Sacto 9-1-1

Driving into your neighborhood to find sheriff's deputies searching for burglary suspects is disconcerting.

Driving out of the neighborhood a short time later and discovering you've got a suspect in tow is terrifying.

For a Florin-area mother and four children, this afternoon's experience was worthy of a television drama.

Shannon Carter had taken her children to the movies this morning and returned home around noon to find Sacramento County sheriff's deputies and K-9 units throughout the neighborhood. A neighbor told her they were looking for burglary suspects, so she locked her house and garage while she and her children, ages 7, 8 and 9, prepared a lunch to take to an Elk Grove park.

The Elk Grove Police Department needs help in identifying the man who committed an armed robbery at a Walgreens on Friday morning.

The suspect threatened an employee at the store on 7299 Laguna Blvd. with a black handgun until he opened the store's two cash registers. He then hit the employee in the head with the gun and stole an undisclosed amount of money and several Zippo lighters.

The passenger in a pickup died this morning when the truck's driver lost control and slammed into a tree along Highway 99 north of Galt.

The crash killed a 36-year-old man from Modesto, whose name has not been released pending notification of family.

The 47-year-old driver, also from Modesto, was headed northbound at freeway speed in the fast lane about 10:30 a.m. when the pickup drifted off the left side of the roadway between Arno and Mingo roads.

elkgrovecrash.jpgA driver suffered life-threatening injuries when his vehicle slammed into a light pole in Elk Grove on Calvine Road.

The car was traveling eastbound on Calvine Road about 8 a.m. when for an unknown reason the vehicle left the road and hit the light pole. The vehicle's engine caught fire after the crash.

The man in the car was not responsive at the scene and was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, said Elk Grove Police Officer Christopher Trim. Calvine Road was closed in the eastbound direction near Short Road.

Photo courtesy of Elk Grove Police Officer Christopher Trim.

A gas leak that prompted evacuations of multiple homes in Elk Grove this afternoon has been stopped, a Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department official said.

The leak was reported around 4:50 p.m., said fire department Chief Tracey Hansen. Responding crews located a ruptured one-inch line on a residential property in the 9500 block of Nut Tree Court, and evacuated the immediately adjacent houses, Hansen said.

PG&E crews responded to isolate the leak and are currently repairing the line, Hansen said. All residents are being allowed back into their homes, she said.

The leak apparently started when the homeowner clipped the gas line while digging as part of a home improvement project, she said. There were no reports of injury or illness.

An Elk Grove man has been sentenced to 14 months in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to access device fraud, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Richard Nuwintore, 42, of Elk Grove, pleaded guilty last December to using stolen credit card numbers to purchase airline tickets for himself and others, according to the release. He was sentenced today by United States District Judge William B. Shubb.

The case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service.

A San Francisco man today was found guilty of cultivating marijuana as part of a marijuana growing operation in Sacramento and Elk Grove.

The guilty verdict against Jian Hong Liang, 29, was returned by a federal court jury in Sacramento after a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Garcia.

According to testimony presented at trial, between November 2005 and Sept. 1, 2006, Liang and several other people maintained 21 houses in the Sacramento and Elk Grove areas for the sole purpose of growing marijuana. Agents recovered approximately 13,849 plants and marijuana plant root balls from 20 of the homes, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. Officials said the homes in Sacramento and Elk Grove were acquired through mortgage fraud.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A 16-year-old Elk Grove boy died and two other teens were taken to a local hospital after a single-car crashed late Saturday night in the 8600 block of Waterman Road, Elk Grove Police reported today.

The Sacramento County Coroner identified the victim of the fatal car crash as Ryan Richard Boyd, who police said appeared to have been seated in the back of a 1998 Buick Century when it was driven off the roadway and collided with a power pole at about 10 minutes before midnight Saturday.

Elk Grove Police spokesman Officer Christopher Trim said the vehicle then overturned and came to rest on its roof.

Police in Elk Grove will be operating a sobriety checkpoint on Saturday from 8:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.

The checkpoint is intended to remove impaired and unlicensed drivers from the streets. Police will also distribute educational materials on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol.

A grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is funding the checkpoint.

The Elk Grove Police Department asks anyone who observes an impaired driver to call its emergency line at (916) 714-5111 or to dial 911.

A fire involving a barn and several vehicles on a rural Elk Grove property has been contained by fire crews, a Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department spokeswoman said.

The blaze was originally reported as a grass fire at about 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, in the 10600 block of Rau Road, said department Fire Chief Tracey Hansen. First arriving units also found a barn and nearby vehicles fully involved, and the primary residence on the property threatened, Hansen said.

Elk Grove police have taken a 21-year-old man into custody after he initially retreated into a house when officers tried to serve a warrant for his arrest Wednesday, causing SWAT personnel to respond, a police spokesman said.

Officers originally responded at about 1 p.m., to the 8700 block of Corbally Court to serve a felony arrest warrant for Brandon Gutierrez, wanted on suspicion of probation violation and a weapons charge, said Elk Grove police spokesman Officer Chris Trim.

When the suspect exited the residence and saw officers outside, he ran back into the home, Trim said. Officers attempted to contact him verbally and by phone, but were unsuccessful, he said.

The Elk Grove Police Department announced that a 30-year-old Sacramento man has been arrested in connection with the June 5 attack on a man in the parking lot of Strike's Family Entertainment Center in Elk Grove.

Joel Olivarez is accused of aggravated battery.

Detectives believe that Olivarez confronted Seth Parker, 26, of Sacramento at 11:19 a.m. June 5. Olivarez allegedly punched Parker in the face during an argument, then fled with a companion. Parker suffered facial fractures.

The Sacramento Sikh Temple is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man responsible for the attack on Seth Parker outside Strikes Family Entertainment Center in Elk Grove on June 5.

Parker, 26, of Sacramento got into argument with the suspect in the parking lot of the center in the 3400 block of Laguna Boulevard. The suspect punched Parker in the face, then fled with a companion into a nearby residential neighborhood, according the Elk Grove Police Department. Parker suffered multiple facial fractures in the attack.

Parker believes he was attacked because he is gay and that the attack should be investigated as a hate crime. He said at least one of the two men directed homophobic slurs at him after Parker tried to discourage them from bothering his female companions.

The Vallejo Police Department has arrested a special education teacher on suspicion of raping a developmentally disabled student aide.

Jerry Johnson, 57, of Elk Grove, is accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old at Loma Vista Elementary School on campus and during school hours. The assault occurred during the latter part of February, said a department spokesman. Police do not know if the incident was isolated or if Johnson committed other assaults.

Johnson was arrested in Elk Grove yesterday around 5:30 p.m. with the assistance of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office.

Elk Grove police are asking for the public's help in identifying the suspect in an aggravated battery that occurred late Sunday night outside the Strikes Family Entertainment Center.

At about 11:19 p.m., in the parking lot of the center in the 3400 block of Laguna Boulevard, the suspect allegedly got into a verbal argument with 26-year-old Seth Parker, of Sacramento, and punched Parker in the face, police reported. The suspect then fled with a companion into a nearby residential neighborhood, according to an Elk Grove Police Department release.

Parker suffered multiple facial fractures in the attack.

Laguna Boulevard near Laguna Main Street in Elk Grove, which was shut down Thursday evening following a multiple-vehicle collision involving a big-rig, has reopened in both directions, an Elk Grove Police Department spokesman reported.

The collision occurred just before 6 p.m., said police spokesman Officer Chris Trim. The big-rig was apparently traveling eastbound on Laguna Boulevard when its driver lost control for an unknown reason and crossed over the center median into the westbound lanes, Trim said.

An estimated four vehicles were involved in the collision, including a Toyota Prius that ended up on its roof, Trim said. Injuries were believed to be minor, with at least one person being transported to a local hospital as a precaution, he said.

A husband and wife have pleaded no contest to felony charges of grand theft in connection with an Elk Grove real estate transaction.

Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully announced today that Carmina McGivern, 32, and her husband Sean McGivern, 31, admitted that they embezzled more than $66,000 from two victims between March and August 2009.

In March 2009, the victims hired real estate agent Carmina McGivern to assist in their purchase of a residence in Elk Grove, and the victims opened an escrow account for the purchase.

A 43-year-old woman arrested in January on suspicion of attempted homicide could be charged with murder.

Lisa Michelle Lea has been in Sacramento County Jail since being arrested by a Galt police Jan. 2. She was booked on suspicion of attempted homicide in the killing of a 71-year-old man at Galt motel on North Lincoln Way where both lived.

A man was killed when his van drifted off Highway 99, hit a tree and caught fire early this morning near Elk Grove.

A California Highway Patrol spokesman said there were no witnesses to the crash reported to them about 12:20 a.m. However, a preliminary investigation revealed that the motorist was apparently traveling southbound just south of Elk Grove Boulevard when the van went off the road.

The van struck a tree and then slid a few feet on the driver's side of the vehicle into another tree. The van then ignited and became engulfed in flames.

TacoBell 1.jpgElk Grove police need the public's help in catching two masked bandits who held up a Taco Bell.

The two young men hit the fast food restaurant at 6704 Laguna Boulevard at 9:15 p.m. on May 27. One robber pointed a short-barreled revolver, while his accomplice jumped over the counter.

Employees were ordered to place money into plastic food bags. Both suspects, who were last seen running down Laguna Park Drive, fled with the cash.

A 26-year-old man was assaulted in the parking lot of the Strikes Family Entertainment Center in Elk Grove late Sunday night, the Elk Grove Police Department reported, just days before new parking lot security measures are scheduled to be introduced by the center.

The victim, Seth Parker, of Sacramento, said Monday he believes he was attacked because he is gay.

Officers responded to Strikes in the 3400 block of Laguna Boulevard at about midnight and found the victim had been punched in the face by another man following an argument, said Elk Grove police spokesman Officer Chris Trim.

By Matt Kawahara and Carlos Alcala
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Galt Police Department officers fatally shot a 25-year-old man Friday after the man allegedly threatened to kill officers who had responded to a report that he was assaulting his mother, the police department reported.

Officers responded just after 5:20 p.m. Friday to a residence in the 100 block of Franston Street after a man called in stating his wife was being assaulted by her adult son, who was armed with a knife, according to a Galt Police Department release.

Upon arriving, officers met the 25-year-old son in front of the house, where he became verbally aggressive and made threats that he would kill them, the release states.

Elk Grove police are asking for the public's help in identifying two suspects in the armed robbery of a Bank of the West on Thursday morning.

The robbery occurred at about 10:45 a.m. at the Bank of the West in the 8100 block of Sheldon Road, according to an Elk Grove Police Department news release. Two suspects entered the bank and, armed with handguns, ordered everyone in the bank to get on the floor, according to the release.

One suspect jumped over a teller counter and entered the vault area, where he took an undisclosed amount of money, the release states. The second suspect removed money from a teller's drawer. Both suspects then left the bank and were seen fleeing on foot, the release states.

holdupsuspect.JPGBy Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

Police are seeking the public's help in identifying a man they say tried to hold up a Raley's supermarket on Twin cities Road in Galt Thursday night.

Galt police said the man walked into the store at about 9:15 p.m. and confronted a female clerk, demanding that she turn over the money in his cash register.

The clerk, who did not see a weapon, refused and called for her manager, prompting the suspect to flee.

Police released a surveillance photo of the suspect, left, and asked that anyone recognizing the suspect call Galt police at (209) 366-7000.

As part of an ongoing traffic safety campaign, the Elk Grove Police Department announced that it is stepping up speed and muffler enforcement with the aid of grant awarded by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

In 2010, 495 collisions in the city resulted in injury or death, according to a Police Department news release. Of those, 145, or 29 percent, were speed related. Police said speed is the most commonly reported contributing factor in injury collisions.

A part of the grant, Elk Grove police identified areas within the city with a large number of speed-related collisions and has been deploying mobile speed trailers to provide visual feedback to motorists regarding their speed. Additional officers also have been assigned to enforce speed laws in these areas and throughout the city.

Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department crews have evacuated an Elk Grove community center after an odor of natural gas was detected, the department reported.

Crews responded to the Wackford Community and Aquatic Complex in the 9000 block of Bruceville Road shortly before 8:50 p.m., said fire department Chief Tracey Hansen. They located the odor of natural gas in the area of the equipment room and pool of the complex and evacuated the complex, Hansen said.

Pacific Gas and Electric crews were working to isolate the source of the leak, she said.

No injuries were reported.

The Elk Grove Police Department will combat drunk driving over the next two weeks with a sobriety checkpoint next Friday and several roving DUI saturation patrols, one of which will be deployed today, according to a department news release.

The department's traffic bureau will conduct the sobriety checkpoint from 8 p.m. May 20 until 3 a.m. the next morning, at an undisclosed location within Elk Grove city limits, according to the release. Officers will also check driver's licenses.

DUI saturation patrols will also be deployed May 13, 14, 21 and 27, the release states.

Traffic was flowing again after all lanes were previously blocked on northbound Highway 99 at Laguna Boulevard in Elk Grove this morning.

Two cars involved in the collision were removed from the roadway by 8:30 a.m.

The collision was reported to the California Highway Patrol at about 7:45 a.m. Details of the crash between a gray Honda Accord and a blue Chevrolet Camaro were not immediately available.

An Elk Grove man has been arrested on suspicion of collecting illegal upfront fees in connection with loan modification services.

Rodney Andrews, 56, operated Andrews Investment Group, which offered loan modification services, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

In 2009, the California Legislature passed a law prohibiting the collection of such upfront fees to prevent individuals from preying on vulnerable borrowers facing foreclosure or unaffordable mortgage payments, officials said.

Elk Grove police are asking for the public's help in finding two restaurant robbers whose signature trait is firing a round into the ceiling before fleeing.

The robbers held up the Togos/Baskin-Robbins restaurant in the 8400 block of Elk Grove-Florin Road on April 6 and the Iron Wok restaurant in the 9300 block of Big Horn Boulevard on April 23, police said. (See surveillance photos below.)

Both establishments were entered after the businesses had closed for the night, police said. One of the robbers held a gun on employees while the other helped himself to money from the cash register.

Fire officials estimated today that a fire on Monday caused an estimated $140,000 damage to an Elk Grove residence.

The fire broke out in the 8700 block of Vytina Drive about 5:30 p.m. Monday. The first fire unit arrived on-scene in about 4 minutes to find a fire burning in an upstairs bedroom and hallway, according to a Cosumnes Fire District spokesman.

Fire crews poured water on the flames and cut a ventilation hole in the roof to release trapped smoke, heat and fire gases. The fire was extinguished in 15 minutes.

Camera3[1]a.jpgElk Grove police need help in finding a portly robber who held up a gas station dressed in plaid pajama bottoms.

The man robbed the Chevron gas station at 8296 Laguna Blvd. on April 27 at about 3 a.m. He acted as if he had a gun under jacket over his right shoulder.

One resident has been taken to a hospital suffering from smoke inhalation as a result of a fire at a home in the 8700 block of Vytina Drive in Elk Grove.

John Michelini, deputy chief of the Cosumnes Fire Department, said that the fire, reported about 5:45 p.m., was confined to the second floor of the home.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Michelini said initial indications are that it was started by an unattended candle.

Elk Grove police have shut down the carnival of the Elk Grove Western Festival after a large fight broke out tonight, a police spokesman said.

Police received a call at about 8:30 p.m., of a large group of people fighting at the carnival in the Elk Grove Regional Park in the 9900 block of Elk Grove-Florin Road, said Elk Grove Police Department spokesman Officer Chris Trim.

