<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:37:42 -0700 Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:37:42 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Counting Down to Crunch Time Near LAX]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:13:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/218*120/century+crunch+construction+loader.jpg

Drivers will need to avoid a major roadblock on trips to and from Los Angeles International Airport this weekend when "Century Crunch" closures begin, allowing construction crews can demolish a bridge at an intersection near one of the nation's busiest airports.

Beginning Friday at about 9 p.m., a stretch of Century Boulevard will be closed to demolish a railroad bridge near the LAX-adjacent street's intersection with Aviation Boulevard. The closure just east of the airport will require travelers -- many of whom usually exit the 405 Freeway at Century Boulevard -- to use detours.

The intersection is expected to remain closed until early Monday morning, bringing the potential for  heavier-than-usual traffic for airport-bound travelers and motorists in the Westchester area. Metro  officials said about 92,800 motorists travel through the Century/Aviation  intersection every day.

Metro officials will deploy a new $1.2 million mobile command center during this weekend's closure to help monitor traffic and better deploy resources. The high-tech command center, purchased in December with funding from  the Department of Homeland Security, will provide officials with real-time  operational information, according to Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project  Director Charles Beauvoir. Command center personnel work out of a converted black motorcoach that houses computers, phones and other equipment.

"We have six cameras, but we can take streaming feeds from a tablet or something like that," said Metro's Scott Norwood.

With Century Boulevard blocked, motorists heading toward LAX will be  diverted north on La Cienega Boulevard, west on Manchester Avenue, then south  on Airport Boulevard, back to Century. Motorists leaving LAX will take the same  detour in reverse.

Lanes will also be reduced on Aviation Boulevard during the demolition.

Metro officials also noted that once the bridge is demolished, Century  Boulevard will remain reduced by one lane in each direction for the next 16  months, leaving three lanes each way.

The bridge demolition will allow for a light rail station for the Crenshaw/LAX line, which will connect the Metro Green and Expo lines.

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<![CDATA[2 Kids Killed After Carjacking]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:20:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/carjackers+run+down+kids+fruit+stand.PNG

Two children are dead and three other people are in critical condition after carjackers ran down a group of people in North Philadelphia, police say.

The crash happened at Germantown and Allegheny Avenues around 11:15 a.m. on Friday in the Tioga section of the city, officials said.

Minutes before, police say two men carjacked a woman driving a white Toyota 4Runner at gunpoint at 6th Street and Huntington Avenue. That's about a mile from the crash scene.

Philadelphia Police Homicide Capt. James Clark said the men threw the victim in the back of the SUV and sped away.

For some unknown reason, the carjackers lost control of the SUV at the scene, jumped a curb and careened into the group of people standing at a fruit stand on the corner. The SUV then skidded across a grassy area and head-on into a tree.

Clark said a 10-year-old boy was killed at the scene. Another child, a girl whose age has not yet been released, was taken to Temple University Hospital and died.

A third boy remains hospitalized in critical condition along with two women. One of the adult victims is the SUV's owner who had been carjacked, Clark said. Detectives have been unable to speak with her as she remains unconscious.

Police originally said six people had been injured in all, but that number was clarified by Clark at an afternoon news conference.

Both suspects fled the scene on foot after the crash. Police are searching the area for them. One was wearing a white T-shirt and basketball shorts. Officers say he's armed with a gun. The other suspect is wearing an orange shirt and basketball shorts.

The city is offering a $40,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison is also asking any homeowners or businesses between the crash and carjacking scenes who have surveillance cameras to provide that video to investigators.

This is developing. Check back for updates.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Garcetti Meets With U.S. Olympics Committee]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:32:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/0613-olympics.jpg

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday traveled to Colorado Springs for a U.S. Olympics Committee briefing about the United States bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

Garcetti met with the USOC "o discuss how we can present the strongest possible bid for our nation," he said in a statement.

Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. are also in the running to be the U.S. bid. The four candidates were selected in June, the USOC said in a statement.

Sports executive Casey Wasserman and two LA officials accompanied Garcetti to represent the city.

The USOC will likely make a decision on whether or not to bid, and which city to select, in early 2015, the organization said.

A U.S. Olympics in 2024 would mark the first time the country has hosted the summer international competition since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Los Angeles has hosted the Summer Olympics twice before, in 1984 and 1932.

Host cities are required to provide at least 45,000 hotel rooms, an Olympic Village with rooms for 16,500 people and a 5,000-person capacity dining area and space for 15,000 media and broadcast representatives. The city must also have an international airport able to handle thousands of international travelers per day, public transportation to venues and roadway closures. 

City News Service contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Costumes of Comic-Con]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:31:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Costumes-Blurb-452626518-1.jpg Comic-Con wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for the fervent fans in outrageous and elaborate costumes and makeup. Here are some snapshots from the convention floor of those incredible costumes at 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Offer Coaching Job to Byron Scott: Report]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:21:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/byronscott.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers appear close to hiring a new head coach Friday, with reports that the team has offered the position to former Laker Byron Scott.

Scott won three titles as a Lakers player during the team's "Showtime" era with Magic Johnson. He played in the NBA for 14 seasons, most with the  Lakers.

ESPN reported that the Lakers verbally offered Scott the job Thursday, and that he and the team are in negotiations.

Scott was previously head coach of the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans  Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers. He led the Nets to the NBA Finals in back-to- back seasons. He was named NBA coach of the year in 2008 with the Hornets.

Scott has the endorsement of Lakers star Kobe Bryant. The two were teammates in 1996 during Bryant's rookie season.

The Lakers have been searching for a coach since the April resignation  of Mike D'Antoni, who led the team to a 67-87 record in just under two seasons. D'Antoni resigned at the end of April.


 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Parking Structure Partially Collapses at Housing Complex]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:50:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/226*120/collapse+underground+garage+century+city.jpg

At least two homes were evacuated and five vehicles were damaged Friday morning at a Century City housing complex after a collapse involving an underground parking structure in a construction area.

Fire-rescue personnel responded to the report in the 10000 block of West Galaxy Way. The partial collapse occurred when soil was moved by small excavators from one area of the site to atop a parking structure at the Century Hill townhome complex.

The weight of the dirt and lava rocks caused the partial collapse, according to fire officials.

No injuries were reported. A search-rescue dog combed the site for any possibly injured people.

Aerial video showed damage to the parking structure roof and what appeared to be a patio or balcony of one of the housing units.

"Huge planters of lemon trees and stuff, they all shifted over," a resident told NBC4. "There was a complete crack. The patio detached from the wall."

Two nearby residences were evacuated.

Five vehicles in the parking structure were damaged. A fire sprinkler pipe was severed when the structure collapsed, leaving water in the parking area.

Earlier reports indicated the collapse was caused by a large planter that dropped from a construction crane, but fire officials later revised the cause.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds Stranded at LAX After Canceled Flight]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:03:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Norweigan_LAX0725.JPG

Hundreds of passengers on a Norwegian Air Shuttle flight have been forced to sleep in the baggage claim area of LAX both Wednesday and Thursday night as they wait to board a flight that continues to be delayed.

Passengers tweeted their frustration and one named Kim called NBC4 to describe what had disgruntled her and many others awaiting the Los Angeles to London flight.

