SOUTH EL MONTE >> A passenger died and the driver fled following a solo-car crash on a freeway on-ramp late Friday which investigators suspect may be connected to a shooting that had just occurred in Pico Rivera, officials said.
The rollover crash took place just before 9:40 p.m. on the northbound Rosemead Boulevard on-ramp to the eastbound 60 Freeway, near the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, California Highway Patrol Officer Tony Polizzi said.
An unidentified driver had two passengers in a 2006 Mitsubishi Galant headed north on Rosemead Boulevard at an unknown speed just prior to the crash, CHP Sgt. T. Kinzler said in a written statement.
The driver lost control and the car struck the curb along the west side of the on-ramp, he said.
“(The Mitsubishi) traveled down the dirt embankment and overturned,” Kinzler said.
The driver fled from the wreck wand was not found, officials said. Two guns were discovered inside the crashed car.
Paramedics pronounced one of the passengers, a man estimated to be 20 years old, dead at the scene, CHP officials said.
His identity was not available Saturday morning pending positive identification and notification of family, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
A second passenger also rode inside the Mitsubishi, officials said, though it was not initially clear whether that person remained at the crash scene or fled along with the driver.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau detectives are also looking into the fatal crash and its possible connection with a shooting minutes earlier.
Prior to the crash, deputies responded to a local hospital after a gunshot victim arrived seeking treatment, officials from the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement.
“While they were at the hospital investigating, deputies received a traffic collision call of a rolled over vehicle with a man found dead inside,” the statement said. “They responded to the scene and found two firearms inside the vehicle.”
“Detectives are investigating reports that the occupants in the vehicle that rolled over may have been involved in some type of altercation with the gunshot victim from the hospital,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “It is unknown at this time if the two incidents are related.”
No further details were released as detectives continued their investigation Saturday morning.
Both the northbound and southbound Rosemead Boulevard on-ramps to the eastbound 60 Freeway, remained shut down overnight, as well as the Rosemead Boulevard off-ramp of the eastbound 60 Freeway.
WEST WHITTIER >> An 18-year-old man died after he was shot near his home in an unincorporated county area near Whittier Tuesday night, authorities said.
Steve Cerda died in the shooting, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said.
Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting a shooting in the 6100 block of Norwalk Boulevard, according to a department statement.
Deputies found Cerda lying on the lawn in front of an apartment complex with multiple gunshot wounds. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
“According to witnesses, the victim was hanging out in front of the apartment complex with some friends when the suspect, a male Hispanic, walked up to the victim and his friends and started shooting at them,” Deputy Mike Barraza of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. “The victim was struck by the gunfire and collapsed at the location.”
No one else was struck by the gunfire, Barraza said.
Witnesses told deputies that the victim was hanging out in the front of the complex with some friends when a suspect walked up to the group and started shooting at them, the statement said. The victim was struck by gunfire and collapsed. No one else was injured.
• Photos: Man shot in front of Norwalk Boulevard apartment building in West Whittier
The suspect fled the location on foot and was last seen running south on Norwalk.
Randy Avalos, 15, who lives at the complex, said the victim, who he called Steve, was talking about how he was planning on going to the Irwindale Speedway to watch cars race when a lone gunman wearing a black hooded sweatshirt approached the group and started starting shooting at the group.
The group scattered as the gunfire broke out, Avalos said.
After Avalos fell wounded, “He went up to him and shot him in the head,” Avalos said, adding that they didn’t recognize the suspect. “It’s crazy. He didn’t deserve it.”
Cerda lives on the same street where he was shot, officials said.
According to his Facebook profile, Cerda studied at Rio Hondo College and had previously attended Pioneer High School, Frontier High School and Whittier High School.
Investigators asked anyone with information 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.
— Stephanie Baer, Keith Durflinger, Brian Day
ALTADENA >> A man escaped injury Friday afternoon after a group of attackers twice pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger, but the gun malfunctioned both times, authorities said.
The incident, which was believed to be gang-related, took place about 5:30 p.m. in the 600 block of West Altadena Drive, just west of Lincoln Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Booker Hollis said.
A man was standing along the side of the road when a blue, older-model Lincoln sedan with three attackers inside pulled up, the sergeant said.
One of the three male suspects inside the car pointed a handgun at the victim, he said.
