<![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 Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:03:57 -0700 Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:03:57 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Coroner's Report Issued in LAPD Skid Row Shooting]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:45:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Skid_Row_for_Angie_1200x675_490364995667.jpg

A homeless man who died during a confrontation with Los Angeles police on Skid Row was shot six times and had methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death, according to a coroner's report.

Charly Leundeu Keunang, 43, was shot and killed March 1 after he attempted to reach for an officer's gun during a scuffle in downtown Los Angeles, according to police. A bystander captured video of the shooting, which occurred after officers responded to a report of a robbery on Skid Row.

Keunang, known to others on Skid Row as "Africa," died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the coroner's report. The report cited "contact gunshot wounds" that left gunpowder residue on his skin.

The report also indicated "evidence of methamphetamine intoxication."

Lawyers for Keunang's family called on the Los Angeles District Attorney to investigate the death, release police body camera video and criminally charge the three officers who opened fire. The family has filed a $20 million claim against the city, alleging a "cop-created killing" that resulted from excessive force and "reckless mistakes."

In surveillance video of the scene, Keunang can be seen retreating to his tent, then emerging and swinging when officers pulled him out during the robbery report investigation. Keunang then tried to reach for an officer's holstered weapon during a struggle that began after he refused to comply with police commands, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.

Beck also said an officer in the video can be heard saying "He has my gun" several times before three other officers opened fire in what the chief described as an "extreme tragedy."

Protests followed the shooting, including a march to LAPD headquarters. Activists demanded answers about the fatal shooting at a meeting of the city's police commission.

Keunang, a Cameroon national, arrived in the United States 15 years ago using the stolen identity of a French citizen. He served 15 years in federal prison under his assumed name for bank robbery before being paroled in April 2013.

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<![CDATA[Oil Slick Reported at SoCal Beach]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:57:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/188*120/7-29-15-kayaker+santa+barbara+county+fire+HD.JPG

The U.S. Coast Guard was inspecting an oil slick off the coast of Southern California Wednesday afternoon after kayakers arrived to shore with oil on their boats and legs, officials said.

Santa Barbara County fire officials responding to a call of the smell of oil at Goleta Beach before 10 a.m. arrived to find two people coming to shore, Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

The pair reported a large oil slick, Zaniboni said, adding that oil was on the kayakers' legs and boats.

No oil was reported on the shore, but the Coast Guard sent a team to inspect the beach, USCG Petty Officer Andrea Anderson told NBC4.

Anderson said the "oil sheen" was 2 miles wide and about 1,000 yards off shore.

Additional details were not immediately clear.

The reported oil sheen comes more than two months after a pipeline ruptured off the Santa Barbara County coast and spilled over 100,000 gallons of crude oil.

The May 19 spill blackened beaches near Santa Barbara and created a 9-mile slick in the Pacific Ocean.

The Coast Guard urges the public and boaters to not come in contact with the oil and remain a safe distance from any visible sheen.

Call the National Response Center at 800-424-8802 or the Coast Guard Command Center at 310-521-3801 for information.
 



Photo Credit: Santa Barbara County Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[9 Children Injured, Arborist Examining Fallen Tree]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:59:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/se-cae-arbol-kidspace-museum-pasadena-california1.jpg

An arborist is expected to examine a tree Wednesday that came crashing down outside a children's museum in Pasadena the day before, injuring at least nine children.

Witnesses said there was "no warning" when the 75-foot pine tree snapped and fell to the ground in Brookside Park outside Kidspace Children's Museum.

Thirty-three campers, between the ages of five and seven years old, enrolled in the museum's summer program were sent running in every direction when the tree fell, two of them were critically injured and at least seven others suffered minor injuries.

Many staff members arriving for an employee meeting at Kidspace were on the grounds during the incident. The museum's CEO Michael Shanklin requested an incident report from each of them, asking them to descibe exactly what they saw.

Crisis counselors greeted arriving day-campers Wednesday morning, many of which expressed their anxiety about the traumatic event the day before.

Kihon Kwon's 7-year old son said he was having trouble sleeping.

"He's kind of having a shock, like last night and he keeps saying the tree was falling, he couldn't sleep really well," Kwon said.

Officials from the City of Pasadena Public Works Department Forestry Division were also on the museum's grounds Wednesday, taking measurements and examining the fallen tree.

Shanklin expressed his surprise and concern about the tree to a group of reporters during a news conference Wednesday.

"I'm not an arborist but I've walked by that tree for four years and I've never seen any concerns with it," he said.

He also said the city regularly maintained the trees on the grounds and sent an arborist to examine them at least four times a year.

The incident remains under investigation.

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<![CDATA[Ex-NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas Welcome at OC Fair Hoops]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:27:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Gilbert-Arenas-Orange-County-Fair.jpg

Former NBA player Gilbert Arenas visited the Orange County Fair on Sunday, and posted on Instagram that he was banned from the fair's basketball games after he claimed just about every prize imaginable.

But OC Fair officials said Tuesday that Arenas is welcome back anytime at the fair's basketball games. 

His kids appeared to be the biggest winners, but the former NBA All-Star said on his Instagram account that he had been banned from the basketball hoops.

"I'd say he looks pretty happy in the picture,'' said Chris Lopez, vice president of RCS, the company that runs the carnival attractions. "Makes me wonder how he got all that home?"

Arenas won 15 prizes on Sunday, reaching the OC Fair's limit. The fair has a policy of one prize a day, and has 15 basketball-shooting games total, according to Robin Wachner, a spokeswoman for the OC Fair.

RCS and fair officials said they were unaware of Arenas' success until they saw it on social media, Wachner said.

For those wondering, Arenas' use of the hashtag "Hibachi" references his on-court habit of screaming "Hibachi" as he released a shot -- typically a three-pointer. More often than not, he made those shots, too.

Shahan Ahmed and Jessica Rice contributed to this report



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Police Ask for Help Finding Bible Store Robbers]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:36:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/bible_store_robbery.PNG

Two men who were caught on camera robbing a Southern California Bible store last week were being sought by police.

Police are trying to identify the two men who robbed the store in the 100 block of N. Harvard Boulevard in Hemet around 11:25 p.m. July 23, according to the Hemet Police Department.

In a store surveillance video, the thieves can be seen searching through the store's merchandise and stealing items before running out of the door.

In a Facebook post on July 25, The Bible Bookstore said the men stole a Samsung tablet, about 30 T-shirts and 20 rings valued at $9.99 each.

Police were asking anyone with information to call 951-765-2324.



Photo Credit: The Bible Bookstore
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<![CDATA[How to Spot a Rip Current]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:15:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/07-29-2015-rip-current-nws-1.jpg

Dangerous swimming conditions kept lifeguards busy over the final few days of July.

On Tuesday, more than 400 rescues were reported off the California coast. There were about 66 rescues at Northern beaches, 103 rescues at central beaches, and 235 rescues in the South Bay area, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Strong rip currents can be detected by brown, discolored water. They often form on calm, sunny days.

Learn how to spot and avoid rip currents with this online training from the National Weather Service: Break the Grip of the Rip.



