<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Southern California News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Fri, 29 May 2015 21:52:19 -0700 Fri, 29 May 2015 21:52:19 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Gun Range Next to School Raises Parents' Ire]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 21:38:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/5-29-15-Bullets.JPG

Parents are up in arms over bullet fragments that litter a school playground in Redondo Beach from a neighboring open-air police shooting range and have filed a lawsuit.

"All's you need to do is put a lid on it," said activist Harry Stuver, who, along with other residents, filed a $5 million lawsuit over the issue. "Put a cover on it."

They fear children are being exposed to harmful lead considered a poison linked to brain disorders and nervous system damage if ingested.

The lead is on the grounds and sidewalks, said Stuver.

The lead came from bullets, fragmenting when they hit targets at the facility.

The source is the Redondo Beach Police Department's shooting range.

They got the city to also vacuum up the pieces at Towers Elementary School across the street, where many of the fragments landed, but Stuver said the efforts are not enough.

Parents are concerned.

"We're playing at the parks. We're walking around," said Cristina Thain, a parent.

Thain believes it's time for the city to enclose the shooting range or shut it down.

"We noticed that there are now strict orders here, that officers cannot fire lead-based bullets," she said.

The only rounds allowed are called "frangible," not made of lead and designed to disintegrate on impact.

But Thain and Stuver claim those rules are being broken.

"Make it enclosed," she said. "Monitor, I guess, the grounds a little bit better."

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<![CDATA[Priest Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Woman During Flight]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 19:32:41 -0700

A Catholic priest was found guilty Friday in federal court of sexually assaulting a woman aboard a flight from Philadelphia to LAX.

A federal jury found Father Marcelo De Jesumaria, based out of Arrowhead, California, guilty of abusive sexual contact on the US Airways flight to LA last August. He is with the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino.

The FBI told the NBC4 I-Team that a female passenger, identified in legal documents only as "BD," woke up during the flight to find the priest’s "hands on her breast, groin, and buttocks."

Last year, the I-Team exposed the growing problem of sexual assaults reported aboard airplanes. The FBI told NBC4 that most of the assaults happen on red-eye flights when the cabin is dark and the victims are asleep or dozing off.

The FBI urges anyone who is assaulted aboard a plane to immediately report it to the flight crew while still in the air. "Criminal activity aboard an aircraft that is reported several days or weeks after an incident occurs presents greater challenges for investigators," said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

In the US Airways incident, FBI agents met Father De Jesumaria at the gate, when the plane landed last August. They gathered enough evidence to indict him in October.

Today, after a three-day trial in federal court, a jury found De Jesumaria guilty of abusive sexual contact, which is defined as "the intentional touching… of the groin, breast, inner thigh or buttocks of any person with the intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade and arouse."

Father De Jesumaria will be sentenced Aug. 24. He faces a two-year statutory maximum sentence.

NBC4 asked the Diocese of San Bernardino for comment and they emailed this statement:

"The Diocese of San Bernardino considers the actions alleged of Father De Jesumaria in the federal indictment to be sinful and unlawful. We removed him from ministry in the diocese immediately after we became aware of this allegation in November and we are deeply regretful of any harm that may have occurred as a result of his actions. He belongs to a Chicago-based religious order, the Congregation of the Resurrection, that will determine the future of his priesthood."

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<![CDATA[Student Calls School's "Battle of Sexes" Sexist]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 20:14:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/5-29-15_Battle_Sexes.jpg

Some say "The Battle of Sexes," a tradition that pits boys against girls at a high school in Whittier, got out of hand.

The controversy began at an assembly at a La Serna High School where students put up images of powerful presidents on the boys' side and bikinis, lipstick and a diamond on the girls' side.

The images didn't go over well with Mindy Pflug, a senior who took to twitter by saying, "I am beyond appalled."

"I just walked in and felt a pit in my stomach," she said. "I thought about all the things that have happened to women -- gender equality."

The gender discussion and reaction to what she tweeted got heated at school.

But her family and girlfriends are standing by her side.

Mindy has been harassed online for speaking out. Mindy says that's why this discussion on gender equality and sexism needs to stay alive.

A male student, Connor Garzon, agrees as he mentioned his female role models -- Marie Curie and Anne Frank.

He said the merit-versus- appearance-based images between men and women are unfair and hopes women know.

"You are just as important as a man and, if so, maybe more," he said.

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<![CDATA[Rebate Mistake Could Cost LADWP Customers Thousands]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 17:08:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/drought-lawn-sprinkler-2015.jpg

A warning to LADWP consumers eager to earn a rebate for replacing their grass with drought-friendly landscaping: application mistakes could cost you thousands of dollars.

The "Cash In Your Lawn" program offers $3.75 per square foot of lawn replaced with "California Friendly Landscaping." As drought warnings have escalated in recent months, the program's popularity has surged: since 2009, the DWP (in partnership with the Metropolitan Water District) has issued rebates for 15 million square feet of turf removal.

But the LADWP warns that utility customers should proceed with caution if they participate in the program: misunderstandings and mistakes could cost them their rebates.

Just ask Karen Lewis, who volunteered to make arrangements to transform her daughter Lauren’s Sherman Oaks front yard from "water guzzler" to "water free."

Lewis contacted Novel Remodeling of Los Angeles to do the job.

"I said 'I want to do this only if I can get the rebate,'" Lewis told the I-Team.

She claims she was assured by a Novel employee that she would not only get the rebate, but that Novel would handle the application process with the LADWP for her.

"So we said OK, great, [and] they started the job," said Lewis.

She says she paid $5,000 for the project, assuming she’d get a big chunk of that money back once the DWP approved the work.

But she discovered later no rebate application was ever filed, and because of that, the LADWP tells the I-Team that Lewis will get no rebate funds.

The I-Team contacted Novel Remodeling, which promised to investigate Lewis’ complaint that she’d been misled.

While Novel declined an on camera interview, a spokesman said via email that "we deliver exactly what we promise 100 percent of the time... Our contract does not state anything regarding our company agreeing on getting Mrs. Karen Lewis a rebate."

The I-Team reviewed Lewis’ contract, and confirmed Novel’s statement.

LADWP Water Conservation Supervisor Mark Gentili tells the I-Team it’s imperative to pay close attention to the exact requirements of the Cash In Your Lawn program, outlined on the utility’s website. 

"The idea is that before you take your lawn out, you get a 'reservation,'" Gentili explained.

A "reservation," or rebate application, requires extensive photo submissions, detailed documentation and can take weeks to approve.

"There are some contractors [who] do it for nothing," Gentili said.

Instead of charging customers, companies like Turf Terminators will do the landscaping for no fee, arranging instead to collect the rebate funds directly from the DWP, and allowing lawn owners to bypass the red tape entirely.

That’s the deal Lewis believed she’d struck, only to find herself with a front yard renovation that came at a steep price.

She ended up paying $10,000 altogether: $5,000 for replacing the lawn and another $5,000 for the removal of two trees she agreed to, she says, at the suggestion of Novel Remodeling.

"They’re going to make out that I’m an old woman who didn’t understand," Lewis said. "What I’d like is the amount that would have come from the rebate, that’s what I want. No more."

If you're interested in applying for a Cash In Your Lawn rebate, you can find more information at the LADWP website.

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<![CDATA[Vroom Vroom: Zipcars For Rent at Metro Lines in LA ]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 19:55:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/11-18-14_Zipcar.JPG

A new way to get around town involving a partnership between the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Zipcar was announced Friday.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made the announcement about the high tech, car share company giving customers the chance to rent a car for an hour or a day from any one of the now nine Metro stops and Union Station.

"We have to help Angelenos not from our point A to point B... but to their point A to point B.. without needing to own a car," he said.

After registering online with a driver's license and a credit card, the "member" gets a data card.

"You have to wave the card over the outside window, it opens it, the keys are inside, and when you're done, hold the card up and now the car is locked down and no one can use it unless they have a reservation and a zip card," Barry Vanderable said, a fleet operations manager with Zipcar.

It's a convenience that will eventually help ease congestion, promoters for the campaign said.

