Transient Wanted In Killing of Woman In East L.A.

November 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Authorities today named a man wanted as a suspect in the beating death of his 21-year-old girlfriend, whose body was found next to a cemetery and freeway in East Los Angeles.

Antonio Medina, 28, is being sought in the death of Kassandra Ochoa, whose body was found about 1 a.m. Saturday in the 400 block of South Sydney Drive, between the Long Beach (710) Freeway and New Calvary Cemetery, the sheriff’s department reported

Deputies responding to an “assault with a deadly weapon” found Ochoa bleeding and unresponsive, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, according to the county coroner’s office.

Deputies searching for murder suspect Antonio Medina. (LASD)

Deputies searching for murder suspect Antonio Medina. (LASD)

“Medina … was seen fleeing the scene after he was heard arguing with the victim, according to witness accounts,” according to a sheriff’s statement.

Medina is believed to be a transient, and is known to frequent the East Los Angeles area. Detectives believe he might still be in the area and circulated photos of Medina, described as Hispanic, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, and weighing about 180 pounds. According to witness accounts, he appeared to be wearing a grey thermal shirts and dark pants at the time of the incident.

Anyone knowing his whereabouts was urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

Reward Offered in East L.A. Shooting

November 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

(CNS) – A $20,000 reward was being offered Tuesday for information leading to whoever shot and killed a 21-year-old college football player in East Los Angeles nearly 2 1/2 years ago.

Gabriel Soto of Monterey Park was one of two men shot around 2:50 a.m. on May 25, 2013 at 601 S. McDonnell Ave., according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The 2009 Garfield High School graduate died at a hospital. The other victim was shot in a leg, treated at a hospital and released.

A freelance television producer said the victims and other people were at a party in a home’s garage when a suspect approached and opened fire.

The suspect was described at the time as an Latino male, about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and about 150 pounds with long black hair.

County Supervisor Hilda Solis will join Sheriff Jim McDonnell, homicide bureau detectives and Soto’s family members at a news conference in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon to announce the reward being offered for information leading to the arrest or conviction of suspects in the case.

Anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of the killer was urged to call 911 or the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. All tips can be made anonymously.

Man Fatally Shot in East L.A.

November 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A 48-year-old man was shot and killed in unincorporated East Los Angeles, authorities said Tuesday.

The shooting occurred in the 100 block of South Bonnie Beach Place around 9:50 p.m. Monday, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Israel Renteria.

The victim was fired upon in the street and died at the scene, Renteria said.

Witnesses told investigators they heard gunshots, but did not see any suspects or vehicles in the area, Deputy Mike Barraza said.

Teen Fatally Stabbed In East L.A.

October 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Authorities Monday identified a 17-year-old boy who was fatally stabbed in East Los Angeles by an assailant who remains at large.

Israel Luna of Los Angeles died at a hospital after being stabbed at 11:10 p.m. Friday in the 5000 block of Whittier Boulevard, said coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter.

Deputies dispatched on a “person down” call found the teen lying in the street suffering from a stab wound to the upper body, said sheriff’s Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez.

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


Search On for East L.A. Area Robbery Suspect

October 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Detectives with the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station are asking for the public’s help to identify a bicycle riding, mask wearing man suspected of robbing several businesses in the area.

Sheriff’s detectives have released photos of the suspect described as a male Hispanic, 30-40 years of age, 5”6” tall and weighing about 160 pounds, who deputies said rides a 10-speed bicycle to his crime location.

Video image of alleged suspect in East L.A. area robberies. Courtesy LASD.

Video image of alleged suspect in East L.A. area robberies. Courtesy LASD.

Before entering the business, he puts on a Halloween mask he carries in a plastic grocery bag,

Armed with a handgun, the suspect usually demands victims give him their personal jewelry, however, in one of his most recent robberies, he robbed a local bakery of money, according to detectives.

Authorities said the suspect speaks both English and Spanish. EAST LA Robbery Suspectuser38173-1444538676-media1

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact East Los Angeles Sheriff detectives L. Sanchez at (323) 981-5044, or Detective E. Sanchez at

If you wish to remain anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website


Veteran Monument Tagging: Ultimate Disrespect

August 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s a sad sign of the times, the careless damage caused by graffiti vandals who care more about the thrill of tagging highly visible places than the damage they cause to respected landmarks and symbols of culture and community pride.

