13 students fall ill after ingesting ‘unknown substance’ at Bonita High School in La Verne


LA VERNE >> Thirteen students at Bonita High School in La Verne fell ill Thursday after ingesting an unknown substance, police said.
The incident was first reported about 1:50 p.m. at the campus, 3102 D Street, La Verne police and school officials said.
Students began showing up at the school nurse’s office reporting feeling ill, the lieutenant said. “The students “all appeared to have ingested an unknown substance.”
The 13 students were taken to hospitals as a precaution, some by ambulance, and some by parents, Gonzalez said. Their conditions were not believed to be life-threatening.
Police were continuing their investigation into what exactly the students had ingested, he said. No arrests had been made Thursday afternoon.
“All affected students were assessed by paramedics, appropriate care was administered and parents have been contacted,” Bonita High School Principal Derek Bub said in a written statement. “Due to confidentiality laws, we are only able to release limited information. We are confident that this was an isolated incident that does not pose a continued threat to student safety. We would like to thank La Verne Police and Fire Department for their rapid response.”
No further details were available.

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180 homes in Duarte’s Fish fire burn area to be evacuated ahead of storm

DUARTE >> Officials have issued mandatory evacuation orders to take effect Friday morning for residents of 180 homes and an elementary school near the Fish fire burn area in Duarte as anticipated heavy rain prompted worries of flooding, debris flows and mudslides.
Residents of Fish fire burn area surrounding Valley View Elementary School, are urged to evacuate by 7 a.m., city officials announced Thursday afternoon in a written statement. The school will also be closed on Sunday.
•Map: Fish fire burn area
The area saw mud flowing into the streets, particularly Melcanyon Road, during heavy rains in January and December. But no significant damage has been reported in the area this season as a result of mudslides, debris flows or flooding.
But with a massive storm expected to drop as much as an inch per hour of rain on Southland and wind gusts of up to 70 mph on Friday and into Saturday, officials took no chances with the fire-denuded and already-soaked hillsides
“L.A. County Public Works has also been cleaning local debris basins since February 15 in advance of this event to accommodate anticipated mudflow,” according to the city statement.
“Los Angeles County Public Works has issued a Phase 2 Flow Forecast for this storm anticipating that heavy downpours and wind could cause mud and debris flows even more extensive than January’s flows on Melcanyon Road and adjacent streets which resulted in over 2,800 cubic yards of mud,” the statement said.
Officials went door-to-door notifying affected residents of the evacuation order on Thursday afternoon.
“Please note, residents under mandatory evacuation orders will not be allowed back into their homes until the orders are officially lifted by Duarte Public Safety officials,” according to the statement. “Residents that refuse to evacuate must be prepared to shelter in place until evacuation orders are lifted. There will be no re-entry into evacuation area.”
The National Weather Service in Oxnard issued a county-wide Flash Flood Watch, which is to remain in effect through Saturday morning.
“Projected rainfall totals through Saturday morning are expected to range between 3 and 6 inches across coast and valleys with 5 to 10 inches possible in favored foothill and mountain locations,” according to the Flash Flood Watch/ “Heaviest rainfall amounts (are) expected along south facing slopes from the Santa Ynez Range east through the San Gabriels.
The heaviest rain is expected to fall between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday, officials added.
City phones, as well as the city’s Emergency Operations Center, will remain staffed 24-hours between Friday and Saturday mornings.
“City staff will continuously be deployed within the Fish fire impact area to address situations as they arise,” the city statement said.
The city is teaming with the Red Cross to open an evacuation center starting at 7 a.m. Friday at the Duarte Community Center, 1600 Huntington Drive. It will remain open until the evacuations are lifted.
“Evacuated residents are encouraged to bring medicines and any other items they may need for a minimum 48-hour period,” the city statement said. “Meals will be provided, and county animal control officials will be on-hand to help with displaced pets.
Trash pickup in the affected area, which normally occurs on Fridays, will be postponed until Monday. Residents are asked not to move their trash cans out to the street until Monday morning.
Staffed street closured will be set up throughout the evacuation area.
Filled sandbags are available at the corner of Mountaincrest and Brookridge roads, officials said. Unfilled sandbags are being distributed behind at Los Angeles County Fire Station 44, 1105 Highland Ave.

