<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Southern California News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:13:02 -0700 Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:13:02 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[SoCal Woman Named California Teacher of the Year]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:48:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/teachofyear2.png

At Manhattan Beach Middle School, a teacher’s efforts to instill a love of science in her students has earned her a top California educator award.

Maggie Mabery, a seventh and eighth grade science teacher, was named a California Teacher of the Year on Wednesday, one of five teachers in the state receiving the honor this year.

On top of this award, a state education superintendent announced Mabery would move on to the National Teacher of the Year competition. 

"I feel like jelly because I'm so excited, what an honor," Mabery said. "There is no cooler profession that when you see a kid understand a concept, like a hard concept like mitosis, and the little lights that go on in there eyes."

Mabery was bestowed the award in her classroom in front of her students. She underwent rounds of interviews and submitted essays to be considered for the title.

"She loves her students, she loves her job, and she inspires all of us to greet every day joyfully while motivating all of our students to be the best they can be," said Michael Matthews, the superintendent for the Manhattan Beach Unified School District.

Her use of technology in the classroom was part of what made her stand out as a teacher. She often utilizes the iPad to assign assignments and projects while giving feedback to students through the device.

Manhattan Beach Middle School Principal John Jackson calls Mabery a true innovator.

"She works tirelessly to motivate her students to love learning science," Jackson said.

Mabery will be honored at a banquet in Sacramento in February 2015, in addition to representing California in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

The four other California teachers of the year are Amy Laughlin of Hansen School in Anaheim, Lovelyn Marquez-Prueher of Dodson Middle School in Rancho Palos Verdes, Erin Rosselli of Panorama Elementary School in Santa Ana and Christopher O'Connor of St. Helena High School in Napa County. 

The purpose of the California Teachers of the Year program is to recognize outstanding teachers in the state and heighten interest in teaching as a career, according to the award website.

Adrian Arambulo contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Teacher Accused in Sex Assault of Special Needs Student]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:08:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/classroom-generic-1200.jpg

A Southern California substitute high school teacher is facing felony charges over accusations he sexually assaulted a special needs student inside a classroom and car, authorities said Wednesday.

The 17-year-old student at Highland High School in Palmdale told school officials that Aaron Alvidrez, 28, assaulted him several times last month, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The teen boy was enrolled in a special needs program at the school, where Alvidrez was employed as a long-term substitute teacher, officials said.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office filed seven felony counts against Alvidrez on Tuesday, including committing sodomy on a minor, oral copulation on a minor, and meeting a minor for the purpose of committing a lewd act.

Alvidrez was arrested Tuesday at a residence in Lancaster and was being held in lieu of $325,000 bail, officials said.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau at 877-710-5273.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Survey Asks LA Residents About NFL Stadium]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:06:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/FARMERS+FIELD+-+INTERIOR+-+VIEW+OF+SEATING+BOWL.jpg

A survey sent to thousands of Los Angeles residents asks several questions designed to gauge interest in an NFL team and what kind of features recipients would like to see in a stadium if a team moves to the region.

An email titled "We Need Your Feedback: NFL Franchise in LA" includes a survey that is part of a market feasibility study as the league considers "the potential of an NFL team in the Los Angeles area."

The survey was conducted by a consulting firm on behalf of the NFL, according to the Los Angeles Times. Questions include how likely recipients are to buy luxury seats, clubs seats and season tickets, and what types of amenities potential customers would like to see in a stadium.

The survey was sent by the NFL to 2,000 potential customers, according to the Los Angeles Times, which cited an individual familiar with the survey but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The market research might indicate heightened interest in a Los Angeles franchise, but the league has not announced plans to relocate a team or a timeline for such a move. Los Angeles has been without an NFL team since the Raiders and Rams left two decades ago.

Their departure has been followed by a 20 years of speculation that gained momentum with development plans around potential stadium sites. The survey sent Tuesday marks the first time the league has conducted a comprehensive survey of the market since the 1990s, the LA Times reported.

The more than 40-question survey includes the following questions:

  • Are you a fan of the National Football League?
  • Do you attend NFL games on an annual basis?
  • If a current NFL team relocated to the Los Angeles area, would the identity of the team change your attitude towards an NFL team in the Los Angeles area?
  • Would you be interested in attending other events at a new NFL stadium in the Los Angeles area?
  • How would you describe your (or your company's) interest in purchasing a loge box at a new NFL stadium in the Los Angeles area?

The survey also asks recipients to pick a favorite NFL team and express their interest other types of tickets and pricing plans.

At NFL meetings earlier this month, the New York Giants co-owner said officials discussed "a little bit" potential stadium sites in the Los Angeles area. Teams on short-term stadium leases include the St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

Last week, the Los Angeles City Council extended for six weeks with AEG a deal proposed to bring an NFL team to a stadium that would be built in downtown Los Angeles. The sports-entertainment presenter agreed in 2012 to build the stadium and expand the nearby Convention Center, but that deal was scheduled to expire this month. As part of the extension agreement, AEG will pay for a study to expand the Convention Center with or without the stadium's construction.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said last week he "wouldn't bet the city on it," but expressed confidence that an NFL team will eventually move to Los Angeles.



Photo Credit: AEG]]>
<![CDATA[One Killed in Fiery Wrong-Way Freeway Crash]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 07:22:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/highway-traffic-generic-09-.jpg

The driver of a vehicle traveling the wrong way on the 15 Freeway in San Bernardino County was killed in a fiery head-on crash with a big rig.

Lanes were closed early Wednesday on the northbound 15 Freeway near Baseline Road in the community of Etiwanda. The driver of a passenger vehicle was headed south in the northbound lanes before the collision with a big rig, according to the Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department.

The truck driver was not injured in the 5:30 a.m. crash.

Refresh this page for updates.

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<![CDATA[Caught on Camera: Mountain Lions Spotted in Glendora]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:24:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/mountain+lion+glendora+big+dalton+canyon.PNG

A family of four mountain lions was spotted passing through Big Dalton Canyon in Glendora last week and it was all caught on camera.

When mountain lion enthusiast Robert Martinez reviewed footage from his trail camera, he discovered the family of four mountain lions that passed through the area the morning of Friday Oct. 17.

"I almost didn’t believe what I was seeing, like I was seeing double on my video," Martinez said. "I couldn’t believe four cats were just there."

As Martinez continued to review footage, he discovered that another male mountain lion passed by later that night – a lion he believes is following the family.

Martinez said he was "really excited" about the discovery. He says his trail cameras are set up specifically to track mountain lions. Martinez said that one of the lions was so close to the camera, you could hear him or her breathing and see the lion’s teeth and whiskers.

“It’s a hobby and a passion, just for fun, the thrill of the chase," Martinez said. “I love the challenge of trying to follow their path, figure out where they might go next."

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<![CDATA[7 Injured, Molasses Spills in East LA Interchange Crash]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:17:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/220*120/10-22-2014-east-la-crash-2shot.jpg

At least seven people were hospitalized Wednesday morning after a crash that involved a big rig carrying molasses and at least three other vehicles at the busy East LA Interchange

The crash occurred on the southbound 5 Freeway transition to the westbound 10 Freeway. Aerial video showed the big rig, a pickup on its side and at least two other vehicles that were involved in the crash.

Initial information from the California Highway Patrol indicated one person was killed in the crash, but authorities later said the victim was critically injured. Details regarding the conditions of the other victims were not immediately available.

The transition road from the southbound 5 Freeway was closed for the crash investigation. Traffic  backed up early Wednesday on the 5 Freeway as crews attempted to remove vehicles and reopen lanes, some of which were coated in sticky molasses that spilled from the truck.

The interchange, one of the nation's busiest, handles more than 500,000 vehicles per day. The 5, 10, 60 and 101 freeways meet at the interchange east of downtown Los Angeles.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Three Sought After Pickup Pursuit Reached 70 MPH]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 07:04:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/10-22-2014-gardena-seearch-pursuit.jpg

Officers searched Wednesday morning for at least three individuals after a brief high-speed chase that began after a burglary report and reached speeds of more than 70 mph.