Zipcar already has over 20,000 users in Los Angeles and continues to grow.

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<![CDATA[Residents Angry At Flier Singling Out Minorities]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 18:14:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/05-29-15_Toscana-Flier-Controversy.jpg

Controversy is shaking up a Southern California apartment complex after a flier appeared in community elevators specifically asking African-American residents to speak quietly and to turn down music levels at night.

The fliers were posted in at least two of the elevators at the Toscana Apartments, located near the campus of University of California, Irvine, and advised and reminded residents about the appropriate noise levels, citing several recent complaints.

And, at the bottom left, this:

"We would like to remind our African-American residents to keep conversation volume down and reduce music levels between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.”

The complex is located about a mile from the UC Irvine campus, many students live at this complex.

"I definitely feel uncomfortable here, I don't feel safe here,” one resident, who did not want to be identified by name, told NBC4.

The flier ends by thanking residents for their cooperation and is signed as if it is from Toscana’s management. It includes the actual address and phone number to Equity Residential, the company which manages the complex.

"I want the lease cut off, I don't feel comfortable here, I don't want to be a part of this community and obviously the apartment complex doesn't want us to be here either," the resident NBC Los Angeles interviewed said.

The regional manager for Equity Residential, Mary Linder, categorically denied any involvement.

"The flier is a fake. No one from Equity, not any of our employees or Equity Residential had anything to do with the creation or the distribution. We're outraged with the content and we are investigating it," Linder said.

Still, some residents remain infuriated.

"This is what happens, they try to deny it and they try make it private and try to talk to us and try to deal with it, they send cops and security to intimidate and try to stifle us," a resident who asked to be identified as DD said.

Irvine police did visit the complex Friday, mostly hearing residents concerns.

"(I’m) really surprised,” resident Christine, who asked to be identified by her first name, said. “I think it's horrifying that someone would write specifically about one culture and point that out."

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<![CDATA[Girl Found Locked in Room, Used Bucket As Toilet: DA]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 17:36:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black.jpg+20+may.jpg

A mother and father pleaded not guilty to child abuse and false imprisonment charges Thursday stemming from allegations they forced one of their children to use a bucket as a toilet while locked in a room.

On May 13, Titis and Mary Ebubechukwu's 4-year-old son was found roaming the streets alone, a few blocks from his Lancaster home, officials said.

Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department went to the boy's house to speak to his parents but didn't find them there. Instead, they found his 10-year-old sister locked in room with a chain from the outside, Deputy District Attorney Theodore Swanson said. The girl used a bucket when she needed to use the bathroom, he added.

Titus, 48, and Mary, 52, were charged with three felony counts of child abuse and one felony count of false imprisonment.

However, neighbors said it isn't what it looked like and came to their defense. 

"It's a misunderstanding, our kids play together," Antionette Oliver said. "They are very integral."

Joe Vales, who lives next door, said the parents had four children and never noticed any of them messy or unkept but at times did notice odd behavior.

He wondered if the allegations were true.

"It hurt me inside for a few days when I found out," he said.

If convicted they face a maximum sentence of eight years and eight months in prison.

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<![CDATA[OC Health Fair Offers Free Care, Even for the Insured]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 14:22:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/dentist+doctor+medical+anaheim+health+fair.JPG

People of all ages, with all kinds of health needs, came to an Orange County convention center Friday as the Anaheim Free Health Fair kicked off for the ninth year Friday.

Doctors, dentists, opticians -- even chiropractors and yogis -- will treat thousands of people for free at the fair, which runs through Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Some prospective patients waited overnight to get a chance at free medical care, showing just how desperate some of them were for help.

“Oh, it’s very important, there’s a lot of people here that can’t afford it," said Vince White of Anaheim.

White was one of hundreds waiting for help Friday. He said free beats the cost he would have had to dish out for what he needs.

"I went to another dental place ... it was going to cost over $3,000," White said.

Some things are too expensive to handle for patients, which is why Remote Area Medical offers dental, vision, blood work -- all general medical needs, for free to the public.

Doctor Nitin Shah started the Anaheim service nine years ago, before RAM joined in, to offer dental and vision care. He said that even with Covered California and the Affordable Care Act in place, the community is hurting for healing.

“It gets bigger and bigger and the need keeps on increasing and we keep on adding services,” Shah said.

Asher Klein contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Khallid Shabazz]]>
<![CDATA[Police Stepping Up Patrols After Attempted Kidnapping]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 19:29:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/van052915.PNG

A boy is recuperating and a South Bay police department on alert after men in a van tried to kidnap him Thursday.

The boy told police that someone tried to pull him into a van after its driver asked him for directions in Palos Verdes Estates on Thursday afternoon. The van fled after the boy broke free, and the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department has stepped up patrols of local schools in response, officers said.

The boy was feeling better Friday and trying to return to his normal routine, according to his mother, Elena Johnson said.

"It's every mothers fear. We worry about somebody taking a child," Johnson said.

Police have issued a statewide crime bulletin as they search for a full-size Chevrolet van from the 1980s, with a chipped and faded brown paint job with light stripes on the sides. The van was being driven by a man, about 40-50 years old, police said.

Police called in extra resources, and are keeping a high profile as they stepped up patrols in five local schools and the neighborhood where the incident took place.

"It's a very neighborly place, but the world's not that safe any more," PVEPD detective Charles Reed said.

The boy, a sixth grader at a local intermediate school, normally rides the school bus home and walks from the bus stop with a classmate, Johnson said. Her son, whose name NBC4 is not providing because he is a minor, was able to give a detailed description of the van because he loves cars, his mother said.

While police were called about 15 minutes after the kidnapping attempt, Reed said they were treating the attempted kidnapping as "extremely credible." Police hope the boy can give them information to have a sketch drawn the driver -- he didn't see the man who opened the van door and tried to grab him.

"I don't want to raise a fearful child but unfortunately today you kind of have your kids be looking around to see what's going on," Johnson said.

Police ask anyone with information about the incident to call 310-378-4211.



Photo Credit: Palos Verdes Estates Police]]>
<![CDATA[Arson Suspect Arrested in Fatal West Hollywood Fire]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 12:56:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/05-29-2015-fire-west-hollywood-1.JPG

A man was arrested on suspicion of murder and arson Thursday in connection with a fatal fire at an abandoned building last week in West Hollywood.

The suspect in the May 20 fire was identified Friday as 35-year-old Andrew Clark. He is accused in the death of 53-year-old Eric Young, who was found by firefighters in the damaged building in the 9000 block of Santa Monica Boulevard.

Details regarding the investigation that led to the arrest were not immediately available. The case is expected to be presented to the district attorney's office for consideration of criminal charges next week, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Firefighters responded to the burning building, filled with mattresses and shopping carts, just after midnight on May 20. Young and woman were rescued from the fire, but Young later died at a hospital.

The site of the fire is also the planned location of the Melrose Triangle Project, a mixed use building plan intended to reinvigorate West Hollywood's Western Gateway. The project was approved last summer by the city council.

The Los Angeles Conservancy filed suit in September to stop the razing of the existing building, contending the former animal hospital with Depression-era streamline moderne architecture is a historical landmark that should be preserved.



Photo Credit: LLN]]>
<![CDATA[Bear Sighting in Pasadena Neighborhood]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 15:33:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/WEB_PASADENA_TEEN_ATTACKED-_LOPEZ_1200x675_441832515660.jpg

A bear sighting in a Pasadena neighborhood Friday prompted authorities to advise residents to stay inside while they worked to clear "the scene."

A bear cub was spotted by a homeowner bear Pine Bluff and Riviera drives just before noon, according to the Pasadena Fire Department.

The homeowner saw the cub walk back into a nearby forest a short time later, according to animal control officials. 

No further details were available.

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<![CDATA[Man Accused of Having Sex With Temecula Teen]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 10:04:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/handcuffs5.jpg

A San Diego man was arrested Wednesday, accused of having a sexual relationship with a Temecula teenager.

