<![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 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:18:47 -0700 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:18:47 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Body Found in Gas-Filled Apartment in OC]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:46:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-1-a-breaking-news-la-generic-graphic-april2014.gif

A hazmat crew on Monday night was getting ready to go inside a gas-filled apartment in Santa Ana where a body has been found.

Residents of the complex in the 2400 block of North Tustin Avenue have been evacuated.

Officials did not say how the person died.

Refresh this page for updates

<![CDATA[Sketch Released After Attempted Kidnapping in Santa Monica]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 22:52:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/sketch-kidnapping-attempt-santa-monica.jpg

Police released a composite sketch Monday after the attempted kidnapping of a woman in a Santa Monica parking garage.

On July 9, a woman was walking to her car parked in the 2000 block of Colorado Avenue when she was assaulted by a man. She was able to fight him off her and he ran away.

The attacker was described as a white man in his late 30s to early 40s, 5 foot 8 inches tall with a thin build. He was wearing a black shirt, black baggy pants, a baseball cap, black sunglasses and a black backpack.

The victim said his face was thin, and that he had a "pointy" chin and nose.

Anyone with information was asked to call Santa Monica police.

<![CDATA[Interim Sheriff Backs Civilian Oversight]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 22:20:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/interim-la-count-sheriff-john-scott.jpg

After years of abuse scandals and allegations of corruption, interim Los Angeles County Sheriff John Scott said a civilian oversight commission could help the department re-establish trust with the public.

A group of appointed community members, Scott said, would help advise the department's commanders, making sure “there isn't even an appearance that we're trying to put the deputy in the right, when in fact, he was in the wrong.”

The county Board of Supervisors is expected to take up the proposal as early as next month.

In addition to the commission, Scott says he also supports the newly appointed inspector general as the department seeks to make itself more transparent.

“There is no longer a belief that things are being hidden, and I think too often in the past, that was the belief,” Scott said.

Such a committee, however, needs to have restrictions because there are personnel records, medical information and other confidential records that could be released in the process, Scott said.

“There has to be a non-disclosure agreement of some type in order to prevent liability,” he said.

Scott said he welcomes the scrutiny, but only if confidentiality is protected at all levels.

<![CDATA[Obama to Give Speech on Economy at LA College During Swing]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:07:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP161508552016%281%29.jpg

President Barack Obama will be making his way to Southern California for the third time in three months to deliver a speech on the economy at a Los Angeles college during a 24-hour fundraising swing this week.

The president will will attend two Democratic National Committee fundraisers in the LA area starting Wednesday and then give a speech at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College on Thursday. 

Obama is scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and will speak at the college at about 1:15 p.m. Thursday, focusing on the "importance of job-driven skills training." Doors for the speech will open at 10:45 a.m., according to the White House.

A limited number of free tickets for the speech will be distributed at 8:30 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis at the college's Aspen Hall, 2215 S. Grand Ave. Tuesday. It is unclear how many tickets will available.

Tickets for the Tuesday DNC fundraising and reception dinner at the home of ABC drama producer Shonda Rhimes will start at $1,000.

On Thursday, in addition to the college speech, Obama is scheduled to attend a roundtable discussion with about 30 people at the Los Angeles home of Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation, with tickets costing $32,400 each, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Los Angeles visit is part of a three-day West Coast swing that begins Tuesday in Seattle, where the president will attend a fundraiser, and another on Wednesday in San Francisco. 

City News Service contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Flees Topless After Being Caught Shoplifting]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:25:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Macys+Sign+112613.jpg

A suspected shoplifter fled topless after being busted at Southern California mall. But police were easily able to identify her – she left her driver's license behind.

The 44-year-old woman, whose name was not released, was caught at Arcadia’s Santa Anita Mall on Sunday night. Police say she had just walked out of Macy's after stuffing merchandise inside her purse.

Police say the woman was hitting a security guard who tried to stop her and lost her top and bra during the struggle. She then took off running to her car, leaving behind her purse with her ID inside.

The thief drove off in a white Mercedes-Benz, police said, but a witness was able to record a license plate.

Police said they were holding off from releasing surveillance video as they conducted their investigation.

The woman remains at large.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Cities Consider Tough New Water Waste Rules]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:15:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP223500730484.jpg

The cities of Pasadena and Arcadia are considering emergency water restrictions in response to the historic state drought.

The plans come as the state last week imposed tight restrictions on residents with the threat of $500 a day fines for water wasters.

Pasadena's considering limiting outdoor watering to three days a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during summer months. Officials would also require water leaks to be fixed within 72 hours.

The city of Arcadia has a similar plan being considered.

"The city believes it’s important for everyone conserve water," said Eric Klinkner, the Pasadena Water and Power chief deputy general manager. "These new regulations will ensure that everyone in the state will join Pasadena residents in this important effort."

Pasadena is considering:

  • No watering outdoors between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., except with a hand-held container or hose with a shut-off nozzle.
  • No watering during periods of rain.
  • No excessive water flow or runoff onto pavement, gutters or ditches from watering or irrigating landscapes or vegetation of any kind.
  • No washing down paved surfaces unless for safety or sanitation, in which case a bucket, a hose with a shut-off nozzle, a cleaning machine that recycles water or a low-volume/high-pressure water broom must be used.
  • No washing vehicles except by using a hand-held bucket or similar container or hose equipped with a water shut-off nozzle.

A complete list of Pasadena’s water waste restrictions is available at PWPweb.com/WaterWaste

Arcadia's plan can be seen here.

Fines for repeat offenders can be up to $500 per violation for residential customers, and up to $1,000 per violation for all non-residential accounts.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Surf City Beefs Up Security Ahead of Surfing Event]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:11:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/174*120/130728-hb-surfing-riot-window.jpg

As the stage is being set for this year's Van's U.S. Open of Surfing, the Huntington Beach Police Department is taking additional precautions in hopes of avoiding another summer of unrest in the seaside community.

The city has eliminated the free concerts on the sand that accompanied the world's largest surfing event last year. They have also beefed up security for the more than week-long contest that could draw up to 50,000 people on a single day.

"It's always a little tense around the time of the surfing competition, so what happened was probably a blessing," said Elaine Brummet, who's store sits in the middle of Main Street, two doors down from where rioters smashed in a bike store's window last year.

The city has installed 16 surveillance cameras  to help police monitor the streets and the fines for drinking on the beach have doubled.

"You may think you're safe in an alley mixing alcohol into a container and you might find yourself being watched by the police," HBPD Lt. Mitchell O'Brien said.

Last year an unruly mob strapped bandanas on their faces and smashed in store windows, looted shops, knocked over dozens of portable toilets and threw rocks at officers.

"Right as I left my son texted me and said, 'Hey, they're locking down downtown and I can't get out of here,' so he got locked down until 11 p.m. at night," resident Mike Folgheraiter said.

Police arrested 20 people in all, relying on social media post by the alleged rioters to apprehend the suspects.

The Easyrider bike shop, which had its window busted in and a bike stolen, posted a sign this year that said, "Riot Proof."

On the HBPD's Facebook page, a commenter asked under a post detailing the new rules if the U.S. Open will be a surfing contest again.

The HBPD replied, "that is the idea."

<![CDATA[Man, Dogs Found After Adelanto House Fire]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:54:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/adelanto-house-fire.jpg

The bodies of a man and two dogs were discovered after a fire ripped through an Adelanto home early Monday morning.

San Bernardino County firefighters received reports about 2:30 a.m. about multiple people being trapped and children’s screams coming from inside the home in the 11500 block of Villa Street.

Firefighters knocked down the flames in about 5 minutes, then discovered the man and dogs. No other people were found.

Investigators were working to identity the victim.