K-9 units joined the search for the subjects in Gardena, where the pursuit ended in the 15900 block of Crenshaw Boulevard. At least two subjects were taken into custody early Wednesday. The search for the remaining individuals was called off at about 7 a.m.

It was not immediately clear whether the subjects were armed. A search perimeter was established near Crenshaw and Redondo Beach boulevards, where authorities said they found ski masks and tools used in the burglary.
 



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Pit Bull Attack Leaves Woman Severely Injured]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 05:20:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/IE+pit+bull+attack.PNG

A 61-year-old woman suffered severe injuries after being attacked by a pit bull while walking in her Riverside County neighborhood Monday evening, officials said.

The attack occurred around 6:45 p.m. on the 25000 block of Minorca Street in the unincorporated Riverside County area of Valle Vista just east of Hemet.

According to a witness, the woman was walking alone when the animal broke loose from its tether, escaped its yard and attacked her.

Good Samaritans heard the woman screaming for help and chased the dog, most likely saving the woman’s life, according to John Welsh of Riverside Co. Animal Services.

The victim suffered injuries to her head, arms and stomach, according to a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy who was first on scene.

This was not the first time the 1-year-old male pit bull attempted an attack. In July, the dog’s owner was cited by the Riverside Co. Sheriff’s Department after the dog changed a young girl on a bike down the street.

The owner complied and purchased a harness to restrain the dog in the yard after the July incident, however the dog broke the chain Monday, hopped over the 4-foot backyard fence and rushed toward the 61-year-old victim.

The dog’s owner had taken in the stray dog several months ago. According to Welsh, the dog’s owner is devastated over what happened. The owner surrendered his pet for euthanasia, which took place Tuesday morning.

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<![CDATA[Cars Were "Side-by-Side" Before Fatal Shooting]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:57:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/south+el+monte+shooting+car.PNG

A man was shot and killed in South El Monte when a shooter allegedly pulled up to his car and opened gunfire Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

The shooting occurred around 4:30 p.m. in the 9000 block of Garvey Avenue. Both the victim's car and the alleged gunman's car were traveling eastbound on Garvey Avenue when the gunman started shooting. After the man was struck by gunfire, his car collided into the three other cars as he continued on Garvey Avenue.

"The cars were side-by-side when the shooting took place and the suspect vehicle made a u-turn and fled westbound," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lt. Holly Francisco said.

A Good Samaritan who was working nearby tried to help the victim, who had been traveling in a black sedan with a female passenger when he was struck by gunfire.

"She just kept saying, 'He's my boyfriend, he's my boyfriend,' and I was just trying to calm her down," the Good Samaritan said. "But I didn't know everything until she started spilling it to me."

The female passenger was not injured. The male victim was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital.

The shooter fled in a dark colored vehicle and had not been located as of Tuesday night. Officials have no knowledge of any possible motive. A weapon has not been recovered.

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<![CDATA[SoCal Edison Warns of Utility Bill Scam]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:13:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/customerscamsupdateresize_mid.jpg

SoCal Edison officials are warning of scammers calling customers and threatening to shut off their power if they don’t pay $500 in prepaid debit cards.

It's a scam that has been going on for months, but officials say the bogus callers are becoming more aggressive and sophisticated.

"When SCE started doing TV news interviews about the scam, customers got wiser and the impostors started collecting less money," said Arthur Chico from SCE corporate security. "So they increased their monthly volume of calls from 300 to 500 to 1,200 to 1,500. They picked up their efforts, employed more callers, used faked names and used fake employee numbers."

Since December 2012, more than 8,000 customers have been targeted in SCE’s service territory. Of that number, between 800 and 900 customers have lost an average of $1,000 to $2,000, others more than $3,000.

Statistics show more than $250,000 in losses to SCE customers.

What makes the scam so difficult to stop is that the majority of calls come from outside the United States, making the apprehension of culprits more challenging, officials said.

"The anonymity of the Internet has made calls more difficult to trace," said Detective Tim Sidentopp of the El Monte Police Department. "We don’t know who’s on the other end of the telephone doing this. And the D.A. can’t prove who it is or where it’s coming from. It’s a phone bank."

A man who said he was called by someone threatening to shut off his power said he was instructed to call 866-978-7049, which has since apparently been disconnected.

"I said you know what, I don't want this to happen to anyone else," said Bill Gillot, a business man was almost fell for the scam before reaching out to SCE, the Sheriff's Department and NBC4.

"It was believeable," Gillot said. "There was a lot of pressure, the phone was ringing, there was a lot of stuff going on, I can understand why people would fall for this sort of thing."

NBC4's Gadi Schwartz tried calling the number Tuesday. A man answered and told him to get to a CVS and purchase a pre-paid MoneyPack for $498.33 so that his power would not get disconnected. When Schwartz told the man he was recording the call, the man began cursing and eventually hung out. Schwartz called more than 40 times, but was unable to connect again.  

Edison officials offer the following tips to help people protect themselves:

  • Phone numbers. Phone scammers often use "off" phone numbers like 888 or different number combinations. SCE uses 800 numbers for any customer contacts.
  • Extension numbers. Imposters use extension numbers to make themselves appear more legitimate. SCE does not use extension numbers.
  • Threats. SCE does not threaten customers with service shut-off for two weeks.
  • Reloaded Debit Cards. SCE does not accept Green Dot or Vanilla reload debit cards.
  • Weekends/Holidays. SCE does not call customers on weekends or during holidays.

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<![CDATA[Man Charged in Crash That Killed Boy in OC]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:08:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/141019-anaheim-fatal-dui-crash-gary-hunt.jpg

A man accused in a crash that killed a 10-year-old boy in Anaheim over the weekend was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI on Tuesday, prosecutors said.

Gary S. Hunt, 41, of Orange Gary Stephen Hunt, 41, made his first appearance in court Tuesday afternoon, but did not enter a plea. His arraignment on the vehicular manslaughter charge and a felony count of driving under the influence of a drug causing injury was rescheduled for Nov. 14.

Hunt remained in custody in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Anaheim police Hunt was behind the wheel of a black pickup truck that rear-ended a silver Toyota Camry carrying a family of five Saturday just before midnight near Euclid Street and La Palma Avenue.

The Camry, carrying a mother, father and three children, was pushed by the truck into an intersection, where it was struck by another car, police said.

The boy who died was identified by the coroner as Rafael Ramirez of Anaheim.

"He was such a sweet boy, always smiling," said Leslie Llerenas, a family friend.

The boy's mother, stepfather and two little sisters were also hurt, but were expected to survive.

Two people in the Honda were treated for minor injuries.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Two Indio Officers Face Charges in Use of Force Case]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:08:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/siren3.jpg

Two Indio police officers have been arrested in connection with a use of force incident after a concerned citizen provided authorities with a videotaped copy of the arrest, officials said.

Indio police officers Charles Holloway and Gerardo Martinez face charges in connection with the Sept. 11 arrest. Both officers were put on paid administrative leave, according to a press release from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, which is handling the case.

A felony arrest warrant was issued Monday for Officer Charles Holloway alleging assault under the color of authority. A misdemeanor warrant was issued for Officer Gerardo Martinez alleging being an accessory after the fact.

Holloway's attorney declined to comment. Martinez's attorney did not respond to an email.

Both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The case involves the September arrest of 24-year-old Ruben Joshua Martinez, who alleges he was beaten and stomped repeatedly while on the ground with his hands behind his back.

A criminal investigation was launched after a restaurant owner came forward with surveillance video of the incident.

Ruben Martinez said in an exclusive jailhouse interview with The Desert Sun that he was "beat, punched, kicked and stomped repeatedly" while walking his pit bull.

He said the officers who pulled up were looking for him because he had a parole violation from a 2009 burglary conviction.

He said he had run into Officer Martinez before and that the officer had been rough with him.

