Pedro Cruz

Violence leaves 4 dead

Feb 19, 2013

TUSTIN – Six people were shot today in Tustin, Ladera Ranch and Orange this morning, four of them fatally, including the suspected shooter, who apparently killed himself, law enforcement officials said.

A preliminary investigation indicates the suspect who shot the others died in the city of Orange, said Tustin police Lt. Paul Garaven. The case involved an attempted carjacking, he said.

“There are multiple (crime) scenes throughout Tustin and the surrounding areas,” he said. Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said there were a total of six shooting scenes.

Four people were shot in Tustin, Garaven said. The shootings occurred about 5:20 a.m., he said.

At least two people were transported to nearby hospitals, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

A woman was shot and killed in Ladera Ranch, and the suspect, described as a man in his 20s, was “not a threat to the community,” Amormino said.

The other shootings:

— A person was fatally shot at the McFadden offramp from the southbound Costa Mesa (55) Freeway, Garaven said.

— A shooting on Edinger Avenue east of the 55 Freeway left one person dead and another person wounded, Garaven said.

— A shooting at Red Hill Avenue and the Santa Ana (5) Freeway left a person wounded, Garaven said.

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Los Angeles Lakers owner dies

Feb 18, 2013

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who helped transform the franchise into the most successful and glamorous team in North American professional sports, died today, the team and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center confirm. He was 80.Buss died at 5:55 a.m., according to Cedars-Sinai spokeswoman Sally Stewart.Buss had spent time in the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with an undisclosed form of cancer, according to the Los Angeles Times.In December 2011, he was hospitalized for treatment of blood clots in his legs that officials said were caused by extensive traveling.

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Death at the border

Feb 17, 2013

SAN DIEGO – San Diego police homicide detectives were investigating the death of a man who was in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, a lieutenant said today.Officers were called to the San Ysidro Port of Entry, at 720 East San Ysidro Blvd., at 8:10 p.m. Saturday, to assist medics with a man who was not breathing, said San Diego police Lt. Ernie Herbert.   The preliminary investigation has revealed the man crossed into the United States in a vehicle, through the vehicle lanes, with two other relatives, Herbert said. They were directed to an inspection area and the man was handcuffed and walked into the security area for further investigation.Once inside, the handcuffs were removed so the man could empty his pockets. “As he placed his items on a counter, he collapsed,” Herbert said. “The agent, who had taken off the man’s handcuffs, caught him as he fell and assisted him onto the floor of the office.”The agent performed CPR on the man until medics arrived, he said.”Customs and Border Protection agents did not use any force on the suspect when taking him into custody or transporting him for processing. The cause of the man’s death is not known,” Herbert said.     An autopsy was to be performed. His name was not released until his family can be notified of his death.The two relatives with whom the deceased man travelled were initially detained, then released, he said.

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Bank robbery ends in police chase

Feb 16, 2013

KEARNY MESA – A man who allegedly robbed a bank branch in Kearny Mesa led police to an area west of Balboa Park, where he was arrested, police said.

The suspect handed a demand note to a teller at the Wells Fargo Bank at the corner Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and Ruffin Road at 11:11 a.m., according to San Diego police Officer Frank Cali. He acted like he had a gun, but did not show one, Cali said.

The suspect left the bank with an undisclosed amount and got into a silver van with two other occupants, Cali said. They sped east on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, he said.

Officers stopped the van in the vicinity of Antigua Boulevard and Portobelo Drive, near Miramar, but as they were arresting the would-be getaway driver and another person, the robbery suspect jumped into the drivers seat and took off, Cali said.

The suspect led the pursuing police vehicles to Quince Street, just west of Balboa Park, where officers stopped the van and arrested him, Cali said.

The names of the arrestees were not immediately released.

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House burns down

Feb 16, 2013

WOODCREST – Flames gutted a garage, spread throughout a single- story Woodcrest home and displaced two people, authorities said today.

No one was injured during the blaze that was reported shortly after 9 p.m. Friday in the 17700 block of Nandina Avenue, Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman Jody Hagemann said.

