POMONA >> Police have made an arrest in the fatal shooting of 8-year-old Jonah Hwang in Pomona last month.
Following more than a month of investigation in the wake of the Feb. 20 shooting at a home in the 1100 block of West 11th Street, police announced the arrest of Sengchan Houl, 35, in connection with Hwang’s slaying.
The drive-by attack took place as Hwang and his family were dinner guests at the home of another family, according to Pomona police Lt. Eddie Vasquez.
“The Pomona Police Department’s Homicide Unit has been actively investigating Jonah’s murder since that day’s events,” police said in a written statement issued late Sunday. “Today, the Police Department is announcing the arrest of a suspect in this case.”
Officers took Houl into custody without a struggle in an unincorporated county area near Pomona shortly after 11:490 a.m., according to police and Los Angeles County booking records.
A motive in the deadly shooting has not been disclosed.
No further details regarding the arrest were released Sunday.
“Detectives are still actively working this case and we are not releasing any additional information at this time,” according to the police statement.
Gunshots struck the same home in January, resulting in no injuries, and again on Saturday morning, police said.
Police planned to hold a conference Monday afternoon to provide additional details on the investigation.
According to county booking records, Houl was being held in lieu of $2 million bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
PASADENA >> Police released a composite sketch of one of four men sought in connection with a January shooting that left two men dead and two other victims wounded during a vigil for a previous homicide victim in Pasadena.
Antoine Dewayne Sutphen Jr. and Ormani Dajan Duncan, both 24 and from Pasadena, died in the barrage of gunfire that erupted just before midnight on Jan. 6 at Fair Oaks Avenue and Claremont Street, according to Pasadena police and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
The victims had gathered for a vigil in memory of 25-year-old Brandon Douglas of Pasadena, who was gunned down on the same corner on Dec. 22.
The shooting involved four attackers, according to Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo. Investigators received conflicting reports of whether the men fired from inside a passing vehicle or exited their car before opening fire.
Police released descriptions of the suspect earlier this week in hopes of generating tips from the public, the lieutenant said. The plan worked.
“Since our most recent request for assistance, witnesses have come forward and provided further information, resulting in a composite sketch of one suspect,” Carrillo said.
Witnesses have described the killers as four black men. One was 20 to 25 years old, of dark complexion, 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall, between 210 and 220 pounds, police said.
The other three suspects were all described as 25 to 30 years old. One was 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall and 240 to 250 pounds and of dark complexion. The third was 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 210 to 220 pounds and of medium complexion. The final suspect was 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 1 inch tall, 180 to 190 pounds and of light complexion.
No description of the attackers’ car was available.
Investigators hoped more witnesses are yet to come forward with vital information that may help them solve the double-slaying, Carrillo said.
In addition to the two Pasadena man who lost their lives in the Jan. 6 shooting, a 24-year-old woman was critically injured and a 25-year-old man suffered non-life-threatening wounds.
The bloodshed continued the following afternoon, when another shooting erupted at the same street corner, police said. A 25-year-old man was shot in the thigh.
Investigators have said it appears the shooting, as well as others in the region since, are the result of an escalating rivalry between gangs in the Pasadena, Monrovia, Duarte and Pomona areas.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police homicide detectives at 626-744-4511. The department can be reached 24 hours a day at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SKETCH courtesy of the Pasadena Police Department/Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. PHOTO: Outside Kings Villages in Pasadena a candle is lit on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 by friends of Ormoni Duncan who was fatally shot along with Antoine Sutphen, Jr., in a shooting that also left two other victims wounded on Friday night. The victims were headed to a vigil for Brandon Douglas who was killed on Dec. 22, 2016. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)
A young father died following a suspected gang-related shooting in an unincorporated county area between Duarte and Monrovia late Saturday, authorities said.
Ray Chinchilla, 20, of Duarte died in the shooting, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
The fatal attack took place just after 9 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 400 block of East Camino Real Street, just east of California Avenue, according to Deputy Kimberly Alexander of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Information Bureau.
