In-N-Out worker found shot to death outside La Mirada restaurant identified

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LA MIRADA >> Authorities have formally identified a 48-year-old woman found shot to death outside the La Mirada In-N-Out Burger where she worked early Friday morning.
Josefina Alcocer Estrada of Buena Park was pronounced dead after she was found lying wounded shortly before 5 a.m. in the parking lot of the restaurant where she worked at 14341 Firestone Blvd., Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator B. Kim said.
In-N-Out representatives previously identified the victim, an employee since 1996, as Josefina Alcocer.
The woman, who was wearing her In-N-Out uniform, died at the scene, officials said.
No suspect description was available, and the motive had not been determined, Lt. Steve Jauch of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau 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.

PHOTO by Keith Durflinger

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Man wounded in Azusa shooting


AZUSA >> A man arrived at an emergency room with a gunshot wound following a shooting in Azusa early Sunday, police said.
Officers first responded about 2:25 a.m. to reports of “shots fired” in the area of 6th Street and Dalton Avenue, according to Azusa police Sgt. John Madaloni.
Police found no victims or evidence of a shooting, he said.
But about 20 minutes later, a local hospital notified police that a man in his 20s had arrived with a gunshot wound to his arm, Madaloni said.
The man, who was brought to the hospital in a private car, told officials he had been shot in the 600 block of N. Alameda Avenue, police said. The wound was not considered to be life-threatening.
“With the new information, officers were able to locate a crime scene, including expended shell casings,” Madaloni said in a written statement.
Further details of the shooting were not available, and the motive remained under investigation, the sergeant said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Azusa police at 626-812-3200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Man shot to death in Pasadena identified


PASADENA >> Authorities have identified a 29-year-old man who was gunned down in a residential neighborhood in Pasadena earlier this week.
James Ramon Rucker died at a hospital following Tuesday’s 9:44 p.m. shooting at Claremont Street and Palm Terrace, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
No arrests have been made, and no information regarding the killer or killers was available.
Police responding to reports of gunfire found Rucker suffering from gunshot wounds, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
Rucker was found lying wounded on the sidewalk, Smith said.
Paramedics took him to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, where he succumbed to his wounds.
The motive and circumstances of the shooting was unclear.
The fatal shooting took place one day after another man was critically wounded in another shooting about three blocks away in the 1400 block of South El Molino Avenue. Police said they were looking into a possible link between the shootings, but could not confirm they were related.
Anyone with information on this homicide was asked to call Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Mother of Pasadena shooting victim renews calls for justice

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PASADENA >> Sarah Mendoza-Jaime of Altadena has spent the past 34 years helping the community in times of need through her work, but two months after the mysterious slaying of her 27-year-old son in Pasadena, she is reaching out to that same community in her search for justice.
Robert Arthur Calderon of Altadena was gunned down about 10:45 p.m. on Dec. 18 in the 600 block of North Mentor Avenue, according to Pasadena police and Los Angeles County coroner officials. The case remains unsolved.
Calderon was well-known and well-liked by peers, according to loved ones, because of both his outgoing personality and his mother’s work as program coordinator at the Foothill Workforce Development Board, where she helps struggling community members find jobs.
Mendoza-Jaime implored anyone with information about the killing to come forward and help police catch Calderon’s killer.
“Although it wouldn’t bring my son back, I would feel that justice was served,” she said, adding that she was working with authorities to establish a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her son’s killer.
Mendoza-Jaime described her son as outgoing and joyful.
0218_NWS_PSN-L-CALDERON2“Robert was loved by everybody,” she said. “He loved everybody. He was a joker.”
“He loved his friends unconditionally,” Mendoza-Jaime said. “I’m his mother, but he taught me a lot.”
The mother described Calderon, who often quoted scripture, as the spiritual center of the family.
Raised in the Altadena and Pasadena areas, Calderon attended St. Elizabeth Parish School in Altadena, then St. Francis High School in La Canada Flintridge and Pasadena High School before ultimately obtaining his diploma from Pasadena City College, his mother said.
In the months before his death, he completed a certificate program in electronic circuits at PCC. His family was presented with his certificate as his funeral, where more than 1,000 people attended.
“He was going to be an electrical lineman or apprentice,” Mendoza-Jaime said. He was hoping to follow in the footsteps of his stepfather, Victor M. Jaime, a lineman who has raised Calderon since age 2.
Calderon is also survived by his biological father, Ramiro M. Calderon.
Calderon was a big fan of the Boston Celtics, the Red Sox and New England Patriots and enjoyed Thursday night football with friends at the Altadena home he shared with his mother and stepfather, Mendoza-Jaime said. He had recently taken to fishing.
“He loved dancing, and kind of music,” she said. Calderon also loved amusement parks, the Star Wars series, video games and his beloved girlfriend of eight years and “soul mate” Akeya Harmon.
Mendoza-Jaime said her son had just dropped her off at a Christmas party in the hours leading up to the shooting.
Though he wasn’t in a gang, the mother said her son had some troubled friends.
She first heard of a shooting on Mentor Avenue that night. She tried calling her 0218_NWS_PSN-L-CALDERON3son’s phone at 10:43 p.m., but received no answer.
“In my heart I knew it was Robert on Mentor (Avenue), but in my mind, I didn’t want to face it,” she said. When the phone rang early the next morning, and the coroner’s office appeared on the caller ID screen, she said her worst fear was confirmed.
Police have released little information about the shooting.
Officers responded to reports of gunfire when they discovered Calderon lying wounded in a grass parkway along the sidewalk, accordin to Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
No suspect description was available, nor were further details regarding he circumstances of the fatal shooting.
The day after the slaying shooting, a woman was wounded in another shooting at a gathering of friends memorializing Calderon in the 100 block of West Claremont Street, police said. That shooting also remains unsolved.
A lack of witness cooperation in the shooting, as well as others that followed, has challenged investigators, police said.
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.

