Las Vegas man found dead following possible stabbing near Azusa

AZUSA >> Authorities on Wednesday identified the man found dead from a mysterious apparent stabbing in a residential neighborhood as a 19-year-old Las Vegas man.
Jessey Chavira died after he was found badly wounded lying in a pool of blood about 3:30 p.m. outside a home in the 5500 block of Orangeglen Street, in an unincorporated county area just outside of Azusa, Los Angeles County coroner’s and sheriff’s officials said.
“He was discovered by his mother, lying in the driveway covered in blood,” Lt. Ed Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
The mother immediately called for help and paramedics treated Chavira, but succumbed to his injuries at the scene, officials said.
“His injuries appear to be consistent with some type of an assault,” Hernandez said. Detectives were awaiting an autopsy to determine the “extent and nature of the injuries,” and exactly how Chavira died. The injuries were initially described as possible stab wounds.
“We’re investigating it as a suspicious death,” the lieutenant said.
Hernandez said Chavira had last been seen alive inside the house about noon, a little more than three hours before he was found bleeding in the driveway. He was dressed in basketball shorts and other casual attire.
Initial rumors that Chavira was stabbed as he exited a car were determined to be unfounded, Hernandez said. But investigators were left with few clues into what did unfold Tuesday afternoon on Orangeglen Street.
No one reported hearing or seeing anything unusual before Chavira was found wounded, Hernandez said.
Several people inside the involved home voluntarily went to the sheriff’s San Dimas Station to give statements to investigators, though the interviews shed little light on what happened to Chavira, Hernandez said.
Neighbors also were unable to provide useful clues.
“Nobody could give us even a brief suspect description,” Hernandez said. “It’s very bizarre.”
Detectives continued canvassing the neighborhood looking for witnesses Wednesday, Hernandez said. Detectives were also looking into Chavira’s background and what he was doing in Southern California.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

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Arcadia man dies following pickup truck crash in Azusa

AZUSA >> An Arcadia man died Sunday after his pickup truck struck a tree in Encanto Park in Azusa, authorities said.
The 57-year-old man died at a hospital following 1 p.m. crash on El Encanto Parkway, north of Huntington Drive, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement. His name was not released pending notification of family.
“The male had been driving a white Toyota Tacoma which appears to have collided into a tree, located in the south end of Encanto Park,” according to the police statement.
Paramedics treated the man and took him to the Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, where he succumbed to his injuries a short time later, police said.
No other vehicles were believed to be involved in the crash, officials said. The cause remained under investigation by the Azusa Police Department Traffic Bureau.

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Sixty-seven arrested during first day of two-day rave at Whittier Narrows

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SOUTH EL MONTE >> Deputies made 67 arrests Saturday during the first day of the two-day HARD Summer 2014 music festival taking place at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, authorities said.
About 40,000 people were estimated to have attended the first day of the rave-style electronic music festival, with similar attendance expected Sunday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Of the 67 arrests made Saturday, 60 were for fake identification cards, sheriff’s Deputy Johnny Jones said.
Six people were arrested on suspicion of selling drugs, Jones said.
And one person was arrested Saturday on suspicion of robbery after stealing an event staff shirt from the back of a worker, Jones said. The suspect was apprehended following the crime, which was apparently committed in an effort to sneak into the festival.
Statistics were not available for Sunday as the concert continued, but Jones noted there had been “a few” arrests.

PHOTO – Deputies watch over the HARD Summer 2014 music festival from their command post at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in South El Monte. (Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

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SuperLotto Plus ticket sold in South El Monte hits $26 million jackpot

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SOUTH EL MONTE >> A SuperLotto Plus ticket sold at a South El Monte liquor store won the jackpot in Saturday night’s drawing, earning $26 million for a newly-wealthy patron, according to the California Lottery.
The ticket matched all six numbers in the drawing: 6, 16, 22, 27, 32 and Mega Number 3, California Lottery officials said in a written statement. It was sold at Sam’s Liquor, 9660 Garvey Ave.
The winner was yet to come forward Sunday, store manager Bobby Lee said. The business is owned by his parents.
Lottery officials called the store Saturday night to inform the family they had sold a jackpot ticket, Lee said.
A represented visited the store Sunday morning to leave decorations and celebrate the win, he added.
As the retailer of the ticket, the store is entitled to one-half of one-percent of the $26 million jackpot, or $130,000.
Lee said his family had not determined what to do with their share of the win.
“We’re still too excited. We don’t know yet,” he said.
Lee said the ticket was the biggest winner the store had ever sold.
In addition the jackpot ticket, two other tickets matching five of the six numbers in Saturday’s drawing were sold in Bakersfield and Victorville, winning $23,172 each. Twelve other tickets sold statewide matched four numbers, winning $1,931 each.