Lance Dhuyvetter, 28, was in custody accused of having sex with a 16-year-old girl. Temecula Police Officers took Dhuyvetter into custody with the help of San Diego Police. He faces “numerous charges” including stalking, officials said.

The relationship has been ongoing since 2014, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Dhuyvetter was held on $250,000 bail.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vet Dies After Drop From County Fair Attraction]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 14:48:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/5-29-15+Navy+Death+San+Bernardino+Fair+FreeDrop+USA.JPG

A Navy veteran died several hours after a mishap on a platform dive attraction making its debut at a Southern California fair Thursday night, authorities said.

Sabrina Gordon, 31, of Hesperia fell from the FreeDrop USA ride at the San Bernardino County Fair Thursday night at 8:14 p.m., and was airlifted to a hospital, deputies said. Less than five hours later, at 12:20 a.m. Friday, Gordon died.

Her heartbroken family remembered her as a wonderful person whose death could have been prevented.

“She was a very funny little girl… Always independent, doing her own thing,” Lyle Bell said, Gordon’s father.

She followed her father’s footsteps and joined the Navy right out of high school.

“Like I did and my dad… His father, two older brothers, one younger… we all served,” he said.

It appeared Gordon hit the air cushion and bounced onto the asphalt ground, subsequently injuring her head, according to her father.

"This was stupid, this was something for professional stunt people," Bell said.

Three platforms let participants jump 20, 28 or 36 feet onto the inflated pillow that stands 13-feet tall, according to a news release from the fair. FreeDrop USA was making its debut in California at the fair, according to the release.

A video posted to the San Bernardino County Fair's Facebook page showed the attraction in action, and its caption described the ride as "no bungee cords, no wires, no harnesses, just pure free fall."

"The ride was immediately closed and will remain so indefinitely," San Bernardino County Fair CEO/General Manager Geoff Hinds said in a statement. "The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is conducting a thorough investigation."

Gordon reportedly dove off the 28-foot platform, according to the fair’s news release.

She was working at the fair for a vendor when friends egged her into making the jump.

"There were no safety nets ... this accident could have been completely avoided," her husband said, Clifford Gordon. He was not there when she fell but said that when they saw the attraction days before, they both agreed it was too dangerous.

The company that makes FreeDrop defended its safety record in a statement, saying more than 50,000 people have made safe jumps on the ride across the country.

Fair Board of Directors President Paul Russ said in a statement: "This is a heart wrenching tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family."



Photo Credit: Courtesy: Family]]>
<![CDATA[Southern California Traffic Headaches]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 08:23:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/05-29-2015-freeway-10-mid-city.JPG Southern California is known for its traffic and congestion. Here are some snapshots to prove it.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Truck Slams Through 10 Freeway Divider]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 07:38:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/05-29-2015-freeway-10-mid-city.JPG

Traffic backed up during the morning commute Friday after a dump truck slammed through a freeway divider in the Mid-City area.

The crash occurred about 5:30 a.m. at La Brea Avenue, according to the  California Highway Patrol.

Four lanes were closed on the eastbound side of the 10 Freeway and one lane was shut down on the westbound side. It was not immediately clear when the lanes would reopen, but traffic was heavy in the area.

One person suffered minor injuries, City News Service reported.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[ South Bay Beaches Reopen]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 20:59:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/202*120/05-29-2015-beach-closed-tar-1.JPG

South Bay beaches were reopened Friday after being closed for more than two days because tar balls washed ashore, authorities said.

The beaches were reopened as of 6:30 p.m., according to the unified incident command.

The closures affected nearly all South Bay beaches from El Segundo to Redondo Beach.

Crews had been working to clean up the tar, the source of which has not been determined. The environmental group Heal the Bay earlier had warned that the beaches should not be reopened "until all the oil is cleaned up."

"Heal the Bay has concerns about opening the beaches and even allowing people on the sand between the lifeguard towers and the water," said Sarah Sikich, one of two scientists the group deployed to the scene. "It's nearly impossible to walk along the beach in that area without encountering a small oil glob, and from a human health perspective, exposure through skin contact is a concern."

Sikich also warned that children could put contaminated sand in their mouths and that blobs had been found outside the closure area in Playa del Rey. Crews began conducting flyovers in the area Thursday morning to try to determine the source of the substance. At an afternoon briefing on Thursday, Downey said "significant progress" had been made overnight in the cleanup effort.

"Our teams have worked ... on the ground and in the air and on the water, (and) have reported that there appears to be no new tar balls or anything additional to the amount that we have recovered thus far," Downey said. "Our air crew did observe a sheen off the South Bay, which from what we understand is typical for that area," Downey said. "But what we believe to be pretty good news is that it doesn't appear to be any in the surf, the surf line, (like) we saw (Wednesday)."

A loon covered with oil was brought to the incident command post in Manhattan Beach on Thursday and was in stable condition under the care of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

It was unclear where the bird was found and how it became oiled. There has been no other indication, however, that wildlife has been harmed. Authorities released a telephone number -- (877) 623-6926 -- for people to call to report the location of any wildlife found to be in distress from the effects of the substance.

The unknown petroleum substance began hitting the beach about 10 a.m. Wednesday. The U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies collected samples of the material and were trying to identify the substance and its source.

Results were pending. A company known as Ocean Blue Environmental was hired to clean up the mess. Recorded information on beach conditions is available 24 hours a day on the county's beach advisory hotline by calling (800) 525-5662 or online at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/beach/.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Carjacked BMW Crashed Into Tree ]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 05:13:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/failll.PNG

A carjacking early Friday morning ended with the suspects slamming the brand-new car they just stole into a tree in Pasadena.

Two men with guns approached a man parking a brand-new BMW with paper plates, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

They carjacked the BMW on the 4500 block of Willowbrook and though the men were armed, the victim was not harmed, police said.

The men took off, and just before 3 a.m., police spotted the car at the intersection of Allen Avenue and Paloma Street.

The officers were not in an active pursuit with the BMW, however the suspects slammed into a tree.

The suspects became trapped inside of the vehicle, and had to wait until the Pasadena Fire Department arrived to extract them.

The conditions of the suspects were unknown, and they were transported to hospitals.

Police said after the suspects are treated, they will be booked for carjacking.  



Photo Credit: KNBC ]]>
<![CDATA[Assailants Tried to Pull Boy Into Van: Police]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 07:53:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/05-29-2015-van-kidnap-attempt-rancho-palos-verdes.JPG

A man driving what was described as a 1980s-style van tried to kidnap an 11-year-old boy as he was walking to his home from a school bus stop in Palos Verdes Estates, according to police.

The attempt occurred Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Coronel Plaza and Via Margarita, authorities said. While at that location, the boy was approached by a man in 1980s-style Chevrolet conversion van.

The driver of the van called to the victim to get his attention and ask him directions to "the promenade." The victim began to look at his cellphone to assist the suspect and the driver said he could not hear him speaking and asked him to come closer to the van.

As the victim approached the front passenger door of the van, he heard the passenger side sliding door open. Immediately after he heard this, he felt someone grab his backpack from the rear and attempt to pull him into the van, according to a statement from the Rancho Palos Verdes Police Department.

The victim was unable to see the second suspect. The victim quickly broke free from the second suspect's grasp and ran from the location and straight to his residence.

He then heard the van quickly speed away from the area.

Upon further investigation, the victim recalled seeing the exact same van in the same area and time on Wednesday.

The van was described as full size and medium brown in color with a light colored horizontal stripe running down both sides of the van. Paint on the van was faded with miscellaneous areas of chipped paint along both sides.

Oval windows on the sides and rear with the rear windows covered by closed horizontal miniblinds on the inside of the van.

One man was described as white with a medium build and between 40 and 50 years old. He had dark brown hair in a "buzz cut" hairstyle and dark tanned skin complexion with an unknown color tank top.

There was no description of the second man.

Contact the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department with any information at 310-378-4211.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Man Barricaded in Panorama City Home ]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 18:47:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SDPD-generic-night-2015.jpg

A man barricaded in a Panorama City home Thursday after police responded to reports of a woman screaming near the area, Los Angeles police officer Jack Richter said.