“They attempted to fire a round, but the gun malfunctioned,” Hollis said.
“They drove around again and did the same thing again, and the gun malfunctioned again,” he said. The car then sped away. The victim was not injured.
Pasadena police stopped a car matching the description of the suspects’ vehicle about 9:08 p.m. at Claremont Street and Sunset Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said. Two men, one a parolee and one a probationer, were arrested after police found a single .45-caliber round of ammunition in the car. Neither is allowed to possession ammunition due to their respective parole and probation statuses. Both were being held without bail pending their initial court appearances, records show.
The victim said he was unable to identify the two arrested man as being involved in the attack, Hollis said. The investigation was ongoing.
WHITTIER >> A gunman shot and wounded one man, then robbed and pistol-whipped another before police found him hiding under a house in Whittier early Saturday, officials said.
Daniel Machado, 30, of Whittier was ultimately booked on suspicion of attempted murder, robbery and resisting arrest, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
There was no apparent connection between the suspect and his alleged victims, Ellis said. “It doesn’t seem like he knew either victim.”
The shooting took place about 1 a.m. in the 6300 block of Whittier Avenue, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
Police said a Whittier man was walking in an alley when the suspect confronted him and raised his shirt to expose a handgun in his waistband.
“The victim ran and the suspect gave chase, eventually pinning the victim between two parked cars,” according to the police statement. “After hearing one gun shot, the victim was struck in his lower right abdomen.”
The wounded man was hospitalized in critical condition, but expected to survive, Ellis said.
The motive in the shooting was not clear. “We’re not actually sure if it was a robbery (attempt) or not.”
As the search for the shooter continued about two hours later, authorities received a second report of a violent crime believed to involve the same suspect nearby in the 6000 block of Citrus Avenue.
“The suspect again confronted the victim at gunpoint, this time demanding his personal property,” police said. “A brief struggle ensued and during the altercation the suspect pistol whipped the victim and subsequently fled on foot with the victim’s property.”
The robbery victim was also taken to a hospital for treatment.
About 30 minutes after the robbery, residents of the 12500 block of Pasadena Avenue began calling 9-1-1 to report a man matching the description of the previous crimes, “going door to door demanding help and carrying a hand gun.”
Officers, aided by a police dog, soon found Machado hiding under a nearby house.
The suspect, who had suffered a minor head injury while scuffling with one of his victims, was taken to a hospital for examination prior to booking, Ellis said.
MONTEBELLO >> Authorities Sunday released the identity of a 19-year-old East Los Angeles man who was shot to death in an apartment complex courtyard in Montebello Friday afternoon.
Gabriel Vargas Jr. died at the scene of the shooting, which took place just after noon in the 500 block of Via Altamira Drive, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Fred Corrall said.
Officers responding to reports of gunfire to find Vargas lying in a courtyard between two apartment complexes, mortally wounded.
Vargas was talking with a small group of acquaintances just before the shooting, Montebello police officials said.
“It was during this time the suspect approached the victim on foot and fired several times, striking him multiple times,” police said in a written statement.
The shooter was described only as a man.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Montebello Police Department.
PICO RIVERA >> A legally blind Pico Rivera man suffered a gunshot wound to his chest in a drive-by shooting late Friday, officials said.
The shooting took place just before 10 p.m. in the 9500 block of Bradhurst Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said.
The victim, a 24-year-old documented gang member, was in the front yard of a home when shots were fired from a passing car, the lieutenant said.
The attackers were described only as two male suspects in a red, four-door sedan.
An update on the victim’s condition was not available.
WEST COVINA >> A man suffered a gunshot wound but was expected to survive following a shooting Wednesday afternoon in an unincorporated county area near West Covina, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 3:20 p.m. in the 4000 block of North Frijo Avenue, just north of Badillo Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tonya Edwards said.
The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately clear, as the shooting victim, a 24-year-old man, did not appear to be cooperating with investigators, the lieutenant said.
Deputies sought a gray Dodge Charger with a black racing stripe seen in the area at the of the shooting, she added.
The victim suffered a wound to his back that was not believed to be life-threatening, Edwards said.
Detectives from the sheriff’s San Dimas Station are handling the investigation.
SAN DIMAS >> Authorities released a suspect sketch and offered a $20,000 reward Wednesday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of gunman who fatally shot a San Dimas sandwich shop owner during a robbery last week.
