UPDATED: West Covina police arrest man and woman following bizarre pursuit, crash in Bassett


WEST COVINA >> In a strange seemingly illogical series chain of events, a man and woman called police on themselves to falsely report a carjacking Friday before leading West Covina police on a chase that ended with a crash in Bassett that injured two bystanders, including a little girl, authorities said.
Britanny Benquenchea, 26, and Joshua Rodriguez, 27, both of Victorville, were accused of crimes including evading police and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the bizarre episode, which began just after 7 p.m. at the Plaza West Covina shopping mall, West Covina police Lt. Travis Tibbetts said. Both are on parole for robbery, and Benquenchea wears a GPS tracking device.
Police first responded to the mall, 112 Plaza Drive, after a woman called 911 to report she had been carjacked of her 2015 Toyota Corolla at gunpoint by a man and woman, the lieutenant said.
Responding officers spotted a car matching the description of the stolen Toyota, containing a man and woman matching the description of the carjackers, driving just south of the mall.
Benquenchea, who was driving, refused to pull over for police, initiating a high-speed chase.
The pursuit ended minutes later when the fleeing car struck a civilian vehicle at Amar Road and Willow Avenue, Tibbetts said.
Both suspects were detained at the scene, he said. Police used a K-9 to help apprehend the male suspect, who refused to comply with officers’ commands.
An 8-year-old girl who was riding in the car struck by the fleeing suspects was initially hospitalized in critical condition, but was expected to survive, Tibbetts said. A woman in the vehicle, described only as an adult, was also hospitalized. Neither victims injuries were believed to be life threatening.
The investigation then took an unexpected turn.
Officers determined Benquenchea herself had called the police to falsely report being carjacked, Tibbetts said.
After being involved in a fight and getting escorted from the mall by security guards, Benquenchea and Rodriguez became involved in a confrontation with security before speeding away from the mall, police said.
The suspects may have struck a parked car as they left, he said. The details of the incident at the mall remained unclear late Friday.
“Apparently, they decided to call and report a carjacking, describing themselves as the suspects,” Tibbetts said.
The call appeared to be some sort of ill-thought-out ruse to divert police attention from the mall incident, he said. Although Benquenchea gave descriptions matching herself and Rodriguez as that of the phony carjackers, she reported the purported carjackers had fled in the opposite direction.
Benquenchea gave her real first name while reporting the carjacking, Tibbetts added. And when police called back the number, Benquenchea’s phone rang through the Toyota’s wireless audio system.
“I’ve never seen that before,” Tibbetts said.
Witness Christopher Morales posted footage of the male suspect being taken into custody with the help of a police K-9 on the social media network.
Another witness, April Aguirre, posted video of the aftermath of the collision in which firefighters can be seen treating an injured patient on Twitter.
The female suspect appeared to be wearing a GPS ankle bracelet, she said. “When they brought her out she seemed like she was on drugs,” the witness added.
In an email, Aguirre said she did not see the crash itself, as she arrived afterward.
“When I got there they had a male on a gurney taking him away. Then a couple minutes later they had a female in the video in handcuffs & she could barely walk or she was resisting it seemed like,” she said.
The woman yelled out, “Please don’t leave me,” and other phrases as firefighters treated her injuries, Aguirre said.
Both suspects were hospitalized prior to booking, Tibbetts said.

VIDEO: Courtesy of Christopher Morales

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Suspect crashes following chase from El Monte to Baldwin Park

0502_NWS_SGT-L-EMCHASE

EL MONTE >> A domestic violence suspect “erratically” driving a stolen car led El Monte police on a chase before crashing in Baldwin Park late Saturday, officials said.
Cesar Antonio Bobadilla, 23, of El Monte was ultimately booked on suspicion of domestic violence, auto theft, evading police, hit-and-run and resisting arrest following the chase, which began about 7:55 p.m., El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said in a written statement.
El Monte police had been seeking him in connection with an alleged April 16 battery on his girlfriend when officers spotted him driving a Black Acura Integra at Parkway Drive and Elliot Avenue, Luna said.
“The officer attempted a traffic stop of Bobadilla where upon Bobadilla accelerated his vehicle at a high rate of speed and fled. A vehicle pursuit ensued throughout the City of El Monte and then into the City of Baldwin Park,” Luna said.
“Bobadilla drove erratically, lost control of his vehicle and collided into a tree at the intersection of Los Angeles St. and Bresee Ave. (in) Baldwin Park,” the sergeant said.
The suspect ran from the crash, but was soon found hiding in a residential backyard in the 13900 block of Belgate Street, police said. The Acura he had been driving was found to have been reported stolen.
Officials took Bobadilla to a hospital for treatment of injuries suffered in the crash before booking him into jail.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, he was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