Officers responded to a report that a person had been shot when they encountered the victim, who had been shot in the “upper torso,” Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez said in a written statement.
Paramedics pronounced Chinchilla dead at the scene.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the victim was walking north on Flagstone Avenue with another male and female, both Hispanics, when they were confronted on foot by two male Black adult suspects as they reached East Camino Real,” Navarro-Suarez said. “At least one of the suspects shot at the victims before fleeing the scene in a gray Honda.”
Two additional victims ran away and called 911, she said. They were not hurt.
No further description of the attackers and their car was available.
“The incident appears to be gang-related,” according to Navarro-Suarez.
No further details were available.
Friends and neighbors stopped by the site of the fatal shooting to leave flower and light candles in memory of Chinchilla. A Detroit Tigers baseball cap, a cross, a teddy bear and cans of Budweiser and Four Loco Gold also adorned the site.
Chinchilla lived nearby and leaves behind a young son, acquaintance Juan Banuelos, 17, said.
Others described Chinchilla as a kind and considerate man.
A woman passing by stopped at the memorial site to ask what had happened.
The news that a young man had been killed in a shooting brought her to tears. She explained that her son had been shot to death in the same neighborhood nine years ago.
Anyone with information is urged 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.
Saturday night’s deadly shooting was the second gun homicide in the area in a month, and the fourth shooting in the area in just over two months.
A 39-year-old Duarte man was gunned down in front of his wife and children as the family arrived home in the 2300 block of Bashor Street about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night, Feb. 18, exactly one month before Chinchilla’s fatal shooting.
Kirinda Lavar Morehead died at the scene of the shooting. No arrest have been made, and a $10,000 reward has been offered in connection with the case.
A 51-year-old man suffered numerous gunshot wounds to his legs, but survived, in a drive-by attack about 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 in the 2000 block of Goodall Avenue, less than a mile from the scene of Chinchilla’s slaying on Saturday.
And two men were wounded in a Jan. 7 shooting at Crestfield Drive and Bloomsdale Street in Duarte. Investigators subsequently arrested three Pasadena men in connection with the shooting.
In Pasadena, bullets fired on Jan. 6 into a group of mourners gathered at Fair Oaks Avenue and Claremont Street at a vigil for a previous homicide victim claimed the lives of Antoine Dewayne Sutphen Jr. and Ormani Dajan Duncan, both 24 and from Pasadena, and left two other victims wounded.
The double-fatal drive-by shooting took place as a group of loved ones had gathered to remember 25-year-old Brandon Douglas of Pasadena, who was shot to death on the same spot on Dec. 22.
Investigators suspect gang violence is at the root of much of the violence. A spate of shooting in the Duarte, Pasadena and Pomona areas are believed to the result of an escalating feed between rival gangs.
PASADENA >> A man and woman accused of murder in connection with the fatal 1997 shooting of an 18-year-old man in Altadena are free after being acquitted by a jury on Tuesday, authorities said.
A Burbank Superior Court jury deliberated for six days before finding Darryl Johnson, also known as Darryl Lamont Callum, 42, of Pasadena and Dominique Raquel Evans, 44, of Pasadena not guilty of the murder of Johnis Jackson of Altadena at Fair Oaks Avenue and Harriet Street, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials and Superior Court records.
The two defendants, who were dating at the time of the killing, were arrested in May of 2013, more than a decade after the case had grown cold.
The current relationship between the acquitted defendants was not clear, though investigators have said they have children together.
Sheriff’s detectives and prosecutors alleged that Johnson was a member of the Bloods gang at the time of the deadly, Detective Michael Rodriguez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Cold Case Unit said shortly after the arrests.
Johnson and Evans had been at a party at Loma Alta Park in Altadena when an argument broke out between one of Johnson’s gang affiliates and Evans, the detective said. Evans accused the other man of stealing CDS, and the man slapped her.
Evans was heard making threats and left the park, accompanied by several other women.
