Feb 292012
 

Bank robber who shot Chino police officer still at large

Los Angeles Times
by Robert J. Lopez
February 29, 2012

A gunman robbed a Chino bank and shot a police officer.

 

Photos: Surveillance footage of the gunman at the bank. Credit: FBI
A bank robber who wounded a Chino police officer with an assault rifle before fleeing was still being sought Wednesday evening by law enforcement authorities.

Authorities released surveillance photos of the suspect. He was wearing a dark ski mask and bulletproof vest, and was carrying a bag of cash and the high-powered weapon as he left the bank.

The wounded Chino Police Department patrol officer was struck at least once about 10:55 a.m. after responding to reports of shots fired at the California Bank & Trust in the 5400 block of  Riverside Drive, authorities said. He drove himself to a hospital and was in stable condition.

The gunman was believed to be driving a late-model four-door, gray Nissan Altima with tinted windows and chrome wheels. He was believed to be 35 to 40 years old, about 6-feet-2, 200 to 250 pounds with blue eyes.

Anyone with information is asked to call Chino police at (909) 464-0752.

 

Direct Link:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/bank-robber-shoots-officer.html

Feb 292012
 

Robber with assault rifle, bulletproof vest shoots Chino officer

Los Angeles Times
by Andrew Blankstein
February 29, 2012

Chino bank robbery

Photo: Scene of Chino police officer shooting. Credit: KTLA-TV.
A bank robber wielding an assault rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest shot and wounded a Chino police officer Wednesday before fleeing in a car.

The robbery occurred at 10:52 a.m. at California Bank and Trust, 5455 Riverside Drive.

The unidentified officer was responding to a shots-fired call when he encountered the suspect dressed in a stocking cap, blue shirt and light blue jeans, toting the automatic weapon.

The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately clear, but the officer was hit at least once. He was able to drive himself to the hospital.

The bank robber is described as 25 years old, about 6-feet-2, from 200 to 250 pounds with blue eyes.

He was believed to be driving a four-door, gray Nissan Altima with Arizona plates. Nearby Chino High School was placed on lockdown as a precaution.

 

Direct Link:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/robber-with-assault-rifle-bullet-proof-vest-shoots-chino-officer.html

Feb 292012
 

Three San Diego firefighters facing robbery, assault charges

Los Angeles Times
By Tony Perry in San Diego
February 29, 2012

Three San Diego firefighters who allegedly got into a brawl after a night of drinking will be arraigned next week on felony charges of robbery and assault.

Arrested were Capt. Vadid Cisneros, 36; Gregory Econie, 26; and Andrew Brennen, 29.

The three were arrested about 2 a.m. Sunday and have since been released from jail.

 

Segment Video

 

The incident allegedly began when the firefighters, after a night of drinking, got into a scuffle with a man in the Normal Heights neighborhood. Minutes later, the man and his brother — both in their mid-40s — confronted the firefighters and a second fight ensued, according to officials.

One of the brothers reported being hit in the head with a rock. The firefighters allegedly took wallets from the two, and Brennen allegedly warned the two not to report the incident to police.

Along with assault and robbery, Brennen has been charged with intimidating a witness to a crime.

Separate from the criminal charges, an investigation is underway by the Fire Department and the city personnel department to determine whether the three should be punished for the off-duty incident.

Until that probe is completed, the three will continue working as firefighters.

However, if the county government opts to invalidate their credentials as emergency medical technicians — credentials required of all firefighters — their employment with the city would be terminated, officials said.

 

Direct Link:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/three-san-diego-firefighters-to-be-arraigned-on-robbery-and-assault-charges.html

Feb 292012
 

Fighting L.A.’s gangs with families

 

Officials say L.A. Deputy Mayor Guillermo Cespedes’ effort, known as the Gang Reduction and Youth Development program, is working.

Los Angeles Times
Opinion / Editorial
By Jim Newton
February 27, 2012
Guillermo Cespedes

 

Guillermo Cespedes speaks to the media after his appointment. (Los Angeles Times / September 8, 2009)

In a large conference room at City Hall East, more than 100 gang-intervention workers gathered last week to hear about a new approach to heading off gang violence and the destruction it causes. They had come to hear a family tell its story.