The carnival is a precursor to the annual Western Festival, which runs Saturday and Sunday in the park, Trim said.

Luke Garlinger.jpg Elk Grove Police have arrested a Sacramento man in connection with a March 10 armed robbery at the Extended Stay America motel, 2201 Longport Court, Elk Grove.

Luke Garlinger, left, 30, was arrested this morning following a vehicle stop in Wilton.

Detectives received several tips from the Sacramento Citizen's Crime Alert Program regarding the identity of the person responsible for the robbery, according to a Police Department news release.

Sacramento Police Department SWAT officers have served a search warrant on a Natomas residence at the request of a neighboring agency.

SWAT officers made entry to a residence on Daggett Way near Natomas Boulevard and West Elkhorn Boulevard about 7:30 a.m.

Elk Grove police said they are looking for a person connected to an ongoing criminal investigation but would not provide any more detail.

An off-duty Elk Grove police officer had his badge stolen out of his personal vehicle in Sacramento County earlier this afternoon, an Elk Grove Police Department spokesman said.

The officer reported at about 4 p.m., that his police badge and a firearm had been stolen from his car in the 7700 block of Vineyard Road, said Elk Grove police spokesman Officer Chris Trim. The firearm was not department-issued, Trim said.

Elk Grove police are handling the investigation into the burglary.

Trim said that officers typically carry several forms of identification, and that a badge by itself does not constitute that someone is a law enforcement officer. Anyone unsure of a person identifying his or herself as a law enforcement officer can ask to see that officer's official department ID, Trim said.

Elk Grove police have arrested two men in connection with an illegal marijuana grow discovered in a house in the 9000 block of Old Creek Drive, a police spokesman said.

At about 10 a.m. Thursday, Elk Grove police officers searched the house and found about 200 marijuana plants, processed marijuana and back rooms constructed with lighting and equipment to facilitate growing, said Elk Grove police spokesman Officer Chris Trim.

Detectives had "developed information through investigative efforts that marijuana growing was taking place at this location," Trim said.

Joe Luu, 30, bottom left, and his brother Wilson Luu, 21, bottom right, were arrested and booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of possession and cultivation of marijuana, Elk Grove police reported.

Joe Luu.jpgWilson Luu.jpg

Marquis Youngblood.jpgElk Grove police said they booked a 19-year-old man who allegedly crashed a stolen SUV into a video store this morning into Sacramento County Jail on multiple charges.

Police arrested Marquis Youngblood, left,19, about 4 a.m. after they said he crashed a stolen 2002 Toyota RAV 4 into a Blockbuster Video store at Elk Grove Boulevard and Bruceville Road. Police said they had attempted to pull the SUV over but Youngblood refused to stop, leading to a vehicle pursuit and eventual damage to the SUV and the retail building.

After the crash, police said Youngblood fled on foot. Officers set up a perimeter and eventually found and arrested Youngblood.

The Elk Grove Police Department has announced that the public may now file a variety reports with the department via the Internet.

The service will allow people to file a report at a time that is best for them without having to wait for an officer to respond or return a phone call, according to a Police Department news release. People filing reports also will be able to print a temporary copy of the report upon submitting it.

The report will be reviewed by police personnel and once it is approved, the person who filed it will receive an email with a copy of the report attached at no cost. The report will transfer into the records management system and receive the same investigation and statistical analysis it would if it had been taken by a police officer, officials said.

Traffic signal data will be analyzed to find out who was at fault in a collision that resulted in minor injuries to three students on a bus Tuesday morning in Elk Grove.

The accident occurred about 7:20 a.m. when an e-tran Elk Grove city bus collided with another vehicle at Franklin Boulevard and Elk Grove Boulevard.

"At this point, based on a witness statement, it appears that the four-door sedan did have some type of right-of-way violation," said Elk Grove police spokesman Chris Trim. "Whether it is red light or failure to yield, that will be determined. We will be pulling the data from signal lights to determine there were no malfunctions and that the information we received from witnesses matches up with signal light information."

The name of the two-year-old boy who apparently slipped into a backyard pool and drowned Sunday evening during a family gathering in Elk Grove has been released by the Sacramento County Coroner.

He was identified as Christopher Ramirez of Sacramento.

Paramedics were unable to revive the child, who was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The boy was visiting family with his parents on Sage Glen Way when the drowning occurred, Elk Grove Police spokesman Chris Trim said.

Matthew Layug.jpgA motorist suspected of hitting an Elk Grove Police Officer conducting a traffic stop Saturday was arrested today on suspicion of felony drunken driving, police said.

Matthew Layug, 24, of Sacramento, was being held in lieu of $60,000 bail for investigation of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causing injury.

The officer, initially reported as having either a broken right leg or ankle, was recovering today from surgery at an area hospital, police spokesman Officer Chris Trim said.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove police officer suffered an injury to his leg tonight after he was struck by a car - possibly driven by an intoxicated driver - while conducting a traffic stop, according to authorities.

The injuries are not life-threatening and appear to involve a broken leg or ankle, said police spokesman Officer Chris Trim. The officer, whose name was not released, is being treated at an area hospital.

The collision occurred about 9:40 p.m. today, after two officers assigned to traffic enforcement pulled over a vehicle on Big Horn Boulevard just east of Bruceville Road, Trim said.

J.Dalton.jpgThe murder trial of Jennifer Dalton - accused of killing her ex-husband in 2009 - is underway after attorneys gave their opening statements this morning.

Dalton faces a murder charge in the July 2009 shooting death of Craig Dalton, 39, at Jennifer Dalton's Elk Grove home.

Before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Frawley, Deputy District Attorney Chris Ore argued in his opening statements that Jennifer Dalton, angry over a failed marriage and financial woes, had been planning the shooting for months.

Hess.jpg
The Sacramento County Coroner has released the name of the jogger struck by a pickup Monday in Elk Grove.

She was identified as Teresa Hess, 53, of Elk Grove. She was pronounced dead 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Elk Grove police say Hess was jogging across Laguna Boulevard when hit by a pickup truck.

Elk Grove police say a woman jogging across Laguna Boulevard suffered life-threatening injuries when hit by a sport utility vehicle this morning.

The woman, who carried no identification, was thrown 50 feet on impact. She was not responsive when taken to a local hospital.

Police said that at about 8 a.m. the woman stepped off the curb on Laguna Boulevard near Laguna Park Drive and was hit by the SUV. The SUV was traveling eastbound on Laguna Boulevard.

Laguna Boulevard in Elk Grove has re-opened after a driver ran into the median and struck several trees.

The driver was initially thought to be suffering from life-threatening injuries, but Elk Grove police report she will likely survive.

Police were called to the scene of the crash about 4 a.m. on Laguna Boulevard between Bruceville Road and Di Lusso Drive.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

After deliberating for little more than an hour, a federal court jury today found an Elk Grove man guilty of involvement in a Sacramento-area mortgage fraud scheme.

Gabriel Richard Viramontes, 48, was convicted by of six counts of bank fraud and seven counts of mail fraud. The verdict was returned following a seven-day trial in Sacramento before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Garcia, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to testimony presented at trial, Viramontes and three co-defendants, who had already pleaded guilty to related charges, engaged in a mortgage fraud scheme that involved at least 19 homes with loans of more than $8 million.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police are investigating a shooting incident that occurred Wednesday night when an occupant of one vehicle fired several rounds at another vehicle on Bruceville Road, a police spokesman said.

Police received a report at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday of a shooting at Bruceville Road and Big Horn Boulevard, said Elk Grove police spokesman Officer Chris Trim.

Responding officers determined that the victim had been driving southbound on Bruceville Road when a light-colored vehicle pulled alongside and an occupant of that vehicle fired several rounds at the victim's car, Trim said.

Robbery-Camera 2 7.JPGBy Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police are asking the public's help in finding a man who tried to hold up an extended-stay hotel earlier this month.

Police also released a surveillance photo of a suspect, left.

