2 sentenced to community service for hate crime targeting veteran in O.C.

SANTA ANA — Two men pleaded guilty Tuesday and were immediately sentenced to more than 100 hours of community service for a hate crime in Rancho Santa Margarita against an Army veteran three years ago.

Nicholas Lloyd Reynolds, 23, and Coty Nebenzahl, 23, both pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of violation of civil rights with violent injury, according to court records.

The two were at a McDonald’s restaurant at 30672 Santa Margarita Parkway on April 12, 2018, when they got into a verbal altercation with the victim, according to court records.

Reynolds hollered a racist epithet for Blacks even though the victim was of Middle Eastern heritage and also spit at him, according to court records.

At first when the two drove by, the victim, who was wearing an Army shirt and hat, thought the defendants were being friendly, but instead they yelled racial epithets and an expletive regarding the U.S. Army, according to court records. When the victim said he was not Black they told him to “go back” to an Arabic country, according to court records.

Reynolds was placed on one year of formal probation and sentenced to 150 hours of community service. Nebenzahl was sentenced to 140 hours of community service and 10 days of Caltrans work.

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Man gets time served for assault of 69-year-old man in Irvine that was captured on video

SANTA ANA — A Tustin resident pleaded guilty Monday and was immediately sentenced to time already served in jail for assaulting a 69-year-old man in Irvine over a dispute about an unleashed dog.

Keven Alexander Quiroz, 23, admitted to assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, according to court records. Quiroz, who was in jail from the end of March until he posted $10,000 bail on May 20, was also placed on two years of formal probation.

As part of the plea deal, a felony charge of inflicting injury on an elder adult was dismissed.

In an attempt to generate leads, police released video of the attack, which occurred about 7 p.m. March 19 at Sierra Vista Middle School. The surveillance video and photos led to an anonymous tip, which resulted in the suspect’s arrest, according to Sgt. Karie Davies of the Irvine Police Department.

Quiroz was arrested at his apartment in Tustin, and police also seized a rifle from his vehicle, according to Davies, who said investigators suspect the attack stemmed from a dispute over Quiroz letting his dog off-leash.

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Homeless man faces murder charge after victim dies in Santa Ana

SANTA ANA — A 27-year-old homeless man charged with beating another homeless man with an aluminum pipe in Santa Ana last week faces an upgraded charge of murder now that the victim has died of his injuries, police said Tuesday.

Jonathan Ceclio Menjivar Lemus was charged Monday with attempted murder with sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury and the personal use of a deadly weapon in the beating of 27-year-old Jesus Morales Jimenez about 5 p.m. last Thursday at 828 N. Raitt St., said Santa Ana police Cpl. Sonia Rojo.

A witness told police she saw the suspect swinging the pipe up and down as if he were slamming it into the ground, but because her view was obstructed, she couldn’t see the victim, Rojo said. When she and a companion went to look at what the suspect was doing, they found the victim and called 911, Rojo said.

Police arrested Lemus several hours later, but he was allegedly too high at the time to question, Rojo said. The victim succumbed to his injuries Monday night, she said.

It was not clear what prompted the attack, Rojo said.

Lemus, who is being held without bail, made his initial court appearance on Monday in the jail courtroom, and his arraignment was rescheduled for Sept. 15. According to jail records, his occupation is listed as construction.

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Suspect arrested after driver threatened with rifle and carjacked in Tustin

A driver who had been threatened by an armed man was found by police lying on the ground late Tuesday evening, Aug. 17, on Red Hill Avenue in Tustin, police said.

The woman told officers she had been carjacked by a man holding a rifle who ordered her out of the vehicle and fled in her vehicle, officials said.

Officers located the suspect in Santa Ana where he was taken into custody without incident. The victim sustained minor injuries and her vehicle was located in the driveway of a residential area of Red Hill Avenue and Bryan Avenue in Tustin, Tustin Police said in a Wednesday statement.

Police identified the suspect as Nathan Mejia, a 21-year-old resident of Tustin who was out on bail on a prior charge of possessing a loaded firearm. Mejia was arrest and booked on suspicion of carjacking, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, officials said.

The rifle allegedly used by Mejia was recovered by police, who described it as a “ghost gun.”