"I was scared – paranoid – he was going to beat me up again," Ruben Martinez said, according to The Sun.

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<![CDATA[Ex-Coach Pleads Not Guilty to Student Sex Charges]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:28:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lafile-downey-high-school-vikings.jpg

A former Downey High School teacher and girls soccer coach pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of carrying on a sexual relationship with a student for more than half a year, prosecutors said.

Brandon James Lee Hitchcock, 30, of Lakewood was charged with 10 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and five counts of oral copulation of a person under 18, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said.

Hitchcock is set to make another court appearance Nov. 21.

Hitchcock, a social studies teacher, was arrested after authorities were contacted by school administrators who learned about the alleged inappropriate relationship on Oct. 9.

According to prosecutors, the criminal complaint alleges that Hitchcock had sexual interactions with a female student over a seven-month period.

Hitchcock faces a maximum sentence of nearly 13 years in prison if found guilty on all charges, prosecutors said.

The Downey Unified School District said Hitchcock was placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the investigation. The Board of Education will decide whether to terminate his contract at its next meeting.

The case was being investigated by the Downey Police Department, prosecutors said.

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<![CDATA[Sheriff's Deputy Pleads No Contest to Lewd Act With Teen]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:47:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/LASD+logo.JPG

A veteran Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy pleaded no contest Tuesday after being charged with child molestation involving a 15-year-old girl, prosecutors said.

John Augustus Rose II, 44, was accused of having a sexual relationship with a girl who he met through a youth organization, according to Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the LA County District Attorney’s Office.

The relationship took place over three months in 2013, prosecutors said. Authorities learned of the allegations through the parents of a friend of the victim's, Robison said.

Rose was relieved of duty in September 2013 and was placed at home without pay the following month. He had been with the sheriff’s department for 22 years.

He pleaded no contest to one count of lewd act on a child and one count of possession of matter depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct.

Defense attorney Arthur Lindars said his client denies any sexual contact took place between him and the girl. Rose agreed to plead no contest to avoid a trial, Lindars said.

"He’s devastated," Lindars said. "He’s lost his job and everything."

Rose faces three years in state prison. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life, prosecutors said. He's expected to be sentenced on Nov. 26.

At a hearing last year, Rose's attorney told a judge that Rose was a "hero to the community" who had received many awards. His honors include a Medal of Valor for rescuing a woman trapped in her cabin by the 2002 Curve fire in San Gabriel Canyon, LA County Sheriff's Department records show.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Breast Density Screenings Urged for Cancer Prevention]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:58:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/224*120/10-21-14-breast+density+screening.JPG

Many doctors and patients alike will say that diagnosing breast cancer early saves lives, and part of that is knowing enough to make informed decisions, including when a person has dense breast tissue.

Breast density refers to the amount of fat and tissue in the breast as seen on a mammogram, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The organization says women with dense breast have an increased risk of breast cancer.

"When you have dense breast tissue it turns up as white, but cancer turns up as white," Eydith Kaufman said referring to mammogram images. Kaufman lost her partner Janina Hurtado, 45, to an aggressive cancer that she says began as breast cancer. She says Hurtado had a mammogram two months before her diagnosis.

"She knew had some cysts but she was never told that she had dense breast tissue," Kaufman said.

A new law in California now makes talking about dense breast tissue mandatory and a push to have a similar law is going national.

Dense breast tissue laws are now popping up across the country, in 19 states including California according to areyoudenseadvocacy.org, and 40 percent of women have dense breast tissue.

The law in California passed in 2012 and went into effect April 2013. It requires a facility performing a mammogram to tell a patient she or he has the condition and suggest speaking about further screening options.

"I think most women, if they are educated and they are aware of what the options are, at least they can have a meaningful dialogue with their physician and come up with a plan," Kaufman said.

Plans can include automated whole breast ultrasound screenings, innovative technology called Sonocine. Developed by Dr. Kevin Kelly from the Breast Ultrasound Center in Pasadena, the software takes precise, equally spaced images and can find masses as small as 5 mm.

"It's a computer hand on the technologist hand getting the right speed and coverage of the entire breast," Kelly said.

The cost of this screening runs from $250 to $350, Kelly said, and is covered by some insurance companies.

Density laws in general have been criticized for their potential for malpractice cases and false positive diagnosis.

A patient or Kelly who works with him, Chiqueeta Jameson, carries the memory of a misdiagnosed lump around the country.

"Two gynecologists and one breast surgeon, not one of them did an ultrasound," she said.

She and two other women run the non-profit group called The Dangerous Boobs Tour.

“We want to educate every women in this country,” Jameson said.

And that education can be empowering. Kaufman says it can also save lives.

"Everybody agrees that the best thing for cancer is early detection," Kaufman said. "Nobody disagrees with that and Janina didn't have that gift."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, is a co-sponsor of federal legislation that would create a national dense breast tissue standard and make reporting mandatory across the country. A Feinstein spokesperson says the bill will be reviewed after the elections in November.
 

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<![CDATA[2015 Rose Queen Crowned]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:46:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/141021-rose-parade-queen-madison-elaine-triplett.jpg

Madison Elaine Triplett was crowned the 2015 Rose Queen on Tuesday night.

Seven teens competed for the honor at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium Plaza. In the end, it was the 17-year-old John Marshall Fundamental High School student who was crowned.

The 17-year-old Triplett lives in Altadena. She is active with the Pasadena City Youth Council, Black Student Union, with her school's student government and is an opposite hitter on the girls' volleyball team.

Triplett said she plans to attend Tulane University to study economics with a minor in French and aspires to develop a nonprofit organization that educates minorities on financial literacy.

Triplett was chosen from among the seven members of the Royal Court who were named earlier this month. The members of the court were selected from a pool of more than 700 Pasadena-area girls and young women who participated in the Royal Court tryouts.

The 97th Rose Queen and her Royal Court will attend a series of up to 100 community events leading up to the 126th Rose Parade and Rose Bowl football game on New Year's Day.

The Royal Court members are: Mackenzie Joy Byers, 18, of Pasadena City College; Gabrielle Ann Current, 18, of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Veronica Sara Mejia, 19, of Pasadena City College; Bergen Louise Onufer, 17, of Mayfield Senior School; Simona K. Shao, 17, of Westridge School; and Emily Alicia Olivas Stoker, 17, of Temple City High School.

Mark Leavens, chair of the Tournament of Roses Queen and Court Committee, said: "We are confident that the seven young women selected for the 2015 Royal Court will be outstanding ambassadors."

City News Service contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Photos Show Alleged Abuse of Bell Gardens Mayor's Wife]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:58:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/10-21-14-Lyvette+Crespo+Photo+Injuries.JPG

Photos and a voice mail recording obtained by NBC4 on Tuesday paint a dark picture in the marriage of Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo, who was fatally shot by his wife during a confrontation last month.

Exclusive photos, given to NBC4 by Lyvette Crespo's attorney Eber Bayona, show Lyvette with a bruised right eye with cuts to her lip about two years ago -- injuries Bayona claimed are the result of longtime abuse by Daniel Crespo.

"From the time she was pregnant with Crystal at the age of 15, she endured his abuse," Bayona said.

Authorities say Lyvette, 43, shot her 45-year-old husband multiple times after he punched their 19-year-old son, Daniel Jr., in the face while inside the family's condominium on Sept. 30.

Bayona told NBC4 on Tuesday that Daniel Crespo hit his wife with his fists and belts, and once snapped when his wife was looking at a photo of an elected official on the computer.

"He took her face, smashed it into the computer and asked her if she found him attractive," Bayona said.

Bayona said he released the photos in a response to allegations made by Daniel Crespo's brother, William, at a news conference on Monday when announcing a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against Lyvette Crespo.

The suit, filed on behalf of Crespo's mother, alleges that Lyvette Crespo threatened to kill her husband many times and used an unwarranted amount of force to kill him, concluding that she "is a cold blooded killer."

