Man Assaulted, Robbed While Walking in East LA

September 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A man in his 40s was robbed by two males while walking down a street in East Los Angeles, authorities said Tuesday.

The robbery occurred around 11:50 p.m. Monday in the 1200 block of Woods Avenue as the victim walked northbound and was approached by robbers from behind, said Lt. Glenn Walsh of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s East Los Angeles Station.

When the victim turned around, he was punched in the face and knocked to the ground, and the robbers took a gold chain from his neck, he said, adding that one of them patted the victim down while he was on the ground and retrieved his wallet, took cash out, then tossed it before taking off running

with the other assailant.

The victim suffered injuries to his face but did not require medical care, according to Walsh.

The victim described his assailants to police as being around 5 feet 10 and 170 pounds each. One was wearing a blue hoodie and dark jeans and the other was wearing a white sweatshirt.

Knife Attack Suspect in Custody

September 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

EAST LOS ANGELES – A 29-year-old man suspected of carrying out a knife attack on a woman in East Los Angeles remains in custody Friday.

The 23-year-old victim who was taken to the hospital for stab wounds to her hands and arms remained in stable condition today, said Lt. Alex Salinas of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s East Los Angeles station.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, also was taken to the hospital following the attack, which was reported at 10:19 p.m. Wednesday near the intersection of Whittier Boulevard and Clela Avenue.

Salinas said deputies who happened to have been in the area used force to take down the man, who later told deputies he had been high on meth all day prior to the attack. Taking him to the hospital was common practice because force was used, but the man was not injured, Salinas said.

The victim was in line at a taco truck with her mother when the suspect grabbed her by the neck and dragged her away, Salinas said.

A man driving by who saw the attack attempted to scare off the suspect with a crowbar but was unsuccessful, according to Salinas. The good Samaritan sustained a minor injury while attempting to stop the attack but not one that warranted a hospital trip, he added.

DUI/Driver License Checkpoints Coming to East L.A.

September 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The CHP will conduct a sobriety/driver license checkpoint in the unincorporated area of East Los Angeles Friday night.

The law enforcement agency cautioned motorists to “Designate before you Celebrate” over the three-day Labor Day weekend.

CHP officers trained to detect alcohol and/or impaired drivers will be equipped with state of the art, hand held breath testing devices, the agency said in a press release.

The hand held devices provide an accurate measure of blood alcohol concentrations of suspected impaired drivers, according to the CHP.

The agency did not reveal the checkpoint location, but noted that motorists in the area Friday night would see signs advising them a checkpoint is ahead. Drivers found to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can expect to be arrested.

Sheriffs Need Public’s Help to Catch Armed Robber

August 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Sheriff’s detectives sought the public’s help in identifying a gunman who robbed $20 from an East Los Angeles discount store.

The crime occurred about 4:20 p.m. on Aug. 3 at Mayra’s 99 Cent Discount store in the 100 block of Mednick Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

“The victim saw what he believed to be the butt-stock of a firearm when the suspect lifted his shirt to display the firearm in his waistband,” according to a sheriff’s department statement.

The gunman made off with $20 in miscellaneous currency and was last seen on foot heading west toward Gleason Street.

He was described as 20-25 years old with facial acne and was wearing a black hoodie over a black cap, beige knee-length shorts and black shoes and socks.

Anyone with information about the suspect was urged to call the sheriff’s East Los Angeles Station at (323) 264-4151. Anonymous tips can be submitted through crime stoppers by calling (800) 222-TIPS or at the website

Charter Bus From East L.A. Crashes in Merced

August 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A charter bus operated by an East Los Angeles company and driven by a Los Angeles man crashed into a freeway-sign pole in the Merced area Tuesday, killing five people and nearly shearing the bus in half.

The crash was reported about 3:30 a.m. on northbound state Route 99 near Liberty Avenue, according to the California Highway Patrol. According to authorities at the scene, there were 25 people aboard the bus, with five killed and 16 injured.

The driver, identified by the CHP as Mario David Vasquez, 57, of Los Angeles, suffered major injuries. The cause of the crash was still under investigation, but authorities said the bus swerved off the highway and slammed head-on into the pole, which sliced length-wise through the coach.