“I feel really terrible. I haven’t been able to shower or do anything,” passenger Susan Short of Bristol, England said.

Flight DY7096 was originally scheduled to take off on Wednesday night, but after four hours of sitting on the tarmac trying to fix a technical issue, the nearly 300 passengers were told to get off the plane, Short said.

“In the end they said they couldn’t do it,” passenger Kevin Webber of Bristol, England said. “They got everybody off the plane and back into the airport to sleep, because there’s no hotels apparently.”

Passengers were told that they could book their own hotels if they wanted to and they would be reimbursed. A few people found a nearby hotel, but most hotels near LAX were full. Those with family and friends in Southern California returned home, while many others didn’t know where to begin.

“Of course we didn’t know what to do. Our phones were dead, we didn’t know where to go, we didn’t know any hotels so we had to spent the night here (at LAX),” Short said.

For Adriana Garcia, 28, of Bell, the delay was putting a damper on her vacation plans before they had even begun. It was her first time flying with Norwegian.

"This is a total learning experience," Garcia said. "They need to improve their professionalism, they need to improve their communication."

Garcia said she and her high school friends have been planning this trip -- a Disney cruise starting in Barcelona -- more than a year ago. The group of friends had hoped to arrive in London, then fly into Barcelona a few days early and shake off the jet lag. Now Garcia said she just wants to get to the port before the cruise sets sail Friday afternoon, UTC.

“Now we’re just going to be jumping into the time change," Garcia said.

The canceled flight was rescheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday night, but was then delayed an hour, Short said. That flight was later canceled due to a computer-related issue, Short said.

Passengers told NBC4 they had to wait an hour to two hours for the bags from baggage claim before they could return to their makeshift beds on the airport floor.

“This is a nightmare,” Short said. “One night was bad enough and the second is terrible.”

Garcia didn't recieve her bags from the airline, and instead slept around her friends to keep her warm, she said.

Webber claims “nobody” from LAX or Norwegian Air is telling him or the other passengers “anything”.

“All we’re getting is texts from the company and flashes on the poster board, but we don’t believe that anyway,” said Webber.

The flight was then rescheduled to leave 9 a.m. Friday, but it has now been delayed until 12:30 p.m.

As of 9:30 a.m., passengers reported that no one appeared to be working the check-in area.

“We’ve got no real plans, we’re in the hands of the company and the airport,” Webber said. “We can’t drive home, it’s too far to England.”

Norwegian Air Shuttle started flying between the United States and Europe on July 3. The self-proclaimed low-cost carrier has been having problems since the initial launch.

“It was cheaper, but I don’t think I’d bother again,” Short said.

Many travelers have been tweeting to the airline to voice their complaints. 

Norwegian Air has been responding to passenger tweets, as can be seen on their Twitter page

NBC4 reached out to Norwegian Air for comment, but had not heard back at the time of publication.

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<![CDATA[Authorities Rescue Kids Injured While Hiking in Malibu]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:36:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/malibu+hiker+rescue+copy.jpg

Two 12-year-old hikers in the Tapia Park area of Malibu were rescued by helicopter after suffering minor injuries Friday morning.

Reports of a person suffering from heat exhaustion and another with an ankle injury were made around 9:10 a.m.

Aerial footage showed at least one person being airlifted while rescuers tended to about five hikers on the side of a mountain. The injured hikers were from Ventura and Santa Maria, officials said.

Hikers were reminded to “drink lots of water” in a tweet from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Refresh for updates.

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<![CDATA[Man Killed in Officer-Involved Shooting]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:53:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/ois+van+nuys+shooting.jpg

A man in his 20s was dead after an officer-involved shooting early Friday morning in Van Nuys, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The altercation occurred on the 6700 block of Hayvenhurst Avenue.

Police received a call about a man causing a disturbance that possibly involved vandalism. Upon arrival, officers tried to detain the man but police said that didn't work. One officer ended up shooting the man.

No officers were hit by gunfire. It was unclear whether the man was armed.

Residents in the area said they heard an argument, multiple gunshots and then police sirens.

According to the LAPD, police called for backup around 3:30 a.m.

As of 5 a.m. Friday, several officers and patrol vehicles remained in the area. NBC4's Kate Larsen observed 12 patrol units and at least 16 police officers.

It was unclear what led to the officer-involved shooting, but police said the man was throwing rocks before the shooting. Police did not say what he was throwing rocks at.

"A rock can be a very deadly weapon," Sgt. Albert Gonzalez said.

An investigation into the shooting was underway as police tried to determine whether deadly force was justified.

Oleevia Woo and Andrew Lopez contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Church Member Behind Porcelain Dolls Outside Homes]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:00:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/San+Clemente+doll+4+%282%29.jpg

A Southern California woman who attends her Orange County community's church decided to clear out her doll collection and surprise her neighbors with the dolls, leaving some residents stumped and "disturbed" by a resemblance to some neighborhood children.

The slew of deliveries began July 16 with at least eight San Clemente families finding porcelain dolls on their doorsteps.

While residents said they felt creeped out and "disturbed" over fears someone was trying to scare the Talega neighborhood of San Clemente, investigators learned Thursday night that the woman's intentions were pure.

"The woman attended church with many of the impacted families," Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said.

The woman said she was clearing out an old doll collection and thought of some young girls in the neighborhood who might enjoy them, Hallock said.

It was not clear why the woman did not leave a note or tell the residents about the dolls.

Earlier Thursday, residents said they were afraid of the reason behind the toys.

"I'm actually thinking the worst, like someone creepy watching our children and I'm actually pretty scared about it," resident Mary Robin Baziak said. "(Someone) found a China doll on her stop that looked like her daughter."

"It's really creepy and disturbing. As a mom with a daughter, it freaks me out," another neighbor said. "Hopefully it's a prank and not someone with very bad motives."

Christina Cocca contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Californians Most Worried About the Drought: Survey]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:58:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/450822246.jpg

The people have spoken: they're worried about water.

Most of them are, anyway.

The biggest environmental concern for Californians is now the drought, according to a poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Fifty-four percent of people who responded to the poll said the drought has them on edge, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. That's compared to 25 percent of people who said that air pollution is still the worst thing in the environment.

There are 21 percent of people who remain unfazed, saying that the drought -- the three driest years on record in California -- are not an issue, the newspaper reported.

In Los Angeles -- where water users increased their consumption by eight percent this year -- only half of respondents said water was an issue, the newspaper reported.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dies After Being Attacked While Protecting Child]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:39:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Generic+Police+Tape+Generic.JPG

A 57-year-old man has died after he was confronted by an attacker while he tried to protect a young child, according to police.

Gabriel Ortega was at a restaurant on the 1400 block of Vine Street in Hollywood around 9:30 p.m. on July 14 when he saw a man yelling at a child.

The attacker reportedly clenched his fist and walked toward the child. Ortega then stepped in front of the child to act as a shield and told the attacker to leave the kid alone, police said.

The man then started punching Ortega. He then fled the scene, authorities said.

Ortega checked himself into the hospital on July 17, three days after the attack. He died as a result of the altercation, a coroner determining that Ortega’s cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Police are looking for the attacker. A detailed description was not immediately available.

City News Service contributed to this article.