Photo Credit: NWS
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<![CDATA[Gunman Shoots at Canoga Park Businesses]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 06:32:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/173*120/canoga_park_business_shooting.PNG

Several businesses in Canoga Park were shot at Tuesday, leaving behind broken and shattered windows on Tuesday.

Police received a call around 3 p.m. about shootings along Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Devonshire Street. Witnesses reported a man in a white El Camino driving around and firing shots, mostly on Topanga Canyon.

Most of the businesses that were hit had shattered glass, while one sushi restaurant had a small bullet hole that may have been caused by a pellet gun or small handgun.

According to the LAPD, the shootings appeared to be a random incident.

No injuries were reported.

The LAPD was asking the public for any information about the shootings.
 



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Flash Flood Warning for San Bernardino County]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:29:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rain-stock-breaking-148110839.jpg

A flash flood warning was issued Wednesday for San Bernardino County as July comes to an end with several days of heat, humidity and thunderstorms.

Send Us Your Weather Photos: Use #WeatherWednesday or #NBC4You

A strong ridge of high pressure expanding westward over the region will drive temperatures up Wednesday through Friday and draw monsoonal moisture into the region. Some areas might approach excessive-heat levels.

'It's going to get hot and sunny, and then the thunderstorms come into play later today," said NBC4 forecaster Crystal Egger.

Rain was reported in parts of San Bernardino County at midday. A flash flood warning was issued for the area until 5:30 p.m.

Temperatures started out in the 60s and 70s Wednesday for most of Southern California ahead of some of the summer's warmest days. Showers are possible for inland and mountain areas.

Some coast and coastal valley areas could also see storms later this week. The storms will carry the risk of lightning and flash floods.

Strong rip currents also are expected at Southern California beaches. More than 400 rescues were reported Tuesday at California beaches.

Despite being a typically dry month, this July has been marked by rainfall that has set records. Flash flooding earlier this month washed out a bridge on Interstate 10 near the California-Arizona border, disrupting travel on the major route.

The heat and possible lightning, which can spark fires in dry brush, come during an active wildfire season in California. As of Tuesday morning, nine large wildfires were burning across the state, including the 31,359-acre Lake Fire in San Bernardino County (91 percent contained) and the Wrag Fire in Napa and Solano counties (80 percent contained).

More than 3,890 wildfires have been reported since the start of the year, according to Cal Fire. During that same period last year, 2,757 wildfires were reported across California.

The increase in fire activity occurred during the state's fourth consecutive year of drought, leaving dry vegetation prone to rapid spread of wildfires.


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<![CDATA[Heavy Flooding After Silver Lake Water Main Break]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 07:37:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/silver_lake_water_main_break.png

Silver Lake residents woke up to flooded streets Wednesday morning after a water main break sent a torrent of water gushing down streets and cut off water supply to some homes, disrupting morning routines.

The pipe burst at about 2 a.m. in the 600 block of Silver Lake Boulevard between Bellevue Avenue and North Vendome Street.

Water crews from the Department of Water and Power shut off the water overnight, after another pipe ruptured underground.

Water bubbled up from the cracks in the concrete on Silver Lake Boulevard, creating mud-filled streets near the Hollywood (101) Freeway.

Alexander Rosteck was one of 20 customers affected by the break, he expected to have his water shut off till late afternoon.

"It disrupts your normal daily life a little bit," he said.

Wednesday's break was just one of many plaguing LA County's aging water system. Like many other old pipes around town, DWP said they don't fix or replace them before they crack.

"If the pipe has been in the ground for 100 years and never leaked ... why replace it, still works fine," DWP Water Utility Superintendent John Cox said.

While many residents didn't agree with that, Rosteck said it made perfect sense.

"They're all 100 years old, are they going to dig up the whole city," he said.

NBC4's Corey Arvin and Oleevia Woo contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: OnScene]]>
<![CDATA[More than 400 Rescued from Powerful Riptides]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 07:01:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/400_beach_rescues.PNG

Powerful rip currents caught many swimmers by surprise Tuesday as lifeguards had to rescue more than 400 people in one day.

In Venice Beach, Los Angeles County lifeguards rushed to rescue more than 18 people from a single powerful riptide. Lifeguards referred to those kind of intense rescues as a blitz.

"Sometimes they are a little surprised or stunned that that happened and how the ocean can still be very dangerous," said Los Angeles County Lifeguard Lidia Barillas.

Throughout the state, numerous rescues were made at various beaches. There were about 66 rescues at Northern beaches, 103 rescues at central beaches, and 235 rescues in the South Bay area, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department.

A Southern swell and warm El Nino waters create dangerous swimming conditions and have kept lifeguards busy over the past few days.

Strong rip currents are expected to continue into Friday.



Photo Credit: KNBC
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<![CDATA[Officials Release Identity of Studio City Gunman]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 05:10:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/Studio+City+Man+with+gun+3+7-24-15.jpg

The alleged gunman who was killed by police after firing several shots outside of a popular Los Angeles Studio City shopping district last week was identified on Tuesday.

The gunman was identified by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Department as Seth Raines. No other details about the shooter was released.

The shooting incident involving Raines was reported in the 12000 block of Ventura Boulevard on July 24. The shooting scared shoppers and prompted a strong response from LAPD officers.

Police temporarily closed Ventura Boulevard between Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Laurelgrove Avenue. 

There were no reports of injuries.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[A Gray Area, Dodgers Shut Out by Athletics ]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:20:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-28+at+9.19.45+PM.png

Sonny Gray threw a three-hitter for his second shutout this month, and the Oakland Athletics ace dominated the Dodgers 2-0 on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Gray (11-4) seems to be the only player on the Athletics with job security. The last-place A's have traded Ben Zobrist, Scott Kazmir and Tyler Clippard over the past week and more could be on the move before the MLB trade deadline expires on Friday.

Gray was perfect through the first three innings before allowing a two-out double to Adrian Gonzalez. It was Gonzalez's 26th double of the season, tied for second best in the National League behind Todd Frazier (30) of the Cincinnati Reds.

Adding insult to injury, Gray also recorded his first ever major league hit in the game, a single down the first base line to lead off the eighth inning.

"I kind of lucked into that one," Gray said of his first big league hit. "Kaz [Kazmir] and I had one bat we would use to hit with, but he took it with him when he was traded. I got the hit with Bulter's bat, it was heavy."

Gray became the 27th starting pitcher to go seven innings or more against the Dodgers this season, the third most in the National League behind the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies.

Gray won his sixth consecutive decision on the road and lowered his ERA to 2.16, tops in the American League. In his last seven starts away from the Oakland Coliseum, Gray is a masterful 6-0 with a 1.05 ERA.

Gray was locked in a pitcher's duel with former teammate Brett Anderson, who faced the Athletics for the first time as an opposing pitcher. Anderson spent five seasons with the A's from 2009-2013.

"He's really, really, good," Anderson said of Gray. "Just playing with him in Oakalnd, you could see his potential. He's obviously gotten a lot better, is an All-Star, and a tremendous pitcher. You could see that tonight."

Anderson (5-6) was removed from his start in the third inning last Tuesday with an Achilles injury. He walked with a noticeable limp on the mound, and was unable to cover first on what should have been a double play in the first inning, instead allowing a run to score a batter later.