The bus was operated by Autobuses Coordinados USA, which has an office in East Los Angeles. CHP officials said the bus was traveling from Mexico to Washington and was in Los Angeles Monday night.

The names of the people killed were not immediately released.

Man Fatally Shot at Party

August 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A 19-year-old man was shot and killed Sunday, apparently by someone in a group of people who were asking him to leave a large party.

It happened at 3:28 a.m. in the 200 block of North Alma Avenue in East Los Angeles, according to Deputy Crystal Hernandez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

The victim was identified as Ernesto Cervantes of Los Angeles, according to the coroner’s office.

According to witnesses, Cervantes was seen outside a large party talking to a group of people. They were telling him to leave when several gunshots were fired at him, Deputy Mike Barraza of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.

Deputies responding to the scene regarding gunshots heard in the area found the victim lying in the street suffering from gunshot wounds, Barraza said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sheriff’s homicide detectives asked anyone with information regarding the shooting to call them at (323) 890-5500.

City Atty. Targets East L.A. Bar for Shut Down

July 28, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer is taking legal steps to halt alleged criminal activity centered around a bar in East Los Angeles.

Feuer announced July 21 that his office is requesting legal injunctions that include having a court-appointed receiver take over management of the El Troquero Bar at 2119 E. Cesar Chavez Ave.

City attorneys allege the bar is frequented by gang members, and employees use the bar as a base for selling cocaine and methamphetamine. They claim the activity has been going on for years.

The bar has been the site of at least two shootings, including 2014 gunfire that took place outside and resulted in the death of one person. The illegal and nuisance activity has been going on for several years, according to Feuer’s office.

City attorneys also allege employees get a commission for selling alcohol to patrons, and that alcohol is being sold to customers who are clearly intoxicated

Feuer said he is going after the bar because one property can often “erode public safety and the quality of life for an entire neighborhood.”

“Every business and property owner has a responsibility to the community,” he said. “My office will continue to hold accountable those whom we allege flout the law or facilitate illicit illegal activity.”

Other nuisance activity allegedly regularly spills out of the bar into the surrounding community, including a myriad of violent crimes such as assaults, robberies at gunpoint and shootings.

The lawsuit was filed against the bar’s owner, the property owner, as well as several employees. In addition to the receivership, Feuer also is requesting extra security features at the property, and for orders preventing the employees named in the lawsuit from getting within 1,000 feet of the bar.

ELAC Names Scholar-Athletes of the Year

July 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Basketball’s Izaiah Sweeney, left, and badminton’s Jean Mornelle Buenaflor were named the male and female athletes of the year, respectively at the East Los Angeles College Department of Athletics’ 16th Annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Dinner. Sweeney was named all-state after helping lead the Huskies to the state final four, and Buenaflor helped ELAC win its first-ever state doubles championship. Alumnus James Sams, middle, the principal at Bell Gardens Elementary School, was the keynote speaker. Sams was a two-time all-conference tackle on the Husky football teams in 1988 and ’89. The event was held July 21 in the multi-purpose room in the new ELAC Student Center.

(Photo be Mario Villegas)

(Photo be Mario Villegas)

Bell Gardens Man Pleads Not Guilty to Murder Charges

July 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A Bell Gardens man accused in the shooting deaths of two brothers at a county park in East Los Angeles last November pleaded not guilty last week to murder charges.

Pedro Vasquez, 23, was charged April 6 with the Nov. 22, 2015, killings of Antonio Aguilar, 33, and Juan Aguilar, 28, at Ruben Salazar Park.

The murder charges include the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, but prosecutors have yet to decide whether to pursue the death penalty.

Vasquez allegedly approached the two men at the park and opened fire on them, with both suffering multiple gunshot wounds.

Juan Aguilar had once dated Vasquez’s sister, according to authorities, who have not disclosed a motive for the killings.

Vasquez has remained jailed since his April 4 arrest. He is due back at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse Aug. 11, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.