Sam’s Liquor, 9660 Garvey Ave. in South El Monte, sold a SuperLotto Plus ticket that won the $26 million jackpot in a drawing on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. Manager Bobby Lee stands in front of the store on Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014. (Staff photo by Brian Day)

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Police: Man bites off other man’s fingertip during Beyonce-Jay Z concert at Rose Bowl in Pasadena; 10 other arrests reported

PASADENA >> Police arrested 11 people Saturday night during a Beyonce and Jay Z concert at the Rose Bowl, including a man accused of biting off the tip of another man’s finger after groping the victim’s girlfriend, authorities said.
An estimated 55,000 fans attended the concert, which was to continue with a second performance Sunday night, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
Police arrested eight people for public drunkenness and two people for ticket scalping during the event, Luna said.
And Roberto Alcaraz-Garnica, 25, of San Diego man was arrested inside the stadium about 10 p.m. on suspicion of sexual battery and mayhem, legally defined as disabling or disfiguring a part of a victim’s body, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records.
The alleged attack occurred after Alcaraz-Garnica groped a woman in her 20s, Luna said.
“The suspect sexually assaulted the female victim,” he said. The woman’s boyfriend confronted the alleged groper, and a fight ensued.
“During the altercation, the suspect bit the victim, causing serious injury to his finger,” the lieutenant said. “He lost the tip of one of his fingers.”
Police took the suspect into custody at the Pasadena Police Department’s jail, where he was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

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Massive tortoise found wandering in Alhambra reunited with owners

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ALHAMBRA >> A massive tortoise found wandering through the streets of Alhambra Saturday has been reunited with his owners, police said.
The 150-pound reptile was spotted by a passer-by about 1 p.m. Saturday in the area of 6th Street and Norwood Place, Alhambra police Sgt. Esther Rodriguez said.
Two officers hoisted the large animal into a patrol car before it was taken into the custody of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, she said.
0803_NWS_PSN-L_TORTOISE2The tortoise’s owners, an Alhambra family, claimed the tortoise late Saturday morning, Rodriguez said. It turned out his name id “Dirk.”
Dirk was back at home with his family, including his best pal, a bulldog, Saturday afternoon, she said.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department.

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Naked runner arrested in Alhambra

ALHAMBRA — Police arrested a Los Angeles man Friday after spotting him out for a run wearing nothing by shoes, officials said.
Lionel Giovanny Amador, 23, was booked on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs following his 8 p.m. arrest on Garfield Avenue, near Linda Vista Avenue, according to Alhambra police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
After police caught up with the nude runner, he told officers he had taken “a pill” and decided to go for a run, Alhambra police said in a statement posted on the agency’s Facebook page.
Amador was released from custody early Saturday with a misdemeanor citation, records show.

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150-pound tortoise found wandering in Alhambra

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ALHAMBRA — Officials are seeking to reunite a 150-pound tortoise with it’s owner after the massive reptile was found wandering the streets of Alhambra Saturday, police said.
A passer-by called police about 1 p.m. to report seeing the animal strolling in the southeast end of town, Alhambra police Sgt. Esther Rodriguez said.
The caller kept tabs on the tortoise until police arrived, she said.
0803_NWS_PSN-L_TORTOISE1It took two officers to lift the creature into a patrol car, Rodriguez said. They took the animal to the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control’s Downey Office.
The rightful owner can claim the tortoise by contacting animal control officials at 562-940-6898.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department.

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West Covina man beaten and robbed in Pasadena

PASADENA >> A West Covina man was beaten and robbed while walking in Pasadena Friday afternoon, police said.
The 30-year-old man was attacked just after 1:15 p.m., Pasadena Police Lt. John Luna said.
“He was in the area of Bellefontaine (Street) and Fair Oaks (Avenue) when he was struck in the head from behind by a suspect with an unknown blunt object,” the lieutenant said.
The victim fell to the ground and struck his head before the robber snatched the man’s wallet and removed a little less than $1,000 before fleeing, Luna said. The victim declined to be taken to a hospital.
Police described the robber as a Latino man in his 20s or 30s, between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall and of medium build. He was wearing a blue long-sleeve shirt, blue jeans and white tennis shoes.

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UPDATED: Pico Rivera man mistakenly shot and killed by sheriff’s deputy during gun battle with fleeing parolee