Foul play was not suspected, officials said, but homicide and arson investigators were combing the scene for evidence.

"At any death scene, the sheriff's department is going to come out and investigate. Just because it's the arson and bomb detail there's nothing to say that anything more than a death occurred," said Capt. Jay Hausman of the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

Neighbors said they tried to help put out the fire by using a garden hose.

"That’s sad, I would never wish that on anybody," a neighbor said.

Neighbors said a couple from Texas moved into the home abou a year ago. A man in his 20s, possibly the couple's son, also lived at the residence.

Family members showed up to the home, but declined to comment.

<![CDATA[Prowler Sought by UCLA Police]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:42:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ucla-peeper-christopher-mendicino.jpg

UCLA police are seeking a 46-year-old man they believe has been seen peeping in windows and prowling around the campus recently.

Christopher Mendicino has been issued a warrant for his arrest, UCLA police said in a bulletin.

He's described as white, 5 foot 10, 130 pounds, with brown hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call UCLA police at 310-825-1491. Refer to report numbre 14-0615.


Photo Credit: UCLA Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Woman's Body Found in La Habra Neighborhood ]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:47:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/la+habra+body+found+2.JPG

A man walking his dog discovered a woman's dead body behind a carport in a La Habra neighborhood, police said Monday.

The body was found covered with foliage in the 900 block of S. Idaho Street when the passerby's dog wandered near the body, according to the La Habra Police Department.

The dog had first alerted his owner to the area on Friday, but the man did not find the body and call police until his dog went to the same area again on Monday, police said.

Only the feet and a small portion of the body were uncovered, and police said they believe she may have been intentionally hidden in the bushes.

Neighbors said the area can be hard to find unless someone know how to get around.

"You can get lost in here ... Usually when people come to see me, they always get lost in here," said Valerie Parker, who described seeing a man she didn't know near the scene with a blanket over the trunk of his car.

"He seemed to know this place to be parked there," Parker said.

Additional details about the death were not immediately clear.

<![CDATA[Students Can Taste Alcohol in Class Under New CA Law]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:40:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/edtAP101118011796.jpg

With a stroke of his pen, Gov. Jerry Brown made it legal for some California college students under the age of 21 to taste alcohol in class.

While that sounds like many students’ dream come true, the law, AB 1989, applies only under very specific circumstances.

First, the students have to be enrolled in an accredited winemaking or beer-brewing course. Second, the taste can only be a taste, so students can’t actually swallow the drink.

The latter provision earned the bill the moniker the "sip-and-spit" bill as it moved through the legislature.

With the governor’s signature, California joins 12 other states, including New York and Oregon, to legalize underage alcohol tasting for educational purposes.

The University of California, Davis, which is renowned for its viniculture and brewery program, was a major supporter of the legislation.

Andrew Waterhouse, a professor in department of viticulture and enology at UC Davis, said the bill allows his students to taste wine while its getting made, a critical skill for those learning how to craft fine wines.

"It’s an experience they can’t really get any other way," said Waterhouse, who testified in support of the bill. "And it’s much better if they do it in an educational setting where they can ask a lot of questions."

Tara Pattison, 19, who studies brewing science at UC Davis, said she is happy that the law is finally on the books. 

"You are learning about the process in theory, but when it comes to actually doing it, it’s not as simple as the books make it look," Pattison said. "If you cannot test the final products you will never know what mistakes you have made or, in a perfect world, didn’t make."

<![CDATA[Not Guilty Plea in Alleged Plan to Help Terrorist Group]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 19:13:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/195*120/ISIS+plea+court+4.JPG

A Southern California man accused of trying to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, with a fake passport so he could allegedly join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, rebels pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges.

Adam Dandach, 20, of Orange, remained in custody without bail and is expected in federal court in Santa Ana on Aug. 25.

Dandach was arrested by FBI agents assigned to the Orange County Joint Terrorism Task Force on July 3. He sought to leave on a flight out of John Wayne Airport in Irvine.

According to federal court documents, he told investigators that "he was traveling to Syria for the purpose of pledging his allegiance to ISIS, a known terrorist organization, that he would assist ISIS with anything that ISIS asked him to do, and that he believed the killings of U.S. soldiers are justified killings."

ISIS is the al-Qaida splinter group leading Sunni militants in Iraq.

Dandach had applied for an expedited replacement passport in June, explaining in the application that he had accidentally thrown the original in the trash while cleaning.

Authorities said his mother actually hid the original passport in a closet to stop him from flying to the Middle East in December.

Dandach's attorney, Cuauhtemoc Ortega of the Federal Public Defender's Office, as well as Dandach's family members declined comment to NBC4 after Monday's hearing.

Jason Kandel contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Braces Options Grow for Special Needs Children]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:58:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/special+needs+braces+crop+84.JPG

For the parents of children with disabilities who need braces, finding an orthodontist who understands their child’s special needs can be challenging.

Because these children often have hypersensitivity to sensation and pain and have difficulty sitting still, some parents may choose to ignore their child's dental issues over fears the process will be too difficult and anxiety-ridden.

But there can be consequences to not fixing a child’s crooked teeth, as they may make eating difficult and can result in food being stuck inside the mouth. This can lead to decay and gum disease and also negatively impact a child’s self-esteem.

Parents should know options are available for special needs children.

A growing number of dentists and orthodontists are modifying their practices to help children with special needs including Orange County Orthodontic Specialist Dr. Ken Fischer, who has a practice in Villa Park catered special needs patients.

"We make them comfortable in the position they're in," said Fischer. "And we do our work to their comfort level, not necessarily ours."

Fischer will often substitute the metal braces with a plastic alternative.

"Metal braces will be uncomfortable and unmanageable for their special needs kids," Fischer said. "The plastic trays are nothing more than a very thin layer of plastic encasing a tooth. It’s smooth. It’s comfortable."

The plastic trays move the teeth a little bit at a time. They can be removed for cleaning and are replaced every 10 to 14 days with a new version. Most treatments can take one to two years.

Fischer has also made his office wheelchair accessible and gives his patients the option to stay in their wheelchairs when they’re visiting the office. He doesn’t penalize parents for missed office visits and has replaced the traditional gooey molds used to make impressions with an all-digital system.

"I want more people to adopt a treatment protocol for these kids and (more parents) to know that successful treatment can be accomplished," Fischer said.

<![CDATA["Century Crunch" May Jam LAX Traffic]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:57:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/202*120/Century+Crunch+Bridge.jpg

Angelenos dealing with a congested commute to Los Angeles International Airport will face an extra roadblock this weekend in what is being dubbed the "Century Crunch."

In the tradition of "Jamzilla" and "Carmageddon," the "Century Crunch" will force a closure at the intersection of Century Boulevard and Aviation Boulevard from 9 p.m. on July 25 to 6 a.m. on July 28.

The 57-hour closure allows for the demolition of the Century Boulevard bridge as part of construction for the Crenshaw/LAX line, slated to connect the Metro Green Line to the Expo Line in 2019.

Century Boulevard is one of the busiest paths to LAX, with Metro officials estimating almost 93,000 drivers passing through the intersection each day.

"We know summer is peak travel season and not a great time to disrupt airport traffic and we’re sorry about that," said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Metro Board of Directors, at a news conference. "But the demolition work is necessary now so that construction can stay on schedule for the Crenshaw Line."

During the closure, traffic will be diverted around the intersection onto Manchester Avenue.

"Avoid the area if you do not need to be there, and if you must, allow for extra travel time and use public transit," LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a video announcing the closure. 

Metro officials also recommended alternate routes to get to the airport from the freeway:

  • If traveling south on the 405 Freeway, exit at Howard Hughes Parkway and going south to Sepulveda or exiting at Manchester Avenue and going south on Sepulveda.
  • If traveling north, take the 105 Freeway west to the northbound Sepulveda Boulevard exit.