BOOKING PHOTO of Cesar Antonio Bobadilla, 23, of El Monte. (Courtesy, El Monte Police Department)

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Driver leads police on chase through West Covina, abandons stolen car on 10 Freeway

WEST COVINA >> A car thief led police on a chase through West Covina late Sunday before heading the wrong way on the 10 Freeway, abandoning the stolen car on the freeway and escaping into Covina Hills, authorities said.
An officer spotted a stolen car just before 7 p.m. in the area of Azusa and Vine avenues, West Covina police Lt. Travis Tibbetts said.
The driver refused to pull over, initiating a chase.
Officers chased the Honda Accord as it got onto the eastbound 10 Freeway, exited at Barranca Street, then re-entered the freeway heading the wrong way in westbound lanes, the lieutenant said.
Police cancelled their pursuit as the suspect entered the busy freeway heading in the wrong direction, he said.
They soon found the car crashed into the center divider west of Via Verde, Tibbetts said. But the driver had continued fleeing on foot, north across freeway lanes and into the Covina Hills.
Police and CHP officers searched for the suspect, with help from a helicopter, but he suspect was not found.
A detailed description was not available.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Robbery suspect arrested in Pasadena after chase, standoff

PASADENA >> Police jailed a robbery suspect Sunday after he led officers on a car chase, then climbed onto the roof of an apartment building before ultimately surrendering, officials said.
Officers received a report of the “strong-arm” robbery of a woman about 10 a.m. in the 1500 block of West Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
The woman’s purse and cell phone had been stolen, he said. It was determined that the robbery took place across the city border in the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department. Further details regarding the robbery were not immediately available.
Pasadena police spotted a car matching the description of the robber’s vehicle 10 to 15 minutes later in the area of Lincoln Avenue and Washington Boulevard, the lieutenant said. The driver refused to pull over, kicking off a pursuit.
Police chased the suspect to the 100 block of East Orange Grove Boulevard, where he abandoned the car and fled into an apartment complex and climbed onto the roof of a building.
After about an hour, officers persuaded the man to climb down and surrender, Carrillo said.
The suspect’s identity was not available pending the booking process.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

UPDATED — Officials: Pasadena woman tries to run down parents with SUV, strips nude at end of police chase in Downtown L.A.

PASADENA >> A woman allegedly tried to run down at least one of her parents with an SUV in Pasadena Friday night before leading police on a pursuit that came to an end in Downtown Los Angeles, where she stripped nude before being taken into custody.
The bizarre string of events began about 10:30 p.m. when police received a report of a family dispute at a home in the 1300 block of Linda Vista Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said.
Officers learned a woman had gotten into an argument with her parents, during which she allegedly tried to run them down with an SUV.
“She tried to strike one or both of her parents,” Gourdikian said. “They had to jump out of the way.” The parents were not injured.
The suspect also struck her parents’ parked car with her SUV and smashed a car window with a brick, Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
The woman fled the scene before police arrived, but officers soon spotted the woman driving near the Rose Bowl, the lieutenant said. She refused to pull over, initiating a chase.
News helicopters broadcast live as police chased the SUV down the 134, 101, 118 and 210 freeways toward Los Angeles.
Police cancelled their pursuit as a safety precaution and planned to seek the woman later, as they knew her identity, Gourdikian said.
But news helicopters continued to follow and broadcast live online as the woman got onto the 110 Freeway, exited in Downtown Los Angeles and parked the SUV in a parking lot along 3rd Street, just east of Main Street.
The woman exited the SUV and began walking down the street, speaking with several passers-by, a live stream broadcast online by CBS Los Angeles. More than 15 minutes passed for Los Angeles police arrived.
In the meantime, a freelance news photographer arrived on the scene. He approached the woman, camera in-hand, and appeared to speak with her briefly.
As police approached, the woman suddenly stripped off all of her clothing. Police handcuffed the suspect and tried to cover her with a shirt before placing her into a squad car.
She made “incoherent” statements to officers during her arrest, Carrillo said.
Simone Megan Gonzalez, 32, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism and evading police, according to police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officials had yet to determine Saturday whether Gonzalez’s bizarre behavior may have been the result of mental illness or intoxication.
She was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, records show.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Auto theft suspect arrested after short chase in Whittier