Last Friday, the Facebook page “You Know You Are From East LA if:” posted a photo of the heavily graffiti-tagged Mexican-American All Wars Memorial, a highly respected monument in Boyle Heights.

Read this article in Spanish: Voluntarios Limpian Monumento en Cinco Puntos Después de Ser Vandalizado

Comments to the post inspired a group of outraged East Los Angeles residents and veteran supporters to take action into their own hands. They feared the city would take too long to clean the monument located at Cinco Puntos, the place where East Cesar Chavez Avenue, Lorena Street and three other streets intersect.

(Courtesy of Rocio Molina)

East L.A. residents gathered Saturday and Sunday to clean up the Mexican-Åmerican All Wars Memorial in Boyle Heights that had been heavily tagged. (Courtesy of Rocio Molina)

The memorial is dedicated to Mexican American veterans – dead and alive – who have served in any branch of the Armed Services. It’s the site of an annual 24-hour Memorial Day vigil where veterans and others stand watch in respect for the country’s fallen heroes.

“It’s very upsetting and disrespectful that people do this! Everything has a limit,” volunteer Rocio Molina told EGP.

About a dozen people spent Saturday and Sunday cleaning the monument: They brought their own cleaning and paint supplies to remove the “atrocity” caused by one of the area’s many tagging crews, sometime around Aug. 20.

“Veterans have done so much for the country and to see something like this, it hits your pride,” said Molina.

Tony Zapata, commander of the Veterans for Foreign War Post 4696, told EGP they offered to reimburse the volunteers for the cost of material but they didn’t accept it. “They just organized and cleaned it up,” he said proudly. “It is great to see the community getting together for a good cause,” added the Navy veteran.

Courtesy of Rocio Molina)

(Courtesy of Rocio Molina)


East L.A. Barricade Ends in Arrest

August 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A sheriff’s SWAT team fired tear gas into an East L.A. residence Tuesday and flushed out an armed suspected gang member who had been barricaded inside for some six hours, authorities said.

The suspect was forced out of the residence around 12:25 a.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Kelvin Moody said. No injuries were reported, he said.

The suspect and another male were spotted by patrolling members of an anti-gang unit Monday, but both fled before detectives could speak to them, said Deputy Mike Barraza.

The suspect ran into a residence in the 4300 block of Folsom Street around 6 p.m., Barraza said. The other male who fled was detained, he said.

The sheriff’s special weapons unit was sent to the scene around 9:45 p.m. Monday, Barraza said, adding that occupants of the targeted residence were safely evacuated. Surrounding residences were evacuated as well, according to reports from the scene.

710 DEIR Flawed, Says County Health Official

August 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

East Los Angeles resident and business owner Amaury Reducindo has attended his fair share of meetings about the State Route 710 North project. It’s a project he says always leads to his neighbors fighting over the freeway tunnel and light rail train alternatives proposed to improve traffic in the region.

“It seems we are being herded to pick the better choice when we should be asking for the best choice,” he said Monday during a meeting at the East Los Angeles Library.

“Lets return to the drawing board and look for something that is really going to benefit us,” Reducindo said.

He was not alone, a dozen speakers expressed frustration over proposals they claim will displace more homes and businesses in a community already divided by more than its share of freeways and the Metro Gold Line.

A map depicts the path of the proposed Light Rail Train alternative for the SR710 North Project, which travels  7.5 miles from Pasadena to East Los Angeles. (Metro)

A map depicts the path of the proposed Light Rail Train alternative for the SR710 North Project, which travels 7.5 miles from Pasadena to East Los Angeles. (Metro)

Sup. Hilda Solis hosted the meeting, which included health experts advising the 60 or so attendees they should also be worried about issues that could harm their health.

Dr. Cyrus Rangan, director of the Toxicology and Environmental Assessment Bureau for the County Public Health Department, said Metro’s Draft Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (DIR/EIS) does not adequately address the transportation project’s impact on public health. His unexpected assessment came just two days before the end of the public comment period for the environmental document.

