WEST COVINA >> West Covina police arrested an El Monte gang member who led them on a short chase in a stolen car before ditching the vehicle, as well as a loaded handgun, and trying to escape on foot, officials said.
Parolee Andrew Cuevas, 23, is accused of being a felon in possession of firearm, auto theft, evading police and violating parole, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
Officers encountered Cuevas about 7:20 a.m. when they tried to pull over the car he was driving for a traffic violation, the lieutenant said.
Cuevas sped away instead, leading police on a brief pursuit before abandoning the car and running at Pacific and Puente avenues, just across the city border in Baldwin Park, he said.
“(Cuevas) proceeded to run from vehicle, making continuous furtive gestures in area of his waistband,” Patton said. Refusing repeated orders stop, “He pulled out a weapon — a handgun, loaded semi-auto — and tossed it into an adjacent yard.”
Officers then captured Cuevas without a struggle, Patton said.
The car Cuevas had been driving was found to have been taken earlier in the morning in West Covina, but not yet reported to police as stolen.
Cuevas was taken to a hospital for examination prior to booking due to a pre-existing medical condition, officials said. He was expected to be held without bail pending his initial court appearance.
WEST COVINA >> West Covina police are inviting the public to take part in the department’s 10-week Citizens Academy, kicking off next month.
The free classes are held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday at the West Covina Police Department, 1444 West Garvey Ave., with the first meeting on Feb. 4, according to West Covina police Lt. Dave Lee.
“The Citizen Academy offers members of the community an up close and personal look at how the West Covina Police Department operates,” Lee said. “The program brings the community’s civic, business, and religious leaders together to experience firsthand how the West Covina Police Department responds to and investigates crimes in our community.”
Participants will learn about the personnel, tools and techniques involved in all aspects of law enforcement, “including patrol, investigations, Forensics, SWAT and K9 operations to name a few,” he said.
To sign up, or for more information, contact the department at 626-939-8530, or email CitizensAcademy@wcpd.org.
WEST COVINA >> Three masked men ordered a woman to the ground at gunpoint after she arrived home amid an apparent burglary attempt in West Covina late Thursday, officials said.
The crime took place about 8:30 p.m. as the woman arrived home in the 900 block of South Easthills Drive, West Covina police Lt. Travis Tibbetts said.
Three men wearing dark clothing and ski masks confronted the woman in front of her house, the lieutenant said. One of them brandished a handgun.
They ordered her to the ground before fleeing in a gray or green BMW sedan, he said. The victim was unhurt.
Tibbetts said nothing was stolen from the woman, and it did not appear the men had yet made their way into the home.
WEST COVINA >> A person died in a multi-car crash along Grand Avenue in West Covina Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The crash took place about 6:10 p.m. on southbound Grand Avenue at Cortez Street, California Highway Patrol Officer Michelle Bond said.
One person was pronounced dead at the scene, she said. A description was not available.
It was unclear whether others were injured in the collision, initially reported as involving three to four vehicles, Bond said.
Officials shut down the southbound lanes of Grand Avenue as the investigation continued Thursday evening.
WEST COVINA >> Police in West Covina are marking the anniversary of the death of a 29-year-old fellow officer who was killed in a shootout with an escaped psychiatric patient 38 years ago.
West Covina police Officer Jay Warren Jackson made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty on Jan. 14, 1978, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said. Officers will be wearing black bands over their badges in his honor throughout the day.
The officer had been in pursuit of a fleeing car down the eastbound 10 Freeway when the suspect exited at Holt Avenue and spun out, officials said. The driver jumped out of his car and hid behind as police approached.
“The suspect opened fire on responding officers and Officer Jackson as they approached the now disabled vehicle, Lopez said. “Officer Jackson was struck by gunfire and succumbed to his injuries shortly thereafter.”
Jackson’s name is one of three emblazoned on the West Covina Police Memorial, honoring police officers who died while serving West Covina. And like the other two fallen West Covina officers, a street sign marks the location of his slaying.
Fellow officers shot and killed the suspect, who it was later learned had fled from a psychiatric facility and made threats of suicide to family and friends, according to Lopez.
Born in Pasadena on Nov. 7, 1948, Jackson was raised in West Covina. He joined the U.S. Army in 1968 and received an honorable discharge with the rank of sergeant four years later.
He married his wife, Patricia, in 1971 and the couple a daughter, Shauna, in 1973.
Jackson began his career with the Azusa Police Department in 1973, graduating the Rio Hondo Police Academy the following year. He joined the West Covina Police Department as a patrol officer in 1977.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Jackson is survived by his mother, Cora Jackson, and two sisters.
PHOTOS of fallen Officer Jay Warren Jackson, street sign, West Covina Police Memorial Courtesy of the West Covina Police Department.
WEST COVINA >> Police Sunday released the name of a man they say stabbed a dog walker in an unprovoked attack before being mauled by the victim’s loyal pit bull and arrested Saturday afternoon.
Jason Perez, 28, of West Covina was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the unusual incident, which unfolded about 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the 600 block of South Glendora Avenue, West Covina police officials said.
He remained hospitalized Sunday for treatment of significant dog bite injuries to his buttocks, arm, leg and torso, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
The victim of the bizarre stabbing, a 19-year-old West Covina man, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, including puncture wounds to his shoulder area inflicted by a screwdriver, ice pick or similar tool, police and the victim said.