"She said she was going to divorce my brother when the kids turned 18," William Crespo said Monday. "The kids turned 18. My brother went and he got himself another girlfriend, and she got jealous and she was holding it all inside. I guess she just let it all out and killed him."

NBC4 on Tuesday separately obtained a voice mail allegedly left by a girlfriend of Daniel Crespo to his wife within the last year. The recording was confirmed by Lyvette Crespo through her attorney.

"Ly, answer me please. I know you don't want to talk because you said I was psycho whatever, but this is ridiculous," the woman can be heard saying in the recording.

"You act like he is an innocent man, and you know all the f------ s--- that he has done," the voice mail continues. "And I'm not asking you to feel sorry for me. I'm asking you to wake the f--- up."

NBC4 is not identifying the woman in the recording.

The night of the shooting, Daniel Jr. called 911 and told the dispatcher his mother "was defending herself" when she fatally shot her husband, according to a recording of the call obtained by NBC4.

Daniel Jr. and Lyvette Crespo were questioned by police for several hours, but both were released that night. Lyvette Crespo remains free as authorities investigate the shooting.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has not filed any charges as of Tuesday and declined to comment on the recording.



Photo Credit: Lyvette Crespo/Eber Bayona]]>
<![CDATA[Mom's Grief Highlights Need for Teen Driver Safety Week]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:34:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/10-21-14-teen+driving+safety+week.JPG

Four years ago on Oct. 19, 16-year-old Conor Lynch was running after school, training with the Cross Country team at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, when an 18-year-old woman ran him down on Woodman Avenue.

"She didn't stop," said Jeri Dye Lynch, Conor's mother, who is still grieving "There was no braking, and she didn't call immediately to 911."

The driver initially left the scene, only to return later and still be charged with a hit-and-run crash causing a death.

"It's pretty hard to think about that somebody would hit someone," Lynch said. "And then leave a young person to die in the street alone."

It was later revealed the driver was texting at the time and did not see the runners.

While the driver's life continues today, Conor's stopped short.

"He never went to prom, never got to graduate," Lynch said. "All those things that we want our kids to be able to achieve."

Conor's death highlights National Teen Driver Safety Week in Los Angeles. Notre Dame High School itself hosted a Mercedes-Benz Driving School-sponsored event with the California Highway Patrol to show students just how dangerous distracted driving can be.

In a simulated course, teens were put to the test, driving while a passenger distracted them with text messages, photos on smart phones, loud music and even louder chatter.

"I never knew just how distracted you could be with people yelling at you, calling you, like texting, it was kinda crazy," said Sarah Tobo, who just got her license in June. She says what she's learned so far is that often teens just aren't ready for the responsibility.

"They think they're the best at driving and stuff, they don't think about what could happen," Tobo said.

Students got to hear first hand accounts from people like Lynch and Gonzalo Aranguiz, who was behind the wheel last February when he reached for his phone and ran down another teen on his bicycle.

"It's an experience that stays with me and is going to stay with me the rest of my life," he said. "But I want his life to be worth something."

Aranguiz says he served probation for the death of the Cal-Poly student, who, like him, would have been the first of his family to attend college.

"I can't live a normal life, I don't want to," said Aranguiz, now an engineer who dedicates time to speaking to students about the importance of paying attention behind the wheel.


Statistics provided by the CHP show 11 teens die every day in the United States because of distracted driving. Various community groups are also promoting safe driving reminders throughout the week.

State Farm Insurance Company started the website Celebrate My Drive to promote safety behind the wheel.

For Jeri Dye Lynch, the loss of Conor isn't just an annual reminder, but a daily one. Thousands are expected to join her and other grieving families on Sunday in a special 5k Run/Walk to honor her son. For more information about the event and the Conor Lynch Foundation, visit http://www.inhonorofconor.org.



Photo Credit: Tommy Bravo]]>
<![CDATA[Gunman Opens Fire on Metro Bus in South LA]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:20:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/141021-metro-bus-shooting-south-la.jpg

A gunman shot at a passenger on a bus in South Los Angeles on Tuesday, Metro officials said. No one was hurt.

The shooting was reported about 3:40 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, Metro spokesman Paul Gonzales said.

A passenger on the 40 line was the target of someone who opened fire on the bus as it was driving by, Gonzales said. The bus came to a halt a few blocks east at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Figueroa Street.

Witnesses on the bus reported seeing a male shooting at bus from the street, Gonzales said.

A window on the bus was struck but the glass didn't shatter.

Passengers were removed from the bus and boarded another.

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.

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<![CDATA[Flu Vaccine Urged Over Ebola Worries]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 07:24:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/LAgenerics+health+medical+doctor+01.jpg

With all the news and worry about Ebola, doctors say many people are ignoring a much greater health threat in the U.S. - the flu.

Flu season has arrived in Southern California, and it kills far more Americans each year than Ebola. It's also preventable.

Many local emergency rooms are testing for the flu because of the Ebola fears, and the hospitals are seeing more cases of flu than expected.

But unlike the deadly virus, the simple fact is that the flu can be prevented by vaccine, which can be given by shot or by the inhaled mist. The treatment can prevent 60 to 90 percent of flu cases.

There are only eight known Ebola cases in the U.S., and most of those cases were contracted in West Africa.

Those eight cases have spurred fears across the country, yet 5 to 20 percent of all Americans get the flu every year, or 15 million to 6o million people.

And although reporting is not mandatory, the CDC estimates that between 3,000 and 49,000 flu deaths in America each year are preventable. Yet less than 50 percent of Americans get the flu vaccine.

People choose to avoid the vaccine, arguing that it causes aches and pains, isn’t worth it, they never get the flu or that they already got it last year.

The vaccine only lasts one year, however. It prevents the flu 60 percent of the time and it may cause a few aches and pains, but it never causes the flu itself.

The CDC suggests everyone get the vaccine unless they have an egg vaccine, due to the vaccine’s egg base.

It is most important for pregnant women and young children, the elderly, people with medicla problems and health workers.

The shot contains dead virus, so it can be given to everyone who is not allergic to eggs

The mist contains live virus it is only for people aged 2 to 49 years old

This years vaccine contains protection against h1n1 and a number of influenza viruses, and health professionals are encouraging everyone to take advantage of the vaccination.

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<![CDATA[Shooting at Burbank RV Lot Was Domestic Violence: Police]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:33:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-1-a-breaking-news-la-generic-graphic-april2014.gif

A man shot and wounded his wife before killing himself in an attempted murder-suicide during a case of domestic violence at a Burbank RV storage lot, police said Tuesday.

Police responded to the suspicious circumstances call on Monday just before 1 p.m. at the Affordable Storage RV lot, at 3615 North San Fernando Boulevard.

When police arrived, they found a 47-year-old woman suffering from a gunshot wound. Officers also found the body of a 50-year-old man in the cab of a tractor-trailer.

The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment. She is expected to survive, police said. Neither person was identified.

"The evidence and circumstances indicated that the husband attempted to murder his wife by shooting her, and then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide," Burbank police said in a statement.

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<![CDATA[Drought Spurs Pasadena to Tighten Water Restrictions]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:38:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP223500730484.jpg

Pasadena city officials are upping their efforts to stifle California's record drought by restricting property owners to water outdoors only one day a week starting next month.

The city's Level 1 Water Supply Shortage Plan that took effect in July restricted outdoor irrigation, such as watering landscape with sprinklers or any automated water system, to three days a week.

Starting on Nov. 1, outdoor irrigation will be limited to one day a week, either on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays.

"The community has been really receptive, and you can see that with the amount of water we’ve saved," said Wendy De Leon, Pasadena Water and Power spokeswoman.

But some residents aren't too happy with the new rules.

"I feel that we're getting more and more restricted and our personal rights are being taken away," Laura Yeghnazar said. "I think we're going a little too far and I think each homeowner should have the right to decide how much water they want to use and pay the cost accordingly."

Residents will still be able to wash their cars, but only if using a handheld container or a hose with a shut-off nozzle, officials said. No outdoor irrigation will be allowed between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and all water leaks must also be fixed within 72 hours.