On March 10 at 10:51 p.m. the robber demanded that a clerk at the Extended Stay America in the , 2200 block of Longport Court, open a safe and give him the money. He was armed with a holstered gun.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Galt police have arrested one person and are working to identify two more suspects in connection with a home invasion Sunday in which two residents were pistol whipped.

At about 5:31 a.m. Sunday, police received a report that several armed subjects had forced their way into a home near Bay Landing Way and Bay Shore Drive in Galt, according to a news release.

Officers arrived and found that three suspects armed with handguns had tricked the homeowner into opening the door, then entered the residence and forced all occupants to the floor at gunpoint, according to the release. Two people in the residence were pistol whipped.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahar@sacbee.com

Arthur Temblador, the 36-year-old director of soccer operations for an Elk Grove youth soccer club who was arrested Friday evening f on suspicion of having sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old girl, has been placed on administrative leave without pay by the club's Executive Board, the Board wrote in an email.

Temblador was taken into custody shortly after 9 p.m. Friday by Sacramento police officers after they spotted a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot of a closed medical building in the 8100 block of Timberlake Way, the Sacramento Police Department reported.

Officers found Temblador engaging in sexual activity with the 16-year-old girl , police reported.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Hundreds of Apple employees in Elk Grove who were evacuated this morning after a bomb threat was made to the business have been given the okay to return to their works stations.

No bomb was ever found in a search by bomb-sniffing dogs and the all-clear was given shortly after 1 p.m.

The bomb threat was made to Apple, 2911 Laguna Blvd., shortly after 8 a.m. Apple then evacuated employees from three large buildings.

sex assault suspect.JPGBy Ed Fletcher
efletcher@sacbee.com

A 36-year-old Elk Grove man was arrested Friday evening for allegedly having sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old girl, the Sacramento Police Department said today.

Arthur Temblador, photo left, was taken into custody by officers without incident shortly after 9 p.m., police said.

Officers said they spotted a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot of a closed medical building in the 8100 block of Timberlake Way. They said they found Temblador and the girl in the car.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

A Galt man has been indicted on charges of wire fraud.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento returned the 15-count indictment last week charging Ruben Rios Jr., 41, with embezzling more than $800,000 from a local company, according to a Department of Justice news release. The indictment was unsealed Friday.

Rios was a controller at the company.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove couple and their daughter safely fled a house fire in the 6700 block of Koster Way in the Laguna Creek neighborhood about 5:30 a.m. today, a spokesman for the Cosumnes Community Services Fire Department said.

Battalion Chief Sean Stumbaugh of the department said the fire still is under investigation. But he said it may have started in a refuse can outside the house and then appears to have been spread by gas from a natural gas meter. The gas meter may have been damaged in the blaze, he said.

Neighbors noticed the fire, he said. About the same time, the father was alerted by a large boom, Stumbaugh said.

The fire was quickly extinguished, he said, but it damaged part of the attic and the exterior of the house, leaving the home uninhabitable.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove man pleaded guilty today to importing counterfeit drugs from China.

Troy James Taylor, 39, pleaded guilty in federal court to the sale of counterfeit drugs with the intent to defraud, stemming from his illegal importation of counterfeit Viagra and Cialis tablets, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

Viagra and Cialis are two oral drugs approved by the FDA to treat erectile dysfunction.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A 3-year-old boy has been taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after falling from a third-story apartment window in Elk Grove this morning.

Elk Grove Police Department spokesman Officer Christopher Trim said the incident occurred at 9:14 a.m. in the 9100 block of Waterman Road.

The youngster was on a couch by the window. Although the screen cover was in place, Trim said, the child pushed through the screen and fell out of the window, landing on bushes and wet dirt.

Trim said the child's mother was in the apartment when the child fell.

The investigation is continuing.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Sobriety checkpoints are planned in El Dorado County and Elk Grove this weekend.

The California Highway Patrol's Placerville-area officers will set up a checkpoint about 8 p.m. Friday, which will operate throughout the evening.

Officers will control traffic at the checkpoint to evaluate drivers' sobriety, check drivers' licenses and hand out literature warning of the dangers of drinking and driving. Additional CHP officers will be assigned to roving patrols in the checkpoint area to seek out DUI drivers.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove man died in a collision on Highway 160 Monday when the pickup truck he was riding in was struck head-on by another pickup.

Weiliang Li, 51, of Elk Grove died from injuries suffered in the accident that occurred about 1:15 p.m. Monday on Highway 160 just north of the Antioch Bridge, the California Highway Patrol said today.

A truck driven by a Rio Vista man was traveling north when the pickup drifted into oncoming traffic, The CHP said.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A large fight at STRIKES Family Entertainment Center in Elk Grove at 11 p.m. Saturday sent at least one man to the hospital and prompted the arrests of two others, a city police spokesman said today.

Officer Christopher Trim said the injured man was in stable condition at a local hospital after he was hit in the head with a bowling ball during the fight.

The men were being held for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, Trim said.

By Bill Lindelof

blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police say a man tried to burn his father garage using vodka as fuel.

Police said that Kanwarjit Singh Kalotia, 43, went to his father's home in the 8400 block of Water Poppy Way about 11 a.m. Tuesday in violation of a court protective order.

When his father, Bhagwant Kalotia, 72, tried to drive away, his son got into the older man's vehicle armed with a handsaw.

By Stephen Magagnini
smagagnini@sacbee.com

The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for shooting two turbaned Sikh men on their afternoon stroll through Elk Grove last Friday has grown to more than $42,000.

The Jewish Community Relations Council, the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region and area synagogues announced today they have raised more than $10,000 to add to the reward, said Rabbi Mona Alfi, Congregation B'Nai Israel.

An interfaith prayer vigil will be held at 6 p.m. Friday at the intersection of East Stockton Boulevard and Geneva Point Drive, where Surinder Singh, 65, was shot to death and Gurmej Atwal, 78, was critically wounded.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com
Jahmal Dawson.jpg

An eighth person has been arrested in the shooting death of an 18-year-old at a high school graduation party in Elk Grove last summer, the Elk Grove Police Department announced.

Jahmal Dawson, 18, was arrested Tuesday morning at an apartment complex in Sacramento in connection with the killing of D'Andre Blackwell, according a department news release. Detectives were acting on a tip from the Sacramento Citizen's Crime Alert Program, the release states.

Blackwell, who had recently graduated from Valley High School, was shot in the chest during a confrontation at a Holiday Inn Express in Elk Grove on June 5, 2010. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Darshan Mundy, spokesperson for the Sikh Temple Sacramento, discusses the shooting of two Sikh men, at a news conference in West Sacramento.

By Stephen Magagnini
smagagnini@sacbee.com

The U.S. Department of Justice today sent its regional director of its Community Relations Service to Elk Grove to help Sikh families cope with the Friday shooting of two elderly Sikh men.

Members of the community and area law enforcement fear the shooting, which left 67-year-old Surinder Singh dead and a 78-year-old Gurmej Atwal in critical condition could be a hate crime.

Investigators are waiting for Atwal to recover from multiple gunshot wounds so he can be interviewed. He is in stable but critical condition in intensive care. He underwent a second surgery Monday, after taking two bullets to the torso.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

The Sacramento County District Attorney's office has begun its investigation into whether an Elk Grove police officer was legally justified in shooting at a handcuffed suspect in January, according to authorities.

The suspect, 32-year-old John Hesselbein, was grazed in the face by a round from the officer's department-issued Colt AR-15 rifle.

The Elk Grove Police Department recently handed over report on the incident to the District Attorney's office, said DA spokeswoman Shelly Orio. As is protocol in the aftermath of officer-involved shootings, officials there will determine whether to file criminal charges against the officer.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

The victim of a Monday night robbery in Elk Grove arrived outside a Walmart with the intention of selling a pair of shoes and was left with no clothes after being held up at gunpoint, an Elk Grove Police Department spokesman said.

