LA MIRADA — One man was critically wounded, one suspect was in custody and two more were being sought following a shooting inside a La Mirada apartment early Friday, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 7:30 a.m. in the 13600 block of Santa Gertrudes Avenue, across the street from the La Mirada Golf Course, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire officials.
The wounded man, estimated to be in his 20s or 30s, was shot multiple times in the upper torso and taken to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center in critical condition, fire Capt. Steve Augustine said.
The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately available, however a car that left the scene with three people inside was believed to have been involved, sheriff’s Lt. Frank Rivera said.
Deputies found the car abandoned in a neighborhood a little over a mile away near Imperial Highway and Valley View Avenue in unincorporated South Whittier, officials said.
One man found walking in the area was detained and arrested after he was identified as one of the people who had been inside the abandoned car, Rivera said. Deputies continued seeking two other suspects believed to have fled from the vehicle.
The shooting was being investigated as possibly gang-related, he added. The investigation was ongoing, and the name of the suspect in custody was not available.
PASADENA – Police officers checking a call about gunfire in a neighborhood later discovered a man with a gunshot wound to the leg at a hospital Thursday, officials said.
Pasadena police Sgt. Paul Carpenter said shots were heard around 6 p.m. on Tremont Street between Summit Avenue and Marengo Avenue.
The injured man, an Altadena resident in his 20s, drove himself to the hospital, Lt. Jason Clawson said.
The circumstances of the shooting, as well as a description of the shooter, were not available as the wounded man was not cooperating with investigators, police said. Police continued seeking witnesses Friday.
- Staff report
NORWALK — A judge reduced a Pico Rivera man’s murder conviction to voluntary manslaughter Thursday and sentenced him to 10 years in prison, officials said.
A jury last month convicted Robert Redd, 53, of second-degree murder for fatally shooting 19-year-old Joseph Rubalcaba of Pico Rivera and burying his body in a shallow grave in Redd’s backyard in the 8500 block of Pico Vista Road in July of 2011, according to Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Brandon Wong. The jury also found true three sentence-enhancing special allegations related to using a gun in the crime.
He was expected to be sentenced to 40 years to life in prison at Thursday’s sentencing, the prosecutor added.
But in a highly unusual legal maneuver, Norwalk Superior Court Judge Raul Sahagun exercised his discretion to reduce the charge to voluntary manslaughter and sentenced Redd to 10 years in prison, Wong said. The maximum sentence he could have received under the law with a voluntary manslaughter conviction and the special allegations was 21 years in prison.
Wong said he, as well as Rubalcaba’s family members, were disappointed by the decision.
“I believe the jury has spoken based on the evidence, and they said it was second-(degree murder),” he said. “I disagree with the court, but it’s within the court’s discretion.”
Rubalcaba’s aunt, Melinda Rodriguez, said the entire family was stunned and upset over Thursday’s court proceedings.
“We are in awe and shock and disbelief of why the judge would do this. Why would he go against the jury?” she said. “The whole family is distraught right now. We just can’t believe it.”
“It’s a slap in the face, not only to us, but to the jurors,” Rodriguez said. “The whole family feels like justice wasn’t served. It’s like he was murdered all over again today.”
Rubalcaba’s body was found by family members July 20, 2011, in a shallow grave in the backyard of Redd’s home, where the young man was known to frequent, officials said. Rubalcaba had been staying with red off and on for about two months leading up to his death.
The family members had gone looking for Rubalcaba, after he went missing in the days before his body was found.
Redd maintained that he shot Rubalcaba because the young man was a gang member who had been threatening to kill him, but Wong argued that Redd shot the Rubalcaba to death as the result of a personal dispute.
Though the jury apparently rejected the self-defense argument made by Redd’s attorney in returning a second-degree murder conviction, Judge Sahagun apparently disagreed, Wong said.
“He indicated that he believed the defendant actually was in fear for his life, though that belief was unreasonable,” Wong said.
The defense attorney, listed as Christine Rodriguez of the Office of the Los Angeles County Public Defender, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Wong said the court proceedings Thursday came as a surprise to him.
In his more than 12 years as a prosecutor, he said, “I have not personally, in my experience, heard or seen a court reduce a murder conviction to manslaughter.”
Rodriguez said she found Redd’s self defense argument unbelievable.
If someone justly kills someone else in self defense, “Your first reaction is going to be to call 9-1-1, not to keep the body for a day or days and bury it in the backyard,” she said. “It takes a sick mind to do that — a murderer — and that’s what he is.”
