SAN GABRIEL >> Officials have released the name of a 51-year-old Rosemead man who died in a solo-car crash in San Gabriel a week ago.
Louis Richard Valdez died at a hospital shortly after his 2013 Hyundai struck a palm tree in the 8600 block of East Broadway about 8:40 p.m. Aug. 3, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said. He died from multiple traumatic injuries, and the death was ruled accidental.
For reasons that remained under investigation, Valdez’s car suddenly veered to the left side of the road and struck a large palm tree as he was westbound Broadway, CHP officials said.
A 65-year-old sexual predator who cut off his GPS ankle bracelet before luring a church acquaintance to a coffee shop and pulling a gun on her last year will likely die in prison.
Frank Hernandez of Rosemead received a sentence of 40 years to life in prison Friday for making criminal threats against the young woman, who had refused his romantic advances, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney David Arvazian said.
Hernandez already had a lifelong criminal history which included two rape convictions and bank robbery when he met with his latest victim on Sept. 12, 2013, Ayvazian said.
“He’s a true predator,” the prosecutor said. “He is a very dangerous person.”
Hernandez’s sentence is effectively a life sentence, Ayvazian said. Hernandez will be required to serve all 40 years of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole, at which time he will be 105 years old, Ayvazian said.
The jury failed to reach a verdict on two additional charges of attempted kidnapping and attempted carjacking. Ayvazian said he did not pursue those counts further, as they would not have added any additional prison time to Hernandez’s sentence.
Hernandez had met a 23-year-old victim through his church and had tried to pursue a romantic relationship with her, the prosecutor said. But the woman was not interested. She was unaware of Hernandez criminal history or his status as a registered sex offender.
Ayvazian said Hernandez persuaded the woman to meet him at a Starbucks coffee shop on Fremont Avenue in Alhambra about 9:30 a.m. Sept. 12, Alhambra police Sgt. Edward Rodriguez said at the time.
But first, he removed his court-ordered GPS tracking device, Ayvazian said.
“He cut it off that morning and hid it in a supermarket by his house. It was all pre-planned.” Ayvazian said.
As soon as the woman arrived in her car, Hernandez approached her and pulled a gun.
Hernandez tried to force his way into the woman’s car while ordering her to be quiet and threatening to kill her, Ayvazian said. He also struck her with the gun.
The crime was interrupted to by good Samaritans. One woman confronted Hernandez and told him to leave the woman alone, despite hearing the terrified victim scream that he had a gun. Hernandez abandoned the crime and fled.
A second woman obtained a photograph of Hernandez’s license plate as he drove away, helping police to quickly identify him as a suspect in the crime, according to Alhambra police Sgt. Joe Flannagan.
“They’re wonderful,” Ayvazian said of the two good Samaritans. “They were amazing.”
Police arrested Hernandez at his home within a few hours.
Hernandez was paroled from prison in 2011 following a 1990 rape conviction, according to Ayvazian and court records. He was also previously convicted of rape in 1984.
Hernandez served prison time in the 1970 for bank robbery, and has other robbery convicted dating back to his youth in the 1960s, Ayvazian said.
All of Hernandez previous convictions took place prior to California’s three strikes law was enacted in 1994.
A man was rushed into surgery Friday afternoon after he was wounded in a car-to-car shooting at a Rosemead intersection, officials said.
The shooting took place about 12:40 p.m. on westbound Graves Avenue at Del Mar avenues, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“The victim was stopped at the corner of Graves and Del Mar,” sheriff’s Lt. Ismael Chavez said.
The attacker or attackers pulled up alongside the victim, he said.
“There’s some words exchanged. W don’t know what words were exchanged,” Chavez said. “Multiple gunshots are fired at the victim’s car.”
Chavez said the victim, a 29-year-old Rosemead man, suffered a single gunshot wound to his torso and drove south on Del Mar for a short distance before crashing his car into a brick wall surrounding a liquor store, Chavez said.
Paramedics took the man to a hospital, where he was listed in stable condition after undergoing surgery, Chavez said.
A motive in the shooting was unknown, he said. Because of the wounded man’s medical condition, “We haven’t been able to talk to the victim.”
Investigators initially described the shooter as a Latino man wearing a dark-colored baseball cap and driving a dark sedan that made a U-turn and headed east on Graves Avenue following the shooting.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Temple Station are handling the investigation.