About 7:17 p.m., officers responded to the Walmart in the 8400 block of Elk Grove Boulevard to find the robbery victim, a male adult in his 20s, naked in the parking lot, said Elk Grove police spokesman Officer Chris Trim.

The man had intended to complete a Craigslist sale of some tennis shoes outside the Walmart, Trim said. When he arrived and met with the prospective buyers, one of them produced a gun and ordered the victim to take off his clothes, Trim said.

RP SIKH PRESS CONF.JPGBy Stephen Magagnini
smagagnini@sacbee.com

Nearly 100 community leaders including Sikhs from throughout Northern California gathered today at the West Sacramento gurdwara to announce a reward of nearly $30,000 for information leading to the arrest of those who shot two elderly men on their afternoon walk in Elk Grove last Friday.

The reward is for information about the fatal shooting of Surinder Singh and the wounding of his friend, Gurmej Atwal, as they walked along the street. The violence has shocked members of the Sikh community. Many fear they were shot because they were mistaken for being Muslim and are victims of a hate crime.

At today's event, Elk Grove Police Capt. Bryan Noblett said witnesses at the scene described a 1999-2003 beige or tan Ford F150 pickup truck in the area of the shooting.

Bee staff

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has offered a $5,000 reward after two Sikh men were gunned down while walking in Elk Grove.

The executive director of the council's Sacramento Valley chapter noted that Sikh men in beards and turbans are often targeted by those who mistake them for Muslims. "The Muslim community offers its condolences and support to the Sikh community in this time of sorrow," Basim Elkarra said.

Elk Grove police said Sunday they didn't have new information to release about the shootings that shocked the community. Both victims were frail from heart attacks and advancing years and they slowly ambled through a quiet Elk Grove neighborhood during their daily afternoon walk.

By Carlos Alcalá
calcala@sacbee.com

A 72-year-old man who died after a single-vehicle crash in Elk Grove has been identified as Robert Gerald Connick of Elk Grove.

Police reported that a minivan drove off Sheldon Road near Springhurst Drive and into a tree at about 11:30 a.m. Friday.

A passing nurse performed CPR, but the victim was unresponsive.

Police have not determined what caused the crash.

Call The Bee's Carlos Alcalá, (916) 321-1987.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Two men were found shot, one fatally, late Friday afternoon on an East Stockton Boulevard sidewalk, Elk Grove Police Department officials report.

A person driving northbound on the boulevard called 911 at 4:29 p.m., reporting that there were two people lying on the sidewalk, said Officer Christopher Trim, Elk Grove police spokesman. Police responded and found two men with gunshot wounds. One man, whom Trim said was in his 60s or 70s, was pronounced dead at the scene with wounds to his upper torso.

The second victim was transported to an area hospital, where he is in critical condition, Trim said.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police have confirmed the death of a driver in a crash that occurred this morning on Sheldon Road when a van hit a tree.

At about 11:30 a.m., a minivan traveling eastbound on Sheldon Road near Springhurst Drive drove off the right side of the road, over a sidewalk and into a tree.

A registered nurse passing by in his vehicle stopped and administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the injured driver. The driver of the van, an elderly man, exhibited no signs of life but was taken from the scene by ambulance, said Elk Grove police spokesman Chris Trim.

Traffic eastbound on Sheldon Road at Springhurst has been detoured. Sheldon Road will be closed most of the afternoon so that officers can conduct an investigation.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bee Staff

Gasoline vapor ignited by accident during repair work, causing a fire today that burned a gas station in Elk Grove, fire investigators said.

The Cosumnes Community Services Fire said the "source of ignition ... couldn't be determined." A mechanical source or spark from a metal jack are possibilities, the fire district said in a statement.

Firefighters battled the blaze at the Shell station at the corner of Elk Grove Boulevard and Elk Grove Florin Road after the fire broke out shortly before noon.

By Diana Lambert
dlambert@sacbee.com

School bake sales are taking on new meaning.

In recent weeks, students in Sacramento and across the country have become ill from eating marijuana-laced brownies they got at school. Here's the tally from a recent 8-day period:

Graylon Lindsey.jpg Jahmal Dawson.jpgBy Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police have arrested a seventh person in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old at a high school graduation party.

Graylon Lindsey (left), 18, of Elk Grove was arrested on suspicion of homicide. Detectives are also seeking an eighth person, Jahmal Dawson (right), 18, who should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.

The six adults and a 15-year-old are suspected in the shooting of D'Andre Blackwell at a Holiday Inn Express in Elk Grove on June 5. Blackwell was celebrating his high school graduation when he was shot in the chest during a confrontation.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A man who made off with $373 from a Woodland bank has been sentenced to state prison.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Janet Gaard today sentenced Leighton Dupree to 27 years to life for second burglary of North Valley Bank.

Dupree entered the bank Jan. 12, 2010 and told a teller, "I'm not trying to ruin your day, but this is a bank robbery," according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police have arrested six people in connection with the killing of an 18-year-old former Valley High School student at a graduation party in Elk Grove last summer.

The five adults and one juvenile were arrested in connection with the shooting of D'Andre Blackwell at the Holiday Inn Express on West Stockton Boulevard on June 5, according to a release from the Elk Grove Police Department.

Blackwell, 18, died after he was shot in the chest during a confrontation at the hotel, authorities said.

Bobby Evans.jpgBy Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police announced that detectives have made an arrest in connection with last week's armed robbery of the Mechanics Bank, 8235 Laguna Blvd.

Bobby Evans (left), 52, is being held in Sacramento County Jail without bail and is to be arraigned Thursday in Sacramento Superior Court.

Evans was arrested at his Sacramento residence Tuesday on suspicion of robbery and parole violation, according to a Police Department news release. He is accused of entering the bank about 1 p.m. Feb. 14 and using a semi-automatic handgun to rob a teller.

By Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police are holding a community meeting tonight for citizens to meet with officers and discuss crime concerns.

The meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Ciy Council chambers at 8400 Laguna Palms Way, is the first "community beat meeting" of the year. It is open to the public but focused on residents who live in the west portion of the city, west of Highway 99.

Call The Bee's Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091.

Bank 211-2.jpgBy Bill Lindelof

blindelof@sacbee.com
Elk Grove police need help in finding a gap-toothed bank robber (left) who escaped on a bike.

The robber with the missing lower front tooth entered the Mechanics Bank in the 8200 block of Laguna Boulevard, at about 1 p.m. Monday. He used a semi-automatic handgun to rob a teller before leaving the bank.

The hold-up man was last seen as he rode away westbound on Laguna Boulevard on a bicycle.

By Niesha Lofing and Bill Lindelof
nlofing@sacbee.com

The Sacramento County Coroner's office has released the name of a young woman killed in an auto crash early Monday morning.

She was identified as Christina McCloud, 19, of Sacramento.

McCloud was a passenger in a 1995 Toyota Camry that was heading south near the 8400 block of Power Inn Road when the car headed off the road, collided with several trees and overturned, coming to rest on its roof, said Christopher Trim, Elk Grove police spokesman.

By Carlos Alcalá
calcala@sacbee.com

Lovie James.jpgElk Grove police have arrested Lovie James, 52, who was wanted in connection with the attempted murder of his female roommate.

Police had been looking for James for a week, since the 69-year-old woman attempted to evict James from the residence.

James reportedly reacted violently, punching and choking the victim, police said.

Lovie James.jpgBy Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A no-bail felony warrant has been issued for Lovie James (left), suspected by Elk Grove police of beating his roommate and then threatening to burn down her home.

James, 52, allegedly punched his 69-year-old roommate in the face and choked her when she tried to evict him Feb. 4.

Police said he also poured gasoline inside the residence in the 8700 block of Lewie Way and threatened to commit arson.

By Diana Lambert
dlambert@sacbee.com

Three Elk Grove Unified high school students in the last two days have reported becoming sick after eating marijuana-laced brownies.

