Suspect charged with shooting CHP officer in West Covina appears in court; officer recovering at home

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*VIDEOS: CHP Assistant Chief Marc Shaw discusses the shootout between CHP officers and a suspect in West Covina on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. – VIDEO 1; VIDEO 2

WEST COVINA >> A Fontana man accused of wounding a California Highway Patrol officer in a shotgun attack last week entered a not guilty plea Wednesday as investigators released new details regarding the West Covina shootout that erupted during a routine traffic stop.
John Alfred Garcia, 30, is accused of opening fire on CHP officer Felix Serpas with a semi-automatic shotgun after being pulled over at the Sunset Avenue offramp of the westbound 10 Freeway in West Covina just after 1:30 a.m. Friday.
The wounded CHP officer and his partner returned fire, wounding Garcia before he led West Covina police and other authorities on a high speed chase that ended with his arrest in Fontana.
Garcia pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of attempted murder of a peace officer, assault on a peace officer with a semi-automatic firearm and felony evading of police, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said. Garcia is also accused of the special allegations that her personally fired a semi-automatic firearm during the crime, and that the shooting resulted in great bodily injury to the officer.
Serpas and partner Jeremy Keller pulled over a Cadillac Escalade, suspecting the driver may be impaired, CHP Assistant Chief Marc Shaw said. Keller had one year experience with the CHP.
0917_NWS_SGT-L-CHPFOLO-01The SUV exited the freeway and stopped in a the parking lot of a business along Sunset Avenue, he said. Felix approached the Escalade to talk with the driver, later identified as Garcia.
“He greeted the driver of the vehicle and was able to get the words, “Good evening,” out when, immediately, an attempt to murder our officer occurred,” Shaw said.
“Our officer tactically retreated. The suspect exited with a semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun and continued his deliberate, aggressive and premeditated attack in his attempt to murder our officers,” Shaw said. “An officer-involved shooting occurred as they attempted to defend their lives, and an exchange of gunfire in excess of 30 seconds occurred at that point.”
It was unclear how many shot were traded by the suspect and officers.
Garcia got back into his SUV and fled. West Covina police officers soon spotted the Escalade, initiating a chase that reached speeds of more than 100 mph before coming to an end in Fontana. Officers took Garcia, who had been wounded in the shootout, into custody with help from a West Covina police K-9.
0917_NWS_SGT-L-CHPFOLO-04The reason Garcia attacked the officers remained unclear, officials said. He had no outstanding arrest warrants, and the SUV he was driving was not stolen.
A second occupant was believed to be inside the Garcia’s SUV when officers first stopped it, but was not present when the chase conclusion. It was unclear exactly when and where the second occupant exited the vehicle. The search for the passenger continued Wednesday.
Serpas, a 40-year-old with six years experience with the CHP, was discharged from a hospital Tuesday and was resting at home, said Capt. Steve Urrea of the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office, where Serpas works.
Though he sustained wounds to his torso, head, neck and both arms, ‘He’s expected to make a full recovery,” Urrea said.
The injuries could have been worse if not for the officer’s bullet-proof vest, Urrea said.
CHP officials thanked West Covina police, other agencies and medical professions who assisted helped in the aftermath of the shooting.
“This part incident could have happened in any city in California. We were blessed to be there at the right time and have the opportunity to get involved and assist in apprehending the suspect.,” West Covina Police Chief David Faulkner said.
Faulkner also thanked the numerous other agencies who took part in the apprehension and arrest.
Garcia was ordered back to court Oct. 27 for a preliminary hearing setting, Risling said. Bail was set at $2.075 million.

PHOTOS: [TOP] – Alleged gunman John Garcia, 30, of Fontana opens fire on two CHP officers after being pulled over in West Covina on Friday, Sept. 11, 2014. (Courtesy of the CHP) [CENTER] – CHP Officer Felix Serpas approaches an SUV moments before being shot and wounded. (Courtesy of the CHP) [BELOW] – CHP shooting suspect John Alfred Garcia, 30, of Fontana. (Courtesy of the CHP)

 

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UPDATED: CHP officer shot in West Covina; suspect jailed in Fontana following chase


WEST COVINA >> A gunman shot and wounded a California Highway Patrol officer during a traffic stop in West Covina early Friday before being apprehended following a pursuit that ended in Fontana, authorities said.
The officer was hospitalized in stable condition following the 1:40 a.m. shooting along the Sunset Avenue offramp of the westbound 10 Freeway, CHP Officer Tony Polizzi said.
He had pulled over a Cadillac Escalade containing a man and woman.
“During the course of the traffic stop, one of the suspects shot and struck the officer,” Polizzi said.
The officer returned fire, he said. It was unclear whether either suspect was struck.
After wounding the officer, the suspects fled but were quickly spotted by West Covina police officers, Polizzi said.
Police chased the SUV on multiple freeways until the pursuit came to an end following a crash at Arrow Boulevard and Citrus Avenue in Fontana, where the alleged shooter was captured, officials said.
It was not immediately clear whether the woman who accompanied the suspect was also in custody. No further details were available.

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Pregnant woman robbed of purse outside West Covina Target store


WEST COVINA >> Two men in a burgundy car snatched a purse from a pregnant woman in front of a West Covina Target store Saturday, police said.
The woman, who was nine months pregnant, was walking about 11 a.m. in the parking lot of the store, 2370 S. Azusa Ave., when the robbers approached, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
A burgundy car drove past, and a passenger leaned out the window and grabbed the victim’s purse before the car sped off, the lieutenant said. A detailed suspect description was not available.
The woman appeared unhurt, however paramedics examined her at the scene as a precaution, Patton said.

