<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Southern California News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Wed, 10 Feb 2016 02:44:11 -0800 Wed, 10 Feb 2016 02:44:11 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Victim's Face Grazed By Bullet at Pico-Union Motel]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 02:16:45 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/motel_shooting_pico_union.PNG

Police were searching for a gunman suspected of shooting a man at a motel in the Pico-Union area on Tuesday night, authorities said.

The shooting occurred just after 10 p.m. in the 1900 block of W. Olympic Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Officers arrived and found a man suffering from a minor injury after his face was grazed by a bullet, according to the LAPD.

Police said the man was involved in an altercation at the motel and ran to the office to call 911 after he was shot.

The gunman was believed to have fled the scene in a dark-colored sedan before officers arrived.

No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting.

Photo Credit: NewsPro News]]>
<![CDATA[Washington Murder Suspect Captured in Santa Monica]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 01:34:32 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knbc-robert-deshawn-grotte.jpg

An "armed and dangerous" Washington murder suspect who was on the loose in Los Angeles for more than a week turned himself in Tuesday night in Santa Monica, the FBI said.

Federal agents said 29-year-old Robert Deshawn Grott turned himself in at 8:35 p.m. after being accused of shooting a man to death in Tacoma, Washington.

Authorities said Grott was accused of shooting a 23-year-old man named Julian Jemar Thomas more than 10 times -- firing 46 shots -- in a convenience store parking lot Feb. 1. 

Thomas was found in a bullet-riddled vehicle.

The next day, investigators learned that Grott and his brother, Rashard Dominque Grott, were in Los Angeles. The FBI confirmed that Robert Grott spent the night in a downtown LA-area hotel on Tuesday night.

The brother, who was wanted for allegedly helping Grott flee, surrendered to authorities in LA on Wednesday and confessed that they had driven down from Tacoma to LA.

After the shooting, photos taken at the scene led authorities to issue a search warrant at Grott's home, where they found a case for a 9mm gun that matched the shell casings found at the crime scene.

Investigators said Robert Grott was considered "armed and dangerous" and should not be approached. The gun believed to be used in the killing had not been recovered when he was on the run. Officials did not discuss the weapon when they said he was detained.

Photo Credit: FBI]]>
<![CDATA[Research Before Signing a Gym Membership]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:44:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/PhoneAppFitness.JPG

Surveys show getting and staying in shape was the top New Year’s resolution of 2016, but this is the week your fitness goals may start to flounder.

One major gym chain calls Tuesday “the fitness cliff” when many people’s workout plans start falling apart. But for many January fitness buffs, getting out of that new gym contract come February could prove to difficult.

“New Year’s and January in general is a busy time,” says Planet Fitness General Manager Enrique Sanchez. “We’re always happy to welcome new members to our family.”

Your workouts are going great so far, but what happens when February and March roll around and life starts to get it the way, how do you get out of your contract? Can you get out of a contract?

California law only provides three ways to break a gym contract before it expires: Death, injury or relocating where there isn’t an affiliated gym in a reasonable distance, which is why you have to do your homework before you sign.

“They are very difficult to get out of typically,” says consumer attorney Stu Talley.

Talley suggests first speaking to gym management if the gym enforces the contract as they may be able and willing to release you.

If that doesn’t work, there are other legal options.

“You can file a lawsuit asking for what we call deck, relief meaning you want the judge to declare that the gym membership is null and void,” Talley says of an alternative.

Or you stop paying the membership, until a gym and collection agencies force you into court and try to win a judgment there.

Or you can be like Liurena Souza, one of those people who found themselves paying for a gym membership she couldn’t use.

“They would charge you whether you went or not,” Souza says.

So, it might be better for your time to look for a gym with a no-contract membership.

Planet fitness’ is one of the large gyms marketing non-contract memberships.

“You can sign up for as little as long as you want it’s never any pressure you can always cancel anytime you want,” says Enrique Sanchez, from Planet Fitness.

Studies show about 1 in 3 people fail at keeping any kind of resolution, so here are some ways to stay motivated and to revive your resolutions.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Found, Reunited With Owner After Stolen in Carjacking]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:51:12 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/dogreturn-020916.JPG

After a dog was stolen during a carjacking in San Bernardino, the owner was reunited with the pooch Tuesday. 

Lola the pup was in the car with 80-year-old Don Mittica.

But what Mittica didn't realize is that they weren't the only ones in the vehicle; An armed man was hiding in his back seat.

"When he wrapped that arm around my neck, had the knife and said, 'I am going to kill you,'" Mittica said.

The carjacker took off with the car with Lola in the backseat.  

NewsChopper4 was overhead when police ended a chase with the carjacker. But at the end of the pursuit Monday, Lola was nowhere to be found.

"That three pound tiny 'rat dog,' I call her, keeps him company. He’s always with the dog," Mary Ann Schmidt, Mittica's daughter, said.

Lola isn't just an ordinary pooch. She was given to Mittica two months before his wife of 42 years died, just after New Year’s Day.

"We talked to the towing people asking, 'Was there a dog?'" Schmidt said. "No one knew anything about the dog."

Tuesday night, Lola’s picture appeared on PetHarbor.com, an adoption site.

The suspected carjacker, before engaging in a pursuit, picked up three passengers on the way to Orange County, and dropped Lola off along the way.

Lola was returned to Mittica after a scary 24 hours. 

"Between my wife and the dog I haven’t broken down yet," Mittica said. "You know what it is? When a man cries he can’t stop."

Photo Credit: Don Mittica]]>
<![CDATA[Lawsuit Filed Against City in Venice LAPD Shooting]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:46:20 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/manifestaciones-muerte-brendon-glenn-venice.jpg

The family of a man shot by an LAPD officer on the Venice Boardwalk last month has filed a lawsuit against the city, saying the police chief’s recommendation the officer be criminally prosecuted isn’t enough.

Lawyers for the family said Tuesday that though they agree with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck that Brendon Glenn was wrongly shot, the city hasn’t done enough to pursue justice for a young man who came to Venice to pursue the LA dream.

Speaking on behalf of Glenn’s grieving mother, the lawyers portrayed Glenn as a dreamer, talented in computers and construction, who chose to live on the Venice Boardwalk.

“Since this tragedy she is heartbroken. His son is heartbroken. Avery asks ‘Why can’t I ever see my father,’” said James DeSimone, referencing Glenn’s 3-year-old son.

The lawyers said Glenn was not homeless, as he has been described.

“Brendon was not homeless. Brendon had a home back in Troy, New York, where he lived with his family,” said John Raphing, who is also representing the family.

That family has now filed state and federal wrongful death lawsuits against the city and LAPD Officer Clifford Proctor. They said when Proctor shot and killed Glenn in May 2015, it was partly the result of improper training.

They pointed to a coroner’s report that showed Glenn was shot twice in the back. And while they applaud Beck’s recommendation Proctor be prosecuted, they demanded he release surveillance video that reportedly recorded the shooting.

Proctor’s lawyer says the video will support Proctor’s belief Glenn was reaching for his partner’s gun.

The LA County District Attorney issued a statement in response to questions about the standing of any potential prosecution of Proctor: “We only received LAPD’s investigation at the end of December. Our reviews are thorough and take time. Nothing will happen for some time.”

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Glenn’s family’s lawyers expect to get the video as part of the discovery process in the lawsuit, but they say it should be released to the public right away.

<![CDATA[Baby Shot in the Face in Compton Dies]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 01:48:42 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/baby-shot-020916.jpg

The father of a baby girl was holding her Tuesday when the baby was shot in the face, prompting a search for two men seen fleeing the area in Compton.

The baby died later at the hospital, according to the LASD. She was six days past her first birthday.

Neighbors said 1-year-old Autumn Johnson was in her father's arms when the shooting occurred. They said one drove the getaway car, and the passenger fired shots.

A witness said she saw the baby's father running with baby in his arms, and she wasn't moving at all. Many said they were simply heartbroken.

"I heard the shots maybe 10-12 shots!" Pastor Maurice Johnson, Kingdom Life Christian Fellowship Church, said. "I assumed it was firecrackers. On this side of Compton, we don't hear gunshots very often."

Loved ones said the father was physically unhurt.

During the initial call, deputies responded to a report of gunfire in the 200 block of Holly Avenue at 7 p.m.