It was the first time a county official had made such a declarative statement criticizing the report since its release in March.

From particle pollution and radioactive substances to noise and ground vibrations, the DEIR “does not address these exposures adequately to our satisfaction,” he said frankly.

Rangan and Andrea Hricko, a professor of clinical preventive medicine at the USC Keck School of Medicine, detailed their concerns with the state mandated document that is supposed to describe the impact each alternative will have on the environment.

“Due to the complexity of this extremely technical EIR document, I instructed both the Department of Public Works and Department of Public Health to review the document and submit letters specific to their respective areas of expertise,” Solis told EGP in a statement.

The supervisor, however, did not say whether she agrees with the health experts’ concerns or if she too would like to see the EIR redone.

Hricko said a major flaw of the DEIR is that it failed to include information about the project’s role in completing the plan for “goods movement” started decades ago when the freeway was first built.

“By ignoring this, they [Metro] are actually being very deceptive,” she said.

For years, critics of the freeway expansion, first as a surface freeway and now possibly a tunnel, have argued that financial interests tied to the movement of goods from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are at the center of efforts to extend the freeway, thereby closing the transportation gap for trucks headed north.

That goal would be met at the expense of the environment and public health, they claim.

Health experts have long said that large numbers of trucks moving goods come with their own set of potential health risks.

Rangan and Hricko agree.

Rangan said county health officials would be submitting a document outlining the department’s many health concerns. Hricko said she and other USC professors would be doing the same.

“Metro must redo the study,” Hricko said emphatically. At the very least, “if the light rail were chosen, then Metro and Caltrans must do an EIR just for that alternative,” she emphasized.

Eastside resident takes notes during a discussion with health experts Monday on the SR710 North project’s draft environmental impact report at the East Los Angeles Library. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Eastside resident takes notes during a discussion with health experts Monday on the SR710 North project’s draft environmental impact report at the East Los Angeles Library. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Metro looks forward to reading the comments formally submitted before the comment period closed, agency spokesman Paul Gonzales told EGP in a statement.

“After that, Caltrans will review the comments and questions and respond as warranted,” he said.

The long battle did not originally include East L.A. An alternative for a light rail traveling on an elevated track through East L.A. was added in 2012, bringing eastside residents into the conversation that until then had for the most part been taking place in more affluent communities. As proposed, the light rail would go underground in those cities: South Pasadena, San Marino and La Cañada, leaving eastside residents to feel they will again be forced to bare the brunt of the region’s transportations needs.

In desperation, many people have decided to support the tunnel option because they want to keep the light rail out of their backyards, some speakers said.

“We have been taken by surprise,” said Reducindo. “The fact is that we are not well informed and [are just now] learning more and more about the real impact this project will have on our residents and community.”

If she had to choose just one option, Sonia Fernandez said it would be the tunnel because it’s “the one with the lowest impact to our community.” She accused Metro of not consulting with the East L.A. community before proposing alternatives that will greatly affect the area.

At previous meetings conducted by Metro, eastside residents said they are fed up with the “plague” of pollution and health issues their predominately Latino neighborhood has been forced to endure for the benefit of the region. They said they are tired of the dangerous toxic emissions from heavily traveled freeways in their area.

“I don’t think they take into account the health issues in the area,” said Rachel Vermillion, who lives a stone’s throw from the 710 freeway. “We have cases of asthma, autism and diabetes in the area.”

Residents have even gone as far as accusing Metro and Caltrans of environmental racism.

“For many years our community has been ignored, not just over health but cultural and environmental injustices,” Fernandez said.

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, who represents the unincorporated areas of East L.A. and surrounding communities in the 40th district, previously told EGP the light rail alternative is one more example of a minority community being sacrificed to appease neighborhoods that are more affluent.

“While the light rail is being proposed under the guise of a regional solution, the fact is it is nothing more than an irresponsible and unconscionable response to the more influential areas opposing the logical completion of the 710 Freeway,” she told EGP in a statement.

