FedEx Sued for Crash that Killed Man in East L.A.

May 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

FedEx Office and Print Services Inc. and one of its drivers are being by relatives of a man killed when a van crashed into an East Los Angeles building in February.

The estate of Isaac Laureano filed the negligence suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, naming the courier giant and driver Brandon Thomas Groff. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

A FedEx representative did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

Laureano was working on a computer at his desk in an office building near Telegraph Road and McBride Avenue about 4:15 p.m. Feb. 5 when Groff, driving at a high speed and not fully paying attention, “violently smashed into the building and then violently collided with decedent,” according to the lawsuit.

Laureano was pinned against a wall and suffered “internal damages so as to kill him in a horrific manner,” according to the complaint.

FedEx was negligent in its hiring, supervision and retention of Groff, the suit alleges.

Suspect Pleads Not Guilt to Grandmother’s Killing

May 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

An East Los Angeles woman accused in the beating death of her 82-year-old grandmother pleaded not guilty Monday to a murder charge.

Rebecca Surratt, 25, is due back in court on June 15, when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Surratt lived with her mother and grandmother, Martha Yslas, at home in the 300 block of South Woods Avenue.

On May 6, Surratt allegedly got into an argument with her grandmother and inflicted injuries that led to the victim’s hospitalization and death the following day.

“As far as we can tell, she got upset at her grandma and beat her up,” sheriff’s Detective Theo Baljet told the Los Angeles Times. “She punched her and kicked her and possibly choked her.”

Surratt is being held on $2 million bail and faces up to 26 years to life in prison if convicted as charged.

Presidential Campaigns Head to L.A.

May 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump and the two contenders for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have all made multiple appearances in the Southland over the last few days, rallying up support for their respective campaigns.

Both Clinton and Trump were in Orange County Wednesday, the same day the former secretary of state’s handling of email again came under fire and another Trump rally sparked unrest.

But that issue was far from people’s minds during Clinton’s speech at the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 324 in Buena Park, where she lashed out at Republican economic policies, saying “it is a historic fact our economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House.”

“Now look, they (Republicans) do have a point of view — I know and respect they are consistent, consistently wrong, but they are consistent. They believe that if they just keep cutting taxes on the wealthy, it’ll all trickle down. They did it. They took a machete to the tax system. They cut taxes on the wealthy. They took their eyes off the financial markets and the mortgage market, and you know what happened — and California was especially hard hit; 9 million Americans lost their jobs, 5 million homes were lost.”

Clinton said Trump’s economic plan is “by a billionaire for billionaires.”

Californians haven’t seen this level of presidential primary attention in years, especially given Trump’s and Clinton’s large leads in the delegate counts.

Sanders has been campaigning hard across the state and on Monday he told thousands of supporters in Lincoln Heights that his grassroots campaign would carry him to victory in the June 7 California primary election.

“There are more delegates at stake in California, 475, more than any other state in the country, and let me tell you something that many of you also know: We are going to win the state of California,” Sanders said.

Sanders hit heavily on issues of immigration reform, an end to deportations, protecting voting rights and boosting wages.

“In this country, if you work 40 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty,” he said. “That is why I was so proud to work with the workers in the fast food industry who went out on strike from McDonalds and Burger King who stood up and told this nation they cannot make it on the starvation minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. They demanded, and I support a $15 an hour minimum wage  $15 an hour and the right to form a union.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders brought his presidential campaign to Lincoln Heights Monday, where his call for income equality was cheered by thousands of supporter. (EGP Photo by Hector Cruz Sandoval)

Sen. Bernie Sanders brought his presidential campaign to Lincoln Heights Monday, where his call for income equality was cheered by thousands of supporter. (EGP Photo by Hector Cruz Sandoval)

On Wednesday, Trump pulled no punches during his afternoon speech at the Anaheim

Convention Center, peppering his speech with attacks on Clinton, using his much-repeated term, “Crooked Hillary.”

“She doesn’t have the temperament to be president,” he said. “She’s got horribly bad judgment, and that was stated by none other than crazy Bernie (Sanders)… “She’s a crooked as they come.”

Trump  also commented on signs he spotted in the crowd, including one that read, “Hispanic female veteran.”

“Three great words. That’s so nice, thank you,” he said.

Responding to a group of people with signs that said “Latinos for Trump,” he said, “I love that” and added, “By the way, you’re all here legally.”