When they arrived, they found the child with a gunshot wound to her face.

Deputies rushed the baby to the hospital in their patrol car. 

Autumn was pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital.

Activists said after the horrific shooting, they were going to keep close watch, in case gangs are to blame.

"We're just going to make sure there's no retaliation, and more innocent people getting harmed as a result," Ben Owens of Southern California CeaseFire said.

Homicide detectives said the shooting was most likely gang-related.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated from an earlier version.

<![CDATA[Public Will Be Heard on Coastal Commission Director]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:04:33 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_417079447883-charles-lester.jpg

Behind closed doors last December, the California Coastal Commission offered Executive Director Charles Lester a choice: he could tender his resignation, or place his future in the hands of a public hearing.

Lester opted for the public hearing, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Morro Bay, the venue changed from an inn to the Community Center auditorium to accommodate the hundreds expected at the showdown.

The Coastal Commission is the guardian of California's 1,100 miles of coastline, responsible for making sure development does not violate the environmental and public access protections embedded four decades ago in the Coastal Act of 1976, signed into law by Jerry Brown, the governor then as well as now.

The governor appoints four of the commission's 12 voting members.

In recent weeks, by its count, the Commission office has received more than 20,000 letters and emails supporting Lester and imploring commissioners not to remove him.

"Your decision is not just about Mr. Lester, nor his management style," reads a letter to commissioners from State Senator Fran Pavley, D-Calabasas, who served on the coastal commission a decade ago during an unsuccessful effort to oust a previous executive director.

"I know firsthand of the intense pressure from well-funded special interests on commissioners and staff with applications pending before the commission. I am concerned that a change of directors, at this time, may undercut the staff's ability to make independent recommendations consistent with the Coastal Act."

Commission President Steve Kinsey has said commissioners have concerns about management and leadership issues. 

"It was a surprise to me to hear there was such a large performance issue it had to come to this point," said Sarah Sikich, vice president of the Santa Monica-based nonprofit advocacy group Heal the Bay. Sikich praised Lester not only for his commitment to upholding the Coastal Act, but also for skill at engendering collaboration to work out issues so that some development can proceed.

Sikich believes Lester deserves credit for seeing the long-delayed and debated Santa Monica Mountains plan to completion. When Heal the Bay raised concerns about sand replenishment at Broad Beach harming tide pools and kelp forest, Lester brought together the parties and a resolution was found, Sikich said.

At times, Lester's staff has recommended denying long-standing proposals that have been years in the consideration pipeline.

In the case of a 10-acre Seal Beach site, commission staff noted it had been designated for a hotel, and recommended against a revised proposal to build instead 32 homes. Last March, the commission nevertheless approved it.

Another clash became apparent in October, when the commission considered the proposal to develop a planned community on the 400-acre Banning Ranch in Newport Beach. Opponents contend the project would intrude on sensitive habitat entitled to protection under the Coastal Act.

"Banning Ranch is the largest parcel of unprotected coastal space left in Orange County," said Dr. Terry Welsh, president of the Banning Ranch Conservancy. "Everybody who loves the coast needs to know that."

The developers contend the project would benefit the environment by cleaning up the oil field, restoring habitat, and dedicating three-quarters of the site as open space — open to the public for the first time in more than a century.

The staff report contended the developers did not provide needed information, and recommended against approving the project. Commissioners instead directed staff to meet further with the development team to work something out.

The development company "has been working diligently with the Coastal Commission staff for the last three years," Senior Project Manager Mike Mohler said in an email.

Mohler declined to comment on the Lester issue, writing " ... it appears to be an internal Coastal Commission personnel matter ... we are not involved."

Welsh said he does not know what led to the move to fire Lester. "We hope there's no effort to make the commission more developer-friendly. It would be mistake."

Lester has declined to talk publicly about it, but Friday submitted a memo to the commission and "Interested Parties," citing accomplishments and also acknowledging areas in need of improvement.

"I recognize, as does every member of my senior management team, that we need to keep working on issues related to the effective functioning of the agency including: improving communication and fostering increased trust between the staff and the Commission; organizational concerns such as improving efficiency and customer service; and increasing workforce diversity. When confronted with situations such as this, my nature is to seek a constructive path forward," reads a portion of Lester's memo.

Wednesday's commission agenda includes an item to discuss a new executive director, or interim, depending on the decision on Lester.

Photo Credit: California Costal Commission via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Valentine's Cuties: Bulldog Beauty Contest]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:43:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bulldogbeautyjustin928232.jpg

If it's Valentine's Day around Southern California, you can count on A) aisles of heart-shaped candy lining the markets and B) buckets of roses near the counter at nearly every florist shop and C) rotund 'n' adorable bulldogs walking the red carpet in Long Beach.

Okay, true, the Bulldog Beauty Contest, which hits its dozenth year out in 2016, doesn't always fall on Feb. 14; sometimes it is a day or two before. But it is associated with the holiday, very much so, and seeing a foldy, furry lovebundle decked out as Cupid is not unlikely.

But the pageant, which regularly garners national coverage, doesn't solely belong to the flat-of-snout and short-of-tail canines. The National Mutt Show is also part of the sunny lark at Marine Stadium, and the categories to enter, while not countless, may briefly overwhelm even the most dedicated of dog parents.

You can sign your little wet-nosed tyke up for a bevy of competitions set to roll on Sunday, Feb. 14, including Best Smile, Most Handsome Dog, Best Senior Dog, Best Ears, and, wait for it, Best Butt. (If you prefer you can call them the 'tocks, which is the common parlance online, nowadays, for squeeing over an animal's posterior.)

A category paying tribute to blind or deaf dogs, or canines facing a challenge, is also new for the event in 2016.

Gift certificates, frame-able pieces of paper signifying your pup's glory, and blue ribbons go to the winners of the various categories, while the victor of the Bulldog Beauty Contest will receive a year's supply of Petcurean pet food. 

An adoption fair will be happening concurrently with all of the red carpet action, so if your buddy needs a buddy, stop and meet the home-seeking hounds.

This is all helmed by Justin Rudd, local philanthropist and the man who dreamed up the Haute Dog parades, processions that have become hallmarks on the hound-based bash circuit. 

Does your Valentine's need something extra? Sunshine, ocean breezes, cooing over hundreds of happy pups doing their best strut? The Love Holiday, after all, isn't just about the amour found between two people.

We're sweet on our shaggy BFFs, too. And making them the stars of Feb. 14 feels like something to woof about. Woof woof.

Photo Credit: Justin Rudd]]>
<![CDATA[Arrest Made in Overpass Shooting]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:24:06 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/190*120/bullet-burbank-020916.JPG

Thirteen hours after a car-to-car shooting closed offramps in Burbank, police made an arrest Tuesday.

A man shot another man, who police said he apparently knew, on a 5 Freeway overpass Monday night.

"It sounds as if there was a personal conflict between the two groups that started the altercation, beyond that, I don’t know at this time," Burbank Police Sgt. Claudio Losacco said.

At least one bullet passed through the windshield near the driver's side.

The 30-year-old driver was struck in the upper torso and drove away to the 1600 block of Grismer Avenue, Burbank police said.

Burbank Boulevard offramps were shut down after the car-to-car shooting, but later reopened after the investigation in the area concluded. 

Police said they tracked the suspected shooter to a home on Beaver Street in Sylmar Tuesday morning.

He tried to escape out of a back door with a woman who police said was a getaway driver during the shooting the night before. 

K-9s were at the ready around the house, and he was taken into custody.

"Fortunately the suspect decided at that moment to give himself up and laid on the ground and he was taken into custody without incident," Losacco said.

Photo Credit: Loudlabs]]>
<![CDATA[CSU Fullerton Student Missing for Over a Week]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:02:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/02.09.16_Fullerton-Praveen+Galla.JPG

Praveen Galla, 23, has reportedly been missing for over a week. He was last seen in the afternoon on Monday, Feb. 1, wearing a pink-and-white checkered long-sleeve shirt, black sneakers and dark blue denim jeans, according to the Cal State Fullerton Police Department.

Galla is 5-foot-11 and 155 pounds, and has brown eyes, black hair and a full-grown beard. His phone's last location was Newport Beach.