Anderson stayed strong however, giving the Dodgers an important quality start allowing just two runs on five hits in seven innings.

"Coming off an injury scare and being able to get ground balls like I did before, I'll take it," Anderson said of his outing. "Unfortunately, it wasn't enough against an All-Star and one of the best pitchers in the game."

Josh Reddick sent Anderson deep to right field in the seventh inning for a solo shot that made the score 2-0. Reddick went 3-for-4 and finished a triple shy of the cycle against his former teammate.

"There was only two guys in that lineup I played with," Anderson added. "One shut us out, and the other one got three hits and a home run off me."

Joc Pederson continues to struggle since the All-Star break. The NL All-Star team's staring center field wore the silver sombrero again on Tuesday going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Pederson has one base on balls and 15 strikeouts since returning from Cincinnati on July 17th.

Howie Kendrick had two of the Dodgers hits for his 31st multi-hit game of the season, but even the former AL West star was frustrated when asked what the team could have done differently against Gray.

"Did you see the scoreboard?" Kendrick asked. "If you saw the scoreboard, that's your answer."

Justin Turner was rushed to the emergency room before the game after a bad reaction to an antibiotic he received for an in-grown hair/pimple over the weekend in New York.


Game Notes:
It was Los Angeles Clippers night at Dodger Stadium as Compton native, and Clips small forward Paul Pierce threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The Dodgers were shutout for the eighth time this season and just the second time at home all year.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Video Shows Plane Before Fatal Riverside Crash]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 22:39:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150726-riverside-small-plane-crash.jpg

Surveillance cameras captured the final take-off for a pilot who was killed after crashing his single-engine plane a short time later in a Riverside neighborhood over the weekend.

The video shows the Beechcraft Bonanza owned by Keith Charles Davis heading toward the runway at Brackett Airport in La Verne on Sunday. The 52-year-old Claremont resident, who went by the nickname KC, is seen doing a few take-offs and landings.

Before the small plane made its final flight, veteran pilot Kenny Garcia said heard a strange sound coming from the engine.

"It didn't sound right, it didn't sound like it was producing enough power," Garcia said. "It sounded like he was underpowered when he took off. Why he took off and continued, we won't know."

About 40 minutes later, Davis requested an emergency landing at Riverside Municipal Airport about 27 miles east, but his plane didn't make it.

In his last transmission before his death, Davis said, "I don't think that I am going to make the landing."

David died in the fiery crash. No one on the ground was injured or killed.

"He knew in his mind that he wasn't going to have to set the plane down somewhere," Garcia said. "He did the best he can avoiding homes, kids, whatever."

Davis was a highly skilled and experienced pilot who was recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013.

Garcia said he plans on contacting federal investigators to report what he heard.

"I'm just sorry for the family, their loss of their husband, brother, uncle," Garcia said.

Investigators said it could take months before they identify the cause of the crash.



Photo Credit: Roger Redhead]]>
<![CDATA[Man Armed With Crossbow in Custody After Standoff]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:16:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/07.28.15_WoodlandHills-Barricade-Crossbow-Criswell1.JPG

A man armed with a crossbow was arrested Tuesday night after barricading himself inside a home in the 22500 block of Criswell Street in West Hills, police said.

The incident began after a landlord threatened his tenant with a crossbow, and the tenant called 911 just after 5 p.m., according to Officer Lopez with LAPD’s media relations section.

The landlord then barricaded himself inside and refused to come out despite repeated requests from police officers.

The LAPD SWAT team were called to the scene and neighbors were evacuated. The bomb squad also responded to the home.

Officers used tear gas to force the man out of the home and took him into custody.



Photo Credit: Gadi Schwartz]]>
<![CDATA[Officer-Involved Shootings Difficult to Track]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:10:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Skid_Row_for_Angie_1200x675_490364995667.jpg

Nationwide, police shootings are coming under greater scrutiny than ever, with activists claiming the number of fatal officer-involved shootings is on the rise in cities big and small.

But many in law enforcement say that simply isn’t true.

So who’s right? The answer to that is where things get really muddy.

Unlike homicides that involve average residents, the FBI doesn’t keep statistics on deadly shootings that involve someone wearing a badge while serving in their official duties.

Most local agencies keep track of what happens, but reporting can often be delayed while an incident is being reviewed by an oversight board.

That, and the secrecy that surrounds most investigations into officer-involved shootings, can frustrate nearly everyone involved, from the families whose loved ones have been lost to an altercation with police, police officers to civil rights activists advocating for change to policing standards.

Rukhsana Chaudry said a fraction of a second can forever change the life of the family members left behind.

“I thought, 'The world is over for me,'” she said of finding out that her son, Usman, had been killed during a confrontation with an LAPD officer in 2008.

The shooting was found to be within department policy, so the officer was never prosecuted and few details of the incident were publicly released.

That frustrates Chaudry’s father.

“Is there any justice in this world? We need justice for him,” said Mohammad Chaudry.

Families like the Chaudrys feel like they are led to believe their loved ones lives matter less.

But police often say such incidents are taken out of context.

In the blink of an eye, everything can change, and in an era where smartphone video is often taken of some part of every incident, officers believe those recordings often miss key moments.

The public never learns what led up to the encounter, the part before the gunshot.

“It goes from zero to 100, just like that,” said LAPD Det. Jamie McBride.

A decorated veteran, McBride was involved in six shootings in his 25 year career.
“My last shooting, I remember looking down,” McBride said. “I saw the muzzle flash and I remember telling myself, 'You are going to get shot. Just keep pulling the trigger.’ Which is something you learn in the academy — officer survival.”

McBride said there are also other facts known to officers before the altercation, such as the person’s prior criminal records, whether he or she has been prone to violence in the past.

“Did they just commit a robbery? Are they wanted for murder?,” he said.

That information could color how an officer perceives the threat, he said.

“There have even been people who reach for their waistband, and it turns out they didn't have a gun. And they get shot by the officer because the officer perceived a threat,” he said.

But get that part wrong, said McBride, and the cop, or his or her partner, may not go home alive.

McBride said that prosecuting officers for shootings in the line of duty could also put them in jeopardy.

“No officer wants to use his or her gun to take somebody's life,” McBride said.

McBride said officer-involved shootings are making more headlines because there are more cameras, not more police shootings.

Civil rights attorneys like Olu Orange argue, though, that the standards need to change.

“It’s unacceptable,” he said. “It seems that officers are now shooting and killing people based on what they don't know.”

He said that disobeying an officer does not mean a shooting is warranted.

“If you are doing something that the officer's not telling you to do, it still doesn't mean he gets to kill you.”

Orange said police are being trained to shoot in reaction to threats, not actual weapons.

“Prosecute these officers. Prosecute these officers when they kill somebody.”


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<![CDATA[8 Children Injured by Falling Tree in Pasadena]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:45:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Pasadena+Tree+Children4+7-28-15.JPG Eight children were injured after a tree fell on them outside a children's museum in Pasadena on Tuesday, officials said.

