Alleged serial car thief arrested after chase from Arcadia to Temple City, crash

ARCADIA >> An El Monte man already sought on an auto theft warrant led police on chase in a stolen car from Arcadia to Temple City, where he was arrested following a crash early Sunday, authorities said.
Bryan Paul Sanchez, 20, was behind the wheel of a Toyota Sienna van when police tried to pull him over for a traffic violation about 3:30 a.m. at Sunset Boulevard and Duarte Road, Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores said. Sanchez sped away, and the chase was on.
“The pursuit entered the city of Temple City where the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a (Southern California) Edison telephone pole,”police said in a written statement.
Sanchez continued fleeing on foot following the crash about two miles to the south at Temple City Boulevard, just south of Olive Street, police said. But he was quickly apprehended in the area.
The car he had been driving was reported stolen the previous night in South El Monte, Flores said.
Officers also found drugs and a suspected stolen credit card in Sanchez’s possession, Flores said.
He was booked on suspicion of auto theft, evading police, receiving stolen property, drug possession, hit-and-run and his outstanding arrest warrant.
Sanchez, who was already wanted on a warrant for auto theft with a history of the same, was being held without bail, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records.

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Suspects jailed following El Monte carjacking, robbery

EL MONTE >> A man and woman carjacked a man and robbed him and his friend at gunpoint outside an El Monte pizza parlor early Sunday before police tracked a stolen cell phone to find and arrest them, officials said.
Samuel Barajas, 24, of El Monte is accused of carjacking, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting police following the crime, which unfolded about 12:20 a.m. outside a Pizza Hut, 11910 Garvey Ave., El Monte police Lt. Chris Cano said. Ana Hidalgo, 18, of El Monte, is accused of carjacking and resisting police.
A 19-year-old Whittier man was talking with a friend, a 21-year-old El Monte man, when the suspects approached, Cano said.
Barajas brandished a handgun while demanding the Whittier man’s Infiniti G35, as well as both men’s cell phones, the lieutenant said. The victim’s complied, and the suspects fled in the stolen Infiniti.
The car was soon found abandoned along Whittier Boulevard in Pico Rivera, Cano said.
But police managed to track one of the stolen cell phones, which led them to a moving taxi cab, he said. Officers pulled over the taxi in the area of Peck Road and Durfee Avenue in South El Monte, Cano said.
Police arrested Hidalgo without a struggle, Cano said.
Barajas refused police commands, prompting them to shoot him with a less-lethal foam projectile fired from a 40mm grenade launcher, he said. Barajas ran, but was ultimately subdued nearby with help from a police K-9.
Police recovered a loaded handgun from the taxi in which the suspects were riding, Cano added.
Barajas was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries including dog bites to his arm prior to booking, police said.
He was released from jail in August after serving less than one year of a two year sentence following a conviction for assault likely to produce great bodily injury, Los Angeles County Superior Court and booking records show. He was acquitted of an attempted murder charge in the same case.
Hidalgo was being held in lieu of $180,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, records show.

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Man wounded in South El Monte shooting


SOUTH EL MONTE >> A man arrived at an emergency room after being shot in South El Monte late Friday, authorities said.
Few details were available regarding the 10:30 p.m. shooting in a commercial neighborhood at Rush Street and Central Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Mark Reyes said.
The victim arrived at Greater El Monte Community Hospital with a gunshot wound to his abdomen, but did not appear to be cooperating with investigators, the lieutenant said. He was described as a man in his 20s.
No further information regarding the circumstances of the shooting were available.

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Man found dead in San Gabriel River near South El Monte identified


SOUTH EL MONTE >> Authorities Friday released the name of a 62-year-old man found drowned in the San Gabriel River near South El Monte.
Anacleto Antonio Garcia was found dead, floating in the river near Thienes Avenue about 1:10 p.m. on Oct. 1, Lt. R. Hayes of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said. He was described as a transient.
An autopsy found that Garcia had died from drowning, and the death was ruled accidental.

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Coroner: Man whose body was found in San Gabriel River near South El Monte drowned accidentally


SOUTH EL MONTE >> The death of a man whose body was discovered floating in the San Gabriel River near South El Monte last week has been ruled an accidental drowning, coroner’s officials said Wednesday.
The body was found about 1:10 p.m. Thursday, floating face-down in the San Gabriel River near Thienes Avenue, just outside of South El Monte, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said.
The man’s name was withheld pending notification of his family, however an autopsy concluded the man drowned, and the death was ruled accidental, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. Investigators noted the presence of alcohol at the scene.

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Body found in San Gabriel River near South El Monte


SOUTH EL MONTE >> Detectives are investigating the discovery of a body in the San Gabriel River just outside of South El Monte, authorities said.
Few details were available regarding the discovery, which occurred about 1:10 p.m. in the water near Thienes Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Infante said.
No description of the person was immediately available, nor were the circumstances of the death, as the investigation remained in its early stages.

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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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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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UPDATED: South El Monte man arrested for assault, wanted for questioning in murder case

0612_NWS_SGT-L-187SUSPECT

SOUTH EL MONTE >> A SWAT team arrested a person of interest Thursday in the fatal shooting of a man in the same neighborhood a month ago, authorities said.
Deputies responded to a home in the 2500 block of Continental Avenue after the wanted man was spotted about 3:30 p.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jorge Marchena said.
Officials evacuated nearby homes before ordering the suspect to surrender, which he did just under two hours later, the sergeant said.
“He surrendered peacefully,” Marchena said.
Rigoberto De Leon, 24, was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, officials said.
De Leon was arrested in connection with an assault on his father that took place last week, but was also wanted for questioning in the May 11 slaying of Humberto Nava, 31, which occurred on the same street, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. Nava lived in a nearby apartment.
While Corina stopped short of labeling De Leon a suspect in the slaying, “We’re looking at him as possibly being involved in the murder,” he said. “We’re going to talk to him about it.”
Deputies initially responding to the scene described De Leon as a murder suspect.
De Leon and Nava were neighbors and belonged to the same El Monte street gang, Corina said.
Further details regarding last week’s alleged assault were not available Thursday evening.
Nava was found shot behind an apartment complex about 5:30 a.m. May 11, Corina said. He had been shot once in the torso and died at the scene.
Witnesses reported hearing an argument just before the gunfire, the lieutenant said.
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.

 

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