The biggest usage of water is landscape watering, De Leon. By regulating this, the city hopes to move closer to the 20 percent water use reduction goal the state has asked cities to reach.

Another resident is concerned about what will happen to his lawn.

"It looks like my lawn is ready to pass away, if I'm only going to be able to water once a week because I don't see any sign of rain," Pasadena resident Tony Annunziata said. 

Pasadena has so far reached a 10 percent reduction of water use in the few months the water savings plan took effect, De Leon said.

Once-a-week watering will only be enforced during the fall and winter months. Property owners will be able to water three days a week again starting April 1 through Oct. 31.

People can flag water waste through the Pasadena Citizen Service Center. Fines can reach up to $500 per violation for residential customers, while business owners can be fined up to $1,000 for each offense.

Ted Chen contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA["Django" Actress, Boyfriend Charged With Lewd Conduct]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 02:55:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/actress+daniele+watts+detained+lapd.jpg

"Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts and her boyfriend Brian James Lucas have each been charged with one count of lewd conduct for allegedly having sex in public moments before they were involved in an altercation with LAPD officers.

Each faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted on the misdemeanor charges, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney's office.

Watts, 28, and Lucas made headlines when they claimed Watts' brief detention outside the CBS Studio Center in Studio City last month was the result of racial profiling. Watts is black and Lucas is white.

Sgt. Jim Parker, the LAPD officer who responded to the scene in the 11900 block of Ventura Boulevard after nearby workers and residents reported a couple engaging in lewd behavior, later released an audio recording of his version of the incident.

The recorded version differed substantially from Watts' account.

Photos showing the couple in compromising positions in the passenger seat of a silver Mercedes were also released by witnesses. They were posted to the website TMZ.

Activists who initially called on the department to apologize to the couple later backtracked and called on Watts and Lucas to retract their statements, after the audiotape and photographs surfaced.

They are both slated to be arraigned Nov. 13.

Watts and Lucas will be notified by mail to appear in court in Van Nuys in three weeks. Because it is not a felony, just a misdemanor, she need not appear in person, but can have an attorney handle it for her. Her publicist told NBC4 she and Lucas were planning to get legal advice Tuesday afternoon, and will make no comment until they've done that.

Watts declined a request to speak with NBC4.

Watts and Lucas released a statement Tuesday night saying, "We are, quite frankly, appalled and disturbed that the LA prosecutors office has chosen to file these charges against us. The LAPD has previously issued a statement saying that there was no crime committed. If a passionate public embrace while displaying no nudity is grounds for having charges filed against you, then we'd expect that everyone who engages in an extended public display of affection with their loved one will be targeted as well. Sergeant Parker is still under investigation for his conduct and filing misdemeanor charges against us does not change his behavior.”

Her statement makes reference to LAPD investigating Parker. The key area that Chief Charlie Beck raised as a concern is not Parker's handling of the encounter, though that is being investigated, but the appropriateness of his releasing the audio recording.

The audio recorders that some officers carry are not department issue - officers buy their own. Policy is not clear whether officers are free to make their recordings public. Commander Andrew Smith said that issue is still under investigation. Parker's job could lose his job because he made the recording public without permission.

Parker also released a statement: "The support from all of the officers in the past six weeks who have contacted me and expressed their support for what I am doing and for what I am bringing to the public's attention only confirms that I am doing the right thing. All of the support from the community and the letters lets me know what I knew all along and that is that I did the right thing. All of the support only validates that I did the right thing and I would do it again if I had to do. Thank you."

Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA["Gentle Giant": Former Harlem Globetrotter Goes Missing]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:49:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lafile-rico-omarr-harris.jpg

A former member of the Harlem Globetrotters has gone missing after leaving Southern California on a road trip to Washington state, sheriff’s officials and family members said.

Rico Omarr Harris, 37, left about 1 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 10 from a home he shares with his mother in Alhambra to see his girlfriend in Seattle, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

Harris' Nissan was found by a deputy in Yolo County Regional Parks near Rumsey three days later, the sheriff’s department said. Investigators found his backpack and cellphone near the car.

"I'm shocked, I was totally shocked," Harris' mother Margaret Hernandez told NBC4 on Tuesday. "He's 6 foot 9, but people are evil and you never know."

Harris' mother said she last spoke with her son by phone on 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 10 when Harris said he was driving through the Sacramento area. Deputies checked in with Harris’ girlfriend, who said he had not arrived. She said she last spoke to Harris on the phone at 10:45 a.m.

"He never had disappeared like this, and there's nothing going on in his life that would cause him to do something like that," stepfather Charles Taylor said. "He's like the glue to our family. His girlfriend calls him a gentle giant, and really thats what he is."

Searches for Harris in Yolo County have been unsuccessful, investigators said.

Harris is described as a 6-foot-9-inch black man weighing about 280 pounds.

"My son is a wonderful person," Hernandez said. "He has touched many, many lives, so I'm very hopeful that he's going to come out of this and we're going to find him."



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Caught on Camera: Fuel Station Awning Collapse]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:59:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/10-21-2014-fuel-gas-collapse-awning.jpg

Surveillance cameras captured a San Bernardino County fuel station awning collapse after truck driver backed into a hydrant which sprayed water on top of the structure and caused it to buckle under the weight.

The chain of destruction began early Tuesday outside the Chevron fuel station on Holt Boulevard in Ontario. The sheared hydrant sent a powerful stream of water that collected on the awning's roof, which gave way and crashed down onto fuel pumps.

"It just sounded like twisting metal," said Mario Alvarez. "Finally, it just went down the middle, started bending, and it went down."

No injuries were reported.

Workers were trying to remove the awning to begin repairs Tuesday at midday. It was not immediately clear whether the truck driver who struck the hydrant will be cited.

The gas station was expected to be reopened as soon as Wednesday morning.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Shot During Altercation With Officer in Signal Hill]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:19:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/187062332.jpg

A woman was shot in an officer-involved incident in Signal Hill Tuesday morning, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide division.

"There were numerous calls to Long Beach Police Department regarding a female with a gun," said Lt. Holly Francisco.

She said the callers reported a woman with a gun and a sign standing on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Chery Avenue, near the border of Long Beach and Signal Hill, and acting "irrationally."

The incident was reported at 8:15 a.m., a Signal Hill police officer responed to the scene, and encountered the woman in an alleyway behind a motel in the 1800 block of Cherry Avenue.

Jake Heflin, spokesman for Long Beach Fire Department, said both his agency and Long Beach Police also responded.

The woman was taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital in unknown condition. The sheriff's department will investigate the shooting.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[La Verne Student Reports Assault By Four Men: Police]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:56:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/siren3.jpg

A female student at the University of La Verne reported she was assaulted by four men while walking on campus early Tuesday morning, according to an alert issued by the school.

The student said she was able to get away from the men, who attacked her while she was walking to her car.

The assault happened while walking between the Vista La Verne and the Oaks area, according to the alert.

No other information about the assault was immediately available.

The student is being offered counseling and other services, a university spokeswoman said.

La Verne police and campus safety officers are investigating the incident, according to Lt. Tom Toth of the La Verne Police Department.

Anyone with information is asked to contact LVPD or the Campus Safety office.

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<![CDATA[Man Charged With Arson in OC Blaze]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:25:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/10-21-14_Santiago-Canyon-Arson.JPG

A man already in sheriff's custody to face a vandalism charge has been linked to an arson fire set across the street from Santiago Equestrian Center in Orange County during the late summer, the Orange County Fire Authority said Tuesday.

Martin David Weel, 39, of Modjeska Canyon, was in custody of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department facing an unrelated vandalism charge when he was interviewed by investigators who now believe he was solely responsible for the fire on Santiago Canyon Road, the Fire Authority said in a statement.

He has been charged with one count of arson of a forest or wildland area. Investigators believe Weel acted alone.