Officers responded to the 13800 block of Roscoe Boulevard just before 3 p.m. when the incident was reported. The man fled into a home when the officers arrived. 

Traffic was being diverted in the area, Richter said.

It was unclear if the man was armed.

The barricade situation was over a little more than three hours after it started. It was unclear what brought the incident to an end. 

No further information was available.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Bill Robles Reveals the Confidential Courtroom]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 18:56:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*172/5-28-15-Bill-Robles-camerondiaz+copy.jpg Courtroom sketch articles Bill Robles is behind pictures of history when courtrooms go confidential. "When the cameras aren't allowed, we're king," he says, as he adds color to what's supposed to be a black-and-white system.

Photo Credit: Bill Robles]]>
<![CDATA[Bill Robles: Painting Pictures of a Murder Case]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 16:51:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/169*120/5-28-15-Bill-Robles-manson9.jpg

Just before Charles Manson was set to go on trial for multiple murders in 1970, a young up-and-coming artist was looking for a job.

"As a kid I always had an interest in news," said Bill Robles, a nationally-known courtroom sketch artist based in Los Angeles. "It all started about 45 years ago with the Charles Manson Trial."

Robles studied at the Art Center College of Design and has taught at LA Trade Technical College teaching illustration and drawing.

In 1969, Robles convinced bosses at CBS News to give him a shot — for nine months he sat in on the trial, following every minute and capturing some of the most infamous moments. Robles drew his way into a business that barely existed until he put pencil to paper.

“The Manson trial had celebrity, murder, family, followers. It was fascinating," he said.

When Manson shaved his head and his followers followed suit, Robles got that image too. The job is time consuming with time constraints, he says, and while his focus is the main person involved, he says often “the cast of characters come as time permits.”

One image Robles created during the Manson Trial still stands as iconic as the trial itself — the moment Manson attempted to attack the judge, leaping from his chair behind the defendant's desk.

"Pencil in his hand that he dropped," Robles said, "he was wearing flip-flops and he was tackled in midair by the bailiff. That image led with Walter Cronkite on the news that night, so that was kind of cool."

Back then there were seven courtroom sketch artists — today, Robles is one of only a few in Los Angeles. NBC4 enlists Robles as well as local sketch artist Mona Edwards when TV cameras are not permitted to cover important court cases.

Robles knows the skill is a gift. He is the visual for court cases where cameras aren't allowed and he has to work on tight deadlines.

"You have to freeze the moments," he said. "You have to capture that image.”

Through his eyes, the public is present.

"TV needs an image," he said. "And that’s where we come in.”

Robles was there when Rodney King explained his injuries at the hands of LAPD officers. He sketched the Menendez brothers as they cried through the jury's murder conviction. When Michael Jackson went on trial for child sex abuse, it was Robles who captured what cameras could not.

“Media from around the world would like up to shoot the artwork,” he said.

Robles said Jackson's facial features were unique to draw.

He said he likes to draw on the unique looks, particularly women, "because you really can create something a little more unique," pointing to his depictions of Lindsay Lohan, Christina DeLorean and Cameron Diaz.

Men with facial hair come easy, too.

"Great big beard, or a big mustache or huge hair," he said, pointing again to Manson and the accused shooter in the Aurora theater massacre in Colorado, James Holmes.

Robles' gift got him into a little trouble during the OJ Simpson murder trial when Judge Lance Ito subpoenaed him to court because he thought the sketches of the jury — faceless because it was against the court rules to show the jury — were still too accurate.

"Judge Ito saw it on television and he was astonished by the accuracy. So I was subpoenaed,” he said. "He had me put glasses on people, tone down hairdos.”

It lead to an official "Ito-Approved" stamp sketch artists had to have cleared before submitting sketches to the media.

His art has painted the picture of history. His image of Manson leaping at Judge Older in 1970 is the cover of a book released last year called "The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art" -- 45 of those years by Robles' own hands.

"When the cameras aren't allowed, we're king," he said, as he adds color to what's supposed to be a black-and-white system.

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<![CDATA[Three Hurt in West LA Bank Robbery]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 00:06:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/191*120/05.28.15_OneWest-Bank-Robbery.JPG

Police are looking for three men who robbed a bank in a violent takeover in West Los Angeles Thursday afternoon.

Three people were hurt during the robbery of the OneWest Bank branch in the 11300 block of National Boulevard, according to Lt. Robert Long of LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division, including a security guard.

One person is believed to have been pistol-whipped and a stun gun was used on two others. All three were transported to local hospitals.

"Definitely a very forceful, violent robbery," Long said.

It was not immediately clear if the other two people hurt were bank customers or employees.

According to Long, three men entered the bank at 1:50 p.m., armed with the stun guns and at least one handgun.

After the robbery, the men are believed to have fled in a green Toyota Camry with a female driver, according to LAPD's Media Relations.

The car was last seen heading west on Clover Avenue. It is not yet known how much money the men escaped with.

According to Lt. Long, this branch has been robbed at least once before.



Photo Credit: Sean Browning]]>
<![CDATA[Family Grieving Daughter Finds Solace in Community]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 22:04:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/5-28-15+Dana+Housley.JPG

A family's bereavement has turned to gratitude and thankfulness toward the thousands of people who supported them in the final days of their daughter's life.

Larry and Julieta Housely loved their daughter Dana Housley more than words could explain.

"I'd thought that I would go to bed last night... thinking I'd be a completely broken man, after losing my little girl, but that wasn't the case when I laid down I went to bed a proud father," Larry said.

While playing in a softball tournament on May 22, Dana, 15, turned to her coach, said she was dizzy and collapsed. She would never regain consciousness.

According to a GoFundMe page set up by one of her coaches to help her family cover medical expenses, Dana suffered a brain aneurysm and lost all brain activity.

After several days on life support, on May 27, Dana passed away at Kaiser hospital in Fontana.

"Although the journey ahead for our family will be unimaginably painful, we now understand we have a family of thousands in the softball community to help us through," her parents wrote on her GoFundMe page.

Thousands of people, far and wide, took to social media to support the Housleys. Many using the hashtag "#PrayForDana." Softball teams around the country showed their love and support and sent messages to the family on Dana's page or simply tweeted out kind words for her family to read.

"We just didn't realize how many people our daughter had touched," Larry said.

In a mere three days her GoFundMe page raised over $65,000, more than double the goal of $25,000.

The support from family, friends and many many strangers has not gone unnoticed by Dana's family who said it has helped them get through this difficult time.

"We will not forget your love, prayers, and support, nor will we ever forget the wonderful memories of our little girl, Dana Housley #21," her parents wrote.

Dana was a Etiwanda High School student with a 4.0 GPA on the Junior Varsity softball team and shining first baseman for The California Thunder traveling softball team.



Photo Credit: Courtesy: Housley Family]]>
<![CDATA[New Credit Card Warning: Don't Give Up Your Code]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 16:54:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/credit+cards+generic.jpg

Be careful next time your phone rings: Identity thieves have come up with a new strategy to gain access to your credit card accounts.

The Federal Trade Commission says criminals accessed millions of consumers' names, credit card numbers, and expiration dates in recent months by hacking into computer systems at Home Depot, Target and other retailers.

The one missing piece that would allow them to use the cards for online purchases: that little three- or four-digit security code on the card.

"If they can get the three-digit or four-digit number on the card to verify it, they can do what's called a 'card not present' transaction, so they don't actually have to print out a card, go into a store and buy TV's or do whatever they want to do with it," said credit card expert Kevin Yuann, of NerdWallet.

"They can just go online and go on a shopping spree with your card because they have those three or four digits that prove that they have the card," Yuann said.

Now, the FTC says the thieves are calling consumers to trick them into revealing their security codes.

Here's how it works:

The caller says he or she is phoning from your credit card's security or fraud department because some suspicious activity on your card has raised an alert. The caller makes up a fake transaction and asks if you authorized it; when you say you haven't, the caller responds that they will open a fraud investigation, gives you a reference number, and offers you a phone number to call if you have questions.