Galla's roommates filed a missing persons report on Tuesday, Feb. 2, stating that he has shown signs of depression and it is unlike Galla to not return home, according to Cal State Fullerton police. He had taken an Uber ride from Fullerton and arrived the Cal State Fullerton campus at around 5:06 p.m. He hasn't been seen since.

Galla was struggling with academics, according to Vinod Alukuru, a friend of Galla's. According to the Daily Titan, Galla had told him, "I don't want this kind of life. I want to be alone, far from everyone."

Anyone with tips or information on the case can reach Detective Sergeant Williams at the Cal State Fullerton Police Department at 657-278-2903.

<![CDATA[Person Found Dead in Front of Youth Center]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:16:31 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/197*120/death-hollenbeck-020916.JPG

Police and firefighters responded to the Boyle Heights area to investigate the death of a man in front of a youth center, the Los Angeles Police Department said Tuesday.

The death investigation was underway in the 2000 block of East 1st Street before 5 p.m.

Investigators were called to the area in front of the Hollenbeck Youth Center.

LA City Fire officials said they were called to the area for a "person down," but did not have any additional details.

LAPD said the death appeared to be from natural causes.

Photo Credit: Beverly White]]>
<![CDATA[Homeless Man Found Trapped Inside Newspaper Stand]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 15:18:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/02.09.16_Newspaper-Box-Homeless-Struck02.JPG

A homeless man in his mid-70s was found “disoriented and lethargic” trapped inside a Los Angeles newspaper stand Monday afternoon after apparently trying to use the box as shelter more than a day ago.

A round 3 p.m., a woman approached police officers in Harvard Heights near the corner of Pico Boulevard and Western Avenue and expressed concern about a man who hadn’t been seen for a few days.

She led them to the green wooden stand, where Officer Lucy Bermudez found him stuck, unable to get out. It was about 90 degrees outside and around 100 degrees inside the box when he was found, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

He was given water by the officers and removed from the box by firefighters. The man, who was not identified by name, had been inside the box for at least a day or two, LAPD Officer Dikran Melkonian said.

It's not exactly clear how the man became stuck inside the newspaper stand.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Eric Mollinedo]]>
<![CDATA[UCLA Gymnast Sophina DeJesus Nae Naes to Victory]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 01:09:33 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/2-9_1Sophina+DeJesus+UCLA+Gymnastics.jpg

With an enthusiastic whip, nae nae and dab, Sophina DeJesus helped UCLA's women's gymnastics team secure not just a close win, but also national headlines.

After years of perfecting her floor tricks, DeJesus, a star on the uneven bars, found it was her time to shine on the mat last Saturday. Landing a front layout in the splits and nae nae-ing across the floor were just a few highlights from her performance.

"We've wanted to get her on floor for four years," Head Coach Valorie Kondos Field said.

Though DeJesus is not a naturally strong tumbler, her dancing skills, honed from an early career as a professional dancer, earned her the opportunity to compete for the team.

"The crowd deserves to see her perform," Field said. "It actually turned out better than I had hoped."

Competing on the floor for the first time ever, the UCLA senior rocked Pauley Pavilion with a hip-hop-inspired routine, earning herself and her team a score of 9.925 out of a maximum 10 points. By the end of the evening, DeJesus' team reached a season-high score on floor and won by the smallest margin possible in a collegiate competition.

"It's like winning by half of a dunk," Field said.

When the last event, floor, came around, she and the team didn't think they had a chance of winning. "0.025 is like a finger was out of place," she said.

DeJesus' unique choreography is symbolic of the spirit of the UCLA women's gymnastics team. Field, who choreographs the women's routines, incorporates moves with "entertainment value" into her team's floor routines.

"The six routines I put out there is a mini stage event," Field said. "I want the audience to see a different style from each one of our athletes."

Under her guidance, her athletes don't use traditional tactics like playing to the judges and using the floor's four corners to dictate their movement. Rather, they face the audience for their signature moves and make eye contact with their supporters.

"I choreograph the face as much as the whole body," Field said. "I think that's freaky to make eye contact with judges."

Her untraditional style, she hopes, gets students "as excited to see [floor routines] as a slam dunk in basketball."

When senior Danusia Francis does her best James Bond impression or junior Angi Cipra mimes pulling out her phone on the square mat, the student audience plays along with them.

"Every person in Pauley Pavilion is part of the show," Field said. "People have said it reminds them of Pauley when basketball was on a roll and it was standing room only."

The 7,500 people in attendance weren't the only ones that DeJesus wowed on Saturday. Clips of her moves have gone viral on social media, and a YouTube video of her whole routine has racked up more than a million views in three days.

"I knew that if we could bring Soph out there it would bring a level of entertainment that you don't usually see in floor routines," Kondos Field said.


Photo Credit: UCLA]]>
<![CDATA[Hollywood Bowl Reveal: A Starry Summer]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:06:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bowl2016GettyImages-138789290-horz.jpg

The Hollywood Bowl, which will mark its first centennial in just a handful of years ("handful of years"=six years here), has a happy way of whetting our appetite for the pleasures of summertime at just the right moment.

That right moment typically falls near the start of February, the time of year during which the Highland-close landmark typically announces its big roster of concerts and events. But the funny thing about the 2016 announcement, which arrived on Tuesday, Feb. 9, is that it felt as though it was arriving not in winter but the height of summer.

Don't let the temperatures fool you, though: Summer is still to come and the bowl's slate is, as always, as starry as a big famous shell'd stage can muster, and it can muster a lot.

Diana Ross is a headliner for the 2016 season, gracing the stage for a Friday and Saturday in July. Brian Wilson's "Pet Sounds" is one of the buzz-makers of the Bowl, as is Jeff Lynne's ELO (the space-tastic optimistically orchestrated outfit has never played the famous venue).

Steely Dan is part of the opening night celebration, and "A Chorus Line" is the musical set to bring sass and major names over the final weekend in July.

Gladys Knight, Tower of Power, 50 Years of Jeff Beck, Herbie Hancock, Sigur Rós, Buddy Guy, Rodrigo y Gabriela, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Culture Club, and the forever-and-ever favorite "The Sound of Music" sing-along will be filling the 17,000+ seater with sounds of extraordinary quality and depth.

And, as is tradition, there's the whole picnicking scene at the hillside haven of tunesmithing and history, a thing SoCalers have done since the wayback times of Tinseltown's earliest days.

Days that included the Hollywood Bowl, a 1920s-era icon that is as vibrant as always. So how to get tickets? Subscriptions are on sale as of Feb. 9, with the "5 or More" packages available on March 15 and single tickets on the first Saturday of May.

Truly, summer is not here, regardless of what the thermometer says. But it is on the way, as a certain early-February announcement from a certain historic venue reveals.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Shot Dead in North Hollywood Alley]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 14:09:28 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/160208-noho-shooting.jpg

A man was shot to death in a North Hollywood alley late Monday night, police said.

Officers received a report of a man down in the alley near Vineland Avenue south of Kittridge Street just before 11 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Police Department. When they arrived, they found a man suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

It's unclear what led up to the killing. Police had no information on the shooter and said the incident did not appear to be gang-related.

The victim was identified only as a 25-year-old Latino man.

"The individual definitely does not appear to be a gang member and at this time it doesn't appear that there was a gang nexus," said Mike Kozak of the LAPD.

Neighbor Ramona Camacho said she heard shots bt when she looked she could not see what was happening because the alley is dark.

Mourners left flowers at the scene of the shooting Tuesday morning.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Pizza Day + Bagel Day: It's Happening]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 13:36:20 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pizzaresize-horz12345.jpg

Holidays aren't occasions that ever stand strictly alone. Sometimes a birthday will land on Halloween or the Fourth of July, or the first day of school will converge with a town's historic founding day.

In short, nobody advocates selfishness in terms of what days can highlight what celebratory matters. That said, everyone gets a tad selfish over the last slice of pizza in the box, and the final bagel half in the bowl, especially if it is the top half of the bagel, the one covered with a hefty smattering of onions or salt or cinnamon sugar.

So that National Pizza Day and National Bagel Day should arrive on the very same day -- Tuesday, Feb. 9 -- feels right and good and almost as though the mysterious, hard-to-harness forces of the universe are in order. 

You don't need to go too deep, though, to find your favorite deep-dish pie around Southern California, or the perfectly smeared bagel. Our region is home to hundreds of shops serving round-in-shape foodstuffs of a bready, top-with-cheese'd nature. If you want to indulge, though, on Feb. 9, then turn your carb-seeking nose to the breeze and follow it to...