Officials are also taking steps to keep the public in the loop on the progress of the construction.

Travelers can get traffic updates by using Go511's website or mobile app.

Additionally, FlyAway service is available in Santa Monica, at Union Station in Los Angeles, Van Nuys, Westwood and at the Metro Expo station at La Brea Avenue. The Metro Green line has LAX shuttles from the Imperial Highway and Aviation stop.

Metro bus lines and municipal lines in Torrance, Santa Monica, Culver City and beach cities also provide service to the Bus Transit Center on 96th Street just east of Sepulveda Boulevard.

Metro also showcased its new hi-tech $1.2 million Mobile Command Center Monday, a massive black van which officials said will communicate the construction operation to the public from the site.

“It’s designed to support both our agency and our partner agencies like the sheriff’s department, the police department, the fire department,” said Scott Norwood, emergency and preparedness manager for Metro. “We can utilize it for response to, all number of, any kind of emergencies.”

Once the bridge is demolished, one lane in each direction on Century Boulevard will be closed for 16 months as contractors continue construction.

Photo Credit: Jose Ubaldo/Metro]]>
<![CDATA[4-Year-Old Girl Allegedly Abused by Hesperia Couple]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:58:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/siren3.jpg

A Hesperia couple was arrested on suspicion of torturing a 4-year-old girl after she swallowed a toxic substance.

Officers responded to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital Tuesday after receiving reports of the girl swallowing a toxic substance. While at the hospital, officers found the girl with several injuries to her body, according to a news release from the Hesperia Police Department.

Police investigated and concluded that the girl had been tortured.

The girl’s mother Jamie Updegraff, 29, and step-father Jake Updegraff, 31, were booked in jail and charged with cruelty to a child, failure to provide care to a child and causing great bodily injury.

Officials said the girl is still at the hospital as of Monday morning.

<![CDATA[School District Offering Whooping Cough Booster Shots]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 09:38:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/LAgenerics+health+medical+doctor+01.jpg

As California’s whooping cough epidemic continues, Los Angeles Unified School District is offering free booster shots for eligible students at a series of upcoming clinics.

All students entering seventh grade are required by state law to have proof of having had the pertussis booster shot.

In California, 5,393 cases were reported through July 8, according to a report from the California Department of Public Health. Pertussis - or whooping cough - is a highly contagious disease spread by coughing.

The clinics are:

  • July 28-31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 4-8, at Zelzah Clinic, North Area Nursing Office, 6505 Zelzah Ave., Reseda, from 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • July 28-31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 4- 8, at Telfair PTA Clinic, 10911 Telfair Ave., Pacoima, from 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • July 28-31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 4- 8, at Columbus Clinic, 22250 Elkwood St., Canoga Park, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 4 - 8, at Murchison Clinic, 1501 Murchison St., Los Angeles, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • July 29 and 31, Aug. 5 and Aug. 7 at Central PTA Clinic, 1000 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Aug 4- 8 at Holmes Clinic, 5108 Holmes Ave., Los Angeles, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • July 28-31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 4- 8, Roosevelt High School, 456 S. Matthews Street, Los Angeles, from 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • July 30, Aug. 1, Aug. 4, Aug. 6 and Aug. 8 at San Miguel Health Clinic, 9801 San Miguel Ave., South Gate, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 4-8, at Plasencia Elementary School, (Student Guidance Assessment Center), 1321 Cortez St., Los Angeles, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • July 28-31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 4- 8, at Edison Middle School, 6500 Hooper Ave., Los Angeles from 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Eligible students include those on Medi-Cal, who are of Native American descent and the uninsured.

Additional low cost immunization clinics are available from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

<![CDATA[Kobe's Back: The 2014-15 LA Lakers]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 06:48:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-Lakers-2014-15.jpg

Kobe Bryant will be back. Is that positive enough for you? It’s time to push aside the negativity and promulgate the truth about the 2014-15 Los Angeles Lakers.

The biggest difference between the 2013-14 Lakers, which finished with the worst record since the team moved to LA, and the 2014-15 Lakers is a man that goes by one name: “Kobe.” Yes, one of the best players in the history of the game may be 35-years-old (and turning 36 before the season starts) but the last time no. 24 actually played a season, he averaged 27 points, six rebounds and six assists.

To put those numbers in perspective, Nick Young led the laughingstock Lakers with 18 points per game. The last time Bryant averaged 18 or fewer points in a season, Del Harris was still the coach and Eddie Jones was starting at shooting guard. To what extent Bryant’s knee fracture and Achilles injury have hampered the superstar remains to be seen, but his intellect, knowledge and experience are ineluctable.

As much as the season of failure was pinned on former coach Mike D’Antoni, the 2014-15 Lakers had more wins than losses a month after opening night. Then, the injuries hit. Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti still probably wakes up in a cold sweat from nightmares of players queuing up for treatment. At one point during the injured season, the Lakers’ medicine man turned to reporters as they received one of the never-ending injury updates and joked with a look of genuine disbelief that the only people not on the injury table were media members (I promptly told Vitti about my ankle/Achilles injury which didn’t make him feel any better...p.s. follow me @shahanLA).

Okay, so a healthy Bryant alone is a massive improvement from the season to forget. However, he is not alone.

The Lakers have not had a consistent point guard worth talking about since Derek Fisher, who truthfully was more of a leader than a traditional point guard. The 2014-15 Lakers have Jeremy Lin, who can handle the ball, shoot from the outside and score the basketball. With Steve Nash aging (already aged is likely more accurate), Lin’s inclusion automatically improves that position and gives the Lakers another backcourt scoring threat.

Rookie Jordan Clarkson also seems like he was an intelligent pick-up, and the young point guard with a Filipino following stood out during the Lakers’ involvement in the NBA Summer League.

Yes, the Lakers lost Pau Gasol. However, at his age and with his weakened knees, Gasol was visibly slower and less effective on both ends of the floor. Gasol remained a champion and a true professional even after he announced his departure to Chicago, but the Lakers’ acquisition of Carlos Boozer is not nearly as significant of a drop-off as many made it out to be. Boozer also cost the Lakers a whole lot less money.

With rookie Julius Randle adding tenacity and fresh hunger to the team, the Lakers could easily argue that they have upgraded the front court from a season ago. For anyone wishing to point to Chris Kaman’s departure as a downgrade, the bearded giant spent as much time lying across the bench as he did running up and down the floor.

Jordan Hill, who will likely see time at center if not start there, should actually earn consistent playing time to finally prove his true value. With big power forwards helping on the boards and in the lane, Hill’s undersized stature may not be as exposed as one would think. Worth remembering, the 2013-14 Lakers ranked sixth from the bottom in rebounding and defense was non-existent. Honestly, how can they possibly be worse?

Young played well and entertained fans in a painful season, but Xavier Henry and Ryan Kelly also provided brief sparks of electricity. Having all three players back is a positive move. Assuming all three can stay healthy and show improvement, the Lakers can look to build on the few bright spots in the darkest of seasons.

Wesley Johnson played out of position for the vast majority of his lone season in LA, but his athleticism still shone through. Like Hill, Johnson will finally get the opportunity to prove what he can do without being undermined by the coach’s philosophy. Can he be the defensive specialist he was meant to be? Playing small forward is already an improvement on Johnson being constantly outmatched at power forward.

Also worth mentioning, the 2014-15 Lakers will likely practice and play something resembling defense. D’Antoni is gone (hold for applause). For all his flaws (and there were many) it is impossible to blame D’Antoni for the injury curse that took hold of the Lakers.

