Detectives investigating drowning of baby in Valinda

VALINDA — Sheriff’s homicide detectives are investigating the death of an 8-month-old baby who drowned Friday.
The incident happened at 8:50 a.m. in the 1500 block of Pass and Covina Road which is in the unincorporated county area.
Deputies said the infant was taken to a local hospital and later pronounced dead.
There were no other details released about the case.

– Ruby Gonzales

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Baby born in bathroom of Valinda hamburger restaurant

VALINDA — Both mother and baby appeared to be okay following a sudden delivery in a restaurant bathroom Tuesday, authorities said.
The mother, described as a 39-year-old local transient, was ultimately cited for misdemeanor child endangerment after she tested positive for drugs while at a hospital, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Michael Strickland said. The baby, whose sex was unavailable, was taken into protective custody by Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services officials
The baby was born just after 3 p.m. in a restroom inside of hamburger restaurant along Amar Road, just west of Echelon Avenue, sheriff’s officials said.
Deputies rushed to the scene in response to reports the woman may be trying to abandon or harm the newborn, however those concerns were determined to be unfounded, Strickland said.
“She had the baby in the restroom of the restaurant,” the lieutenant said. “She walked outside the bathroom and asked for help. She waited for us and she waited for paramedics.”
“It was determined there was no ill intent as far as the birth,” Strickland said.

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West Valinda power outage blamed on suspected DUI driver

WEST VALINDA — A car driven by an alleged drunken driver uprooted two trees and toppled a utility pole early Saturday, knocking out power to more than 1,300 nearby residents.
An 18-year-old Palm Springs man, whose name was not available Saturday afternoon, suffered minor injuries in the 6 a.m. crash on Sunset Avenue, just north of Amar Road, California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Axt said.
He was northbound when his car veered to the right side of the road, uprooting to trees and shearing a utility pole, the officer said.
Investigating CHP officers determined the man was under the influence of alcohol and arrested him, Axt said.
According to Southern California Edison, of the more than 1,300 customers who were initially without power due to the crash, about 330 remained without service Saturday afternoon. They were expected to have electricity restored by Saturday evening.

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3,000 pounds of illegal fireworks seized from West Valinda garage, three suspects jailed


WEST VALINDA — Three men spotted lighting illegal fireworks in the street late Wednesday led deputies to discover about 3,000 pounds of the stuff inside a nearby garage, authorities said.
Deputies patrolling about 8:30 p.m. spotted three men lighting fireworks in the street in the 1400 block of Sandia Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Greg Gutierrez said in a written statement. The three men were arrested on suspicion of possessing illegal fireworks.
“After further investigation, (deputies) saw an open residential garage which contained what they believe to be numerous boxes of illegal fireworks,” Gutierrez said. Officials then obtained a search warrant.
“As a result of the search warrant, approximately 3,000 pounds of illegal fireworks were seized,” the sergeant said.
Investigators withheld the suspect’s names Thursday, citing an active investigation.
The fireworks were turned over to Los Angeles County firefighters for disposal.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Man accused of attempted kidnapping of teen in West Valinda

WEST VALINDA — Deputies arrested a driver for allegedly trying to kidnap a 16-year-old girl near a continuation school Thursday.
The incident was reported at 5:12 p.m. Thursday in the 900 block of Willow Avenue.
Lt. Arthur Scott of the sheriff’s Industry station said the teen was in front of Nueva Vista Continuation High School when a man in a Honda Civic pulled up.
Scott said the man asked if the teen needed a ride. She refused the offer.
“He got out of the car, opened the passenger door, told her to get in,” the lieutenant said.
The teen told the driver, “No.” The man then took a step toward the girl and tried to grab her arm, according to Scott.
The teen ran.
Scott said a relative of the girl confronted the driver as the man drove away. The suspect apologized, he added.
Brandon Sandoval, 21, was arrested late Thursday night in West Covina on suspicion of attempted kidnapping, Detective Alfredo Gomez said.
The West Covina man is being held at the sheriff’s Industry station jail on a $130,000 bail. Sandoval will be arraigned Tuesday at El Monte Superior Court.