 



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Donna Jou's Mom Addresses Convicted Killer's Release]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:41:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/224*120/jou+mother.JPG

A man who served time in connection with the 2007 disappearance of 19-year-old San Diego State University student Donna Jou was released from prison Thursday, a day Jou’s family had been dreading.

Jou disappeared on June 23, 2007. Her mother last saw her getting on a motorcycle with John Steven Burgess, a registered sex offender who had answered an ad for math tutoring from the San Diego State University student.

"She said I love you, bye," Donna Jou's mother Nili Jou recalled.

Burgess pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 2009 and claimed that while he and Jou were partying, he gave her cocaine and heroin. Burgess said that Jou overdosed on drugs and when he found her dead, he panicked and dumped her body in the ocean. Jou’s body was never found.

"He got away with the murder," Nili Jou said.

Burgess served two and a half years of a five year sentence and was paroled. After his release in 2012, he placed a Craigslist ad looking for a roommate. Two women who answered his ad and discovered his identity contacted authorities, who found drugs and ammunition at his residence – a violation of his parole.

"Every time he is in and out, you know, it means the system is not working," Nili Jou said.

Burgess returned to prison after violating parole. He was released Thursday and now has until Monday to report to the Los Angeles County Probation Department where he will be equipped by a GPS tracking system because of his standing as a sex offender.

Nili Jou wants to make sure people are aware of Burgess’ presence. She said that she plans to have flyers made and spread in the neighborhood he lives. Because of Megan’s Law, his exact address will be made public.

"I'm afraid and I'm sure he’s going to do it again," Nili Jou said.

Nili Jou said she goes to bed looking at a photo of her daughter and says the photo is also “the first thing” she wakes up to every morning. Despite the seven years that have passed since Donna Jou’s disappearance, her mother is still hopeful.

"I don't think it’s ignorant or denial or anything like that, but my heart tells me she is still alive somewhere," Nili Jou said.

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<![CDATA[2 Florida Girls Arrested for Torturing Rare Tortoise]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:39:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/071714+gopher+tortoise+torture.jpg

Two teen girls accused of lighting a threatened gopher tortoise on fire and stomping it to death in a videotaped incident have been arrested, authorities said Friday.

Jennifer Emoke Green, 18 and a 15-year-old girl are facing charges of felony cruelty to animals and taking harassing and killing a gopher tortoise, a second-degree misdemeanor, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.

Videos posted on Facebook showed the Orange Park girls dousing the tortoise with a flammable fluid and laughing as the creature tries to get away from the flames.
 
A second video shows one of the girls stomping on the animal until its shell breaks and it's dead.

The FWC received a tip about the incident on July 15 and worked with the State Attorney’s Office of the Fourth Judicial Circuit in the investigation.

"We take these issues very seriously," Col. Calvin Adams, director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement, said in a statement. "We appreciated the help from the public and our partners in working to protect our valuable natural resources."

Green faces up to five years in prison plus up to 60 days in jail and or a $500 fine on the misdemeanor charge. The 15-year-old is being prosecuted in the juvenile system.



Photo Credit: Facebook.com/MyFWC]]>
<![CDATA[Madonna Badger Marries Friend]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:44:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/92958372.jpg

Madonna Badger celebrated a moment of joy earlier this week when she and a college friend got married in New York.

William Duke has been one of the many people to stand by Badger and help her over the two and a half years since a devastating fire in Stamford took the lives of her three daughters and her parents.

The couple got married on Tuesday, according to Badger’s Facebook page

Badger suffered a terrible tragedy on Christmas morning in 2011, when fire spread through the Stamford home.

Her three daughters, 10-year-old Lily and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah, as well as her parents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, were killed.

Over the last couple of years, Badger has publicly shared her story of devastating grief and healing

In November 2013, Badger wrote a column for Vogue Magazine, and said Duke was one of the many friends who made sure she was not alone as she began to deal with the life-altering tragedy.

Over time, they fell in love. On Tuesday, they eloped.

Badger’s Facebook page is filled with well wishes and messages of congratulations. 
 



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Worker Stole Items From Military]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:27:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/James-Matthews.jpg

An employee at O’Hare International Airport was charged with theft after he allegedly stole items from military foot lockers that were meant to be shipped overseas.

James Matthews, 41, of Sauk Village, Illinois, was charged with two felony counts of theft, police announced early Friday.

Chicago police officers and the U.S. Postal Service Inspector saw Matthews taking mail, a military foot locker that contained a laptop, and other stolen items from flights to the post office just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

He is scheduled to appear in bond court Friday.



Photo Credit: Chicago Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[McConaughey Makes Surprise Comic-Con Visit]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:43:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/452624060.jpg

Celebrity surprises are part of the fun each year at Comic-Con and that proved to be the case Thursday when Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made an unannounced appearance at the massive event.

The A-lister and director Christopher Nolan delighted fans when they made a surprise drop into Comic-Con, specifically Hall H.

The pair spoke on stage during the Paramount Studios presentation in the exhibit hall at the San Diego Convention Center and showed a new trailer for their film “Interstellar,” according to a report from TIME, as well as snapshots from Getty Images.

“By far, this is the most ambitious film that Christopher Nolan has ever directed,” said McCoughnahey.
“Interstellar” hits theaters on November 7 and also stars Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastaine.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bonds Supporters Launch Campaign to Build "Barry Bronze" Statue]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:39:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP954965539457.jpg

Barry Bonds fans are pushing for a "Barry Bronze," an eight-foot statue in honor of the controversial former slugger.

Supporters launched a Kickstarter campaign Thursday and need $60,000 for the project. Organizers said they have a sculptor lined up ready to create the proposed bronze statue. As of Thursday night, they have raised just about $5,400.

No word yet on where this possible statue would be placed.

Among the rewards offered to those who pledge: for $125, a chance to “vote on the pose we choose for Barry Bronze - Fingers to the sky? Home run swing? You make the call! (Plus t-shirt, sticker & pin)”

The organizer said he came up with the idea after the former San Francisco Giants left fielder was not inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sharp Fined $100K for Patient Who Fell Off Table]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:40:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Hospital+generic+722.jpg

The state has fined Sharp Memorial Hospital $100,000 after a patient fell off a table and fractured her back during a procedure.

The incident happened in 2012, according to a report from the California Department of Public Health released Thursday. Read the full report here

The patient, a 73-year-old woman who was bedridden at a long-term care facility, came to Sharp Memorial Hospital for stomach pain, according to the report. She suffered from multiple medical conditions, including respiratory and cardiovascular problems, kidney disease, morbid obesity and involuntary muscle movement.

As the doctor tried to insert a catheter, the patient fell off the table and onto the floor, the report said. The woman fractured a vertebra and had to have surgery on her spine.

The doctor told the state he assumed the patient was secured to the table. In reality, the Interventional Radiology (IR) department did not have straps large enough for the obese woman, according to the report.

Sharp has made several changes since the accident. The IR department has purchased straps to accommodate larger patients and developed a new process to assess a patient’s Body Mass Index before a procedure, the report said.

The state fined seven other hospitals in this latest round of penalties, totaling $775,000. They include Southwest Healthcare in Murrieta, Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Riverside, Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Anaheim, Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino and St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley.

