Two men shot in head in Baldwin Park Friday night

BALDWIN PARK >> Two men suffered gunshot wounds to the head Friday night in Baldwin Park in what police are investigating as two separate incidents.
The first shooting was reported about 11:30 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 4300 block of Harlan Avenue, Baldwin Park police Sgt. Mike Hemenway said.
Passers-by reported finding the victim, a man in his 20s, lying on the ground and bleeding, the sergeant said.
Officials soon determined he had been shot in the head, Hemenway said.
Paramedics took the man to a hospital where his condition was unknown, though he was expected to survive, Hemenway said.
No information regarding the circumstances of the shooting or a suspect was available.
Police were summoned to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, 1011 Baldwin Park Ave., about midnight after a second gunshot victim was found in the hospital’s parking lot, Hemenway said. Officials believed the victim had been dropped off there.
Hemenway said the victim who turned up at the hospital was also a man in his 20s and had also been shot in the head, as well as the leg. He was listed in critical condition.
But authorities had not determined where the shooting took place Saturday, Hemenway said.
While detectives were looking into the possibility the shootings were related, “There’s nothing connecting them at this time,” he said.

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Resident shoots at burglar in Diamond Bar

DIAMOND BAR >> A homeowner shot at a burglar during a break-in Friday afternoon in Diamond Bar, authorities said.
A man was at home about 1:30 p.m. in the 400 block of N. Del Sol Lane when he heard a smashing noise, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Frank Rivera said. He soon discovered the noise was created by an intruder bashing his way through the home’s front door.
Investigators suspect the burglar did not realize anyone was home when he forced his way into the house, Rivera said. The burglar and homeowner encountered one another in the living room.
“I think they were both shocked when they saw each other,” the lieutenant said.
The homeowner grabbed a handgun and fires a single shot at the intruder, Rivera said. “He felt his life was in danger.”
The burglar fled, getting into a burgundy Toyota Camry with tinted windows and a waiting driver.
The burglar was not believed to have been struck by the resident’s gunfire, though it could not be ruled out Friday evening, Rivera said. Officials checked area emergency rooms for gunshot victims that may be linked to the crime with no success.
A detailed description of the burglar was not available.

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One wounded in West Covina shooting

WEST COVINA >> A man suffered a wound to his leg in a shooting at a West Covina shopping center Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
Police received multiple calls about 5:30 p.m. reporting gunshots heard at the Woodside Village Shopping Center in the 1500 block of East Amar Road, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
“Our officers arrived on-scene and came upon a subject found to have sustained a gunshot wound,” the lieutenant said.
The victim, initially described only as male, was found to the rear of the business complex with a leg wound, he said. Paramedics took him to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment.
The victim, a man estimated to be 40 years old, as well as several witnesses at the scene did not cooperate with investigators, Lt. Pat Cirrito said.
No further details were available.

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UPDATED: Pico Rivera man mistakenly shot and killed by sheriff’s deputy during gun battle with fleeing parolee