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Man wounded in West Valinda drive-by shooting

WEST VALINDA — A drive-by shooting late Thursday left one man seriously injured, though he was expected to survive, authorities said.
It happened about 11:40 p.m. in the 800 block of Duff Avenue.
Lt. Richard Shear of the sheriff’s Industry Station said two men were standing outside when someone in a vehicle started shooting at them
One of the men was hit in the chest, Shear said. Paramedics took the injured man to a hospital.
The wounded man, a 20-year-old local resident, was initially hospitalized in critical condition, though he was expected to survive his injuries, Lt. Arthur Scott said Friday.
The vehicle involved in the attack was described as a silver or gray hatchback, Scott said. No description of the person or people inside was available.
The motive in the shooting remained under investigation, but was initially suspected to be gang-related, he added.
– Ruby Gonzales and Brian Day

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Schools locked down during search for suspect in East Valinda

EAST VALINDA — Officials placed a high school and an elementary school on lockdown Thursday as they searched a neighborhood for a wanted suspect who ran from gang detectives, authorities said.
The incident began shortly before 1 p.m. in a neighborhood just northwest of Valley Boulevard and Nogales Street, when as gang investigators were seeking a man in connection with a homicide investigation from several months ago, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and sheriff’s radio traffic.
The suspect fled from investigators, who responded by cordoning off the area and setting up a search perimeter, Lt. James Beamon said.
Nearby Nogales High School and Rorimer Elementary School were placed on lockdown as the search continued, Lt. Raymond Enriquez said.
Deputies, with help from a sheriff’s dog, found and arrested the suspect more than two hours later as he was hiding inside a car in a backyard in the area of Villa Park Street and Ballham Avenue, Enriquez said.
The suspect was taken to a hospital for treatment of dog bite injuries prior to booking, Enriquez added.
Officials at the sheriff’s Industry Station said they could not confirm initial reports from the scene that the suspect was being sought on suspicion of murder.

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Sheriff Baca to join local deputies at Valinda Corridor town hall meeting

LA PUENTE — Residents of La Puente and the nearby collection of unincorporated communities along the Pomona (60) Freeway that make up the Valinda Corridor are invited to join Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and other officials next month at a town hall meeting.
The meeting will take place at 5 p.m. April 4 at St. Louis of France Church, 13935 East Temple Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Babbitt said.
The discussion will center around law enforcement and quality of life issued affecting communities in the corridor including La Puente, Bassett, Valinda, East Valinda, West Valinda, Avocado Heights and North Whittier. The area is patrolled by the sheriff’s Industry Station.
Joining Sheriff Baca will be newly-appointed Industry Station Capt. Tim Murakami and local deputies.
Free hot dogs and drinks will be provided, along with free children’s fingerprinting and a raffle.
For more information, contact Lt. Babbitt at 626-934-3071.

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60-year-old West Valinda man killed in shooting identified

WEST VALINDA — Detectives Saturday released the name of a 60-year-old man gunned down on his own street early Friday.
Richard Quijada was pronounced dead shortly after he was found shot on the side yard of a house in the 13600 block of Flynn Street, in the unincorporated county area of West Valinda, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
He was believed to have been shot just before 4 a.m., when shots were heard in the neighborhood but deputies found no victims, Sgt. Luis Nunez of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Someone at the home discovered Quijada lying in the yard shortly after 7:30 a.m. and called 9-1-1, officials said. He was believed to have been shot in the front yard of the home before fleeing to the side yard, where he succumbed to his injuries.
No suspects were arrested in connection with the fatal shooting, and no motive or suspect description were released.
Anyone with information was asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

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2nd UPDATE: West Valinda man found shot to death in own neighborhood

WEST VALINDA — A man was found shot to death early Friday in his own neighborhood, several hours after nearby residents reported hearing gunshots, authorities said.
Officials withheld the name of the victim Friday pending confirmation that his family had been notified, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
He was described by sheriff’s and coroner’s officials as being in his 50s or 60s.
He was believed to live on the street where the shooting took place, though not at the home where his body was found, Sgt. Luis Nunez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
The body was discovered about 7:35 a.m. on Flynn Street, just west of Puente Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Arthur Scott said.
A motive in the killing was not immediately clear, Nunez said.
“We’re keeping all out options open,” he added.
Deputies had received reports of gunshots heard in the area just before 4 a.m., but found no shooting victims, officials said.
But more than three hours later, someone at the home called deputies after finding the body on the side yard of the home, Nunez said.
It appeared the man was shot in the front yard of the home when he was shot, and ran through the side of the yard of the home, where he fell and succumbed to his injuries, Nunez said.
Michael Hazlett, 20, said he was asleep in his bedroom in the early morning hours when he heard what sounded like gunshots: “Five in a row.”
“It sounded right outside my window,” he said, but added that he heard no argument, yelling or vehicle following the shooting.
“All I heard was gunshots and the rain after,” Hazlett said.
The home where the body was found often sees many people coming and going, with people staying for only a brief time, according to Hazlett and Nunez.
Nunez declined to discuss any possible suspect description or say whether the shooter was believed to be on foot or in a vehicle, citing the ongoing investigation.
Hazlett said he’s seen the man he believed to be the shooting victim visit the home several times.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Lt. Dave Dolson at the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

PHOTO: Staff photo by Watchara Phomicinda

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