This is Sharp Memorial Hospital’s fifth administrative penalty from the state.

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<![CDATA[SJ Cops Accused of Excessive Force, Beating Teacher]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:36:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/0724-2014-SJ-excess.jpg

A San Diego teacher has filed a complaint against the San Jose Police Department and claims cops used excessive force on him during an incident at San Jose State University.

The alleged victim, Nathaniel Howard, was recently in San Jose giving a commencement speech at the university. Howard said the alleged incident started when he asked police why they were frisking his friend, who had been stopped for urinating in public.

When he continued to ask police questions, Howard claims cops threw him to the ground.

"I was shoved, thrown to the ground, and beaten," he said.

The May 24 incident was caught on cell phone video, which appears to show Howard being thrown to the ground and beat by cops using a baton.

"It's been tragic," Howard said. "I've had a lot of trauma. I've cried my tears."

San Jose police provided the following statement regarding the incident:

"The Department has been proactive since we were made aware of the incident. We are conductive and administrative inquiry and will identify any training issues. We want our employees to know our policies and understand our expectations. Additionally, we are conducting outreach within the community, specifically at SJSU."

Howard, who is worried nothing would come out of that investigation, approached the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco. The group has filed a formal complaint against police department on Howard's behalf, and seek a public apology and better training of officers.

Joanna Cuevas Ingram, an attorney with the civil right committee, said Howard is concerned there will be no discipline for the officers who allegedly attacked him.

Between 2010 and 2013, there have been 463 allegations of excessive force investigated and closed by San Jose's internal affairs department. Officials determined only one of those complains is sustainable.

San Jose's independent police auditor will review the results of the internal affairs investigation into Howard's case. Once the review is completed, the auditor will make a recommendation.

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<![CDATA[Ex-SFSU Professor Accused of Filming Students in Bathroom]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:36:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/07-24-2014-landis.jpg

A former San Francisco State University professor is accused of filming students while they used the bathroom at his home, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

Mark Landis, 38, was arrested Wednesday and faces 15 counts of invasion of privacy, a misdemeanor. He is currently out of custody after posting $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.

The district attorney's office said Landis would invite students from San Francisco State University and University of San Francisco to his 17th Street apartment.

"Obviously they were shocked by this behavior," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said of the victims. "It was so unexpected and you feel such an invasion of your privacy."

Officials said there are 15 victims, both male and female and all former or current students from SFSU and USF. Gascon said investigators believe there may be more victims.

In November 2013, a student visiting Landis at his apartment noticed a flashing light in the bathroom when they reached for a tissue, officials said. The student looked inside the tissue box and found a camera.

The student took the camera's memory card home and discovered videos and pictures, officials said. The student then brought the memory card to police.

San Francisco State University spokesperson Adrianne Bee said Landis resigned from his post on July 18. He had been an employee of the university, where he taught as an associate professor in the College of Business, since August 2006.

Landis also taught classes at the University of San Francisco for two years.

 

NBC Bay Area's Jean Elle and Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Women Convicted in Nightclub Beating Death]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:43:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/01-santaana.jpg

Two women were convicted of voluntary manslaughter Thursday in the beating death of a 23-year-old woman outside a Santa Ana nightclub.

Vanesa Tapia Zavala, 26, and Candace Marie Brito, 27, were also found guilty of assault with force to produce great bodily injury in Annie Hung "Kim" Pham's fatal beating, but were acquitted of felony second-degree murder.

They each face up to 11 years in prison.

The two are accused of killing Pham by kicking her in the head as she was on the ground fighting their friend outside the Crosby Restaurant and Nightclub on Jan. 19, officials said.

Friends of Pham told police that three women attacked her without provocation after the two groups bumped into each other outside the nightclub. Another witness said Pham instigated the fight by shouting obscenities and throwing the first punch after she and her friends bumped into another group exiting the bar.

Portions of the attack were captured on cellphone video as the victim's friends and a security guard unsuccessfully attempted to intervene, officials said.

Pham was hospitalized after the attack and taken off life support Jan. 21.

 

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<![CDATA[Casino Tour Buses Draw Neighborhood Ire]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:01:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/casino+bus.PNG

Community leaders in two Los Angeles neighborhoods demanded that the city do something about tour buses that have for years been picking up and dropping off passengers along a busy street.

"I have received many complaints from residents, business owners, senior citizens and even drivers (about the buses)," said Scott Suh, president of the Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council.

Suh, who does not know which company operates the buses, said as many as 30 buses in an hour stop along the busy Olympic Boulevard, between Western and Vermont avenues. There, the buses pick up passengers and take them to casinos in Southern California or Las Vegas.

Passenger Ephraim Salud told NBC4 the bus merely stops in the neighborhood to load and leaves within five minutes.

But Suh said the buses sometimes stay for hours, cause traffic, take up precious parking spaces, while passengers are disruptive to the neighborhood.

"The passengers are coming from outside Koreatown," Suh said. "They park their cars there while waiting for buses, eat, throw away trash, urinate in the neighborhood. It impacts residents and businesses."

He and Pico Union Neighborhood Council President Mark Lee said at a press conference Thursday that locals have been complaining about the buses for years.

In 2006, the city wrote a letter promising to designate a parking area for the buses, they said, but nothing has been done.

"Olympic Boulevard is not a parking space and passenger pickup spot," Suh said. "If they want to transport their passengers, they should have a specific location where they pay taxes to the city, an official location. Greyhound buses don't come park their buses on our streets, because it's illegal."

The security manager at the Koreatown Galleria shopping plaza on Olympic Boulevard provided surveillance video showing buses stopping by red-zone sidewalks to load and unload passengers.

"They use our restrooms, they make restrooms so dirty," Jose Alzaga, a Galleria security guard said. "They try to shave inside, some people try to take a shower inside."

The neighborhoods fall in LA City Councilman Herb Wesson's district. A spokeperson for the councilman said Wesson's office is aware of the problem and plans to meet with police and transportation officials to increase enforcement.



Photo Credit: Hetty Chang]]>
<![CDATA[USC Graduate Student Found Dead After Attack]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:42:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/usc+student+xinran+ji1.JPG

A USC graduate student was found dead Thursday morning after he was attacked by three people as he walked home from an off-campus study group hours earlier, police said.

The 24-year-old student was attacked about 12:45 a.m. when he was "struck with an unknown blunt object," Los Angeles police said Thursday afternoon.

After the attack near 29th Street and Orchard Avenue, the student was able to walk home, leaving a trail of blood to his apartment about a block from the USC campus. His roommate found him dead inside about 7 a.m., police said.

He was identified by USC as Xinran Ji, whose family is in China. USC officials said they had spoken with the victim's family and they are making arrangements for them to travel to Los Angeles.

The campus community was on edge as they tried to figure out what happened to a fellow student.

"I live on the same floor that they found the body," one student said. "I still don't want to go back. I haven't been back to my apartment all day."

In a letter to the USC community, school officials said the engineering and graduate student died at his apartment north of the campus, near 30th Street and Vermont Avenue.

"Mr. Ji joined the school in the Fall of 2013 and was a beloved member of the Viterbi community and the Trojan Family," USC Dean Yannis C. Yortsos said in a statement. "As a Dean and Professor but also as a Viterbi parent, this news hits me very deeply."