PHOTOS: [TOP] Robert Arthur Calderon, 27, of Altadena, was fatally shot in the 600 block of North Mentor Avenue in Pasadena on Dec. 18, 2015. (Courtesy) [CENTER] Robert Calderon, 27, of Altadena, (center), receives kisses from girlfriend Akeya Harmon, left, and mother Sarah Mendoza-Jaime. Calderon was fatally shot in the 600 block of North Mentor Avenue in Pasadena on Dec. 18, 2015. (Courtesy) [BELOW] Robert Calderon, 27, of Altadena, (left), pictured with girlfriend Akeya Harmon, mother Sarah Mendoza-Jaime and step-father Victor M. Jaime. Calderon was fatally shot in the 600 block of North Mentor Avenue in Pasadena on Dec. 18, 2015. (Courtesy)

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Man killed in Pasadena’s second shooting in two days

PASADENA >> A man died at a hospital late Tuesday after he was shot in a residential neighborhood in the second shooting in the same neighborhood in two days, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 9:44 p.m. at Palm Terrace and Claremont Street, according to Pasadena police Lt. John Luna.
The victim’s name was not released Wednesday pending notification of his family, Los Angeles County coroner officials said. He was described as a man in his 20s.
Officers found the victim after responding to reports of gunshots heard in the area, Luna said in an written statement.
Paramedics rushed him to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, where he succumbed to his injuries about an hour later, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
The motive in the shooting remained unclear.
It is unknown whether the incident was gang related or whether the shooting was associated with last night’s shooting incident,” Luna said.
Another man, also described as being in his 20s, was critically wounded in another shooting Monday night, just three blocks away in the 1400 block of North El Molino Avenue.
Anyone with information on this homicide was asked to call Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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18-year-old Fullerton man shot to death in West Whittier identified

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WEST WHITTIER >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of an 18-year-old Fullerton man found shot to death inside a car in West Whittier over the weekend.
Hector Jesus Rios died at the scene of the car-to-car shooting, which took place just after 1 a.m. Sunday at Broadway and Reichling Lane, in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, Ed Winter, assistance chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said.
His city of residence was not listed at the coroner’s office, however Los Angeles sheriff’s officials described Rios as a Fullerton resident.
He was believed to be a passenger in a car driven by a second man, who also suffered wounds in the shooting but survived, according to Deputy Navarro-Suarez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The surviving victim was described as a 19-year-old Santa Ana man. The wounded man fled from the shooting scene on foot and was found several blocks to the north with injuries including a gunshot wound to his face, investigators said.
“Investigators believe that the two victims were driving east on Reichling Lane, approaching Broadway… when (a) suspect (or suspects) confronted the victims from another vehicle at the time of the shooting, Navarro-Suarez said in a written statement.
No suspect description was available, and the motive was unclear.
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.

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UPDATED: One man killed, another wounded in West Whittier shooting

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WEST WHITTIER >> One man was found fatally shot inside a crashed car and a second shooting victim was found wounded nearby along Broadway in West Whittier early Saturday, officials said.
The shooting took place at 1:08 a.m. at Broadway and Reichling Lane in the unincorporated county area, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Deputies first responded to reports of a car crashing into a traffic signal pole at the intersection, directly in front of Sorenson Library, Detective Phillip Martinez of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
One man was found sitting in the passenger seat of the car, suffering from gunshot wounds, the detective said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
As deputies were responding to the crash scene, a second shooting victim flagged them down a little farther to the north along Broadway, toward Whittier Boulevard, officials said. That man was hospitalized in stable condition, but a gunshot wound to his mouth left him unable to communicate with investigators.
0215_NWS_WDN-L-TWOSHOT2Several neighbors reporting hearing gunshots and the crash, but no eyewitnesses to the shooting had been found, Martinez said. No suspect description was known, and the motive in the shooting remained a mystery.
Officials described the attack as a car-to-car shooting.
“Investigators believe that the two victims were driving east on Reichling Lane, approaching Broadway… when (the) suspect (or suspects) confronted the victims from another vehicle,”Navarro-Suarez said in a written statement. “After the shooting, the suspects fled in an unknown direction.”
Evidence at the scene suggested that the shooting took place along Reichling Lane, just east of Broadway, at the mouth of an alley running behind Vanport Avenue, investigators said.
It initially appeared that following the gunfire, the car continued out-of-control before hitting a parked car on Reichling Lane, then a curb and light signal post at the southeast corner of Reichling Lane and Broadway at slow speed, Martinez said.
Investigators suspected the second victim found walking along Broadway had been driving the car, but that was yet to be confirmed.
A crime scene investigator collected items including a white T-shirt and a cellphone from the roadway on Reichling Avenue and placed them in manila evidence envelopes, as well as took photos and measurements of the scene.
Detectives declined to say whether the crashed car, which was towed from the scene Sunday morning, had bullet holes in it.
Toña Barragan, 54, said she was awakened by the sound of the crash, but heard no gunshots preceding it.
She looked outside to see the car overturned, with one man sitting motionless inside.
“I told my mother to call 9-1-1 because it looked like he was sick, he wasn’t moving,” she said.
Passers-by soon rushed to the man’s aid before deputies and paramedics arrived at the scene, Barragan said. She later learned the man had been shot.
The shooting, which Barragan said was the first she had ever seen in her 20 years living in the neighborhood, left her nervous.
“I didn’t get to sleep until 4 a.m,” she said. “My heart was pounding.”
The name of the victim who died was not released Sunday pending positive identification and notification of his family, coroner officials said. Both shooting victims were described only as men.
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.

