Candles in front of a photograph of Victor J. McClinton, is posted during a Candlelight Memorial in Remembrance of Victor J. McClinton, on the steps of Pasadena City Hall in Pasadena, Thursday, December 27, 2012. On Christmas Day, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department employee and youth sport volunteer, Victor J. McClinton was shot and killed, when he was caught in the cross fire between two gang members. (Correspondent Photo by James Carbone/SVCITY)
LOS ANGELES >> A judge declared a mistrial Thursday after a jury became deadlocked in the case of two alleged gang members charged with capital murder for the fatal shooting of an innocent bystander investigators say became caught in gang crossfire in Pasadena on Christmas Day in 2012.
Reputed Bloods gang members Larry Darnell Bishop, 23, of Chino, and Jerron Donald Harris 27, of Pasadena, have been charged with murder and other crimes in connection with the Dec. 25, 2012, shooting that left 49-year-old Victor McClinton of Pasadena dead in the 1900 block of Newport Avenue in Pasadena.
After a trial that lasted more than a month, the Los Angeles County Superior Court jury hung with respect to both defendants, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said.
The jury hung 9-3 in favor of convicting Bishop of all charges, and 7-5 in favor of acquitting Harris, Risling said.
Judge Curtis Rappe declared a mistrial. It was unclear Thursday whether prosecutors would pursue a second trial.
“Our office hasn’t made a decision on whether to retry the case,” Risling said.
McClinton was walking with a friend to deposit a Christmas gift in the friend’s car when Bishop and Harris both opened fire on a rival gang member, police and prosecutors allege. McClinton became caught in the crossfire.
But the man allegedly targeted in the shooting, who was wounded in the hand, testified at a preliminary hearing that Bishop and Harris were not his assailants.
The two defendants were each charges with murder with special circumstances of discharging a firearm from a moving vehicle and murder to benefit a criminal street gang, attempted murder, two counts of shooting at an inhabited dwelling or vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon.
McClinton was a father of two, a former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department law enforcement technician of 18 years and a youth coach who founded the nonprofit Brotherhood Community Youth Sports League in Pasadena.
Bishop had benefitted from the state’s prison realignment of 2011, also known as AB 109, officials said. Under the sentencing guidelines, he was able to serve less than one year of a two-year sentence for a previous assault with a deadly weapon as a “nonviolent, non-serious” offender in county jail, rather than state prison. Also as a result of AB 109, Bishop was released from custody without parole supervision about six months before McClinton’s slaying. He had two prior felony convictions as well.
IOWA >> A heavily-armed serial bank robber known as the “AK-47 Bandit,” who shot and wounded a Chino police officer during a bank robbery three years ago at the outset of a nationwide crime spree, struck again Tuesday in Iowa, according to the FBI.
The bandit showed up at the Heartland Community Credit Union in Mason City, Iowa, Tuesday morning, armed with his usual AK-47-style rifle fitted with a large-capacity drum magazine, FBI officials said in a written statement.
“ Based on witness descriptions, surveillance photos and other indicators, agents and detectives jointly investigating this case in multiple jurisdictions (and) states believe the Mason City suspect is the same individual linked to the violent series of bank robberies attributed to the ‘AK-47 Bandit,’ which brings the total number of linked robberies to seven,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
The spree of bank heists began on Feb. 29, 2012, when the bandit robbed the California Bank and Trust, 5455 Riverside Drive, and shot a Chino police officer while making his getaway.
Robberies and attempted robberies throughout California and the nation have since been linked to the bank robbery.
He’s believed to be responsible for crimes in Chino, Vacaville, Sacramento, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska, and now Iowa, according to the FBI.
$100,000 in reward money has been offered for information leading to the capture and conviction of the AK-47 bandit. The FBI has offered $75,000 in reward money, Eimileer said, while other parties have added an additional $25,000.
Officials have described the robber as a white in his 20s to 40s, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, of medium build, woith possibly blue eyes. He generally wears a black ski mask and gloves and carries the assault rifle which gave him his moniker.
Anyone with information can reach the FBI in Los Angeles at 310-477-6565.
WHITTIER >> A man was shot five times, but is expected to survive, following a drive-by shooting in a Whittier alley late Friday, police said.
The victim, a 40-year-old Whittier man, was walking about 8:20 p.m. in an alley along the 12800 block of Penn Street, just east of Milton Avenue, when an assailant in a passing car fired seven shots, Whittier police Lt. Steve Dean said.
Five of the bullets struck the man, wounding him in the torso, arm and leg, the lieutenant said. He was taken to an area hospital where he was expected to survive his injuries.
The victim has ties to a Los Angeles Street gang and the shooting is believed to be gang-related, Dean said.
A suspect description was not available, he added. The victim did not cooperate with investigators, and other witnesses provided conflicting descriptions of the involved car.
Authorities have released the identity of a Brentwood man suspected of shooting a 24-year-old Pasadena man outside his home early Friday before fatally shooting himself later in the day near his own home in Brentwood.
Brandon Rafiepour, 24, was found dead inside his car from what was believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound about 4 p.m. in the West Los Angeles area, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
The suspected suicide took place in the 300 block of North Kenter Avenue, where public records indicate Rafiepour lived.
He was being sought in connection with the shooting death of Joseph McMahon, which took place shortly after 2 a.m. Friday outside McMahon’s home in the 3600 block of Yorkshire Road, in an unincorporated county area east of Pasadena, she said.
McMahon, was pronounced dead at the scene after sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of gunfire, officials said.
He was described as a former associate producer on the television reality series “The Deadliest Catch,”
A woman who identified herself as McMahon’s sister said she heard seven or eight gunshots just after McMahon left the house, but did not know what had taken place.