Early in the morning Aug. 27, multiple witnesses reported the blaze, and said they had seen a car fleeing the scene.

The fire was quickly contained and no one was injured.

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<![CDATA[Man Sentenced to Prison in Death of Diving Partner]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:03:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/LAgenerics+prison+bars+jail.jpg

A man who provided unsafe equipment and failed to train his scuba diving partner prior to a dive off the coast of Catalina Island last year was sentenced to four years in state prison Monday.

Craig Lightner, 50, of San Pedro, pleaded guilty in July to one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 47-year-old Mark Rascon.

The two men were visiting the island to capture Blue-banded Goby fish, which is illegal, when kelp likely became entangled in Rascon’s breathing apparatus. Instead of helping him, Lightner called the Coast Guard to report a missing diver, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Rascon was found dead in 80 feet of water. He drowned as a result of an embolism.

Lightner, who supplied the air hoses and breathing regulators the two men used on the dive, was arrested two months later.

Lightner is expected back in court for a restitution hearing in December.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Gallery: Cell Phone Store Burglary]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:40:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/garden+grove+US+Bank+robbery+suspect.gif Discarded boxes and other items were all that remained after three thieves broke into a Garden Grove cell phone store.

Photo Credit: Garden Grove Police Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[LA Teachers Highlight Growing Class Size Concerns]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:12:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/lagenerics+classroom.jpg

Teachers and students at North Hollywood High School shared stories of overwhelming class sizes Tuesday morning to call attention to what their union has said is a harmful situation for students throughout Los Angeles Unified School District.

United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents most of the district’s educators, said in a statement its tens of thousands of members also wore stickers Tuesday at all campuses showing their class sizes, as the union puts pressure on LAUSD administrators during negotiations to ease the registration numbers.

"UTLA has presented bargaining proposals to LAUSD to lower class sizes and reduce the student/HHS ratio," the statement reads.

"We will be back at the bargaining table on Wednesday and we are sticking to our demands because students deserve smaller class sizes and more counselors, school nurses, librarians, school psychologists, psychiatric social workers and other HHS professionals."

North Hollywood High has struggled with overcrowded physical education classes and senior English classes.

The union had an often contentious relationship with John Deasy, who stepped down as district superintendent last week after a three-and-a-half year tenure.

Former Superintendent Ramon Cortines has stepped into the role as district chief on an interim basis.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Caught on Camera: Thieves Smash Store Window, Cut Gate]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:11:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/10-21-2014-cell-phone-store-robbery-surveillance.jpg

Tens of thousands of dollars in electronics, including iPads, iPhones and laptops, were stolen after three men smashed a window and cut through a gate at a cellphone store Tuesday morning in Garden Grove.

The "smash and grab" burglary, which police said might be related to other similar crimes, took place at Oztek Wireless in the 10700 block of Westminster Boulevard just after 2 a.m.

Burglars dressed in what appeared to be hooded sweatshirts used a large tool to shatter the glass and used a bolt cutter to break through the iron fence sliding doors.

They made off with about 100 unlocked iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Pluses, about 10 to 20 iPads, high-end laptops and LG and Samsung phones, officials said.

Police estimate that the total loss was between $50,000 and a $100,000.

"I'm so frustrated," said Vu Bui, who has owned the story for about three months. "I feel terrible. They took all my inventory."

He received a call from the alarm company and watched the crime as it occurred because he had access to the store's surveillance cameras on his phone.

"They knew exactly what to get," Bui said. 

Bui believes the men responsible had been in the store before and knew where he had stored items. 

Garden Grove police say the case could linked to a network of "smash and grab" crews. Police said thieves recently hit five Target stores in just one night.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[IE Man Accused of Sex Crimes Against a Child]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 04:19:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/agustin+gamez-lopez+arrest.PNG

A 37-year-old San Bernardino man was arrested last month for sex crimes against a child and authorities believe there may be additional victims out there.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department responded to the 2300 block of West Ogden Avenue on Sept. 25 after a report of sex crimes against a child. After an initial investigation, authorities determined that Armando Gamez-Lopez was responsible for several related crime. They also discovered two more juvenile victims.

Gamez-Lopez was arrested on a charge of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child under the age of 14 as well as sexual assault on an animal. His bail was set at $250,000.

Anyone with additional information about the crime or possible additional victims should contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

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<![CDATA[Grandson Arrested in Stabbing Death of East LA Woman]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:38:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/121020-east-la-killing.jpg

A 23-year-old man is suspected of killing his grandmother, who was found face down at a home in East Los Angeles Monday, according to sheriff’s deputies.

The woman suffered multiple stab wounds in her upper torso, deputies said. She was found at a home on the 100 block of North Gage Avenue at 11:45 a.m. by deputies who were responding to a family-requested welfare check on the woman.

The suspect, Armando Sepulveda, was booked at East Los Angeles Station is being held on $1 million bail.

Neighbors told NBC4 that they saw a a person living at the home taken away by deputies.

An autopsy will be performed by the coroner's office to determine the cause of death. The victim was in her late 50s, according to City News Service.

NBC4 reporter Gadi Schwartz and City News Service contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Death Threat Made to Daughter of Prop 46. Co-Author]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:49:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lafile-proposition-prop-46-bob-pack-carmen.jpg

The co-author of a California ballot proposition says he will continue to support the initiative despite receiving a death threat against his young daughter.

Bob Pack confirmed to NBC4 that he and his wife, Carmen, recently received a phone call at their San Francisco Bay Area home in which the caller warned the couple that if they didn't withdraw their support for Prop. 46 serious harm would come to their 8-year-old daughter.

Prop 46 would increase the cap on pain and suffering damages in medical negligence lawsuits from $250,000 to over $1 million.

The measure would also require California doctors to undergo drug and alcohol testing and would force health care practitioners to look at a state prescription drug history database before prescribing some controlled substances.

"I absolutely believe in Prop 46 and we will keep fighting right to the end for it despite these kinds of episodes taking place," Pack said. "The sheriff's and Attorney General's Office is currently handling it and we will go on with our march of Prop. 46 and do what we need to do."

The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department said they have identified the caller as a 41-year-old man from Concord. He has not been arrested, but sheriff's officials have sent their report to the district attorney's office for possible prosecution.

Pack and his wife got involved in Prop. 46 as a result of a crash that took place a decade ago, when a woman addicted to prescription drugs blacked out while driving and struck and killed the couple's two young children.

Among other provisions, Prop. 46 would require doctors to check a database before prescribing drugs to a patient.

The ballot measure has received the support of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California).

"There isn't one part of this initiative that isn't common sense," Boxer said.

Opponents of Prop. 46 argue that it will add millions of dollars in costs to health coverage in California.

"We join with the Pack family in condemning this act by clearly a troubled individual," said Michael Bustamante, the No on 46 campaign spokesman. "This has no place in any campaign, it certainly has nothing to do, no connection whatsoever with our campaign."

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<![CDATA[Free Tickets for All: AFI FEST]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:30:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/afihomesman123.jpg

Cinephiles across SoCalandia can be forgiven for going a bit slack-jawed, each October, when they again hear the news they recall from the year before: Tickets to AFI FEST are totally free.

AFI FEST, as in the film festival that premieres and spotlights and breaks-out big movie after big movie. The very festival marquee-level stars venture to, nightly, to Q&A and walk read carpets and wave from their seat in the theaters.

Whatever is small potatoes in this world, AFI FEST presented by Audi is on the opposite side of the small-potatodom spectrum, at least in terms of high-wattage works and above-the-title performers.

Tommy Lee Jones is one such actor in this year's crop; his hardscrabble Western "The Homesman" is the Centerpiece Gala film. Look for it at the Dolby Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 11.

"The Gambler," starring Mark Wahlberg, gets its World Premiere during the festival, and the much-fawned-over (we're trying to allay "buzzy" for the time-being) film "Foxcatcher" closes the Nov. 6 through 13 festival out.

