WHITTIER >> A man was found shot to death behind the steering wheel of a car in Uptown Whittier on Sunday morning, authorities said.
Someone called police just before 9 a.m. to report seeing an unconscious man slumped in the driver seat of a black Lexus sedan parked in the 6300 block of Pickering Avenue, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
The car was parked inside a residential garage, with the garage door open, the lieutenant said.
Paramedics pronounced the victim, estimated to be 40 years old, dead at the scene, he said. It appeared he had been shot, and the death was being investigated as a homicide.
No information regarding the circumstances of the shooting was available as the investigation remained in its early stages, the lieutenant said. No suspects were in custody, and no description was known.
Ellis said investigators suspected that the shooting took place several hours before the victim’s body was discovered. Police received calls reporting gunshots earlier in the morning in the same general area, but responding officers found no evidence of a shooting.
It was not clear whether the reports of gunfire were related to the fatal shooting.
Anyone with information can reach the Whittier Police Department at 562-567-9200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> Police found no suspects or victim following reports of a car-to-car road rage shooting in Pasadena early Sunday morning.
The gunfire was reported about 1:45 a.m. at Lincoln Avenue and Hammond Street, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
No victims were found in the area, and none arrived at local hospitals, he said.
“It was determined that an altercation between the drivers of two vehicles progressed to the point that one of the drivers produced a handgun and shot at the other car,” Goodman said. It was unclear whether the victim’s vehicle was struck.
Both cars fled the area, the lieutenant said. A detailed description of the shooter and his vehicle was not available.
BALDWIN PARK >> A man died following a drive-by shooting in a residential neighborhood in Baldwin Park late Saturday, authorities said.
The fatal shooting took place about 7:05 p.m. in the 14100 block of Clark Street, just west of Baldwin Park Boulevard, according to Deputy Lisa Jansen of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau. The sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is assisting Baldwin Park police in the investigation.
Killed was Jason George Teter, 21, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano. His’s city of residence was unavailable.
Teter victim and another man were walking east along Clark Street when a large white SUV pulled up from behind, Deputy Kimberly Alexander said in a written statement.
“One occupant of the SUV produced a handgun and opened fire, striking the victim in the torso. He was pronounced dead at the scene,” she said. The other man was uninjured.
“The suspects’ vehicle was last seen eastbound Clark Street and out of view. There is no suspect description,” Alexander said.
No further details were available.
Anyone with information is urged 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.
PASADENA >> A Rialto man suffered a wound to his leg in a shooting outside a Pasadena cafe early Saturday morning, officials said.
Police first responded about 12:15 a.m. to multiple 911 calls reporting “shots fired” outside the Kingston Cafe, 333 South Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“Officers found evidence of shots having been fired,” Goodman said. But no victims were found at the scene.
“During the investigation, the victim was dropped off at a local area hospital with a gunshot wound to his left leg,” Goodman said. “The victim was treated for his injury and released from the hospital. No additional victims were located.”
No further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting, including a description of the suspect or suspects, were available Saturday afternoon.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
WEST WHITTIER >> A man died following a shooting along Washington Boulevard in West Whittier on Thursday night, authorities said.
Few details were initially available regarding the shooting, which was reported just before midnight in the 11000 block of Washington Boulevard, near Norwalk Boulevard in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The victim, described only as a man, was taken to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, deputies from the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
No further details, including a suspect description, were available.
Anyone with information can reach 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.
EL MONTE >> Authorities offered up a $20,000 reward on Wednesday for information in the fatal shooting of a 25-year-old worker during a botched robbery at an El Monte Jack in Box restaurant last month.
Juan Manuel Vidal died following the shooting, which took place on Oct. 21 inside the restaurant, 9220 Flair Drive.
He was working about 7:30 p.m. when a masked gunman jumped over the counter, “demanded money, and then shot the victim almost immediately,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said. The deadly shooting was caught on video by restaurant surveillance cameras.
“The suspect appeared to panic, jumped back over the counter and fled the location through the north door onto Flair Drive,” he said. No money was obtained.
*Video: Surveillance camera footage of fatal shooting
Vidal, who as engaged and was looking forward to starting a new career having recently graduated pharmacy technician school, succumbed to his injuries at a nearby hospital.
His killer remains at large.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to authorize a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the unidentified gunman.
Vidal’s mother, Mary Smay, implored anyone with information to come forward.
“I really want the police to get the man who did this to my son. He needs to pay for all the pain and suffering that he’s caused to so many people… people that loved my son,” she said.
“That man has no heart,” Smay said. “Somebody needs to let the police know where he’s at.”
Sheriff Jim McDonnell also urged anyone with information to do the right thing.
“This is a tragic incident we want to talk about and really, truly ask the public’s help in solving this case,” McDonnell said.
