Police mental evaluation team formed to serve the San Gabriel Valley

Police in Covina, West Covina, Azusa, Glendora and Los Angeles County have teamed up to create a specialized team to deal with people suffering from mental health crises.
The newly-formed East San Gabriel Mental Evaluation Team began last month and provides mental health intervention services 40 hours a week in the four cities it serves, Covina police officials said in a written statement.
The team consists of one police officer and one mental health clinician, officials explained. Each participating department provides a police officer for 10 hour each week to partner with the clinician, provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
Police formed the team in response to a “significant increase” in police contacts with people with troubled mental states, police said.
“For the last several years, front line law enforcement has become first responders to more and more incidents involving those in our communities in need of mental health services,” Covina Police Chief Kim Raney said. “By having a mental health clinician embedded in our patrol cars 40 hours a week, this is a tremendous opportunity to provide services to those in need.”
The ESGMET team is designed to help police deal with the mentally ill in a more compassionate and productive manner than is otherwise possible, police said. Instead of only being able to provide short-term solutions, such as 72-hour psychiatric holds, the program also allows departments to offer more long-term help such as case management, homeless outreach, crisis intervention and additional resources and referrals.
The program is similar to others already operating in the region, such as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Mental Evaluation Team, also known as MET, the Pasadena Police Department’s Homeless Outreach-Psychiatric Evaluation, or HOPE, team and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Mental Evaluation Unit.

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Suspects sought in West Covina mail theft


WEST COVINA >> Police reached out to the public Saturday for help in tracking down a pair of mail thieves whose crime was caught on camera.
The caper, which was recorded on surveillance cameras, took place about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 400 block of South Hillward Avenue, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said.
A man and woman arrived at the home in a black or blue, newer-model Ford F-150 pickup truck and pulled into the driveway, Lopez said.
“The female suspect exited the passenger side of the truck, walked to the front porch and removed mail and a package from the porch,” he said. The woman returned to the truck and fled, along with the male driver.
Police described the woman was described as Latina, 20 to 30 years old, 230 to 1122_SGT-L-MAILTHEFT2250 pounds, with brown hair. She wore jeans and a mult-colored top. A further description of the male driver was not available.
With the holiday season approaching, and the influx of package deliveries it brings, police throughout the region warn residents to be cautious of mail and package thieves.
Authorities suggest requiring signatures for valuable deliveries, and having them delivered to a place where someone will be available to receive it.
Anyone with information is asked to call West Covina police at 626-939-8557. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to the department’s 24-hour recorded tip line at 626-939-8688.

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Man arrives at West Covina hospital with gunshot wound

WEST COVINA >> A man showed up at a West Covina hospital with a gunshot wound to his leg early Sunday, but refused to tell police when and where he had been shot, authorities said.
Police were notified about 1 a.m. that a wounded man had arrived at Citrus Valley Health Partners – Queen of the Valley Campus, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
The victim, a man in his 20s, would only tell investigators he was shot while walking to a party, the lieutenant said. He refused to say when or where it occurred.
Police were looking into the possibility the shooting was related to another shooting reported late Saturday at a West Valinda house party that left a teenager dead and a man wounded, Patton said.
No concrete link between the two incidents had been established Sunday afternoon as the investigation continued.

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Four similar robberies, attempted robberies reported in two days in West Covina

WEST COVINA >> Police suspect a pair of robbers may be responsible for four robberies and attempted robbery in West Covina Wednesday and Thursday.
All four crimes took place in the morning hours, and all four involved similar suspect descriptions and tactics, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said.
The most recent crime took place about 8 a.m. Thursday at Shadow Oak Park, 2121 E. Shadow Oak Drive, Lopez said.
A 19-year-old man was standing near his car in the parking lot when a gray, four-door car pulled up.
“Two suspects exited the vehicle and approached the victim asking what time it was,” Lopez said. “One suspect lifted his shirt displaying a handgun in his waistband and demanded the victim’s wallet and cash. The suspects then ordered the victim to the ground and then fled in the vehicle onto Shadow Oak Drive.”
The park robbery occurred about 40 minutes after two men tried, but failed, to rob a 51-year-old woman of her purse in the 1300 block of East Fairgrove Avenue, police said.
The woman had just parked her car when a light-colored, four-door car pulled up beside her, Lopez said.
“She then heard a male voice at her driver side window demanding her purse,” he said. “The victim hit her horn causing the suspect to return to his vehicle, driven by another suspect. The vehicle then fled west toward Lark Ellen out of sight.”
The would-be robbers fled empty-handed.
Two similar crimes were reported Wednesday.
A 36-year-old man got into his car about 6:10 a.m. inside a carport in the 700 block of North Sunset Avenue, Lopez said. Two men approached him on foot.
“One (robber) was pointing a handgun at him and demanded his wallet, phone and laptop,” Lopez said. “The suspects took the property, entered a light-colored vehicle which was parked behind the victim vehicle and fled the location.”
And a 71-year-old man was the victim of an attempted robbery just over an hour later in the 1600 block of Doublegrove Street.
He was walking alone when a newer, light-colored mid-sized with two men inside sedan drove up, officials said. The driver pointed a handgun at the senior citizen and demanded his wallet.
“When the victim said he did not have any property with him, the passenger suspect exited the vehicle and searched the victim’s pockets,” Lopez said. Finding nothing, the suspect reentered the vehicle which drove off eastbound on Grenoble (Avenue) out of sight. No property taken.”
Suspect descriptions given by the victims varied to some extent, but they consistently described being accosted by two Latino men in their 20s, both of average height. One was of thin build, while the other was of average build.
None of the victims were injured, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact West Covina police at 626-939-8500. Tips may also be submitted to the West Covina Police Department’s anonymous tip hotline at 626-939-8688.

