HACIENDA HEIGHTS A man accused of shooting his girlfriend to death in 2011 and dumping her body in Turnbull Canyon in Hacienda Heights before fleeing to Mexico appeared in a Pomona courthouse this week to answer to a murder charge, authorities said.
Francisco Nila Rojas, 39, of La Puente pleaded not guilty Tuesday in connection with the February 11, 2011, slaying of Claudia Tecuautzin, 41, of La Puente, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. He’s also accused of the special allegation of personally using a gun in the crime.
“Rojas allegedly shot his girlfriend in the head and left her body near Turnbull Canyon Road and Skyline Drive in Hacienda Heights,” Ardalani said in a written statement.
Tecuautzin had been reported missing by her family before her body was discovered about 10 feet down an embankment in Turnbull Canyon, near Skyline Drive, on March 2, 2011, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner officials said. But due to the condition of her body, identification was delayed, and she was officially listed as a Jane Doe in the weeks following the slaying.
An autopsy found that Tecuautzin died from a gunshot wound to the head, and the death was ruled a homicide, coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Rojas was quickly identified as the suspect in Tecuautzin’s slaying. Prosecutors filed a murder charge against him in April of 2011, Ardalani said.
But Rojas, a Mexican national, fled to Mexico shortly after the fatal shooting, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
He remained a fugitive for more than three years, but investigators never gave up searching for him.
Officials tracked him down in Mexico in 2014, where he was jailed for about a year before being extradited back to the Unites States to face trial in October of last year, Ardalani said.
Rojas and Tecuautzin first became acquainted about a year before the slaying, Corina said. Both worked for the same company vending snacks from push carts.
The co-workers began a romantic relationship several months before Tecuautzin vanished.
Worried family members reported her missing and began a search themselves, sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. A family member searching the area discovered remains, later identified as those of Tecuautzin.
Coroner’s officials worked until the following day to carefully collect the remains.
Homicide detectives and prosecutors declined to discuss the specific motive in the killing Wednesday.
Rojas was ordered back to court June 23 for a pre-preliminary hearing, according to district attorney’s officials. If convicted as charged, he faces up to 50 years to life in state prison.

Article source: http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvcrime/2016/05/25/28651/

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Article source: http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvcrime/2016/05/25/woman-killed-in-la-habra-crash-identified/

WHITTIER Prosecutors declined to file charges Wednesday against an autistic Whittier man arrested this week on suspicion of kidnapping after he allegedly tried to grab a young girl outside an elementary school, authorities said.
After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors declined to file a criminal case against David Brooks, 50, of Whittier, in connection with Monday’s incident outside Ocean View Elementary School, 14359 E. Second Street, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The decision to declined the case was made, “in the interest of justice,” she said.
Whittier police jailed Brooks on suspicion of attempted kidnapping Monday afternoon after he approached and tried to grab a 12-year-old girl, Whittier police Cpl. Glenn Hedgpeth said at the time. The frightened girl ran onto the school to seek help.
Neighbors and family members immediately came forward to say that Brooks was severely mentally disabled, but kind, gentle and peaceful, and the incident must be a misunderstanding. Police declined to comment on Brook’s mental state, citing medical privacy laws.
Officials booked Brooks into jail and set bail at $1 million pending an initial court appearance, scheduled for Wednesday, Los Angeles County booking records show.
Brooks’ brother Bill Brooks said David is severely autistic and has lived in the same East Whittier home for his entire life.
“I don’t feel by my brother had the physical strength or the wherewithal to commit the type of crime he was accused of,” the brother said.
He pointed out that David Brooks has never been in trouble with the police before. And when coaches at the school told him to stay there and wait for police, he complied, making no effort to flee.
Once family members arrived at the police station Wednesday night and explained David Brook’s condition, officials appeared to be sympathetic, but informed them that he would have to remain in custody pending his court appearance, unless the $1 million bail was posted.
Bill Brooks said he wished the police had been more understanding of his brother’s condition from the beginning, especially since the family has informed the police of his condition in the past as a precaution.
“They assured me that this was in the computer,” so officers who encountered him would immediately be notified of his disability,” Bill Brooks said. “To my knowledge, that did not happened when he was initially contacted by the Whittier Police Department. It took them a long time to realize that he had a disability.”
And Brooks said the $1 million bail amount seemed excessive, under the circumstances. “ He has no drivers license, no ability to drive. He doesn’t have the wherewithal to flee. He doesn’t have a passport,” the brother said.
But Bill Brooks also said he was grateful to Whittier police officials for their consideration.
“He’s a picky eater,” the brother said. Police officers picked up food from Subway Sandwiches and other familiar foods David Brooks was willing to eat.
Bill Brooks said he sympathized with the young girl, as she was likely “traumatized” by the incident.
But the incident was also traumatic for David Brooks, he said. “He thought he couldn’t go home ever again.”
“It’s hard for me to second-guess the police, because I wasn’t there,” Bill Brooks said. “I do not know what David said to his victim. I don’t know if he actually attempted to touch her in any way.”
But Brooks said he feels the incident could be a learning experience.
“I think that the Whittier Police Department needs to review their policies regarding the way they deal with disabled people,” he said.
David Brooks’ father looked after him until his death in 2001, at which time the family obtained caretakers to look after David.
The organization Community Advocates for Peoples’ Choice, or CAPC, initially provided a caretaker seven days a week, Bill Brooks said. But the caretaker services were reduced to five days a week following a change in labor laws related to “domestic workers” in 2014.
Following this weeks incident, the agency plans to again provide David Brooks with a caretaker seven days a week, he said.
According to county booking records, David Brooks was released from custody shortly after noon Wednesday.