“He was a young man on the right track, doing the right things, all of the right things, working, when this suspect came in and took his life,” the sheriff’s said. “We need the publics help to hold him accountable for what he did and to prevent him from hurting someone else.”
The reward was proposed by Supervisor Hilda Solis.
“There’s little consolation we can offer to Juan’s family and loved ones, but the gunman or people involved are still at large, and we hope this reward, together with other rewards that will be put forward by the city of El Monte and other individuals, that his will help to bring those that are responsible for this death to be held accountable.”
In addition to the gunman, detectives believe at least one accomplice served as a getaway driver in the crime, speeding the killer away in a dark-colored sedan, Detective Adan Torres of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Funds to help Vidal’s family are being collected online at www.gofundme.com/2vh4f5w.
EL MONTE >> Homicide detectives and distraught family members sought the public’s help Thursday in finding the masked gunman who fatally shot a 25-year-old El Monte man during a failed robbery at the fast food restaurant where he worked.
Juan Manuel Vidal turned 25 less than two weeks before the deadly Oct. 21 shooting at Jack in the Box, 9220 Flair Drive.
He had just graduated pharmacy school and was looking forward to starting a new career and a new life with his fiancee and high school sweetheart, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators and family members.
But his life was cut short when a would-be robber jumped over the restaurant counter where he was working, demanded money from the cash register and immediately fired a gunshot, according to Detective Adan Torres of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. The killer remains at large.
Video: Detective Adan Torres discusses the fatal shooting
“He was my life and he’s gone now, and I don’t know why anyone would do this to him,” Vidal’s fiancee, Juliana Sasaki said through tears.
His mother, Mary Smay, said her son was a kind and loving man and urged anyone with information about the killer to come forward.
“If anybody knows who did this, who took my son from me, you need to turn him in,” she said. “He’s taken my life. He’s taken my son away,” she said.
“He left to work. I sit on the couch and I think he’s going to just come back,” Smay said.
Video: Victim’s mother pleads for help her son’s killer
Vidal’s killer remains at large, and detectives released surveillance video footage of the crime on Thursday in hopes of generating tips from the public.
Vidal was working as a cashier at the restaurant when the gunman entered wearing a mask and brandishing a revolver, Torres said.
The gunman jumped the counter, demanded money, pointed the gun at Vidal and immediately opened fire, officials said.
“It was so quick, he didn’t even have a chance to react,” the detective said.
The would-be robber then jumped back over the counter and fled from the restaurant empty-handed.
The killer got into a waiting getaway car, described only as a dark-colored sedan, which drove away, Torres said. Detectives suspected he may have had an accomplice serving as a getaway driver.
The robber wore some type of mask over the top portion of his face which included a thick fake mustache and a large nose.
He also wore a light-blue long-sleeve T-shirt, khaki cargo shorts and black running shoes and a blue baseball cap with a vinyl or plastic brim.
Vidal grew up in El Monte and attended Arroyo High School, where he met his fiancee, Sasaki said.
He loved classic cars and enjoyed spending time working on his vehicles, she said.
“He was always so kind,” she said. “Everyone loved him. Even when he had nothing, he was always willing to help.”
Having recently graduated school as a pharmacy technician and receiving a job offer, “He was going to quit his job and start planning everything,” the fiancee said. The couple had yet to set a wedding date.
Vidal maintained a close relationship with his mother.
“He would be proud to say I was his mom, just like I was proud to say he was my son,” Smay said. “He was a kind, loving man. But to me, he’s always going to be by boy.”
Anyone with information is urged to call 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.
Funds to help Vidal’s family are being collected online at www.gofundme.com/2vh4f5w.
PHOTOS [ABOVE] Juan Manuel Vidal, 25, of El Monte (courtesy). [BELOW] Family members and LASD homicide detectives ask the public for help in finding the killer of Juan Vidal on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. (Staff photo by Brian Day)
COVINA >> A man previously arrested but released without charges in the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Covina man during a robbery in Covina was re-arrested Wednesday after prosecutors filed a murder charge against him, authorities said.
Christopher Alexander Avila, 20, of Covina is accused of the Aug. 13 fatal shooting of 20-year-old Isaac Urena of Covina in the parking lot of Clearman’s North Woods Inn, at San Bernardino Road and Azusa Avenue, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
He joins co-defendant Adam David Hernandez, 21, of Covina behind bars as both await trial.
Both suspects were arrested the day after the killing.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Hernandez with being an accessory to murder, but released Avila due to insufficient evidence and requested further investigation.
Detectives continued gather clues and run forensic tests, developed new information and presented it to prosecutors, Peterson said.
“Based on the new evidence, The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed a murder charge (Wednesday) against Christopher Avila and amended the charge against Adam Hernandez to include murder,” according to Peterson.
Detectives found and arrested Avila at his home about 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Peterson said.
Investigators also arrested a third suspect at Avila’s home on suspicion of acting as an accessory to the slaying. Further details regarding that arrest were not available Wednesday night.
