Riverside man fatally shot in El Monte identified

EL MONTE >> Coroner’s officials have released the name of a 21-year-old Riverside man who was fatally shot when two gunman opened fire on a parked car he was sitting in on an El Monte Street earlier this week.
Jose Manuel Valenzuela died at hospital shortly after Monday’s shooting, which also left another man critically wounded, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
The shooting took place shortly after midnight in a residential cul-de-sac in the 2600 block of Sastre Avenue, just north of Fern Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Lt. David Coleman of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said Valenzuela and the surviving victim, a 29-year-old El Monte man, were rear passengers in a parked car with two other occupants when the attackers approached in another car.
Two gunmen exited the approaching car and immediately began shooting into the rear of the victims’ car, Coleman said.
No description of the shooters was available, nor was a description of their car, which investigators said was last seen speeding south on Sastre Avenue.
The victims’ companions drove them to Greater Community Hospital in South El Monte, Coleman said.
Valenzuela succumbed to his injuries about 12:30 p.m., Winter said. The other wounded man was hospitalized in critical condition. An update on his condition was not available.
No further details were released.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Suspect sought in weekend shooting in Baldwin Park

BALDWIN PARK >> Police are seeking whoever shot and wounded a man late Sunday in Baldwin Park, officials said.
Few details were available regarding the shooting, which took place about 11:15 p.m. in the 13700 block of Ramona Parkway, near Merced Avenue, Baldwin Park police Sgt. Josh Hendricks said.
The victim, a local man, was shot in the torso and both thighs, the sergeant said. He was taken to a trauma center where he was listed in stable condition.
The wounded man, a Baldwin Park residents, told police he did not know his attacker and could not provide a description, Hendricks said.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Norwalk man shot in the hand

NORWALK >> A man showed up at a hospital with a gunshot wound to his hand late Friday, officials said.
The gunshot victim, a 20-year-old Norwalk man, arrived at a hospital about 7:30 p.m. for treatment, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Arias said.
He told investigators he had been shot at Rosecrans and Shoemaker avenues by a passenger in a passing white pickup truck, Arias said. But deputies found no witnesses who reported hearing or seeing a shooting near the busy intersection, nor did they find any bullet holes or other physical evidence of the shooting.
The investigation was ongoing.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Whittier gang members convicted of fatal shooting of teen in South Whittier

SOTO_MICHAEL

SOUTH WHITTIER >> A jury convicted two Whittier gang members Thursday for the execution of a Whittier teen in broad daylight at a strip mall in 2012.
A Norwalk Superior Court jury deliberated for less than a day before finding Eudiel Eddie Lopez, 21, and Daniel Cesar Stopani, 20, guilty of the March 26, 2012, slaying of 17-year-old Michael Soto of Whittier, at a strip mall at the coroner of Mulberry Drive and Painter Avenue, in an unincorporated county area just south of Whittier, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
“It was a gang hit; orchestrated, planned,” Deputy District Attorney Brock Lunsford said.
The killers approached the murder scene together before splitting up, the prosecutor said. Stopani approached Soto from the front and waited until Lopez took a position just behind the teen. Portions of the incident were captured by a surveillance camera mounted on a nearby bus.
Stopani suddenly shouted out “Whittier 13,” the name of a local street gang,” and punched the Soto
Lopez then pulled a .357 Magnum handgun and opened fire, Lunsford said.
The first two gunshots struck Soto in the face and back, knocking him to the ground, Lunsford said.
“Once he was down, it appears (Lopez” shot him twice more,” the prosecutor said. “He shot him four times in total.”
The jury convicted Lopez of first-degree murder and found true the special allegations that he personally used a gun in the crime, and that the crime was gang-related, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Stopani was convicted of second-degree murder, and the jury found true the special allegations that a gun was used in the crime, and that the crime was gang-related, she said.
The shooting took place shortly after noon at busy strip mall, just across the street from a continuation school that had just let out for the day.
Lunsford said the fatal ambush stemmed from a brief exchange of words between Lopez and Soto about a month prior to the killing, Lunsford said.
Lopez had issued a gang challenge to Soto and told the teen that he was from Whittier 13. Soto responded they he didn’t care what gang Lopez belonged to.
Lopez told investigators the perceived slight was the reason he targeted Soto, Lunsford added.
Soto died at a hospital shortly after he was shot,
Relatives said Soto was not a gang member, and described him as a smart young man who hoped to join the U.S. Marines when he turned 18.
Following the shooting, Lopez and Soto split up, officials said.
Lopez fled north. He ran across a set of train tracks that were muddy due to rain the previous day, Lunsford said. Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators were able to follow Lopez’s muddy footprint to a nearby mobile home park, where he was quickly found and arrested hiding inside a trailer that belonged to a friend.
“He was leaving footprints that led right to the back door of the trailer where he was hiding,” Lunsford said.
Officials found Lopez, the muddy shoes and the gun that was used in the shooting inside, he added.
Stopani fled south from the shooting scene and was found and interviewed by investigators the same day, Lunsford said.
But Stopani was not arrested until February of 2013, after investigators had gathered evidence of his culpability in the killing, according to Lunsford and county booking records.
Lopez and Stopani are scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 18 in Norwalk Superior Court. Lopez faces a maximum sentenced of 50 years to life in prison, while Stopani could face up to 40 years to life in prison.