A cause behind the fire was not disclosed but firefighters contained the flames within 40 minutes. The American Red Cross was called to help the two occupants, Hagemann said.

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Gang Sweep

Feb 16, 2013

HEMET – Task force members targeting gang members swarmed the San Jacinto Valley and arrested 22 people for numerous alleged crimes, a sergeant said today.

Two teens, who were booked for possessing a semi-automatic handgun, were among the suspects the Hemet-San Jacinto Gang Task Force arrested Friday.

Most of the arrests occurred in the cities of Hemet and San Jacinto, where the suspects were arrested for crimes ranging from traffic warrants to weapon violations, Hemet police Sgt. Matt Hess said.

About 30 officers went to areas where the gang members were known to frequent. The officers also conducted checks to see if the suspects were complying with the terms of their probation and parole, Hess said.

The task force, which was formed in April 2006, is made of up members of the Hemet Police Department, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and other agencies.

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Dorner, cop killer gains support

Feb 16, 2013

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LOS ANGELES- Thirteen demonstrators, calling themselves “We Stand With Christopher Dorner,” gathered in front of Los Angeles Police Department’s headquarters in Los Angeles today to decry the death of the fired L.A. policeman as he faced arrest.The small number of protesters was expected to grow to more than 200 by noon, organizers said.”We’re protesting some of the police brutality — not just LAPD, but all over the nation,” said Lomita resident Vincent Namm, a former Marine. “With Chris Dorner, habeas corpus just got thrown out the window.””I’m a veteran myself,” he told City News Service. “It’s like they (the police) were judge, jury and executioner. Of course, if the police are those three things, we have something called a police state.”They didn’t seem like they were even interested in apprehending him,” Hamm said.Radio communications between San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies captured deputies calling on colleagues to burn down the cabin near Angelus Oaks, where the suspected cop-killer had just shot two deputies and was holed up.Dorner had already killed two policemen and the daughter of a retired officer, and was shooting at the deputies when the radio messages were broadcast.San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon insisted Friday that deputies did not intentionally set fire to the cabin to get Dorner out of the cabin. McMahon said the comments were not made by command personnel and were unauthorized, off-hand remarks by deputies or officers who were under heavy gunfire.Today’s demonstrators began to gather a little before 10 a.m. near the corner of First and Main streets before making their way to 100 W. First St., where they were met by yellow police tape bordering LAPD headquarters. There were at least three officers at different positions in front of the building, along with three parked television vans.Namm said demonstrators would probably stay until about 3 p.m. and remain peaceful.Some people on social media and elsewhere have expressed support for some of the criticisms of the department Dorner expressed in a lengthy manifesto posed online amid his 10-day killing spree.”The police don’t do the right things — especially when it comes to Latinos and blacks,” said Antonia Ramos, one of the protestors. “It wasn’t fair how this guy (Dorner) died.”CNS-02-16-2013 10:58

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“No drama, no boom boom” bank robber

Feb 15, 2013

LOS ANGELES – The FBI today sought the public’s help in locating the bank robbery suspect dubbed the “Boom Boom Bandit.”The man is wanted for a bank robbery and an attempted bank robbery at a Chase bank branch at 12335 Venice Blvd. in Mar Vista, and a Bank of America branch at 11501 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Los Angeles, both on Tuesday, said Laura Eimiller of the FBI.The suspect is white and between 35 and 40 years old. He is 6 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 3 inches tall, weighs 180 to 220 pounds and has brown hair that may be a wig.Authorities said the suspect used a written note demanding cash during the robberies. The note also provided an assortment of instructions for the teller.”The demand note stated, in part, ‘No drama, no boom boom,”‘ Eimiller said. The contents of the note is believed to suggest that an explosive device would be detonated if the teller did not comply with the demand.In a bank surveillance photo the suspect was seen displaying a device in a bag described by witnesses as red flares wrapped in tape with wires attached, Eimiller said.”The barrel of a handgun was also seen inside the bag presented to the victim teller,” Eimiller said.Authorities urged anyone with information about the identity or whereabouts of the suspect to contact the nearest FBI office or call 911.