Hernandez has remained in custody since his arrest in August.
Both defendants were being held without bail.
The deadly shooting took place shortly before noon on Aug. 13 after the victim, Urena, was driven by a friend to the Clearman’s parking lot in order to meet a person who had agreed to buy jewelry Urena was offering for sale on the online marketplace OfferUp.com, police said.
The transaction turned into a robbery, which escalated into a shooting, police said. Avila allegedly produced a gun and shot Urena. Hernandez is accused of driving the car used in the crime.
Following the gunfire, Urena’s friend drove across the city border to the parking lot of Faith Community Church in West Covina, where paramedics ultimately pronounced Urena dead, officials said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Covina Police Department Detective Bureau at 626-384-5628. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS: [TOP} – BOOKING PHOTOS of Christopher Avila (left) and Adam Hernandez (right) courtesy of the Covina Police Deparmtent. [BELOW] – Police investigate outside the Clearman’s North Woods Inn parking lot in Covina where a 20-year-old Covina man was fatally shot on Saturday August 13, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
EL MONTE >> Authorities on Wednesday formally identified an El Monte man shot to death in a botched robbery at a fast food restaurant over the weekend as detectives continue gathering clues in the senseless killing.
Juan Manuel Vidal, 25, died at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center less than 30 minutes after the shooting, which took place about 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Jack in the Box restaurant where he worked at 9220 Flair Drive, according to Ed Winter, assistant chief of operation at the Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
The deadly failed robbery occurred very quickly, Lt. Mike Rosson of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
“It was just seconds. (The killer) was in and out,” he said.
It did not appear Vidal put up any resistance to the robbery attempt, the lieutenant said. “I don’t even think he had time.”
The gunman entered the business, jumped over the counter to the employee are of the store, brandished a handgun and announced that he was robbing the store, Rosson said.
Almost immediately, he pulled the trigger of his gun, mortally wounding Vidal.
Rosson said the gunman, who wore a Halloween mask, then fled from the restaurant empty-handed.
The restaurant sits just a few hundred yards from onramps to the 10 Freeway.
The gunman was believed to have gotten into a getaway car, but investigators were continuing to sort out conflicting descriptions of the vehicle, Rosson said.
Detectives were also sifting through “hours and hours” of surveillance camera footage from the restaurant as well as other nearby businesses in hopes of generating a suspect description, he said.
An excerpt from surveillance footage depicting the suspect was expected to be released by investigators during a press conference on Thursday.
Two other employees were working with Vidal at the time of the fatal shooting, Rosson said. One of them was on break and outside the building. The position of the other employee within the store was unclear.
The customer dining area inside the restaurant was empty when the botched robbery and fatal shooting took place.
Detectives suspected the fatal shooting was committed by a panicked or possibly intoxicated robber, and there was no indication that Vidal was specifically targeted, Rosson said.
Vidal turned 25 less than two weeks before the fatal shooting.
Vidal, “had a promising future,” according to Deputy Lillian Peck of the sheriff’s Information Bureau. He was engaged to be married and had recently graduated as a pharmacy technician at the time of his slaying.
He was a Volkswagen enthusiast and member of the DubFolks SoCal car club, according to the organizations Facebook page, where fellow members memorialized him and organized fundraisers to help his family. A car wash is planned for 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at outside Carl’s Jr., 18237 Colima Road in Rowland Heights. A meet-up and memorial ride are planned for noon on Saturday,. starting at Cal State Los Angeles’s Parking Structure C.
A fund to help his family with services has been established online at www.gofundme.com/2vh4f5w.
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.
EL MONTE >> A masked gunman shot and killed a 25-year-old fast food worker during what was believed to be a botched robbery at an El Monte Jack in the Box restaurant late Friday, authorities said.
The deadly shooting took place about 7:30 p.m. at the chain restaurant at 9220 Flair Drive, according to El Monte police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials, who are assisting El Monte police in the investigation.
The suspect, who fled empty-handed following the apparent robbery attempt, remained at large Saturday.
Authorities withheld the identity of the victim pending positive identification and notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Joyce Kato said.
“An armed, masked male entered the business and immediately jumped over the front service counter, where the victim was standing, in an apparent armed robbery attempt,” Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
“The suspect turned toward the victim and fired at least one shot, which struck the victim in the upper torso. The suspect immediately jumped back over the counter and fled the location,” Rouzan said.
The gunman was last seen running north from the restaurant. No suspect description was available.
El Monte police arrived first on the scene and administered first aid before paramedics took over treatment, officials said. The wounded man was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A sign affixed to the door of the restaurant where the victim worked on Saturday indicated the businesses would be closed until Monday.
“RIP Juan. 2 Corinthians 5:8. Home with Jesus,” was handwritten on the sign.
The King James Version of the scripture reads, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.