Man found in crashed car fatally shot in Santa Ana

SANTA ANA — A 20-year-old man was killed in a Santa Ana shooting and the shooter was at large Thursday morning.

Officers responded about 11 p.m. Wednesday to the 200 block of South Raitt street, near First Street, and found a Honda Accord crashed against a curb and pole and the victim inside with at least one gunshot wound, according to Cmdr. S. Enriquez of the Santa Ana Police Department.

The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A description of the shooter was not immediately available.

The name of the victim was not disclosed.

The intersection of Raitt and First streets was closed after the incident.

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Man arrested on suspicion of DUI after Huntington Beach crash kills 2

A Sunset Beach man was arrested on suspicion of DUI after a multi-vehicle traffic crash in Huntington Beach left two people dead on Tuesday evening, Jan. 19.

35-year-old Eric Kinser was transported to UCI Medical Center for treatment and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, the Huntington Beach Police Department said in a statement.

At 6:45 p.m., police responded to reports of a multi-vehicle collision in the area of Pacific Coast Highway and Warner Avenue. Three vehicles with extensive damage were found in the southbound lanes of PCH.

After a preliminary investigation, it was determined that Kinser drove a white 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck north on PCH and crossed over the center median into southbound lanes of traffic, police said. He collided head-on with a silver 1999 Toyota Solara, driven by a 19-year-old man from Newport Beach; and a white 2012 Lexus RX350, driven by a 71-year old woman from Huntington Beach, the Police Department said.

The driver of the Lexus was pronounced deceased at the scene and the driver of the Toyota was transported to UCI Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries, police said. A 45-year old female passenger in the Lexus was transported to OC Global Medical Center with moderate injuries.

Anyone with information about the crash was asked to contact Huntington Beach Police Traffic Investigator D. Demetre at 714-536-5670.

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Woman charged in New Year’s Eve killing of man in Santa Ana

SANTA ANA — A 35-year-old security guard is facing a murder charge in connection with the New Year’s Eve killing of a man in Santa Ana, court records obtained Tuesday show.

Toetu Tesarina Lavea, who was arrested Saturday and was being held in lieu of $1 million bail, listed her occupation as security, according to jail records.

She is charged with murder in the death of 46-year-old Manuel Ramos of Santa Ana.

Police said they were called at 6:46 p.m. Jan. 2 to a residence in the 1800 block of West 18th Street, where they found Ramos’ body in the living room with “significant trauma” to his upper body. According to the criminal complaint, he was killed two days earlier, but further details were not immediately available.

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California board urges bias reviews of police social media


SACRAMENTO — California police agencies should routinely review officers’ social media, cellphones and computers for racist, bigoted or other offensive content that contributes to disproportionate police stops of Black people, a state advisory board said Monday.

The controversial recommendation comes from community and law enforcement representatives who analyzed nearly 4 million vehicle and pedestrian stops by California’s 15 largest law enforcement agencies in 2019.

The Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board report was unveiled amid calls to defund police and promises from state lawmakers to renew efforts to strip badges from bad officers, make more police misconduct records public, and allow community groups to handle mental health and drug calls where police powers may not be needed.

People who were perceived as Black were more than twice as likely to be stopped as their percentage of the population would suggest, the board said in its fourth annual report.

Black people also had the highest proportion of their stops (21%) for reasonable suspicion, while the most common reason for stops of people of all races was traffic violations. Black people were searched at 2.5 times the rate of people perceived as white.

And the odds were 1.45 times greater that someone perceived as Black had force used against them during a traffic stop compared to someone perceived as white. The odds were 1.18 times greater for people perceived as Latino.

Reform efforts have often focused on increasing training to make officers aware of how their implicit, or unconscious, bias may affect their interactions. Starting this year, a new law also requires agencies to screen job applicants for implicit and explicit biases.

“Unchecked explicit bias may lead to some of the stop data disparities we have observed,” the board said.

Explicitly racist or bigoted social media posts by some law enforcement officers appear to be a widespread problem nationwide, it said, citing a study by the Plain View Project that examined the Facebook accounts of 2,900 active and 600 retired officers in eight departments across the country.

In California, current and former San Jose Police Department officers were found to have shared racist Facebook posts. Other agencies, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and San Francisco Police Department, have been involved in similar issues.

