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

Police: Long Beach resident fatally shoots intruder inside home

LONG BEACH >> A Long Beach resident fatally shot an intruder who broke into a home early Sunday morning, in the second fatal shooting of an intruder by a Long Beach resident in three weeks, authorities said.
The break-in and fatal shooting took place shortly before 3 a.m. at a home on 3rd Street, just east of Temple Avenue, Long Beach police Sgt. Megan Zabel said.
Few details were released regarding the incident Sunday as homicide detectives continued investigating the incident.
The alleged intruder, who died at the scene of the shooting, was not identified pending notification of family, Zabel said. Police described him only as a man.
“Officers responded to the 2800 block of East 3rd Street in regards to a burglary in progress where the resident has shot the suspect in the home,” Zabel said.
“Officers arrived along with Long Beach Fire Department paramedics, who pronounced the suspect deceased at the scene,” she said.
There were two adults inside the home at the time of the shooting, Zabel said. Police declined to provide any further description of the shooter or the second person in the home.
Police also released no details regarding the encounter between the shooter and the intruder, including whether the intruder was armed.
The residents had not been arrested Sunday as the investigation continued, Zabel said.
“They were interviewed and released,” she said. “Once the investigation is complete, it will be presented to the district attorney’s office.”
Prosecutors will then determine whether any charges are to be filed, Zabel said.
The residents were not believed to have been injured in the incident.
The shooting comes less than three weeks after another alleged residential burglar was shot by another Long Beach resident July 23 in the 3900 block of Country Club Drive.
Andrea Miller, 28, died after she was shot by 80-year-old Tom Greer, according to Long Beach police and statements Greer made to KNBC.
Miller and her alleged accomplice, 26-year-old Gus Adams, beat Greer when he interrupted their burglary of his home, according to police and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials. Greer, who suffered a broken collar bone among other injuries in the incident, said in a television interview that he shot Miller as she was running away, but still considered the shooting self defense.
Miller shouted out that she was pregnant just before she was shot, but a coroner’s investigation found that was not the case.
Adams has been charged with murder, robbery, elder abuse and other crimes in connection with the incident. His mother, 49-year-old Ruby Adams, has also been charged with burglary, robbery and elder abuse for allegedly serving as a lookout during the crime.
Across Los Angeles County in Diamond Bar, a resident shot at an intruder inside his home in the 400 block of N. Del Sol Lane on Friday afternoon, though the burglar was believed to have escaped uninjured, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

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.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

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.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

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.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

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

0803_NWS_WDN-L-STANDOFF1

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:

 

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email