The aunt said she believed the judge reduced Redd’s charge largely because the victim, Rubalcaba, had gang ties.
Rubalcaba is survived by his mother, grandmother, two brothers and a sister, Rodriguez said.
“Like I told Mr. Redd — whatever his name is: Joseph’s never going to be able to get married, have children, have a chance to make good things happen in his life,” Rodriguez said. “You cut it down. You shot him in the head.”
PASADENA — A man in a black sedan shot several times at a teen and a man walking on the street Friday night.Pasadena police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said the pedestrians, a 17-year-old Pasadena boy and a 25-year-old Pasadena man, weren’t injured.The shooting happened around 6 p.m. on Raymond Avenue and Orange Grove Boulevard.Gourdikian said gang detectives are investigating but it’s not clear if the shooting is gang-related.The suspect was only described as a Latino. He was seen in an older black sedan.
- Ruby Gonzales
PICO RIVERA — A jury Friday recommended that two men who opened fire on a crowded Pico Rivera pizza parlor in 2009, killing three people and wounding seven others, be put to death for their crimes, officials said.
Rudy Ruiz, 34, of Whittier and John Perez, 46, of Pico Rivera were ordered to return to Los Angeles Superior Court July 12 to be sentenced by Judge Robert J. Perry, court and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
A jury convicted the two men last week of the three counts of murder, seven counts of attempted murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the June 27, 2009, shooting at Falcone’s Pizza in the 9200 block of Slauson Avenue in Pico Rivera. The jury also found true the special allegation of multiple murders, making Perez and Ruiz eligible for the death penalty under state law, as well as the special allegation that the crimes were gang-related.
“Today, jurors recommended the death penalty for both defendants,” district attorney’s office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said.
The penalty phase of the trial began Monday, and the jury began their deliberations Wednesday, officials said.
“The jurors deliberated approximately two days,” Davila-Morales said. They reached their verdict about 11:15 a.m. Friday, though it was not read until 11:45 in order to give family members time to get to the courthouse for the verdict.
Though the jury recommended that Perez and Ruiz be executed for their crimes, the ultimate decision will be made by Judge Perry, Davila-Morales explained.
Handling prosecutors could not be reached for comment Friday.
Killed in the mass shooting were cousins Garret Dandini, 25, and Tony Dandini, 39, both of Whittier, along with 39-year-old Carlos Carrera of La Habra. Seven other people were wounded by the indiscriminate gunfire.
Ruiz and Lopez opened fire on a crowd at Falcone’s Pizza under the mistaken belief it was a gathering of members of the Mongols motorcycle gang, according to investigators and prosecutors.
But the gathering was actually a fundraiser hosted by the “Old School Riders,” a local motorcycle club detectives said has no ties to gang activity.
Two women and a man were found fatally shot inside a Hacienda Heights home Wednesday in what investigators initially believed to be a murder-suicide.
The names of the dead women and man were not released pending positive identification and confirmation that family had been notified, Lt. Dave Dolson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. He described all three as being between their 50s and 80s.
Neighbors described the victim as an elderly husband and wife who lived in the home, along with another family member they often cared for who suffered from Alzheimer’s.
A 9-1-1 call reporting a shooting just after 9 a.m. brought deputies to the home on Ladysmith Street at Flatstone Avenue, Capt. Tim Murakami said. Once they entered the home, deputies found the bodies of two women who had been fatally shot, as well wounded man.
“We believe we have a murder-suicide situation,” Dolson said, but added that the investigation remained in its early stages.
“Because it’s so early in the investigation, I don’t want to emphatically make that determination,” he said.
One of the women, who made use of a wheelchair, was found fatally shot in a bedroom, Dolson said. The other woman’s body was discovered the home’s living room.
The wounded man, who was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after the shooting, was found in the backyard of the home, Dolson said.
Two guns — a shotgun and a handgun — were found near the wounded man, sheriff’s officials said.
There were no signs an intruder had been inside the home, and no outstanding suspects were being sought, Murakami said.
It appeared Wednesday that at least one 9-1-1 call reporting the shooting came from inside the home, Dolson said. The caller had a male voice, but it was unclear if it was the suspected shooter who placed the call.
A neighbor who identified himself only as Joe said he was awakened by arguing prior to the shooting.
“I heard arguing since 7 a.m.,” he said. “It was loud.” But he added he could not make out what was being said.
About two hours later, the neighbor said he heard what sounded like two gunshots.
Joe said he found it hard to believe his neighbor could be responsible for the deaths of his wife and the second woman, whom he described as the man’s daughter-in-law.