School officials said there was no apparent threat to the campus community, but students were still concerned.

"It certainly raises questions about student safety," student Anshu Siripurapu said. "You're usually not out of, you know, eyesight of a private security officer, which is why it's shocking that this happened here and there haven't been any witnesses. It definitely has shaken my confidence a bit."

Police said they do not yet know a motive in the attack and are gathering security footage from the area. Investigators said they are searching for a dark colored compact sedan.

Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Xinran Ji/LinkedIn]]>
<![CDATA[Celebs Expected at Comic-Con 2014]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:29:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NUP_159097_0271.JPG San Diego Comic-Con International 2014 runs from July 24-27 at downtown's San Diego Convention Center. As usual, the pop culture extravaganza will be packed with celebrities from both film and television. Here are just a few of the celebs expected to attend this year.

Photo Credit: Rodolfo Martinez/NBC]]>
<![CDATA[One Killed in Fiery Crash on 118 Freeway]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:28:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/226*120/118crashjuly24.JPG

At least one person was killed Thursday night when a stalled car was rear-ended and burst into flames on a Southern California freeway, officials said.

The crash was reported about 8:50 p.m. on the Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway in Granada Hills, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The stalled car was near Reseda Boulevard when it was struck, killing its driver, officials said.

All westbound lanes of the 118 Freeway remained closed as of 11 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol. The lanes reopened just after midnight Friday.

Additional details about the crash were not immediately clear.



Photo Credit: LLN]]>
<![CDATA[School Board Member "Shocked" by Sex Crimes Charges]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 04:49:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/fisher4.JPG

A Compton School District board member was released Thursday after being arrested one day earlier amid accusations he had oral sex with a minor, officials said. 

Skyy Fisher, 31, was taken into custody at his job in downtown Los Angeles and held at a jail in San Diego before being released, officials said.

"I'm shocked, shocked. It was very hard when I found that's what the charge was," Fisher said in an interview Thursday with NBC4. "It's very stressful for me, but my main goal is to defend my name."

Fisher said the case began in early June but gave no specifics. His lawyer disputed the allegations.

"(There was) nothing involving any type of oral copulation of any kind on the part of my client. That's why we requested reports to just find out," Fisher's attorney Maryetta Marks said. "We knew nothing about any arrest warrant. I received a call from Mr. Fisher telling me he had been arrested."

Fisher was elected to the school board on Nov. 8, 2011, and is the youngest member elected.

"It's just very difficult to understand and think back, you know, what happened, did anything ... who have I been around, things like that, who's in my circle of friends and are they really my friends?" Fisher said.

In 2012, he was arrested on suspicion of driving intoxicated and made national headlines after using a homophobic slur to refer to Trayvon Martin in a podcast, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Fisher is due back in a San Diego court July 31.

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<![CDATA[Hospital Shooting Suspect "Abusive"]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:51:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/191*120/RICHARD+PLOTTS.JPG

He's been called abusive by his ex-wife and crazy by his neighbors, and he's even served time for a Delaware bank robbery. But the latest crime Richard Plotts, 49, of Upper Darby, is accused of committing left his case worker dead, a doctor wounded and himself fighting for his life.

Police say Plotts opened fire Thursday in the psychiatric unit at the Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center in Darby, killing his 53-year-old case worker and wounding a doctor who fired back, critically injuring Plotts. He is in critical condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

"It doesn't surprise me at all," said former Crum Lynne neighbor Diane Clements. "He was a creep."

That's one of the nicer things said about Plotts.

His ex-wife, who asked to remain anonymous, told NBC10 her ex-husband was abusive, made threats on her life and acted violently toward her family.

"He was violent, physically and mentally," Plotts' ex said. "He has threatened to kill me. He's been violent to my family — parents, siblings — and he's just never been a very good person."

The couple's divorced was finalized in 1999, while Plotts served six years in prison for a Delaware bank robbery four years earlier.

While serving the remainder of his sentenced for the robbery -- three years supervised release -- he was arrested for possession of a firearm. His release was revoked and he was sent back to prison.

He was also arrested in the early 90s for trying to make a purchase at a John Wanamaker store with a stolen credit card, according to court records.

"He's a con artist," said his ex-wife. "He has psychiatric issues."

She did not elaborate on what those issues were, and details on his mental health were not immediately available.

"He was a goofball. He was crazy, and he had a girlfriend, and we used to hear him beating that girl up," Clements said.

Plotts was evicted from his home in the Kenneth House Apartments on West Chester Pike in Upper Darby about six months ago, according to a building maintenance man.

Cathy Nickels, his neighbor there, recalled the contentious way Plotts left after his eviction.

"As he was taken away in a van," she said, "he yelled, 'You haven't heard the end of me yet.'"



Photo Credit: Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Bus Rider Terrified]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:17:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*214/Busdrivertextspeed1.JPG Woman captures on cellphone what appears to be bus driver texting on his phone, with his speedometer pegged north of 80 mph.]]> <![CDATA[Dead Intruder Who Said She Was Pregnant ID'd]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:36:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LB+Intruder+Female+Solo+2.jpg

Police on Thursday identified a suspected burglar who told a homeowner she was pregnant before he fatally shot her outside his home in Long Beach.

Tom Greer appeared to have no regret when he told NBC4 Wednesday night that he shot the woman twice in the back with his .22-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver as she was fleeing with a male accomplice.

The woman was identified as Andrea Miller, 28, from Long Beach. The male suspect was identified as Gus Adams, 26, of Long Beach. Adams was booked into jail on a robbery and murder charge, Long Beach police said in a press release.

"She says, 'Don't shoot me, I'm pregnant -- I'm going to have a baby.' And I shot her anyway," Greer said. "The lady didn't run as fast as the man so I shot her in the back twice, she's dead ... but he got away."

There was no immediate confirmation of the pregnancy, but the Los Angeles County coroner's office planned to perform an autopsy on the woman on Friday, said Ed Winter, of the coroner's office.

Long Beach police said they are investigating whether Greer should face charges for Tuesday night's shooting in the 3900 block of Country Club Drive.

Even though the woman was running away, Greer said he regards what he did as self-defense.

He said he arrived at home Tuesday night to find a couple in the middle of a late-night break-in when they attacked him.

"When I went in there, they tackled me," Greer told NBC4. "Both of them jumped up on top of me."

At one point, Miller stopped hitting Greer to help Adams break into a safe, police said.

While the suspects ransacked his home, Greer got his gun from another room, returned to confront them and fired his gun while they were still inside his house, police said.

Both suspects ran out, making off with items taken during the burglary. Greer followed them as they ran out and fired again.

Miller was struck by gunfire, fell in the alley, and died, authorities said. Adams got away, but was captured later.

The surviving suspect was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of residential burglary and murder, McDonnell said. The murder charge, which will be considered by the district attorney, is possible because Adams is accused of being involved in a felony that led to a death, McDonnell said. 

It was not immediately clear whether Adams hired an attorney.

Greer told detectives he believes the suspects broke into his home and stole cash and property three times before, police said. Greer's estranged wife, Dorothy, said on Thursday one of the burglaries happened while she was at home. She saw her jewelry stolen.

But she never expected such violence.