Doelorez Huerta, an environmental activist in the area, gave Solis’ staff a stack of petitions Monday she said were signed by hundreds of residents. The petitions ask for Metro and Caltrans to hold more public meetings in East Los Angeles in hope that the process will be reset to the scoping phase.

“No tunnel, no train, no way,” she said. “Lets start this over and include East L.A. from the start.”

CHP Investigates East L.A. Hit-and-Run

July 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

California Highway Patrol officers were searching Thursday for a hit-and-run driver who seriously injured a pedestrian in East Los Angeles.

The pedestrian, whose name was not released, was struck by a vehicle shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, on Herbert Avenue in East Los Angeles, according to CHP Officer Patrick Kimball. The driver then fled the scene.

The pedestrian suffered broken bones, including broken legs, and was taken to County-USC Medical Center for treatment by paramedics, according to CHP Officer Tony Polizzi.

The pedestrian’s gender, age and condition were not immediately available, Polizzi said.

‘East LA Interchange’ Film Documents Boyle Heights’ Evolution

July 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

You’ve probably heard the old adage, “All roads lead to Rome.”

In Los Angeles, “All freeways lead to East Los Angeles.”

That’s the foundation behind a full-length documentary making its world preview Sunday at the Downtown Film Festival L.A.

Located at the intersection of the 101 Hollywood, 5 Santa Ana, 5 Golden State, 10 San Bernardino and 60 Pomona freeways, Boyle Heights is just east of Downtown Los Angeles.

Eight years in the making, “East LA Interchange” a new documentary from Bluewater Media, chronicles the working-class area’s change from a multiethnic Los Angeles neighborhood to one that is predominately Latino and its thrust into becoming the center of Mexican-American culture and political activism in the United States in order to survive.

Boyle Heights was once home to Japanese, Russians, Jews, Italians and other ethnic groups, many of them immigrants, as well as long-established Mexican American families. There was a harmony to their co-existence; remnants of which can still be found in the buildings, landmarks and the people who left, but continue to return to this day.

People like of The Black Eyed Peas.

“I came back because I am who I am because of the community I grew up in,” says the musical performer whose nonprofit foundation supports a variety of programs in Boyle Height.

Xavi Moreno is featured in East LA Interchange, a new documentary directed by Betsy Kahlin, making its world premier July 26 at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles.  (© 2015 Chris Chew/Bluewater Media)

Xavi Moreno is featured in East LA Interchange, a new documentary directed by Betsy Kahlin, making its world premier July 26 at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. (© 2015 Chris Chew/Bluewater Media)

But few things can escape the ravages of time unscathed. Survival takes dedication and action.

That’s been the history of Boyle Heights and the story documented in East LA Interchange.

Using old video footage, photographs, headlines from newspapers like the Eastside Sun and on-screen interviews, the film examines how the Boyle Heights neighborhood found its political voice in its fight against the building of the largest freeway interchange system in the nation: A system that bisected the neighborhood’s physical landscape but not its sense of community.

The documentary also examines how residents are continuing their political struggle today, organizing against a new era of issues, speaking out for their rights as a predominately Latino, working-class, immigrant, community.

But with the higher cost of living and pressure on land values, the question remains: Can Boyle Heights survive the next round of challenges from environmental pollution, industrialization, development and gentrification?

It’s a scenario being played out in urban areas all across the country.

“East LA Interchange provides a compelling look at what the future of what America can be if communities like Boyle Heights work together to secure our nation’s pledge of providing justice for all,” say the film’s producers.

The film, executive produced and directed by Betsy Kahlin, features narration by actor Danny Trejo (Machete) and interviews with (The Black Eyed Peas), Father Greg Boyle (Homeboy Industries), and actress and author Josefina López (Real Women Have Curves), as well as an original song by Raul Pacheco (Ozomatli).

“Boyle Heights stands for what we could become if we stood against forgetting that we belong to each other,” says Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries

East LA Interchange premiers this Sunday, July 26 during the Downtown Film Festival L.A. It will screen at 3 p.m. at the Regent Theater: 448 S. Main Street, Los Angeles 90013.

Watch the Trailer featuring



Next Page »

Copyright © 2015 Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews, Inc. ·