WEST COVINA — Police, aided by a news reading tipster, arrested a transient who struck a gardener in the head with a rock in an unprovoked attack Friday, officials said.
Andrew Lopez, a 24-year-old transients known to frequent the West Covina area, was arrested Friday afternoon in connection with the alleged assault with a deadly weapon, which took place about 10 a.m. at Amar Road and Woodgate Drive, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
A landscaper was using a leaf blower when he spotted another man out of the corner of his eye, Patton said.
“Without provocation or any exchange of words, the subject throws a rock at him, striking him in the area of his forehead,” the lieutenant said.
The gardener suffered a half-inch cut but declined to be hospitalized via ambulance, Patton said. He was taken by his employer for medical treatment.
The suspect was not found when police searched the area, but the gardener was able to provide officers with a detailed description of the attacker.
A local apartment manager saw the attacker’s description in a report on the San Gabriel Valley Tribune’s website and recognized him as a man who had just been in the area, Patton said.
Officers responded to the area where the tipster reported last seeing the man and found him in the area, Patton said. He was detained without a struggle, and arrested once identified by the gardener as his attacker.
Based on the unprovoked violence exhibited by the suspect, Patton said police were relieved to have him in custody before he potentially injured someone else.
A motive in the alleged attack was not clear.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Lopez was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail at the West Covina Police Department’s jail Friday pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
ROSEMEAD — A West Covina woman accused of fatally striking a senior citizen with her SUV before fleeing the scene has turned herself into sheriff’s deputies, authorities said late Tuesday.
Janet Ngo Bowman, 32, was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence after she showed up at the Sheriff’s Temple Station lobby about 11:30 a.m. Monday in connection with Sunday’s 6:20 p.m. hit-and-run at Marshall Street and Greendale Avenue in Rosemead, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and county booking records.
“Temple Station traffic investigators recovered the suspect’s vehicle, a 2007 Nissan Murano, and it is being held as evidence,” Lt. Carlos Marquez said in a written statement.
Killed was Qingrong Chai, 69, of Rosemead, who would have turned 70 Thursday, according to Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter.
Chai was crossing Marshall Street when she was struck by an eastbound SUV with no headlights on, sheriff’s officials said. The did not stop, and paramedics pronounced Chai dead at the scene.
According to county booking records, Bowman was released early Tuesday after posting $50,000 bail.
She was scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 28 in El Monte Superior Court.
Thanks to donations from the community, the West Covina Police Department has added a new four-legged officer to its roster, officials announced Saturday.
Reiko, am 18-month-old Belgian Malinois raised in Slovakia, along with his human partner Officer Bryan Rodriguez, graduated from a basic K-9 training course Dec. 20, according to West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez.
Reiko joins two other police dogs already on duty with the department. West Covina police are now able to field a police dog every day.
“The third police dog position represents seven-day-per-week coverage and a significant enhancement to the safety of the community an our police officers,” Lopez said in a written statement.
Reiko was purchased and trained entirely through community donations, officials added.
Police work is Reiko’s second career, Lopez explained.
“Reiko was initially selected by a United States Military Special Forces group because of his high drive, intelligence and superior abilities,” Lopez said. “However, it turns out that Reiko did not much care for jumping out of high-flying aircraft.”
While currently trained for routine patrol duties, officials plan to have Reiko certified to detect explosives as well, Lopez added, “an effort that will greatly enhance the safety and security of our schools, malls and places of worship.”
The WCPD’s K-9 unit began in 1983 and won national recognition for outstanding performance in 2012 and 2013.
Donations to support the K-9 unit are accepted on an ongoing basis. For more information, Lt. Pat Benschop can be reached at 626-939-8684.
ARCADIA — An elderly West Covina man died Wednesday after being struck by an SUV while crossing Santa Anita Avenue, police said.
Hao Liang, 81, died at the scene after being struck about 5:30 p.m. on Santa Anita Avenue at La Sierra Drive, Arcadia police and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said.
He was crossing west across the avenue when he was struck in the No. 2 lane by a later-model SUV that was southbound, Lt. Tom Cullen said.
The driver of the SUV, a 36-year-old Monterey Park woman, stopped at the scene and cooperated with investigators, officials said. Nothing criminal was initially suspected.
“Arcadia paramedics treated the pedestrian at the scene, but unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries,” Lt. Mike Castro said in a statement.
There is no marked crosswalk at the intersection where the elderly man was struck, and only east and westbound traffic is regulated with stop signs.
Detectives from the Arcadia Police Department’s Major Accident Investigation Team are handling the investigation.
IRWINDALE — West Covina police arrested two men and fatally shot a pit bull early Wednesday while serving a search warrant to seize guns at the home of a known outlaw motorcycle gang member in Irwindale, authorities said.
“Known, dangerous Vagos outlaw motorcycle gang member” and ex-convict Ralph Rodriguez, 38, of Irwindale was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of firearms, resisting arrest and possession of false identification, according to West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez. He was the person targeted in the search warrant.
Also arrested in the 3:30 a.m. raid at a home in the 4600 block of Nora Avenue was Robert Ghiloni, 28, of West Covina on suspicion of possession of a dagger, resisting arrest and an outstanding traffic warrant, Lopez said.