“I can’t imagine. The kindness that he had,” he said. “They were very good neighbors. They were a nice old couple.”
The couple remained active, and the husband could often be seen working in his garage, Joe said.
And every time Joe greeted his neighbor, he said the man had the same response: “Another beautiful day.”
Neighbors said the man and wife had lived in the home for five decades, and they were shocked to learn of the violence that unfolded inside their home early Wednesday.
“I can’t believe it,” said neighbor Julie Minjarez. “They were a nice family.”
Minjarez added that she walks by the home daily and has never seen any sign of trouble.
“They were very active people,” Minjarez said, adding that they often went on vacation in a motor home.
“They seemed outgoing and lively people.”
Tom Watts, a teacher at a local elementary school, noticed helicopters hovering over Hacienda Heights and went to check on his parents after learning there was an incident unfolding near their home.
He described the couple that lived in the home as “very friendly,” and “very talkative.”
“They enjoyed camping,” Watts added.
But in a conversation Watts said his father had with the man who lived at the home about three weeks ago, the man mentioned he was depressed.
Staff photos by Watchara Phomicinda
A jury began deliberating Wednesday on whether to recommend the death penalty for two men convicted of fatally shooting three and wounding seven others outside a Pico Rivera pizza parlor in 2009.
Shiara Dávila-Morales, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office, said a Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Friday found John Perez and Rudy Ruiz guilty of three counts of first degree murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, and seven counts of attempted murder.
The jurors found true the allegations that each personally and intentionally discharged a firearm and caused great bodily injury to the victims; that each defendant was a principal in the commission of the offenses; and that the crime was committed for the benefit of a street gang.
Davila- Morales said the jury also found true a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders.
The penalty phase of the trial began Monday, she said.
The jury began deliberating on whether to recommend a death sentence Wednesday afternoon. The men faced the possibilities of life imprisonment or death.
The case stems from the June 27, 2009 shooting at Falcone’s Pizza in the 9200 block of Slauson Avenue in Pico Rivera. Killed in the shooting were Carlos Carrera, 39, of La Habra, Garret Dandini, 25, of Whittier and his cousin Tony Dandini, 39, of Whittier.
Ruiz and Perez targeted a fundraiser at the pizza parlour under the mistaken belief that it was a meeting of members of the Mongols motorcycle gang, according to testimony heard during their preliminary hearing.
But instead, they fired at a gathering of the “Old School Riders,” a local motorcycle club which detectives said has no gang ties.
- Staff report
SOUTH EL MONTE — A man was wounded in a shooting along the Rio Hondo Bike Path Sunday, officials said.The attack was reported just before 4 p.m. on the bike path near San Gabriel Boulevard and the Rio Hondo, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Loy McBride said.The man hearing gunshots, but not seeing where they came from, before realizing he had been struck twice, the lieutenant said.He was treated for injuries not believed to be life-threatening, McBride added.Further details were not immediately available. The shooting was being investigated by deputies from the Sheriff’s Parks Bureau.
PASADENA — Police arrested two Pasadena teens Saturday after shooting at and vandalizing the pickup truck of a group of men they were fighting with along Summit Avenue, officials said.
A 17-year-old Pasadena boy, whose name as not released due to his age, was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said. Cesar Antonio Angeles, 19, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of vandalism, according to police and county booking records.
The incident was reported about 6:10 p.m. in the 1900 block of North Summit Avenue, Clawson said.
Three victims, described only as male, exited a pickup truck and became involved in a fight with the two suspects, who were walking in the area, the lieutenant said.
The juvenile suspect pulled a handgun and began shooting at the three victims, who ran off, he said.
Clawson said the victims left their pickup truck behind as they fled, and Angeles proceeded to use an object to smash out the windows.
Police found the victims’ truck and evidence of a shooting in the area, Clawson said. Officers also found and arrested the two suspects in the neighborhood, thought he gun used in the shooting was not located.
Police were not initially able to locate the victims, he said. The investigation was ongoing.
PASADENA – A man’s car was struck by gunfire in a shooting early Saturday,though the driver was not injured, police said.
The shooting took place about 4:25 a.m. in the 200 block of East Washington Boulevard, just west of Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
A man was driving west on Washington when he saw someone standing along the side of the road firing gunshots in his direction, the lieutenant said. The hood of the victim’s vehicle was struck by a bullet, as well as a nearby apartment.
Police searching the area did not find the shooter, and the victim was unable to provide a description, he said.