Driver accused of hit-and-run after striking woman, teen in Arcadia crosswalk


ARCADIA >> A driver struck a woman and her teenage niece in an Arcadia crosswalk and fled the scene before being captured nearby Saturday, police said.
Officers arrested Rebeca Gonzalez, 54, of Arcadia on suspicion of felony hit-and-run within minutes of the 6:08 p.m. hit-and-run along Huntington Drive, just east of Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said.
A 56-year-old woman and her 17-year-old niece suffered injuries described as moderate, he said.
They were crossing Huntington Drive mid-block, within a crosswalk, when they were struck by a Dodge sedan heading west in the left-hand lane, the lieutenant said.
The driver, later identified as Gonzalez, continued driving without stopping to check on the victims, Cullen said.
But a witnesses followed her until police stopped and detained her nearby, he said.
An update on the victims’ conditions was not available late Saturday.
Gonzalez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending her initial court appearance.

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Cousins jailed in connection with stabbing outside Covina convenience store

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COVINA >> Two cousins are accused of attempted murder after a fight at a convenience store escalated into a stabbing late Friday, officials said.
Manuel Luis Melendez, 19, of West Covina and Eric Sebastian Garcia-Melendez, 21, of Pasadena, are each being held in lieu of $2 million bail pending their initial court appearances, according to Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The incident unfolded about 2:10 a.m. at 7-Eleven, at Vincent Avenue and Badillo Street, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
Both suspects and the victim, a 27-year-old man, were inside the store when the victim accidentally bumped up against one of the cousins with his bicycle, the sergeant said.
An argument turned into a fight outside the store, and one of the two attackers pulled a knife and stabbed the victim in the abdomen and shoulder, Peterson said.
Paramedics took the victim to a hospital, where he was listed in stable condition after undergoing surgery, he said.
As the investigation into the stabbing continued, West Covina police received a report of a possible prowler in a backyard near the 7-Eleven, but across the city border in West Covina, Petson said.
Police found Melendez and Garcia-Melendez hiding in the backyard and arrested them in connection with the stabbing, officials said.
Both suspects are scheduled to appear for arraignment hearings Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.

BOOKING PHOTOS of anuel Luis Melendez, 19, of West Covina [left] and Eric Sebastian Garcia-Melendez, 21, of Pasadena [right] courtesy of the Covina Police Department.

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Man bit by rattlesnake above Altadena recovering well


ALTADENA >> A mountain biker bitten by a rattlesnake in the forest north of Altadena was recovering well Saturday, his sister said.
Avid cyclist Brad Adams, 25, of Los Angeles was out for his usual Friday morning ride shortly before noon, heading up Brown Mountain Trail in the Angeles National Forest just north of Altadena, when he encountered the rattlesnake, according to his sister, Candace Adams.
“He briefly stopped at a crest to wait for his friend when a rattlesnake bit him above his right ankle without warning,” she said in an email. “He did not feel the bite until the snake had finished its assault.”
Brad realized he had been bitten, but had not cell phone reception, his sister said.
“(He) immediately hopped on his bicycle and began the 5-mile descent to the trailhead,” she said. Brad sped down the mountain as fast as he could.
“Within the 15 minutes, he said he could feel the effects of the venom course through his foot and the rest of his body,” Candace said. “It was moments after that Brad reached the base that the other cyclists had caught up. One of the cyclists managed to call 911.”
Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire department officials treated the injured bicyclist and rushed him to a hospital by helicopter, sheriff’s Lt. Douglas Mohrhoff said.
His recovery was progressing well Saturday in an intensive-care unit, Candace said. He responded well to antivenom, and no surgery was expected to be needed.
Though he was warned that he will experience swelling for about a week and should avoid strenuous activity, she said, “He should be going home (Sunday).”

PHOTOS/VIDEO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Burglary suspect jailed in Whittier after brief chase, standoff


WHITTIER >> Police jailed a Whittier burglary suspect Saturday after he escaped man and son who tried to capture him, then ran from officers and hid under a house, authorities said.
Jonathan Eugene Ramirez, 34, of Whittier was ultimately arrested on suspicion of burglary following the alleged break-in, which took place about 7:45 a.m. in the 8400 block of Davista Drive, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
A man and his son saw Ramirez outside their home, snatching objects through a window, the lieutenant said.
The man and son struggled with the suspect in an attempt to detain him, but the burglary managed to break free and run, Ellis said. The man suffered minor injuries in the scuffle.
A woman at the home called 911 and reported what was happening, Ellis said. Responding officers spotted Ramirez fleeing through the neighborhood and chased him for several blocks before he climbed into the crawl space of a house in the 14000 block of High Street, Ellis said. No one was inside the home.
After a brief standoff, a police K-9 was brought to the scene, he said. The dog’s barking was sufficient to persuade the suspect to give up.
“He wisely decided to come out,” Ellis said.