"It's scary," she said. "Either way it goes, it's scary. It was just a bad situation, all the way around."

Greer was treated at a hospital Wednesday for a severe shoulder and collarbone injury.



Photo Credit: Long Beach Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Vaccines for Children Ahead of New School Year]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:01:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/new+measles+photo.jpg

As a new report from the Center for Disease Control found more parents are getting their children vaccinated, here is what parents should know about vaccines and exams while the new school year approaches.

Needed vaccines:

  • Polio: Three to four doses
  • DTP: Three to five doses
  • Booster shot: One dose after age 7
  • MMR: One to two doses
  • Hepatitis B: Three doses after age 4
  • Varicella (chickenpox): One dose
  • HPV: Before sexually active, no later than 14
  • Meningitis: College age

Tuberculosis: Testing sometimes necessary

Needed exams:

  • First general exam: 18 months 90 days after entering school
  • Vision, hearing and dental exams
  • Developmental exams and cholesterol testing
  • Sugar test
  • Blood and urine test
  • Blood pressure test

 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sweltering Triple-Digit Heat Doesn't Keep People Indoors]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:10:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pasadenaheathottestday.JPG

Temperatures in Los Angeles County did not fall short on the hottest day of the year, but that didn't stop people from enjoying the outdoors Thursday.

Around the Pasadena Rose Bowl loop this morning, joggers, bikers and walkers attempted to beat the inevitable high temps.

"I'm drenched in sweat," Nicole Deweese said. "Its gonna be a really hot day today."

Although no temperature records were broken, the mercury kissed the century mark in several Southern California cities.

The mercury nearly hit 100 degrees in Pasadena, and in other places it blew past. Desert areas were well above 100. Palm Springs was 115 degrees. The coolest spot was Avalon on Catalina Island at 77 degrees.

Hannah Franco, 14, was not intimidated by the heat. She ran laps with her cross country team around the Rose Bowl Loop and wasn't sweating the weather.

"We did about 3 miles and then we're going to go do our workouts right now," Franco said.

Junior golfers teeing it up at the nearby Brookside Golf Club had no problems working on their stroke.

"I'm just used to the heat so it's not very hot," said Hailey Tellez, who was participating in the Junior Olympics of Golf. 

Temperatures in the valleys are expected to stay in the 100s though next week, the LA Basin will stay in the high to mid 80s and the coastal areas in the high 70s.

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<![CDATA[Sick Boy Becomes Cop for a Day]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:35:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Adam-Broderson.jpg

One suburban Chicago police department had a new top cop on Wednesday.

Adam Broderson -- a 7-year-old boy with a heart defect -- was named sergeant by the Buffalo Grove Police Department for a day, and got to hang out with the other members of the force.

Adam dreams of one day growing up to be a police officer, but has already had to tough out several surgeries during his short life due to a rare heart condition that left him with only one working ventricle.

His day on the force was a surprise, and the young boy suited up for SWAT training, patrolled the village with his partner and even got to catch a bad guy in a simulated arrest.

He even got to train at the shooting range, which wasn't the favorite part of his day because of the noise.

The police department set up Adam's special day after seeing a letter he wrote in school.

Adam's parents say after suffering through three major heart surgeries, getting to live out his dream was the chance of a lifetime.

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<![CDATA[Man Hanged Dog, Set House Fire: PD]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:24:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Fire-Generic.jpg

A New Jersey man allegedly involved in a domestic dispute hanged his family dog before setting fire to his home, police say.

The Press of Atlantic City reports that 29-year-old Janrv Bacolod is accused of using an accelerant and setting fire to several parts of his Holly Street home in Mays Landing last Friday.

Several cats inside the home were killed, according to The Press of AC.

Prior to setting the blaze, police say Bacolod hanged his dog.

Police records show that the suspect's estranged wife had a restraining order against him. They say he violated that order when he called her at work and threatened her.

Bacolod is being held on $100,000 bail, according to the paper.

 



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Bus Rider: "I Was Terrified for My Safety"]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:29:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bussafety.JPG

Jinal is terrified to fly.

"I'm one of those people that has to get a Xanax, prescribed to me so I can get on an airplane," she says.

So when her childhood friend was getting married in Las Vegas, Jinal thought taking an American Lion bus from Los Angeles was a good idea. Now she says she couldn't have been more wrong. She spoke to us on the condition we would not use her last name.

"I was terrified for my safety the whole time," Jinal said. She says the ride back to Los Angeles was nightmarish, as she described a scene where her driver was texting and talking repeatedly on his phone, all without a hands free device. "He's taking calls and making calls," says Jinal, all while swerving through traffic.

"I'm thinking I'm probably going to die."

So she reached for her phone and began clicking off photographs. One appears to show the driver texting on his phone, with his speedometer pegged north of 80 mph. Another appears to show the driver looking at some paperwork. She says she was directly behind the driver and was shocked at what she was witnessing. " He's taking both hands off the wheel ..and he's looking at the paperwork while he's driving.

It was enough for her to send the pictures to the NBC4 I-Team. We began investigating. So did the California Highway Patrol, who inspects buses.

The CHP inspection of American Lion was obtained by the NBC4 I-Team. It shows three of the company's buses were taken off the road because of serious violations. One of the buses was cited for violations with its brakes, while all were cited for what the CHP calls an "exhaust condition. Shawn Ripley of the CHP says exhaust fumes were leaking into the passenger compartments of the buses.

"We found some safety deficiencies," says Ripley. "We were concerned."

The CHP gave American Lion 120 days to fix the violations or face being shut down.

This all comes as the NBC4 I-team exposed a number of safety violations in a number of bus companies. From poor maintenance, to distracted driving, the violations have led both the CHP and the federal Department of Transportation to crack down on a number of companies found out of compliance with state and federal regulations.

American Lion manager Maria Carillo says her company had received other complaints about Jinal's driver, and that he has been fired. She also tells us her company has already addressed most of the problems pointed out in the CHP inspection.

Jinal says that's exactly what she wants. "I want them to either review their practices or be shut down before they get people killed.

NBC4's Joel Grover and Phil Drechsler contibuted to this report.

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<![CDATA[Husband Killed Rookie Cop, Burned Home in Cover-Up Attempt: Police]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:57:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LAURA-PEREZ3.jpg

A California man is in custody, accused in the death of his wife, who was a young mother and rookie Escondido Police officer.

According to Murrieta Police, Freddy Perez-Rodas told homicide investigators Thursday that he killed Officer Laura Perez and burned their home in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Hours earlier, firefighters arrived at the couple’s home on Grand Oaks Court for a house fire. It was just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and fire crews found no victims inside the home. When they responded to the fire, they did find Rodas, who reported that his wife was inside.

Fire investigators responded and "it was determined to be an arson immediately," said Murrietta Police Lt. Tony Conrad.

In addition to determining it was an arson, investigators discovered it was the same address connected to a missing person, 25-year-old Laura Perez.

Less than two hours later, homicide investigators arrested Perez-Rodas who had reported the house fire.

It was during questioning early Thursday that investigators learned the slain Escondido officer had been shot in the chest three times, her body moved to a storage locker in Moreno Valley.

Investigators were at All-Size Storage in Moreno Valley early Thursday morning and had closed off the business until 3 p.m.