The board recommended that agencies review employees’ social media posts and routinely check officers’ department-issued cellphones and computers to make sure they aren’t showing racist or other problematic behavior.

Betty Williams, president the NAACP’s Sacramento Branch, said the recommendation doesn’t go far enough and should also include officers’ personal cellphones.

Police departments “demand fair and impartial police services for the communities they serve,” responded Chief Eric Nuñez, president of the California Police Chiefs Association. But he said checking officers’ cellphones, computers and social media accounts “would require a significant additional funding source, time and legal issues that have not been properly identified or researched at this point.”

The disproportionate numbers could be driven by demographics, not racism, the Los Angeles Police Protective League board of directors said in a statement.

“What these numbers don’t tell is that in Los Angeles, 70% of violent crime victims are either Black or Hispanic and that 81% of the reported violent crime suspects are either Black or Hispanic,” the league said.

Both the league and the state sheriffs’ association said the broader issue of racial bias must be addressed across society, not just law enforcement.

“Law enforcement agencies across California have embraced change, participated in training, and engaged their local communities on this topic and we will continue to do so,” said Kings County Sheriff David Robinson, president of the sheriffs’ association.

“We’ve done all of the reformist things,” countered Cat Brooks, executive director of Justice Teams Network and co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project. “We’ve done trainings, we’ve done body cameras, we’ve done police commissions, we’ve hired from the community. All of these things to tinker around the edges of this very large problem, but really what we’ve been doing is putting Band-Aids on gunshot wounds.”

She said the report’s findings show the need for a “complete transformation” from an emphasis on police and prisons to one focused on addressing root community causes such as hunger and homelessness.

The report’s data is little changed from a year ago when stops involving the state’s eight largest agencies were studied for the second half of 2018, before the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other police killings of primarily Black and Latino men sparked nationwide protests and reform efforts last year.

It shows “there is significant work to be done to prevent further disparities in who is stopped, how they are treated when stopped, and the outcomes of those stops,” the board said.

Black people make up 7% of the population but were involved in 16% of California stops in 2019. Those perceived to be of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent accounted for 5% of stops and 2% of the population.

Whites and Latinos were one to two percentage points less likely to be stopped than their proportion of the population would indicate, while those of Asian background account for 12% of the population and just 6% of stops.

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Winter storm warnings in place for Southern California mountains

With the season’s  first storm arriving late Sunday, winter storm warnings were issued for mountain areas of Southern California effective through Monday evening.

Now that rain is starting to come onshore, let’s take a look at those expected rain and snowfall totals through Monday. Generally 0.5-1″ or so of rain (locally 1-2 inches in the coastal slopes) is expected. 6-12 inches of snow above 5000 feet, mainly in LA Co. #CAwx #LArain

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) December 28, 2020

Up to a foot of snow was expected in L.A. County mountains, excluding the Santa Monica Range.

“Travel could be very difficult, including the Interstate 5 Corridor where the snow level is expected to lower to 4,000 feet, which would affect the top of the Tejon Grade with snow accumulations of one to two inches along with icy conditions,” the National Weather Service said in its warning.

The San Bernardino County mountains were expected to see snow above around 4,000 to 5,000 feet.

“Heavy snow and strong winds expected. Plan on difficult travel conditions, including during the morning and evening commutes Monday. Tree branches could fall as well. Total snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches, with very localized amounts up to 20 inches, are expected,” the National Weather Service said in its warning for San Bernardino County mountain communities including Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear City, Big Bear Lake, Running Springs and Wrightwood.

The Riverside County mountains, including in the Idyllwild area, generally could see up to eight inches of snow, the NWS said.

Please heed the advice of The CHP if planning any travel across the #SoCal Mountains through Tuesday! #CAwx

— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) December 27, 2020

At lower elevations, one half to one inch of rain was expected in Los Angeles County. The NWS said the Riverside and Santa Ana areas may see a quarter to a half inch.

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Reputed spiritual healer in Anaheim charged with raping 2 women

ANAHEIM — A 69-year-old self-proclaimed “spiritual healer” who does business in Anaheim was charged Wednesday with raping two women.

Leopoldo Garcia Garcia was charged with two counts of forcible rape, according to court records. One victim was allegedly raped Aug. 11 and the other on Oct. 1, 2018, according to the criminal complaint.

Garcia also faces a sentencing enhancement for multiple victims.