PHOTO of Michael Soto, 17, of Whittier, taken at memorial to Soto in the wake of his fatal shooting on March 26, 2012, at the corner of Mulberry Drive and Painter Avenue in South Whittier. (By Keith Durflinger)

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

UPDATED: Man fatally shot in front of his home in Whittier


WHITTIER >> A man died after being shot in broad daylight Saturday in front of his Whittier home, authorities said.
Police responded to reports of a shooting about 12:10 p.m. at the corner of Washington Avenue and La Cuarta Street, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
The victim, a 34-year-old Whittier man, was found lying unconscious outside, Ellis said.
0831_NWS_WDN-L-SHOOTINGDEATH2“Officers performed CPR. He was subsequently transported to (Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center) where he was pronounced dead,” Lt. Mike Przybyl said.
The victim had been shot once in the torso, he said.
His name was withheld pending notification of family members, officials said.
At least one suspect — described only as a man — was believed to have fled the scene in a vehicle, Przybyl said, however a further description of the suspect or the getaway car was not available.
The motive in the shooting also remained under investigation, Przybyl said.
“We’re developing further, and at this point, we’re still trying to follow up on some of that,” he said.
0831_NWS_WDN-L-SHOOTINGDEATH3Neighbors expressed sorrow for the victim’s family. They added that the home is occupied by several children.
Detectives examined items including an ice chest, an overturned plastic been full of clothing and a cell phone strewn along the street and sidewalk at the scene of the shooting.
Detectives continued interviewing witnesses, taking measurements and collecting clues well into the afternoon.
Detectives continued investigating the scene and interviewing witnesses of the midday shooting Saturday afternoon, he said.
Anyone with information can contact Whittier police at 562-567-9200.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Hundreds march in honor of slain sheriff’s Explorer in South Whittier

IMG_5127

SOUTH WHITTIER >> Hundreds of people took part in a vigil in South Whittier late Thursday to commemorate the third anniversary of the fatal shooting of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Explorer and lifelong Whittier resident Cesar Rodriguez.
The observance included a march to the scene of the shooting that claimed the life of Rodriguez, 19, and friend Larry Villegas, 24, of Whittier on Aug. 28, 2011.
Loved ones placed candles at the shooting scene outside a home in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue in South Whittier before continuing on to Amelia Mayberry Park.
The march was led by fellow Explorers from the sheriff’s Norwalk Station, where Rodriguez had volunteered for four years. And his legacy lives in.
“He was my inspiration to become an Explorer,” Alejandra Garcia, 16, said as she participated in the march while carrying a framed photograph of Rodriguez.
IMG_5398The fatal shootings of Rodriguez and Villegas remain unsolved, and no description of the killer or killers is known, investigators said.
Though officials initially reported a white Scion vehicle was being sought in connection with the crime, the car has since been located and found not to be involved, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

PHOTOS by James Carbone

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Man wounded in shooting at Covina hotel

COVINA >> A man is expected to survive after he was shot several times at a Covina hotel late Wednesday, police said.
Hotel staff reported a shooting inside one of the hotel rooms about 10:40 p.m., Covina police Sgt. Rob Bobkiewicz said.
Officers arrived to find a 32-year-old man suffering from wounds to his torso, the sergeant said. The man was taken to a hospital where he was rushed into surgery.
No suspects were in custody in connection with the shooting, Bobkiewicz said, however police arrested a man who was staying in the same motel room as the victim on suspicion of possessing stolen property.
Ivan Lascano, 31, of Azusa was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending a court appearance, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records. Detectives continued investigating whether he was involved in the shooting.
Police released no further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting as they continued their investigation Thursday.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Detective Stacy Franco at 626-384-5616.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Vigil planned for sheriff’s Explorer slain in South Whittier drive-by shooting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

