Pit bull hailed as hero after defending owner during West Covina stabbing; suspect identified

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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.

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Police: Pit bull bites suspect after unprovoked stabbing of owner in West Covina


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.

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5 arrested, drugs and Uzi machine gun seized outside West Covina motel


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.

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K-9 Ronin joins West Covina Police Department

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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.

 

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Doctor from La Verne killed in West Covina car crash


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.

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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

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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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