Ghost guns are firearms manufactured without serial numbers, and require no background checks for purchase, making them undetected firearms to law enforcement authorities, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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Father, teenage son stabbed in apparent ‘targeted attack’ in Placentia apartment

A father and his teenage son were the victims of an early Sunday morning stabbing in their Placentia apartment after two men allegedly broke in, police said.

At about 3:37 a.m., police responded to an unknown call at an apartment at 140 W. Orangethorpe Ave., where a 34-year-old father and his 14-year-old son were found stabbed, the Placentia Police Department said. Both were transported to a local trauma center and were expected to survive.

The attackers were described as two men in their 30s dressed in dark clothing who allegedly gained access into the apartment by breaking the front window,  police said. They then attacked the father, who was in the living room, and the son tried to intervene when he was stabbed by one of the suspects, according to police.

The incident appears to be a targeted attack against the father and there were no public safety concerns, police said in a news release.

Anyone with information related to the incident was encouraged to call detectives at 714-993-8146 or by email at jjones@placentia.org

Anonymous tips can also be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS or on their website http://occrimestoppers.org

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Riverside man admits guilt in fatal Santa Ana shooting, trying to kill a deputy while in custody; gets 25-year sentence

SANTA ANA  — A 37-year-old Riverside man who took part in a fatal vehicle-to-vehicle shooting in Santa Ana and tried to kill a sheriff’s deputy while in custody pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, according to court records obtained Monday.

Emmanuel Vega pleaded guilty Friday to voluntary manslaughter, shooting at a car and attempted murder, all felonies, and admitted a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a firearm in the Nov. 2, 2011, shooting death of 36-year-old Juan Manuel Diaz in the 1600 block of East Edinger Avenue.

Vega also pleaded guilty to attempted murder for the Jan. 12, 2019, attack on a sheriff’s deputy, according to court records. He was sentenced to nine years in prison for that case, which will run concurrent to the manslaughter case.

Vega was given credit for 3,114 days in custody.

Vega was arrested in December 2013 in connection with the Nov. 2, 2011, shooting death of Diaz.

Co-defendant Steve Moreno, 31, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in January 2014 and has been awaiting sentencing. Court records in his case are sealed.

Vega opened fire from a Toyota 4Runner owned by this father into a blue van with Diaz behind the wheel, according to police testimony from his March 2015 preliminary hearing.

Roberto Diaz, who was a passenger in the van, was also wounded but survived.

Moreno told police he was a passenger in the SUV. According to the preliminary hearing testimony, Vega picked him up and they drove to a park in Irvine looking for members of a local gang.

They didn’t see anyone from the particular gang they were looking for so they played some basketball before Vega went over to a handball court to resume the search, according to testimony. They were about to leave when they saw Juan and Roberto Diaz and decided to follow them, according to the police testimony.

Vega produced a gun during the ride, but Moreno declined to use it, so Vega opened fire on the victims, who were cousins of Moreno’s wife, police said. It wasn’t clear what motivated the shooting.

Vega had been charged with murder with special circumstance allegations of shooting from a vehicle and murder by means of lying in wait. He was also facing charges of possession of a gun by a felon and attempted murder, with sentencing enhancement allegations for discharge of a gun causing great bodily injury or death and attempted premeditated murder.

In the attack on the deputy on Jan. 12, 2019, Vega used a metal shank, prosecutors said. He was also accused of attacking another deputy and a sergeant, according to court records.

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Man gets 9 years in prison for crashing car into La Mirada fitness center after cancellation of membership

NORWALK — A Whittier man who deliberately crashed a relative’s car into the front of a La Mirada fitness center that had canceled his membership was sentenced to nine years in state prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Sergio Gabriel Reyes, 34, was sentenced immediately after pleading no contest to one count of assault with a deadly weapon — an automobile — on Monday, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Reyes drove a relative’s vehicle to Crunch Fitness, in the 12800 block of Valley View Avenue, and crashed the car through the front window, nearly hitting an employee who was standing at the reception desk, on March 19, 2019.

Reyes fled the scene and was arrested soon afterward, according to Deputy District Attorney Robert Villa.

Reyes’ gym membership was terminated that month due to alleged inappropriate behavior, according to authorities.