Less than half-an-hour later, Jackson, who had tried to calm down the situation and offered to buy Evans new CDs, was gunned down as he walked to his car. He was described by authorities as a member of the Crips gang.
Rodriguez said investigators long suspect the defendants were involved, but did develop sufficient evidence to support arrests and charges until new leads were developed in 2013, Rodriguez said. Deputies obtained arrest warrants for Johnson and Evans on May 21, 2013, during separate traffic stops in Pasadena.
Following their acquittals, Johnson and Evans were released from custody Tuesday afternoon, records show.
PASADENA >> A man who fatally shot another man in Pasadena in 2011, and then was mistakenly released from jail while awaiting trial before being recaptured in Nevada, received a sentence of more than seven decades in prison this week, officials said.
Steven Lawrence Wright, 38, began serving his 75-year-to-life state prison term Monday following his sentencing in the Burbank Branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago.
A jury convicted him in November of murder for the Jan 19, 2011, fatal shooting of Donnell Taylor of Pasadena in the 1700 block of Summit Avenue. He was also convicted of attempted murder in December of 2015 for another attack that took place on March 15, 2011, according to court records.
Co-defendant Vernon Fisher, 44, of Altadena, pleaded “no contest” in November to a manslaughter charge for Taylor’s slaying, court records show. He was subsequently sentenced to 82 years to life in state prison.
Police alleged both Wright and Fisher were members of the Altadena Blocc Crips, though Taylor was not believed to be a gang member.
Officials at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office did not return requests for information on the case.
As Wright was awaiting trial for Taylor’s murder when he was mistakenly set free on Jan. 30, 2016, due to a paperwork error, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and court officials.
After refusing to cooperate as a witness in another trial, a judge held Wright in contempt and sent him to jail for five days.
But paperwork submitted by the court indicated Wright was to be released outright once he’d served his time for contempt of court, sheriff’s Commander Keith Swensson said at the time. Sheriff’s officials failed to catch the error and released Wright from custody, despite the pending murder case.
He remained a fugitive for nine days until he was found and recaptured at a motel in Boulder City, Nevada, on Feb. 8, 2016.
Wright’s case was unusual, but not entirely unique.
Another killer was also mistakenly released from Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, administered by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department just over three years earlier.
Johnny Mata of El Monte was awaiting trial for the murder for the Christmas Eve 2010 fatal shooting of David Anthony Deanda, 34, of Baldwin Park, on Christmas Eve, 2010, as well as a second nonfatal shooting in Baldwin Park 2012, when he was mistakenly released from custody.
Mata was recaptured a little over a year later in Mexico. He has since been sentenced to life, plus 111 years, in state prison.
PHOTO: Steven L. Wright (Courtesy)
HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A man is expected to survive after he was shot in a residential neighborhood in Hacienda Heights late Wednesday, officials said.
Deputies responded to reports of “shots fired” about 11 p.m. along Three Palms Street, west of Hacienda Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. James Beamon said.
They soon found a victim, described only as a man, suffering from a gunshot wound, the sergeant said. He was taken to a hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
No further details, including a suspect description, were available.
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.
EL MONTE >> A San Gabriel man accused of gunning down a fast-food worker during a botched robbery in El Monte last year denied a capital murder charge on Wednesday, authorities said.
Louie Francisco Herrera, 20, pleaded not guilty in connection with the Oct. 21 shooting at a Jack in the Box restaurant at 9220 Flair Drive that claimed the life of 25-year-old Juan Manuel Vidal of El Monte. Vidal was engaged to be married to his longtime girlfriend, had just graduated pharmacy technician school and was looking forward to starting his new career, according to family members and investigators.
Prosecutors allege the special circumstance that Herrera committed murder during an attempted robbery, as well as the special allegation that her personally used a handgun in the crime, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
The special allegation makes Herrera potentially eligible for the death penalty if convicted, however, prosecutors have yet to determine whether the death penalty will be sought in the case, according to Ardalani. If capital punishment is not pursued, Herrera could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
After entering his not guilty plea, Herrera was ordered back to the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court on April 17 for a hearing in the case.