Officials said that after Perez-Rodas led investigators to his wife’s body, he was booked on charges of murder, arson and child endangerment.

The couple has a 4-year-old child who was not injured, officials said.

Investigators also said they had recovered the weapon used in the alleged crime.

Laura Perez joined the Escondido Police Department in October 2013. The department had a flag-lowering ceremony in her honor Thursday evening.

Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter described Perez as "a wonderful officer who had a bright future."

"It's never an easy thing. We're going to be one day at a time, " Carter said. "I'm encouraging officers to remember we're here for the victim, which in this case is Laura. For every Laura, there's hundreds out there and we need to continue to do our job."

A department spokesperson said Perez' death is the first violent death of an Escondido police officer on the job or off duty.

Chief Carter will speak  at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Escondido Police Fire and Headquarters in the community room. NBC 7 will live stream the news conference.

Download the free NBC 7 mobile app to get alerts for updates on this developing story.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7 ]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Found Dead in La Habra ID'd]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:49:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/la+habra+body+found+2.JPG

Police on Thursday identified the woman who was found dead in the bushes behind a La Habra neighborhood carport earlier this week.

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

The victim was identified as Emma Posadas Espinoza, 58, of Lompoc, police said. Her cause of death was not yet released.

Police are now searching for Espinoza's car, which may be a white, four-door 2013 Acura ILX with license plate #7EDU040.

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

Anyone with information should call La Habra police at 562-383-4300.
 

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<![CDATA[President Obama Talks Middle Class at LA College]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:28:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/lax+obama+af+1.jpg

President Barack Obama focused on the economy, jobs and growing the middle class during a speech at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College on Thursday as he wrapped up a 24-hour visit to Los Angeles.

While speaking to the college-aged crowd, Obama took swipes at Congress for not helping middle-class Americans' quality of life.

"The hardest thing in politics is to change a stubborn status quo," Obama said.

Obama started his day at a fundraiser at the Brentwood home of Michael Rapino, the CEO of concert promotion behemoth Live Nation, according to City News Service. The cost for a ticket to the roundtable discussion was a hefty one, reaching $32,4000, the maximum allowable contribution to a national party in a calendar year.

Read: Obamas Buying $4.25 Million Home in California's Rancho Mirage: Report

Following the fundraiser, Obama made a surprise stop at Canter's Deli in the Fairfax area. There he met with four people who wrote him letters, according to the White House.

The president spoke at the  Los Angeles Trade-Technical College in South Los Angeles because it was awarded a Department of Labor skills training grant, which funds projects that train workers to obtain or upgrade employment in high-growth sectors.

Pro-immigration and pro-Palestinian groups were expected to protest outside the college campus, calling for an end to deportations of immigrants, the creation of a Palestinian state and for the U.S. to demand Israel end attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Southern California is the last stop on Obama's three-day West Coast trip, which began Tuesday in Seattle. Obama began Wednesday in San Francisco, where he attended a morning fundraiser benefiting the House Majority Political Action Committee, before arriving at Los Angeles International Airport around 3 p.m.

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Once in LA, Obama stopped in Hancock Park at the home of television producer Shonda Rhimes for a DNC fundraising reception.

Obama is expected to head back to Washington, D.C. following after his speech. Until then, Southland residents could expect traffic delays.

Drivers were urged to avoid the following areas:

  • Beverly Boulevard and North Doheny Drive from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Grand Avenue and West Washington Boulevard from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunset Boulevard and Mandeville Canyon Road from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Sunset Boulevard and Barrington Avenue from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Figueroa Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
     

 



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Machete, Baseball Bat Used in Road Rage Incident]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 01:39:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/road+rage+machete+baseball+bat.PNG

A San Gabriel Valley road rage incident in which the drivers allegedly tried to use a baseball bat and a machete as weapons resulted in three arrests Tuesday, authorities said.

San Gabriel resident Hong Ki Goon, 51, and Montebello resident Jose Enrique Guido, 34, were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Goon and Guido were driving North on Garfield Avenue into Monterey Park when one driver cut the other off, Alhambra Police Sgt. Gerald Johnson said.

The drivers were saying things to eachother and cutting eachother off, police said.

The situation escalated when Christina Estrada, a 29-year-old passenger in Guido’s car, threw a cup of soda onto Hong Ki Yoon’s vehicle, Johnson said.

The two drivers then got out of their vehicles on Beacon Street. Yoon had a baseball bat and Guido had a machete.

Officers responded and detained the men and woman at gunpoint. Guido and Yoon were arrested without incident, but Estrada fought with officers.

Estrada was arrested for battery on a police officer, resisting an officer, and throwing a beverage at a car, police said.

Guido’s bail was set at $82,000. Yoon's bail was set at $30,000 and Estrada's was set at $20,000.

Yoon and Guido are scheduled to appear Thursday July 24th at Alhambra Municipal Court. Estrada is scheduled to apper in court September 22nd.

Samia Khan contributed to this report. 



Photo Credit: Alhambra Police Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[Summer Heat Wave Continues, Heat Advisory Issued]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:38:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_heatwave11jpg_bim.jpg

A heat advisory will be in effect for the Inland Empire as Southern California braces for its hottest day of the week Thursday.

The heat advisory has been issued for Riverside and San Bernardino counties and the Coachella Valley, with temperatures expected to be between 100 and 106 degrees in the valleys and between 111 and 116 degrees in the deserts. The advisory goes into effect at 11 a.m. Thursday and continues until 9 p.m. Friday.

Downtown Los Angeles is expected to hit 92 degrees Thursday. Malibu is expected to be 82 degrees, Northridge is expected to hit 103 degrees and Anaheim is expected to be 95 degrees. It’s possible that some parts of Southern California could see record-breaking heat.

NBC4 meteorologist Crystal Egger encourages residents to stay hydrated, seek shade and air condition and avoid strenuous activity.

Egger also emphasized the importance of not leaving children or pets unattended in cars.

The last notable heat wave was mid-May when temperatures hit the upper 90s and low 100s.

Temperatures Wednesday were mostly in the 90s, with some parts of Southern California experiencing triple-digit heat. By 5 p.m., it had reached 98 degrees in Woodland Hills, which is 10 to 15 degrees above average.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Mistakenly Shot at in Dorner Manhunt to Get $1.8M]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:42:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Perdue+Still.jpg

A Southern California man mistakenly shot at by police officers during the manhunt for a murderous ex-LAPD officer on a rampage last year will receive $1.8 million in a settlement with the city of Torrance.

David Perdue, 39, and his wife, of Redondo Beach, filed an excessive force lawsuit against the city in June 2013, alleging two Torrance police officers rammed their car into Perdue's truck and shot at him Feb. 7, 2013 while he was on his way to go surfing.

The settlement with the city of Torrance and Officers Brian McGee and Erin Sooper was reached last month, but the amount of the cash payout was confirmed Thursday by Torrance police Sgt. Chris Roosen.

"We are grateful to the city of Torrance and to the attorneys representing the city of Torrance for their consummate professionalism throughout these proceedings," said Robert Sheahen, Perdue's attorney.

None of the bullets struck the 39-year-old Perdue, who had previously been stopped and cleared by other officers, according to the lawsuit, which was filed after he failed to reach a settlement with the city.

