NORWALK >> A driver died and his passenger was critically injured when a sedan slammed into a building in Norwalk early Saturday, authorities said.
The crash took place about 1 a.m. at Funston Street and Front Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Daniel Gillespie said.
A man in his early-20s was at the wheel of a 2002 BMW 540i when he lost control while rounding a curve along northbound Funston Street, just south of Front Street, and veered to the left, according to the lieutenant.
The car slammed into the side of a building formerly used as a Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States post, officials said.
Paramedics pronounced the driver dead at the scene, Gillespie said.
His identity was not available Saturday afternoon. Los Angeles County coroner’s officials had not record the death, coroner’s Lt. David Smith said.
The passenger, also described as a man in his early-20s, was hospitalized in critical condition, Gillespie said.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711.
PICO RIVERA >> A Pico Rivera man bit a piece of another man’s face off and tried to throw another off of a second-floor balcony during a dispute between neighbors at an apartment complex on Friday, officials said.
Jose Luis Pena, 38, was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and mayhem, legally defines as depriving another person of a part of their body, disfiguring a body part or rendering it useless, or cutting or disabling of the tongue, eye, nose, ear or lip, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
The violence unfolded about noon at an apartment building in the 7400 block of Rosemead Boulevard, sheriff’s Lt. Sergio Escobedo said.
Deputies responded to a report of a fight among neighbors when they learned Pena had attacked on neighbor by trying unsuccessfully to throw him over the railing of a second-story balcony.
Pena then turned his attention on another neighbor. “He attacked (the second neighbor) and bit of a piece of his cheek,” the lieutenant said.
Deputies took Pena into custody without a struggle.
Both victims were described as man in their 20s, Escobedo said. The man whose cheek was bitten was taken to a hospital for treatment,
It was unclear how the dispute began.
According to county booking records, Pena was being held in lieu of $130,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
PASADENA >> An elderly woman died in a house fire in Pasadena Friday morning despite a neighbor’s “heroic” efforts to rescue her, authorities said.
Neighbors called 911 at about 8 a.m. after noticing smoke coming from the two-story home in the 300 block of Redwood Drive, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
A neighbor tried to rescue the trapped woman, but was driven back by the intense house fire. The man, who is in his 40s, suffered apparently minor burns from the fire but declined to be taken to a hospital.
Firefighters arrived to find flames rising from the home, officials said. Neighbors told firefighters that an elderly woman who lived alone at the home had been heard yelling for help from within, officials said.
“A neighbor who was walking by, heard a female screaming inside and saw light smoke coming from the rear of the structure,” Pasadena Fire Chief Bertral Washington said in a written statement. “After recognizing there was a fire, the neighbor heroically made entry through the front door and attempted to pull the elderly resident to safety.
“He was met with tremendous heat and a wall of fire in the room she was lying in. The victim was pulled out of the fire room, but not before the neighbor sustained minor burn injuries,” Washington said.
Pushed back by the flames, the man called out for help from other members of his family, who rushed to try to help as well.
“Despite being driven out of the building by smoke and heat, and he made a second heroic attempt to rescue the victim by running inside again, placing himself in even greater peril,” according to Washington. “Even though the neighbor made great effort in attempting to rescue the victim, the fast moving fire quickly consumed both the victim and interior of the structure.”
Firefighters found the woman in the home as they worked to extinguish the flames, Derderian said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Los Angeles County coroner’s investigators had yet to identify the victim Saturday. The identification process was expected to be delayed due to the charred condition of the body, officials said.
But the elderly woman believed to be the home’s lone resident remained unaccounted for Friday afternoon.
Fire investigators identified multiple possible causes of the fire, but had yet to isolate the specific cause.
Overloaded wiring, excessive use of extension cords and power strips, an electric heater, and electric blanket, candles and smoking materials were all discovered in the roo
Investigation into the fire cause identified overloaded wiring, excessive use of extension cords and power strips, a portable heater, electric blanket, candles and smoking materials in the room of origin, fire officials said.