“Your jobs aren’t going to be taken away by people who just came from across the border,” Trump said. “… I have great relationships with the Hispanics. We’re going to do very well with the Hispanics because we’re going to create jobs. Jobs is what this country needs.”

“I have thousands of Hispanics who work for me. They are phenomenal people,” he said.

His speech was interrupted briefly early on by a protester in the crowd, and Trump bellowed from the stage, “Get him out.” He added, “Don’t hurt him,” noting that he was “saying that for the cameras.”

Trump has been under fire throughout his campaign for his comments about immigrants from Mexico, calling them criminals and rapists.

In the midst of Wednesday’s campaigning, the State Department’s inspector general issued a highly critical analysis of Clinton’s email practices while she was secretary of state. He concluded that she failed to seek legal approval for her use of a private server and that department staff would not have given its blessings because of security risks.

The inspector general’s 83-page report was also critical of several of Clinton’s predecessors.

Sanders held a midday rally Wednesday in Cathedral City in Riverside County, followed by a late-afternoon event at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster.

Wednesday was the third consecutive day Clinton was in Los Angeles or Orange counties. It was the fourth consecutive day for Sanders.

‘Innovative’ Arts Grant Available to Nonprofits

April 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

An Eastside grant-making program is reaching out to art-related nonprofit groups seeking grant assistance to fund “new and innovative arts initiatives for furthering the arts in the greater eastern part of Los Angeles County.”

The Eastside Arts Initiative (EAI) Council, in partnership with LA Plaza de Culturas y Artes and the California Community Foundation (CCF), is now accepting applications for the spring competitive grant cycle open through May 16.

Funding cycles take place in the fall and spring. A total of $150,000 will be awarded during the current cycle.

During the fall, EAI grants were awarded to About Productions-Young Theatre Works Chicano Legacy Project; Los Angeles Music and Art School-tuition-free symphony and choirs programs; Los Angeles Theatre Academy-Cri-Cri the Musical; Brown Fist Productions-Eastside Heartbeats; Loyola Marymount University-“Variedades” Olvera Street Project, among others.

For more information on the grant application guidelines or to apply online, visit www.eastsideartsinitative.org or call (213) 542-6243.

Man Killed in East L.A. Identified

April 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The coroner’s office Monday released the name of a man wanted for kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon who was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies in an unincorporated section of East Los Angeles after he reportedly came out of a residence and threatened them with a handgun.

He was 33-year-old Angel Montion, according to the coroner’s office. His cause of death was reported as multiple gunshot wounds.

The drama began about 10 a.m. Wednesday, when deputies from the East L.A. station tried to arrest the suspect for a kidnapping and assault attack that took place March 19, near Rowan Avenue and Cesar Chavez Boulevard, according to the sheriff’s department.

Instead Montion ran and barricaded himself inside a residence in the 6400 block of Northside Drive, according to Deputy Lisa Jansen.

Hours later Montion came outside holding a handgun and allegedly threatened sheriff’s personnel on scene. At that time a deputy-involved shooting took place, Jansen continued. The suspect was hit by several rounds in the chest.

East L.A. Kidnapping Suspect in Custody

March 31, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A suspect in a kidnapping who was holed up in a residence in the East Los Angeles area Wednesday was taken into custody and brought to a hospital.

Special Enforcement Bureau deputies were sent to the 6400 block of Northside Drive late this morning, according to the sheriff’s department.

Traffic was routed away from the area. The suspect was taken out of the building in the late afternoon.

The suspect’s condition was not known.

Details about the kidnapping were not immediately released.

The case is being investigated by homicide detectives.

Police Shoot Murder Suspect in East L.A.

March 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A man wanted on suspicion of attempted murder was wounded Wednesday in an officer-involved shooting in East Los Angeles.

The shooting occurred about 9:20 a.m. near Woods Avenue and Fourth Street, and the man was taken to a hospital in unknown condition, said Monterey Park police Lt. Carrie Mazelin.

No officers were hurt, Mazelin said, adding that the suspect “was wanted for an attempted murder over the weekend in Monterey Park.”

The officers were serving an arrest warrant when the shooting occurred, according to NBC4. Details of the crime for which the suspect was being sought were not immediately released by police, but reports from the scene indicated that it was a shooting at a convenience store.

The officer-involved shooting occurred about a block away from Garfield High School, whose operations were not affected.