Vidal was working at the cash register when a masked man entered the restaurant holding a handgun, demanded money, and immediately fired shot, which mortally wounded Vidal. The gunman then fled empty-handed.
The violent robbery attempt was captured on video by store surveillance cameras.
•Video: Surveillance camera footage of deadly El Monte Jack in the Box robbery
The case remained unsolved for more than three months, as authorities from El Monte, the County of Los Angeles and Jack in the Box established a reward fund totaling $55,000 in the case.
Tips from the public helped officials identify Herrera as a suspect in the deadly shooting, investigators said. Sheriff’s deputies found him riding as a passenger in a car in Alhambra on Jan. 9 and arrested him without a struggle, according to Detective Adan Torres of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau.
Herrera also faces robbery charges in connection with other heists that took place on Oct. 2, 5, 15 and 19 in Irwindale, San Gabriel, Alhambra and Monterey Park, according to sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials.
PHOTOS: [TOP] Photo of murder suspect Louis Francisco Herrera displayed on a poster during a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department press conference on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. (Leo Jarzomb) [MIDDLE] Photo of homicide victim Juan Manuel Vidal, 25, of El Monte. (Courtesy) [BELOW] Photograph of crime scene taken one day after the slaying. (Brian Day)
PASADENA >> A man died after being shot in a residential neighborhood in Pasadena on Saturday night, authorities said.
Witnesses called police about 9:50 p.m. to report hearing gunshots in the 100 block of West Montana Street, Pasadena police said in a written statement.
Responding officers found the victim, a man in his 40s, lying in the street, wounded by gunfire, Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“Pasadena Fire Department paramedics arrived and transported the victim to a local hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries,” according to the statement.
The victim’s name was not available Sunday pending notification of his family, officials said.
No further details, including a suspect description, were available.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
HIGHLAND >> Authorities have identified a man and woman from San Gabriel who were found shot to death inside a car at San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino last week and determined both deaths were suicides, sheriff’s officials said Thursday.
The bodies of Thanh Lang, 50, and Nhu Ly, 50, were discovered inside a car parked in a parking garage of the casino, 777 San Manuel Blvd., San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner’s officials said in a written statement.
The man and woman, whose relationship was not clear Thursday, were pronounced dead after deputies responded to a report of two people found “unresponsive” inside a vehicle, according to the statement. “Upon arrival, deputies located an adult male and an adult female with apparent gunshot wounds. Both were pronounced deceased.”
Investigators have not yet been able to find next-of-kin for Lang an Ly and are hoping the public may be able to help locate their family, the statement said.
No further details were released.
Anyone with information is asked ton contact Detective Michael Warrick or Sgt. Greg Myler at the San Bernardion Sheriff’s Department Homicide Detail, 909-387-3589.
PHOTOS: Thanh Lang, 50, (left) and Nhu Ly, 50, (right). (Courtesy, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department)
DUARTE >> County officials are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer or killers who gunned down a 39-year-old Duarte man in front of his home.
Kirinda Morehead died in the shooting, which took place about 8:20 p.m. on Feb. 18 in the 2300 block of Bashor Street, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
He had just parked his car around the corner from his family’s apartment and was preparing to walk home with his wife and two children when shots rang out from a passing vehicle, according to neighbors and sheriff’s officials. His wife and children were not injured by the gunfire.
During Tuesday’s Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting, “The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger establishing a $10,0000 reward for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of a suspect or suspects responsible for the murder of Kirinda Morehead,” Barger’s spokesman, Tony Bell, said in a written statement.
The suspect vehicle was described only as a white BMW with tinted windows. It was last seen heading north on Mount Olive Drive.
No further details in the slaying, including a motive, have been released.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Community members have already raised more than $22,000 to help Moorehead’s family via an online fund. Donations are being accepted online at www.gofundme.com/courtney-the-babies?lang=en-US.