Perdue says he suffered a concussion when his truck's airbag opened and has lingering physical and emotional problems as a result of what happened to him that day.

Authorities said that the ex-LAPD Officer, Christopher Dorner, killed four people --  a Riverside police officer, a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy and the daughter of a former LAPD captain and her fiance -- during a rampage fueled by his anger over being fired from the Los Angeles force several years ago.

The disgruntled ex-cop's remains were found inside a burned-out Big Bear cabin after a shootout with law enforcement, culminating a nearly week-long manhunt for the fugitive.

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<![CDATA[Woman Maces Store Security Guard; Steals $400 in Clothes]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:30:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/PepperSpraywomanSAM1.jpg

A woman made off with $400 in clothing after macing a Macy's security guard in the face Tuesday in a Santa Ana mall, police said. 

The suspect was confronted by the Macy's security guard in the Santa Ana Main Place Mall as she tried to leave the store with the loot Tuesday, the Santa Ana Police said.

She turned around and sprayed the officer in the face with pepper spray, and when the officer lowered his hand, she used pepper spray again, police said. 

The thief then got into a silver Nissan sedan with two men inside and they drove down Main Street, police said.

The woman was described as white, in her mid 30s, with dark red hair and tattoos on both her arms.

The Santa Ana Police are asking anyone with information about the suspects to call 1-855-TIP-OCCS.

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<![CDATA[Boyle Heights Skate Park Grand Opening]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:19:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/232*120/skate+park+rendering.jpg

Professional skateboarding icons are teaming up with local community leaders to announce the grand opening Thursday of a skate park at Hazard Park in Boyle Heights.

Construction of the the 10,000 square foot Diamond Supply Co. Public Skate Plaza, located at 2298 Norfolk St, was initiated through the efforts of the Rob Dyrdek Street League Skateboarding Foundation.

Paul Vizcaino, a spokesman for the foundation, said the organization was established to build safe and legal skate facilities for kids to practice on.

Even though skateboarding is one of the most popular sports for teens, it is still illegal and viewed negatively in many places, Vizcaino said.

"There’s a vast gap between, for example, the tennis courts that are available and the skate parks that are available," Vizcaino said. "We want to bridge that gap."

Dyrdek, known for his roles in reality shows on MTV, collaborated with fellow pro skateboarder and entrepreneur Nick Diamond and The California Endowment, a group that advocates for health equality, to fund construction of the skateboarding facility.

Scheduled to be in attendance at the grand opening ceremony is Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar, whose district includes Boyle Heights.

Rick Coca, a spokesman for the councilman, said a Boyle Heights skate park built in 2009 by the foundation has proved to be a success with skaters.

"We think this skate park will do the same," Coca said. "Its location means it will also draw people in from the surrounding communities."

The $320,000 facility was privately funded by Dyrdek, Diamond and The Endowment. The first half of the money was put up by Dyrdek's foundation through a grant from The Endowment and the second half was donated by Diamond.

Diamond Supply Co. Public Skate Plaza is part of The Endowment's 10-year Building Healthy Communities initiative.

Launched in 2010, The Endowment’s plan targets 14 communities in the state, including Boyle Park, for improvements in public health.

Paul Vizcaino said the Hazard Park location was the first of four planned facilities to be built as part of the initiative, but the ultimate goal would be to have a skate facility in all 14 communities.

The foundation is connected to Street League Skateboarding, a professional skateboarding league founded by Dyrdek in 2010 which allows competitors to compete in the street style of skateboarding.

Paul said the majority of skate boarders are street skaters, so the new Boyle Heights park has similar features to what would be seen on the street as well as the professional league.

The park is replete with stairs, ramps and rails, familiar territory for those learning how to ride outside the halfpipe.

"They get to skate on the same features they watched their heroes throw down on," Vizcaino said. "We want to build the next street league star."



Photo Credit: Rob Dyrdek Street League Skateboarding Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[Patient Kills Case Worker: DA]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:21:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/226*120/mercy+fitzgerald+hospital+shooting+33.JPG

A female case worker was killed and a doctor shot when a psychiatric patient opened fire on them Thursday in a wellness center on the campus of a Delaware County, Pennsylvania, hospital, officials say.

Officials say that patient was then shot by the doctor, who returned fire from his own gun.

The shootout took place around 2:20 p.m. Thursday inside a doctor's office in the psychiatric unit at the Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center, officials say. The center is located along the 1500 block of Lansdowne Avenue in Darby, Pa. That's located across from Mercy-Fitzgerald hospital, on its campus.

The gunman, identified as Richard Plotts, of Upper Darby, had come to the unit with his caseworker, 53-year-old Theresa Hunt of Philadelphia, according to Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan. They then went behind closed doors in a doctor's third floor office when a confrontation occurred.

“A worker did confirm that he heard some loud arguing going on. They came in and they actually opened the door and saw him pointing a gun at the doctor. They did not notice the case worker at that point. They shut the door very quietly and one immediately called 911," Whelan said.

The DA said a short time went by and then gunfire erupted from Plotts' gun. Plotts has had run-ins with the doctor's and hospital staff in the past, Whelan said.

Both the doctor, identified as Dr. Lee Silverman, and the case worker were hit by the gunfire. The woman was fatally shot in the small office, and the doctor was grazed in the head, Whelan said.

Silverman also pulled out his weapon and fired upon the suspect, the preliminary investigation showed. Plotts was hit three times in the torso, Whelan said.

Other doctors and case workers then rushed into the room and tackled the man to the ground, wrestling with him for the weapon.

“We’re not exactly sure what had occurred and what might have precipitated this particular incident," Whelan said. "We do know the psychiatric connection, we have that concern, however we don’t know if there was another dispute that occurred inside that room that led to these shots being fired."

Both Plotts and Silverman were taken to the trauma center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in nearby Philadelphia. The suspect is in surgery and is listed in critical condition, Whelan said. The doctor's condition has not been released.

Officials say a 911 call came in at 2:19 p.m. with the caller saying a doctor had been shot. The center and hospital was quickly placed on lockdown as police swarmed the campus.

Allen Williams was checking in his father for an X-ray on the center's ground floor when the shooting happened.

"As we were giving the information, they said the hospital is on lockdown and they locked out the doors. They told us to sneak out the back door," he said. “I was hoping everyone was going to get out safe."

Williams slowly led his father, who uses a walker, in a group of 15 people onto a grassy area outside the building. He says police kept them at the scene as they checked the building.

Police arrived within minutes and evacuated the entire wellness center as SWAT officers swept the building as a precaution.

The Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center has physician offices and offers outpatient services for ambulatory care, audiology, cardiac rehabilitation, radiology and hearing and balance, according to the health system's website.

Late Thursday night, Mercy Fitzgerald released this statement regarding the deadly shooting:

"We continue to pray for the victims and their families. As this is an ongoing investigation, we remain focused on working with the Delaware County Police Departments to understand fully the details of the event and to do all we can to assist those affected.

We are thankful for the responders to this incident, the many law enforcement professionals who are a part of the investigation, and the outpouring of support we have received from our community."

A large police presence from Yeadon, Haverford Township and other Delaware County law enforcement agencies remained at the scene for hours as the crime scene was processed.


Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

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