Einstein Bros.: The bagel-a-torium is not only marking its big holiday with a deal, it is going one better by "spreading bagel love." The upshot? You'll get a bagel and schmear "with any purchase on 2/9," and "(w)e donate a bagel to someone in need." This is a sweet thing to do, and just in line with that other holiday that's going on right now, Valentine's Week. (Oh, and there's a coupon on the Einstein Bros. site, too, to get this deal going.) 

Western Bagel: The NYC-style, fill-the-tummy bagels have been a Los Angeles favorite for well over a half century, and each week a special is posted, the better to give the savings back to the fans. The special for the week in which National Bagel Day falls? One dozen bagels and two small flavored cream cheeses for $13.95. Just be sure to have the offer ready to show on your phone.

Pizza classics: A number of coupons for national chains, from Papa John's to Domino's to Pizza Hut, can be found at major money-saving outlets like Retail Me Not and Deal Catcher. But maybe supporting a local joint on #NationaPizzaDay -- hello, Village Pizzeria or Deano's Pizza or the hundreds of started-in-SoCal pie shops -- is your ticket to honoring one of the best foodstuffs in the solar system and the people who make it. A slice is still one of the best bargains around, whether it is National Pizza Day or not. Fact.

Still, there are other pizza holidays on the calendar, like National Cheese Pizza Day in the fall, so don't give up on more deals to come. And another bready, chewy, round 'n batter-yum icon will make its annual holiday showing in just a few weeks, when National Pancake Day arrives. The deals there start famously at IHOP, so best get to planning your syrupy savings now.

Photo Credit: Pizza, Bagel]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Blake Griffin Suspended for Four Games]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 14:14:05 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Blake+Griffin+Leads+Clippers.png

Blake Griffin has been suspended without pay for four games for striking a team employee, the Clippers announced Tuesday.

Griffin hurt his hand Jan. 23 in an altercation with a member of the Los Angeles Clippers' staff on the team's road trip in Toronto. He was just nearing a return from another injury.

Coach Doc Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer issued a statement Tuesday.

"We have made it clear that this conduct has no place in the Clippers organization," according to the statement. "Blake is remorseful and has apologized for his actions. He is a valued member of our Clippers family and we support him as he rejoins the team. He understands his actions have consequences, and is eager to get back to work with his teammates, the organization and Clipper Nation which starts immediately with rehab, appearances and attendance at games."

The team and NBA worked together to determine Griffin's punishment, which includes withheld wages for one game due to the injury that resulted from the punch, according to the statement. Griffin's salary from those five games will be donated to charities for disadvantaged youth, the team said.

Griffin received X-rays on Jan. 25 in Los Angeles that revealed the injury, the team said. He underwent a procedure on his hand later that week.

Recovery time from the injury is approximately four to six weeks, the team said.

The Los Angeles Times, citing a team spokesman, reported that the equipment staff member involved in the altercation was not fired.

Griffin returned to Los Angeles early from the five-game road trip that included the stop in Toronto. He had been out since Dec. 26 with a partially torn left quadriceps tendon, but was close to returning when the incident occurred.

The Clippers at Boston Wednesday night before resuming play Feb. 18 after the All-Star break.

Last fall, Griffin was involved in an altercation at a Las Vegas nightclub. A man accused the All-Star forward of taking his cellphone and grabbing him after the man photographed Clippers players inside the club. The misdemeanor battery case later was dropped after prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence.

Griffin apologized for the Toronto incident.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Close Season Ticket Campaign With 56,000 Deposits]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 14:09:12 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rams-GettyImages-501808184.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams accepted more than 56,000 season ticket deposits during a four-week campaign propelled by the announcement last month that the team will be returning to Southern California.

The $100 refundable deposit gives fans priority the purchase season tickets this spring before the general public. The team reported more than 5,000 deposits in the first five minutes that the site was live Jan. 18.

The campaign closed Monday.

"We are inspired by how enthusiastically NFL fans in Southern California have responded to the return of the Los Angeles Rams," said Rams Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President Kevin Demoff. "We will reward their passion by providing a terrific game day experience at both the Coliseum this fall and ultimately in Inglewood. We can't wait to welcome our fans on Sundays and become an integral part of the Greater Los Angeles community."

Season ticket prices have not been announced.

The Rams will play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving into a new stadium in Inglewood at the start of the 2019 season. The move was announced last month after an owners meeting in Houston.

The agreement also gave the Chargers one year to decided whether they will join the Rams in the Los Angeles area. The Chargers reached an agreement late in January with the Rams regarding a possible move, but the Chargers also announced they will play in San Diego in 2016.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission is considering an amended lease with USC that would allow two National Football League teams to play at the Coliseum, which is also the home field of the USC Trojans.

The Rams finished 7-9 under coach Jeff Fisher, third in the NFC West and had a troubled attendance history in St. Louis, where a team that once produced the Super Bowl winning "Greatest Show on Turf" later struggled through a series of losing seasons. The team was consistently at the bottom of the NFL in attendance over the past decade.

The franchise played in Southern California for 49 seasons before owner Georgia Frontiere moved the Rams after the 1994 campaign. Owner Stan Kroenke won the three-team derby to return to the nation's second-largest market, enticing NFL owners with his impressive stadium plans and his team's ties to Los Angeles, where thousands of fans stayed true to the Rams during two decades away.

The new stadium, yet to be named, will be at the former site of Hollywood Park racetrack. But Kroenke, a billionaire land developer married to a Wal-Mart heir, is building more than a football stadium with the reported $1.86 billion Inglewood project, which also includes office space, shops, a concert venue and innumerable other enticements.

If the Chargers decline to partner with the Rams, the Oakland Raiders would then be given the chance to move to Inglewood -- making that team another potential temporary Coliseum tenant.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Van With Warning Note Prompts Evacuations, Bomb Squad]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:55:45 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/robot-corona-020916.JPG

Bomb robots were inspecting a van with an unconscious man inside, and a school as well as nearby residents were evacuated Tuesday in Corona, after a warning note was found on the van saying it would explode if moved.

Hundreds of students and dozens of staff members were evacuated from Parkridge Elementary School in Corona after the note was discovered on the van parked nearby, officials said.

At 10 a.m., an apartment manager noticed the van parked in the alley near the 800 block of Main Street. He saw a man sleeping inside. 

"He found a note that was attached to the front windshield of that van and it indicated that there was dangerous gases inside the van, and the van would detonate and explode if the van was moved," Sgt. Paul Mercado of Corona police said.

Tactical robots opened the back doors to reveal blue containers and a man lying down inside the back of the van.

A backpack was removed from the van by the robots. The bomb threat was cleared by police just before 7 p.m. The condition of the man in the van remained unclear.

A total of 750 students and 80 staff members were evacuated from the school at 750 Corona Avenue, Lynn said.

Corona police also began knocking on doors around the neighborhood to evacuate residents. 

Despite the inconvenience, residents and parents said they were glad the police were taking the incident seriously.

"Not knowing the situation that your son might be in school -- you're at home thinking they're safe, and they're not. It's very scary," Alma Diaz said.

Tony Shin contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Portions of Wilshire Boulevard to Close for 22 Weeks]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 10:13:44 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knbc-metro-purple-line-extension-map.jpg

A plan to shut down a portion of Wilshire Boulevard near the Miracle Mile for seven weeks in preparation for Purple Line rail extension construction was scrapped in favor of spreading the closures over 22 weekends, Metro announced Monday.

To prepare for construction of the extension's first station at La Brea Avenue, Metro is planning to install concrete decking between Highland Avenue and Detroit Street that will allow traffic to continue flowing while construction takes place below.

Click here to see a Metro Purple Line Extension map.

The initially proposed seven-week shutdown of the six-block stretch had been set to begin in April, but proved unpopular during several public meetings, Metro officials said.

Metro instead opted for the 22-weekend decking schedule, which is anticipated to begin in June and will be divided into three phases.

The first phase will involve the closure of a single block from Detroit Street to La Brea Avenue over three weekends, to be followed by a second phase in which just the La Brea Avenue intersection will be closed during three weekends.

The third phase will be 16 weekends long and affect the five-block stretch from La Brea Avenue to Highland Avenue.