"A Most Violent Year" is the fest's World Premiere opener, and it, too, qualifies in the fawned-up, buzz-big departments. As does Ms. Sophia Loren, who shall be specially tributed.

The fest, by the by, spreads beyond the Dolby, to theaters up and down Hollywood Boulevard. So you and your free ticket may find your movie-lovin' self standing inside the TCL Chinese Theatres or the Egyptian or the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which is the glittery (we're trying to allay "see-and-be-seen" for the time-being) hub for the whole shebang.

And the whole shebang revs up on Friday, Oct. 24 when those free -- free free free hooray they're free* -- tickets go on sale online to the general public. It's year six for doing so, Audi is lending the free oomph, and if you haven't seen a caboodle of celebrities and cinephiles stir it up, Tinseltown-style over a fourth of November, well...

You've never done AFI. It's buzzy and see-and-be-seen, both, a big thing that makes one want to summon oft-used terms that really apply.

* you totally got that they're free, right? Aces.



Photo Credit: The Homesman]]>
<![CDATA[Couple to Stand Trial in Alleged Hit-and-Run Death of Judge's Son]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:21:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/01-pregerson1.jpg

A Palms area couple was ordered Monday to stand trial in the alleged hit-and-run that killed a federal judge's son in Pacific Palisades two days after Christmas.

Marguerite Dao Vuong, 67, was charged with allegedly leaving the scene after fatally striking David Pregerson, 23, on Dec. 27 around 3 a.m. at Chautauqua Boulevard and Borgos Place, officials said.

Vuong's husband, Michael, also 67, is charged with one count of being an accessory to hit-and-run causing death, officials said.

Pregerson had been walking home from a bar when he was hit, friends said. He died four days later, on New Year’s Eve.

Prosecutors said Marguerite Vuong was driving the car that hit Pregerson and that her husband tried to help his wife avoid prosecution.

Pregerson had recently graduated from UCLA and was a budding film student who aspired to be a director.

Pregerson’s grandfather, Harry, was a 9th Circuit Court judge. His father, Dean, was a U.S. District Court judge, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Marguerite Dao Vuong faces up to four years in prison if convicted. Michael Vuong faces three years behind bars.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[MMA Fighter Jason "Mayhem" Miller Pleads Not Guilty]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:15:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/10-9-14_Jason+Miller+Mugshot+MMA+Standoff.jpg

MMA fighter Jason "Mayhem" Miller pleaded not guilty Monday to resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer during a three-hour SWAT standoff at his Mission Viejo home earlier this month, according to court records.

The standoff began when police tried to take Miller into custody on Oct. 9. Authorities were serving an arrest warrant was issued for Miller after he failed to appear in court for a case related to domestic violence and stalking charges.

When police arrived, Miller ran back into his house and refused to come out.

During the incident, Miller live-tweeted from inside the home and invited people to his address to watch "the drama unfold."

Miller did not surrender until SWAT officers placed a device on his door that blew off the locks.

Miller defended himself on Twitter during the standoff, writing "I have not committed any crime, but yet i am forced HERE."

Miller's attorney, Joseph H. Low IV, told City News Service the raid was an unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars.

"Jason had been under the care of a doctor for an illness," Low said. "He has been waiting for me to come back to town so that we could go back to court to continue to prove his innocence. I wish the police had informed me of their raid. We could have saved the taxpayers a lot of money. There was no reason at all for them to get all dressed up in their SWAT costumes."

The MMA fighter is due back in court Dec. 1.



Photo Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[LA Shoppers Not Sold on Apple Pay]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:19:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/516604997.jpg

Apple Pay failed to find immediate favor with LA shoppers when it launched Monday morning.

It is being billed as a game changer in the way people pay for things, but concerns about security have led to some holding off at the moment.

However, those that are using the system so far, in which a credit card’s information is stored on users’ iPhones and accessed by swiping it at the tills, have given it positive reviews.

But Carol Drake, who was shopping at Whole Foods market in Glendale, isn’t quite convinced.

"I'm just not comfortable yet," she said.

Fellow customer Robert Pruitt, who is unable to use the system because he has a Samsung phone, wasn’t as concerned about privacy.

"I’m more concerned about the convenience than I am about someone taking my ID," he said. “I think it’s a great idea.”

The store’s manager, Linda Gutierrez, also believed it would benefit customers and businesses.

"Excited it’s a secure way for customers to pay for their purchases and we don’t have to deal with cards or cash or anything else," she said.

The new system got off to a bumpy start on the tech front, too. While stores were ready for it, iPhones weren't.

Apple Pay was only available with the iOS 8.1 download, and most did not get it until afternoon.

Once it is installed, users can swipe their phone at a vendor’s location and confirm transactions using a built-in fingerprint sensor.

The tech giant said it will take awhile before all users get the iOS rollout, and only iPhone 6 and 6-plus devices are equipped with the necessary communication system which makes transactions possible.

The Cupertino company also claims the system is one of the most secure out there, despite Google and Microsoft offering similar applications in their mobile operating systems.

When users pay in stores, the Device Account Number and a transaction security code are used to process the payment.

Neither Apple or the phone sends actual credit numbers to merchants.

They do say they receive anonymous transaction information like time and location of the transaction, which helps them improve Apple Pay.



Photo Credit: Moment Editorial/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Murrieta Mayor Resigns After Arrest on Suspicion of DUI]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:23:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/10-17-2014-murrieta-mayor-book.jpg

Alan Long announced Monday that he will step down as mayor of Murrieta just days after his arrest on suspicion of DUI in a crash that injured four high school students.

Long made the announcement during a Monday afternoon news conference at which he expressed "concern" for the four teens injured in Thursday night's crash at Jefferson and Lily avenues in Murrieta in southwestern Riverside County. Long, 44, was booked on suspicion of DUI causing bodily injury, according to Riverside County jail records.

"I am well aware that being involved in such a high profile accident in my position as mayor and as a member of the City Council will be a distraction," Long said in a statement at the news conference.

The resignation is effective immediately, but Long said he plans to remain a candidate in the Nov. 4 election.

Long was arrested Thursday night after officers determined that a "full-size" truck had rear-ended a passenger vehicle carrying four Murrieta Valley High School students, ages 14 to 17. The students' injuries were described as "moderate to major," according to a police department statement.

"Officers contacted the driver of the truck who was the sole occupant of his vehicle," police said in a statement. "The driver had signs and symptoms consistent with alcohol impairment. The driver participated in some standardized field sobriety tests, and officers determined that the driver was in fact impaired."

Long's blood alcohol content was .07, just below the legal limit of .08, but investigators were also waiting for blood test results, police said.

The girls had just attended a pep rally ahead of Friday night's football game. Three of the four victims were released from a hospital Friday, but details regarding the fourth victim's condition were not immediately available.

Long was speeding and driving recklessly, according to an attorney for two of the victims, L Wallace Pate.

"I understand from the witnesses that I talked to that he ran a stop sign," Pate said

An attorney for Long, who is running for re-election on Nov. 4, said he helped the victims at the scene, talked to their parents and cooperated with police.

Long, also serves as a battalion chief for Anaheim Fire and Rescue, was booked into jail on $50,000 bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.

A court date was scheduled for Dec. 11.

Supporters say they will still vote for Long in November's election, including some who have already voted for him by absentee ballot. 

"He showed respect for every individual," Murrieta resident Joan Padberg said. "That's the type of man he is."

Long was in the national spotlight earlier this year when a busload of undocumented immigrants, bound for the Murrieta Border Patrol Station for processing, was blocked by protesters.

Long criticized the federal government's handling of the immigrant transfer, part of a plan to alleviate what the Obama administration as a humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied minors in federal custody along the U.S.-Mexico border.



Photo Credit: Murrieta Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton in SoCal for Fundraiser]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:34:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP777843598857.jpg

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Los Angeles for a Monday night Democratic Party fundraiser in Brentwood.

The $32,400 per person fundraiser at Tavern restaurant will focus on the Democratic Party’s effort to keep control of the U.S. Senate in the upcoming election.