The 2014-15 Lakers may not look like they’re built to contend for a title, but they don’t look like a team contending for last place either. Hopefully, the injury spell is broken, the Lakers are no longer an embarrassment and, most importantly, “Kobe” is back.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cross-Border Crime in the Crosshairs for California AG]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:10:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/172*120/kamalaharris.jpg

Western states’ attorneys general convened in Park City, Utah over the weekend. At the head of the table: California's AG Kamala Harris.

Harris said she called the special summit to meet with law enforcement officials across the US, Mexico and El Salvador. The summit was designed to tackle the issue of trans-national crime that crosses borders.

Immigration, ID theft, money laundering, gang warfare, drug smuggling and human trafficking all took center-stage.

Harris spoke about technology's role in crime and shared insight California police departments have been using to help stay ahead of the game against criminals.

With recent immigration headlines pointing to Central American countries like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Harris quoted a United Nations study claiming 48% of unaccompanied children entering the United States from Latin America are threatened by transnational organizations. Harris said she was able to meet one-on-one with the AG from Mexico and El Salvador.

"What this does is it improves relationships which will improve our ability to coordinate around a common purpose," Harris said about the summit.

Human trafficking for labor, drugs and sex was a major focus as well. An analyst from Carnegie Melon showed examples of how ads for sexual favors peak around large sporting events, using the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans as an example.

Harris said she worried many of the unaccompanied minors crossing the border could fall into the human trafficking trade.

"When I see images of people surrounding a bus of women and children and chanting go home as though they're trying to take anything from anyone," Harris said, "They're literally trying to seek refuge."

Mexico's attorney general, Jesus Murillo Karam, spoke one-on-one with NBC4 just after his conversations with Harris. He said the collaboration between governments is fundamental. Karam says money is Mexico's biggest issue with the drug cartels and just how much of it there is, most of which comes through in American dollars. He also joined Harris in her belief that in the issue of supply and demand, both need to be dealt with as a whole.

But in the area of drugs, Harris and Karam differed. Karam insisted that drugs are being bought and sold on both sides of the border while Harris claimed 70% of all methamphetamine in the U.S. comes from Mexico by way of San Diego.

"I'd like to see Mexico's law enforcement strengthened to do what it wants to do to stop the production of methamphetamine in its own country," she said, "because perhaps that will then reduce the meth entering our country and our state."

The attorney general from El Salvador spoke a little more candid about the issues his country faces and how it affects California.

"Today," he said, "justice has no borders."

Luis Martinez said he's working hard to fix the perceived corruption in his government, even going to so far as to investigate his own president. But he added that times are tough in El Salvador, that society has become too angry and vengeful that it's led to the mass exodus of new generations of Salvadorans.

Harris called the summit a success before heading back to Sacramento, but she added that there is still a lot of work to be done. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images For J/P Haitian Rel]]>
<![CDATA[Condo Fire Displaces Eight People in Sylmar]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:56:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/condo+fire+sylmar.jpg

Four adults and four children were without homes after a condo fire damaged three units in Sylmar early Monday, but firefighters are crediting smoke alarms with alerting dozens of residents of the complex who were able to escape the blaze.

Firefighters responded to the fire around 2 a.m. in the 14300 block of Foothill Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

One unit was well involved in flames when firefighters arrived. Residents were able to get out of their homes safely.

"The smoke detectors activated and it warned the occupants of the house," Battalion Chief Mark Akahoshi said.

More than 80 firefighters battled the blaze, which extended to the ceilings of two other units and attic space. The fire was extinguished in about 50 minutes.

Officials said a firefighter suffered a facial injury and was taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. A resident asked paramedics to look at a burn on his foot. He was not taken to a hospital.

Red Cross workers were temporarily housing the 8 people displaced in the fire.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.

"It might have started in the kitchen, but (the investigation) on going right now," Akahoshi said.

Digital Producer Kelly Goff contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Loudlabs]]>
<![CDATA[Geyser Shut Off After Nearly Five Hours in Venice]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:46:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/geyser+venice.jpg

A busted flush-out pipe gushed water into the air for five hours after a vehicle hit a fire hydrant in Venice Sunday night.

Officers responded around 7 p.m. to a vehicle that struck a flush-out pipe - resembling a fire hydrant - near Washington Boulevard and Marr Street, officials said.

It was reported that a pick-up truck driver 

During its peak, the geyser reached up to 100 feet in the air, and 400 gallons of water a minute flooded the streets.

“It’s kind of scary,” said Joel Garcia, who works at a nearby gas station. “There’s been a lot of water that’s been pouring out.”

A handful of city workers spent most of the night trying to shut off the water. The water flow stopped completely around 4 a.m.

"In California, and they're in a massive drought and that must have been half the water supply going out into the street," said Dougall Pennefather, an Austrailian tourist who saw the geyser from his room at a Jolly Roger Motel across the street.

Several witnesses questioned why it took so long to shut off the water, but a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works said it was complicated when it became clear the shutoff valve was buried in debris.

"Trace back to a 24-inch main line this pipe branches off of and shut that valve. We found that the seal on that valve wasn’t actually shutting the water supply off completely," said Bob Spencer, an agency spokesman.

Spencer said about 120,000 gallons of water was lost - the equivalent of what the average family uses in a year.

<![CDATA[Reserve Cop in Anti-Bicyclist Video Resigns]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:12:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/santa-paula-Laura-Weintraub.jpg

A Southern California police volunteer officer who posted a video online about running over bicyclists has resigned.

Laura Weintraub submitted a letter of resignation to the police chief on Sunday, the Santa Paula Police Department said in a news release. The chief confirmed it in a post on the department's Facebook page.

"The purpose of this post is to advise the community that I have accepted the resignation of Volunteer Reserve Officer Laura Weintraub. Her resignation is effective today. I believe that Ms. Weintraub did the right thing for everyone involved and wish her nothing but the best for her and her family," said the post with Chief Steven McLean's name at the end.

Weintraub had been placed on paid administrative leave and stripped of her police credentials as an internal investigation was underway into the YouTube video in which she says, "I hate bicyclists, every single one of them."

"The Chief of Police as well as the Santa Paula Police Department did not condone this video and are extremely embarrassed by it. This video did not and does not express the views of the Santa Paula Police Department nor the Chief of Police," the release said.

In the video, she also asks a man driving her how much she'd have to pay for him to run over a cyclist.
His response: "How much do you have in your wallet right now?"

In the last frame of the video, a photo showing a vehicle crashing into a group of bicyclists is shown with text that reads "Like you've never thought about it..."

A second reserve officer was also placed on administrative leave for posting a response to comments on the department's Facebook page, the police chief said.

Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[PM Forecast: Hottest Day of Year This Week]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 22:37:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/140720-pm-wx_1200x675_309797443850.jpg Temperatures will be well above average Thursday, about 10 to 15 degrees, making for the hottest day of 2014. Byron Miranda has the forecast for Sunday, July 20, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Dodgers' Crawford Selected to AFL Hall-of-Fame]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 21:18:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/166*120/cc+dugout.jpg

Carl Crawford’s a long shot to make the big league Hall of Fame but he can now count himself among the best to ever play in the Arizona Fall League.

Crawford and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday were selected Sunday as the 35th and 36th members of the AFL Hall of Fame, as reported by MLB.com.

They’ll be inducted in November.

In 2001, the current Dodgers left fielder was a young, up-and-coming speedster playing for the Maryvale Saguaros in a league known as the stomping ground for future major league stars.

Crawford balled out. He hit .386 with nine stolen bases in 17 games before joining Team USA in the World Cup in Chinese Taipai.

He’s done pretty well since making his Major League debut in 2002. in 12-plus seasons, the four-time All-Star is a .291 career hitter with over 1,800 hits and his 118 triples lead all active players.

He also holds company with Ty Cobb as the only players to hit over 100 triples and steal 400 bases before their 30th birthdays.