Photo Credit: Metro]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Knock Down Blaze at Downtown LA Building]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 08:54:09 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/160209-downtown-la-fire.jpg

Firefighters knocked down a fire at a commercial building in downtown Los Angeles that ripped through the roof and sent black smoke billowing into the sky Tuesday morning.

The blaze was reported at 7:40 a.m. at 1361 Newton St. (map), a one-story structure that possibily houses a lighting business near the neighborhood's Fashion District, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The fire was confined to the building and knocked down in less than 45 minutes, officials said. Heavy damage was reported throughout.

More than 120 firefighters battled the blaze, one of whom was taken to the hospital with a non-life-threatening injury from a fall, LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

No other injuries were reported.


Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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<![CDATA[Record-Breaking Heat Continues to Bake SoCal]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 13:54:04 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/web_weather_020916.PNG

The Southland will bask in unseasonably warm temperatures again Tuesday, with highs likely to hit the lower 90s in some communities and record highs expected, forecasters said.

Santa Ana conditions will weaken through this afternoon, but light  offshore winds are expected to persist through Wednesday. The offshore flow and  high pressure aloft will support unseasonably warm temperatures, a National  Weather Service statement said.

"The occurrence of unseasonably hot temperatures for this time of year  may result in heat-related impact for certain groups, including the elderly, or those working or recreating outdoors," it said. "Take action to protect  yourself and others, including pets and livestock that may be affected by the  dry heat."

Strong winds appeared to be less of a factor than Monday but have not  disappeared. A wind advisory will be in force until 3 p.m. today in the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the Santa Monica  Mountains Recreational Area, and the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys.

Northeast winds of between 20 and 30 miles per hour accompanied by 45-mph gusts are expected in the advisory area through mid-afternoon, according to the NWS, which warned that the wind could make driving difficult and cause  trees and power lines to topple, triggering power outages.

No red flag warnings denoting a high risk of wildfire were in effect Tuesday morning.

The NWS forecast sunny skies today and highs of 72 in Palmdale; 74 on Mount Wilson and in Lancaster; 79 in Laguna Beach; 80 in Newport Beach and San  Clemente; 81 in Avalon; 84 in Saugus; 86 at LAX, in Irvine and Anaheim; 87 in  Fullerton; 89 in Mission Viejo, Long Beach and downtown L.A.; 90 in Woodland  Hills; 91 in Pasadena and Burbank; and 92 in San Gabriel and Yorba Linda.

City News Service and Crystal Egger contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[4 in Custody After Police Pursuit Connected to Fatal Shooting]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:56:50 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/fatal_shooting_lincoln_heights.PNG

Two men and two women were taken into custody in Hacienda Heights in connection with a fatal car-to-car shooting and police pursuit Tuesday morning, police said.

The Los Angeles Police Department said the four were arrested, and they would be seeking charges. 

The pursuit began after a shooting was reported around 2 a.m. near Broadway and Griffin Avenue in Lincoln Heights, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The male victim was inside a vehicle with an Uber sticker on the windshield, police said.

Police said the victim was struck after the suspected SUV approached him and eight gunshots were fired. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the LAPD.

Officers saw an SUV with possibly two or three occupants inside that matched the description of the vehicle involved in the shooting, according to the LAPD.

The SUV fled from police and a pursuit was initiated, according to the LAPD. California Highway Patrol officers took over the pursuit on the eastbound 10 Freeway just east of the 605 Freeway, according to the CHP.

They later exited Hacienda Boulevard and traveled southbound toward the 60 Freeway, where the vehicle stopped without incident, according to the CHP.

CHP officers found four occupants inside the SUV. All four people, two men and two women, were taken into custody, according to the CHP.

The two men are known gang members, according to the LAPD.

Police said the men and women only surrendered to authorities after the SUV apparently ran out of gas.

Detectives said they were checking the status of the vehicle with the Uber sticker, which could be a decoy criminals use to conceal their crimes, according to the LAPD.

Police and Uber officials confirmed the victim was not a driver for the ride-sharing service. 

Oleevia Woo and Lolita Lopez contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: LoudLabs]]>
<![CDATA[Man Killed in Police Shooting at Anaheim Park]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:23:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/02-09-2016-shooting-anaheim-fatal-1.jpg

A 22-year-old man was killed after an officer-involved shooting at a popular community park in Anaheim early Tuesday morning, police said.

The man was identified as 22-year-old Gustavo Najera.

The shooting was reported around 1 a.m. in Sage Park at 1313 W. Lido Place, according to the Anaheim Police Department.

Officers received reports about a man knocking on residents' doors several times. He was told to leave but would repeatedly return, according to the Anaheim Police Department.

Two officers drove around the area to locate the man. One of the officers walked into the park and found him. The officer did not notify anyone that he located the man inside the park, according to the Anaheim Police Department.

The officer made contact with the man and an officer-involved shooting occurred, police said.

Najera was transported to a hospital in critical condition. He was pronounced dead upon arrival, police said.

It was not immediately clear if Najera was the man knocking on doors that prompted police to initially search the area. No weapon was found where the shooting happened.

The officer who shot the man was wearing a body camera, which he activated before the shooting, according to the Anaheim Police Department.

"The officer did have a body camera and was activated at the time — we’re hoping that will shed light on the situation as well," said Sgt. Daron Wyatt.

The body camera footage will be submitted to the Orange County District Attorney's Office for investigation, police said.

Police said the department has used body cameras in the field for about one year.

The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation.

Neighbors told NBC4 there has been an increase in crime in the area recently, with a growing number of homeless people using the park for refuge.

Oleevia Woo contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Toni Guinyard, KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[I-5 Freeway Lanes Closed After Woman Killed in Big Rig Crash]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 06:11:50 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/fatal_crash_5_freeway.PNG

A woman was killed on the 5 Freeway after a collision involving a big rig truck Monday night, authorities said.

The crash was reported around 11:30 p.m. on the southbound 5 Freeway just north of the 55 Freeway transition, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A woman driving a small vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the CHP.

Officers closed three lanes on the 5 Freeway until further notice.

Photo Credit: OnScene]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Stolen During Walk Is Returned to Owner]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:10:37 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/stolen-otis-020816.jpg

A 15-year-old cocker spaniel named Otis was returned to his owner Tuesday morning after the owner said the beloved pet was stolen during a walk to the park.

No arrests were reported in connection with the case, but police said the dog was not harmed. Otis was dropped off at a dog park in the 100 block of South College Avenue in Claremont.

Police notified the owner Tuesday morning that Otis had been located.

Michael Heredia said that a man got out of a car Sunday, snatched Otis and took off with a female driver in the getaway vehicle. Heredia said he was dragged by the car, described as a 2013 or 2014 black Nissan Altima.

"These people are evil," Heredia said. "I jumped in through the window up to my waist. The guy is just socking me constantly.

"I told (the driver), 'I need you need to slow down. I am going to get out of the car, just don’t kill me.' She punched it and I jumped."

Police said multiple witnesses confirmed what Heredia said happened. 

"We do have some leads," Lt. Jason Walters of the Claremont Police Department said. 

Heredia was hospitalized.

Heredia said he has a theory of what happened to his elderly cocker spaniel he found as a stray.

"He's being used to train pit bulls for fighting," Heredia said Monday, before the dog's safe return. "They want the dogs to be trained to kill, they want to train them to kill them without hesitation...that’s my big fear."

Photo Credit: Michael Heredia]]>
<![CDATA[OC Church Assistant Convicted of Molesting Underage Girls]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:17:52 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/oc-church-asst-molest.jpg

A former church assistant was convicted Monday of molesting two girls under the age of 14 after he befriended their families through the church, the Orange County District Attorney's office said.

Branden Edward Shumate, 37, of Hawaii, was found guilty of three felony counts of lewd acts upon multiple victims, prosecutors said in a news release.

Between Sept. 13, 1997 and Sept. 12, 1998, Shumate, then 18 years old, worked as an assistant in a Lake Forest church where his father was a pastor and leader. During that time, prosecutors said, he organized a trip to a water park in Irvine for members of the church.

During that trip, Shumate digitally penetrated a 6-year-old girl after she had fallen asleep while waiting for other children attending the trip to arrive, prosecutors said.