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UPDATED: Shots fired in West Covina


WEST COVINA >> Police are seeking two attackers who shot at, but missed, another man in front of a West Covina home late Friday, officials said.
The gunfire rang out just after 8 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 300 block of North Vincent Avenue, West Covina police Lt. Travis Tibbetts said.
A man pulled up to a home and exited his car as two other man were passing by on foot, Lt. Dennis Patton said. One of them men pulled a gun and fired several shots, but did not strike the intended victim.
The attackers, described as two heavy-set Latino men between 25 and 30 years old, wearing dark clothing, were last seen fleeing the area on foot, officials said.
The victim did not appear to be cooperating with investigators, Patton added. The shooting was being investigated as possibly gang-related.

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Young El Monte man and woman killed in Boyle Heights car-to-car attack

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BOYLE HEIGHTS >> Coroner’s officials have identified a young man and woman from El Monte who died Sunday after a gunman opened fire on the car in Boyle Heights, sending it careening into a house.
Henry Sanchez, 19, and Maria Cordova, 18, died following Sunday’s 11 a.m. attack at Enchandia Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said. Coroner’s officials could not confirm reports that the woman was pregnant.
Sanchez was at the wheel of a white sedan with Cordova and another man riding as passengers when two attackers approached in a mid-size, black SUV, Los Angeles Police Department officials said in a written statement.
At least one of the attackers opened fire as the sedan was stopped at a red light, striking Sanchez, officials said.
“Upon being shot, (Sanchez) lost control of his vehicle and collided into a residential home near the intersection of Enchandia Street and Pleasant Avenue,” according to the LAPD statement.
Sanchez was taken to a hospital where he died from his injuries, Smith said. Investigators determined Sanchez died from multiple gunshots wounds and ruled the death a homicide.
Cordova was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting and crash, officials said. An autopsy revealed she died as a result of blunt force trauma, and her death was also ruled a homicide.
The third passenger in the sedan was not seriously hurt, and no one at the home the car crashed into was hurt.
Police described one of the killers as a Latino man between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall, wearing dark clothing. The second killer was described only as male.
“The investigation reveals that the shooting is possibly gang-related,” according to the statement.
Anyone with information is asked to contact LAPD Hollenbeck Homicide detectives at 323-342-8964. During weekends or non-business hours, calls may be placed to 877-527-3247. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTO BY MIKE MEADOWS

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Three men wounded in shooting on 60 Freeway onramp in Industry


INDUSTRY >> Three men were hospitalized Saturday — one of them in “extremely critical condition” — after a group of assailants opened fire on their car along an onramp to the 60 Freeway in Industry, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 11:50 p.m. Friday on the Azusa Avenue onramp to the westbound 60 Freeway, according to Deputy Lisa Jansen of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Four men in their early 20s had just left a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant at the Puente Hills Mall when the attackers approached in an SUV, Lt. John Corina of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
“As they were traveling on the onramp, a white Range rover pulled up alongside of them and started shooting into the car,” the lieutenant said. The victims’ car continued onto the freeway and drifted across traffic lanes before crashing into the center divider.
The Range Rover continued west on the 60 Freeway, officials said.
The driver of the victims’ car, a 23-year-old El Monte man, suffered severe wounds and was hospitalized in “extremely critical condition,” sheriff’s officials said.
Two of his passengers, both 24, also suffered gunshot wounds but were expected to survive, Corina said. A third passenger escaped injury.
A handgun was believed to have been used in the shooting, Corina said. No further description of the attackers or their vehicle was not available Sunday.
The motive in the attack remained under investigation, he said. There were no initial indications of any dispute preceding the gunfire. The victims were not believed to have gang ties.
All lanes of the westbound 60 Freeway were closed until about 7:30 a.m. as a result of the shooting and subsequent investigation, according to the California Highway Patrol.
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.

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