It was not immediately known if the suspect exchanged gunfire with officers this morning. A Monterey Park police car at the shooting scene had what appeared to be several bullet holes in the windshield.

The officer-involved shooting occurred in unincorporated county area just south of Monterey Park. Sheriff’s homicide detectives were assisting Monterey Park police in the investigation.

Search Continues for Gunman In East L.A. Shooting

February 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Augmented by a $10,000 reward offer, the search will continue for the gunman who shot two brothers of a Compton city councilman in East L.A., killing one of them in what authorities call a targeted gang attack but that the councilman describes as a case of mistaken identity.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $10,000 reward on Tuesday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman who shot Councilmember Isaac Galvan’s brothers. Supervisor Hilda Solis authored the motion.

Compton Mayor Aja Brown Tuesday issued a statement in support of Galvan.

“The Compton City Council joins with our residents in mourning the loss of Councilmember Isaac Galvan’s brother and in extending our thoughts, prayers and love to his mother, his brother’s children and entire family.

“We also hope for a quick recovery for his injured brother. Compton stands with East L.A. residents in the fight against gun violence.”

The shooting took place in the 900 block of South La Verne Avenue just after noon Monday, said sheriff’s Deputy Mike Barraza. Compton City Councilman Isaac Galvan announced on his Facebook page Monday afternoon that his brothers Dennis and Larry (Lorenzo) Galvan had been shot in front of his mother’s house, and Larry had been killed.

“I’m glad my little brother Dennis was able to go home today by only being shot in the foot,” Galvan wrote. “I’m sad to say my other little brother Larry did not make it.”

“He was shot multiple times in the chest and died of cardiac arrest. I really want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers for my family.”

Galvan said the death of his 27-year-old brother “will not be in vain.”

“He leaves behind three brothers, a mother, many friends and three beautiful children who through their lives, his memory will live on.”

Galvan told reporters outside his mother’s home Tuesday that the shooting of his brothers was a case of mistaken identity.

“My brothers are not gang members,” Galvan said. “They had their flaws but they are not gang members.”
In response to a question as to whether someone was out to get his brothers, Galvan adamantly responded, “Absolutely not.”

The two Galvan brothers were walking south on La Verne Avenue when a man walked up, pulled out a gun and shot them, Barraza said. They were taken to a hospital, where Larry Galvan died.

The gunman fled the scene in an SUV headed north on La Verne Avenue. The shooting of Galvan’s brothers appeared “gang-related and targeted,” according to the sheriff’s department.

Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS. All tips can be submitted anonymously.

Brothers of Compton Councilman Shot in East L.A.; One Killed

February 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A manhunt was underway today for the gunman who shot two brothers of a Compton city councilman, one of them fatally, in an apparent “gang-related” and “targeted” attack on a street in East Los Angeles, the sheriff’s department said.

The shooting took place in the 900 block of South La Verne Avenue just after noon on Monday, said Deputy Mike Barraza.

Compton City Councilman Isaac Galvan announced on his Facebook page Monday afternoon that his brothers Dennis and Larry Galvan had been shot. Larry Galvan was the brother who died, according to the councilman.

Galvan wrote on Facebook his brothers were shot in front of his mother’s
house.

“I’m glad my little brother Dennis was able to go home today by only being shot in the foot,” Galvan wrote. “I’m sad to say my other little brother Larry did not make it.

“He was shot multiple times in the chest and died of cardiac arrest. I really want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers for my family.

“Although my brother’s life was tragically cut short at the young age of 27, I do find solace in knowing that before he left this earth, he knew the Lord and I’m certain he was able to call out to him before he left us.

“My little brother’s life will not be in vain. He leaves behind three brothers, a mother, many friends and three beautiful children who through their lives, his memory will live on.”

Galvan also posted a photo of himself and his two brothers at a toy giveaway in Compton this year for Christmas.

According to the sheriff’s department, the Galvan brothers were shot in a walk-up attack, not a drive-by.

The brothers were walking south on La Verne Avenue when a man walked up, pulled out a gun and shot them, Barraza said. The brothers were both hit and paramedics took them to a hospital for treatment. Galvan’s brother, Larry, died at the hospital.

The gunman fled the scene in an SUV headed north on La Verne Avenue.

The shooting of Galvan’s brothers appeared “gang-related and targeted,” according to the sheriff’s department.

Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS. All tips can be submitted anonymously.