ROSEMEAD >> A 26-year-old Santa Ana man died early Saturday following a solo-car crash on the 10 Freeway in Rosemead, officials said.
The man had not been officially identified at the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Saturday afternoon, coroner’s officials said.
He was driving a 2002 Nissan Sentra westbound on the 10 Freeway, just west of Baldwin Avenue, at an unknown speed just prior to the crash, California Highway Patrol Officer Jennifer Cassidy said.
“For reasons currently under investigation, the driver was unable to maintain control of his vehicle,” Cassidy said. The car slammed into the center divider wall and ultimately came to rest in the center median.
The driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, was taken to Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park where he succumbed to his injuries, Cassidy said.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by officers from the East Los Angeles office of the CHP.
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge sentenced a Rosemead businessman to more than two and a half years in prison Thursday for coordinating the importation of more than $2.3 million worth of counterfeit shoes, designer purses and sports jerseys through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, authorities said.
Kevin “Peter” Wang, 54, pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit goods in federal court in Los Angeles and received his 31-month prison sentenced from U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt. He was further sentenced to an additional six months of home detention and ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution and a $10,000 fine, U.S. Department of Justice officials said in a written statement.
“Wang helped Chinese exporters bring counterfeit goods — including fake Nike shoes, labeled as ‘garment hangers’; counterfeit Coach, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton handbags, labeled as ‘toilet paper’; and bogus NFL, NBA, and NHL jerseys — into the United States,” according to the DOJ statement. “From 2008 to 2012, the counterfeit goods were smuggled in shipping containers through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.”
Thursday’s sentencing was the second in recent weeks involving the importation of counterfeit goods, officials said.
Hamlet Ayvazyan, 37, of Glendale, received a one-year federal prison sentence on April 28 after also pleading guilty to trafficking in counterfeit goods, DOJ officials said. He was also ordered to pay a $4,000 fine.
Through his businesses, Speedvision Motorsport in Glendale, Ayvazyan received shipments of, and sold, counterfeit automotive wheels falsely labeled as Mercedes-Benz logos, according to the DOJ statement. Investigators in 2012 seized more than 600 counterfeit wheels from Ayvazyan.
“Ayvazyan also kept 2,100 adhesive logos and wheel center caps that bore marks such as ‘Mercedes-Benz’ and ‘BMW,’” the statement said.
DOJ officials added that Ayvazyan paid about $100 for each wheel and sold them for $200, “which was substantially less than the manufacturer’s price for legitimate wheels, which was as much as $2,000.
ROSEMEAD >> A 23-year-old man died early Saturday after a big rig struck his disabled car on the 60 Freeway following a previous collision, authorities said.
Jose Estrada Jr. of Los Angeles died in the 5:08 a.m. crash on the eastbound 60 Freeway, just west of Rosemead Boulevard, in an unincorporated county area between South El Monte and Rosemead, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner officials said.
He was driving a 2001 Toyota sedan when he became involved in a collision with a 1986 Nissan being driven by a 58-year-old Inglewood man, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement. The cause and circumstances of the two-car crash remained under investigation Saturday afternoon.
The Nissan ended up veering off the side of the freeway, striking an overhead light pole, overturning and coming to a rest back on its wheels along a dirt and brush embankment, CHP officials said. The driver suffered minor injuries.
Estrada’s Toyota came to a stop in the No. 3 lane of traffic.
A big rig then approached the crash scene, “and for unknown reasons, was unable to avoid the stopped vehicle,” according to the CHP statement.
The big rig slammed into the Toyota, causing major injuries to Estrada, officials said. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene at 5:26 a.m.
The truck driver, a 36-year-old Los Angeles man, was not injured, according to the CHP.
“The exact cause of this collision is still under investigation by the California Highway Patrol – East Los Angeles area office,” the statement said.
ROSEMEAD >> A pilot and passenger walked away from a small helicopter crash at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area early Saturday, authorities said.
The crash was first reported by a witness on the ground about 9:25 a.m. on an open field near the tennis courts at the east side of the large park, which sits along Rosemead Boulevard and the 60 Freeway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jorge Marchena said.
The two-seater helicopter ended up on it’s side, however the two people on board suffered no significant injuries, according to sheriff’s and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials.
“A Bell 47 helicopter rolled onto its side during an emergency landing in a park after losing engine power,” Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Lynn Lundsford said. “The pilot was not injured, his passenger sustained minor injuries.”