The victim, who asked that his name be withheld out of safety concerns, said based on the strange behavior of his attacker, the stabbing may have been a result of mistaken identity.
Perez passed by the victim and his mother minutes before the attack and stopped to compliment them on their dog, the victim said.
He approached the family a second time and asked if the victim was named “Christian,” which he is not, the man said.
Ultimately, Perez approached the mother and son a third time, the victim said. “When he gets alongside me, he stops and says, ‘This is for my daughter,” as he began slashing and stabbing.
“I was backpedaling. I ended up tripping. He was trying to slash me with, I believe, a screwdriver,” the dog owner said.
The victim’s mother stood over her son and blocked some of the swings by hooking the attackers arm with her own, he said.
The family’s 5-year-old red nose pit bull, Droogie, rushed to his family’s aid and began biting Perez.
Even as the dog bit, the suspect appeared fixated on continuing his attack on the young man, the victim said. The victim got to his feet and began running, still clutching Droogie’s leash. The attacker chased after him for nearly a block.
Perez was gaining on the victim when, coincidentally, his brother happened to drive by. The victim jumped into his brothers car and to safety. By that point, the dog was utterly exhausted.
Police who happened to be at a nearby DMV office quickly responded to witnesses’ 911 calls, the victim said.
Police captured the Perez as he fled on foot nearby. Officials said it appeared his attempt to flee was slowed by the injuries inflicted by the protective pet.
The injured victim said his wounds weren’t serious. Though still achy, “I’m feeling fine today,” he said Sunday.
Upon returning home, the victim said he discovered that Droogie had also suffered a small puncture wound to the back of his neck during the incident. The injury did not appear serious, and Droogie Sunday was “back to his normal self.”
He said he felt fortunate.
“The way it all worked out, something was working for me,” he said.
As for Droogie, he has been rewarded for his crime fighting, the victim said.
“We gave him leftover food last night, sausages this morning and a lot of treats in between.”
PHOTO of Droogie, a 5-year-old red nose pit bull, courtesy.
WEST COVINA >> Police arrested a man in connection with the unprovoked stabbing of a dog walker Saturday with help from the vicim’s pit bull, who bit the attacker in defense of his owner, police said.\
The victim, described as a 19-year-old man, was walking his dog along with his mother about 3:30 p.m. in the 600 block of South Glendora Avenue when the suspect approached, West Covina police Lt. Travis Tibbetts said.
“Without provocation,” the suspect stabbed the victim several times with a sharp object, the lieutenant said.
“After the stabbing, the victims’s dog chased after the suspect and bit him on the arm and on the buttocks,” the lieutenant said.
Officers soon found the suspect in the area, Tibbetts said. The man tried to run from police, but was soon captured. It appeared his flight was slowed by the wounds inflicted by the loyal pit bull.
The victim’s injuries were not considered life-threatening, police said.
Police took the suspect to a trauma center for treatment, Tibbetts said. He was expected to be booked on suspicion of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
The suspect’s identity was not available pending the booking process.
WEST COVINA >> Police seized a submachine gun and an ounce of methamphetamine, as well as arrested five suspects, outside a West Covina motel Sunday, police said.
Officers were on patrol about 9 a.m. when they noticed a car parked in the parking lot of the Days Inn, 2804 E. Garvey Ave. South, with three men and two women sitting inside, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
Upon approaching the group, police learned the owner of the car was on probation due to a drug-related conviction, the lieutenant said.
Officers searched the car and discovered an ounce of methamphetamine hidden inside, along with evidence related to drug sales, Patton said.
“Further search of the vehicle led to the discovery of an Uzi-type machine gun, equipped with a loaded magazine,” he said.
Patton said all five suspects were jailed on suspicion of possession of drugs for sales and possession of a machine gun.
An Uzi is a fully automatic machine pistol developed in Israel.
The suspects’ names were not available pending the booking process, he said.
WEST COVINA >> The West Covina Police Department’s newest hire has an instinct for sniffing out crime.
Ronin, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, graduated basic training Friday alongside his handler, Officer Richard Forman, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said. Forman is a 17-year veteran of the department. The partners will take to the streets Tuesday.
Ronin joins the department’s three other K-9s — Rocky, Rec and medal of valor recipient Reiko.
The newest K-9 is trained for both suspect apprehension and drug detection, like his counterparts Rocky and Rec, Patton said.
Reiko is currently undergoing training to detect explosives, in addition to his apprehension and narcotics duties.
West Covina’s police K-9 program is funded entirely through donations. Fundraising efforts are spearheaded by the Friends of West Covina PD K9s organization.
PHOTO of WCPD K-9 Ronin courtesy of the West Covina Police Department.
WEST COVINA >> A physician from La Verne died late Friday in a solo-car crash along Cameron Avenue in West Covina, police said.
Delroy Stelmo Hewling, 68, died at the scene of the 7 p.m. crash in the 2600 block of East Cameron Avenue, just east of Citrus Street, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
Hewling was at the wheel of a Nissan Maxima that veered to the side of the road and struck a parked Chevrolet Camaro, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said. West Covina Fire Department paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation by the West Covina Police Department’s Major Accident Investigation Team, Patton said.
Officials were looking into the possibility Hewling may have suffered a medical problem prior to the crash. His cause of death was to be determined by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
According to California Medical Board records, Hewling practiced medicine out of an office in West Covina.
He graduated the University of the West Indies in Jamaica in 1971, and was first licensed to practice medicine in California in 1981, records show.