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg, Dreamworks Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and Disney chairman Alan Horn are co-chairing the fundraisers.

The event is closed to the press and is set to begin at 6 p.m.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Killed, Woman Wounded in Burbank Shooting]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:59:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-1-a-breaking-news-la-generic-graphic-april2014.gif

A man was killed and a woman injured Monday in a shooting at a storage facility in Burbank.

The incident was reported at an RV storage lot just before 1 p.m. in the 3600 block of North San Fernando Road.

What appeared to be a bullet hole could be seen in a window of a big rig cab.

When the officers arrived, they found a woman with a gunshot wound, and the body of a man nearby.

The woman was taken to a hospital in an unknown condition.

Their names were not released.

Burbank police said in a press release "there is no information to suggest there are any
outstanding suspects."

The relationship, if any, between the man and woman was unclear, police said.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Lawsuit: Wife of Bell Gardens Mayor Is "Cold Blooded Killer"]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 04:53:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/Capture8.JPG

The brother of slain Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo has filed a wrongful death suit seeking $50 million in punitive damages against Crespo's wife, who allegedly shot her husband during an argument.

The 45-year-old mayor was shot Sept. 30 at the family's condominium in the small Los Angeles County city. Authorities say Crespo's wife, Lyvette, 43, shot him multiple times after he punched their 19-year-old son, Daniel Jr.

Crespo's brother, William Crespo, filed the lawsuit on behalf of his mother, and said at a news conference Monday he thought the killing was planned.

He claimed Lyvette Crespo would frequently provoke her husband and threaten to kill him, because she was jealous that he was unfaithful.

"She said she was going to divorce my brother when the kids turned 18," William Crespo said. "The kids turned 18. My brother went and he got himself another girlfriend, and she got jealous and she was holding it all inside. I guess she just let it all out and killed him."

The night of the shooting, Daniel Jr. called 911 and told the dispatcher his mother "was defending herself" when she fatally shot her husband, according to a recording of the call obtained by NBC4.

"My parents got in an argument, and there were shots fired," he tells the dispatcher, later saying "It wasn't my mom's fault...She was defending herself."

The suit, filed on behalf of Crespo's mother in LA County Superior Court, alleges that Lyvette Crespo had threatened to kill her husband many times and used an unwarranted amount of force to kill her husband, concluding that she "is a cold blooded killer."

Lyvette Crespo should have called 911 before shooting her husband, and breached her fiduciary duty to him by killing him, the suit alleges.

William Crespo's attorney, James Devitt, called the mayor's relationship "turbulent," showing a text message at the news conference that supposedly showed the Bell Gardens mayor demanding his wife stop threatening to "shoot me in d head!!!"

"Daniel was no angel…obviously he had a bit of a zipper problem," Devitt said at the news conference, held in front of Bell Gardens City Hall.

He continued: "In California, you cannot use deadly force against non-deadly force. You can’t just shoot people five times because they’re having a bad day."

After the shooting, Daniel Jr. and Lyvette Crespo were questioned by police for several hours, but both were released that night. Lyvette Crespo remains free as authorities investigate the shooting.

Lyvette Crespo's lawyer told NBC4 he would respond to the new allegations made in the lawsuit Tuesday morning. He has described Lyvette Crespo as a longtime victim of domestic violence, but her brother-in-law says the allegations shocked him and he feels conflicted about what happened.

"He loved (his family) more than life. He loved his wife a lot, he always loved his wife," William Crespo told NBC4 earlier this month.

"If it was that, she should've called 911. She shouldn't take matters into her own hands. She's not the cops," Crespo said in a separate interview. "I love her; I still love her. She's still my sister-in-law; I'm always going to love her."



Photo Credit: Sean Browning]]>
<![CDATA[First Day for Cortines' Return as LAUSD Superintendent ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:55:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lafile-lausd-superintendent-ramon-cortines.jpg

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines began his first day on the job early Monday after being appointed for the third time as head of the school district.

Cortines reiterated he is not holding an interim position and that the board approved him as superintendent. 

"I've never been an interim," he said. 

Among his top concerns is what Cortines describes as a "sort of meltdown" of the information system designed to track student progress.

"I don’t think anybody knows the magnitude, neither do I, of the information systems sort of meltdown," Cortines said. "I’m very concerned that it’s not just one or two, three schools, it’s all across the district and I need to find out the extent of the problem so we can deal with the issues."

Cortines took over the district after John Deasy resigned last week following a three-and-a-half-year tenure. Deasy will remain with the district on a "special assignment" until the end of the year.

Monday's tasks included meetings with local superintendents and dealing with personnel issues, Cortines said. He will also meet with the head of the teacher’s union, a group he feels must be a part of the solution to LAUSD's problems. He also said the majority of teachers get a bad rap.

Cortines led the school district twice already. He retired amid sexual harassment allegations against an employee, but a lawsuit was dismissed last year.

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<![CDATA[DTLA Street Reopens After Bomb Squad Investigation]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:30:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-1-a-breaking-news-la-generic-graphic-april2014.gif

Figueroa Street between 2nd and 3rd streets in downtown Los Angeles was briefly shut down Monday morning as the bomb squad investigated a suspicious package.

The package was reported at 10:11 a.m., according to LAPD’s media relations section. Investigators cleared the scene just before noon, and said the bag contained personal items.

No other information was immediately available

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<![CDATA[CSUN Student Met His Alleged Killer on Craigslist: LAPD ]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:37:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/10-20-14_Abdullah+Abdullatif+Alkadi.JPG

A man was charged with capital murder Monday after answering a Cal State Northridge student’s ad for a $36,500 Audi, stabbing the student and later dumping his body along a freeway, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Monday.

Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi, a 23-year-old international student from Saudi Arabia, was found dead alongside the 10 Freeway near the Cook Street overpass in Palm Desert about 11:50 p.m. Oct. 16, police said. Before his disappearance, he was last seen Sept. 17 at his Northridge home.

The day of his disappearance, Alkadi met Long Beach resident Agustin Rosendo Fernandez, 28, after posting his Audi for sale on Craigslist, Beck said, calling the death "a very sad case." Alkadi disappeared while showing the Audi to what he believed was a prospective buyer, Beck said.

Fernandez allegedly used a knife to kill Alkadi in an attempt to "keep both the Audi and the purchase price," and disposed of his body alongside the 10 Freeway in Palm Desert, Beck said. Alkadi's body had multiple stab wounds.

Jail records show Fernandez was arrested Oct. 16 at 10:15 a.m, more than 13 hours before police reported Alkadi's body was discovered.

Police did not say when during the last month Alkadi was killed.

"The message for the public here is that you have to beware when you're using online Internet sites when you're selling anything," Beck said. "Opportunities for sales are also opportunities to let unwanted people into your lives."

Alkadi's cousin Allison Alomair told NBC4 last month the Audi A6 was put up for sale at $36,500.

"There were several contacts, it took place over two or three days," Beck said, adding that the two met at Alkadi’s residence initially. Beck said he would not give any more details on the transaction.

LAPD Capt. William Hayes of the Robbery-Homicide Division said on Monday investigators spoke with Fernandez earlier in the investigation but did not arrest him right away.

"There was something early on in the investigation, but again this is an investigative strategy, it doesn't fall into place immediately and they're all parts of a jigsaw puzzle," Hayes said. "As I used the example before, you can get the outside pieces together but until you get the rest for the middle, you don't know where it is."

Police on Sunday announced two arrests in the case, but the second person was released from custody.

"The evidence supported and continues to support the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Fernandez," Beck said. "At this point, we are not going forward with the other one."

Prosecutors on Monday charged Fernandez with one count of murder with special circumstances of murder during a robbery and murder during a carjacking, according to a statement by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

The special circumstance allegations make Fernandez eligible for the death penalty. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek death or life in state prison without the possibility of parole. He is being held without bail and is due back in court Nov. 17.



Photo Credit: Facebook/Alkadi]]>