PHOTO: Mud and debris stacked up against the K-rails along Melcanyon Road below the recent Fish fire burn area in Duarte on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders for homes surround Valley View Park and Valley View Elementary School. (Watchara Phomicinda/Staff Photographer)

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Man arrested for trespassing at home where elderly woman was found dead

ALHAMBRA >> A man found in possession of belongings of an elderly woman found dead outside her Alhambra home on Wednesday has been jailed on suspicion of trespassing as homicide detectives continue their investigation into what happened to her, officials said Thursday.
Moon Cheung, 78, was found dead shortly after 12:40 p.m. outside her apartment in the 1800 block of West Garvey Avenue, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
Police had responded to reports of a confrontation between a man and woman when they discovered Cheung unresponsive, Alhambra police officials said.
“(Cheung) sustained blunt force trauma to the upper torso and was pronounce dead at the scene,” Schrader said.
Police were told that man, later identified as 25-year-old Milton Isaias Chavez, had knocked at the door of the victim’s home, where a family member answered, according to sheriff’s officials and county booking records.
“(Chavez) showed the family member that the victim was laying on the ground,” she said. “When the family member exited the residence to assist the victim, the suspect entered the residence, shut the door and locked it. The family member called 9-1-1, and requested assistance.”
Responding officers searched the apartment, but the intruder was gone.
But officers found Chavez, who matched the description of the trespasser, several hours later after a resident called police to report a suspicious person in a shed near the victim’s home, Schrader said.
“Officers found the suspect was in possession of an item belonging to the victim,” the deputy said.
Chavez was booked on suspicion of trespassing as the investigation continued, officials said. His city of residence was not available.
Police announced they were seeking a “person of interest” in connection with the case in the hours immediately after Cheung’s body was found. But officials stopped short of labeling the man a suspect in her death.
According to county booking records, Chavez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Friday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are assisting Alhambra police in the investigation. Anyone with information reach 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.

PHOTO by Leo Jarzomb

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Nearly 7,000 marijuana plants seized from San Gabriel commercial building, 2 suspects jailed

SAN GABRIEL >> Police uprooted nearly 7,000 marijuana plants and arrested two men on Wednesday after raiding two separate indoor marijuana grow operations inside the same massive commercial building, officials said.
Investigators showed up with a search warrant about 7 a.m. at the 42,000-square-foot building at 100 S. South Gabriel Blvd., according to San Gabriel police Lt. Brian Kott. The building was formerly used as a major auto dealership.
Officers first discovered an illicit pot farm of about 4,200 plants inside a portion of the property formerly used for auto repairs when the structure was an auto dealership, the lieutenant said in a written statement. The operation was complete with artificial lighting, as well as “sophisticated hydroponic and ventilation systems.”
Phong Day Ung, 36, of Rosemead was found working at the grow operation and arrested on suspicion of cultivating marijuana, Kott said.
“As detectives continued their search of the property, another separate marijuana grow was found hidden inside a building directly under the main office at the northwest portion of the premises,” Kott said.
There were no visible entry points into the grow operation, save for a secret interior passageway to the upstairs office, police said. More than 2.600 pot plants were found growing inside several fabricated rooms inside the second grow site, where 34-year-old Yuntong Zheng of Monterey Park was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana as he returned to the scene as the investigation continued, Kott said.
It was not clear Wednesday whether the two marijuana grows were linked, or merely a coincidence.
Wednesday’s bust was the result of a two-week-long investigation spawned by an anonymous tip from a citizen, Kott said.

PHOTOS courtesy of the San Gabriel Police Department

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UPDATED: Pilot and passenger escape serious injury after emergency airplane landing at Pomona Fairplex


POMONA >> Two people walked away with apparently minor injuries after a small airplane crashed or made a hard landing at the Fairplex in Pomona on Wednesday evening.
The incident was first reported at 6:42 p.m. at the Fairplex, which is just across Fairplex Drive from Brackett Field in La Verne, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Simms said.
Details of the incident were not yet clear, however, firefighters treated one person for apparently minor injuries, she said.
The single-engine Beechcraft F33A experienced engine failure near Brackett Field, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.
“The pilot made an emergency landing near the race track grandstands,” Gregor said, “Neither of the two people on board was seriously injured.”
“There was substantial damage to the plane, he said.
Pomona police officials received no 911 calls reporting the emergency landing, Lt. Alex Rilloraza said in a written statement.
“The police helicopter was in the area and advised of a possible aircraft down on the property,” according to the lieutenant.
Upon locating the downed airplane,
“Two occupants were in the plane and have reportedly sustained minor injuries only and are walking on their own accord, Rilloraza said. “Both subjects were treated at the scene and released.”
Firefighters also dealt with fuel that was leaking fuel after the incident, police said.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are conducting an investigation, officials said.
FAA records show the airplane is registered to a Rancho Cucamonga man. The aircraft, manufactured in 1977, has a valid flight status through the end of 2018.
The aircraft was heading to Cable Airport in Upland from Selma Airport, Gregor said.
No further details were available.