“Due to potential failures of so many items, the cause has yet to be determined,” Washington said. “There is no indication of foul play.”
The bottom floor of the two-story home is partially underground, which contributed to “very challenging” and “very stubborn” fire, Derderian said. Firefighters declared the fire “knocked down” about 20 minutes after it was reported.
Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to any other nearby homes or vegetation.
Derderian said the involved home sustained, “a significant loss, if not a total loss.”
The deadly fire remains under investigation by a newly-formed multi-agency arson task force comprised of investigators from Pasadena and other area fire departments.
— Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales
LA MIRADA >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of a 45-year-old La Habra man who was fatally shot by SWAT deputies following a 3-and-a-half-hour standoff at a La Mirada gas station early Tuesday morning.
Mark Daniel Sly died at the scene of the deputy-involved shooting, which took place just before 1 a.m. at the ampm convenience store and ARCO gas station at 13550 S. Beach Blvd., Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operation Ed Winter said.
He fired at deputies at least twice during the standoff, which began with a report of a robbery in progress at the business, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Deputies responding to the robbery encountered Sly, who matched the suspect description, standing at the front door of the convenience store armed with a handgun, Deputy Caroline Rodriguez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
Sly refused commands to drop his gun and surrender, and deputies summoned a SWAT team and a crisis negotiation team to the scene.
At one point during the hours-long standoff, the suspect fired at deputies through a front window of the business, Rodriguez said.
A deputy returned fire through a window, but it was unclear of Sly was wounded in that exchange.
Sly exited the store with a handgun and again fired on SWAT deputies at 12:55 a.m., officials said. Deputies fired back, fatally wounding Sly.
The investigation remains ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
AZUSA >> Police in Azusa arrested an auto theft suspect Wednesday morning after he jumped from the still-moving vehicle and tried to make his escape on foot, authorities said.
The incident began about 10 a.m. when an officer on patrol near Citrus Avenue and Basline Road spotted a passing car that had been reported stolen in Ontario earlier in the morning, Azusa police Sgt. Xavier Torres said.
“As the Officer attempted to catch up to the vehicle, it entered a residential tract in the unincorporated area of Azusa and began to speed up,” Torres said in a written statement. “As the Officer was about to stop the vehicle, the driver jumped out of the moving vehicle in the area of Viceroy (Avenue) and Ghent (Street) and began to run away.”
The abandoned stolen car continued until it went up onto a sidewalk and came to a stop in a residential front yard, Torres said.
The driver ran through several backyards before they found and arrested the suspect hiding in a nearby yard with help from alert neighbors and a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter, Torres said.
The suspect, whose name was not available Wednesday afternoon, was booked on suspicion of auto theft and resisting arrest, police said. He was expected to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
ALHAMBRA >> Police posing as a Craiglist shopper arrested a moving company employee Tuesday after he offered to sell them a Rolex watch stolen from the home of one of his customers during a recent moving job, officials said.
Stanislav Kirsanov, 30, of Sherman Oaks was booked on suspicion of grand theft after police set up a sting operation, Alhambra police Sgt. Edward Elizalde said in a written statement.
A couple called police on Monday to reports several items of jewelry had gone missing from their home as they were moving from one part of the city to another, Elizalde said.
“The couple suspected the workers from the moving company were involved,” he said.
Within days, the couple noticed one of the missing items, a men’s Rolex watch with distinctive markings, was being offered for sale on the online marketplace Craigslist.com.
Posing as a Craigslist shopper interested in the expensive watch, detectives arranged to meet the seller, later identified as Kirsanov, police said.
“Detectives conducted the undercover sting operation in Sherman Oaks and took possession of the stolen watch and detained the person selling it,” Elizalde said.
Police found additional pieces of high-end jewelry, jewelry bags and jewelry cases which they believe were stolen in similar thefts, he said.
Moving company’s Kirsanov was believed to be associated with include Mr. Low Prices, Affordable Movers Co. and Best in the West Moving and Storage, Elizalde said.