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UPDATED — Officials: Pasadena woman tries to run down parents with SUV, strips nude at end of police chase in Downtown L.A.

PASADENA >> A woman allegedly tried to run down at least one of her parents with an SUV in Pasadena Friday night before leading police on a pursuit that came to an end in Downtown Los Angeles, where she stripped nude before being taken into custody.
The bizarre string of events began about 10:30 p.m. when police received a report of a family dispute at a home in the 1300 block of Linda Vista Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said.
Officers learned a woman had gotten into an argument with her parents, during which she allegedly tried to run them down with an SUV.
“She tried to strike one or both of her parents,” Gourdikian said. “They had to jump out of the way.” The parents were not injured.
The suspect also struck her parents’ parked car with her SUV and smashed a car window with a brick, Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
The woman fled the scene before police arrived, but officers soon spotted the woman driving near the Rose Bowl, the lieutenant said. She refused to pull over, initiating a chase.
News helicopters broadcast live as police chased the SUV down the 134, 101, 118 and 210 freeways toward Los Angeles.
Police cancelled their pursuit as a safety precaution and planned to seek the woman later, as they knew her identity, Gourdikian said.
But news helicopters continued to follow and broadcast live online as the woman got onto the 110 Freeway, exited in Downtown Los Angeles and parked the SUV in a parking lot along 3rd Street, just east of Main Street.
The woman exited the SUV and began walking down the street, speaking with several passers-by, a live stream broadcast online by CBS Los Angeles. More than 15 minutes passed for Los Angeles police arrived.
In the meantime, a freelance news photographer arrived on the scene. He approached the woman, camera in-hand, and appeared to speak with her briefly.
As police approached, the woman suddenly stripped off all of her clothing. Police handcuffed the suspect and tried to cover her with a shirt before placing her into a squad car.
She made “incoherent” statements to officers during her arrest, Carrillo said.
Simone Megan Gonzalez, 32, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism and evading police, according to police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officials had yet to determine Saturday whether Gonzalez’s bizarre behavior may have been the result of mental illness or intoxication.
She was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, records show.

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Mountain biker rushed to hospital after snake bite in forest north of Altadena


ALTADENA >> Rescuers flew a 25-year-old mountain biker out of the Angeles National Forest north of Altadena for medical treatment after he was bitten by a rattlesnake Friday, authorities said.
The man stumbled upon the venomous reptile about 11:40 a.m. along Brown Mountain Trail, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Douglas Mohrhoff said.
Sheriff’s deputies, including those in department’s “Air-5” helicopter, and Los Angeles County firefighters headed up the trail and found the snake bite victim, the lieutenant said.
“He was transported by Air-5 to (Huntington Hospital in Pasadena) for further medical treatment,” Mohrhoff said.
“He was conscious at the time,” Mohrhoff said. An update on the man’s condition was not available.
With spring upon us, officials urged those recreating in the forest, conducting yard work or otherwise spending time outdoors to me mindful of rattlesnakes.
A 3-year-old girl suffered a rattlesnake bite in Chino Hills on Tuesday, according to San Bernardino Fire Department officials.
She was hiking on a trail near Soquel Canyon Road and Pipeline Avenue when she was bit in the leg, officials said. She was flown to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where she listed in stable condition.
And some experts suspect California’s long-running drought may be encouraging the snakes to slither out of their usual, more secluded habitats in search of food and water.
“As springtime calls people and snakes alike to the outdoors, encounters with snakes become inevitable,” according to a California Department of Fish and Wildlife fact sheet. “California has a variety of snakes, most of which are benign. The exception is California’s only native venomous snake — the rattlesnake.”
Though not common, it’s wise to have a plan in place in the event of a rattlesnake bite, officials said.
“Carry a portable phone, hike with a companion who can assist in an emergency, and make sure that family or friends know where you are going and when you will be checking in,” according to the CDFW statement.
If bitten, a person should stay calm; wash the bite area gently with soap and water; remove watches, rings or other items which may constrict swelling; immobilize the affected area; and seek medical care immediately.