The mother did most of the talking, guided by a counselor. She was there with two of her children, a son and a daughter, and they’d been through the wringer. An older daughter had gotten in trouble, deeper and deeper. She’d neglected her schoolwork and fought back when her parents tried to discipline her. She ran away from home, got pregnant. “The road she was on,” the mother said, “was not good.”

As the mother and father became increasingly preoccupied with trying to set their older daughter straight, they had less time to spend with their younger children, and soon those two began to show signs of trouble as well. Their grades dropped; the boy’s interest in sports flagged.

Gripped by the sense that they were losing control, the parents called for help. It came in the form of a local organization, whose counselor dove into the life of this young family, escorting the kids to school, arranging for tutors, counseling the parents. Slowly, life settled down. The son got glasses, started doing his homework and brought up his grades; the younger daughter joined a program for future executives and thrived.

Asked to explain what got his attention and turned him around, the boy responded, “Jesus,” then quickly added, “and the ladies.”

The counselor for this session was Harry Aponte, a nationally recognized gang-intervention expert from Philadelphia, and he patiently waded through the family history as the audience of intervention workers listened, many taking notes.

This family-centered approach represents a new tack in Los Angeles’ long quest to divert young people from gangs. The philosophy behind it is that focusing on a single troubled child isn’t enough. Schools and neighborhoods surround children, but their families are their core of support and thus the most natural people to help them.

“We’re shifting the focus from the individual to the family,” Deputy Mayor Guillermo Cespedes explained. “Every family has a problem-solving mechanism that gets jammed. We’re trying to address that.”

Police and others credit Cespedes’ efforts, known as the Gang Reduction and Youth Development program, with making steady progress against gang violence in Los Angeles. Last year, crime overall in the city continued its long decline (though homicides ticked back up by a single killing, from 297 to 298), and the drop in gang crime continued to outpace that for crime generally. Fewer gang members fired shots or were themselves shot, and gang crimes overall fell by more than 15%, from 5,537 to 4,694. (Again, homicides were an exception, though a relatively small one: 170 killings in 2011 were attributed to gang violence, up from 161 the year before.)

So impressed is Police Chief Charlie Beck with the program’s contribution to reducing gang crime in Los Angeles that, in an interview with Times reporters and editors last week, he said he’s judging the field of mayoral candidates in part by which ones would keep the office structured as part of the mayor’s staff. That configuration is useful, Beck explained, because gang crime is not spread evenly throughout the city, and giving the council oversight of the efforts means that there are pressures to spread its resources across 15 districts, rather than concentrate them where they are needed. “If [the program] becomes a council department again,” he said, “it’s not going to have the focus it has now.”

Meanwhile, the approach is continuing to evolve. Driven by the program’s determination to fuse research and real-world experience, Cespedes says he and others have concluded that families need to be at the center of the program’s efforts. Hence the training last week at City Hall.

During his 90 minutes with the family, Aponte listened carefully as the mother and her children spelled out the elements of their success as well as the challenges that lie ahead. The older daughter has just had her baby and is living in a group home. The younger children still have a long way to go in school, and the temptation of gangs will not recede with just one strong report card.

But Aponte also recognized the family’s progress, its emergence from a long stretch of tough work. “You’re celebrating life,” he observed. “You’ve gone through a dark alley, and now you’re celebrating.”

The mother nodded, as did her children. Aponte turned to his audience to emphasize the point: “They will not lose this…. This is their trophy to take home.”

 

 

 

 

 

Direct Link:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-newton-column-gang-intervention-20120227,0,3021365.column

Feb 292012
 

Rodney King sentenced to house arrest for reckless driving

Los Angeles Times
by  Rick Rojas
February 28, 2012

Rodney King in 2008

Photo: Rodney King in 2008.

Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

 

 

 

 

Rodney King, who became a household name after Los Angeles police severely beat him two decades ago, has been sentenced to 20 days of house arrest and fined $500 for driving recklessly in Moreno Valley, Riverside County prosecutors said Tuesday.

King, 46, was arrested seven months ago on suspicion of drunken driving, but his blood-alcohol level was 0.06, which is under the legal limit of 0.08. He also had trace amounts of marijuana in his system.

He pleaded guilty to a lesser reckless driving charge, officials said. His sentence also includes three years’ probation.

King was beaten in 1991 by four white police officers in an incident that was videotaped by a bystander. The officers were later acquitted, which ignited rioting in Los Angeles.

 

Direct Link:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/rodney-king-sentenced-house-arrest-reckless-driving.html