Shumate remained in contact with the girl's family for five years, prosecutors said, and he molested her again when she was 12 years old. When Shumate tried to contact her again in 2006, she told family members about the incidents, prosecutors said.

Shumate then moved to Hawaii with his family.

In August 2010, Shumate attempted to engage in a sexually explicit conversation with a 10-year-old girl, prosecutors said.

In between 2010 and 2011, Shumate sexually assaulted the girl while she was drying off from a shower at her house, prosecutors said. The girl told her mother about the incident after her family moved to Alaska.

Prosecutors said Shumate was arrested in 2011 in Hawaii and was extradited back to Orange County.

Shumate faces a maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison and a mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.

He is scheduled to appear at West Justice Center in Westminster on March 25.

Photo Credit: Orange County District Attorney]]>
<![CDATA[Youth Orchestra Welcomed Home After Super Bowl]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:22:10 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/yola-homecoming.PNG

Greeted with the loud cheers of their loved ones, students of the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles beamed with pride as they arrived home from what had to be the biggest gig of their lives thus far.

The orchestra, comprised of musicians aged 6 to 18, got share the stage with musical superstars Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars at Sunday's Super Bowl 50 halftime show.

"YOLA! YOLA! YOLA!" the orchestra's family and supporters chanted as they got off the bus to a homecoming celebration Monday at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Many of the awaiting loved ones waved signs bearing messages such as, "Felicidades!" "Welcome home!" and "We are really proud of you."

One proud mother in particular sobbed as she greeted her son, Marc Jung, with a hug and balloons.

"At first, I couldn't believe it," Jung, a violinist, said. "I knew we had to play at the Super Bowl, but it hadn't sunk in yet."

When Jung looked out at the crowd of more than 75,000 in Levi Stadium, that's when it hit him.

"I was amazed," he said. "I was walking with my friend, and he was tearing up. By that time, I was holding my emotions in, but seeing him cry made me cry, too."

Conceived in 2007 by the LA Phil Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, YOLA has provided free instruments, musical training and and academic support to more than 700 students in South Los Angeles, the Rampart District and East Los Angeles.

"Music is a big part of my life," Jung said. "I couldn't live on without it. Without [YOLA], I wouldn't have been able to learn music."

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Overpass Shooting Closes Freeway Offramps]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 04:16:18 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/191*120/burbank-shooting-feeway020816.JPG

Authorities shut down both offramps on the 5 Freeway Monday night after a man was wounded during a car-to-car shooting, police said.

The shooting was reported around came in at 7:45 p.m. after officers responded to the 1600 block of Grismer Avenue where they found a 30-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound to the upper body, according to a news release from the Burbank Police Department.

The man was treated at the scene and transported to a hospital with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries, according to the Burbank Police Department.

Authorities spoke to several witnesses, which led them to the Burbank Boulevard Overpass where it was believed a car-to-car shooting occurred, according to the news release.

The suspected shooter was described as a man driving a black sedan, last seen driving westbound on the overpass, according to the news release.

Authorities shut down the Burbank Boulevard Overpass, a bridge over the Instate 5 Freeway, during the investigation.

Both freeway off ramps were reopened.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting was asked to call the Burbank Police Department at 818-238-3210.

Heather Navarro contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Grammy Cocktails: Sips Inspired by Songs]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:12:00 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/grammy_danielcollopy.jpg

Order any beverage at a restaurant or bar or club, and you may find yourself enjoying it while a soundtrack of contemporary tunes plays on the venue's sound-system.

It may then be said, with some confidence, that songs and sips are regularly paired together, both out and about as well as at home.

But finding beverages that find their naming inspiration in recently released hits is a bit more of a challenge unless, of course, it is Grammy Week and you and your party happen to have landed at the right spot.

More than one dining/drinks destination will pay homage to Music's Biggest Night in a variety ways, from nominees on the playlist to what's on the menu. Want to raise a toast to the artists from a tavern or eatery ahead of the Monday, Feb. 15 show? Then grab a ride for...

The restaurants of the Patina Group: Patina Catering is serving as the official caterer to the Grammy Awards, and, in the spirit of that connection, is also offering a number of tune-themed beverages at select Patina-helmed eateries around town. But the outfit is going one further, by asking the public to vote on the Grammy drinks (you can eye 'em all, including their catchy titles, on the Patina site). The winner won't just claim victory; it'll show up on Patina menus for a full year. Which is getting the buzz? Word has it that "Drunk on Jealousy" is making tasty waves.

The Mixing Room: The J.W. Marriott hot spot, which is a short stroll from all the award-handing-out action at Staples Center, has a few selections timed to the Grammys, including the Retired Dragon ("Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars is the sip's theme). The flavors/ingredients? Watch for tequila, agave, lime, and blood orange. Other cocktails await, too, including one in tribute to Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" and one in honor of The Weeknd.

Grammy Museum: True, true, the LA Live-based institution isn't know for its beverage service, but rather amazing exhibits and starry presentations. In honor of its biggest week of the year, however, members at the Patron Level can join a preprogram cocktail event with producer L.A. Reid on Tuesday, Feb. 9. The sips served won't be inspired by the nominees, but you will be enjoying your glass at the Grammy Museum itself, making it as Grammy-esque as any themed drink. It's a major week, in music, and toasts shall be raised, within the institution and at restaurants, and clubs, around town.

Photo Credit: Daniel Collopy]]>
<![CDATA[Man Caught on Camera Swinging Chihuahua From Leash]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 20:04:26 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/2-8_Pasadena+Chihuahua.PNG

An 8-pound chihuahua is resting at the Southern California humane society after a man was caught on camera abusing her in the lobby of the South Pasadena Police Department.

Surveillance video captured the man and dog entering the police station on Saturday before he is seen scolding and kicking the dog, police said. He then used the leash to swing her body around in a circle.

Christian Andrew Najera, 48, was arrested on Saturday morning on suspicion of animal cruelty, a felony, according to police. Officers are currently investigating how he came to possess the dog.

"The man pulled the leash very very hard," said Laura Mendez, a police records clerk, who was in the lobby when it happened. "It was so shocking to see the poor animal."

On the monitor above her desk, she saw the suspect whip the dog in a circle on her leash then drag her outside.

The chihuahua does not show signs of permanent injuries. The dog has been placed with the Pasadena Humane Society. If no owner is found, the chihuahua could go up for adoption. 

Mendez's keen eye led to the arrest, South Pasadena Police Department Chief Art Miller said.

"It kind of tugs at your heart, and your soul especially, to see an animal so innocent and doing absolutely nothing to receive such treatment," said Miller.

Najera will face charges in court on Tuesday. It not clear Monday afternoon if he had an attorney.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[LAX Police Renege on Pledge to Enforce Anti-Smoking Laws]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:02:21 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/smoking-lax-020816.JPG

Los Angeles International Airport Police are not living up to a promise they made that they would crack down on travelers and employees who are breaking LAX's tough anti-smoking laws, an NBC4 I-Team investigation has found.

Seven months ago, the I-Team caught passengers and airport employees smoking too close to terminal and baggage claim doors -- a violation of California law. Signs on every door at LAX say, "no smoking inside the airport, or outside within 20 feet of entrances."

But day after day, NBC4 witnessed toxic second hand smoke filling nonsmoking areas because people were lighting up too close to airport doors.

"We know that any exposure to secondhand smoke is dangerous, because it's cumulative," said Dr. Cary Presant, of the American Cancer Society. "There isn't a lot of ventilation because of the overhang and everything."

In July, LAX spokesman Officer Rob Pedregon told the I-Team that they "raised a concern that you've addressed to us, and we take that seriously." And, he promised that if the I-Team returned to the airport in the next three to six months, his officers will have cracked down on those who are breaking the smoking law.

But when we returned seven months later, we saw smokers lighting up too close to the terminal doors. And, we captured examples of law enforcement officers ignoring them.

Not only did these officers fail to write a ticket, but they didn't even ask these unlawful smokers to stop or at least move 20 feet from the door -- the minimum distance required by the law, the I-Team found.

In one case, an airport traffic officer walked right past a group of four smokers without saying a word. And, using a laser measuring device, the I-Team confirmed that the entire group was smoking far less than 20 feet from a baggage claim door.

During another visit, the I-Team witnessed a bike officer pull up right in front of a mother who was smoking by the door. The officer sat on his bike right next to her before riding off. Again, he didn't ask her to move away from the door or cite her for breaking the smoking law.