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PICO RIVERA >> A sheriff’s deputy was believed to have accidentally shot a Pico Rivera man Friday during a gun battle with a fleeing parolee who had broken into his home, authorities said Saturday.
A  SWAT team ultimately shot and killed the gunman after he held the homeowner’s wife hostage for eight hours, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Detective Division Chief William McSweeney. The hostage was rescued unharmed.
Coroner’s officials did not officially identify the slain homeowner Saturday, however family members identified him as Frank Mendoza. The rescued hostage was his wife, 60-year-old Lorraine Munoz, family members said.
Parolee Cedric Ramirez, 24, of Pico Rivera was killed about 1:30 a.m. as SWAT deputies forced their way into the home in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The incident began about eight hours earlier when Ramirez fled from officials and ran into the home, engaging deputies in a shootout, sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
0803_NWS_WDN-L-STANDOFF2The deadly encounter began about 5:30 p.m. Friday when sheriff’s gang deputies spotted Ramirez, a wanted parolee with two felony warrants, in the 9000 block of Reichling Lane.
“He entered the backyard of the victims’ residence where he exchanged gunfire with the deputies,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “Ramirez then broke into the victims’ home through a window.”
Pursuing deputies, fearful the occupants would be harmed, went to the home’s front door and began evacuating the residents from the house. An adult and two children were rushed from the house when Ramirez appeared in an interior hallway and began shooting at the Deputies. The Deputies returned fire and then retreated to the front yard, seeking cover,” McSweeney said.
“Within seconds of their exit, an adult male suddenly appeared in the front doorway,” the chief said. “Believing the man was Ramirez, a deputy fired two shots at the man.  The man dropped unconscious in the doorway and was subsequently recognized to be one of the residents. Preliminary information indicates those shots likely struck Mr. Frank Mendoza.”
Paramedics pronounced Mendoza dead at the scene.
Officials said Ramirez then fled into the home, taking the 60-year-old woman hostage. Nishida said. A SWAT team surrounded the home as a crisis negotiator spoke with Ramirez by telephone and tried to persuade him to surrender peacefully.
After eight hours, the SWAT team moved in.
“After an extended standoff, a Special Enforcement Bureau, special weapons team, entered the location which ended with the fatal shooting of the suspect,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. Deputies rescued the woman, and Ramirez died at the scene.
Family members of the victims and neighbors described a harrowing ordeal.
Frank Mendoza lived at the Rosehedge Drive home with his wife, four sons, and young grandchildren, daughter-in-law Tanya Mendoza said.
When the shooting began and Frank Mendoza was mortally wounded, one of his sons who was home at the time gathered his two young children and rushed them out of the home, family members said.
Deputies rushed them to cover behind a parked car, said Sandra Monge, whose 83-year-old mother and brother live next door to the involved home. They were trapped for about two hours before being evacuated by deputies through their back yard.
While continuing to trade gunfire with Ramirez, deputies pulled Frank Mendoza around the corner and out of the line of fire, neighbors said. It was there, at the corner of Lindsey Avenue and Reichling Drive, that the wounded man was pronounced dead.
Lorraine Munoz, who walks with difficulty and uses a wheelchair or cane, was not able to get out of the home.
Family members did not know Ramirez, Tanya Mendoza said, adding that it appeared he broke into a random house while fleeing deputies.
“This incident was beyond tragic, and all of law enforcement grieves with the Mendoza family,” McSweeney said. “We have made personal contact with the family, and have expressed our regret and sadness over these events.
“This investigation continues, and every aspect of this incident will be assessed for compliance with the law and Department policy,” McSweeney said.
Ramirez was in violation of his parole and being sought on warrants for being an convicted felon in possession of a firearm and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent when deputies encountered him Friday, officials said.
Los Angeles County court records show Ramirez was convicted in of possessing a loaded firearm along with narcotics in 2013, vandalism in 2008 and carrying a loaded gun in 2007.
Heartbroken family members described Frank Mendoza as a light-spirited and dedicated family man who had lived at the same home on Rosehedge Drive for 32 years.
“He was just a great guy,” sister Kathy Mendoza said.
“He was hard-working man,” she said, adding that her brother was three months away from retiring from his job working on machines for a grocery company, where he had worked since he was a young man.
In addition to his wife, he’s survived by four sons, one daughter, two step-sons and one step-daughter, Tanya Mendoza said. He had 12 grandchildren and two more on the way, and two great grandchildren.
“He was a joker. He was always willing to help,” Kathy Mendoza said.
“He was always the life of the party,” son Jeremy Mendoza said.
Tanya Mendoza thanked the community for its support following Friday’s tragedy.
The Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is spearheading the investigation. As is common procedure in Los Angeles County deputy-involved shootings, the incident is also being investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the County of Los Angeles Office of Independent Review.

PHOTOS: (TOP) Family members of a slain homeowner and Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators congregate in front of the home where a wanted parolee allegedly engaged deputies in a shoot-out, killing 54-year-old Frank Mendoza. Ramirez then allegedly took Mendoza’s 60-year-old wife hostage for about eight hours before he was shot and killed by a SWAT team in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive in Pico Rivera in the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. (Staff photo by Brian Day) BELOW: Frank Mendoza, 54, of Pico Rivera (right), pictured with wife Lorraine Munoz, 60. Mendoza died during a shoot-out between sheriff’s deputies and a fleeing parolee as the suspect forced his way into the couple’s home. Munoz was held hostage by the suspect for more than eight hours before a SWAT team killed him and rescued her in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive in Pico Rivera in the early morning hours on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014.
(Courtesy of the Mendoza family)

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