SAN PEDRO — The Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Area homicide detectives are asking the public’s help in providing any information that would lead to the identification and arrest of the suspect(s) responsible for the shooting death of 22-year-old Juan Antonio Bueno.
The shooting took place at about 8:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at the 200 block of North Gaffey Street. When officers arrived they found Bueno, suffering from a gunshot wound. Investigators found that unknown suspect(s) pulled into the El Pollo Loco lot as Bueno and began a confrontation with him. Sources said that one of the suspects was urinating in public when one of the suspects got out of the car, charged Bueno and began to tussle with him. A second suspect got out of the car with a gun and fired one round in the direction of Bueno, striking him and causing him to fall to the ground.
The Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded took Bueno to a local hospital where he later died of his injuries.
There is no suspect(s) or vehicle description.
Anyone with additional information is urged to (310)726-7889 anonymously visit www.lapdonline.org.
Swat Officers Shot During Search Warrant Service
LONG BEACH — A man was died after a shoot out with the Long Beach Police Department SWAT officers Feb. 17 in the 18000 block of Alexander Avenue in Cerritos.
It is unknown at this time if the gunshot wound was self-inflicted or from the SWAT officer’s earlier return of gunfire.
The incident took place at about 4:45 a.m. No officers were injured. The SWAT was used in this incident because the narcotics investigation led detectives to believe the suspect was possibly armed and dangerous. The SWAT personnel surrounded the location and were going to call the suspect out when the suspect opened fire on hem with an assault rifle. He fired on officers with the assault rifle from two separate locations in the residence, nearly striking them. SWAT officers subsequently returned fire and deployed tear gas into the residence. After the tear gas was deployed two people exited the residence and were detained by officers, but the suspect remained inside. The subjects were later identified as the mother and uncle of the suspect.
After a long standoff, SWAT officers entered the residence and found the suspect deceased from a gunshot wound to the upper torso.
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office will conduct its own independent investigation and release the identity of the suspect pending notification of next of kin.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call (562) 570-7244 or anonymously visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.
Burglary, Sexual Assault Suspect Assaults Pleads Not Guilty
LONG BEACH — Melvin Earl Farmer Jr., who faces 14 felony counts, pleaded ‘not guilty’ Feb. 16 to charges in connection to a recent burglary spree, which involved the assault of three elderly women in Long Beach.
There was at least five residential robberies, one sexual assault and one attempted sexual assault in period of a week. All of the victims were elderly women between the ages of 63 and 95. Long Beach Police Department officials said that Farmer has a lengthy criminal history that includes robbery and thefts.
The 39-year-old Lynwood resident is scheduled to return March 14 to the Long Beach Superior Court.
His suspected accomplice, Sophia Kim, 31, who was charged with one count each of first-degree residential robbery and first-degree burglary with a person present, also pleaded not guilty.
Woman Pleads Guilty to Illegally Shipping Ammunition
LONG BEACH — On Feb. 13, Marlou Mendoza pleaded guilty to charges of illegally shipping thousands of rounds of ammunition to the Philippines, the U.S. Department of Justice stated in a release.
The 61-year-old Long Beach woman, admitted to sending three shipments of .22-caliber ammunition, about 131,300 rounds, to the Philippines in June 2011.
Mendoza pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to provide required written notice to freight forwarders that her shipments contained ammunition destined for a foreign country.
Mendoza is free on bond and is scheduled to be sentenced April 20. She faces a statutory maximum charge of 15 years in federal prison.
In a related case, Mendoza’s son, 31-year-old Mark Louie Mendoza, was charged last year with illegally shipping hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ammunition and firearms parts, disguised and labeled as household items, to the Philippines.
Mark Mendoza, who was the president of a “tools and equipment” company in Long Beach called Last Resort Armaments, is a fugitive. He is named in an eight-count indictment with charges including conspiracy, smuggling, money laundering and unlawfully exporting arms.
Through his business, Mark Mendoza allegedly purchased more than $100,000 worth of ammunition and firearm accessories during a six-month period in 2011. Some of the items he allegedly purchased, including parts for M-16 and AR-15 type rifles, are listed as defense articles in the U.S. Munitions List and, in accordance with the Arms Export Control Act, may not be shipped to the Philippines without a license from the State Department.