About 2 p.m. today, two ninth-grade students from Monterey Trail High School in Elk Grove went to the school office and told staff they were feeling ill, said Elizabeth Graswich, spokeswoman for the Elk Grove Unified School District. The boys said another student gave them marijuana-laced brownies, she said.

The boys were taken to an area hospital after they began to vomit, Graswich said. She said they are still at the hospital being evaluated.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

A man who barricaded himself inside an Elk Grove residence this afternoon has been taken into custody, according to police.

The 39-year-old man is not under arrest and will be taken for a psychiatric evaluation, said police Officer Christopher Trim.

The incident began this afternoon after firefighters were called to the 8400 block of Guis Court to extinguish a car fire, Trim said. After putting out the flames, firefighters asked a police community service officer to come to the scene and request for a vehicle tow.

elk grove robber.jpgBy Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police released today a photo of a gas station robber who wore a distinctive shirt with a skeletal design during a holdup.

The robbery took place about 8 p.m. Monday at the Chevron gas station, 9715 West Taron Drive. The robber demanded money from a clerk while acting like he had a weapon.

Cash was handed over to the man and he was last seen driving away in a white vehicle.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The name of the 31-year-old man who was killed in a single-car crash in Wilton late Sunday afternoon has been released by the Sacramento County Coroner's department.

The driver of the car has been identified as Turan Kumar Dutta of Milpitas, Santa Clara, County.

Joshua Barksdale.jpgBy Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

The driver in a wreck that killed a 23-year-old Elk Grove man Tuesday night has been booked into the Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving, authorities said today.

Joshua Phillip Barksdale (left), 22, was arrested and booked Thursday afternoon after being treated for moderate injuries in the crash, which killed Jarrod Francis Harrington, a passenger in the truck Barksdale was driving, Elk Grove police said.

The crash occurred in the 9300 block of Calvine Road about 10:35 p.m. Tuesday when a red Ford pickup hit a retaining wall and flipped over, trapping Harrington under the vehicle.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove man has been indicted in connection with an $11 million Ponzi scheme.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento returned an indictment charging Christopher Jackson, 43, with six counts of wire fraud in a Ponzi-style scheme involving real estate investments, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

The indictment alleges that Jackson operated a company, Genesis Innovations, that took in $11 million from more than 75 people to invest in real estate. However, Jackson allegedly invested only about $2.5 million in real estate. He is accused of using the rest of the money to pay purported returns to other investors and for his personal expenses, including lease of a Lamborghini and Land Rover, frequent dining at high-end restaurants, lodging at luxury hotels, purchase of expensive diamond jewelry and substantial home improvements.

The case resulted from investigation by the FBI.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A handcuffed suspect grazed in the face by an Elk Grove Police officer's rifle shot early Sunday had threatened officers shortly before the incident and told them he was armed, the department revealed today.

John Hasselbein, 32, was arrested at the 8600 block of Callippe Way before 3 a.m. Sunday after his wife called to complain that he had threatened her. In previous reports of the incident, the limited information released said that Hasselbein had moved around in the back seat of the police cruiser while handcuffed. But there had been no report that he also had threatened officers or that he told them he had a gun, the Elk Grove Police Department said today.

In the more detailed preliminary report issued today, authorities said Hesselbein refused initially to leave the house, where the couple's 2 1/2-year-old daughter remained. He verbally threatened an officer before leaving the residence and remained by a security door in a "shooting position," according to the report from department spokesman Officer Christopher Trim.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The passenger in a pickup that hit a wall and flipped over Tuesday night in Elk Grove died at the scene of the crash.

The dead man was identified by the Sacramento County Coroner's office as Jarrod Francis Harrington, 23, of Elk Grove.

Elk Grove police said Harrington was the passenger in a red Ford pickup that was traveling eastbound in the 9300 block of Calvine Road about 10:35 p.m. when the truck hit a retaining wall at a home. The pickup then overturned and came to rest near the center median of Calvine Road.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The Elk Grove Police Department will hold its first community meeting of the year on Feb. 15.

The meeting will focus on issues affecting residents living in police beats 1, 2 and 4, in the western portion of the city west of Highway 99. Representatives of various units within the Police Department will be on hand to answer questions regarding crime issues.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Elk Grove City Council Chambers, 8400 Laguna Palms Way.

For more information, call the Problem Oriented Police Unit at (916) 478-8110.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

Sacramento County Coroner's officials have identified 30-year-old David Wayne Plumb of Sacramento as the driver who died after being ejected from his minivan in a two-car collision northbound on Highway 99 Saturday night.

The crash occurred south of Laguna Boulevard in the northbound lanes in Elk Grove about 7:20 p.m. Saturday after a vehicle entering the freeway lost control and struck Plumb's Dodge minivan, carrying seven passengers, California Highway Patrol spokesman Michael Bradley said today.

The minivan rolled on the freeway from the impact and the other car spun. The six occupants in Plumb's vehicle suffered minor to moderate injuries and were taken to local hospitals.

Bradley said police are investigating the case to determine what role the wet road or mechanical failure might have played in the collision before deciding whether to seek any charges against Amanullah Habib of Elk Grove, the driver of the other car. Bradley said drugs and alcohol were not involved in the collision.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

safeway 211-2 copy.JPGBy Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police say they have arrested a woman suspected of being the "red glove" robber.

Police on Wednesday put out a for the public's help in finding the woman who held up a sandwich shop and attempted to hold up a supermarket over the weekend in Elk Grove while wearing red gloves. She was seen leaving the scene of both crimes in a dark silver or gray Volkswagen. (At left is surveillance photo that police released on Wednesday.)

Patrol officers Wednesday afternoon saw Michele Lee Cooper, 34, driving a 2004 silver Volkswagen Jetta at Bungalow Way and Ancestor Drive Wednesday afternoon, police said.

safeway 211-2 copy.JPGBy Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police are looking for a woman wearing red gloves who is a suspect in the holdup of a sandwich shop and the attempted robbery of a supermarket last weekend. (Photo at left.)

Police said a woman entered the Subway, 5030 Laguna Blvd., about 8:30 a.m. Saturday and handed an employee a note demanding money and indicating she was armed.

The robber was handed cash and was last seen driving away in a silver Volkswagen.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

Cosumnes Fire Department paramedics are treating 11 patients involved in a head-on collision this evening at the intersection of Harbor Pointe Drive and Galen Drive in Elk Grove, according to authorities.

The injuries are minor to moderate, said Tracey Hansen, chief of the Cosumnes Fire Department.

The collision occurred shortly after 9:30 p.m. and involves a mini van and a passenger car, Hansen said.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove residents can get their crime questions answered from a cop over a cup of coffee later this month.

Officers from the Elk Grove Police Department's Problem Oriented Policing Unit will answer questions during "Coffee with a Cop."

The POP officers will be at La Bou, 8694 Elk Grove Blvd., and Peet's Coffee, 8234 Laguna Blvd., on Jan. 21 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Police Chief Robert Lehner said the informal meetings over coffee develop strong relationships with the public. Specific or general questions about neighborhoods are welcome.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A Sacramento judge declared a mistrial today when a Superior Court jury failed to reach verdicts on a second defendant in a shooting at an Elk Grove party two years ago that left a woman dead and three men seriously injured.

Deputy District Attorney Sheri Greco immediately announced that her office would retry Tamara Nicole Bassett for murder and on four other counts in the April 18, 2009, shooting that killed 25-year-old Alison Joelle Freeseha.

The jury also failed to reach verdicts on the two remaining counts on Bassett's boyfriend and co-defendant in the case, Raymond Thomas Vigel, 21.

Jurors on Wednesday convicted Vigel of first-degree murder in Freeseha's death. They also found him guilty of another count of attempted murder and a third of shooting into an inhabited dwelling.