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Man flees from knife-wielding would-be robbers in West Covina

WEST COVINA >> Two men armed with knifed tried, but failed, to rob a pedestrian in West Covina early Friday, police said.
A 19-year-old Los Angeles man was walking at Pacific and Morris avenues about 1:07 a.m. when a black SUV pulled in front of him, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
“The right, front passenger exited the vehicle and confronted the victim with a knife displayed in his hand,” Patton said.
The passenger demanded the victim’s property as the driver also got out of the car, also brandishing a knife, the lieutenant said.
The victim ran from the would-be robbers without turning over anything, Patton said. He then notified police of the crime. The two suspects got back into their SUV and fled.
Police described the robbers as two Latino man between 25 and 30 years old.
One was thin — about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 140 pounds, with wearing a dark shirt and blue jeans, Patton said. The other was about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 180 pounds, wearing jean shorts, a colored shirt and a hat.

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Deputies, church volunteers renovate seniors’ homes throughout San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles County


LA PUENTE >> Dozens of volunteers teamed with sheriff’s deputies, church members, elected officials and local businesses Saturday to perform much-needed home repairs at the homes of elderly San Gabriel Valley resident and local park facilities as part of a county-wide effort dubbed “Operation Love Loud.”
The massive effort, lead by Faith Community Church in West Covina Pastor Kelly DuPee and Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Stanley, began Saturday and continues throughout the county through the end of October, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro, who effectively serves as La Puente’s police chief. A total of 140 projects are planned in 18 cities, from Sylmar to Long Beach.
“The mission of our deputies, volunteers and city staff will be to re-beautify the residences for the elderly home owners,” he said.
1018_NWS_SGT-L-LOVELOUD2More than 40 eager volunteers descended on two homes and a park building in La Puente, as well as seven schools, two parks and a house in West Covina and a park in San Dimas, Cacheiro said.
State Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, helped at the event at the invitation of his daughter, La Puente Councilwoman Valerie Munoz.
“It was great. I’m very pleased to see that not only the church and the (sheriff’s) department, but more importantly, the cities and local government, work together to help people in need,” the senator said.
He described a touching experience at the home of a senior citizen on Greenberry Drive in La Puente, where volunteers conducted extensive work, including painting her home’s exterior and taming overgrown landscaping.
“She was literally in tears, just ecstatic, Hernandez said.
The woman’s husband died last year. “She was going through a really tough time, the house was in disarray,” he said.
And it was only after deputies offered the woman help that they learned the woman herself was a sheriff’s department volunteer, who had recently been named a Volunteer of the Year, Hernandez said. “It was just such a great coincidence.”
And the community spirit proved contagious.
At the home of an elderly couple on Cadwell Street, curious neighbors came out to see what patrol cars were in the neighborhood, Cacheiro said.
“When they found out what we were doing for this homeowner, they got involved and started helping,” he said.
Officials including La Puente City Manager David Carmany also pitched in, Cacheiro said.
The residents benefitting from the campaign were selected by deputies, who identified homeowners in need of a helping hand during their routine patrols, he said.
Home Depot of Industry and Valley Vista Services provided supplies, and the La Puente donated food and drinks for the volunteers.
For more information, visit www.loveloud.go2faith.com.



[TOP] – Church, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and community volunteers work to revitalize the home of a senior citizen on Greenberry Drive in La Puente as part of the Faith Community Church of West Covina’s “Love Loud” campaign on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015.
[CENTER] – Church, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and community volunteers work to revitalize the home of a senior citizen on Caldwell Street in La Puente as part of the Faith Community Church of West Covina’s “Love Loud” campaign on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. Sheriff’s Sgt. John Suh, pictured here, chips in with painting.
[BOTTOM] – State Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, center, talks with Church, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and community volunteers as they work to revitalize the home of a senior citizen on Greenberry Drive in La Puente as part of the Faith Community Church of West Covina’s “Love Loud” campaign on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015.