Garcia was in custody at the jail in Anaheim in lieu of $100,000 bail, but freed after posting bail, so the charges filed Wednesday include a warrant for his arrest with a $1 million bail requested.

One of the alleged victims, who is in her 40s, said she was sexually assaulted multiple times over the last several weeks when she came to Leopoldo Garcia for his services at his business Botanica El Padrino in the Anaheim Market Place at 1440 S. Anaheim Blvd., said Anaheim Police Department Sgt. Shane Carringer.

Garcia, also known as Leo or Curandero, bills himself as a spiritual healer who tells clients that he can help them remove a curse on them if they have sex with him, Carringer said.

Investigators are concerned there may be more alleged victims and asked for anyone with relevant information to call detectives at 714-765-1617.

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Man gets 5 years in prison for hit-and-run that killed bicyclist in Aliso Viejo

SANTA ANA — A 39-year-old Lake Forest man has been sentenced to five years in prison for a hit-and-run collision in Aliso Viejo that killed a bicyclist.

Rogelio Martinez-Cuin on Dec. 2 admitted one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run with permanent and serious injury, both felonies, as well as a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended or revoked license due to a DUI, according to court records. He was sentenced Thursday.

Martinez-Cuin ran a red light, was inattentive and driving at an unsafe speed, according to the criminal complaint.

Michael David Tomlinson of Aliso Viejo, 51, was riding on Westridge Drive, crossing Woods Canyon Drive, when he was struck by a Volvo about 6:40 a.m. Jan. 30, 2019, according to Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The driver kept going, but witnesses gave deputies a vehicle description, she said.

The vehicle was found about a mile away, and deputies arrested Martinez-Cuin a short distance from the Volvo, Braun said.

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Woman dies after being struck by vehicle in Santa Ana

A woman died at a local hospital after being struck by a vehicle in Santa Ana, the Santa Ana Police Department reported.

Nanci Perea Rosales, 69, died at UCI Medical Center on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 9:33 p.m., according to the Orange County Coroner’s Office.

Earlier in the day at about 2:10 p.m., Santa Ana PD received multiple calls of a vehicle and pedestrian collision in the area of Main Street and Alton Avenue. Officers responded to the scene and found Rosales down in the roadway suffering from major injuries.

Orange County Fire Authority personnel responded to the scene and treated  Rosales before she was transported to the hospital by ambulance.

A preliminary investigation revealed the Rosales was crossing Main Street, north of the intersection of Alton Avenue, when the involved vehicle was traveling west on Alton Avenue and turned north onto Main Street, striking the Rosales, according to Santa Ana PD. The involved driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigating officers.

Anyone with information regarding the collision is asked to contact Investigator Corporal Hadley at 714-245-8216.

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Anaheim shooting leaves man critically injured, suspect charged

SANTA ANA  — A 25-year-old Anaheim man was charged Monday with shooting another man in the face, leaving the victim fighting for his life in a hospital.

Angel Avalos was charged with attempted murder and assault with a firearm, both felonies, with sentencing enhancement allegations for inflicting great bodily injury on the victim, the personal use of a firearm and attempted premeditated murder.

Police were called about 1 a.m. Friday to the 800 block of West Gramercy Avenue, where officers found the victim, who sustained a gunshot wound to the face, Anaheim Police Department Sgt. Shane Carringer said.

Avalos barricaded himself nearby in an apartment for about four hours, Carringer said. The standoff ended when police gassed the apartment, prompting the suspect to jump out of a second-floor window and land on a car below, Carringer said.

A canine unit dog helped apprehend the suspect, Carringer said.

Avalos knew his alleged victim, but the motive for the shooting was not released, Carringer said.

The victim was hospitalized in critical condition Monday but was stable, Carringer said.

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Small fire put out in Brea landfill area

A spot fire was extinguished Monday night, Dec. 14, in the vicinity of the Olinda Alpha Landfill in Brea.

The fire was reported at 9:10 p.m. in the area of 1942 Valencia Ave. and was reported as being about 100 feet by 200 feet, according to Greg Barta of the Orange County Fire Authority. Barta said the fire was moving at “slow rate of speed” and was declared extinguished by 10:41 p.m.


Structures were not threatened and the cause of the fire was under investigation. The Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Fullerton Fire Department and the Brea Fire Department responded alongside the OCFA.

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