“It is possible Mr. Kirsanov may have committed similar thefts while working as a mover for one of the above mentioned moving companies,” he said. “Mr. Kirsanov has used different names in the past and may be known by a variety of aliases.”
Anyone who has hired Kirsanov or the companies he’s affiliated with and noticed items missing are encouraged to contact Alhambra police at 626-570-5157.
ARCADIA >> Two men were robbed in separate incidents as both were leaving the same house party in Arcadia late Saturday, police said.
The first robbery unfolded about 10:10 p.m. in the 1600 block of Old Oak Lane, Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said.
An 18-year-old man was leaving the party when he bumped into another man, Cullen said. The man punched the victim, knocking him to the floor, before he and five accomplices grabbed his wallet from his pants.
The victim suffered apparently minor injuries, he said.
One of the robbers was described as a Latino man between 18 and 20, of medium build, with short hair, wearing a black zip-up hooded sweatshirt, the lieutenant said. He was accompanied by five other young men.
About 20 minutes later, a 20-year-old man was robbed at gunpoint just around the corner in the 1600 block of Rodeo Road as he was leaving the same house party, officials said.
A robber approached the man, brandished a semi-automatic handgun and demanded property, Cullen said. He fled with the victim’s cell phone and car keys. No injuries were reported.
Police described the armed robber as a black man in his mid-20s, of thin build, with short curly hair and no facial hair, wearing blue jeans and a dark-colored jacket.
Anyone with information on either crime can reach Arcadia police at 626-574-5151. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
WEST COVINA >> Police are asking the public’s help in finding a 77-year-old man who went missing in West Covina on Saturday.
Larry Thomas was last seen about 9 p.m. on Saturday at the Cove bar, 146 S. Glendora Ave., West Covina police officials said in a written statement. He disappeared and hasn’t been seen since.
Thomas, who may be suffering from the early stages of dementia, was driving a silver, four-door, 2002 Jaguar SJ with a California license plate of 4XBK749. He was last seen wearing a royal blue Hawaiian shirt and blue jeans.
Anyone with information is urged to contact West Covina police at 626-939-8500, or dial 911.
MONTEREY PARK >> Officials have identified an Arcadia woman who died after being struck by an SUV on a Monterey Park sidewalk on Thursday morning.
Meiping Lin, 68, died at the scene of the 8 a.m. collision at Garfield and Avondale avenues, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
Two men who were also struck by the same SUV when it drove up onto the sidewalk were hospitalized in critical condition, according to Monterey Park police Lt. Gus Jimenez.
The three pedestrians were walking on a sidewalk when a small SUV suddenly veered to the right side of the road and struck them, police said. The out-of-control SUV then also struck to other cars.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation. The woman at the wheel of the SUV was also taken to a hospital for treatment of an apparent medical issue.
Any witnesses, or anyone with information, can reach Monterey Park police at 626-573-1311.
PHOTO by Michael Ares
POMONA >> A 30-year-old man died late Saturday in a motorcycle crash on a transition road between the 60 and 71 freeways in Pomona, authorities said.
Paramedics pronounced Christopher L. Smith of Los Angeles died at the scene of the solo-vehicle crash, which was reported about 10:50 p.m. on the transition road from the westbound 60 Freeway to the northbound 71 Freeway, California Highway Patrol Officer D. Crislip said in a written statement.
Smith was riding a 2000 Kawasaki Ninja 500 at about 80 mph when he lost control, according to the CHP.
“For unknown reasons, Mr. Smith allowed (the motorcycle) to leave the roadway and its front tire struck the raised asphalt curb,” Crislip said. “Mr. Smith was ejected from (the motorcycle) onto the asphalt roadway, where he succumbed to his injuries.”
Smith was wearing a helmet, officials added.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation. Any witnesses or anyone with information was asked to contact the CHP’s Baldwin Park-area office at 626-338-1164.