Holliday went through the league in 2002 and 2003 and killed it both times.

In 35 AFL games he hit .316 with four homers 21 RBIs and 20 runs scored. In the majors Holliday’s has made six All-Star teams. He’s also hit 258 career home runs and holds a .309 career average. Holliday won a World Championship with the Cardinals in 2011.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vigil Honors LA Native Killed in Gaza]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:28:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/steinberg3.jpg

Hundreds of mourners gathered at a candlelight vigil Sunday night for a Los Angeles native who was killed while fighting as an Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Defense Forces said Max Steinberg, 24, was one of 13 soldiers in the Golani Brigade that was killed in battle earlier Sunday. The brigade was engaged with Hamas fighters in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City. One other American who volunteered to fight for Israel, 21-year-old Nissim Sean Carmeli, of South Padre Island, Texas, was also killed in Shejaiya. Carmeli moved to Israel four years ago.

Steinberg was a Woodland Hills native who graduated from El Camino High School and attended Pierce College. News of his death was reported by the Jewish Journal, a Los Angeles newspaper, on its website. 

"I really haven't wrapped my head around this. I can't believe it, I just can't believe it," said his mother, Evie Steinberg at the vigil.

Steinberg's friends and members of the Jewish community huddled together in a West Hills Park to pay their respects.

"He put all of his attention, his focus, his dedication to being the best soldier that he possibly could be," said Steinberg's father, Stuart.

"He was our family's inspiration, our family's spirit and he is worthy of you being here today," he added.

The father said Steinberg visited Israel for the first time in 2012 and decided he wanted to live there. He volunteered to join the Israeli army about a year later. He was a sniper.

The IDF did not immediately report how Steinberg was killed. But it said seven of the brigade's soldiers were killed at 1 a.m. Israeli time, when their armored personnel carrier drove over a bomb.

Three brigade members were killed in a firefight with Hamas, and three others were killed in when the Gaza City building they were in caught fire.

IDF claims that 140 rockets were fired into Israel from the densely-populated Shejaiya district, and that 10 tunnels leading to Israel have been discovered there, the Jewish Journal reported from Los Angeles.

The death toll has climbed to 501 Palestinians and 20 Israelis in 14 days of fighting, NBC News reported

"We mourn the loss of Valley native Max Steinberg who was killed Sunday by Hamas terrorists while serving in the IDF," tweeted Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks).

Steinberg is survived by his parents and two younger siblings, a brother and sister. His family planned on traveling to Israel on Monday to bury him.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[El Pollo Loco Burglar Arrested After Returning for Food]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:21:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/el-pollo-loco-burglary-costa-mesa-burglar.jpg

A Southern California criminal’s craving to go back for seconds got him in hot water with authorities last week.

Daniel Lee Warn, 28, of was arrested by police Wednesday in a Costa Mesa El Pollo Loco restaurant after allegedly breaking into the location earlier in the day wearing the same outfit, officials said.

Police said a burglary was reported at an El Pollo Loco in the 1900 block of Harbor Blvd. Wednesday. No losses were reported from the incident.

Security footage showed a man dressed in a "distinctive" hat and green shirt entering the location through a drive-thru window and going through the registers looking for cash, officials said in a press release.

Later in the day, police received a call from employees of the chicken joint reporting a man—matching the description of the suspect—waiting in line to order food.

Police entered and arrested Warn. Authorities said he was still wearing the same clothing and hat as in the security video.

Costa Mesa Police said Warn is also connected to a string of recent commercial burglaries in the area which included break-ins at a local liquor store, DVD shop and chiropractic business.

Additional investigation is continuing to determine if Warn may be responsible for other recent commercial burglary incidents, police said.

Officials said Warn was sentenced to prison earlier this year, but was out as part of a post-release community supervision program.

Warn is currently being detained in the Orange County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

It’s not immediately clear if Warn has an attorney.

<![CDATA[61 Dogs Rescued After Fire Burns Home in Riverside County]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:01:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rescued+Riverside+Dogs.jpg

Sixty-one dogs were rescued, and three people were displaced, when a fire burned through a single family home in Woodcrest Saturday, officials with the Riverside County Fire Department said.

Firefighters who responded to the scene reported smoke coming from the attic of the house in the 16400 block of Pick Place, authorities said. 

In all, 27 firefighters assisted in battling the blaze, according to officials. No injuries were reported.

The dogs, which are all Shelties or Sheltie-mixes, were turned over to Riverside County Animal Services by their owner.

John Welsh, a spokesman with the department, said the dogs were all in good health and had no behavioral problems.

Welsh added that the department was working with rescue partners to transfer the dogs and get them adopted.

Riverside municipal code requires a residence with five or more dogs apply for a kennel permit.

Welsh told City News Service that animal control officials were familiar with the home, but it was unclear if the owner had been cited for having so many animals on the property.

Anyone interested in finding out about adopting any of the Shetland sheepdogs can visit the Riverside County Animal Services facility at 5851 Van Buren Blvd., Jurupa Valley or call 951-358-7387.

Photo Credit: Riverside County Animal Services]]>
<![CDATA[Former Arcadia Police Officer Pleaded No Contest to Embezzling Charge]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 12:13:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/court-gavel-generic-law1.jpg

A former Arcadia police officer pleaded no contest Friday to stealing more than $50,000 from a police officers’ association to buy motorcycle accessories and other personal items.

Christian Blesch, 36, is expected to be sentenced on Sept. 30 to 180 days in jail and three years probation for one count of grand theft by embezzlement, officials from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

As part of the plea agreement, Blesch will also pay nearly $42,000 in restitution.

Deputy District Attorney Geoffrey Rendon said in a statement that after being elected as the Arcadia Police Officer Association treasurer in 2011, Blesch used the association’s credit card for purchasing personal items like clothing, exercise equipment, shaving accessories and cigars.

Blesch then paid the monthly credit card bills from the association’s checking account, Rendon said.

Blesch resigned from the police force last September and turned himself into authorities. If convicted at trial he would have faced up to three years in prison.

<![CDATA[Lanes Reopened on 60 Freeway Following Brush Fire]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 11:48:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*128/LAgenerics+firefighter+fires.jpg

Lanes were reopened on the 60 Freeway in Los Angeles following a brush fire on an embankment near the roadway, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A SigAlert was issued on both sides of the freeway at Whittier Boulevard around 10:40 a.m. after reports of a fire.

Two lanes were reopened to traffic around 11 a.m. The other lanes were reopened around 11:45 a.m., according to CHP.


<![CDATA[$60 Million Powerball Ticket Sold at Fontana Market]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 14:59:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cardenas+powerball+copy.jpg

A market in Fontana sold a Powerball ticket Saturday that matched all six numbers and is worth $60 million.

Numbers 10, 53, 17, 25, 45 and the Powerball 9 were correctly matched at Cardenas Market #21 at 8963 Sierra Ave. in San Bernardino County.

Lotto officials said the cash option for the winning numbers is just under $36 million.

Store owner Richard Ruiz will also get a bonus of $300,000 for selling the ticket.

"It's something that you can't believe," Ruiz said. "I'm just glad it's something that came into our community."

<![CDATA[Victims Identified in Wrong-Way Crash ]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:17:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/210+fatal+cap.JPG

A wrong-way driver and two women in another car who appeared to be coming home from a family reunion were identified after a deadly head-on collision on the 210 Freeway in Rancho Cucamonga, California, early Sunday morning.

Reports of a wrong-way, possibly drunk driver were made to California Highway Patrol just after 2 a.m. Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

"Our units started getting in position, and just after, a collision occured here," said Capt. Joe Flores.

The driver, identified as La Habra-resident Mack Jaramillo, 28, was speeding westbound on the eastbound 210 Freeway leading up to the crash, officials said.