Photo Credit: NewsChopper4]]>
<![CDATA[Stuck Rides at California's Amusement Parks]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:27:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_800px_california_screamin27.jpg California is home to various amusement parks, and once in awhile, one of those amusement park rides gets stuck.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia]]>
<![CDATA[Children Injured by Falling Tree Had 'No Warning': Witness]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:29:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150728-fallen-tree-pasadena.jpg

A 75-foot tree uprooted and fell onto kids at a summer day camp in Pasadena Tuesday, injuring eight children, two of them critically, officials said.

The pine tree came crashing down about 4:45 p.m. as campers and their families were walking through Brookside Park outside the Kidspace Children's Museum, officials with the Pasadena Fire Department said.

"It's just such a huge tree — no warning," said witness Klea Scott. "Massive amounts of pine needles that we couldn't see if there were more people in there."

Witnesses said children ran in every direction as the 75-year-old tree fell.

"We heard a crack and then I just caught a glimpse of the tree falling down," said Andrew Aguiniga, a child at the park.

Two children were taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in critical condition and six others suffered minor injuries, city fire spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.

Derderian initially said at least one adult had been injured.

Aerial footage captured by NewsChopper4 showed two children on stretchers and an Urban Search and Rescue team using chainsaws to cut branches from the toppled tree as they searched for more possible victims.

A statement on the Kidspace Children's Museum website said all staff, campers, volunteers and guests were accounted for.

Thirty-three children ages 6 to 8 were enrolled in the summer camp, said Kidspace CEO Michael Shanklin.

An arborist will be called in Wednesday to determine why the tree fell, officials said.

Shanklin said the museum was expected to open Wednesday.

NBC4's Beverly White contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Riders Get More Adventure Than They Bargained For When Disney Ride Gets Stuck]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:28:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_800px_california_screamin27.jpg

Riders on the California Screamin’ roller coaster at Disney’s California Adventure theme park in Anaheim got a little more excitement than they bargained for when they had to be taken off a train that became stuck atop the ride Tuesday afternoon.

It’s not clear how many people were on board the ride when it became stuck. A park spokeswoman said the ride was stopped temporarily to retrieve an item dropped by a guest who was waiting to board a train at the station.

"This happens pretty frequently," she said.

Disney officials said the car stalled when it was in the station, but parkgoers shared video with NBC4, showing people being escorted from a stalled car atop the ride.

Riders tweeted about the stall and posted photos to Instagram showing a train stuck near the peak of the ride.

Four trains of the ride also became stuck back in April, when it took crews between five and 30 minutes to take passengers off the ride. No one was injured in that incident, which was attributed to a “mechanical issue.”



Photo Credit: Wikimedia]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Arrested in Koreatown Attempted Robbery]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 02:53:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/7-28-15-Attempted_Robber.JPG

Police arrested a suspect Tuesday whose image was captured on video as he forced his victim to go to an ATM in an attempted robbery at a Koreatown apartment complex last week.

The suspect was turned in to police by his father after the suspect confessed it was him in the video. The suspect is underage, according to LAPD.

The July 22 kidnapping occurred in the 400 block of Westmoreland Avenue around 12:30 a.m., when the suspect entered the victim's apartment complex, police said.

The suspect climbed up to the victim's apartment unit balcony using a ladder and entered the apartment through an unlocked sliding door, authorities said. He went into the victim's bedroom and brandished a knife demanding money.

When the victim said he had no money, the thief ordered him to drive to an ATM and withdraw money, escorting him at knife-point to an underground parking structure, police said.

Surveillance cameras caught the suspect and victim wrestling over the knife, but the thief managed to break free and run away.

Anyone with information was urged to contact Olympic Area Robbery detectives at (213) 382-9391.

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<![CDATA[CHP Office in Eagle Rock Evacuated for 'Safety Reasons']]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:15:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*128/LAgenerics+CHP+California+Highway+Patrol.jpg

A California Highway Patrol dispatch center in Eagle Rock was evacuated Tuesday after it received a "suspicious call," but operations were not expected to be affected, an agency spokesman said.

CHP Officer Robert Manzano said the specifics of the call were unclear, but it led to an evacuation of the CHP Los Angeles Communications Center at 2901 W. Broadway at 3:20 p.m.

"There's not going to be any delay in our dispatch times, as all incoming calls are being routed to surrounding CHP communication centers," said Officer Kevin Tao, a spokesman with the CHP Southern Division.

The evacuation included Caltrans employees who also have offices in the building.

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story
 

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<![CDATA[Malibu Vintners Fight Back Against Ban on New Vineyards]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:40:49 -0700 May 19: Taste of Malibu Food & Wine Festival
@ Malibu Wines Tasting Room | 5:30 - 8 p.m. | $60 - $120
A delightful day of sipping great wine, indulging on vineyard grapes, listening to music and eating incredible food. Enjoy the Malibu sea air with a outdoor tasting room. ]]>
May 19: Taste of Malibu Food & Wine Festival
@ Malibu Wines Tasting Room | 5:30 - 8 p.m. | $60 - $120
A delightful day of sipping great wine, indulging on vineyard grapes, listening to music and eating incredible food. Enjoy the Malibu sea air with a outdoor tasting room. ]]>
http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/98570220+%281%29.jpg

Malibu wine growers are fighting back against a temporary ban imposed last month by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on new vineyards in the north Santa Monica Mountains.

During a meeting Tuesday, the board extended the existing ordinance for an additional four months, citing it as an effort to reduce water usage during the crippling California drought.

County officials received 51 applications for new vineyards in the last 10 months. They agreed to allow 28 new applicants reapply based on certain requirements, including using drip irrigation only to save water.

Vintners say they are working with the Department of Regional Planning to address the concerns of the board.



Photo Credit: Getty Images / Timothy Adam]]>
<![CDATA[Top Moments From the Special Olympics]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:14:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Special+Olympics+Runner.JPG The 2015 Special Olympics kicked off in Los Angeles this week, with 6,500 athletes from 165 countries — the largest number to meet in Los Angeles since the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Police Searching for Man Who Exposed Himself]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:24:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/7-28-2015+kidnapper+sketch+whittier+police+composite.jpg

Police are searching for a man who exposed himself to a woman and attempted to get her into his car in Santa Fe Springs.

A 57-year-old woman was walking in an alley near Pioneer Boulevard north of Houghton Avenue at about 7:45 a.m. on July 5 when a man approached her and asked her to come to his vehicle, which Whittier police described as a black SUV that was possibly a Ford Explorer. The man grabbed her wrist and tried pulling her toward the driver's side door before making several salacious comments to her and exposed himself, police said.

The woman was able to pull away from him and run away with only minor abrasions to her wrist, and the man was seen leaving the area north of Pioneer Boulevard.

The man was described as 30 to 35 years old and Latino with a medium build, short combed back hair and clean shaven. Authorities also released a sketch of the subject.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Whittier Police Department Detective Kremling at 562-409-1850.



Photo Credit: Whittier Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Open of Surfing 2015]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:02:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Us+Open+of+Surfing+11+7-24-15.JPG Surfers and beachgoers flock to Huntington Beach for the 2015 U.S. Open of Surfing, which runs from July 25 to Aug. 2.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged With Murder in Hollywood Shooting]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:58:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/7-24-15-Ezeoma_Obioha.JPG

A man accused of shooting and killing a woman on a Hollywood sidewalk over what officials believe was a financial dispute was charged with capital murder Tuesday.