Residents Are the Heroes In Exide Victory

February 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The unrelenting efforts of residents and community activists deserve credit for California Gov. Brown and state legislators securing nearly $177 million for testing and cleanup of properties contaminated by the Exide Technologies plant in Vernon, state and local Latino leaders said today during a news conference at Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights.

“This is what community looks like,” proclaimed Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, pointing to the group of residents and activist at his side and in the audience.

“This is a watershed moment for all, but there is still much to do.”

He was referring to the people from Boyle Heights, Commerce, East Los Angeles, Maywood and other southeast communities who have spent decades fighting for the state to hear their pleas for justice for the men, women and children being poisoned by high levels of lead, arsenic and other contaminants from the now closed acid-lead battery recycling plant.

“These are reparations,” pointed out Gladys Limon, attorney for Communities for Better Environment. “While Governor Brown proposed this, it took a long time for him to do so.”

After years of silence, Gov. Brown publicly acknowledged the Exide contamination for the first time Wednesday when he asked state legislators to allocate $176.6 million from the general fund for testing and cleanup on the eastside.

The funds, once approved by the California State Senate and Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee, will come in the form of a loan. The state will then go after Exide and any other parties responsible for contamination to recover the costs.

“I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Boyle Heights resident Terry Cano, who lives in a home with high levels of lead in the soil, during the event. “This is long overdue and we can’t stop fighting until the last house is clean.”

The funds will expedite and expand testing for up to 10,000 homes and remove lead-tainted soil from 2,500 residential properties, schools, daycare centers and parks in the 1.7-mile radius surrounding plant. The multi-million spending plan would increase the number of crews assigned to the week-long cleanups from 2 to 40, according to Barbara Lee, director of the Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Many residents have told EGP over the years they are frustrated with inept oversight by the DTSC, and today, many still say they do not trust the agency to handle the funds or the cleanup moving forward.

DTSC allowed Exide to operate for decades on a temporary permit, even after repeatedly being found to have exposed more than 100,000 people to dangerous levels of lead, arsenic and other chemicals and collecting dozens of hazardous waste violations.

“Let me clear, there is no safe level of lead,” de Leon said today.

Local elected officials came together at Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights Friday to praise Eastside residents and environmental activist for pushing the state to  address Exide contamination. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Local elected officials came together at Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights Friday to praise Eastside residents and environmental activist for pushing the state to address Exide contamination. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents Boyle Heights, one of the most severely impacted communities, said he’s anxious to see a timeline for the testing and cleanup process, now that funds will finally be available. He wants strict oversight of state regulators, who have moved slowly to protect the community.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia noted that the funds are “just a down payment, not just in funding but the work from elected officials.” Estimates put the entire cleanup at $400 million, possibly making it the costliest environmental catastrophe in California history.

De Leon told EGP that he has serious concerns about the toxics substances control agency’s ability to handle the cleanup, and said that question would be part of his negotiations with governor’s office moving forward.

As EGP first reported, residents and community activists had grown increasingly frustrated and angry over the “double standard” they observed in the treatment of the mostly-white, affluent Porter Ranch gas leak and the blue collar, and the predominately Latino communities affected by Exide’s lead contamination.

They were angry that there had been no public statement from Brown, and the slow pace of the decontamination process.

It was just a few weeks ago that L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis said she had tried to reach the governor to ask him to allocate $70 million for the cleanup, but he was unresponsive.

“I called the governor and thanked him for the funds,” she said today about his turnaround.

“I also invited him to come and see what’s going on,” she said in Spanish. “He said ‘we’ll see,’” she said.

Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said pressure from the community made the difference.

“The community kept elected officials on task,” said Lara.

“I want to personally thank EGP and the Eastside Sun for their incredible investigative journalism for bringing bright sunshine to residents of Boyle Heights and to this incredible environmental crisis,” said de Leon.

Rev. Monsignor John Moretta earlier in the week told EGP that when the community gathered to celebrate the closure of the Exide plant last year, they thought it was a victory. They have since realized that the real work was still ahead.

The same can be said about the state’s funding now, he said. Moretta and several other people said they want an investigation into state regulators and for Los Angeles’ city attorney and the state attorney to bring legal action against Exide, which has abandoned toxic waste sites in five other parts of the country.

This is not the end, he said.

In the end, the event was intended to be a recognition of the community’s activism.

U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra said holding the celebration at Resurrection Church was fitting.

“Folks had to rise from the ashes again,” he said. “Residents had to each add their grain of sand for years, now the governor has added his.”

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