A male driver and woman in the silver Hyundai that was struck by the wrong-way driver survived but suffered serious injuries. They were identified as 60-year-old Nitin Shah and his 56-year-old wife, Jyostha. They were taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center. The wife was later released.

Two women in the backseat, identified as Fontana-resident Figuni Shah, 38, and Veena Shah, 52, died, officials said. Veena Shah was visiting from London.

Jaramillo died in the crash.

According to CHP, all lanes on the eastbound 210 Freeway at Day Creek Boulevard were shut down until 7:30 a.m.

Authorities said it appears that the passengers in the silver Hyundai were family members on their way home from a family reunion.

Ronak Patel says the Shahs are part of the congregation of nearly 1,000 people at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills.

"They are regular volunteers here and we are deeply saddened to hear about the tragic car accident they were involved in," Patel said.

A closed prayer was set to take place at the temple at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

<![CDATA[Woman, 70, Suffers Broken Jaw in Robbery]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 15:34:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/POLICE-CAR.jpg

Upland police are searching for a robber who punched a 70-year-old woman in the face and took off with her purse Saturday morning.

The assailant approached the victim about 7:50 a.m. as she was walking from her car to her residence in the 1300 block of Shelley Avenue, police said. He attacked and robbed her, then fled.

A few minutes later, the woman’s credit cards were being used at a gas station in Upland and Ontario, police said. Police said they were not able to retrieve surveillance footage from the locations.

The victim suffered moderate injuries to her mouth and teeth, police said.

A family friend of the victim told NBC4 that the woman was in the hospital recovering from her injuries, which includes a broken jaw.

The suspect was described by witnesses as a black male in his 20s, about 5 foot 6 inches tall, weighing about 145 pounds. He had a light complexion and curly hair that was about 2 inches long. He was wearing black shorts, a black shirt and gloves. He was driving a tan or gray 8- to 10-year-old small, four-door vehicle with tinted windows.

Anyone with information was asked to call Upland police at 909-946-7624.

<![CDATA[Mother Killed in Head-On Crash on Sunset Boulevard]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 03:15:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/holmby-hills-car-crash.jpg

A head-on car crash on a winding stretch of Sunset Boulevard in Holmby Hills left a mother dead and her husband and daughter injured, police said Saturday.

Investigators said the driver of a Maserati was traveling westbound between Mapleton Drive and Charing Cross Road before 6:15 p.m. when he crossed into opposite lanes and collided with a Honda carrying the family.

The driver of the Honda, a mother in her 50s, became trapped in the wreckage. She was declared dead at the scene, police said.

Her husband and daughter were taken to the hospital. He suffered broken ribs. The daughter was expected to be OK.

The driver of the Maserati was not hurt, police said. He was cooperating with investigators.

Drugs or alcohol did not appear to have played a role, police said.

It was unclear if the driver, a man in his 50s or 60s, was facing criminal charges.

No further details on the crash were released.

Police shut down Sunset Boulevard between Mapleton Drive and Charing Cross Road during the investigation but re-opened it just after 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

Photo Credit: Kate Larsen]]>
<![CDATA[Latino Advocacy Group Holds Conference]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 23:18:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/michelle-valles-eric-garcetti-la-raza-convention.jpg

A four-day convention hosted by the largest Hispanic American advocacy group in the U.S. is gathering this weekend in downtown Los Angeles.

Speakers at the National Council of La Raza's annual conference include Mayor Eric Garcetti, Rep. Luis Guttierez, D-Ill., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-N.Y., and undocumented journalist and activist Jose Antonio Vargas.

NBC4's Michelle Valles was the master of ceremonies for the conference luncheon on Saturday. Questions of immigration reform are at the focus of the conference, as the thousands of Central American children and families coming to the U.S. have come to the center of a national controversy.

The convention also features workshops and panels on issues such as health, education, community building and Latino representation in STEM fields. 

Organizers emphasized the conference's location in Los Angeles, which boasts the nation's largest Latino population, as ideal for the NCLR. 

"Los Angeles really leads the way for California and many people say the way California goes, so does the country," said Clarissa Martinez of NCLR. "So, it's incredibly important to be here." 

Kate Larsen contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: @MichelleNBCLA via Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Man Dies in Hit-and-Run]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 15:06:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/john+preciado+web.jpg

A Southern California man who had been reported missing from his assisted care facility Friday died the next day after a hit-and-run collision. 

John Preciado, 85, of Mentone was hit by a vehicle Friday night at the intersection of W. Rialto Avenue and G Street in San Bernardino.

Preciado was taken to the hospital and died Saturday morning around 1 a.m., the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department said in a news release.

The driver of the vehicle fled the scene.  

Earlier Friday, Preciado was reported missing from an assisted care facility on Jasper Avenue in Mentone, about 13 miles east of the intersection where he was hit. He left the facility on foot, officials said.

Preciado was diabetic and had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. 

The San Bernardino Police Department urges anyone with information about the hit-and-run to call the police at (909) 384-5742.

<![CDATA[2 Arrested in Connection With Marijuana Grow Operation]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 14:40:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/MARIJUANA14.jpg

Deputies arrested two men Friday after investigating an illegal outdoor marijuana grow operation in Riverside County.

Riverside Country Sheriff's deputies searched the marijuana grow location in the 3700 block of Califiornia Avenue in Norco.

Authorities seized over 400 marijuana plants, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Office.

Israel Martinez, 49, and Wilivaldo Martinez, 34, both of Ontario, were booked on marijuana cultivation and conspiracy charages.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren]]>
<![CDATA[Reserve Officer on Leave After Video Stirs Anger]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 23:38:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/sp+police+facebook+copy.jpg

A Santa Paula police volunteer officer has been placed on administrative leave after a video posted to her YouTube page of her talking about hating bicyclists was widely criticized on the Department’s Facebook page.

In a YouTube video posted by Laura Weintraub, bicyclists are mocked as she passes them by in a vehicle.

“I hate bicyclists, every single one of them,” she says.

She also asks a man driving her how much she’d have to pay for him to run over a cyclist.

His response: “How much do you have in your wallet right now?”

In the last frame of the video, a photo showing a vehicle crashing into a group of bicyclists is shown with text that reads "Like you've never thought about it..."

The video began to make waves on the Santa Paula Police Department’s Facebook page in an unrelated post written by Police Chief Steven McLean. In the post he wrote “I had a very active day to day. Think I just might have a beer.”

Several commenters took to the post to voice their disapproval of the video.

“Along with that beer you deserve to be chastised and publicly shamed for condoning such horrible behavior from anyone associated with a police uniform. Hopefully she gets a taste of karma for her form of satire,” wrote Michael Broadbent.

In a response to someone commenting on the video, the Department stated on Facebook that the reserve officer “does some great satire videos in her personal spare time.”

“Stay safe out there riding your bike and remember to obey all the rules of the road, a lot of your fellow bikers seem oblivious to the laws!” they added.

By Saturday morning, another post on the Department Facebook page stated that the reserve officer was placed on administrative leave.

“The purpose of this post is to notify the community that the volunteer who made the video about cyclist has been placed on Administrative Leave pending an investigation,” the post said.

McLean said the video was an embarrassment and that he was in disbelief over her actions.

A second reserve officer was also placed on administrative leave for posting a response to comments on the Department's Facebook page, the police chief said.

"Hopefully it'll teach her a lesson and hopefully she'll respect us cyclists," a bicyclists said.

The video was deleted from Weintraub's YouTube page as of Saturday morning, but at least one other user saved and posted it to their page.

Anyone wishing to discuss the incident was directed to Chief McLean, who could be reached at 805-525-4474, ext. 122.