The passenger was ultimately taken to a hospital for treatment, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said. The pilot was not hospitalized.
Officials described the pilot as a man and the passenger as a woman.
Lundsford said the trip appeared to be a pleasure flight, but she did not have information regarding where the helicopter took off, and where it’s destination was.
A hazardous materials crew was summoned to the scene to deal with fuel that had spilled from the vehicle, fire Dispatch Supervisor Melanie Flores said.
About 100 gallons of aviation fuel was believed to have leaked from the helicopter, according to initial reports from the scene.
The helicopter crashed onto soft soil, officials said.
“They’re very lucky,” Marchena said. “They tried to make a hard landing, and it worked out for them.”
Marchena added that it was also fortunate no one on the ground was injured in the incident.
“There’s parts of the park that can get pretty populated,” he said.
The tail number written on the helicopter is registered to a 1958 Bell 47G helicopter owned by a Delaware-based corporation called 5847G LLC., according to an FAA database. It’s certification expired April 30.
The sheriff’s Aero and Parks bureaus were investigating the crash, along with the FAA.
PHOTO by William Camargo
ROSEMEAD — A man lost cash to a robber as he walked home early Wednesday, authorities said.
The crime took place shortly after 4:15 a.m. in the 4000 block of Loma Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ismael Chavez said.
A man in his 20s was walking when he was approached by a robber described as a Latino man in his 20s, wearing dark clothes and a dark hooded sweatshirt, Detective Sgt. Steve Ruiz said.
The robber was possibly armed with a handgun, though investigators had not yet confirmed that whether that was the case, Ruiz said.
After obtaining cash from the victim, the robber was last seen running south on Loma Avenue toward Valley Boulevard, Chavez said.
ROSEMEAD — Deputies arrested two people Tuesday after an argument over a woman ended in a shooting.
No one was injured in the 1:37 p.m. shooting near Klingerman Street and Charlotte Avenue.
“Deputies contacted the victim who reported he was in a verbal confrontation with another male over a mutual female friend,” Lt. Ignacio Somoano said in a statement.
He said the suspect shot at the victim. When the victim ran, the assailant chased him and fired several more rounds.
The gunman got into a car and left.
Somoano said the suspect and the vehicle were identified based on information from the victim and witnesses.
Deputies notified Los Angeles police because the suspect was from Los Angeles, he said.
Officers found the vehicle at Vermont Avenue and 22nd Street at about 3 p.m.
Somoano said the passenger, 31-year-old Jose Barajas of Los Angeles, and the driver, 28-year-old Monica Lucero of Los Angeles, were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
A gang investigator at the sheriff’s Temple station is handling the case. He declined to discuss the shooting because it is an ongoing investigation.
A sheriff’s spokeswoman didn’t have anymore details about the shooting.
According to booking records, both suspects were in custody at the Temple station jail. Lucero’s bail is $1 million and Barajas was being held without bail.
– Ruby Gonzales
ROSEMEAD — Deputies jailed a San Gabriel man Sunday on suspicion of trying to kidnap an 11-year-old boy from a Rosemead sidewalk last month, officials said.
Bin Zhang, 44, was booked on suspicion of attempted kidnapping following his arrest, which took place about 10 a.m. in the 2700 block of Del Mar Avenue in Rosemead, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Phillip Marquez said in a written statement.
The alleged kidnapping attempt took place in January, but went unreported until after sheriff’s officials issued a public alert Feb. 12 regarding a separate Jan. 30 incident in which a man grabbed onto a young girl on the campus of Arlene Bitely Elementary School, on Fern Avenue just west of Jackson Street.
“As a result of the press release, Temple Sheriff’s Station investigators learned that in early January, an 11-year-old male was accosted near Del Mar Avenue and Emerson Place, Rosemead, and the incident went unreported. An investigation was launched,” Marquez said. “It is alleged the suspect attempted to kidnap the 11-year-old male from a public sidewalk in January of 2014.”
Deputies Sunday morning spotted a man matching the description of the man who tried to kidnap the boy and arrested him without a struggle, Marquez said.
According to county booking records, Zhang was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled for Wednesday in El Monte Superior Court.
The investigation was ongoing, Marquez said, and it was not clear Sunday if the suspect arrested for attempting to kidnap the boy was the same man who accosted the young girl.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Detective S. Gibson of the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171.