The trick escalates when they tell you they need one more piece of information: verification that you are in possession of the card. To confirm that, they ask you to read back the three- or four-digit security code.

Once they have it, they have all they need to start using your card.

The FTC says the thieves often use "spoofed" phone numbers, so "caller id" indicates a bank or credit card company is calling.

If you get a call like this:

  • Don't give the caller any information about your account, even if he already knows some of the details.
  • Hang up the phone and call the customer service number on the back of your credit card to report the fraud.
  • Report the call to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or 877-FTC-HELP.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[OC Triplets Headed to College Together ... at MIT]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 08:21:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/goul-triplets-MIT-college-accepted.jpg

Over 18,000 applied, just 8 percent got in. But one Southern California family will be very well represented in MIT's Class of 2019.

A set of triplets from the same Orange County school was admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among the most rigorous universities in the world. Claire, Christopher and Edward Goul will attend next fall, according to a Sage Hill School spokeswoman.

Each of the students have accomplished careers at the Newport Coast school, Torrey Olins said.

Claire will be the student speaker at Sage Hill's June 5 commencement ceremony and was selected as one of 300 Intel Science Talent Search semifinalists from across the nation, Olins said.

Christopher and Edward are National Merit Scholar finalists, Olins said. Edward helped found the school's Student Led Investment Club, while Christopher played in the Sage Hill varsity basketball team's playoffs this week.

"We always told them, 'You need to explore,'" their mother, Karen Thorp, told The Orange County Register.

MIT admitted 1,467 students this year, just 8 percent of the 13,306 who applied, according to a blog post on the school's Admissions website. The Cambridge, Mass. school accepted students from more than 1,000 high schools in 67 countries -- but offered no statistics on accepting siblings.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Sage Hill School]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Sunrises and Sunsets]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 13:38:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/05-28-2015-sunrise-sunset-seal-beach-scott-jones-2.jpg Images of sunrises and sunsets from across the Southland. Send your image to isee@nbcla.com.

Photo Credit: Scott Jones]]>
<![CDATA[Multiple People Being Treated for Injuries in Monterey Park Fire]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 13:38:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/stock-breaking-news-graphic-generic.jpg

A fire at a Monterey Park business left multiple people being treated for injuries, fire officials said.

Firefighters responded to the fire in the 900 block of S. Atlantic Boulevard, according to a Verdugo Fire Department spokesman. Officials said only that multiple people were being treated, but didn't provide details.

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.

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<![CDATA[Defense For Ex-LAPD Officer Presents Case]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 13:12:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/224*120/incustody+1.jpg

After five days of prosecution witnesses, the defense for a former Los Angeles Police Department officer is getting to present evidence in the case.

Mary O'Callaghan is charged with assault under the color of authority stemming from the 2012 arrest of Alesia Thomas and now stands trial for assault in Thomas' in-custody death.

The defense's first witness Thursday was a retired LAPD officer who now makes a living as a use of force expert.

Ron McCarthy spent the morning testifying about the various levels of force and when and why each one should be used.

The defense attorney went over the use of verbal commands in detail with the prosecution hammering away at the fact O'Callaghan used profanity and foul language with Thomas as she tried to get her into a patrol car.

McCarthy said while he was offended by some of the language and wouldn't use it himself, he explained why it's used instead of using physical force.

"Some are expected to create minor injury, so in order to avoid that and we can elevate our language, tactical language, that's fine," he said.

O'Callaghan lost her job with the LAPD after the department investigated the arrest of Thomas, who lost consciousness in the backseat of the patrol car and later died. O'Callaghan was then charged with a felony.

The last moments of Thomas' life were captured by a camera mounted inside an LAPD patrol car. They are moments which have been played over and over in court.

It yet to be determined if O'Callaghan will take the take.

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<![CDATA[Sea Lion Recovers at SeaWorld After Harpoon Attack]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 19:04:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP403435300886_SeaLionHarpooned.jpg An impaled sea lion is recovering at SeaWorld after being rescued off the Southern California coast. Officials say it appears that someone stabbed the 600 pound creature with a homemade spear.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Pleads Not Guilty to Arson in Da Vinci Fire]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 22:49:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/5-28-15+DTLA+Arson+Suspect.JPG

A man accused of setting fire to an under-construction apartment complex in downtown Los Angeles, causing tens of millions of dollars in damage, pleaded not guilty in court Thursday to arson charges.

Dawud Abdulwali, 56, was charged in connection with arson of a structure and aggravated arson, with a complaint alleging that he used an accelerant to start the fire.

The blaze destroyed the seven-story Da Vinci Apartments complex at 900 West Temple Street in December 2014, covering some 180,000 square feet. Flames billowed into the air, making smoke visible for miles and radiating enough heat to shatter the windows of nearby office towers.

Media requests for pool video and still cameras in the courtroom were initially denied by Judge Sergio Tapia, citing concerns raised by defense attorney Mearl Lottman that witness identification could be an issue at trial.  When Judge Tapia did approve video coverage, it was on condition the camera not show Abdulwali.

During the arraignment, attorney Lottman requested the required bail level be reduced from one million dollars to the $500,000 that is listed in the bail schedule for the type of arson charged in count one. Prosecutor Sean Carney opposed any reducation, arguing that Abdulwali is a flight risk.

Carney told the court Abdulwali has traveled internationally twice since the fire, and just two weeks ago, told a witness  he was planning to move out of the country.  Carney also referred to the enormous level of damage, which he said approaches $100 million.

"This is not your normal arson," Carney said.

Moreover, He cited Abdulwali's "significant" criminal record, including convictions for grand theft auto, fraud, grand theft and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Judge Tapia denied the defense request, kept the million dollar bail level, and added a provision that if Abdulwali does post bail, he must surrender his passport.

Abdulwali was exposed as a squatter by the NBC4 I-Team in 2010, when he was found to be living in a foreclosed mansion in Woodland Hills. At the time he identified himself as Dawud Walli on what appeared to be a falsified lease for the vacant three-story home.

Law enforcement sources confirmed to NBC4 that the man exposed in the report is the same man who is accused in the fire.

Abdulwali, of Los Angeles, was arrested without incident Tuesday morning on an unrelated traffic charge.  Authorities declined to discuss the evidence implicating him, but did give credit to modern technology.  Prior to Abduwali's arrest,  an LA City fire official had told a community group that a video camera recorded the fire starter parking his car on the side of the 110 Harbor freeway, then entering the adjacent construction site with containers, presumably with the accelerant fuel that enabled the blaze to spread so quickly. 

The car the fire starter drove was a taxi cab, according to a law enforcement source close to the investigation.

Around the time period of the fire, Abduwali had a white taxi and used it for transportation to and from where he was living, according to the owner of the house in South Los Angeles where Abduwali was renting a room.

"He was a taxi driver so far as we knew," said Poleth Chavez, who described Abduwali as "a very normal guy."

In December, Abduwali prepaid his rent and left for two months, Chavez said.

Later, she noticed the taxi was gone and he was driving an older truck, which he parked on the street and was towed only a few weeks ago.  "He went through a few cars recently," Chavez said.

She had not met him before he responded last fall to a listing for the room posted on Craig's list, she said.  

Abduwali was arrested several blocks from the house.  On Thursday, law enforcement officials were obtaining a search warrant for Abduwali's room.

"It's an ongoing investigation," said prosecutor Carney. 

Rewards totaling an unprecedented $170,000 were announced in January to help make an arrest, but LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said public tips did not lead to the arrest.

There were no additional suspects, said Special Agent Carlos Canino of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.  He declined to discuss motive, but characterized it as not a terrorist act, and said Abdulwali has no known connection to the Da Vinci.  

The downtown LA blaze damaged nearby high-rise structures, melted overhead signs on the Harbor (110) Freeway and melted computers of a neighboring office building on Figueroa Street.

The fire caused up to $30 million in damage to the under-construction second phase of the Da Vinci Apartments, the latest in a series of downtown, freeway-adjacent apartment complexes developed and managed by real estate entrepreneur Geoffrey Palmer and his companies.  