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PICO RIVERA >> A sheriff’s deputy was believed to have accidentally shot a Pico Rivera man Friday during a gun battle with a fleeing parolee who had broken into his home, authorities said Saturday.
A  SWAT team ultimately shot and killed the gunman after he held the homeowner’s wife hostage for eight hours, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Detective Division Chief William McSweeney. The hostage was rescued unharmed.
Coroner’s officials did not officially identify the slain homeowner Saturday, however family members identified him as Frank Mendoza. The rescued hostage was his wife, 60-year-old Lorraine Munoz, family members said.
Parolee Cedric Ramirez, 24, of Pico Rivera was killed about 1:30 a.m. as SWAT deputies forced their way into the home in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The incident began about eight hours earlier when Ramirez fled from officials and ran into the home, engaging deputies in a shootout, sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
0803_NWS_WDN-L-STANDOFF2The deadly encounter began about 5:30 p.m. Friday when sheriff’s gang deputies spotted Ramirez, a wanted parolee with two felony warrants, in the 9000 block of Reichling Lane.
“He entered the backyard of the victims’ residence where he exchanged gunfire with the deputies,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “Ramirez then broke into the victims’ home through a window.”
Pursuing deputies, fearful the occupants would be harmed, went to the home’s front door and began evacuating the residents from the house. An adult and two children were rushed from the house when Ramirez appeared in an interior hallway and began shooting at the Deputies. The Deputies returned fire and then retreated to the front yard, seeking cover,” McSweeney said.
“Within seconds of their exit, an adult male suddenly appeared in the front doorway,” the chief said. “Believing the man was Ramirez, a deputy fired two shots at the man.  The man dropped unconscious in the doorway and was subsequently recognized to be one of the residents. Preliminary information indicates those shots likely struck Mr. Frank Mendoza.”
Paramedics pronounced Mendoza dead at the scene.
Officials said Ramirez then fled into the home, taking the 60-year-old woman hostage. Nishida said. A SWAT team surrounded the home as a crisis negotiator spoke with Ramirez by telephone and tried to persuade him to surrender peacefully.
After eight hours, the SWAT team moved in.
“After an extended standoff, a Special Enforcement Bureau, special weapons team, entered the location which ended with the fatal shooting of the suspect,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. Deputies rescued the woman, and Ramirez died at the scene.
Family members of the victims and neighbors described a harrowing ordeal.
Frank Mendoza lived at the Rosehedge Drive home with his wife, four sons, and young grandchildren, daughter-in-law Tanya Mendoza said.
When the shooting began and Frank Mendoza was mortally wounded, one of his sons who was home at the time gathered his two young children and rushed them out of the home, family members said.
Deputies rushed them to cover behind a parked car, said Sandra Monge, whose 83-year-old mother and brother live next door to the involved home. They were trapped for about two hours before being evacuated by deputies through their back yard.
While continuing to trade gunfire with Ramirez, deputies pulled Frank Mendoza around the corner and out of the line of fire, neighbors said. It was there, at the corner of Lindsey Avenue and Reichling Drive, that the wounded man was pronounced dead.
Lorraine Munoz, who walks with difficulty and uses a wheelchair or cane, was not able to get out of the home.
Family members did not know Ramirez, Tanya Mendoza said, adding that it appeared he broke into a random house while fleeing deputies.
“This incident was beyond tragic, and all of law enforcement grieves with the Mendoza family,” McSweeney said. “We have made personal contact with the family, and have expressed our regret and sadness over these events.
“This investigation continues, and every aspect of this incident will be assessed for compliance with the law and Department policy,” McSweeney said.
Ramirez was in violation of his parole and being sought on warrants for being an convicted felon in possession of a firearm and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent when deputies encountered him Friday, officials said.
Los Angeles County court records show Ramirez was convicted in of possessing a loaded firearm along with narcotics in 2013, vandalism in 2008 and carrying a loaded gun in 2007.
Heartbroken family members described Frank Mendoza as a light-spirited and dedicated family man who had lived at the same home on Rosehedge Drive for 32 years.
“He was just a great guy,” sister Kathy Mendoza said.
“He was hard-working man,” she said, adding that her brother was three months away from retiring from his job working on machines for a grocery company, where he had worked since he was a young man.
In addition to his wife, he’s survived by four sons, one daughter, two step-sons and one step-daughter, Tanya Mendoza said. He had 12 grandchildren and two more on the way, and two great grandchildren.
“He was a joker. He was always willing to help,” Kathy Mendoza said.
“He was always the life of the party,” son Jeremy Mendoza said.
Tanya Mendoza thanked the community for its support following Friday’s tragedy.
The Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is spearheading the investigation. As is common procedure in Los Angeles County deputy-involved shootings, the incident is also being investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the County of Los Angeles Office of Independent Review.