Judge Greta Curtis Fall set Vigel's sentencing date for Feb. 4. The judge set March 1 as the date for the retrial for both Bassett, 24, who is facing five counts, and for the two remaining counts on Vigel.

According to testimony at trial, someone punched Bassett in the face at the party in the 6800 block of Paseo Del Sol Way. She then announced that she was going to get her boyfriend and have him come back and shoot up the place.

She then returned with Vigel, who fired the shots that killed Freeseha and hurt the other three people, witnesses said.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Raymond Thomas Vigel of first-degree murder in the April 18, 2009, shooting death of Alison Joelle Freeseha at a party in Elk Grove.

Jurors did not reach verdicts on Vigel's girlfriend, Tamara Nicole Bassett, who was also accused of murder in the case. Judge Greta Curtis Fall ordered the panel to resume deliberations.

Besides the murder count, the jury also convicted Vigel, 21, of another count of attempted murder and a third count of shooting into an inhabited dwelling. It did not reach verdicts on two additional counts against him of attempted murder.

According to testimony at their trial, Bassett, 24, had been slugged in the face by a man at the party in the 6800 block of Paseo Del Sol Way and then went and got Vigel, her boyfriend, to come back with her to shoot up the party.

Freeseha, 25, who had arrived at the party after the punching incident, was shot and killed. Three other men were shot and seriously wounded, one of whom was paralyzed from the waist down.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Chavez Jordan.jpgElk Grove police have arrested one suspect in connection with a home-invasion robbery that took place Thursday afternoon, said Elk Grove Police Department spokesman Chris Trim.

Chavez Jordan (left), 19, of Elk Grove, was arrested and booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, residential robbery and conspiracy. His bail was set at $120,000.

Jordan was arrested after being detained for questioning from the residence next door to the crime scene. A 17-year-old male, who was also detained, has been released, Trim said.

The investigation is ongoing, Trim said.

The robbery occurred at about 2:30 p.m. in the 9500 block of Stone Springs Drive.

Three children were at home when the doorbell rang, Trim said. A 15-year-old boy opened the door, and one of two men on the doorstep displayed a handgun, Trim said.

The intruders handcuffed the 15-year-old boy and ordered the other two children to stay in their rooms, Trim said. The robbers stole three TVs, other electronic items, jewelry and personal property.

When police officers arrived, they learned that individuals of interest in the case might be at the house next door, Trim said.

Officers contacted three occupants of the house, including Jordan, and found items that matched the description of items taken in the robbery, Trim said.

One occupant, a 22-year-old woman, was released after making a statement to police.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police are questioning two people regarding a home-invasion robbery that occurred this afternoon.

Police Department spokesman Christopher Trim said the robbery occurred about 2:30 p.m. in the 9500 block of Stone Springs Drive.

He said three children, ages 15, 13 and 10, were at home when the doorbell rang. The 15-year-old went to the door, looked through the peephole and saw two males, one Asian and the other, black. The teenager opened the door and the Asian man displayed a handgun.

The 15-year-old resident was handcuffed by the black man. The intruders confronted the other two children and ordered them to stay in their rooms, but did not tie them up or otherwise restrain them.

The intruders then went through the house taking three televisions, including two 55-inch sets, as well as other electronic items, jewelry and personal property before leaving through a side door.

When police officers arrived, they learned that individuals of interest in the case might be at the house next door, Trim said. The officers went to the next-door residence and contacted three occupants, a 22-year-old woman, a 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy. Inside the house, police found items that matched the description of items taken in the robbery. Trim said the victims later identified two 55-inch TVs and other items as property taken from their home.

The woman was released after making a statement to police, but Trim said the 19-year-old and 17-year-old males were taken to the Elk Grove Police Department for further questioning. As of early this evening, no one had been arrested.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

December 29, 2010
Galt arson suspects sought

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Galt police seek the public's help identifying two men involved in an early Wednesday arson that damaged the women's restroom at the Galt Market.

The incident occurred at 3:45 a.m. at the market at 905 Meladee Lane. Damage to the restroom was estimated at $15,000.

The images of the men, described as in the early 20s, were caught on video surveillance.

Anyone with information about the crime or the suspects is asked to call the Galt Police Department at (209) 366-7000.

Arson2.jpg

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bee Staff

bankrobbery2.jpgElk Grove police have released a photo of the suspect in the robbery of the U.S. Bank at 5000 Laguna Boulevard Tuesday afternoon.

A Police Department spokesman Christopher Trim said the man entered the bank about 3:30 p.m. and presented a note to a teller demanding money. No weapon was seen, but the teller, concerned about safety, complied and the man left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

According to witnesses, the suspect was last seen getting into the passenger side of a vehicle that was driven by an unknown person, police said.

The white vehicle was described as a mid-1990s compact four-door sedan, possibly a Mazda or a Toyota with a California license plate containing the letter X.

The vehicle was last seen traveling northbound on Franklin Boulevard.

The suspect was described as a black male in his 20s, 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 180 to 200 pounds.

The suspect was wearing a black beanie, dark sunglasses, a brown Cleveland Browns football jersey with the number 32 and the word "Brown" across the back over a black long-sleeve shirt, black gloves, baggy dark jeans and white athletic shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Elk Grove Police Department Detective Bureau at (916) 478-8060 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP (4357).

Callers to Crime Alert can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00.

Tips can also be sent via SMS text message by entering CRIMES (274637) on a cell phone, followed by Tip732 (agency identification number) and the message.

Report #10-12028.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police are searching for a man who robbed the U.S. Bank at 5000 Laguna Boulevard this afternoon.

Police Department spokesman Christopher Trim said the man entered the bank about 3:30 p.m. and presented a note to a teller demanding money. No weapon was seen, but the teller, concerned about safety, complied and the man left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Trim said witnesses reported seeing the man get into a white compact car, which headed north on Franklin Boulevard toward Sacramento.

The man was described as black, in his 20s, between 5 feet, 10 inches and 6 feet tall, and weighing more than 200 pounds. Trim said he was reported wearing a black beanie-style knit cap, sunglasses, and a Cleveland Browns football jersey with the number 32 and the name "Brown" on the back. He also was wearing dark-colored pants and gloves.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357. Callers may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Smoke detectors are credited for alerting residents of an Elk Grove home to an early-morning fire.

Cosumnes Fire Department firefighters responded to a report of a fire at a home in the 8600 block of Mannington Street at 3:35 a.m. today. The residents were awakened by smoke detectors and found smoke in the house and a fire burning in the wall and ceiling above their fireplace.

Although firefighters had some difficulty finding the fire that was burning behind a wall and in the crawl space above the ceiling, they were able to bring it under control in 20 minutes, according to a fire department news release.

Fire officials said the smoke detectors allowed the family time to escape without injury and helped reduce the damage caused by the spreading fire.

Deputy Fire Chief John Michelini said this is the second time in recent weeks that Cosumnes firefighters have responded a fire in which smoke detectors were responsible for preventing a possible loss of life.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police are requesting help in locating a suspect they said beat and robbed another man a month ago.

Detectives arrested one suspect - Julie Fox, 25, of Sacramento - but have not been able to find 35-year-old James Peacock (below in photos with and without facial hair).

Police allege that the pair robbed and beat a 48-year-old man at a storage facility on Union Park Drive on Nov. 18.

A $500,000 warrant has been issued for Peacock's arrest. Peacock, police said, was armed with a revolver during the robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to call police detectives at (916) 478-8060 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357.

Tipsters to Crime Alert can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

photo 1.jpg photo 2.jpg

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Mexican citizen has been sentenced to 27 years in a United States prison after pleading guilty to methamphetamine trafficking charges.

Francisco Miguel Angel Najera-Gordillo, 35, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Edward J. Garcia. Najera-Gordillo pleaded guilty Sept. 9, only days before he was scheduled for trial, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to documents filed with the court and statements made in open court, Najera-Gordillo offered to sell to a confidential informant approximately 6 pounds of methamphetamine for $12,000 per pound.