All the burned lumber has been removed from the site.  Last month, the developer obtained a permit to cut into the reinforced concrete base known as the "podium," and replace sections found to be damaged by the heat from the wood that burned above.

After the Abdulwali arrest this week, Palmer's company did not respond to requests for comment. Last month, the Downtown News reported Palmer intended to rebuild the second phase, expecting it to take another ten months.



Photo Credit: Court Sketch Artist]]>
<![CDATA[Beach Tar Ball Cleanup to Continue Into Weekend]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 07:16:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/05-28-2015-beach-oil-tar-cleanup-2.JPG

Cleanup along a stretch of Southern California coastline is expected to take at least five days after a mysterious tar-like goo forced the closure of several South Bay beaches.

Updated Article: Beaches Remain Closed

Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo beaches remained closed Thursday after the patties of petroleum -- ranging from the size of golf balls to football -- began washing ashore Wednesday along a six-mile stretch of coastline. Hazardous material teams collected samples overnight, but authorities said at a Thursday news conference that the source and nature of the substance has not been determined.

"We are continuing to analyze the beaches and trying to determine the source of the tar balls and tar patties," said Commander Charlene Downey, of the U.S. Coast Guard. "We've made significant progress on the shoreline, and that's where the bulk of the tar balls have been found."

No new tar balls washed ashore Thursday, officials said.

Downey was asked at a Thursday morning news conference whether the substance might be related to an oil spill last week off the coast of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County. She said it's too early to tell whether there's a connection.

"It could be anything," said Downey. "It could be naturally occurring, we just can't tell right now what might be the source.

"I can't tell you right now what specifically that product is. Those analysis and tests take time."

Results might take days or weeks, she added.

They will be analyzing samples to see if they can pinpoint whether the globs been processed by a company or naturally occurred. The waste is also being collected so the cost of the clean up can be calculated, and if anyone is found responsible they will be billed.

At least 6.5 miles of Los Angeles County coastline from the El Segundo Jetty to Redondo Beach was closed for the round-the-clock cleanup. Despite warnings and posted signs, some surfers entered the water Thursday morning.

"We ask that the public not go into the water," said Chris Linkletter, of the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Division. "The source has been undetermined, they're still testing what's washed up."

The beaches are expected to reopen Friday morning.

The cleanup is expected to continue for five to seven days, according to the Mahattan Beach Police Department. The length of the beach closures will be determined by tests for bacterial contamination in the water, according to the department.

Environmental group Heal the Bay has sent scientists to monitor the cleanup.

"It's very disturbing to see such a large swath of beach covered during the summer high beach going time for an oil incident," the organization's vice president Sarah Sikich said.

Locals said small tar balls that occur naturally are seen in the area from time to time, though they are not usually so plentiful.

There has been no impact to area wildlife, said Sal Garcia, of the California Depart of Fish and Wildlife. People who find distressed animals should leave the animal alone and call 877-823-6926.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Charges Filed Against Man Beaten in Horse Pursuit]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 11:41:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/4-9-15+Horse+Pursuit+Beating+Sheriff+Apple+Valley+7.JPG

The Southern California man who was beaten by sheriff's deputies at the end of a horseback pursuit filmed exclusively by NBC4 has been charged with multiple counts in connection with the pursuit.

Apple Valley resident Francis Pusok, 30, would face up to 19 years and 4 months in prison if convicted of the 14 charges listed in the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office complaint, released Thursday.

Ten deputies were placed on administrative leave as the beating, filmed by NewsChopper4 on April 9, is being investigated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and FBI.

"I assure you that if there's any criminal wrongdoing on the part of any of our deputy sheriffs or any policy violations, we will take action," Sheriff John McMahon said soon after the incident.

The charges filed against Pusok include allegedly evading an officer in a motor vehicle, stealing a horse and cruelly overriding it and being under the influence of marijuana and amphetamine. Three charges of receiving stolen property were filed against Pusok and Jolene Bindner, his longtime girlfriend.

Pusok is out of jail on a $100,000 bond. He is scheduled for arraignment June 16.

Pusok settled with the County of San Bernardino for $650,000 earlier this month, avoiding litigation.

"I thought I was being beaten to death," said Pusok, who suffered wounds to his head, ribs, back, face, neck and legs. "I was wondering, 'When is it going to stop?'"

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<![CDATA[IE Woman Allegedly Beaten to Death by Transient Son]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 10:11:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black.jpg+20+may.jpg

A transient was arrested on suspicion of beating his mother to death in Rancho Cucamonga Wednesday, authorities said.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies received a report of a man beating a woman in a backyard in the 9700 block of Cerise Street at about 3:10 p.m., according to a sheriff's department news release.

The caller said the man left the scene on foot, and deputies located and took Angel Thomas Leyette, 23 and a transient, into custody, deputies said.

His 42-year-old mother, Xochilt Escobar, was found unresponsive at the home and pronounced dead at the scene, deputies said. Homicide investigators say Leyette was visiting Escobar when he allegedly repeatedly assaulted her in the upper body, an attack deputies said killed her. 

Leyette was booked into the West Valley Detention Center and is being held without bail on suspicion of killing Escobar.

Investigators do not know what prompted the alleged beating and are asking anyone with information to call 909-387-3589.

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<![CDATA[SoCal Students Advance to Spelling Bee Semis]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 11:23:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/192*120/05-28-2015-spelling-bee-ca-cooper-jenna.jpg

Two Southern California students were among 49 spellers who competed in Thursday's semifinals of the 88th Scripps National Spelling Bee in Maryland.

Jenna-May Ingal, an eighth-grader from James Workman Middle School in Cathedral City, spelled two words aloud on the stage of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center Wednesday. She achieved a high enough score on a 26-question multiple-choice spelling and vocabulary test Tuesday to enter the semifinals from the original field of 285.

Jenna-May correctly spelled "barabara" -- a sod or turf hut in northern Siberia or Alaska -- and "fruticetum" -- a collection of ornamental shrubs -- onstage Wednesday.

On Thursday, she spelled "vinaceous" correctly in the semifinal round, but was knocked out when she incorrectly spelled "periegesis."

Cooper Komatsu, a 12-year-old student at Culver City Middle School, also qualified for the semifinal round. He spelled "amarillo" and "nockerl" correctly in the qualifying rounds before spelling "inessive" and "Dicynodon" Friday in the semifinal.

The remaining spellers took another 26-question multiple-choice spelling and vocabulary test Wednesday. To advance to the championship finals, the spellers must correctly spell both their semifinal words and have a high enough combined score on their tests. A maximum of 12 spellers will advance to the championship finals.

A misspelling of either semifinal word means the contestant is eliminated.

The semifinals will be shown on ESPN2 from 7 to 10 a.m. PDT and the finals from 5 to 7 p.m. on ESPN.
 



Photo Credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee]]>
<![CDATA[Parents Fear Deadly Accident Near LA School]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 07:23:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/WEB_CHILDREN_SIDEWALK_SAFETY-_BALDONADO_1200x675_452809795863.jpg

Parents fear a deadly accident could take place along a sidewalk where children walk to school in an affluent area of Los Angeles.

They are calling for more safety measures to be put in place at Overland and Ashby avenues in Cheviot Hills, which is used by Overland Elementary School students.

Due to construction of the light Rail Expo line a lane has been changed from a parking to a driving lane, taking away the buffer between cars and kids on the sidewalk. Last week a car crashed onto the sidewalk just a block away, which has made locals even more uneasy about a potential accident.

"I'm a little nervous lately with the train being built. People drive really fast and don't pay attention, even with the crossing guard," mother Nicole Saacks said. 

"It could be a tragic situation if someone loses control of their car… if there's a collision and the car goes up into that area there's nothing to stop the car from plowing everybody over ," father John Paleno said.

Parents also have ideas about how safety could be increased.

"Some blinking lights and maybe a police car at the corner from 7:45 to 8:10 when school starts," mother Lana Karni said.

Los Angeles City Council member Paul Koretz is working with parents to organize a meeting with the police and transportation officials to talk about more safety measures.