The nonsmokers we spoke with said they are tired of being exposed to the secondhand smoke and want Airport Police to crack down.

"After one or two warnings, give them a citation," said Bod Dunbar, of Rancho Palos Verdes, arriving on a flight at LAX. "I'm not into the smoke. It's pretty bad."

LAX spokesperson Mary Grady told the I-Team, "our officers have a lot of duties and that isn't the only thing they're doing."

But she said a solution is in the works. LAX is planning to build an elaborate people mover that will shuttle passengers from inside the smoke-free airport buildings to their cars without ever having to stand outside the terminal.

"We can remove a lot of people from the curbsides, I think you'll see a lot of this problem go away," said Grady.

But the people mover won't be completed until at least 2023. Until then, it will be up to Airport Police to crack down on illegal smoking.

4 Ways Travelers Can Avoid Secondhand Smoke
Avoid areas where smoking is common. Wait for luggage at the end of conveyor farthest from doors.
Cover your mouth and nose with a barrier, such as the neck of a shirt, sweater or jacket, when you encounter smoking.
Choose a route upwind of smokers if possible.
In a public area where smoking is taking place illegally, notify someone in authority.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Gas Station Roof Collapses in Torrance]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:05:57 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/sdfgr.JPG

A gas station canopy collapsed on two cars in Torrance, California, Monday while maintenance workers were on the roof, checking it out for potential problems.

"I heard a noise, something like an earthquake? I ran to the window. And seen that the roof had collapsed!" Giselle Vasquez, who works next door at Green Clean Car Wash, said.

No one was seriously injured, including the drivers of the car and the crews on the roof, fire officials on scene said. 

The roof collapsed at a Chevron station at 3960 Artesia Boulevard at 2:50 p.m.

Two maintenance workers were on the roof over the gas pumps when they noticed cracks.

As they were getting off of the awning, the roof failed.

One managed to scramble away while the other rode the roof to the ground. He suffered minor injuries, and a "few scratches."


Both drivers were inside the gas station -- not at the gas pumps -- when the roof failed, according to a G&M Oil spokesperson. 

"There was no indication there were any issues with it. We regularly do maintenance at our sites. This was just routine," Julie Jackson, General Manager of G&M Oil, said.

There were no gas leaks, Torrance Fire said.

The Chevron station was roped off following the collapse.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Death Investigation in University Park]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 17:35:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/deathinvestig-020816.JPG

A death investigation was underway in the University Park area near the University of Southern California, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed Monday.

The report came in at 2:25 p.m.

The investigation was about one and a half miles away from USC.

LAPD officials later said the death was an apparent suicide, and there was no evidence of foul play.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Is Your Workplace Health Coverage Enough?]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:52:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/workplace-ins-020816.JPG

If you got hurt on the job, are you sure your workplace health coverage would cover your needs?

Christina Eastland says her insurance struggles have left her and her children in a desperate situation.

A former bus driver with Orange County Transportation Authority, Eastland’s professional life was all about mobility. Then, in 2014, she was assisting a passenger off a bus and slipped, backing into a standing pole. An MRI revealed the injury.

“Just found a mass that was pressing against my spinal cord like an abscess,” Eastland says.

She says she was told she’d need surgery or paralysis was a certainty. She chose surgery. But during her recovery, she says she realized something was wrong. Eastland lost the use of her legs, and now fears she’s losing touch with her children because of the unusual housing situation her injury landed them in.

The family lived in Long Beach before her injury, but was no longer a feasible place to live with the space needed for her to maneuver in her wheelchair.

“We have a barrier because we’re not in the same household,” she says.

For 14 months, Eastland and her kids have been living at the Residence Inn, paid for by workers’ compensation insurance.

The youngest, Jaedyn, sleeps on a rollaway in mom’s room. Her three oldest children sleep down a corridor in a separate room.

“I usually sleep right here, my sister sleeps on that side and my brother be like usually sleeping on the couch or on the floor,” Damion Eastland says, describing the living situation.

The separation goes beyond physical to emotional for teens adapting to reversed roles, caring for their mother.

“I just miss being able to walk inside my mom’s room and being able to talk to her just one on one,” says Bryttany.

And Eastland’s attorney says that’s the court’s order: the insurance company for OCTA must purchase an accessible home near Eastland’s medical facilities.

“Just put them in one house under one roof, that’s it,” says Keith More, Eastland’s attorney.

A spokesperson for the insurance company, Safety National tells the I-Team “It’s not healthy or cost-effective to have her in a hotel … but that Eastland has rejected all our housing offers.”

“It’s like, here’s a bone and you can just chew on it a little bit and then they snatch it right back,” says Donovan Lane Jr.

The Eastland’s attorneys shared a list of addresses submitted by the insurance company. They chose a home from the list, only to have that choice denied, attorneys for Safety National writing “my clients have advised me that they will not agree to the purchase of this home.”

A Safety National spokesperson now admits to the I-Team a mistake was made, and says the home the Eastland’s chose was never properly vetted and shouldn’t have been on the list.

Another delay, leaving Eastland and her children with no ability to move forward with their lives.

“My kids shouldn’t have to be put in this type of situation. Nobody should be in this type of situation,” she says.

Safety National tells the I-Team it’s now expanding the search for a suitable home for Christina Eastland.

If you’re having issues with an insurance company about an unresolved claim, there are some sources you can turn to, including the California Department of Insurance and the Department of Industrial Relations.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Murder Charge Filed in Case of Body Found Buried in Wall]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 15:34:15 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Raven-Joy-Campbell-restos-humanos-cadaver-lomita-california.jpg

A man was charged Monday with murder in the 2009 slaying of a woman whose body was found stuffed inside an apartment wall last summer, prosecutors said.

Randolph Garbutt was charged with one count of murder with the special allegation that he used a dangerous weapon - a hammer - in the killing of Raven Joy Campbell, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Garbutt was expected to be arraigned Monday in a Torrance courtroom, where prosecutors planned to ask that his bail be set at $1 million.

On July 2, Campbell's body was discovered hidden the wall of her Harbor Hills Housing Project home in Lomita, the same apartment from which she was reported missing six years earlier. Officials said she died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Neighbors had complained about an odd odor for years before a phone call tip to Campbell's sister brought sheriff's investigators to the apartment and police dogs led them to the grisly discovery, her family said.

Garbutt and Campbell both lived at the apartment at the time of her disappearance, along with a couple. The couple no longer lives in the apartment, and has been cooperative with the investigation, officials said.

Police announced the arrest of Garbutt last Friday. If convicted as charged, he faces up to life in state prison.

<![CDATA[Mistakenly Released Inmate Taken Into Custody]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:58:30 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/released-inmate-020116.jpg

An inmate who was released by mistake from a Los Angeles County jail was back in custody Monday after he was found at a Nevada hotel, authorities said.

Steven Lawrence Wright walked away from the Inmate Reception Center a free man Jan. 30 on what the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department called a "clerical error." Wright had been awaiting trial for a gang-related murder that took place in Pasadena on Jan. 19, 2011.

Deputies realized a mistake had been made nearly 33 hours later. Officials said he was released on a contempt of court charge rather than being held on the murder charge.

A $20,000 reward was offered for information leading to the capture of Wright, who was found in a Boulder City, Nevada hotel room Monday at midday. He was taken into custody "without incident," authorities said.

No additional charges are expected against Wright, the sheriff's department said. He was being held in Nevada, pending an extradition hearing.

Photo Credit: LA County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Residents Displaced by Gas Leak Get More Time to Return]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 12:59:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Porter-Ranch-AP_51068591634.jpg

Los Angeles residents displaced by a massive, 15-week natural gas leak will have more time to return to their homes once the well is plugged, under an agreement announced Monday between city officials and Southern California Gas Co.

The deal will give residents up to eight days to move back to the Porter Ranch area, rather than 48 hours, the utility and City Attorney Mike Feuer said in separate statements.

"This agreement will help residents resume their daily routines on schedules that work best for them," Feuer said.

Nearly 5,700 households have been relocated since December. Many residents complained about headaches, nosebleeds, nausea and other symptoms.

Public health officials blame those symptoms on the odorant added to the gas and say they don't expect long-term health effects

The deal would allow the company to stop paying for short-term housing such as hotels eight days and seven nights after the state declares the well permanently sealed.