Investigators also released a suspect sketch in connection with the June 2 shooting a Quiznos restaurant at 1034 Arrow Highway that fatally wounded owner Pravin “Peter” Patel, 62.
“Besides being a husband, a father, a grandfather and a father-in-law, Mr. Patel was the owner of the Quiznos and he is very well respected in the community,” said Lt. Dave Coleman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. “Everybody likes him. He was a loving, kind man.”
The unidentified shooter was as a white or Latino man in his early-20s, about 6 feet to 6 feet 1 inch tall and 180 pounds. During the crime, he wore a black T-shirt, plaid shorts and a baseball cap.
“We’re asking for the public’s help,” Coleman said. “Anybody who may have been in the area around 3:20 p.m…. any information that you could provide would be of great assistance to us.”
The office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich authorized the reward.
Patel was working as usual when the robber entered the sandwich shop, brandished a handgun and demanded money, officials said.
Patel handed over the money from the register to the robber, who threatened to harm the two customers inside the store if he did not, Coleman said. Patel then followed the robber outside.
“As Mr. Patel exited the restaurant, a struggle ensued between he and the suspect,and Mr. Patel was shot and mortally wounded,” Coleman said.
The brazen and deadly daytime was “very unusual” for the area, Capt. Duane Harris of the Sheriff’s San Dimas Station said. “This is appropriately described as a quiet community,” he said.
A large memorial of flowers and candles sat in front of Quiznos shop Wednesday. Family members did not wish to comment.
Monrovia police Lt. Mike Lee said he knew Patel since before he bought his Quiznos restaurant, when he owned a video store on Arrow Highway and Sunflower Avenue.
“He was just a good man,” Lee said. “He always remembered your name.”
Lee described Patel as a soft spoken man who always treated customers nicely.
Signs on the door of the eatery invited to public to a memorial service at 2:15 p.m. Thursday at the Memory Garden Memorial Park and Mortuary, 455 W. Central Ave. in Brea. “Peter was a hard working family man who brought people together,” the sign read. “He was passionate about serving his food and exchanging family stories with his customers. Peter spent every day working side by side with the woman he loved most — his wife, Maya “Mary” Patel.”
A candlelight vigil is planned for 7 p.m. Friday in front of the Quiznos store. A website collecting donations to help Patel’s family has been established at www.youcaring.com/pravin.
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.
A judge sentenced a gang member to 34 years to life in prison Wednesday for shooting a rival gang member in the throat last year, authorities said.
Andrew Phillip Kingsbury received his sentence in Pomona Superior Court, where a jury convicted him April 29 of attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement. Authorities described him as a West Covina resident, though a family friend said he is from Hacienda Heights.
He shot and wounded a 44-year-old Hacienda Heights man on May 18, 2014, in the 1000 block of Olympus Avenue, according to prosecutors and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
After shooting the victim in the throat, the shooter then fled on a bicycle, but the chain snapped, sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Thurlo said at the time. Deputies soon captured Kingsbury nearby.
ARCADIA >> Police are investigating a Sunday morning shooting in a residential neighborhood that left an Arcadia man dead, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 9 a.m. in the 1000 block of South 5th Avenue, just south of Duarte Road, Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said.
Officers responded to a call reporting a “loud bang” and a “person down” to find a man wounded by gunfire, the lieutenant said.
He was taken to an area hospital where he succumbed to his injuries a short time later.
The victim had been walking down the street when he was shot, Castro said. No further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting were released, and no suspect description was available.
Officials withheld the victim’s name pending notification of his family, Los Angeles County coroner Investigator Kimberly Arnold said. He was initially described as an Arcadia man in his mid-50s.
Police kept 5th Avenue closed between Duarte Road and Leda Lane well into the afternoon as authorities continued their investigation.
Crime scene investigators scoured the front yard of a home with metal detectors, while another climbed onto the roof to search for clues.
Neighbors traded pieces of information they’d heard about what had taken place in the generally quiet and uneventful street.
Though she lives only a few houses away from the shooting scene, Sherry Xi, 44, said she heard no gunshots or commotion Sunday morning.
And while the neighborhood has seemed to see an increase in burglaries in recent years, she said, news of a fatal shooting came as a shock and left her nervous.
Anyone with information can reach Arcadia police at 626-574-5150. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.