Jane Yamamoto contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[12 Customers Without Power in Fullerton]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 12:52:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-1-a-breaking-news-la-generic-graphic-april2014.gif

A possible underground vault explosion Saturday morning left nearly 2,000 people without power initially was only affecting 12 by the afternoon in Orange County.

The outage was reported just after 9 a.m. in the area of Chapman and Raymond avenues in Fullerton, according to Southern California Edison.

Officials said there were reports that an underground vault explosion was to blame for the outage affecting 1,899 customers. By about 12:30 p.m., the number was reduced to 12.

Fullerton firefighters responded to the explosion.

<![CDATA[Arrest Made in Alleged DUI Crash in Pomona]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 10:41:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/siren3.jpg

A bicyclist was killed Saturday morning after being struck by an alleged drunk driver in Pomona, officials said.

Rick Kyujin Lee was driving a white BMW 335i on Garey Avenue around 2:30 a.m. when he struck a male bicyclist from behind near Philadelphia Street, according to a news release from the Pomona Police Department.

The impact of the crash caused the man, between 40 and 50 years old, to be ejected from his bike. He was taken to a hospital where he later died, police said.

Lee was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol after police found evidence at the scene.

<![CDATA[Motorcyclist Killed in North Hollywood Hit-and-Run]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 23:29:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/noho+hit+and+run+motorcyclePNG.PNG

A driver and passenger involved in a hit-and-run crash in North Hollywood have been arrested after fleeing the scene of a crash that killed a man Saturday morning, authorities said.

A motorcyclist was struck by a red Toyota Camry around 3:15 a.m. at the intersection of Magnolia Boulevard and Lankershim Boulevard, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

Investigators say the Camry was heading northbound on Lankershim and as the driver made a left on Magnolia, he crashed into the motorcyclist who was going through the intersection. 

The motorcyclist was transported to the hospital in critical condition and he later died.

Police confirmed early Saturday morning that they had located the Toyota Camry. Both the driver and the passenger were detained.

According to police, witnesses chased the suspect's vehicle down Magnolia and blocked the vehicle from going any further from the scene (right). A witness called authorities and told them the details of the hit-and-run suspect and the vehicle. The vehicle was located approximately 150 yards from the initial crime scene. 

According to witnesses, the passenger of the Camry switched seats with the driver. Investigators are checking to see whether they were intoxicated at the time of the crash.

The intersection was closed during the investigation.

<![CDATA[Identity Theft Suspects Target Victims Throughout SoCal]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 13:32:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/11ptarget_theft_1200x675_308407875824.jpg

Two South Bay men and one woman have been arrested in connection with identity theft crimes that involved more than 20 victims all over Southern California.

San Pedro resident Arnulfo Rodarte and Torrance resident Sylvester Curameng (below) were captured on video using a victim’s stolen credit card to make purchases at a Target store in San Pedro on July 6, according to the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

Officials said that this specific crime was deemed vehicle burglary because the credit card was taken from an unlocked car that was parked in a subterranean parking structure.

Lomita Station detectives were reviewing video footage of the crime Thursday and recognized Rodarte, who they had arrested in the past.

Upon obtaining a search warrant, they found numerous pieces of mail and a notebook with identity information for victims in 27 different Southern California cities including Rancho Palos Verdes, Alhambra, Chino Hills, Long Beach, Moreno Valley, San Dimas and Whittier.

Rodarte and Curameng were arrested Thursday for burglary, identity theft and possession of personal profiles.

San Pedro resident Andrea Serrao was also arrested for embezzlement. Serrao allegedly rented a Mercedes Benz C250 from Enterprise Rental Car and never returned it. Police believe she rented the vehicle for Rodarte and Curameng, who were using vehicle to commit their crimes.

The three are due to appear in Torrance Court Monday for their arraignment.


<![CDATA[Immigration Crisis: Who's Organizing Border Protests]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 07:03:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/protests3.jpg

The leaders of some of the groups coordinating rallies against undocumented immigrants this weekend are Tea Party backers with histories of colorful, and sometimes controversial, tactics protesting the Obama administration.

Critics of the recent surge in children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, and of plans to house them, are protesting nationwide Friday and Saturday, on highway overpasses, in state capitals and at Mexican consulates.

Three groups — the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, Overpasses for America and Make Them Listen — are coordinating the demonstrations, protesting what they call President Barack Obama’s refusal to enforce immigration law.

William Gheen, the president of Americans for Legal Immigration, describes himself as a veteran campaign consultant who has fought illegal immigration for a decade. He says he previously worked for North Carolina's state government as a legislative assistant and on the Senate sergeant-at-arms staff.

More recently, Gheen and his group have attracted attention, and their share of criticism, over the years for their colorful activist tactics and public remarks.

Gheen once organized a campaign urging supporters to send used underwear to Obama and to House Speaker John Boehner, in mocking response to a call by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for new underwear for detained immigrants. He has also said his group decided to call Obama "Dictator Barack Obama."

But critics say that Gheen overstates his group’s influence and that Americans for Legal Immigration is essentially a one-man show.

He has come under fire for the distribution of the donations made to his group. According to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks money in politics, the group has spent $1,904 against Republicans, including South Carolina's Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, in primaries for the 2014 midterm elections and has spent no money campaigning for Republicans or Democrats — at the same time Gheen was taking a $69,379 salary.

Gheen has also been criticized for saying at a rally that Graham was gay and for urging him to come out, ostensibly so his sexual orientation would not be used against him. Graham has long denied suggestions that he is gay.

Now, amid the undocumented immigration protests Gheen's group is helping to organize, much of the group's criticism is aimed at Obama, whom Gheen blames for the surge in immigration by thousands of undocumented children from central America.

"We’re hoping to raise awareness about the Obama-inspired illegal immigrant surge at our southern border," Gheen said of the rallies.

He accused Obama of trying to transfer the immigrants to shelters around the country as a means of lessening the chances they might be deported, and he said the undocumented children's age should not affect how they are treated.

“The law applies to everyone, and the law needs to be enforced,” Gheen said. “These children and adults with them should not be housed and transported at taxpayer expense to the interior of the country and dispersed.”

Organizing the protests alongside Americans for Legal Immigration is Overpasses for America, a Tea Party-affiliated group that encourages demonstrators to protest on highway overpasses to capture drivers' attention.

The group's founder, James Neighbors, said that undocumented immigrants should be quarantined because they might have communicable diseases like tuberculosis or hepatitis C, a charge critics say is unfounded.

“People are fired up all over the country about this,” Neighbors said. “They’re tired of seeing America invaded.”

Neighbors is no stranger to protests on overpasses. He previously organized the group Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment, which encouraged Obama’s critics to take their protest signs to overpasses. He was inspired to form that group, he explained, by the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

Last year, some of that group’s leadership resigned after accusing him of using money donated to the group for personal use — accusations Neighbors says are lies.

Neighbors said he borrowed money that had been donated specifically for his use while he was in the midst of a workman’s compensation dispute. A former Oklahoma corrections officer, he was injured while protecting a coworker during a fight between inmates, he said.

To critics like Henry Fernandez, a senior fellow at the progressive think tank the Center for American Progress, Neighbors' affiliation, based in Washington D.C., with impeachment efforts show how fringe his anti-immigration effort is.

Fernandez said he didn't expect the immigration protests to draw many people in most places.

One of the organizations, Overpasses For America, pushes "this broad range of conspiracy theories, where the government is trying to take the country away and rights away from real Americans, whatever that might be," he said.

And all three are small groups on the fringe, he said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Rancho Cucamonga Plane Crash]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 21:53:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pc1sun.jpg A pilot was hurt when a single-engine plane crashed in a vacant field in Rancho Cucamonga on Friday, July 18, 2014.

