house near Telegraph Road and Serapis Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. James Jordan said.
A family member living at the home already had already obtained a restraining order against Casey when arrived, Sgt. Raymond Cardenas said.
No one was home, and the suspect broke into the house, he said. He fired several rounds from a handgun while inside the house, prompting neighbors to call 9-1-1.
Casey refused to exit the home when deputies arrived, initiating a standoff, Cardenas said.
A SWAT team responded to the scene and deputies negotiated with the suspect for seven hours until he surrendered about 10 p.m., officials said.
According to booking records, Casey was being held in lieu of $135,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in Downey Superior Court.
PICO RIVERA >> Deputies plan to check drivers for sobriety and valid licenses during a checkpoint today, officials said.
The checkpoint will take place from 7 p.m. Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday at an undisclosed location within Pico Rivera, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“Over the course of the past three years in the contract cities policed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, DUI collisions have claimed 33 lives and resulted in 898 injury crashes harming 1330 of our friends and neighbors,” Sgt. Daniel Dail of the sheriff’s Traffic Services Detail said.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
PICO RIVERA >> A judge sentenced an Oxnard man who fatally shot a valet and wounded a security guard at the El Rodeo nightclub to prison Wednesday, two days before the club’s owner is due in federal court to answer to charges of laundering money for drug traffickers, officials said.
A Norwalk Superior Court jury convicted Sebastian Zazueta, 22, in January of first-degree murder, as well as four counts of attempted murder, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. The jury also found true special allegations that he personally used a gun in the crimes.
He received a sentence of 114 years to life in state prison, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Brandon Wong said.
Melvin Ernesto Cortez-Ortega, 37, of Hacienda Heights died following the Sept. 22, 2013, early-morning shooting outside nightclub, 8825 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
A then-26-year-old security guard was also shot several times in the attack but survived his injuries, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators and prosecutors.
Zazueta unleashed a barrage of bullets after he got into an argument with a security guard who told him to leave the parking lot after the club had closed, Wong said.