SOUTH WHITTIER >> Family members and loved ones of a 19-year-old Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Explorer Scout plan to gather for a vigil Thursday to mark the third anniversary of his unsolved slaying.
Cesar Rodriguez, a lifelong Whittier resident who had spent his last four years volunteering as an Explorer at the sheriff’s Norwalk Station, was gunned down along with friend Larry Villegas, 24, in the early-morning hours of Aug. 28, 2011 in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue, according to sheriff’s investigators and family members.
He’s survived his parents Jorge and Lupe Rodriguez, as well as older brothers George and Hector Rodriguez.
“We’re trying to stay strong,” George Rodriguez said.
Thursday’s vigil will be held at 7 p.m. at Laurel and Beaty avenues, near the shooting scene in South Whittier.
Community support has continued to grow in the three years since Cesar Rodriguez’s
At a march held last year on the second anniversary of the shooting, nearly 300 people attended, he said. About 150 people marched in a similar gathering in 2012.
Cesar Rodriguez and Villegas were shot as they left a party, sheriff’s officials said. The shots were believed to have been fired from a passing vehicle, though no specific description was available.
A white Scion initially described by investigators as a suspect vehicle has been found and determined not to have been the killer’s car, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Rodriguez and Villegas died at the scene.
Patrick Maxwell, who served as captain of the sheriff’s Norwalk Station while Rodriguez volunteered there and has since been promoted to the rank of commander, described Rodriguez as a selfless and eager young man who was always polite and respectful. he has a lifelong dream of becoming a sheriff’s deputy, Maxwell said, and had turned in his application to join the sheriff’s department as a deputy a week before his killing.
At Rodriguez’s funeral, then-sheriff Lee Baca said Rodriguez was an exemplary Explorer Scout and a leader who was on a “noble path.”
Rodriguez was buried in his Explorer uniform.
The search for the killer or killers of Rodriguez and Villegas continues, and detectives have followed up on new clues in the case in recent months, Corina said.
A motive was not known with certainty, however Corina said investigators suspected the killings stemmed from a gang shooting.
George Rodriguez said the family remained hopeful the case would be solved, and Cesar Rodriguez’s killer or killers will be brought to justice.
Former sheriff Baca had promised the family the investigation would be a top priority of the sheriff’s department, George Rodriguez said. The brother said he hoped that would remain true under the department’s new leadership following the November runoff election for sheriff between Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell and former undersheriff Paul Tanaka.
Anyone with information on the double-fatal shooting is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

PHOTO of Cesar Rodriguez courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Man wounded in shooting near Covina

COVINA >> A man suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen when an argument escalated into a shooting in a residential neighborhood near Covina early Sunday, authorities said.
Few details were initially available as detectives continued investigating the scene of the shooting, which was reported about 3:40 a.m. in the 16600 block of Kingside Drive, in an unincorporated county area just west of Covina, Sgt. Louis Serrano of the sheriff’s San Dimas Station said.
The wounded man was taken to a hospital, where he was listed stable condition, Serrano said.
Several people were being detained in connection with the shooting, however no formal arrests had been made, the sergeant said. “The situation is evolving right now.”
Further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting were not available.
A news videographer at the scene said a silver Nissan Altima was at the home with a shattered rear window.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

UPDATED: Three wounded in shooting following festivities at Robinson Park in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Three men were wounded in a shooting that took place following the conclusion of summer festivities at Robinson Park in Pasadena late Friday, authorities said.
The shooting took place just before 11:10 p.m. in a parking lot at the northwest corner of Robinson Park, at Fair Oaks Avenue and Hammond Street, Pasadena police Lt. Ed Calatayud said.
It occurred following the city’s final “Parks After Dark” event, which have been taking place regularly through the summer.
Police officers heard the sound of gunfire coming from the area and rushed to the scene, he said. Police received a 9-1-1 call about the same time reporting “shots fired.”
“There’s a group of somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 people running from the scene,” the lieutenant said. “Officers came across three victims.”
One of the men was shot in the torso, shoulder and leg, Calatayud said. After undergoing surgery at a hospital, he was listed in serious-but-stable condition.
Another victim was wounded in the buttocks, and the third was shot in the hand, police said. Neither wound was believed to be life-threatening.
No further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting were available Saturday, nor was any information regarding a suspect description or motive, Lt. John Luna said.
Police did not receive reports of any fights preceding the shooting, he added.
Police continued working an “active crime scene” beyond 2 a.m. Saturday.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email