SoCalGas will also pay rent and costs such as utilities and gardening services for the remainder of a lease term for temporary housing. In addition, residents will receive reimbursements for moving and travel expenses associated with their relocations.

"We are glad to offer additional time to help make relocated residents' transitions back home smoother," said Gillian Wright, vice president of customer services for SoCalGas.

The leak from a deep well at an underground gas storage facility was detected in October. The utility expects to have it plugged by the end of February.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Search Continues for Body of 3rd Person Killed in Crash]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:46:50 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/2-8-16-Small_Plane_Crash.JPG

The search was continuing Monday in the ocean off San Pedro for the body of a third person killed in the mid-air collision of two small planes. The crash occurred about 3:15 p.m. Friday, and a small debris field was found soon afterward.

About 2 p.m. Sunday, the bodies of two men were found about two miles outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The men, one 61 and the other 81, were believed to be in one plane and a woman was believed to have been piloting the second.

She was identified by her husband as Mary Falstrom, 72, of Torrance. Rich Falstrom told NBC4 that his wife had 25 years of experience as a pilot and was a flight attendant when she was younger.

"I'm sure she was just doing her normal routine and apparently didn't see the other plane, and they didn't see her," he said.

The two men in the second plane were also from the South Bay area, a Coast Guard official said.

Their names were withheld, pending notification of relatives, according to the coroner's office.

However, one of the men was identified by friends as Martin Clement, a Catholic church deacon who worked as a financial planner. The recovery efforts were being led by the Sheriff's Emergency Services Detail, part of the Special Enforcement Bureau.

The remains and wreckage were located in county waters by a sheriff's dive team with the assistance of Los Angeles Port Police, the Long Beach Police Department and county lifeguards.

The find came as a sheriff's helicopter crew searched from the air while crews and divers aboard department boats searched on and below the ocean surface, said Capt. Jack Ewell of the Sheriff's Special Enforcement Bureau.

"The search efforts were primarily underwater operations, utilizing three different types of sonar devices to search the ocean floor for wreckage," Ewell said. "Remotely operated underwater vehicles were also deployed, along with divers."

The wreckage of one plane and two victims were found in water 105 feet deep, Ewell said. The men were aboard a Beech 35 Bonanza, and the woman was piloting a Citabria. Both aircraft were operated out of the Torrance Municipal Airport. The crew of a fishing boat was the first to report a plane hitting the water on Friday. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

Photo Credit: Rick Montanez/NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[Mt. Baldy Trails Closed Due to Dangerous Conditions]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:38:10 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/168*120/02.08.16_Baldy-Trail-Closures.JPG

Trails at Mt. Baldy were closed Monday after a hiker died and several others had to be rescued over the weekend because of dangerous conditions.

"We haven't seen these conditions in 10 years, at least not this extreme," Nathan Judy, Angeles National Forest spokesman, said.

It was the second death on trails in the area in less than a week.

After the treacherous rescues, Angeles National Forest officials said that anyone caught on a closed trail would face serious consequences.


At 3:20 p.m. Saturday, five hikers were reported stranded near Ontario Peak and Icehouse Canyon. All five were hoisted out by helicopter and were unharmed.

During the rescue of those hikers, a couple reportedly slipped down a canyon on ice near Icehouse Canyon Saddle.

Air rescue crews were able to locate them and two fellow hikers were able to make their way down to where the couple was calling for help, on what the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department described as an "icy slope under a fallen tree."

Tony Liu, of Temple City, died as a result of injuries sustained in the fall. His wife, Linda Duan, was hospitalized, according to the sheriff's department.

After transporting the couple by helicopter, the two good Samaritans who had stayed with them also had to be lifted out of the steep terrain by helicopter.

Last Tuesday, a man fell to his death while hiking on the Devil's Backbone trail.

The trails are expected to remain closed at least through Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Courtesy @SBCUSD_OES/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[CSU Faculty Threatens Strike]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:15:00 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-1-a-breaking-news-la-generic-graphic-april2014.gif

Stepping up its push for a new labor contract, the union representing California State University faculty announced plans Monday to carry out a five-day strike in April at all 23 campuses of the Long Beach-based system if a deal isn't reached before then.

"We've said all along that we don't want to strike, but we will if we have to," said Jennifer Eagan, president of the California Faculty Association. "We must take a stand so that we can support our families, protect our profession and provide high quality education for our students.

"A strike is our last resort and we still hope that the chancellor will invest in the faculty who are the major determinant of our students' success."

According to the union, a walkout will be held April 13, 14, 15, 18 and 19 at all 23 campuses if a deal isn't struck before then.

Members of the CFA have already voted to authorize a strike. There was no immediate response from CSU officials. The CFA is pushing for a 5 percent salary increase for faculty members, but the CSU is offering 2 percent.

CSU officials have said a 5 percent increase for CFA faculty would cost $68.9 million over the 2 percent the university is offering. The cost to the university could balloon to $107.2 million when other labor unions ask for the same increase, according to the CSU. About half of the CSU's 25,000 faculty are members of the CFA, according to the university.

<![CDATA[Uber Driver Arrested for DUI After Super Bowl]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 17:54:48 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/160208-uber-beer-cans-mug.jpg

An Uber driver who was on his way to pick up passengers after watching the Super Bowl at a bar was arrested Sunday north of Los Angeles with a blood-alcohol content more than three times the legal limit, police said.

Robert Wing, a 46-year-old Simi Valley resident, was stopped by police about 1:45 a.m. for slowing down at a green light and having no front license plate, according to the Simi Valley Police Department.

While being questioned by an officer, Wing allegedly said he was trying to make some extra cash after watching the game at a local bar and had already picked up two or three passengers earlier, police said.

"The driver was unaware of his physical location due to his impairment and was relying on his GPS to direct him where to go," police said.

A DUI test showed Wing's blood-alcohol content was .25 – more than three times the legal limit of .08 for motorists with a Class C driver's license. Uber drivers are not required to hold a commercial driver's license, which holds an even stricter legal blood-alcohol content limit of .04, according to California DMV spokesman Jaime Garza.

The officer searched the car and found a pair of empty Coors Light cans under the driver seat.

Wing was taken into custody and his car was impounded. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

In a statement, Uber said it was working with law enforcement to assist in the investigation.

"We have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol or drug use for anyone driving on the Uber platform," the statement said. "We are clearly disappointed to hear that something like this could have occurred and have permanently removed this driver-partner's access to Uber."

Photo Credit: Simi Valley Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[El Niño Update]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 07:37:30 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/02-08-2016-el-nino-update.JPG A look at how conditions are shaping up during California's wet season. Crystal Egger has an El Niño update for Monday Feb. 8, 2016.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Hit-and-Run Head-On Crash Victim ID'd]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:34:33 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/02-08-2016-santa-ana-hit-run-mercedes-5.jpg

A violent hit-and-run crash in Santa Ana killed a 61-year-old man Monday morning, officials said.

Mitchell Viturino was on his way to work at around 2 a.m. when his Ford Mustang collided head-on with a Mercedes sedan near the intersection of Bristol and First streets, police said.

Residents described the violent collision, which woke them up.

"I was going to start crying," said resident Adilene Ruiz. "I'm really sorry for the people in the car."

The impact was so forceful that the Mustang was crushed, and Viturino died at the scene, officials said.

"He had a heart of gold," said Viturino's girlfriend Leslie. "The last thing he told me was he loved me, and he left."

Viturino was a thread roller for aerospace products. His son, Josh, said he was always the first to lend someone a helping hand.

"He'd lend you the shirt off his back," he said.

Josh said his father loved his Harley motorcycle.

"I was coming over there, and [I thought], 'I hope my dad took his Harley to work. It's nice and warm," he said.

Paramedics treated two men near the crash -- one with a fractured leg, and the other with hip and back pain are both hospitalized. Police are hoping to find out if either of the men was the driver that hit Viturino.

"I know I have to forgive them but I don't have words for them at all right now," Leslie said. "I can't even wrap my head around it."

The Mercedes is registered to a 32-year-old Santa Ana man whose family says he was out of town at the time.

Witnesses said after the crash they saw two people in the Mercedes get out of the car and try to leave.

Photo Credit: Southern Counties News]]>