The arrests were the result of an ongoing investigation by the West Covina Police Department, officials said.
After arriving at the home and ordering the occupants out via loudspeaker repeatedly, Ghiloni eventually emerged from the home and was taken into custody, Lopez said. He had a dagger on his person.
But Rodriguez remained holed-up inside the home, police said.
“After two hours of repeated announcements, SWAT then initiated an entry into the residence,” according to Lopez. “During the search, (Rodriguez) was located hiding in the attic. He surrendered to officers without further incident.
While serving the warrant, SWAT officers encountered a pit bull, which Lopez said became aggressive toward them.
“The dog began to attack, forcing officers to fire upon it,” he said. “The dog died as a result.”
The number and type of guns sized from the home was not available late Wednesday.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Rodriguez was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Friday in West Covina Superior Court. Ghiloni was being held in lieu of $10,995 pending his arraignment, also scheduled Friday in West Covina Superior Court.
Police Wednesday arrested two Altadena men accused of burglarizing a home in West Covina, then robbing the resident of his cell phone when he interrupted the crime and called 9-1-1, authorities said.
Joshua Washington and Terrance Hall, both 18 and of Altadena, were booked on suspicion of burglary and robbery, West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez said in a written statement.
The break-in took place about 11:20 a.m. Tuesday in the 600 block of South Charvers Avenue, police said.
A man arrived home to find two intruders inside his house, Lopez said. The burglars fled, and the man began calling 9-1-1 on his cell phone.
“However, one suspect returned to the victim and forcible took the phone away,” the corporal said. They then fled in a white Lexus parked in front of the home.
The resident had noticed a Lexus he didn’t recognize when he first arrived home and wrote down the license plate number, which he was able to provide to investigators, Lopez said. Additionally, the West Covina Police Department’s Forensic Identification Unit was able to lift latent fingerprints from the burgled home.
Further investigation led police to a home in the 2700 block of Tola Street in Altadena early Wednesday, where Washington and Hall were taken into custody without a struggle, Lopez said. The Lexus seen in front of the victim’s home was found nearby.
According to county booking records, the suspects were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each pending their scheduled arraignments Friday in West Covina Superior Courts.
WEST COVINA — The California Highway Patrol is joining with California Pizza Kitchen next week to collect toys for needy children this holiday season.
Those who bring a new, unwrapped toy to the CPK at 110 South California Avenue in West Covina Tuesday will receive a free starter plate, CHP officials said in a written statement.
The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the toys will go to the CHP’s annual CHiPs for Kids campaign.
For more information, contact CPK in West Covina at 626-814-4400.
WEST COVINA — A carpet cleaner lost his work van to an armed carjacker wearing a pigs mask late Wednesday, officials said.
The crime took place about 10:30 p.m. in the 2000 block of East Aroma Drive, West Covina police Lt. Pat Cirrito said.
The victim arrived in the area for a scheduled job and was confronted by a man only described as wearing a pig mask and armed with a handgun, the lieutenant said.
The gunman demanded the worker’s keys before fleeing in the van, he said. The victim was not injured.
No further details were available.
WEST COVINA – A man ended up at a convenience store after being stabbed at a house party early Saturday, however the circumstances of the attack were unclear,police said.
Police responded to 7-Eleven, 2887 Valley Blvd., just before 3:20 a.m. after the a La Mirada man in his 20s with a stab wound to his upper torso was brought there by friends, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
The group was looking for a hospital when they elected to stop at the convenience store and call 9-1-1, the lieutenant said. The injured man was hospitalized in stable condition.
Officers learned the victim had been at a nearby house party when a fight broke out and he was stabbed, however police were not able to find exactly where it took place, Patton said. No suspect description was available.
A Monrovia man previously convicted in connection with a string of bomb threats in Pasadena pleaded not guilty Friday to six counts of phoning in threats of shootings to San Gabriel Valley schools, hospitals and a mall last month.
Gerardo Cortez, 26, entered the plea in West Covina Superior Court. He was ordered back to court Dec. 6 for another hearing, Los Angeles County Superior Court officials said.
He’s charged with six counts of making criminal threats and five counts of falsely reporting an emergency in connection with the recent string of threats throughout the San Gabriel Valley, which took place Sept. 9 through Sept. 12. In all the cases, he threatened to carry out shootings with an AK-47 assault rifle.
The first incident on Sept. 9 threatened “Citrus Medical Center,” officials said. The vague threat prompted officials to search hospital campuses in Covina, West Covina and Glendora.
A second threat was also phone in Sept. 9 to Santa Fe Middle School in Monrovia.
Threats against Duarte High School, Northview Intermediate school in Duarte and the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia were received Sept. 10.
And on Sept. 12, officials responded to another shooting threat phoned in to Arcadia High School.
Cortez already has a conviction for making a false bomb threat in connection with a series of bomb threats against a Pasadena school, post office and health department building in October of 2012. Two additional charges of making bomb threats, and another count of attempting to make a criminal threat, were dismissed as part of a a plea deal between Cortez and the prosecution.
He served 8 months of a 16-month sentence after being sent to jail under AB 109 guidelines and released in June, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials and county records.