INDUSTRY >> Three men were hospitalized Saturday — one of them in “extremely critical condition” — after a group of assailants opened fire on their car along an onramp to the 60 Freeway in Industry, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 11:50 p.m. Friday on the Azusa Avenue onramp to the westbound 60 Freeway, according to Deputy Lisa Jansen of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Four men in their early 20s had just left a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant at the Puente Hills Mall when the attackers approached in an SUV, Lt. John Corina of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
“As they were traveling on the onramp, a white Range rover pulled up alongside of them and started shooting into the car,” the lieutenant said. The victims’ car continued onto the freeway and drifted across traffic lanes before crashing into the center divider.
The Range Rover continued west on the 60 Freeway, officials said.
The driver of the victims’ car, a 23-year-old El Monte man, suffered severe wounds and was hospitalized in “extremely critical condition,” sheriff’s officials said.
Two of his passengers, both 24, also suffered gunshot wounds but were expected to survive, Corina said. A third passenger escaped injury.
A handgun was believed to have been used in the shooting, Corina said. No further description of the attackers or their vehicle was not available Sunday.
The motive in the attack remained under investigation, he said. There were no initial indications of any dispute preceding the gunfire. The victims were not believed to have gang ties.
All lanes of the westbound 60 Freeway were closed until about 7:30 a.m. as a result of the shooting and subsequent investigation, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
NORWALK >> A judge sentenced a Montebello man to death three times over Friday for a 2010 AK-47 attack on his ex-girlfriend’s family in Hawaiian Gardens, leaving three people dead and another seriously wounded.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Raul Sahagun ordered Joseph Mercado, 32, to death row for the early-morning May 6, 2010 triple-slaying that claimed the lives of his ex-girlfriend Serena Tarin, 23, her brother Alfredo Tarin Jr., 19, and her father Alfredo Tarin Sr., 54, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Also critically wounded in the rampage at the family’s home in the 21900 block of Devlin Avenue was Serena Tarin’s mother, who survived. Six additional family members fled from the home, some of them hiding on the roof of the home, which Mercado had doused with gasoline and set afire before breaking in through the back of the home and opening fire with an AK-47 assault rifle, authorities said.
A Norwalk jury convicted Mercado in November of 10 felony counts. They included three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, first degree burglary, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, arson of an inhabited structure and child abuse.
The jury also found true the special circumstances of multiple murders, lying in wait and engaging in arson — each one making him eligible for the death penalty. The jury also found true the special allegations that Mercado personally used a firearm in the crimes and personally inflicted great bodily injury.
He was acquitted of a single count of assault with a deadly weapon.
The jury recommended Mercado be put to death for his crimes during the penatty phase of the trial, Ardalani said.
Following the shooting, Mercado was arrested after being shot by a sheriff’s deputy after exiting the home with his rifle still-in hand, officials said.
Mercado and Serena Tarin had an infant son together, sheriff’s investigators said. The 9-month-old child was unharmed in the incident.
Authorities said the shooting took place amid a custody dispute between Mercado and Tarin, who had been separated for several months.
BASSETT >> A drive-by shooting in residential neighborhood in Bassett late Thursday left two men and a woman wounded, officials said.
Deputies sought three suspects in connection with the 7:30 p.m. shooting in the 13600 block of Moccasin Street, in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Tubbs said.
The victims, a man in his 20s, a woman in her 20s and a man in his 30s, were all hospitalized with stable vital signs, the lieutenant said.
Three men were inside a passing older-model, black, four-door Nissan Maxima with tinted windows when one of the occupants opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun fitted with a laser sight, officials said.
Initial reports from the scene indicated the shooter was a Latino man of about 30 years old, wearing a black mask and a black shirt.
Tubbs said the victims were standing in front of a home when shot, Tubbs said.
The investigation remained in its early stages Thursday night, however the shooting appeared to be gang-related, Tubbs said.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Industry Station at 626-330-3322. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
WHITTIER >> The death of a man found fatally shot inside a Whittier apartment Monday has been ruled a suicide, coroner officials said.
Police responded about 1 a.m. Monday to a report of a shooting at an apartment in the 6300 block of Comstock Avenue, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said.
Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene. Foul play was not initially suspected, however police deferred to the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner to determined an officials cause of death.
Through a autopsy, coroner’s investigators determined the death of the 33-year-old man was a suicide, coroner’s officials said.
BALDWIN PARK >> Police are seeking a man who shot and seriously wounded a woman as she sat in her car in the parking lot of a Baldwin Park liquor store early Saturday.
Officers responded to a report of “shots fired” about 1 a.m. and found gold, four-door sedan that had crashed into a block wall along the surrounding and old rock quarry pit at Azusa Canyon Road and Olive Street, Baldwin Park police Lt. Shawn Blackburn said.
Police soon discovered the female driver had been shot, the lieutenant said. It appeared she was shot while sitting in her car in the parking lot of a nearby liquor store before her car lurched forward, crossed Olive Street and crashed into the wall.
Paramedics took the woman to a hospital where she was listed in critical-but-stable condition, he said.
A detailed suspect description was not available, nor were further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting.
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A man suffered wounds to his hand and wrist in a shooting near the Santa Fe Springs Athletic Fields Friday, police said.
The shooting took place about 7 p.m. as a 27-year-old Santa Fe Springs man was alongside the park, at Pioneer Boulevard and Alburtis Avenue, Whittier police officials said.
The victim was struck in the wrist and hand, Lt. Terry McAllister said. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of wounds not considered to be life-threatening.
The attacker or attackers fled the area in a small, black, four-door car, which was last seen speeding north on Jersey Avenue from Pioneer Boulevard, the lieutenant said.