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Pizza delivery driver robbed, kidnapped in Hacienda Heights


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A gunman robbed and kidnapped pizza delivery driver late Tuesday, deputies said.
The crime unfolded just after 7:15 p.m. after the delivery man dropped off an order in the 1500 block of Fieldgate Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Infante said.
A man approached the driver while brandishing a black, semi-automatic handgun, the lieutenant said.
He demanded the delivery man’s money, obtaining about $75, he said. He then ordered the delivery driver to give him a ride.
The gunman fled on foot after being driven to the area of Gale and Farmstead avenues in neighboring Industry, Infante said.
He was described as a Latino man between 22 and 25 years old, about 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 5 inches tall, 140 to 150 pounds, with a shaved head.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Industry Station at 626-330-3322. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Probation compliance check in Rosemead turns up 2,000 pills, 4 guns; brothers jailed

ROSEMEAD >> What began as a probation compliance check in Rosemead on Tuesday led deputies to discover a cache of 2,000 pills and four guns, including two AR-15 rifles, authorities said. Two brothers who live at the home were jailed.
Khamsana Jimmy Phimmasone, 35, who is already on probation for a previous narcotics conviction, was booked on suspicion of being a convicted felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
His brother, 34-year-old Donny Phimmasone, was booked on suspicion of possession of drugs for sales.
Deputies visited the home in the 3700 block of Strang Avenue to ensure Khamsana Phimmasone was abiding by the terms of his probation, Sgt. Tony Duong of the sheriff’s Temple City Station said. His younger brother also lives at the home.
“The search resulted in the discovery of narcotics and several firearms including, two AR-15 rifles, a shotgun, a handgun, ammunition and approximately 2000 pills of a controlled substance,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Several varieties of pills were found, Duong said. They were sent to the sheriff’s crime lab for analysis to determine what exactly they contain.
Khamsana was immediately sentenced to a 10-day “flash incarceration” following his arrest on Tuesday, which is generally used for felons being supervised under the terms of AB 109 probation. Police officials could not confirm whether he was on AB 109 “post-release community supervision.”
According to Los Angeles County Superior Court records, his past convictions include: possession of restricted or dangerous drugs in 2004; auto theft and recklessly evading police in 2002; as well as possession of methamphetamine, auto theft and burglary in 2001.
According to county booking records, Khamsana Phimmasone was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, while Donny Phimmasone was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail. Both were scheduled to appear in the El Monte branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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‘Person of interest’ sought after woman found dead at Alhambra apartment complex


ALHMABRA >> Detectives are investigating the death of a woman whose body was discovered as police responded to reports of a confrontation between a man and woman at an Alhambra apartment complex in Alhambra on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
Officers were seeking a “person of interest” in connection with the death, but did not described the person a suspect, Alhambra police Crime Prevention Specialist Jessica Cuchilla said.
Officials first received a report of a “confrontation between a male and a female” about 12:42 p.m. at an apartment complex in the 1800 block of West Garvey Avenue, she said.
They arrived to encounter an unresponsive woman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, Cuchilla said. It was not initially clear whether the body displayed any obvious signs of trauma.
Detectives labeled the incident a “suspicious death” as the investigation remained in its early stages, Cuchilla said.
“There was a person seen at the scene who was no longer there when officers arrived,” she said. Investigators sought the “person of interest” on Wednesday afternoon. No description was available.
Detectives from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are helping Alhambra police with the investigation. Anyone with information reach 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.

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Man robs woman inside restroom at Paseo Colorado mall in Pasadena


PASADENA >> Police are seeking a man who followed a woman into a restroom and robbed her at the Paseo Colorado shopping mall in Pasadena on Saturday afternoon.
The crime took place just before 2:10 p.m. at the mall, 300 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
A 37-year-old woman went into a women’s restroom at the mall when the robber followed her in and confronted her inside, he said.
“The suspect demanded the victim’s purse,” he said. “The victim ran out of the restroom and was followed by the suspect, who picked up the victim’s purse which was left behind when she exited the restroom.”
A good Samaritan confronted the robber outside of the bathroom and dropped the woman’s purse, “but only after removing the victim’s cell phone,” according to the lieutenant. The robber fled and food and was not found.
Police described the robber as a black man between 30 and 35 years old, about 5 feet 11 inches tall, bald, wearing all-black clothing.
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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Hesperia man arrested following Arcadia home burglary

ARCADIA >> Police jailed a Hesperia man Saturday as he fled the scene of a home burglary in Arcadia, officials said.
Refugio Roy Gomez, 51, was arrested in connection with the 7:53 p.m. break-in at a home in the 900 block of Sunset Boulevard, Arcadia police Sgt. John Bonomo said in a written statement.
Officers responding a burglary alarm encountered a man, later identified as Gomez, running from the side yard of the home, according to the sergeant.
“A foot pursuit began, but the suspect soon surrendered to officers and was taken into custody,” he said.
Police recovered items from the suspect believed to have been stolen from the home.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Gomez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

BOOKING photo of Refugio Roy Gomez courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.

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