Boy fatally struck by ice cream truck in South Los Angeles

SOUTH LOS ANGELES >> A young boy died after being struck by an ice cream truck late Wednesday, and bystanders attacked the driver at the scene, police said.
The collision took place about 7:15 p.m. in the 200 block of east 97th Street, near Wall Street, Los Angeles police Officer Muria Vanegas said.
“An ice cream truck struck the little boy, who was on a bicycle,” Vanegas said. “He was transported to a hospital in serious condition, and unfortunately, he passed away.”
The boy’s exact age was not available.
Neighbors at the scene assaulted the ice cream truck driver, who suffered apparently minor injuries, Vanegas said.
There were no initial signs of any crime on the part of the driver, she added.
Detectives from the LAPD’s South Traffic Division were handling the investigation.

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Police: Two men found with loaded, stolen gun in Alhambra neighborhood recently plagued by burglaries

ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested two men with a stolen, loaded handgun Wednesday in an area of Alhambra hit hard by burglaries in recent weeks, officials said.
An officer was on patrol shortly before 1 p.m. in the southeast portion of the city, where authorities have noted a spike in burglaries lately, Alhambra police Sgt. Brandon Black said.
The officer pulled over a car for a traffic violation in the 1100 block of South Stoneman Avenue, Black said. The officer smelled marijuana, and a police K-9 confirmed the presence of marijuana residue inside a gym bag and a purse inside the car.
Further searching led police to discover a loaded revolver that had been reported stolen in a Monterey Park burglary, the sergeant said.
The two suspect — described as a Los Angeles man and a Lawndale man, both in their 20s — were booked on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy and possession of a stolen firearm as detectives continued working to link them to additional crimes, Black said. Police withheld their names Wednesday, citing and ongoing investigation.

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Disturbance call leads deputies to marijuana grow in San Dimas; 2 arrested

SAN DIMAS >> Deputies checking out a call of someone yelling followed their noses to a marijuana grow Tuesday, authorities said.
Two people were arrested as a result of the discovery of about 100 pot plants growing inside a commercial building in the 400 block of Arrow Highway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. The estimated street value of the plants was not available.
Sgt. Louie Serrano of the sheriff’s San Dimas station said deputies responded to a disturbance call at that location around 4:15 p.m.
“Deputies were able to contact two individuals. They did a welfare check inside and smelled the odor of marijuana, “ Serrano said.
Deputies discovered the illicit crop and arrested the man and woman present at the building.
Trenton Dale Burbank, 46, of San Dimas was booked on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, while Cheri Diane Sawvell, 44, of Pomona was booked on suspicion of transporting or sales of a controlled substance, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Brett Lisle and Los Angeles County booking records.
Burbank was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail and Sawvell was being held in lieu of $30,000, booking records show. Both are scheduled to appear for arraignment Thursday in Pomona Superior Court.
The investigation was being handled by the Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau.

- Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales

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Search scaled back for Alhambra man, former Harlem Globetrotter, who vanished in Yolo County

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YOLO COUNTY >> Authorities scaled back their search for a missing Alhambra man and former Harlem Globetrotter who vanished earlier this month while driving to Washington State, Yolo County sheriff’s officials said.
The search for Rick Omarr Harris, 37, began Oct. 14 after deputies noticed his Nissan sedan had been sitting for two days along State Route 16, near Rumsey, in a wilderness park in Yolo County, Yolo County sheriff’s Lt. Lance Faille said.
An investigation determined he was en route to Seattle, where he had recently moved with hid girlfriend from Alhambra, officials said. He had stopped in Alhambra Oct. 9 to pick up some belongings before heading back to Washington about 1 a.m. Oct. 10.
Harris called his mother about 9:30 a.m. Oct. 10 and said he was tired and planning on pulling over to rest, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said. He have no sign of distress.
Officials scoured the area by foot, ATV and aircraft, Yolo County sheriff’s Capt. Larry Cecchettini said. Officials also called upon the public to keep an eye out for Harris.
After a full week of searching the area surrounding where Harris car was found, “The search has failed to locate Harris or provide evidence other than his vehicle and a few personal effect,” the captain said.
The physical search was scaled back Wednesday, though extra patrols were to continue in the area with both marked and unmarked patrol cars, sheriff’s officials said.
“We will not comment on the onoing investigation other than to say that no foul play is suspected,” Cecchettini said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office at 530-668-5280.

PHOTO – Courtesy

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Valinda man pleads not guilty to murder of girlfriend in Monrovia

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MONROVIA >> A Valinda man accused of strangling his girlfriend in an SUV before sending pictures of her body and an apologetic message to his mother pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Pasadena Superior Court, officials said.
Prosecutors charged Joel Velasquez, 49, last month with the murder of his 46-year-old girlfriend, Alice Marie Medina-Kaplan, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said. Deputies found her body Sept. 21 inside an SUV parked in her father’s backyard in the 200 block of Mauna Loa Drive in Monrovia.
Medina-Kaplan and Velasquez had been staying in the SUV, officials said.
Prosecutors also accuse Velasquez of the special allegation that he has a previous felony conviction in 2011 for making criminal threat.
Velasquez entered a not guilty plea, Santiago said. He is scheduled to come back to court Nov. 17 for a preliminary hearing setting.
An autopsy determined Medina-Kaplan died of strangulation, and her death was ruled a homicide, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operation Ed Winter said.
Via text message, “(Velasquez) sent pictures to his mother of his deceased girlfriend,” Winter said. The grisly photos were accompanied by a message saying he was sorry.
Handling detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, who are assisting Monrovia police in the investigation, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Friends recalled Medina-Kaplan was a woman with a once-bright future who was formerly married to an attorney and living in upscale neighborhoods before mental illness changes thr course of her life. Medina-Kaplan met Velasquez at a homeless shelter in Altadena.
Medina-Kaplan’s father told KABC that his daughter suffered from schizophrenia.
Velasquez faces up to 30 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged.