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<![CDATA[2 Injured After OC Officer-Involved Shooting]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 08:59:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/suspected+gang+member+orange+police+shooting.JPG

Two people, including an alleged gang member, were sent to the hospital following an officer-involved shooting in Orange County Thursday morning, police said.

Both men had non-life-threatening injuries, but Orange Police Department officials could only account for how the one person was shot, according to a news release.

The incident began when officers responded to a report of a man, 23, with a firearm threatening the residents of a home in the 1900 block of East Rose Avenue at about 4:30 a.m., police said.

Police and the man had a confrontation and he did not comply with officers, according to the news release, which is when the shooting occurred. A handgun was found at the scene and police said the suspect was a known gang member.

A second person was wounded by gunfire during the incident, but it was unclear if he was shot by officers or the gunman. Police did not immediately release the identy of either wounded man. 

No officers were hurt, nor were the other people in the home at the time of the shooting.



Photo Credit: Khallid Shabazz]]>
<![CDATA[Petroleum Glob Cleanup on Beaches]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 06:33:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/05-28-2015-beach-oil-tar-cleanup-2.JPG Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo beaches were closed after small globs of what officials called a petroleum product began washing ashore.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Man Hospitalized After Police Shooting]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 03:50:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/185*120/5-28-2015-OIS.JPG

Officers gunned down a man described as drunk and acting violently in Long Beach Wednesday.

He was shot in the 4600 block of East 15th Street at around 7:30 p.m, a Long Beach Police Department spokesman said.

The officers were called out to assist Long Beach Fire Department, who told police the man was intoxicated and acting in a violent manner. After they made contact with him, the shooting occured, however the exact circumstances of what happened are still unclear.

After the shooting, the man was taken to the hospital in an unknown condition. No officers were hurt.

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<![CDATA[2 Boys Shot Through Bedroom Window, 1 Hurt by Glass]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 20:59:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/186*120/5-28-2015-BedroomShooting1.JPG

 

Two boys were hit by gunfire through a bedroom window in Azusa late Wednesday, while another teen was injured by shattered glass, police said.

 

Police were treating the case as an attempted murder as they continued to search for the shooter or shooters, according to officers with the Azusa Police Department.

A 13- and 16-year-old were struck inside a home in the 500 block of East Duell Street just before midnight, police said.

"It appears suspects walked up to a bedroom window (and) fired several shots into the room where the victims were seated," Azusa Police Department Sgt. Terry Smith said.

A 17-year-old was hurt by flying glass during the shooting. All three were taken to the USC Medical Center. Official details regarding their conditions were not immediately available.

"They're doing fine, they're recuperating," said a family friend who declined to be identified.

The shooter, who fired several rounds, would have had to sneak round the rear of the property to shoot into the bedroom, according to investigators.
The next door neighbor, Rosalva Gonzalez, said at first she thought it was just firecrackers she was hearing. She saw someone drive away in a car, but could not make out who was driving.

Gonzalez said there were plenty of teens coming and going at the house, but they were pretty young and there were never any problems.

It is unknown who shot the teenagers, or whether it is gang related. Police said the victims have not been cooperating with detectives, who are treating the shooting as attempted murder.



Photo Credit: LoudLabs]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Dies After Being Hit By Van in Pomona]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 01:45:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/197*120/5-28-2015-BabyDeath.JPG

A baby boy died after being hit by a minivan Wednesday in Pomona.

The 1-year-old was struck in the area of Ninth Street and Waters Avenue just after 6 p.m, a Pomona Police Department spokesman said.

A helicopter took the child to the County USC Hospital but he later died.

The woman driver stayed at the location after the crash and has been cooperating with detectives.

Pomona PD's Major Accident Investigations Team and the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office are investigating the collision.

Anyone with information about the collision is encouraged to call the Pomona PD's Traffic Services Bureau on 909-620-2081.



Photo Credit: OnScene.tv]]>
<![CDATA[Beverly Grove Residents Face Eviction]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 23:45:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150527-beverly-grove-neighborhood.jpg

Bill Meyers has lived in his Beverly Grove apartment for 27 years.

Rent-controlled at $1,800 a month, it was a steal in a neighborhood where similar units go for upwards of $3,800.

But a few months ago, he and 18 other families received eviction notices.

A California law called the Ellis Act ostensibly allows landlords to "go out of business" and evict tenants in rent-controlled properties.

"What they're doing is just, it's inappropriate," Meyers said.

But it is legal.

Housing advocates, however, say it's being used by investors who buy the properties, then kick tenants out in order to flip the property for profit. Now that the real estate market is heating to a boil again, it's happening all over the city.

"I did not know anything about this option 18 years ago," said Steven Luftman, referring to when he moved in.

An 11-unit townhome development will replace his complex. He says each will likely sell for more than $1 million.

"That gets me, too. I mean, the fact that we have very little affordable housing, and they're not adding to it," Luftman said.

The new developer of the property is Matthew Jacobs, chairman of the California Housing Finance Agency.

Calls to Jacobs to see if the project comports with his agency's mission to "create safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Californians" were not returned.

Most of the residents will be out by June 5. They are not going quietly, though. They plan to protest outside the home of the developer.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Uribe and Callaspo Discuss Trade]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 03:48:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2015-05-27+at+8.51.58+PM.png

On Wednesday, the Dodgers and Braves officially announced the six-player swap that most of the media had known for over 48 hours. Juan Uribe and Chris Withrow were sent to Atlanta in exchange for infielder Alberto Callaspo, Ian Thomas, Eric Stults and Juan Jaime.

Withrow is still on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, Ian Thomas was immediately optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, Jamie was sent to extended Spring Training in Glendale, Arizona and Stults was designated for assignment.

That left only Uribe and Callaspo still in Los Angeles, sitting 130 feet apart in opposing dugouts as they talked about their new teams, wearing different uniforms.

"I don't feel bad, I feel good about being here," Uribe said of his new team. "I'm going to miss my teammates. I want to thank the fans for the way they treated me."

Many in the media perceived that Uribe was simply a victim of circumstance, that the Dodgers had too many third basemen, making him expendable. However, President of Baseball Operations for Los Angeles Andrew Friedman said that Uribe and his agent had asked for the trade.

"His agent called us. There was a lot of dialogue back and forth between me, Donnie and Juan." Friedman said. "We were involved in honest communication, and we knew exactly where Juan stood. It was all handled very professionally."

Friedman believes that Callaspo was a better fit for the Dodgers' roster and it took a good night's sleep and potentially a cash incentive to get Callaspo to waive his no-trade clause and make the move to Los Angeles.

"I'm happy to be here and I'll be available for the team anytime, anywhere and any day," Callaspo said. "I've seen this team play against the Braves and I said to myself 'I want to be a part of this.'"

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Callaspo was offered $100,000 from the Braves in order to accept the trade.

Uribe started at third base on Wednesday and received a standing ovation when he was announced in front of the Dodger Stadium crowd. Callaspo will be in uniform for the Boys in Blue, but is expected to be used purely in a pinch-hitting role off the bench.

In the meantime, Juan Uribe bobblehead night, is still on as planned and scheduled for July 11th at Dodger Stadium.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Softball Player Dies Following Collapse]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 21:59:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/5-26-15+Dana+Housley.JPG

A teenage softball player who was fighting for her life after collapsing at a game has died, her team tweeted Wednesday night.

Dana Housley suffered a suspected brain aneurysm during the last inning of her travel softball team’s tournament in Fontana on Saturday, according to a GoFundMe page that was setup by one of her coaches to help her family cover medical expenses.

The team, as well as the GoFundMe page, stated that the girl had died Wednesday night.

"The Lord has a new Angel. #ripDana #danaisourangel #21 #21 Dana #PrayForDana," the California Thunder tweet said.

"Tonight our beautiful Dana chose to go with the Lord. We don't yet understand his plan for her, but she will make a perfect angel," the GoFundMe page said. "The tremendous national and international outpouring of love and support for our daughter and our family during this devastating ordeal is appreciated beyond words."

The online fundraiser had raised more than $56,000, more than twice its target of $25,000.