Additionally, the money laundering charges against Mark Mendoza allege that during the first half of 2011, he transferred more than $650,000 earned by the illegal transportations from an account in the Philippines to a money remitter in Los Angeles.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives worked with U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations to investigate the Mendozas.
The investigation began in 2011 when U.S. Customs and Border Protection discovered ammunition and firearms in an outbound crate shipped by Marlou Mendoza, which had been falsely labeled as household items. Then, in November 2012, Homeland Security and the bureau special agents seized more than 120,000 rounds of .22-caliber ammunition and AR-15 trigger assemblies, magazines, sights and rifle barrels at a location tied to Last Resort Armaments.
If Mark is found, tried and convicted, he would face a statutory maximum sentence of 115 years in federal prison.
Port Selects Managing Director of Engineering Services
Sean Gamette. Courtesy photo
LONG BEACH — On Feb. 13, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners named Port of Long Beach senior executive Sean Gamette as the managing director of Engineering Services.
Gamette, the port’s program delivery group director and chief harbor engineer, will lead a bureau that oversees and executes engineering and construction projects and maintenance for the Harbor Department.
Gamette was selected after a competitive process to replace Doug Thiessen, who retired earlier this year.
In his most recent position, Gamette led a team of managers, engineers, inspectors, surveyors, technicians and support staff responsible for the port’s capital investment program.
Gamette came to the Harbor Department in 2003 as a senior program manager and was promoted to deputy chief harbor engineer in 2009 before assuming duties leading the Program Delivery Group in 2013. He earned a bachelor’s of science degree in civil engineering from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.
Hospital Celebrates its 60th Anniversary of First Open Heart Surgery
LONG BEACH — On Feb. 14, Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first open heart surgery at its hospital.
The recipient of the first procedure, Michael Rivard, joined the medical center’s staff in celebrating the occasion. The day also marked his 72nd birthday.
Photo courtesy of Dignity Health at St. Mary’s Medical Center
Photo courtesy of Dignity Health at St. Mary’s Medical CenterSixty years ago, Rivard was a 12-year-old little boy with a congenital heart defect, which caused chest pain and shortness of breath and over time resulted in an enlarged heart. St. Mary doctors told his parents he had a one in four chance of surviving the invasive surgeries. Thanks to the cardiovascular services available at St. Mary, Rivard shared his story of gratitude.
The Long Beach resident gives back to children facing heart problems just like he did, as a volunteer at Camp del Corazon, a free week long summer camp on Catalina for children with heart disease.
Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center cardiovascular services include 24-hour on-site emergency care, designation as a STEMI Receiving Center for heart attacks, diagnostic services, including a 64-slice CT scanner, echocardiograms, stress and treadmill tests, two state-of-the-art catheterization labs, surgical suites for open-heart, thoracic and complex valve surgeries, cardiac rehab unit, and a telemetry unit with single patient rooms.
Arrest Made in Connection with Beauty Salon Death
LONG BEACH — On Feb. 15, the Long Beach Police Department announced an arrest was made in connection to a suspicious death at a beauty salon.
Officers arrested Sandra Yaneth Slaughter, also known as Sandra Perez Gonzalez, Feb. 13. The 48-year-old Long Beach resident was booked for murder and is in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department with a bail set at $2 million. The investigation remains ongoing.
The arrest was made in connection to an incident Feb. 12. At about 12:30 p.m. the LBPD responded to Areli’s Beauty Salon at 2113 Pacific Ave. to help the Long Beach Fire Department with a patient who was in cardiac arrest.
LBFD personnel performed CPR on 36-year-old Long Beach resident Hamilet Suarez. Suarez was taken to to a local hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
Officers were initially told she went to the salon for a massage, but before the massage began, Suarez went into medical distress. Due to conflicting information, Homicide Detectives responded to the scene and learned that the masseuse, who is being identified as 45-year-old Sandra Perez Gonzalez of Long Beach, was renting a treatment room within the beauty salon.
Gonzalez provides massages for her customers; however, she also advertises that she provides Vampire Facelifts, butt augmentation, and lip augmentation procedures. Inside the treatment room, detectives found medical equipment and multiple vials of controlled substances which were used for these medical procedures. Gonzalez, who is a recently licensed massage therapist, is not licensed to conduct these procedures or administer any of the controlled substances found at the facility.