PHOTOS: (TOP) Family members of a slain homeowner and Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators congregate in front of the home where a wanted parolee allegedly engaged deputies in a shoot-out, killing 54-year-old Frank Mendoza. Ramirez then allegedly took Mendoza’s 60-year-old wife hostage for about eight hours before he was shot and killed by a SWAT team in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive in Pico Rivera in the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. (Staff photo by Brian Day) BELOW: Frank Mendoza, 54, of Pico Rivera (right), pictured with wife Lorraine Munoz, 60. Mendoza died during a shoot-out between sheriff’s deputies and a fleeing parolee as the suspect forced his way into the couple’s home. Munoz was held hostage by the suspect for more than eight hours before a SWAT team killed him and rescued her in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive in Pico Rivera in the early morning hours on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014.
(Courtesy of the Mendoza family)

BELOW:

 

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UPDATED: Bystander killed following shoot-out between suspect, deputies in Pico Rivera; stand-off ongoing

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PICO RIVERA >> A person believed to be a innocent bystander died and an armed parolee remained holed-up inside a Pico Rivera home with a hostage following a shoot-out between the suspect and deputies Friday afternoon, authorities said.
It was not clear Friday if the bystander had been shot by the suspect or struck by deputies’ gunfire, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
The incident began about 4:30 p.m. in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive, just east of Rosemead Boulevard, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said. Sheriff’s gang investigators had been hunting for a wanted parolee when they spotted him.
Deputies had been searching for an armed man witnesses had reported seeing in the area when they encountered the suspect, Crosthwaite said.
Sgt. Crosthwaite of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station said. He declined to give his first name.
The man fled as deputies approached and ran toward the backyard of a nearby home, said Sgt. Crosthwaite of the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station. He declined to give his first name.
“He turned and fired at deputies,” the sergeant said.
The deputies, who were not struck by the suspect’s bullets, returned fire, Crosthwaite said. It was not known if the suspect was wounded in the exchange.
A man exited the home with at least one gunshot wound a short time later, Crosthwaite said. The wounded person, believed to be an innocent bystander in the incident, was pronounced dead.
No deputies were injured, officials said.
0802_NWS_WDN-L-DIS1The armed parolee was believed to have a woman as a hostage as a SWAT team engaged the suspect in a standoff that continued into the evening, Nishida said.
A sheriff’s crisis negotiator had been speaking with the suspect by phone, urging him to surrender and allow his hostage to leave, officials said.
“Crisis negotiators are trying to communicate with him and have him surrender peacefully,” Nishida said.
The identity of the 24-year-old parolee was known to investigators, but withheld late Friday as the stand-off continued, she said.
There was no known connection between the suspect and the home where he was believed holed-up, Crosthwaite said.
Deputies evacuated homes along Rosehedge Drive between Rosemead Boulevard and Lindsey Avenue as the situation continued Friday night.
The Red Cross opened a shelter for evacuated residents at El Rancho High School, 6501 Passons Blvd.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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UPDATED: Hawaiian Gardens man arrested in connection with shooting of 14-year-old boy in Norwalk

NORWALK >> A 14-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound to his leg in a drive-by shooting Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The attack occurred about 3:15 p.m. at Sycamore Street, just west of Funston Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Eric Smitson said.
The boy was standing with a group when a car passed by and someone inside opened fire, the lieutenant said. The teenage victim was struck in the leg.
Officials described the car as a black, newer-model, four-door Nissan Altima. Witnesses indicated one of its windows may have been shot out. It was last seen westbound on Sycamore Street.
The wounded boy was conscious and breathing when taken to a hospital with what was not believed to be a life-threatening injury, Smitson said.
Deputies scoured the area for the Altima with the help of a sheriff’s helicopter and found a Nissan Altima believed to be the one involved in the shooting nearby, Smitson said. The registered owner was initially detained as a “person of interest” before deputies ultimately arrested him in connection with the shooting.
Robert Angel Moncivais, 20, of Hawaiian Gardens was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Navares and Los Angeles County booking records.
Moncivais was believed to have gang ties, and sheriff’s gang investigators were spearheading the investigation.
According to booking records, Moncivais was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his arraignment hearing, scheduled Tuesday in Bellflower Superior Court.
The investigation was ongoing.