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Man denies murder charge in fatal stabbing of father in West Covina

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WEST COVINA >> A 20-year-old West Covina man accused of stabbing his father to death during an argument at their West Covina home over the weekend denied a murder charge Friday, authorities said.
Maverick Jacob Jimenez pleaded not guilty to a count of murder, along with the special allegation that he personally used a knife in the slaying of his father, 49-year-old Joey Jimenez, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The fatal stabbing took place about 3:30 a.m. Sunday at the home of the father and son in the 900 block of Las Rosas Drive.
“Prosecutors said on Aug. 16, defendant Maverick Jimenez reportedly got into an argument with his father before he stabbed him,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement. Further information regarding the motive in the slaying were not available.
Police arrested Maverick Jimenez at the home, without a struggle, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said. His father died at the scene.
Maverick Jimenez is due back in court for a hearing Sept. 14, Ardalani said.
If convicted as charged, the defendant faces up to 26 years to life in state prison.

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Domestic violence suspect believed holed-up in West Covina home


WEST COVINA >> Police surrounded a West Covina home where a domestic violence suspect was believed to have holed-up late Wednesday, officials said.
The incident began Wednesday afternoon at the West Covina Department of Motor Vehicles office, 800 S. Glendora Avenue, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said.
A woman was at the office when her husband arrived, Lopez said. The woman called the police to report an incident of domestic violence, as well as possible threats made against her and the couple’s children.
Police found the man at the family’s home in the 1400 block of East Rowland Avenue, just east of Lark Ellen Avenue, Lopez said.
The wife and children were safely out of the home, and the man was believed holed-up inside alone Wednesday evening, he said. It was unclear whether the man was armed.
The West Covina Police Department’s SWAT team, which happened to be training at the West Covina Police Department when the incident began, responded to the scene, Lopez said.
Several nearby homes were evacuated as the standoff continued Wednesday night.

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West Covina man accused of fatally stabbing father

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WEST COVINA >> A 20-year-old West Covina man stabbed his father to death at an apartment early Sunday, police said.
Joey Alfred Jimenez, 49, of West Covina, died in the 3:30 a.m. stabbing in the 900 block of Las Rosas Drive, according to West Covina Police spokesman Rudy Lopez.
His son, 20-year-old Maverick Jacob Jimenez of West Covina, has been arrested on suspicion of murder, Lopez said.
“The first officer on scene located (Joey Jimenez) on the floor inside the residence with a stab wound and immediately began CPR,” Lopez said.
West Covina Fire Department paramedics soon followed and pronounced the victim dead at the scene.

FULL STORY…

 

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Whittier man arrested after leading West Covina police on chase in stolen car

WEST COVINA >> Police jailed an alleged car thief following a chase Sunday after using a LoJack system to track him to the drive-thru of a fast-food restaurant, officials said.
Police ultimately jailed Eric Gonzales, 38, of Whittier on suspicion of auto theft, evading police and resisting arrest, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
The incident began about 9:30 a.m. when police detected a LoJack signal emitted from a 2005 Acura Integra reported stolen in Montebello earlier in the day, the lieutenant said.
With help from a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter, officers followed the signal to a McDonald’s restaurant on Vincent Avenue, just south of the 10 Freeway, where they spotted him waiting in line at the drive-thru, Patton said.
Once the Acura exited the restaurant, officers tried to pull the car over, he said. “Initially the suspect yielded, but abruptly took off at a high rate of speed.”
Gonzales led officers on a chase down the 10 and 605 freeways before abandoning his car at the Whittier Boulevard offramp of the 605, Patton said. The suspect continued fleeing on foot, but was quickly chased down and captured by an officer.

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West Covina police arrest El Monte gang member following car chase

WEST COVINA >> An El Monte gang member led West Covina police on a chase early Saturday before crashing into a brick wall, officials said.
Manuel Reyes, 36, was jailed following the pursuit, which kicked off just before 1 a.m., West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said. He was already on Post-Release Community Supervision under AB109 guidelines following a previous criminal conviction.
Officers tried to pull over a car for not having license plates in the area of Pacific Avenue and the 10 Freeway, but the car failed to stop, Patton said.
The driver, later identified as Reyes, led officers on a pursuit to El Monte, then backtracked into Industry before crashing into a brick wall at Valley Boulevard and California Avenue, the lieutenant said.
Reyes through a laptop computer and several other items from the car during the chase, he said. Investigators were still working to determine whether the items were stolen.
The suspect was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries prior to being booked into jail on suspicion of crimes including evading police and destruction of evidence, Patton said.

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Fire scorches West Covina garage

WEST COVINA >> A fire blamed on an unattended cigarette tore through a residential garage early Saturday, officials said.
The 3 a.m. fire in the 800 block of South Lark Ellen Avenue caused about $100,000 worth of damage to the attached garage, West Covina Fire Department Capt. Scott Gilmore said.
The residents all got out of the home safely before firefighters arrived, the captain said. One firefighter suffered a minor back injury while battling the blaze, but did not require hospitalization.
Twenty-one firefighters extinguished the fire in about 30 minutes, Gilmore said.
The cause was determined to be a cigarette a resident had left unattended in the garage, he said.

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DUI checkpoint planned near Industry this weekend

INDUSTRY >> California High Patrol officers are planning to screen drivers for sobriety during a checkpoint this weekend in an unincorporated county area between Industry and West Covina, officials said.
The overnight checkpoint will begin at 9 p.m. Friday at an undisclosed location, CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said in a written statement.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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