The investigation continues with Homicide Detectives working closely with the California Medical Board who is assisting with the investigation. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office is also conducting an investigation to determine the cause of Mrs. Suarez’s death.
Based on the evidence gathered so far, it appears Gonzalez has been conducting these medical procedures from this location for approximately one month.
Anyone who may have received these types of treatments from Gonzalez is urged to call (562) 570-7244. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org .
Officer-Involved Shooting in Gardena
GARDENA — Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide detectives are continuing their investigation into the circumstances surrounding a Gardena Police Department officer-involved shooting that took at 10:30 p.m. Feb. 16.
Detectives learned that Gardena officers were patrolling the 1000 block of West Rosecrans Avenue, Gardena, when they noticed a disturbance in the parking lot of the business.
The officers stopped to assist the security guard in quelling the disturbance between several patrons. During the contact, one of the men fired at least one round in an unknown direction and fled westbound away from the parking lot.
Officers tried to apprehend man and an officer-involved shooting occurred. The suspect was struck at least once in the torso and was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The suspect is described as a male black adult.
Officers recovered two handguns believed to belong to the suspect.
No officers were injured.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call (323) 890-5500 or anonymously visit http://lacrimestoppers.org.
Los Angeles Joins Amicus Brief Against Trump Travel Ban
LOS ANGELES — City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Feb. 17 that Los Angeles has joined a coalition of local municipalities opposed to Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13769, commonly known as the travel ban.
Los Angeles joined an amicus brief in Darweesh v. Trump, filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York. LINK TO AMICUS BRIEF HERE (ATTACHED)
Prompted by reports that visa and green card holders were detained or denied entry at LAX, Feuer sought to intervene with federal officials at LAX the night of Jan. 28. When Feuer’s efforts were rebuffed by these officials, Feuer sent this letter top federal authorities seeking answers regarding the unlawful treatment of legal immigrants at LAX. When reports indicated LAX detainees suffered deplorable conditions — for example, receiving little or no food or water for hours — Feuer submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the federal government.
LA County Supervisors Proclaimed Day of Remembrance
LOS ANGELES — On Feb. 14, the Board of Supervisors proclaimed Feb.19, 2017 as a Day of Remembrance to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 which authorized the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. The motion was cosponsored by Supervisor Janice Hahn and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and passed with unanimous support.
Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942, forced more than 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent – including children and the elderly – from their homes and businesses and incarcerated them without charge or trial under the pretext of national security. None was ever found to have committed sabotage or espionage.
In declaring a Day of Remembrance, the board emphasized that “no community should suffer such violations of constitutional and human rights.” It also encouraged County employees to voluntarily participate in Day of Remembrance events through October.
Supervisors Take Action to Get Payments to Foster Youth, Families
LOS ANGELES — On Feb. 14, Supervisor Janice Hahn and Supervisor Hilda L. Solis took action to address an ongoing problem delaying payments to foster parents and foster youth in Los Angeles County.
Since December 2016, hundreds of foster parents and youth have reported missed payments from the Department of Children and Family Services. Problems with a recent change to the payment system that distributes funds has caused the payment delays. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion, co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn and Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, to expedite delayed payments and resolve the issue.
The Supervisors are asking DCFS to report back to the board in seven days and every week thereafter until the matter has completely resolved. Due to the urgency of the issue, the motion directs the department to have a complete back pay plan completed by March 14, 2017. This includes determining steps to resolve and distribute funds as well as finding the root cause of funding delays.
Los Angeles County’s foster care system is the largest in the Country. DCFS distributes thousands of payments each month to foster parents, group homes and youth in extended foster care. Low-income families and youth rely on these payments for food, rent and the necessities of life. Businesses rely on these payments for operating costs and payroll. Delays in payment by DCFS can be debilitating and have serious consequences. These circumstances make resolution of this issue essential and urgent.
Off-Duty Cop Fires Gun While Attacking 13-Year-Old Boy
ANAHEIM — On Feb. 21, an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department fired his gun while attacking a 13-year-old boy.
Protests erupted as demonstrators called for the arrest of the LAPD officer, whose apparent use of a gun during the heated argument over what authorities said was an ongoing issue of children walking across the lawn of his Anaheim home.
The argument began after the 13-year-old when the officer insulted a teenage girl he was with when they were crossing through the officer’s lawn. The 13-year-old boy and one teenager say that the 13-year-old told the man he was going to “sue” the cop, who apparently heard the word “shoot.”