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Pasadena family describes terror of shooting that killed three

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PASADENA >> A terrified family of six found themselves in the midst of a hail of bullets Saturday afternoon when they arrived home just as a shooting rampage began that left three people dead and two others wounded.
Sandra Barraza, 37, her husband, Alfredo Garcia, 41, and their four children had just returned from the store when they noticed a police SUV and a patrol car parked in front of their house, Garcia said.
They did not see the body of a woman who had been fatally shot lying behind a tree across the street, or the body of a man who also had been shot to death just up the street.
Suddenly, a group of police officers carrying rifles yelled to the family to get inside.
“We took two steps, and the shooting started,” said the couple’s 18-year-old daughter, Melissa Perez. Also in the driveway were Perez’s 12- and 15-year-old brothers and her 16-year-old sister.
An officer fled to cover behind the police SUV as the gunman, later identified by police as 44-year-old John Izeal Smith of Pasadena, continued shooting, riddling the vehicle with bullets. The family stood directly behind the SUV when the gunfire began.
Bullets flew on both sides of the family’s driveway as they ran for their home, Sandra Barraza said. Her husband added that he could see smoke rising from the AK-47-type rifle wielded by the gunman as he fired from the front lawn of the home across the street.
“It was horrible. Like a movie scene,” Barraza said. “I was so scared. He was right in front of us.”

…FULL STORY

Photo by James Carbone

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Victim of Pasadena shooting rampage identified

PASADENA — Coroner’s officials Sunday released the name of one of three people killed in a mass shooting on a residential Pasadena street that also left two others wounded.
Maria Teresa Aguiar, 59, died along with two men at the scene of Saturday’s deadly rampage in the 1700 block of North Summit Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Fred Corral said.
Her city of residence was not yet listed at the coroner’s office Sunday morning, however public records indicated Aguiar lived on the street where the shooting took place. A phone number listed as belonging to Aguiar was not working.
The identities of the two men killed in the attack have not been released.
A man and woman were also shot by suspect John Izeal Smith of Pasadena, who eventually surrendered to police after firing on an officer with a semi-automatic rifle and engaging in a brief stand-off, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said.
“We’re talking upwards of 40 rounds that were fired,” the chief said. Police did not return fire.

…FULL STORY

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Shooting suspect remains at large following stand-off at South Whittier apartment complex

SOUTH WHITTIER — A shooting suspect who was believed holed-up inside a South Whittier apartment remained at large late Saturday after a SWAT team forced their way into the home following a five-hour stand-off and did not find the man, authorities said.
The incident began about 3:15 p.m. when deputies received several 9-1-1 calls reporting a man was shooting at someone in a strip mall parking lot in the 15600 block of Leffingwell Road, in an unincorporated county area south of Whittier, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Navares said.
The victim did not report the shooting and did not turn up at any local hospitals, Navares said. It was not known whether he was struck by the gunfire.
Navares said the shooter drove a car next door to an apartment complex, where he was seen running into an apartment, the sergeant said.
Deputies surrounded the apartment and summoned a SWAT team, he said. Officials ordered anyone inside the apartment to come out with no response. The SWAT team entered the apartment about 9 p.m., finding no one inside.
The name of the suspect, a man in his mid-30s, was known to investigators but not released Saturday.
The suspect’s car was taken as evidence, Navares said.

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Three killed in Pasadena shooting; suspect in custody


PASADENA >> A man armed with a rifle allegedly shot and killed three people, wounded two more and opened fire on a police officer before ultimately surrendering Saturday afternoon.
The 4:20 p.m. shooting in the 1700 block of North Summit Avenue was believed to have stemmed from a dispute between a landlord and tenant, though the details were not yet clear, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said.
The shooter was identified as 35-year-old John Izeal Smith of Pasadena.

…FULL STORY

Photo by James Carbone

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