0422_NWS_SGT-L-CHASE

WHITTIER >> Police jailed an alleged car thief after a brief car chase, which ended in a crash, in Whittier Thursday afternoon.
An officer was on patrol about 2:10 p.m. in the area of Gunn Avenue and Whittier Boulevard when he spotted a car matching the description of one reported to be involved in a burglary attempt several hours before, Whittier police Lt. Jim Uhl said.
The officer tried to stop the Honda Accord, but the driver fled instead.
After a short chase, the suspect crashed into a parked car at Calmada Avenue and La Forge Street, the sergeant said. He continued fleeing on foot, but was soon apprehended nearby.
Police determined the Honda had been reported stolen in Whittier in March, Uhl said.
The driver was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries suffered while running from officers, Uhl said. His name was not immediately available.
He was expected to be booked on suspicion of auto theft and evading police, Uhl said. Police were continuing to investigate the suspect’s possible connection to the earlier burglary attempt.

PHOTO courtesy of the Whittier Police Department

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Gang member sentenced for Pasadena crash that killed two during police chase on Christmas, 2012

Williams

PASADENA >> A judge sentenced a gang member to more than three decades in prison for killing an 11-year-old boy and his 25-year-old cousin when he crashed an SUV into their family’s minivan in Pasadena on Christmas Day of 2012.
The Pasadena jury found Darrell Lee Williams, 25, guilty in November of two counts of manslaughter and five counts of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the crash at Marengo Avenue and Maple Street, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago. The conviction was his third strike under California’s Three Strikes Law. He was acquitted of a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Dorothy L. Shubin sentenced Williams to 30 years to life in prison, Santiago said.
Killed were Tracey Ong Tan of Glendale and Kendrick Ng of Daly City. Ng was visiting relatives for the holidays. Ng’s parents and sister suffered serious injuries.
Williams was fleeing from an FBI SUV, driven by an FBI agent with a Pasadena police officer riding as a passenger, that had tried to pull over the Dodge Durango Williams was driving, authorities said.
“Williams refused to stop because he had a firearm in the SUV while on parole and a high-speed chase began,” Santiago said in a written statement.
William’s girlfriend and passenger in the fleeing SUV, 23-year-old Brittany Washington of Los Angeles, pleaded no contest to a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in 2014 and received a two-year jail sentence, officials said.
The fatal pursuit occurred as Pasadena police and FBI agents were conducting gang-suppression patrols following the fatal shooting of community youth coach and sheriff’s department employee Victor McClinton, 49, of Pasadena earlier on the same deadly Christmas Day in Pasadena.
A Los Angeles jury continued deliberating Friday in the case of alleged gang members Larry Darnell Bishop, 23, of Chino and Jerron Donald Harris, 28, of Pasadena, accused of gunning down McClinton with an errant bullet intended for a rival gang member.
The trial is the second for Bishop and Harris after a jury failed to reach a verdict in their first trial last July.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Arcadia burglary suspect with police radio scanner arrested in Westmont following chase