The officer grabbed the 13-year-old’s collar and attempts to drag him. A teenager tried to help the 13-year-old boy and pushed off -duty over a hedge. The man pulled a handgun from the waist of his jeans and a shot is heard.
The man was not detained.
The 13-year-old boy was detained, however, and later booked at Orange County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of making criminal threats and battery. He was later relased.
A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of assault and battery and later released, according to the Anaheim Police Department.
Those arrests, paired with the off-duty cop’s use of a gun, sparked protests in Anaheim Feb. 22 as hundreds took to the streets calling for the officer’s arrest.
Anaheim police reported about 24 arrests for misdemeanor on Feb. 23. The status of the teen’s charges remained unclear. The police officer is on paid administrative leave.
Lieu Elected to New Leadership Post
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Feb. 15, Rep. Ted Lieu was elected by his colleagues to serve as a regional vice chairman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The position was created as part of reforms initiated by the Democratic Caucus to make the party more competitive heading into the next election cycle.
As one of five vice chairs, Lieu will be responsible for mentoring candidates, participating in media response, raising funds and traveling as a surrogate. The region he will represent includes: California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa.
Trump Revokes Transgender Education Guidance
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Feb. 22, Donald Trump’s administration announced its withdrawal of President Barack Obama’s 2016 guidance to ensure transgender students have equal access to schools and school facilities.
This guidance formalized for more than a decade of court decisions that found that Title IX and other sex discrimination laws included protections for transgender people. Among other school groups, it was supported by the American School Counselors Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the American Association of Secondary School Principals.
The rollback of these protections will allow many states and school districts to discriminate against transgender and gender nonconforming students without repercussion.
In California, a state with some of the strongest anti-discrimination protections in the United States, there is reasonable assurance that the current protections for transgender and gender nonconforming students will remain intact.
Man Pleaded Guilty to Buying Firearms for San Bernardino Shooter
RIVERSIDE, Calif.– Enrique Marquez Jr. – a longtime friend of Syed Rizwan Farook, the male shooter in the San Bernardino terrorist attack – has agreed pleaded guilty to conspiring with Farook in 2011 and 2012 to provide material support to terrorists.
Marquez, 25, of Riverside, entered into a plea agreement that was filed Feb. 14 in U.S. District Court. The defendant entered his guilty pleas Feb. 16.
In the plea agreement, Marquez agreed to plead guilty to providing material support and resources to terrorists, including weapons, explosives and personnel. Marquez admitted in the plea agreement that he conspired with Farook in 2011 and 2012 to attack Riverside City College and commuter traffic on the 91 Freeway.
Marquez also agreed to plead guilty to making false statements in connection with the acquisition of a firearm for being the “straw buyer” of two assault rifles that were used in the shooting rampage at the San Bernardino Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2015.
Marquez was arrested about two weeks after the attack at the Inland Regional Center, which was perpetrated by Farook, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, who were killed in a shootout with law enforcement hours after the attack.
The investigation into the deadly shooting quickly uncovered evidence that, in 2011 and 2012, Marquez purchased two rifles that Farook and Malik later used in the attack that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others at the Inland Regional Center. A law enforcement officer was wounded during the shootout that afternoon.
According to the plea agreement, Farook paid Marquez for the rifles. Marquez also discussed with Farook the use of radio-controlled improvised explosive devices during the planned attacks on the Riverside City College and State Route 91. Marquez purchased Christmas tree lightbulbs and a container of smokeless powder for use in manufacturing improvised explosive devices.
Marquez will face a statutory maximum sentence of 25 years in federal prison.
Marquez, who did not personally participate in the attack on the Inland Regional Center, has remained in custody since he was ordered detained at his initial court appearance in this case on Dec.17, 2015.
Also as a result of the investigation into the Inland Regional Center attack, three people have pleaded guilty to being part of a sham marriage scheme in which a Russian woman “married” Marquez to obtain immigration benefits.
Syed Raheel Farook, the brother of Inland Regional Center attacker Syed Rizwan Farook; Tatiana Farook, who is Syed Raheel Farook’s wife; and Mariya Chernykh, who is Tatiana Farook’s sister, pleaded guilty earlier this year to immigration fraud charges and admitted being part of conspiracy in which Chernykh paid Marquez to enter into a bogus marriage.