Article source: http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvcrime/2016/05/26/autistic-whittier-man-arrested-for-kidnap-attempt-released-without-charges/

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY San Gabriel Valley sheriff’s deputies and police officers arrested four suspects and recovered weapons and drugs Tuesday when they teamed up for a compliance sweep targeting parolees and those under AB 109 felony probation in the San Gabriel Valley, officials said.
More than 40 law enforcement officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the West Covina, Covina, Baldwin Park took part in the early-morning operation, joined by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, state parole agents, county probation officers and representatives from the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, according to sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro, who oversees law enforcement for the city of La Puente.
After visiting more than 30 homes of convicts, officials arrested a parolee for being a felon in possession of a loaded handgun in La Puente, Cacheiro said.
Officials arrested three AB 109 probationers in West Covina, he said. One was arrested for possession of a Taser by a felon, one was jailed for possession of ammunition by a felon and one is accused of possession of methamphetamine for sales.
The task force operation, “exemplified out community policing strategies,” Cacheiro said.
La Puente City Manager David Carmany commended the effort in a written statement. “
“Our local law enforcement strives to maintain our communities safe and provide quality services to our residents,” he said.

Law enforcement officers from agencies throughout the San Gabriel Valley prepare for parole and probation compliance sweep at their command post at the Plaza West Covina shopping mall on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (Courtesy, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

Article source: http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvcrime/2016/05/26/cops-visit-dozens-of-san-gabriel-valley-parolees-probationers-4-arrested-weapons-and-drugs-seized/

EL MONTE Police are seeking a Lake Elsinore woman and her two sons after the mother abducted the children during a supervised visitation in El Monte this weekend, authorities said.
Emily Lynn Moon, 32, fled with sons James Velasquez, 6, and Daniel Velasquez, 10, about noon Saturday during a court-ordered visit with the boys at a McDonald’s restaurant at 11612 Valley Blvd., according to El Monte Police Sgt. Richard Luna.
Their father dropped them off at the restaurant for the scheduled meeting, police said.
“The children, Daniel and James, are with suspect Moon, when the designated court monitor leaves momentarily,” Luna said in a written statement. “The monitor returns and finds that Moon and the children are no longer at the restaurant.
After checking the surrounding area and not finding any sign of Moon or the children, the court monitor reported the parental abduction to police, Luna said.
“There is no suspected threat to the children’s physical health or well-being. Suspect Moon’s current emotional state is unknown,” he said.
Moon may be headed to her home in the 32500 block of Mission Trail in Lake Elsinore, police said. She’s described as white, 5 feet tall, 98 pounds, with blonde hair and hazel eyes.
Anyone who spots Moon or the Velasquez brothers, or anyone with information is asked to contact El Monte police at 626-580-2114.

PHOTOS of Emily Moon [above], James and Daniel Velasquez [below] courtesy of the El Monte Police Department.

Article source: http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvcrime/2016/05/22/police-lake-elsinore-woman-abducts-sons-during-monitored-visitation-in-el-monte/

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Article source: http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvcrime/2016/05/22/chp-to-host-free-start-smart-class-for-teen-drivers-in-baldwin-park/

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Article source: http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvcrime/2016/05/22/man-robs-arcadia-walgreens-of-baby-formula/

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. Although we do not pre-screen comments, we reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.

