Detectives investigate shooting death in Norwalk


NORWALK >> Homicide detectives are investigating the fatal shooting of a man inside a Norwalk home Friday afternoon, officials said.
It was unclear whether the shooting death was a crime, an accident or a suicide as the investigation remained in its early stages, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Cynthia Chavez said.
A resident of the 12000 block of Nava Street first called deputies at 2:37 p.m. to report hearing a gunshot inside a neighbor’s home, the lieutenant said.
Deputies arrived to find a man who had been shot, she said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau were summoned to the scene to investigate.

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Man wounded in South El Monte shooting


SOUTH EL MONTE >> A man is expected to survive after he was shot three times in South El Monte early Sunday, officials said.
Few details were available regarding the 1 a.m. shooting in a mixed residential and commercial neighborhood in the 2100 block of Sastre Avenue.
Deputies responded to a report of gunfire when they found a man in his 20s suffering from gunshot wounds, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ignacio Somoano said.
The victim was struck twice in the torso and once in the wrist, the lieutenant said.
“His injuries are considered not life-threatening,” he said.
No information regarding the shooter or the circumstances of the shooting were available.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171.

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Officials: Man accused of murder in fatal South El Monte crash that stemmed from shooting

SOUTH EL MONTE >> A suspect is behind bars and accused of murder in connection with a solo-car crash that killed his passenger last week, which detectives say occurred as the occupants of the car were fleeing the scene of a shooting they had just committed.
Anthony James Rojas, 20, is being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending his initial court appearance, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records. His city of residence was not available.
He’s suspected of murder for the death of 19-year-old Jonathan William Loaiza of Bell Gardens, who died in the June 26 crash on the northbound Rosemead Boulevard on-ramp to the eastbound 60 Freeway, sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. Loaiza was pronounced dead at the scene after the 2006 Mitsubishi Galant he was as a passenger in crashed and overturned.
The driver fled the scene, officials said. Two handguns were found inside the wrecked Mitsubishi, and a second passenger was detained.
“Detectives now believe the occupants in the Mitsubishi that flipped over shot at the occupants in another vehicle as they traveled north on Rosemead Boulevard,” Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. A man was struck by the gunfire and remained hospitalized Friday, Rouzan added. The shooting was believed to be gang-related.
“Detectives believe, that as the suspects in the Mitsubishi fled the scene, (Rojas) lost control of the vehicle causing it to flip and crash,” Rouzan said.
Paramedics pronounced Loaiza dead at the scene.
Detective identified the driver as Rojas and arrested him Wednesday, according to officials and booking records. Sheriff’s officials announced the arrest Friday.
Under a California law known as the felony-murder rule, a defendant can be charged with murder if an accomplice dies as the result of a felony.
Rojas was scheduled to appear for an arraignment hearing Monday in Downey Superior Court.

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Two men critically injured in Pasadena shooting


PASADENA >> Two Pasadena men suffered serious injuries in a shooting Thursday night, police said.
The victims, a man in his 20s and a man in his 30s, were both hospitalized in critical condition following the 10:43 p.m. shooting in the 100 block of Pepper Street, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said. An update on their condition was not available Friday.
Officers responding to a report of a shooting found the older victim at the scene, the lieutenant said. The second gunshot victim was dropped off at the hospital minutes later.
The circumstances of the shooting remained unclear, and no suspect description was available, Mercado said.

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UPDATED: Passenger killed in South El Monte solo-car crash; detectives probe possible connection to Pico Rivera shooting


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.

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18-year-old man fatally shot near his home in West Whittier


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

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Man escapes injury in Altadena when would-be shooter’s gun malfunctions, twice


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.

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UPDATED: Suspect arrested following shooting, robbery in Whittier

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.

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Man shot to death in Montebello identified

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.

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Blind Pico Rivera man wounded in gang-related shooting

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.

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