He has remained behind bars since he was taken into custody, jail records show.

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Driver suspected of ramming police vehicle surrenders after pursuit on O.C. freeways

SANTA ANA — A high-speed pursuit of a suspected drunken driver in a full-size pickup truck that traveled along at least two Orange County freeways ended Tuesday night with the driver surrendering to authorities in Santa Ana.

Officers responded to a suspicious vehicle call in a parking lot in the 5700 block of La Palma Avenue, just east of Imperial Highway, about 9:20 p.m., and the driver rammed into at least one of the officers’ vehicles, then fled, prompting the pursuit, according to the Anaheim Police Department.

The suspect drove at speeds mostly in the 80s and briefly topped 100 mph while traveling on the southbound Orange (57) Freeway and eastbound and the westbound Garden Grove (22) Freeway.

The driver exited the eastbound Garden Grove Freeway at Grand Avenue about 10:20 p.m. and pulled into a gated apartment complex, stopped the vehicle, stepped out and surrendered to officers. He was quickly taken into custody.

The suspect’s name was not immediately disclosed.

No injuries were reported.

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Santa Ana detectives seek help finding parolee suspected of ramming 3 police vehicles

SANTA ANA — Authorities Wednesday asked for the public’s help in locating the parolee suspected of stealing a pickup truck and using it to intentionally ram three police vehicles outside a motel in Santa Ana.

Gang detectives attempted to contact the suspect in the parking lot of the Pueblo Motel, located at 1501 N. Harbor Blvd., south of Westminster Avenue, about 11 a.m. Monday, when the suspect stepped on the gas and sped toward detectives and civilians, according to the Santa Ana Police Department.

As the suspect, identified as Maximiliano Osorio, 23, fled, he rammed the truck into three police vehicles as he escaped onto Harbor Boulevard, the department said.

The stolen truck was later found in Garden Grove along with over 100 grams of methamphetamine, police said.

Osorio is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds with a medium build, short brown hair and brown eyes. He is on parole for a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon.

Anyone with information on Osorio’s whereabouts of was asked to call Santa Ana police Detective Thai at 949-407-7878 or by email at dthai@santa-ana.org

Anonymous tips can be called in to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855- 847-6227.

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Police car crashes en route to reported road rage incident in Anaheim

An Anaheim police car collided with another vehicle while responding to reports of a man who had brandished a gun in an apparent road rage incident that resulted in one arrest on Monday, March 23.

No shots were fired, Anaheim Police Sgt. Shane Carringer said. No major injuries were reported in either incident.

The sequence of events leading up to the crash began when a caller told authorities that a man behind the wheel of a black Toyota had displayed a firearm while driving near Anaheim Boulevard and Ball Road at about 8 p.m., Carringer said. An officer dispatched to the incident was traveling in a marked police car with its lights and sirens activated. It collided with an SUV in the intersection of Anaheim Boulevard and Cerritos Avenue.

  • Police investigate near the site of a collision involving an SUV and an Anaheim Police Department vehicle at the intersection of Anaheim Boulevard and Cerritos Avenue on Monday, March 23 (Photo by Brentt Sporn/OnScene TV).

  • An Anaheim police car collided with an SUV at the intersection of Anaheim Boulevard and Cerritos Avenue while en route to an alleged road rage incident on Monday, March 23 (Photo by Brentt Sporn/OnScene TV).

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  • An Anaheim police car collided with an SUV at the intersection of Anaheim Boulevard and Cerritos Avenue while en route to an alleged road rage incident on Monday, March 23 (Photo by Brentt Sporn/OnScene TV).

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Photos taken at the site of the crash showed a Dodge Durango in the intersection with damage to its rear driver side, and a police car with a smashed front end that appeared to have traveled over a sidewalk and onto a patch of grass. Nobody was seriously hurt, but the driver of the civilian SUV was sent to a hospital for evaluation with complaints of pain, Carringer said. No person was taken into custody in connection with the collision, which was under investigation Monday evening.

Meanwhile, the suspect in the reported case of road rage was stopped by officers nearby and arrested, Carringer said. He was booked on suspicion of felony assault, and later identified as David Park, 42, of Fullerton. He had a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon, and will not face any charges for possessing the gun involved in the alleged incident.

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