Ezeoma Obioha, 31, entered a not guilty plea.  He's accused of "lying in wait" and then killing 30-year-old Carrie Melvin while she was walking down a street near Sunset Boulevard and McCadden Place with her boyfriend on July 5. Obioha allegedly walked up behind Melvin, shot her once and walked to a parked car and drove away.

The killer wore some kind of mask covering his face.  Outside court, prosecutor Craig Hum declined to discuss what specific evidence links Obioha to the crime. 

Obioha's defense attorney said proving the killer's identity will be at issue.

"From what I know now, in speaking with Mr. Obioha, he's very eager for his day in court and very optimistic of his ability to show his innocence," said attorney Jovan Blacknell after the arraignment.

Although investigators were first unsure if it was a random attack or planned, they said Obioha was involved in a financial dispute with Melvin, over a bounced check he wrote to her. Authorities told the Los Angeles Times that Melvin was going to market Obioha's "hoodfellas" clothing through her social media company, but threatened to take him to court over the bounced check.

Obioha was arrested on suspicion of murder Friday night and held in lieu of  $1 million bail, which was changed to a no bail hold by Judge Sergio Tapia at Tuesday afternoon's arraignment.  Obioha is due back in court on August 31 for setting his preliminary hearing, which will determine if there is sufficient evidence for trial.

 The special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and murdering for financial gain mean this could potentially be a death penalty case, though the DA's office has yet to make a determination whether to seek it, and California's imposition of the death penalty currently is enjoined by a court ruling.   

]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Destroys San Bernardino Restaurant]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 07:54:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/07-28-2015-fire-san-bernardino-restaurant+%281%29.jpg A suspicious fire destroys a San Bernardino restaurant Tuesday July 28, 2015.

Photo Credit: Toni Guinyard, KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[July to End With Heat, Humidity, Storms]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 07:27:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/07-28-2015-weather-forecast-1.JPG

Heat, humidity and even thunderstorms are possible as Southern California closes out July.

A strong ridge of high pressure expanding westward over the region will drive temperatures up Wednesday through Friday and draw monsoonal moisture into the region.

Some areas might approach excessive-heat levels.

Temperatures started out in the 60s Tuesday for most of Southern California ahead of some of the summer's warmest days. An early marine layer was expected to clear to sunshine.

"It's getting hotter and more humid," said NBC4 forecaster Crystal Egger. "We won't have as much humidity today, that will come in especially on Thursday."

On Wednesday, more clouds and humidity are expected. Showers are possible for inland and mountain areas.

Some coast and coastal valley areas could also see storms later this week. The storms will carry the risk of lightning and flash floods.

Despite being a typically dry month, this July has been marked by rainfall that has set records. Flash flooding earlier this month washed out a bridge on Interstate 10 near the California-Arizona border, disrupting travel on the major route.

The heat and possible lightning, which can spark fires in dry brush, come during an active wildfire season in California. As of Tuesday morning, nine large wildfires were burning across the state, including the 31,359-acre Lake Fire in San Bernardino County (91 percent contained) and the Wrag Fire in Napa and Solano counties (80 percent contained).

More than 3,890 wildfires have been reported since the start of the year, according to Cal Fire. During that same period last year, 2,757 wildfires were reported across California.

The increase in fire activity occurred during the state's fourth consecutive year of drought, leaving dry vegetation prone to rapid spread of wildfires.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Southern California Images in the News]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 06:53:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/184*120/07-28-2015-venice-beach-vigil-lightning1.JPG Southern California images in the news during 2015.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Evacuations Lifted After Overnight Armed Standoff]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 06:43:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/07-29-2015-standoff-barricade-south-la.JPG

About 50 residents were evacuated overnight due an hourslong armed standoff at a South Los Angeles home.

The standoff involving a man wanted for assault with a deadly weapon began late Monday and ended when he surrendered at about 5 a.m. The man brandished a shotgun at a neighbor before the barricade situation in the 6900 block of Estrella Avenue, police said.

About 50 nearby residents were evacuated overnight.

Capt. Marc Reina, of the Los Angeles Police Department, described the end of the standoff as a "peaceful surrender."

Refresh this page for updates.
 



Photo Credit: OnSceneTV]]>
<![CDATA["Highly Suspicious" Fire Destroys Restaurant]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:57:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/07-28-2015-fire-restaurant-san-bernardino-11.JPG

A man was seen walking from what investigators called a "highly suspicious" fire Tuesday morning that destroyed a family owned San Bernardino restaurant.

The fire was reported just before midnight, on the 1400 block of East Highland Avenue, at the No Name Cafe, San Bernardino City Fire officials said. The same restaurant burned early this month, according to fire officials.

Monday's fire is considered suspicious and likely was intentionally set, fire officials said.

"There was far too much fire involved early on in the fire to lead us to believe that this was accidental," said Capt. Jason Serrano, of the San Bernardino Fire Department. "Our investigators are labeling this highly suspicious."

Back on July 10, a passerby spotted the flames coming from the cafe, which was closed at the time, San Bernardino City Fire PIO Mike Arvizo said. That fire was deemed accidental and had caused approximately $100,000 in damage, Arvizo said. 

Firefighters were still battling Monday's blaze as of 1:45 a.m. Tuesday. A man was seen "walking briskly" from the property early Tuesday, Serrano said.

"I hope it isn't something that somebody's getting their thrills off of," said Rick Ankrum, owner of a nearby business.

The restaurant was closed after the July 10 fire, which was considered an accident.

The owners purchased the building in the 1970s and operated the business as Theodora's Cafe. It was later sold and reopened as No Name Cafe in the 1985.

No arrests were reported Tuesday morning.

NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Toni Guinyard, KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Man Found Bludgeoned to Death]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 23:51:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150727-man-bludgeoned-to-death.jpg

The body of a man who was bludgeoned to death was discovered at a Los Angeles park Monday afternoon, police said.

Police were called to Sycamore Grove Park in Highland Park about 3:30 p.m. and found the body near a set of stairs next to the 110 Freeway, Los Angeles Police Department officials said.

The man was in his 40s or 50s, police said. He had signs of trauma to his head and may have been dead for several hours prior to the officers' arrival.

Police said the man may have been homeless.

"There was talk earlier about some transient issues in the area. But that's typical only because the riverbed runs behind this park and we do have quite a bit of homeless encampments up and down the riverbed," said Sgt. John Cuenca of the LAPD.

No further information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Tribute to Venice Beach Lightning Strike Victim]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:00:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150727-nick-fagnano-anniversary-tribute.jpg

Friends and family paid tribute Monday to a 20-year-old college student who was killed in a bizarre lightning strike on Venice Beach one year ago.

Last year, Nick Fagnano had stepped into the water to wash off the sand when he and several others were struck by a bolt of lightning. Fagano was taken to Marina Del Rey Hospital where he later died.

Seven others were hospitalized after the lightning strike, including one with critical injuries.