The motive in the shooting remained unclear. No further details were available.
PHOTO courtesy of the Whittier Police Department
NORWALK >> A shooting in a residential neighborhood left a young man and a young woman seriously wounded Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The shooting was first reported at 12:12 p.m. in the 11800 block of Allard Street, just east of Pioneer Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robin Limon said.
The two victims were described as between 17 and 25 years old, the lieutenant said.
Both victims were initially hospitalized in critical condition, she said. The woman’s condition was upgraded to stable later in the day, while the male victim remained in critical-but-stable condition.
The suspect or suspects may have fled the area in a two-door, gray or silver sedan, Limon said.
The circumstances of the shooting remained under investigation.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
BALDWIN PARK >> An Al Monte gang member who was accidentally released from custody, then-recaptured in Mexico, while awaiting trial for two separate Baldwin Park shootings received a lifetime prison sentence last week, authorities said.
A Pomona Superior Court jury convicted Johnny Mata, 34, of attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in August, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. The jurors hung on additional charges of murder, and a second county of possession of a firearm by a felon. Prosecutors were yet to decide whether to seek a retrial for Mata on those counts.
Judge Thomas C. Falls sentenced Mata Friday to life in prison, plus 25 years behind bars, Ardalani said.
Mata, along with Jesus Arroyo Lule, 34, of El Monte and Christina Montenegro, 27, were initially arrested in connection a n allegedly gang-related shooting that left 34-year-old David Anthony Deanda of Baldwin Park dead on Christmas Eve, 2010, in the 13200 block of Francisquito Avenue in Baldwin Park, Los Angeles county sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials said.
Lule pleaded “no contest” to a charge of voluntary manslaughter in 2014 for Deanda’s slaying and is scheduled to be sentenced by Pomona Superior Court Judge Mike Camacho on Jan. 29, Ardalani said. A charge of attempted murder was dismissed as part of the plea arrangement.
Montenegro pleaded no contest to a charge of forgery in July of 2013, Ardalani said. A murder charge was dismissed, and Montenegro was sentenced to three years in county jail. Records indicate she has since served her time and been released.
Deanda, a welder, was survived by his wife, a son, a daughter and a stepdaughter, family said.
District attorney’s officials declined to discuss the details of Deanda’s slaying pending the potential second murder trial to come.
Mata’s defense attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Though the jury failed to reach a verdict in the murder case, they convicted Mata of charges related to a second, separate shooting on April 21, 2012, in Baldwin Park.
Mata, described by authorities as an El Monte gang member, opened fire on a rival gang member in front of the victim’s home in Baldwin Park, Ardalani said. The intended target was not struck by the gunfire.
As he awaited trial, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials accidentally released Mata on April 4, 2013, as a result of what sheriff’s officials described as a clerical error. The erroneous release at the sheriff’s Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles occurred after a judge had dismissed an attempted murder charge against Mata, but not other charges, including murder.
El Monte police initially arrested Mata in May of 2012 after he ran from a stolen car, according to El Monte police Lt. David Vautrin.
Following his improper release by sheriff’s officials
After spending more than a year as a fugitive, Mexican authorities, aided by American investigators, found and re-captured Mata in Mexico in May of 2014 and returned him to the U.S. to face trial.
ALHAMBRA >> Police placed three Alhambra schools on precautionary lockdown Wednesday afternoon as they investigated reports of gunfire along the 10 Freeway.
Police first received reports about 1:23 p.m. of someone shooting a handgun on or near the westbound 10 Freeway near Atlantic Boulevard, Alhambra police Lt. Gabriel Ponce said.
The shooter has not been found, nor have any victims. Nearby Fremont Elementary School, 2001 Elm Street, Marguerita Elementary School, 1515 W. Mission Road, and Ramona Convent Secondary School, 1701 W. Ramona Road, were placed on lockdown as police searched the area along the freeway between Fremont Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard, officials said.
The lockdowns were lifted just over an hour later, Ponce said. No suspects or victims were found.
It was unclear if the reported gunfire came from a vehicle, or a person on foot along the roadside.
BALDWIN PARK >> A man was hospitalized in critical-but-stable condition with a gunshot wound and his wife suffered a severe facial injury after being pistol-whipped following what was believed to be an incident of domestic violence in Baldwin Park early Saturday, police said.
A man driving a pickup truck flagged down a police officer about 12:30 a.m. at Maine Avenue and Ramona Boulevard and said that his brother had been shot, and was in the bed of the truck, Baldwin Park police Sgt. Shawn Blackburn said.
The driver sped off before providing more details, the sergeant said. Officers gave chase until the driver pulled over at Puente Avenue and Amar Road in the unincorporated county area of Bassett.
Police summoned paramedics to treat the gunshot victim, who had been shot in the abdomen, Blackburn said. He was hospitalized in critical-but-stable condition.
Officers arrested the wounded man’s 45-year-old brother on suspicion of evading police, he said.
About the same time, a woman arrived at a Baldwin Park emergency room with a severe facial injury apparently suffered while being struck with a handgun, Blackburn said. It was soon determined the injured woman is the wife of the man who had been shot.
Detectives believed the violence was the result of a domestic dispute that occurred in a residential neighborhood in the area of Feather Avenue and Macdevitt Street in Baldwin Park, police said.
Neither the husband or wife had been arrested Saturday as the investigation continued into exactly what took place, Blackburn said.
The shooting victim’s brother remained jailed in lieu of $75,000 bail Saturday afternoon, Los Angeles County booking records show.
Officials continued investigating the intentions of the wounded man’s brother, including whether he may have been trying to seek help for his wounded brother when he led police on the chase, Blackburn added.