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Article source: http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvcrime/2016/05/23/glendora-teen-dies-after-falling-from-jeep/

BALDWIN PARK Sheriff’s SWAT deputies conducted a search operation in Baldwin Park Sunday in connection to the shooting of a West Covina police officer over the weekend as the wounded officer was released from the hospital, authorities said.
The manhunt began immediately after Friday’s 11:20 p.m. gunfight between a West Covina officer and 47-year-old suspect Jose Luis Chavez Friday on Yaleton Avenue, just north of Badillo Street in West Covina.
Police officers and deputies from throughout the region searched the neighborhood en masse in the hours following the shooting, but came up empty-handed.
But the investigation continued, ultimately leading officials to a home in the area of Durness Street and Vineland Avenue in Baldwin Park on Sunday, where heavily armed and specially trained deputies from the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau conducted a search for the suspect, according to sheriff’s and Baldwin Park police officials.
Authorities announced the search was concluded about 6 p.m., but the suspect remained at large.
“We are actively investigating and searching for this suspect,” Deputy Kimberly Alexander of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said. “He is armed and dangerous.”
Meanwhile, the injured officer was recovering well after suffering a through-and-through wound to his abdomen, West Covina Police Chief David Faulkner said.
“Our officer was released from the hospital this afternoon and is home resting,” the chief said via Twitter.
The officer approached Chavez, who was riding a bicycle, when Chavez began shooting, according to Deputy Trina Schrader of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The officer was struck in the torso but returned fire, officials said. It was unclear whether Chavez was wounded before he fled the scene and escaped.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is spearheading the investigation, at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTOS [Above] – Baldwin Park search operation on Sunday, May 22, 2016. (Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Departrment) [Below] – Shooting suspect Jose Luis Chavez, 47. (Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Article source: http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvcrime/2016/05/23/28644/

WEST COVINA A manhunt continued Saturday for a gunman who shot and wounded a West Covina police officer Friday night, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 11:20 p.m. along Yaleton Avenue, just north of Badillo Street.
“There is an officer down. He was struck by gunfire,” Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
The officer had approached the gunman as he rode a bike through the neighborhood, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The contact (led) to a gun fight between the officer and the suspect,” Schrader said. “At that time, the officer sustained a gunshot wound to the upper torso.”
It was unclear whether the assailant — later identified by sheriff’s investigators as 47-year-old Jose Louis Chavez, had been wounded in the exchange of gunfire.
Sheriff’s deputies, as well as officers from police agencies throughout the region rushed to the scene to help in a search for the suspect, who remained at large Saturday afternoon. Police K-9s, bloodhounds, helicopters and three SWAT teams joined in the search.
“We had help from pretty much every agency in the San Gabriel Valley,” West Covina Police Chief David Faulkner said.
Officials wound down their neighborhood search Saturday afternoon. The suspect remained at large.
Chavez is described as Latino, 6 feet 1 inch tall, 225 pounds, with his left eyebrow pierced, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “He should be considered armed and dangerous.”

Suspect’s bicycle on its side on Yaleton Ave. a few yards north of Badillo St. in West Covina, Saturday, May 21, 2016. (Mike Mullen photo)

The wounded officer, a 9-year law enforcement veteran with more than an year on-duty with the West Covina Police Department, was expected to survive, Faulkner said.
The bullet struck the officer in the abdomen, beneath his bullet-proof vest, the chief said. It penetrated through the officer and exited his body.
Remarkably, “The round didn’t hit any of his major organs,” the chief said.
“At this point, certainly, I can say that God was on his side.”
Initial plans for emergency surgery were placed on hold, and possibly cancelled, after it was discovered the officer’s major organs were spared by the bullet, he said.
The officer was conscious, alert and in good spirits at a hospital Saturday, accompanied by family members, Faulkner said. His identity was not released.
“He’s experiences, respected and he did a great job under the circumstances,” Faulkner said of the wounded officer.
The chief also praised the work of officers and deputies in the aftermath of the shooting and thanked the community for an outpouring of support.
Further details, including a detailed suspect description, were not available.
Badillo Street remained shut down between Sunset and Orange avenues, as well as Sunset Avenue at Badillo Street, as the investigation and manhunt continued Saturday afternoon.
Anyone with information can reach sheriff’s homicide detectives, who are assisting West Covina police in the investigating, at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Article source: http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvcrime/2016/05/21/police-officer-wounded-in-west-covina-shooting-suspect-sought/