Photo Credit: Sean Browning]]>
<![CDATA[Pilot Hurt After Single-Engine Plane Crash]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 22:50:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/sean+browning+plane+2.jpg

A pilot was hurt Friday after a single-engine plane crashed in a vacant field in Rancho Cucamonga, officials said.

The crash was reported about 6:17 p.m. in the 10400 block of Almond Street, San Bernardino County Fire Department officials said.

Witnesses who saw the crash from inside their homes helped pull the man from the wreckage, officials said.

The man remained was taken to a trauma center, officials said.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.


Photo Credit: Sean Browning]]>
<![CDATA[Man Who Allegedly Hoped to Join Terrorist Group Arrested]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 13:33:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/johnwayne2.JPG

A 20-year-old Orange man was arrested at a Southern California airport as he tried to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, with a fraudulent passport so he could allegedly join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, rebels, according to federal court documents.

Adam Dandach is expected to be arraigned on Monday in a federal courtroom in Santa Ana in connection with the case. He was arrested by FBI agents assigned to the Orange County Joint Terrorism Task Force on July 3. He sought to leave on a flight out of John Wayne Airport in Irvine.

"What this man in Orange County was attempting to do is probably one the paramount security threats to the country," said Representative Adam Schiff, who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. "Americans and Europeans going to Syria, joining the fight, becoming radicalized, learning how to build bombs. And then coming back to try and attack targets here at home."

According to federal court papers, he told investigators that "he was traveling to Syria for the purpose of pledging his alliance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, a known terrorist organization, that he would assist ISIS with anything that ISIS asked him to do, and that he believed the killings of U.S. soldiers are justified killings."

ISIS is the al-Qaida splinter group leading Sunni militants in Iraq.

Dandach had applied for an expedited replacement passport in June, explaining in the application that he had accidentally thrown the original in the trash while cleaning.

Authorities said his mother actually hid the original passport in a closet to stop him from flying to the Middle East in December.

Kate Larsen contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[KKK Fliers Land on Orange County Driveways ]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 08:20:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/kkk+flier+oc+july.JPG

Residents of an Orange County community that considers itself diverse still cannot believe what landed on their doorsteps: a recruiting flier for the Ku Klux Klan.

"SAVE OUR LAND. JOIN THE KLAN," reads the flier by the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

"You're like, 'Is this real?'" resident Jeri Sutphin said.

The fliers were wrapped in plastic bags and weighed down with rocks when residents on Almond Avenue found them July 12 and 13.

"I was spellbound that somebody had taken that amount of time in an area that wouldn't welcome something like that, really," Pat Dufrane said.

The flier from the South Carolina-based group lists a hotline to call for information.

"It's time to enforce immigration ... To put troops on the border with shoot-to-kill politics," the message said.

Amin David of Los Amigos, a former president of the civil rights group, said he was upset to see how the KKK mentioned immigration.

"They're against the refugees now coming and children, so they're fearful," David said.

The website says the group is a brotherhood for God, race and nation. A video from the website shows what the klan calls a recent cross lighting.

"I don't want my neighbors who have immigrated and built lives here from other countries to feel threatened in any way," Dufrane said.

Police told NBC4 no crime was committed because the fliers were placed on open driveways, like a newspaper.

Photo Credit: Vikki Vargas]]>
<![CDATA[CHP Chief Vows Thorough Investigation Into Beating]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 20:50:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/11PR_SOTVO_CHP_BACKLASH_KNSD4CXH_1200x675_301807683638.jpg

An assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol vowed on Friday to do a thorough investigation into the case of an officer who repeatedly punched a woman in an incident recorded on cellphone and circulated widely online.

CHP Assistant Chief Chris O’Quinn spoke on a Southern California radio show a day after lawyers for the woman who was punched by an unnamed CHP officer announced they filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the department.

"We are going to do this in as transparent of a manner as we can," O'Quinn said in an interview that aired Friday on the radio show, Front Page with Dominique DiPrima. "This will be culminated in terms of weeks, instead of months."

O'Quinn said seeing the footage is difficult, but urged patience as the investigation continues.

"There is nothing that I'm going to be to say to convince the masses that what they saw was right," O'Quinn said. "And I'm not going to try to."

In a footage captured by a motorist, Pinnock was shown being pinned by a CHP officer and repeatedly punch after she was seen walking barefoot into lanes of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway on July 1.

The footage sparked outrage among civil rights groups calling for the firing of the officer and calls by a California legislator for a Department of Justice investigation.

<![CDATA[Excessive Force Alleged in Arrest of Mentally Ill Man]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 16:27:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/deputyuseofforceallegation.JPG

A slightly built 29-year-old with mental illness has made a habit of going to a Compton park to shoot baskets on the outdoor court. But when he stayed beyond park closing time Monday night, he left in an ambulance after an encounter with Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies.

Barry Montgomery was hospitalized with injuries to his back, ribs, and face, including possible fractures of the eye socket bones.

Deputies kicked and beat him with fists and batons even after he was subdued and handcuffed, according to attorneys who contend he was subjected to excessive force and "street justice."

The sheriff's department confirms the incident is under investigation by an internal affairs unit.

Friday evening, sheriff's deputies returned to Enterprise Park, and inside an area marked off with yellow crime scene tape, investigators and criminalists combed the scene for additional evidence.

Montgomery was wrestled to the ground after a deputy ordered him to leave the park and he failed to do so, Montgomery said Friday as he left County-USC Medical Center in a wheelchair.

"They cursed at me first and that's how it got into a fight," said Montgomery, who said he still had pain in his ribs and around his eyes.

Three deputies were present during the confrontation, according to Capt. Britta Steinbrenner of the LA County Sheriff's Department.

"We got in a fight and then they wrestled me down to the ground and I got bruises and it…seems like I been to battle," Montgomery said.

The initial report said they smelled marijuana and were following up when Montgomery became combative.

He stands 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds, according to booking information.

His sister, Ty Montgomery, said he's a paranoid schizophrenic who does not always respond when spoken to. He still lives in his parents' home a few blocks from Enterprise Park, and walks there, bringing his own basketball.

"By him being schizophrenic and ignoring the officers, I guess they thought he was ignoring them on purpose. But he, it’s not on purpose. He doesn't communicate. He's a paranoid schizophrenic, he just walks up the street. Walk back, play ball," Ty Montgomery said.

Family attorneys said they have located witnessed who saw additional deputies arrive after Montgomery was handcuffed.

A group of deputies allegedly used a key to open the locked park restroom and took Montgomery inside.

Sounds of additional beatings and slamming of doors could be heard from outside, according to one man who told NBC4 by phone that deputies were not aware of his presence in the darkness.

He contended responding paramedics were held back 10 minutes before being allowed to attend to Montgomery.

Another man, cited by the attorneys as a witness, has posted cellphone video, but it is too dark and grainy to make out what is happening.

Attorneys Eric Morris and Martin Kaufman believe there are additional videos they have yet to see.

After his initial hospitalization, Montgomery was transferred Wednesday to the Los Angeles County Jail. The LA County District Attorney filed a charge of resisting an executive officer.

Thursday the family made arrangments for Montgomery to be released that night on bail.

This did not occur at the expected time, they said, and unaware of his whereabouts, they frantically searched downtown streets near the Men's Central Jail complex.

Friday morning, they learned he had been sent to County-USC Medical Center, first to the emergency room, and later to an opthamology clinic for an eye examination.

"(It felt) like a nightmare. It’s just like, I couldn’t believe it. Felt like I was in this dream," his mother Denise Montgomery said. 

Family members met him inside the clinic.

Montgomery faces arraignment next Wednesday. Family and attorneys are hopeful the charges against him will be dismissed.


Beverly White contributed to this report.