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Rialto man accused of robbing teens at knifepoint in West Covina


WEST COVINA >> A Rialto man is accused of robbing two teens at knifepoint in West Covina earlier this week, authorities said Thursday.
Police arrested Moises Ulloa, 26, Tuesday in Montclair in connection with Monday’s 4:35 p.m. robbery in the 1400 block of S. Orange Ave., West Covina police Cpl. Tim Rodgers said.
A teenage boy and girl were walking when Ulloa approached them, brandished a knife and demanded their property, the corporal said. The girl had no property to give, but the boy lost his wallet and other items to the knife-wielding robber.
Following the heist, the robber fled in a car, Rodgers said. The teenage boy ran after him and called 9-1-1, providing police with the license plate number of the getaway car.
West Covina police spotted the suspect’s car about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday in the parking lot of a Baldwin Park motel. Officers followed the car before ultimately stopping it on the 10 Freeway at Monte Vista Avenue in Montclair, Rodgers said. Ulloa surrendered without a struggle.
Police booked Ulloa on suspicion of robbery. He was released from custody Wednesday pending his initial court appearance after posting $50,000 bail.

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Gunman robs West Covina gas station

WEST COVINA >> A man fled with cash, cigarettes and lottery tickets after robbing a West Covina gas station Sunday, police said.
The crime took place about 5:25 p.m. at a 76 station at 123 N. Grand Ave., just north of the 10 Freeway, West Covina police Lt. Pat Cirrito said.
The robber pointed a silver semi-automatic pistol at a woman working behind the register and demanded money, the lieutenant said.
He also helped himself to two cartons of cigarettes and lottery tickets before running from the store.
Police described the robber as a Latino man between 18 and 22 years old, about 5 feet 5 inches tall, 130 to 150 pounds, wearing a black hat, a black shirt and black-and-white checkered shorts.

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Two arrested after stolen car pursuit through West Covina

WEST COVINA >> Police arrested a man and woman early Sunday after they led officers on a pursuit through West Covina in a stolen car, officials said.
Paul Martin Velasquez, 25, of Covina was ultimately arrested on suspicion of auto theft, felony evading and hit-and-run, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said. His passenger, 20-year-old Esmeralda Vasquez of Glendora is accused of auto theft.
Police spotted a stolen car about 10:30 a.m. at Garvey Avenue and Citrus Street and tried to pull it over, the lieutenant said. The driver failed to stop, initiating a pursuit.
The fleeing vehicle struck another car during the chase, resulting in property damage but no injuries, Patton said.
The chase came to an end when the car lost control at the corner of Hollenbeck Street and Vine Avenue, jumped a curb and came to a stop in a residential front yard, police said. Both driver and passenger ran but were quickly apprehended.
Velasquez, who is on probation due a narcotics conviction, was being held without bail pending his arraignment hearing, Patton said. Vasquez was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

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UPDATED: Two men run over by car during fight in West Covina; driver arrested

WEST COVINA >> Two men suffered serious injuries and a woman was arrested Sunday after she intentionally ran over two men with a car while they were fighting in the street in West Covina, police said.
The incident began shortly before noon in a residential neighborhood along Serenade Avenue, near Lucille Avenue, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
Two men, who knew one another, became involved in a fight at a home, the lieutenant said. The fight soon spilled out into the street.
During the fight, one of the men retrieved what appeared to be a handgun — which was later determined to be a replica — from a nearby Toyota Prius with a woman at the wheel, Patton said.
As the men continued to fight, the woman struck both of them with the car, he said.
“It looks like it wasn’t an accident. It looks like it was in intentional act,” Patton said.
Following the crash, both men ended up pinned beneath the car, Cpl. Tim Rodgers said. Neighbors rushed to their aid and lifted the car to free them.
The woman loaded the man who retrieved the fake gun from her car into the passenger seat of her vehicle and sped off, leaving the other injured man in the street, police said.
Officers found the Prius nearby at Azusa and Merced avenues. The woman, who also appeared to have suffered injuries including lacerations at some point during the melee, was detained. Her injured passenger was rushed to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center by helicopter for treatment, Rodgers said. His condition was described as “serious.
The other injured man was hospitalized in stable condition at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, Rodgers said.
Officers arrested the driver of the Prius on suspicion of attempted murder, he said. Her name was not released Sunday.
Further details regarding the circumstances of the unusual incident were not available.
“The investigation is still very preliminary,” Rodgers said. ““they’re still trying to determine the relationships with all the parties involved.”

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