Two tributes were held Monday in Venice Beach, one at 2:30 p.m. around the time the incident occurred last July, and one at sunset. Friends and family participated in a day of beach activities and picnic-style lunch and dinner. Photos showed mourners gathered in the shape of a heart on the beach to celebrate the life of a man described by family as "joyous."

Fagnano was a Los Angeles native and graduate of Notre Dame High School. He attended Santa Barbara and Santa Monica city colleges, and was accepted to USC where he planned to attend the fall of 2014.

In the year since Fagnano's death, his parents, Mary and Jay Fagnano, founded the Thrive in Joy Nick Fagnano Foundation, which has provided an annual scholarship for a transfer student at USC.

"We try to reward character through education and recreation. Those were things that were very important to Nick," said Fagnano's father, Jay, at the gathering Monday.

Information about the Thrive in Joy Foundation is available at http://thenickfagnanofoundation.squarespace.com/

NBC4's Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: KNBC/Gadi Schwartz]]>
<![CDATA[Some LA Residents Oppose Iran Nuclear Deal]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:53:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA_Jewish_Group_Opposes_Iran_Nuclear_Deal_1200x675_492169283938.jpg

Some members of Los Angeles' Jewish community are stepping up the fight against the recent Iran nuclear deal over fears the deal will pose a danger to Israel.

"My daughter is there, my grandchildren are there ... my aunts, my uncles... " said Ahuva Molcho, who considers Israel her second home. "It is a local issue."

Residents held a rally outside the Federal Building in Westwood opposing the Obama Administration's pending nuclear agreement with the Iranian government.

"We are rewarding the world's leading terrorist state to become the possessor of atomic bombs after 10 years," said Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "That's not logical."

Hier, who has supported the president in the past, says the United States needed a key concession from the Iranian government.

"You can't call for the destruction of Israel or the destruction of America," he said.

But others believe, with China and Russia no longer interested in sanctions against Iran, the White House had few options.

They give the president the benefit of the doubt.

]]>
<![CDATA[First Confirmed Case of West Nile Virus in LA County This Year]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:58:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/WNVtesting022613.jpg

A young adult with West Nile virus became the first confirmed case of the infection in LA County in 2015, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced Monday.

The report excludes confirmed cases in Long Beach and Pasadena, because both cities have their own public health system, said a spokeswoman for LA County Public Health.

West Nile virus is spread most often to people after they are bit by an infected mosquito, according to Public Health. While most mosquitoes don't carry West Nile virus, they can become infected from biting birds carrying the virus.

During 2014, 218 people were infected in LA County, including seven fatalities that resulted from the disease, according to Public Health. 

The young male from the South Bay area is recovering at home, Public Health announced Monday. He had no medical history, and was hospitalized for West Nile virus earlier this month.

Most people infected with the virus either do not get sick, or experience "mild symptoms that include fever, headache, nausea, body aches, and a mild skin rash," according to the agency.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that less than one percent of people infected develop a serious neurological illness that could prove to be fatal.

There is no specific treatment to combat West Nile virus, but Public Health suggests the following precautions to decrease a person's risk of being infected:

  • Avoid mosquito-infested areas at dawn and dusk.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
  • Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of eucalyptus, when used as labeled, are effective defenses against mosquitoes.
  • Check your window screens for holes.
  • Do not allow water to collect and stagnate in old tires, flowerpots, swimming pools, birdbaths, pet bowls, or other containers. These are prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools; drain water from pool covers.
  • Stock garden ponds with goldfish or other mosquito-eating fish. These eat mosquito eggs and larvae.
  • Empty and wash birdbaths and wading pools weekly.

"Vector control agencies in LA County cannot do it alone,” said Truc Dever, general manager for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, in a statement. 

People are encouraged to report dead birds online here, or to call 877-968-2473. Public Health noted that stagnant swimming pools or "green pools" should also be reported to the Public Health's Environmental Health Division at 888-700-9995, or to one of several local vector control agencies.



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Contest: Invent a Beer That Tastes Like LA]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:12:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/mexicancolabeer1.jpg

Depth and tone and acidity and body and fruitiness and mellowness are just some of the words that beer buffs regularly invoke to describe the pint in they hold in their hands.

But what if that same beer buff was challenged to come up with a new beer, from scratch, that represents the spirit of Los Angeles, one that would be made by one of Southern California's top brewhouses?

Would "depth" and "tone" take a backseat to a fresh SoCal-specific flavor or a zany ingredient?

This will be the question that brew lovers shall be asking themselves in the weeks ahead as "What Would You Brew?," Angel City Brewery's annual you-invent-a-beer contest, marches forward towards an end-of-September deadline.

"(H)undreds of incredible recipes and stories" have been submitted in years past, and winners have included Lori Newman's "Desert Dreams" (think sage, orange peels, and other ingredients that summon the Southern California desert) and Emily Finch's Mexican Cola Beer.

Two libations that definitely feel local, both in terms of ingredients and drawing in other LA and LA-close elements.

But Angel City won't simply whip up the inventive brew and sell it; the winner shall spend the day working with the Angel City team as they make the beer a reality. And the concoction'll go fairly wide, for a time, most notably at LA Beer Week 2016. Other goodies, like a custom kegerator, are part of the victor's take-home package.

Submit your foamy recipe by Sept. 30. The winner'll be notified in October.

So, IPA and ale aficionados, what would LA taste like, in a beer? "Glamour and grit, art and commerce, desert and sea, freeways and freedom..." suggests the Arts District brewhouse. 

That all sounds pretty easy to fold into a recipe, right? Best brainstorm over a brew.



Photo Credit: Angel City Brewery]]>
<![CDATA[Is Social Media Fueling South LA Gang Violence?]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:22:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150725-south-la-shooting.jpg

Los Angeles police beefed up patrols in South LA after seven shootings left 11 people wounded and one dead between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Now it's led to a firestorm on social media, with the hashtag #100days100nights claiming a gang war has begun.

"I wouldn't say we're in the middle of a gang war," said LAPD South Bureau Deputy Chief Bill Scott. "We do have a spike of violence and until we really solve these murders and these shootings and know exactly what the causes are, it's no different than any other cycle of violence."

Social media posts claim two gangs have claimed a battle to reach 100 kills before the other.

The LAPD has allocated additional resources to South Bureau, including 77th Division, which was handling most of the violent calls over the weekend. But officials say it will stop short of throwing a dragnet over the community over online rumors.

Gang intervention teams who spend their days and nights working with hardcore gang members say they have investigated the social media threats and believe it's just one way gang members are "banging."

"They've been having issues with each other since the 70s anyway," said Ben Owens, known as "Taco" on the street. "We're trying to communicate to the community that this is something that's being promoted through social media. However, we don't believe that that's what either community wants to see happen. We don't believe that people want to kill 100 people within 100 days."

"I think that people overestimate gangs," Owens said, claiming neither gang has the resources or the intent to do so.

Others in the community are admitting fear, though, as they see how gang activity is progressing. Aqeela Sherrills calls himself a peace advocate and doesn't believe South LA gangs have the ability or the necessity to use social media for violent threats.

"Half the people haven't heard about it," he said. "People are hearing about it for the first time on social media."