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PHOTOS, VIDEO via Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Tipster helps deputies nab Puente Hills Mall robbery suspect

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INDUSTRY >> A tip from the public helped deputies arrest a suspect who pulled a gun on a female security guard while stealing a pair of work boots from a Sears store at the Puente Hills Mall in Industry in February, officials said.
Investigators jailed Gerardo Garcia, 28, late Tuesday on suspicion of robbery in connection with the Feb. 23 incident at the mall, 1600 S. Azusa Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. His city of residence was not available, however officials described him as a San Gabriel Valley resident.
Garcia left the store without paying for a pair of work boots about 1:30 p.m. A woman working as a loss prevention officer confronted him in the parking lot.
“As the victim attempted to detain the suspect for shoplifting, the suspect produced a firearm from his pants pocket, pointed it at the victim, and cocked the hammer,” according the statement. The suspect fled in a black car.
Deputies on Tuesday released surveillance camera photos of the suspect in hopes of generating tips from the public.
The plan worked.
0422_NWS_SGT-L-SEARSFOLO1Within hours of the release of the surveillance camera images, “an anonymous caller provided information leading to the identification, and later arrest of Suspect Gerardo Garcia,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
Deputies found and arrested Garcia in connection with the crime about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, according to Los Angeles County booking records. Investigators also recovered the stolen boots, and the revolver believed to have been used in the crime.
Garcia was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Auto theft suspect arrested after short chase in Whittier

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WHITTIER >> Police jailed an alleged car thief after a brief car chase, which ended in a crash, in Whittier Thursday afternoon.
An officer was on patrol about 2:10 p.m. in the area of Gunn Avenue and Whittier Boulevard when he spotted a car matching the description of one reported to be involved in a burglary attempt several hours before, Whittier police Lt. Jim Uhl said.
The officer tried to stop the Honda Accord, but the driver fled instead.
After a short chase, the suspect crashed into a parked car at Calmada Avenue and La Forge Street, the sergeant said. He continued fleeing on foot, but was soon apprehended nearby.
Police determined the Honda had been reported stolen in Whittier in March, Uhl said.
The driver was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries suffered while running from officers, Uhl said. His name was not immediately available.
He was expected to be booked on suspicion of auto theft and evading police, Uhl said. Police were continuing to investigate the suspect’s possible connection to the earlier burglary attempt.

PHOTO courtesy of the Whittier Police Department

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Mail carrier pepper-sprayed in Pasadena road rage attack

PASADENA >> A woman pepper-sprayed a postal carrier Wednesday in an attack prompted by road rage, police said.
The incident unfolded shortly after 10:40 a.m. as the postal carrier, a 55-year-old woman, was driving a mail truck in the area of Claremont Street and Mar Vista Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
“The postal carrier inadvertently cut off another vehicle,” Luna said.
The suspect, also a woman, became angry and followed the postal carrier to an apartment complex in the 1000 block of North Lake Avenue, between Claremont and Mountain streets, the lieutenant said.
Luna said the attacker then confronted the victim, yelled at her about the prior incident on the road and sprayed her in the face with pepper spray.
The attacker got into a late-model, light-colored pickup truck and fled south on Lake Avenue, he said. She was described as a Latina woman in her 50s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, 160 pounds, of medium complexion, with dark hair. She wore a dark-colored shirt.
Paramedics provided first aid to the postal worker, who suffered irritation due to the pepper spray but was otherwise unhurt, Luna said. She declined to be taken to a hospital.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Fire scorches Temple City garage; firefighter injured

Los Angeles County firefighters extinguish a garage fire on the 5200-block of Halifax Road in Temple City on Wednesday April 20, 2016. There were no injuries reported. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Pasadena Star-News)

Los Angeles County firefighters extinguish a garage fire on the 5200-block of Halifax Road in Temple City on Wednesday April 20, 2016. There were no injuries reported. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Pasadena Star-News)

TEMPLE CITY >> Firefighters made quick work of a fire in a residential garage that may have been sparked by the spontaneous combustion of varnish-soaked rags, authorities said.
The fire was reported just before 12:15 p.m. in a detached residential garage in the 5200 block of Halifax Road, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Nick Yslas said.
Firefighters arrived within minutes, and declared the flames “knocked down” about 10 minutes after that, he said.
No one was home at the time, he said.
One firefighter was hospitalized with heat exhaustion, the captain said. The injury was considered minor.
The officials cause of the fire remained under investigation, Yslas said.
But firefighters suspected that varnish-soaked rags, left behind after the residence varnished furniture in the garage, he said.
Rags soaked with oil or other chemicals can spontaneously ignite via chemical reaction in a phenomenon known as “pyrolysis,” the captain explained.
Officials estimated the fire caused $65,000 worth of damage to the garage and its contents, Yslas said.

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