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.”
Photo by James Carbone
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.
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.
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.
Photo by James Carbone
WEST COVINA — A man accidentally shot his son-in-law while showing him a handgun Friday afternoon, police said.
The incident, which was being investigated as an accidental shooting, was reported about 4:40 p.m. at a home in the 900 block of South Russelee Drive, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
A 9mm bullet penetrated a 28-year-old man’s wrist after the handgun, which his father-in-law was holding, discharged, the lieutenant said.
“He was reportedly showing a weapon to a relative when the weapon inadvertently went off,” Patton said.
Paramedics took the injured man to a hospital with an injury not considered to be life-threatening.
The men’s account of the shooting was corroborated by other witnesses at the scene, Patton added.
Police seized the involved gun, Patton said. Though it appeared the shooting was an accident, “We will do a comprehensive investigation.”
A suspect is behind bars in connection with the fatal shooting of a Montebello man earlier this month, authorities said.
Montebello police investigators arrested Michael Joseph Fimbres, 44, of Montebello Wednesday in Pomona, according to Montebello police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail on a lesser felony charge Friday at the Montebello Police Department’s jail pending an expected murder charge, officials said. The date of his next court date was not available late Friday.
He’s accused of the July 1 fatal shooting of 35-year-old Frank Burnell Taylor of Montebello, who was found mortally wounded in the 500 block of Maple Street about 7:15 p.m., police and Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s officials said. Taylor was pronounced dead at the scene.
Detectives began seeking Fimbres after identifying early in the investigation as a suspect in Taylor’s slaying, Montebello police Sgt. Julio Calleros said. They had been keeping Fimbres under surveillance when they stopped a car he was in and arrested without incident about noon Wednesday on Fairplex Drive near the 10 Freeway in Pomona.
The suspect and victim were not strangers to one another, though the nature of their relationship was not certain, Calleros said.
“They were acquainted. They knew each other,” he said.
Calleros said the fatal shooting was believed to have been motivated by a “personal dispute.” He declined to discuss the dispute between the men in further detail.
Taylor was walking along Maple Street when an attacker, later identified as Fimbres, approached in small pickup truck, Lt. Andy Vuncanon said.
Fimbres exited the truck, approached Taylor, pulled a handgun and shot the victim once in the chest, the lieutenant said.
PASADENA — An 18-year-old Pasadena man was seriously injured, but expected survive, after being shot in the chest late Friday in a residential neighborhood, police said.
The attack took place just before midnight in the 600 block of North Marengo Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
“The suspect confronted the victim on the sidewalk,” Luna said. “Following the confrontation, the suspect fired several rounds, striking the victim once.”
The wounded man was taken to an area hospital, where he was listed in “serious but stable” condition, the lieutenant said.
Details of the confrontation that preceded the shooting were not available Saturday, and a motive in the crime was unclear.
“The suspect fled the area on foot. The area was checked for the suspect and any additional victims, but none were located,” Luna said.
Police described the shooter as a black man in his late-teens or early-20s, wearing black clothing.
PICO RIVERA — Two men suffered wounds in a shooting in a residential Pico Rivera neighborhood Wednesday evening, officials said.
The gunfire was reported about 7:25 p.m. in the 9500 block of Burma Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said.
Deputies responded to reports of gunman chasing after a man while shooting at him when they encountered two men who had been shot, according to officials and sheriff’s radio traffic.
One of the men had been shot three times in the torso, and the other had been struck in the leg, Villanueva said. Both were initially expected to survive their injuries.
No suspect description or motive was available, though deputies suspected the shooting was gang-related, Villanueva said. The victims were not cooperating with investigators.
A blue Chevrolet pickup truck with an extra cab was spotted leaving the area at the time of the shooting, he said, though it had not yet been determined if the truck was involved.
The Los Angeles County Coroner has identified a man fatally shot Tuesday in Montebello, coroner officials said.
Frank Burnell Taylor, 35, was shot once in the chest in the 500 block of Maple Street, Los Angeles Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said. He died at the scene.
Winter did not have a residence for Taylor.
Montebello Police officers found Taylor laying in the street around 7:15 p.m., officials said.
“Upon investigation it appeared that the victim was a pedestrian walking in the area,” Lt. Andy Vuncanon said.
Vuncanon said a suspect pulled up near the man and exited his vehicle.
“(He) approached the victim and produced a handgun and fired a shot at the victim which struck him in the chest,” Vuncanon said. “The suspect walked back to his car, got in, fled, and is outstanding.”
Police have not determined if both the victim and suspect were alone during the shooting, Vuncanon said. A motive has not been determined.
The suspect is described as a Latino male in his late 20s, 6-feet, 180 pounds, clean shaven with short black hair, and wearing a white T-shirt.
He was seen driving a silver small-sized pickup truck. The model is unknown.
Witnesses are asked to call Montebello Police investigators at 323-887-1248.
- Venusse Navid
HACIENDA HEIGHTS — A man was wounded but expected to survive following a car-to-car shooting in Hacienda Heights Sunday afternoon, officials said.
The victim, a 21-year-old man, was stopped at a red light on Lujon Street at Hacienda Boulevard in a 2004 Audi when the attacker pulled up in an older-model, white pickup truck, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Thurlo said.
“(The shooter) pulled up next to him on he right side and fired into the victim’s vehicle, striking him once in the upper right shoulder,” Thurlo said. A rifle was believed to have been used in the shooting.
Thurlo said the wounded man drove north a short distance to Hacienda Boulevard and Gale Avenue, where deputies encountered him.
Officials initially described the shooter only as male. He was last seen driving south on Hacienda Boulevard from the shooting scene. The motive in the shooting was not clear.