No details regarding the circumstances or motive in McMahon’s fatal shooting have been released.
Rafiepour has no history of violent crime listed in Los Angeles County Superior Court records. He was convicted of driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit last year, and of driving while in possession of marijuana in 2009.
Anyone with information was 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.
LA PUENTE >> Two men opened fire with a shotgun and a handgun in a residential La Puente neighborhood Wednesday afternoon, but no shooting victims were found, authorities said.
The gunfire was reported just before 3 p.m. in the 400 block of Sandia Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. David Cortinas said.
A vehicle, initially described only as a newer-model, silver, four-door car, passed by and two men inside opened fire, officials said. Several rounds were fired from a shotgun, as well as a semi-automatic pistol.
No victims were found in the area, and none arrived at area hospitals, Cortinas said. No further details were known about the circumstances or motive in the shooting.
POMONA >> A woman died and a man was hospitalized in critical condition after they were both found shot in the back seat of a car in a residential neighborhood early Sunday morning, police said.
Vanessa Renee Lopez, 28, of Pomona died at the scene of the 2:50 a.m. shooting in the 1300 block of Caprino Way, Pomona police officials said in a written statement.
Manuel Flores Jr., 30, of Pomona was rushed to a hospital by helicopter and was listed in critical condition, police said.
Officers responding to a report of a shooting found the victims wounded in the rear seat of a car parked in the driveway of a home, according to the statement.
The relationship between the two victims was unclear. No suspect information was available, and no further details were released as Pomona police homicide detectives continued their investigation Sunday.
MONTEBELLO >> A Montebello restaurant owner shot during a robbery along Whittier Boulevard shot back at his two assailants, fatally wounding both early Saturday, police said.
Montebello police said the robbery and shooting unfolded about 12:15 a.m. at a restaurant in the 2100 block of West Whittier Boulevard, which had already closed for the night.
“The preliminary investigation has determined both suspects were armed with handguns attempted to rob the victim,” police said in a written statement.“During the robbery, one of the suspects fired multiple shots at the victim, striking the victim once. The victim, a local business owner, returned fire striking both suspects.”
The business owner, a man estimated to be in his 30s, was expected to survive his injuries, Lt. Michael Bergman said.
Officers found one of the wounded suspects at the scene suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the statement. The second suspect was found around the corner in the 100 block of North Wilcox Avenue suffering from a single gunshot wound.
Both suspects died from their injuries at the scene, Bergman said.
The names of the suspects had not been released Saturday pending notification of their family members, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Joyce Kato said. Both were initially described as men in their 20s.
The business owner’s identity was being withheld due to concerns for his safety, police said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Montebello police Detective C. Adams or Detective P. Antista at 323-887-1313.
NORWALK >> Detectives continue seeking clues into the mysterious shotgun slaying of a father and son found fatally shot inside their Norwalk home earlier this week.
Walter Vicente, 49, and Andrew Vicente, 24, were found shot to death shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday at their house in the 12300 block of Gettysburg Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner officials said.
A family member, who was a son to the older victim and brother to the younger victim, found the men shot to death when he stopped by to visit, Lt. Dave Coleman of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. It was unclear when exactly the shooting took place, though it was believed to have been within a matter of a day or days.
No suspect has been identified in the double-homicide, and the motiveremains unclear.
“There’s nothing apparent that indicated it was a robbery,” Coleman said. The shots were fired from within the house, however there were no signs of forced entry into the home.
Walter Vicente’s body was discovered in the living room of the home, while Andrew Vicente’s body was found in an adjacent bedroom.
Neither the father or son appeared to have no ties to gang acivity, and investigators were aware of no one who would want to do them harm, the lieutenant said. Walter Vicente was a plumber, he said, adding that he believed his son was also involved in the trade.
“It’s a mystery,” Coleman said. “We just don’t have much at this time. We’re obviously going to get into their personal lives.”
Detectives were also still trying to determine the last time someone saw the father and son alive.
An autopsy determined the men both died from shotgun wounds to the head, and both cases were ruled homicides, coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
An exact time of death was not clear, however coroner’s reports indicated a neighbor reported hearing possibly gunfire shortly after 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Anyone with information was aksed 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.
PHOTOS of Walter Vicente, 49, of Norwalk (above) and Andrew Vicente, 24, of Norwalk (below) courtesy of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
ROSEMEAD >> Coroner’s officials have confirmed the death of a man who was found fatally shot inside a burning pickup truck was a suicide, as investigators initially suspected.
Paramedics pronounced the 53-year-old Rosemead man dead at the scene after he was pulled from parked and burning pickup truck early Saturday in the 8500 block of Olney Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. It was soon found that the unconscious man had also been shot in the chest. A gun was recovered from inside the truck.
Deputies suspected the death to be a suicide, but summoned investigators from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and Los Angeles County Department of Coroner to assist in the investigation, Sgt. Steve Ruiz of the sheriff’s Temple Station said.
But an autopsy confirmed officials’ initial suspicion, coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
The man died from a gunshot wound to the chest, and the death was ruled a suicide, he said.
NORWALK >> One man died and another was wounded when gunfire erupted at a Norwalk park late Saturday, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 9:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Gerdes Park in the 14700 block of Gridley Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“Homicide detectives have learned that two victims were standing in the parking lot of the location with a group of males when a male adult approached and began firing,” deputies from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. “The suspect then fled on foot to a waiting dark color sedan. The suspect vehicle was last seen heading southbound on Gridley Road and out of view.”
No further suspect description was available Sunday.
Deputies found two men suffering from gunshot wounds. Paramedics pronounced one of the victims dead at the scene. Coroner’s officials withheld his identity Sunday pending notification of his family.
The second victim was hospitalized in stable condition and expected to survive his injuries, Sgt. Ralph Gama said.
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.