Sherrills has lived in Watts for decades.

"People in the neighborhood are crazy, they're dysfunctional, but they ain't stupid," Sherrills says, adding that the online messages list borders and boundaries which is far too much information any gang member would admit to.

"Who's laying out boundaries and borders and telling us where not to go? Who does that? Ain't nobody from the streets doing that. Come on, be serious," he said.

Gang intervention teams have been working for more than a decade deep inside local gangs in an effort to quell certain issues that could become much larger problems.

"Social media is not our friend in doing this work," says Kevin "Twin" Orange, "it's the enemy."

Orange says if the intentions were real, whoever was making the online claim would make themselves known.

"There's no face to it," he said. "If somebody was really gonna do a challenge like that, they're gonna put a face to it, there's gonna be a name to it and say this is me and we're about to do that."

Instead of offering facts, Owens says social media is fanning the flames of anger in South LA.

"I think social media is acting as a scorecard," Owens said. "Who's winning the war? And there are no winners. There are no spoils."

On Monday night, a peace rally was held in South LA, calling for an end to the violence.

NBC4's Beverly White contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Family Fights Huge DWP Bill On Vacant Property]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:20:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150708-ladwp-worker-generic.jpg

It’s not every day you receive an electricity bill for over $8,000 — especially if you aren’t using the electricity, let alone living in the house.

Welcome to Nora Shamalian’s financial nightmare.

The Shamalian family received a bill from LADWP totaling to $8,151.59. The problem, aside from the steep amount, was that it was impossible for them to use any electricity since a fire forced them out of their home in December 2013.

"I saw smoke coming out from the front of the house," said Shamalian. "We pretty much lost everything in the fire; we were left with the clothes on our backs."

For weeks, the family lived out of hotels, rented a home in Sylmar, and even resorted to other living alternatives.

"We decided to buy a trailer and move back home, so we can actually be here trying to get construction going on the house," Shamalian said.

The Shamalian’s home has not had any electrical wiring since the fire in 2013 and Shamalian only moved the trailer into the driveway last May, but her June bill showed electricity usage for an entire year and a half.

"How do you come up with this number? I want some type of justification," she said. "Where did you come up with this number?"

Shamalian said she tried to get an answer from LADWP, to no avail.

"This is not related to the billing system," said David Wright, chief administrative officer for LADWP, referring to another common problem as the agency moves from estimated bills to exact readings.

He said that in Shamalian’s case, the billings were still estimated because of the lack of access to the property, not because the agency had incorrectly assessed the amount due.

Wright said LADWP workers couldn’t access Shamalian’s meter after the fire because the property was secured by a locked gate. As a result, their bills were estimated based on the prior year’s usage.

The I-Team was there when LADWP finally read Shamalian’s electrical meter, and according to Wright, their bill has gone down to just under $5,000.

That total is largely due to water usage, as water — likely sprinklers — continued to be used at the property during the time it was vacant.

LADWP advises anyone displaced from their home due to an unforeseen event to call and halt service to stop the billing process.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Mother Arrested After Teen Son Shot and Killed at Hotel]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:59:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/189*120/072715_hotel-shooting.JPG

A woman was arrested in connection with the shooting death of her teenage son in a Rosemead hotel room Monday, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said.

Seventeen-year-old George Hang was found dead at the Valley Hotel in the 8700 block of Valley Boulevard just after 10 a.m., more than five hours after other hotel guests reported hearing gunshots, deputies said.

His mother, Lai Hang, 49, was taken into custody and later arrested on suspicion of murder, according to a statement from LASD.

Deputies found a handgun in the hotel room, which Lai Hang and George Hang, both Rosemead residents, had checked into the night before, investigators said.

Though hotel guests described hearing two gunshots just after 5 a.m., no one called police until Lai Hang reported the shooting around 10 a.m., according to Lt. Victor Lewandowski.

Before police arrived, a hotel housekeeper recalled seeing a bandaged man lying on the bed in the Hang's hotel room.

Lai Hang was being held on $1 million bail and the motive for the killing was under investigation Monday night.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[$75K Reward for Drones Hindering Firefighters]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:33:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/drones_reward_sb_county1.PNG

A news conference was expected Wednesday to announce rewards leading to convictions of illegal drone operators.

The San Bernardino Board of Supervisors said it will move to authorize a $75,000 reward for information leading up to the arrest and conviction of the operators of drones that hampered recent firefighting efforts.

Officials said the presence of drones within the same airspace as firefighting aircraft who were responding to recent fires forced the planes to land. Officials added that during the time firefighting aircrafts were down, the fires had spread.

Drones were reported July 17 during the so-called North Fire near Cajon Pass and the Lake Fire near Barton Flats. A previous incident was reported July 12 during the Mill 2 Fire in Yucaipa.

Officials said drones sharing airspace with firefighting aircrafts could potentially cause an in-air collision and is a safety hazard for bystanders as well.

State lawmakers have responded to the issue by proposing legislation such as state SB168. Sen. Ted Gaines, (R-El Dorado), and Assemblyman Mike Gatto, (D-Glendale), announced July 20 that the bill would protect emergency responders who damage drones during rescue operations.

Firefighters, for example, would be allowed to destroy drones during rescue efforts.

SB 168 joins SB 167, a previously introduced bill that pushes for fines larger than $1,000, and possible jail time, for drone users who interfere with firefighters.

If the rewards are approved, the Board of Supervisors would offer a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in each incident.

The Board of Supervisors will move to authorize final funding of the reward Tuesday.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Former LAPD Detective Faces Bank Robbery Charges]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:04:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/7-23-15-snowbird+bandit.jpg

A retired LAPD detective charged with a Rancho Santa Margarita bank robbery and suspected of committing four other heists was ordered held without bail Monday in his first federal court appearance since being turned in by family members.

In taking away bail for Randolph Bruce Adair, 70, of Rancho Santa Margarita, U.S. District Judge Douglas McCormick noted a two-decades-old outstanding warrant for the defendant's arrest out of Riverside County.

After Monday's hearing, investigators said the warrant involved a DUI arrest.

The judge also noted the alleged "Snowbird Bandit" had a loaded gun in his car when arrested last week.

Adair's bail was initially set at $205,000. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Keenan requested the no-bail status based on "danger and flight risk."

Adair needed a hearing aid in court Monday and appeared to be in the same clothes -- shorts and a T-shirt -- he was wearing when he was arrested.

His family members declined comment after the hearing.

Adair is charged with robbing a First Citizens Bank branch at 29818 Santa Margarita Parkway just before 5 p.m. last Tuesday.

According to an affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Christopher Gicking, the bandit handed a demand note to a teller stating, "I have a gun, give me all large bills. No trash," before getting away with $1,658.

After authorities circulated video surveillance photos of the suspect, the defendant's family called investigators and said Adair "is retired, on a fixed income, and a heavy gambler," Gicking wrote.

The retired detective, who worked for the Los Angeles Police Department from December 1967 to October 1988, was arrested Wednesday. A search of his car yielded a loaded .38 caliber handgun, authorities said. When Adair was shown surveillance video photos of the Snowbird Bandit, he said, "I'm cooked. I think I should have a lawyer," according to Gicking.

