UPDATED: Armed carjacking suspect fatally shot after fleeing into crowded Downey restaurant following chase

Deputies shot and killed a man with a gun after he burst into a crowded Downey barbecue restaurant Thursday sending patrons and employees fleeing.
The standoff and deputy-involved shooting came at the conclusion after the suspect led police on a wild pursuit and firing a gun into the air authorities said.
The pursuit began shortly before 7 p.m. in the Whittier area, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
A sheriff’s helicopter flying over the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station spotted a Honda Civic that had been reported stolen and was emanating a LoJack tracking signal, sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Parker said.
“As patrol deputies from Pico (Rivera) station were headed to that location, the helicopter pilot and observer watched as the suspect carjacked a person at gunpoint,” Parker said.
The carjacking took place in unincorporated West Whittier.
Deputies as well as CHP officers chased the suspect as he fled along surface streets and freeway lanes through Montebello, Monterey Park, East Los Angeles, and Downey, Parker said. He was involved in at least one hit-and-run collision during the chase.
Pursuing officers used a PIT maneuver to bringing the chase to an end in the 9200 block on Lakewood Boulevard in Downey, officials said.
After crashing his car into another vehicle, the suspect fired a handgun into the air as he fled from his crashed car and ran into a nearby Chris’ & Pitt’s restaurant at 9243 Lakewood Blvd, Parker said.
Patrons and employees could be seen fleeing from the building as heavily armed deputies took positions around the restaurant. It was not clear whether the gunman had any hostages.

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Checkpoint planned Friday in Pico Rivera

PICO RIVERA >> Deputies are planning to screen drivers for sobriety and valid licenses during a checkpoint Friday, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within the city, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Detective Jose Marquez said in a written statement.
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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Owner of nightclubs in Pico Rivera, Moreno Valley agrees to plead guilty to laundering drug money


LOS ANGELES >> A Hacienda Heights man accused of laundering drug money through nightclubs he owns in Pico Rivera and Moreno Valley has agreed to plead guilty to a charge that could send him to prison for 25 years, according to authorities and court documents.

"The Pico Rivera nightclub owner Edgar Fragoso, right,  38, leaving Edward Roybal Federal Building after his arraignment  where he pleaded not guilty  to eight counts federal indictments in downtown Los Angeles Friday, March 13, 2015. The Pico Rivera nightclub owner is accused of laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of a drug trafficking ring operating in the U.S. and Mexico (Photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News)"

Edgar De Dios Fragoso, 38, has agreed to enter a guilty to a single federal charge of money laundering, according to a plea agreement filed Tuesday in federal court in Los Angeles.
Under the plea arrangement, six additional counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy are to be dismissed, according to the document.
Fragoso pleaded not guilty to the eight-count federal indictment in March.
A hearing at which Fragoso will formally change his plea was yet to be scheduled, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said.
Fragoso is expected to receive a sentence of 25 years in federal prison, court records show.
He also agreed to forfeit his liquor license, Mrozek said.
“This brings some amount of closure to the case,” he said.
Prosecutors allege Fragoso laundered more than $35,000 in U.S. proceeds from methamphetamine sales on behalf of a drug dealer operating out of Mexico, and also collected $200,000 in payments from undercover federal agents posing as representatives of a drug-trafficking organization, according to the indictment.
Fragoso, who was arrested Feb. 23, is free on a $100,000 bond.

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UPDATED: Man arrested, woman sought after assault rifle found inside crashed car in Pico Rivera

PICO RIVERA >> Deputies jailed a parolee and sought a second suspect who ran from a solo-car crash Friday, leaving behind the wrecked car with a loaded assault rifle inside, authorities said.
The incident began shortly after 8 p.m. when a deputy noticed a car driving erratically, then crashing into a pedestrian bridge, along Rosemead Boulevard, just north of Crossway Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Vasquez said.
A man and woman ran from the car, and deputies set up a search perimeter to seek them out, he said. Deputies also found a loaded AR-15 rifle inside the car.
Deputies found and arrested the man in a nearby apartment complex, Vasquez said. The woman was not found.
Gregory Leyva, 22, of Pico Rivera was booked on suspicion of possession of an illegal assault weapon, Vasquez said.
He was recently paroled from prison following a February, 2013, conviction for carrying a concealed firearm, according to sheriff’s officials and Los Angeles County Superior Court records.
Leyva, who also has previous convictions for carrying a concealed dirk or dagger, vandalism and being under the influence of drugs, was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.

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UPDATED: Passenger killed in South El Monte solo-car crash; detectives probe possible connection to Pico Rivera shooting

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.

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Pico Rivera man accused of pellet gun attack on utility workers

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.

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Blind Pico Rivera man wounded in gang-related shooting

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.

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Suspect captured in fatal stabbing of tow truck driver in Pico Rivera


PICO RIVERA >> Detectives Friday arrested a transient they’d been seeking in connection with the unprovoked stabbing death of a tow truck driver as he helped the suspect’s mother change her car battery in Pico Rivera, authorities said.
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)

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Auto theft suspects arrested following neighborhood search in Pico Rivera

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.

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Pico Rivera bank branch robbed

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.

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