PHOTO of Alica Marie Medina-Kaplan courtesy of the DMV.

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Report of shooting brings heavy police response to Arcadia neighborhood; no victim found

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ARCADIA >> Police responded en mass to a report of a shooting inside an Arcadia apartment Friday, but ultimately forced their way into the home to find it empty, officials said.
The incident began about 1:20 p.m. when officials received a third-hand report of a shooting at an apartment in the 800 block of Arcadia Avenue, Arcadia police Sgt. John Bonomo said.
1020_NWS_PSN-L-APARTMENT3A person called a television news station and said he had just shot his grandmother inside the apartment, the sergeant said. The TV station notified Pasadena police of the call, and Pasadena officials notified their counterparts in Arcadia.
Police surrounded the home and took tactical positions with rifles at the ready.
After a little more than two hours, police used a battering ram to force their way through the front door.
Officers found no one inside the home, which was secured with a burglar alarm when police entered.
“Officers were ultimately able to make contact with the people who lived there. This was determined to have been a falsely reported crime,” according to Lt. Tom Cullen.
Bonomo said the motive behind the call, which was believed to have been made from a pre-paid cell phone, remained under investigation, along with the identity of the caller.

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150-pound tortoise stolen from La Verne backyard

LA VERNE >> A 150-pound tortoise disappeared from a La Verne backyard last week in what police are investigating as a theft, officials said.
Residents of the 4700 block of Camber Avenue called police on Oct. 9 to report the enormous sulcata tortoise had been taken from their backyard, La Verne police Sgt. Sam Gonzalez said.
The theft took place sometime between 5 p.m. Oct. 8 and 9 a.m. Oct. 9, he said.
Anyone with information can reach La Verne police at 909-596-1913.

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La Verne police arrest Pomona man, 3 teens, in connection with robbery and carjacking spree

LA VERNE >> La Verne police arrested a man and three teenagers early Sunday accused of a crime spree including an armed carjacking in La Verne, as well as armed robberies in La Verne, Pomona, Claremont and Upland in recent days.
Officers arrested Edwin Miguel Garcia, 18, of Pomona, and three teenage boys from Pomona were arrested in connection with the series of crimes after tracking them down in Pomona about 2:30 a.m., according to La Verne police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. Officials withheld the names of the juvenile suspects due to their age.
A man called police just before 11 p.m. Saturday to report being robbed and carjacked outside the Shogun Restaurant, 2123 Foothill Blvd. in La Verne, La Verne police Sgt. Sam Gonzalez said.
“Upon arrival, officers received information that three armed suspects demanded money and a cellular phone from the victim before forcibly taking his vehicle and fleeing the scene,” Gonzalez said.
A short time later, police received a second call from a bicyclist reporting he had been robbed by a group of young men in the 1900 block of Dover Way, police said.
“A preliminary investigation revealed the same subjects from the earlier carjacking were also responsible for the incident on Dover Way,” Gonzalez said.
Police found the four suspects in the area of Towne Avenue and the 10 Freeway in Pomona, Gonzalez said. Officers arrested them without a struggle.
They were found with the carjacked car, as well as a second car that had been reported stolen.
“Upon further investigation it was discovered the suspects arrested were responsible for similar crimes in the cities of Claremont, Pomona, and Upland,” Gonzalez said.
All of the crimes took place within recent days, he added.
In addition to the two stolen cars, the suspects were in possession of a loaded gun, two replica guns, stolen property and drugs, Gonzalez said.
Garcia was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail and the La Verne Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance, records show.

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Woman accused of stabbing boyfriend at park in Pasadena

PASADENA >> A woman stabbed her boyfriend on a hiking trail in Hahamongna Watershed Park Saturday afternoon, officials said.
Police jailed Amber Popick, 21, following the 12:20 p.m. stabbing at the park, 101 Foothill Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said. She was described as transient.
The victim, a 31-year-old homeless man, told police his girlfriend stabbed him with a pocket knife, Luna said. The man suffered injuries to his shoulder and hand.
Officers responded and arrested Popick on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, the lieutenant said.
The wounded man was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Luna said. He was initially examined, but left the hospital before receiving treatment.
It was not clear what motivated the alleged attack.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Popick was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail at the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood pending her initial court appearance.

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2nd UPDATE: Detectives investigating woman’s death in Baldwin Park

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BALDWIN PARK >> Police checking on suspicious circumstances at the home of a senior citizen discovered her body inside her Baldwin Park home, officials said.
It was unclear whether foul play may have played a role in the death of the woman as detectives continued gathering clues at the scene Saturday afternoon. The name of the woman, described as 60 years old, was not released.
Baldwin Park police officers discovered the body about 1:50 p.m. in the 3700 block of Idaho Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Officers first went to the house after someone reported seeing a person running out of the garage of the home with beer, Baldwin Park police Sgt. Joe Meister said.
Neighbors also told police they had not seen the woman in several days, Lt. Ed Hernandez of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
“When officers arrived, they didn’t get an answer at the door,” Hernandez said. “They went inside through an open garage door and found her inside her residence.”
“There are no obvious signs of injuries or cause of death at this point,” Hernandez added. Coroner’s investigators planned an autopsy.
There were no signs of forced entry at the home, the lieutenant added.
The woman lived alone, though she had rented out rooms in the past, Hernandez said.
No further information regarding the person seen by a neighbor leaving the home’s garage was available.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is assisting Baldwin Park police in the investigation, at 323-890-5500.

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