When he was being arrested, authorities found $1,120 in Del Mar race track betting receipts on the defendant. His arresting officers also found a $300 cash deposit receipt in his wife's bank account and a receipt for a $100 cash deposit in his own account. All of the receipts were dated July 22.

Investigators also recovered a tan fedora and light-green, button-up shirt in a storage locker of the defendant's that matches what the Snowbird Bandit is seen wearing in surveillance video, according to the FBI.

Federal prosecutors may charge him with more heists later, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In addition to the Tuesday holdup, the Snowbird Bandit -- the FBI coined the moniker based on the suspect's age and appearance -- is suspected of robberies at:

-- a U.S. Bank branch in Ladera Ranch on July 6;

-- a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Mission Viejo on June 11;

-- First Citizens Bank branch in Rancho Santa Margarita on May 22; and

-- a California Bank and Trust in Dana Point on March 20.

Adair told the Orange County Register in 1998 that as a rookie cop, he was among the officers who responded to the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles following the assassination of presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy, and witnessed the arrest of gunman Sirhan Sirhan.

He told the paper he helped control the crowd while officers cuffed Sirhan. Relatives said Adair escorted Kennedy's wife and astronaut John Glenn to the hospital where the senator was taken. Adair's family members told the Register that he rescued seven people from a burning low-income home around 1970.

They also said he worked on the Freeway Strangler and Night Stalker serial murder cases, and has had a series of heart attacks in the last couple of years. Adair is due back in court Aug. 10 for a preliminary hearing unless prosecutors take the case to a grand jury and obtain an indictment, as expected, in which case the next court date would be Aug. 17 for arraignment.



Photo Credit: Federal Bureau of Investigation]]>
<![CDATA[Pilot Killed in Plane Crash Burned Beyond Recognition]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:16:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ie_riverside_crash_instagram_with_sound_for_calderon_1200x675_491647555932.jpg

Identifying the pilot who died in a fiery plane crash Sunday evening in a Riverside neighborhood could take days, authorities said Monday.

The certified pilot's body was burned beyond recognition and officials are working to identify him with dental records, Riverside Fire Department officials said. He was the only passenger in the Beechcraft F35 plane and the only person killed in the crash, which occurred around 5 p.m. Sunday.

The pilot, who is believed to be from California, called the Riverside Airport Tower requesting to land because of engine problems after departing from Brackett Field Airport in La Verne at 4:19 p.m. In his last transmission before his death, he said, "I don't think that I am going to make the landing," before the plane crashed into the chain link fence of a home in the 4500 block of Adams Street and burst into flames.

Although plane barely missed two single-family homes, the fire did not damage any nearby houses, and firefighters were able to extinguish the flames. The fence stopped the plane from moving forward and reaching any houses, Riverside fire officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.

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<![CDATA[Woman Sexually Assaulted While Jogging in Claremont]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:25:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Blaisdell+Park+Claremont+7-27-15.JPG

A woman was sexually assaulted in Claremont Monday morning after she was pushed to the ground during her morning jog, officials said.

The victim, who asked to be identified only as Murphy, was jogging through Blaisdell Park in the 400 block of College Avenue around 7 a.m. when a man approached her from behind, according to the Claremont Police Department.

He pushed her to the ground, and sexually assaulted her, police said.

"I was just running listening to my headphones and someone from behind me, who I did not see, put their arms around me and knocked me into the grass," Murphy said.

She said she started screaming for help, and that she bit him as hard as she could when he tried to muffle her screams.

The woman fought back aggressively, and he quickly got up and ran away, police said.

"This is shocking, I come here all the time," said a female Claremont resident who wanted to remain unidentified. "I guess I'm going to be cautious."

Investigators have deemed the attack a sexual assault because the man placed his hands on the victim, and slapped her buttocks at one point during the attack. Murphy added that her attacker started pulling down her pants. 

"The whole time my mind was thinking how do I get him away from me, how do I stop this from happening," Murphy said.

After she called 911, police began their search for the attacker, who had reportedly wrapped his head with a flannel shirt.

"I only saw right between his eyebrows and his upper lip," Murphy said. "He was kind of smiling at me."

Police described the man as being about 6 feet tall, weighing about 200 pounds, in his 20s or 30s, with brown hair, brown eyes and a light mustache. He was wearing tan pants, and a red and white baseball-type shirt, according to the Claremont Police Department.

The victim suffered some superficial injuries including some scratches during the attack, said Mike Ciszek, Detective Bureau Lieutenant for the Claremont Police Department.

Ciszek recommended that joggers alter their course so possible attackers won't be able predict their location easily.

"Be aware of your surroundings as much as possible," Ciszek said. He added that people should use a buddy system, even if it means letting someone know when they plan to return from a run. 

"It's up to you, don't play possum, don't go limp, fight back, because you are the only one who's going to save you in time," Murphy said.

Anyone with information about the attack is encouraged to call the Claremont Police Department at 909-399-5411. 



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Hollywood Murder Suspect to Appear in Court]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:56:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/7-24-15-Ezeoma_Obioha.JPG

A 31-year-old man suspected of killing a woman in Hollywood because of a financial dispute is scheduled for arraignment in a downtown Los Angeles court Tuesday, according to online booking records.

Ezeoma Obioha knew the victim, 30-year-old Carrie Melvin, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Liliana Preciado said.

Obioha, who claims ownership of several companies, had hired Melvin for social media promotion, but there was a falling out over payment, according to police. Obioha's check bounced, and she spoke of taking him to court, police said.

Obioha operated an apparel company called Hood, Inc. out of a storefront in a Pico Blvd mini-mall. He also worked as a security guard for the next door medical marijuana dispensary, according to other shopkeepers in the mall.

"I guess he was trying to be somebody people would notice," said barber Steve Broome. "But he seem liked a security guard, overzealous about his position."

Obioha wore a tactical vest and carried a sidearm, Broome said. "He seemed nice, but a little off." 

Broome recalled having seen Melvin at least three times in recent months, working inside Obioha's shop.

On Sunday evening, July 5, Melvin had just left her Hollywood apartment on McAdden Place for a walk with her boyfriend. As they neared Sunset Blvd, a gunman now suspected of being Obioha came from behind and shot her to death, then walked to a car and drove off.

Those close to Melvin, including her father Bernie Melvin, were aware she'd had a payment dispute with a client.    

"I don't know what went wrong, because he never talked to nobody," said Godwin Ali, who has a cigar shop in the mini-mall.

Obioha's demeanor did not change at all after Melvin's death, said both Ali and Broome, who recalled often seeing Obioha smiling.

Obioha lived in the nearby Picfair Village neighborhood, and had been active in its community association. He also served on the Community Police Advisory Board at LAPD's Wilshire area station. 

Friday, police served warrants at both Hood, Inc. and the dispensary, and also at Obioha's home in the nearby Picfair neighborhood.

Obioha was initially taken into custody on a drug offense involving marijuana, then Friday evening was booked for murder at LAPD's Olympic Station, where West Bureau Homicide is based.

Booking records show bail level was set at $1 million, and he remains in custody awaiting arraignment.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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