Housley attended Etiwanda High School.



Photo Credit: Courtesy: CalThunder]]>
<![CDATA[Father, 3-Year-Old Son Found Dead in OC Home: Deputies]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 09:15:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150527-trabuco-canyon-standoff.jpg

 

A 41-year-old man who was locked in a standoff with SWAT officers was found shot to death – as well as his 3-year-old son – when officers made their way inside the Orange County home Wednesday night, officials said.

 

The incident began at 6:08 p.m. when a caller dialed 911 and hung up, said Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said.

When deputies arrived to the home in the 00 block of Swallows Lane in Trabuco Canyon, an upscale community in the southern end of the county, a woman came out carrying her daughter. The woman's husband barricaded himself inside.

SWAT officers entered the home after two shots were fired and discovered the man and the boy dead of gunshot wounds, Hallock said.

The sheriff's department identified the father and son as Luis Arizmendi, 41 and Sebastian Arizmendi, 3. Deputies said on Thursday the deaths were being investigated as a murder-suicide.



Photo Credit: KNBC/OnScene TV]]>
<![CDATA[Neighbor Gets Cellphone Video After Car Break-In]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 21:13:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/187*120/05.27.15_Murrieta-Car-Thief-BreakIn.JPG

A quick-thinking neighbor caught a man breaking into cars along his Riverside County street, and was able to give investigators a good look at the suspect.

It happened in broadlight on Cherry Point Lane in Murrieta, when Jayson Carpenter happened to step outside of his house and hear glass shattering.

"I started filming him and he was watching me, and he asked me if I wanted to get shot," Carpenter said. "I'd be lying if I said if I wasn't scared."

Despite being threatened, Carpenter started chasing the man, who was carrying a box and a cane.

"I chase him about five or six houses down until he threw down the box that he had and came after me with a screwdriver. He said he was going to stab me," Carpenter said.

So Carpenter backed off, and called 911.

"I was having to make up my mind, you know, if this guy takes one more step I'm going to have to defend myself."

Fearing for his life, Carpenter kept his distance as the suspect picked up the box and jumped into an older model silver Toyota Corolla, driven by another man.

He saw someone else in the back seat.

"I even noticed a kid in the back about 5 years old in the car seat," Carpenter said.

The owner of the car is disabled and needs a cane to help her walk. In the video you can see the thief carrying that cane, along with TV equipment that was inside a box.

John Smeby is the brother-in-law of the car’s owner, and he said the suspect also stole items from his wife’s car, and he’s worried he'll come back for more.

"He may try to open up doors, see if they're unlocked and walk into someone's home. I think that this man is dangerous, that he would do this,” Smeby said.

Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies used Carpenter’s video to freeze-frame a picture and tweet it out, hoping someone will recognize the thief.

"I would just hate to think that people would just stand around and do nothing if they were watching is happening to my car," Carpenter said.

]]>
<![CDATA[City of LA Accused of Water Waste at Hansen Dam]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 19:46:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/191*120/05.27.15_Hansen-Dam-Water-Waste.JPG

The City of Los Angeles boasts more than 450 public parks. In one of them, NBC4 viewers alerted our crews to a newly seeded soccer field they thought was being water far too often.

Saturday, water appeared to be running for at least an hour on the fenced-in area that once held a soccer field at the Hansen Dam Recreation Area near Lakeview Terrace.

"If we’re making sacrifices, and to see the city not making sacrifices, it’s kind of ridiculous,” Matthew Bluhm said as he stopped during a hike near the soccer fields Wednesday.

NBC4 reached out to the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks and discovered the reseeding project on the soccer field could take up to three months and will cost taxpayers a lot of water – but the watering is not considered a waste.

"We just planted it Friday," said Ramon Barajas, the assistant general manager of water conservation for the department. "We save water more in other areas so we can irrigate areas that need to used for sport activities."

Barajas said LA Mayor Eric Garcetti gave the department a mandate to drop 10 percent of water use and that the reduction is already closer to 20 percent. During the winter months, the department even went 100 days without watering its parks to help.

At the soccer fields at Hansen Dam, Barajas explained that the running water is scattered across 20 sections of the field, each section running water for 10 minutes – a total of more than three hours, three times a day for the first few weeks and then slowing dying down as grass begins to grow.

"That’s our mission, to provide safe and clean places for people to recreate," he said.

But NBC4 crews noticed something else near the fields Wednesday – a running water fountain that appeared to have been running for so long, it had rusted from top to bottom.

"To my knowledge, it hasn’t been reported," Barajas explained. "We’ll get it fixed."

Barajas shared a mobile site where residents can alert Rec & Parks officials if they suspect water waste – m.laparks.org – the site allows you to make a homescreen icon on your mobile device, similar to an app.

He used that site to take a photo of the broken water fountain and just an hour later a crew arrived to repair it.
 



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Game 6: Ducks vs. Blackhawks]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 19:49:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150527-ducks-blackhawks-game-6.jpg

The Anaheim Ducks scored two goals and made it an interesting game, but two goals from Andrew Shaw ended their hopes of finishing off the Western Conference Final as the Chicago Blackhawks picked up a 5-2 victory on Wednesday night. 

The loss means that the Ducks will host Game 7 in the series on Saturday night at the Honda Center. 

The game off to a bit of a slow start for both teams, with the Blackhawks once again struggling to get shots on goal and the Ducks having difficulty taking care of the puck in the defensive zone. Both teams ended up getting power play opportunities, but in spite of chances from Corey Perry and Patrick Kane in the man-advantage situations, neither team could score.

In the closing minutes of the period, the Blackhawks seemed to get their legs underneath them a bit more, and they had some quality chances on goal. Brandon Saad made a great steal off of Ryan Getzlaf on the boards, and Frederik Andersen had to make a huge save on the goal line to kick the puck out of the crease.

After that, the Blackhawks’ third line came up with some sustained pressure, but once again they couldn’t get the job done. Patrick Sharp had a good shot on goal on a rush, and Teuvo Teravainen was denied on a rebound chance as the game remained scoreless through 20 minutes of play.

The Blackhawks failed to score on a power play early in the second period, but they finally got on the board when things returned to even strength. After a Duncan Keith pass up the middle was tapped forward by Patrick Kane, Saad collected the puck and scored on the ensuing breakaway to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.

A few minutes later, the Blackhawks scored again. Keith made another play happen in this sequence, pinching in from the blue line and getting the puck in between the face-off circles. After faking two shots, he fired a pass to a wide open Marian Hossa, who ripped home a one-timer to make it a 2-0 contest.

Keith wasn’t done yet however, and he picked up yet another assist to stretch the lead out again. He grabbed a Ducks clearing attempt at the blue line to keep a possession alive, and Kane did the rest as he took a pass, skated through the middle of the zone, and squeezed a shot in between Andersen’s pads to extend the Hawks’ lead to three goals.

Unfortunately for the Hawks, the Ducks made a good play to seize some of the momentum back. With Brad Richards in the penalty box on a hooking penalty, the Ducks won a face-off and got a goal when Cam Fowler’s shot was deflected toward the net by Patrick Maroon, and it evaded Corey Crawford as the deficit was narrowed to 3-1 after two periods of play.

Just two minutes into the third period, the Ducks scored to cut the Blackhawks’ lead to just one goal. Clayton Stoner hammered a slap shot toward the net, and with Jakob Silfverberg skating across the ice and making contact with Crawford’s glove, it evaded the goaltender and made it a 3-2 game.

The Ducks got a couple more quality scoring chances, including another Maroon deflection that Crawford was able to stop, but it was Chicago that ultimately scored the next goal and secured the key insurance goal. On a rush back the other way, Andrew Desjardins feathered a pass across the ice, and Andrew Shaw was able to lift a wrist shot over Andersen’s shoulder and make it a 4-2 game with about five minutes to go.

The Hawks added another insurance goal late as Shaw got a loose puck in the neutral zone and hammered home a shot into the empty net, and the victory secures a Game 7 on Saturday night in Anaheim.

That game will see puck drop at 5 p.m. local time, and the game will air on NBC.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>