East L.A. Seniors Work Together to Fight Depression, Loneliness

July 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The setting was casual, from the coffee and Mexican bread on the table, to the prayer recited in both English and Spanish to get the meeting started.

The men and women, most of them elderly, Latino and low-income, had gathered July 7 at the Ruben Salazar Park Senior Center in East Los Angeles to share their life experiences. It was the first official meeting of the “Angels Support Group,” a volunteer effort to help seniors dealing with depression, loneliness and isolation. It’s a form of group therapy among friends, is how one person described the meeting.

Lea este artículo en Español: Personas Mayores del Este de Los Ángeles Luchan Contra la Depresión y la Soledad

Shy at first, one by one the participants, speaking mostly in Spanish, shared personal stories of pain.

Participants were told they could talk about anything and for many that meant digging into long time feelings of grief. For others, it was a chance to help someone by sharing ways to cope and move past the pain.

“My daughter died 11 years ago and I still cry over her death,” said Rosa Perez.

For years, I cried over my mother’s death, then one day she appeared to me in a dream and told me not to suffer anymore, shared Manuela Tlatenchi. “Tears don’t allow the dead to rest in peace,” she reflected.

“I felt depressed until I started volunteering and giving back to my community,” said Marcelo Vazquez, a volunteer instructor at the park.

Chris Mojica just celebrated his 85th birthday. He’s a long time senior center volunteer and co-leader of the Angels Support Group and says he personally knows of at least 20 seniors who died at home alone.

“They are elders who have family, but at the same time they [are all alone] because they don’t visit each other,” he said. The seniors “feel really sad and they stay home waiting to die,” he lamented.

According to the California Department of Aging (CDA), California has one of the fastest growing populations in the country. Los Angeles County’s elder population is nearly 1,190,000, according to the CDA. Of those, about 718,000 are minorities and 188,000 live alone.

(EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

(EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

By 2020, it’s estimated that 14% of the country’s seniors (60 and older) will live in California.
Seeking mental health services or grief counseling is rare for elderly Latinos.

The idea for the senior support group came from talking to so many older people at the center who seemed depressed or were very sick, said Mojica.

Depression is a problem that needs to be addressed with love and compassion, adds Ray Guerrero, another long time volunteer and group co-leader. “Laughing out loud is great therapy,” he pointed out.

The group plans to meet Thursday mornings at Salazar Park. About 20 people attended the first gathering last week. As part of the “group therapy,” seniors are encouraged to get out more and take part in recreational activities with other members. It doesn’t matter if they choose to take a knitting class, work in one of the gardens outside the senior center, learn to play guitar or just socialize with their fellow elders, because the goal is just to keep the seniors busy.

An important component of the new group is keeping track of one another when away from the center. They’ve formed a phone tree of sorts, and members are encouraged to call other members regularly to see how they are doing. The group will also visit or send cards to seniors who wind up in the hospital or a convalescent home.

A $5 monthly donation—not required but suggested—will help pay for outings to museums, the zoo and the movies.

Seniors form circle of prayer at first meeting of Angels Support Group at Salazar Park. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Seniors form circle of prayer at first meeting of Angels Support Group at Salazar Park. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Every month the group will celebrate the birthdays taking place that month, said Mojica, adding that they rely on volunteers and donations to make things happen.

As with many new groups, the Angels Support Group must still overcome a number of management issues, such as keeping track of donations and planning field trips.

Our plans are big, but the need is bigger than what we can do on our own, said 71-year-old Guerrero. “We have the ideas, but we don’t have the strength” or know how to carry some of the ideas through, Guerrero said. “We need help from [younger] volunteers and we need donations from people and from our (elected) representatives,” he added.

Participants at the first Angels Support Group meeting said they are excited about the new venture and hope more people will start attending.

“Not everybody feels comfortable with the group and they don’t [yet] feel the need to be part of it,” explained Guerrero. “But it is always good to laugh and talk to other people because we tend to feel alone sometimes,” he noted.

“I could be fishing now, I could be doing something else, but I’d rather be here and help the group,” said Guerrero with a smile. “I like this center.”


Twitter @jackiereporter

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