0327_NWS_PSN-L-CHASE1

ARCADIA >> An alleged burglar with a police radio scanner in his car led police and CHP officers on a high-speed chase that ended with his arrest in Westmont following a residential break-in in Arcadia late Friday, authorities said.
Arcadia police had received a report shortly before 9 p.m. of a suspicious person and vehicle in the driveway of a home in the 200 block of Monte Place, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement. The car drove away, and it was later determined a the home had been burglarized, and items stolen.
Police spotted the Nissan Altima as it got onto the 210 Freeway and tried to pull it over, but the driver sped away instead, officials said.
Arcadia officers gave chase as the Nissan sped down the southbound 605 and westbound 105 freeways at speeds reaching 100 mph.
0327_NWS_PSN-L-CHASE2Arcadia officers eventually turned the pursuit over to California Highway Patrol officers, who ultimately took the driver into custody when he came to a stop along 102nd Street in Westmont.
Officials recovered items taken during the Arcadia break-in inside the suspect’s car, along with a radio scanner programmed with the frequency of the Arcadia Police Department, allowing him to monitor police radio traffic, Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
Steve Gainer, 32, of Paramount was booked on suspicion of residential burglary and evading police, both felonies, police said.
0327_NWS_PSN-L-CHASE3According to Los Angeles County booking records, Gainer was being held in lieu of $125,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court.

 

PHOTOS: Steve Gainer, 32, of Paramount [TOP], police scanner recovered from car [BELOW], courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

UPDATED: Man killed by police after stealing West Covina police car, leading cops on chase to Glendale identified


GLENDALE >> Authorities Wednesday released the identity of a man fatally shot by West Covina police after stealing a police car and leading officers on a wild chase that ended in Glendale as television news cameras broadcast the incident live.
Man killed by police after stealing West Covina police car, leading cops on chase to Glendale identified
Gevork Alachadzhyan, 45, of North Hollywood died at the scene of Sunday’s 10:30 p.m. officer-involved shooting in the 100 block of South Glendale Avenue, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
But sheriff’s homicide detectives, who are handling the officer-involved shooting investigation, placed a “security hold” on the case at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
The security hold prevents coroner’s officials from releasing any information about the case, Winter said.
The reason for detectives’ decision to block the release of information was unclear. The handling detective at the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau declined to discuss the case Wednesday.
In a recording of police radio traffic from the pursuit, the driver — later identified as Alachadzhyan — can be heard screaming, sometimes unintelligibly, into the microphone.
AUDIO: West Covina police radio recording
“I’d rather take the car,” the man yells at one point.
“The police are gonna kill me,” he continued.
West Covina police chased Alachadzhyan, who activated the stolen squad car’s emergency lights and sirens, at high speeds before using a PIT maneuver to spin the car out. News helicopters filmed as a police SUV smashed broadside into the stolen cruiser, pinning it.
“The officers saw the suspect making efforts to remove weapons positioned between the passenger and driver’s seat,” officials from the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. “Fearing the suspect was arming himself, both officers discharged their weapons.”
The suspect died at the scene, officials said. No officers were hurt.
Authorities said the suspect stole the West Covina police car after an officer responded to a call for service 200 block of Barranca Parkway in West Covina, but ultimately determined no crime had occurred, officials said.
The officer offered the man a ride to the east end of town, according to the statement.
Once the officer let the man out of the car, “the suspect ran to the driver’s door and assumed control of the vehicle,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
“The transporting officer attempted to regain control of the police vehicle. The suspect began driving with the officer near the driver’s side window, but the officer was unable to regain control of the police vehicle.”
Fellow officers soon spotted the stolen police vehicle and initiated the chase.
In addition to numerous convictions for petty theft, receiving stolen property, DUI and driving without a license, Alachadzhyan was convicted in 2013 of possession of a machine gun, being a felon in possession of a gun, drug possession and possession of drugs for sales, records show.
Other convictions include contempt of court and false impersonation of another, according to court records. At the time of Wednesday’s chase and fatal shooting, Alachadzhyan had a case pending against him on charges of hit-and-run, driving on a suspended license and driving without a valid license.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

West Covina police fatally shoot suspect in Glendale following chase in stolen police car


GLENDALE >> West Covina police shot and killed a man who stole a police car, then led officers on a pursuit that ended in Glendale late Sunday, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 10:30 p.m. in the 100 block of South Glendale Avenue, just south of Broadway, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials, who are handling the investigation into the fatal officer-involved shooting.
“The suspect, a male adult, was struck by gunfire and pronounced dead at the scene,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
No officers were hurt in the incident.
In a drama broadcast by television helicopters, officers pursued the stolen cruiser with its lights flashing at speeds approaching 100 miles per hour until a police SUV crashed into its driver’s side door to bring it to a halt.
Further details were not immediately available.
— City News Service contributed to this report.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email