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In search of new pope, Mahony flies to Rome

Feb 15, 2013

LOS ANGELES – Archbishop Jose Gomez was urging Southland Catholics today to pray for Cardinal Roger Mahony, who will soon head for Rome to take part in the selection of a pope to replace Benedict XVI, who will retire at the end of the month.

Gomez also stressed that while Mahony — who has been under fire for oversight of priests accused of molesting children — no longer has administrative duties with the diocese, he remains a bishop in “good standing.”

In a letter sent to all priests in the archdiocese, Gomez noted that Mahony will be the senior American cardinal attending the conclave of the College of Cardinals that will choose the next pope.

“I am confident that Cardinal Mahony’s accomplishments and experience in the areas of immigration, social justice, sacred liturgy and the role of the laity in the church will serve the College of Cardinals well as it works to discern the will of the Holy Spirit in these deliberations that will lead to the election of our new pope,” Gomez wrote.

The letter went on to clarify the standing of Mahony and Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry, who previously served as Mahony’s top adviser on sex-abuse issues. Last month, Curry stepped down as regional bishop of Santa Barbara after the diocese released thousands of pages of personnel files of more than 100 clergy members. The release was part of a 2007 settlement of a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by priests.

Gomez wrote that there “continues to be confusion in some media” about the status of Mahony and Curry in the church.

“Both have full rights to celebrate the Holy Sacraments of the church and to minister to the faithful without restriction,” Gomez wrote. “Having been promoted to the dignity of cardinal, Cardinal Mahony has all of the prerogatives and privileges of his standing as a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

“I encourage you and your parishioners to keep our Holy Father Pope Benedict in your prayers and to pray for Cardinal Mahony as he fulfills this sacred duty as a Cardinal Elector.”

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Family dispute ends in death

Feb 15, 2013

SANTA ANA – A 29-year-old man was sentenced today to 16 years to life in prison for stabbing his mother’s purported lover to death in Santa Ana.

Saul Jose Salazar was convicted in November of second-degree murder for the Oct. 3, 2010, stabbing death of 33-year-old Antonio Verdugo-Cabrera. Jurors also found true a sentencing enhancement for use of a deadly weapon.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue sentenced Salazar today.

“Mr. Salazar is a very dangerous and unpredictable man,” Deputy District Attorney Susan Price said after today’s hearing. “The jury did the right thing. He poses a great risk to society and we feel 16 years to life in prison is an appropriate sentence.”

Many members of Salazar’s family and friends were in court today to support him.

When Salazar was released from jail in late September 2010 for assaulting his mother, he moved back in with her, Price said. Within a few days, she was calling police for help in kicking her son out, the prosecutor said.

Investigators believe Verdugo-Cabrera victim was romantically involved and living with with the defendant’s mother and had known Salazar for about 17 years, Price said.

The defendant’s mother, however, testified that she was not romantically involved with the victim.

Verdugo-Cabrera and Salazar’s mother decided to kick the defendant out of the house, but Salazar “felt it was his home and he had a right to be there,” Price said.

A restraining order prohibited Salazar from going near his mother, but it expired a couple of weeks before the slaying, Price said.

The victim and the defendant’s mother were having a barbecue at their home on the night of his death, Price said. Verdugo-Cabrera and Salazar got into an argument that escalated into a fight, which led to the stabbing, she said.

Salazar ran away and hid for a few hours, but returned to the apartment with the bloody pocket knife used in the stabbing and was arrested, Price said.

Salazar’s attorney, Chris McGibbons of the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, argued that Salazar acted in self-defense. McGibbons said if jurors did not accept the self-defense argument then they should convict him of voluntary manslaughter instead.

Verdugo-Cabrera had methamphetamine and alcohol in his system, but it did not play a role in the killing, Price said.

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