On Sept. 2, 2005, Najera-Gordillo was arrested in an Elk Grove Wal-Mart parking lot with 1 pound of methamphetamine on his person and approximately 3.2 kilograms of methamphetamine in a nearby car. Najera-Gordillo originally pleaded guilty in 2006 and was sentenced to 24 1/2 years in prison. He appealed based on ineffective assistance by his original defense attorney, and his conviction was reversed.

Because of his past criminal convictions for crimes that included first-degree burglary and assault on a police officer, Najera-Gordillo is considered a "career criminal" under United States Sentencing Guidelines, officials said.

At sentencing, Judge Garcia stated that there was "no reason to believe that the defendant would not continue returning illegally to the community to commit more crimes."

The case resulted from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mary Grad and Michael D. Anderson prosecuted the case.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove man has pleaded guilty in federal court to credit card fraud.

Richard Nuwintore, 42, entered the plea Thursday before U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb.

According to court documents, Nuwintore used other people's credit cards without their authorization to purchase airline tickets for himself and others.

Law enforcement officers were able to link Nuwintore to the tickets because either he was the passenger, the e-ticket for someone else was e-mailed to him, or the ticket was for a person who had used Western Union to send money to him, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

As part of his plea agreement, Nuwintore agreed that the provable loss attributable to him is more than $13,000.

He is to be sentenced Feb. 22.

The case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

The Sacramento County Coroner's office has identified the man killed Thursday morning when his BMW collided head-on with a big rig on Interstate 5 just south of Elk Grove Boulevard.

Michael Foreman, 25, of Antioch, was driving the BMW southbound on I-5 when his vehicle crossed into the northbound lanes and hit the big rig shortly before 5:18 a.m., said Officer Rich Wetzel, CHP spokesman.

Foreman was pronounced dead at the scene, Wetzel said. What caused Foreman's vehicle to veer into oncoming traffic is under investigation.

The driver of the big rig was unhurt, Wetzel said.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Matthew Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

A man has died following a head-on collision this morning between a BMW and big rig on Interstate 5 just south of Elk Grove Boulevard, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said.

The BMW was traveling southbound on I-5 when it crossed into the northbound lanes and hit the big rig head on shortly before 5:18 a.m., said CHP spokesman Officer Rich Wetzel.

The driver of the BMW was confirmed dead at the scene, Wetzel said. Wetzel said he was unsure if the driver was the only person in the car. The driver of the big rig was unhurt, he added.

The big rig ended up on its side, blocking one of the northbound lanes of the two-lane highway, Wetzel said. One lane remains open temporarily, but CHP is advising drivers to use Highway 99 to avoid delays.

Call The Bee's Matthew Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

Bee staff

The Elk Grove Police Department has announced it is stepping up patrols in all its local shopping centers during the holiday season -- through Dec. 24.

The department said the increased presence "will allow officers to focus on any suspicious activity occurring in and around shopping centers, which historically have experienced a seasonal increase in criminal activity."

Officers will be in marked patrol vehicles, unmarked cars and on foot patrol.

In addition, the department is asking the public to take crime prevention measures, including:

• Keeping packages and other valuables in the car trunk and out of sight.

• Avoiding carrying large sums of cash.

• Paying for purchases with a check or credit card.

• Carrying a purse under your arm with the strap across your body.

• Putting wallets in an inside pocket of your jacket or front pants pocket.

• Staying alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

• Shopping after dark with friends.

• Parking in a well-lit area.

• Checking the interior of the car before you unlock the door to get in.

• Locking your car doors and windows even if you are only gone for a few minutes.

By Bee Staff

The Elk Grove Police Department is asking for the public's help in identifying a man who attempted to rob the Walmart store at 8465 Elk Grove Blvd on Nov. 19.

At approximately 8:56 p.m., an unidentified male (see photos below) went to the store's customer service counter. The man handed an employee a note indicating that this was a robbery, police said.

The man then displayed a small chrome handgun in a threatening manner when another employee approached. Several customers saw what was taking place and ran from the area, according to a police news release.

As a result of the disturbance created by the customers fleeing the area, the armed man left the store on foot without any money, police said.

The suspect possibly fled in a silver or tan 2002-2003 Honda Civic four-door sedan with tinted rear windows, police said.

The man was described as a white male, approximately 20 to 30 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall with a thin build. The man had sandy blond hair and was unshaven. The man was last seen wearing a red baseball cap, gray hooded sweatshirt, faded blue jeans and dark shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Elk Grove Police Department Detective Bureau at (916) 478-8060 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP (4357).

Callers to Crime Alert can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Tips can also be sent via SMS text message by entering CRIMES (274637) on a cell phone, followed by Tip732 and the message.

Facial5[a].jpg Facial3[a].jpg

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police are investigating a stabbing that sent the caretaker of a storage facility to hospital on Thursday night.

Department spokesman Officer Christopher Trim said the 48-year-old victim suffered a wound to his lower abdomen and is in stable condition.

The victim apparently lived as a caretaker in the residential part of Statewide Elk Grove Mini Storage. Police said the victim let the suspect into the facility in the 9000 block of Union Park Way shortly before 8:30 p.m., when a confrontation ensued between the two men.

Witnesses said the suspect may have fled in a dark-colored sport utility vehicle.

Trim said the victim then stumbled out of the facility and was able to get help from someone in a nearby business complex. The 911 caller initially thought the victim was shot.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Bill Lindelof

blindelof@sacbee.com

Drunken drivers will be targeted at a sobriety checkpoint Friday night in Elk Grove, police said.

The Elk Grove Police department will conduct the checkpoint at undisclosed location - other than to say it is within city limits and will start at 8 p.m. and run to 3 a.m. Also, drivers will be checked to for valid licenses.

Elk Grove police say that over the past three years, 70 crashes caused by drunken drivers have killed four and injured 102 people.

Nationally, DUI deaths declined by 16 percent from 2007 to 2009. Still, deaths caused by alcohol-impaired drivers make up 31 percent of vehicle fatalities.

"If we catch you buzzed, drunk or impaired by drugs, you will go to jail," states a news release from Elk Grove police.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A fired former Sacramento sheriff's deputy pleaded no contest today to misdemeanor theft and forgery charges.

michael patrick leary[1].JPGMichael Patrick Leary, left, who also is a former Elk Grove City Council member, entered his plea just as a jury was about to be empanelled for his scheduled trial on six felony counts in Sacramento Superior Court.

Leary faced five years and four months in prison if he would have been convicted on all counts. Under the terms of his plea deal, Leary was sentenced by Judge Ben Davidian to 180 days in county jail - to be served on home detention - and three years informal probation. (An earlier version of this story erroneously stated Leary's maximum prison exposure if he had been convicted.)

Prosecutors charged in the case that Leary had defrauded a former girlfriend in a real estate transaction that involved a home they bought together in Elk Grove.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

By Queenie Wong
qwong@sacbee.com

A 36-year-old Elk Grove woman was arrested at her home today for allegedly stealing the credit card of an elderly person she was caring for and then going on a roughly $8,000 spending spree, according to the Davis Police Department.

Police said they arrested Gennetta Ballance today after serving a search warrant and recovering items at her house that they believe Ballance purchased with the stolen card. Police believe that the suspect stole the Visa card when she was employed as a caregiver at the victim's residence.

Officers began investigating the case in August when the owner of the card discovered 20 unauthorized transactions and withdrawals.

Most of the transactions were made at Sacramento area retail stores and the trail eventually led to Ballance, police said.

Ballance is being held at the Yolo County Jail.

Call The Bee's Queenie Wong, (916) 321-1008.

By Queenie Wong
qwong@sacbee.com

Three men who led Galt police officers on a high-speed chase early yesterday morning after burglarizing a Raley's shopping center on Twin Cities Road have been arrested, police said.

Dwayne Wade Osborne, 20; Allan Wayne Sherman, 20; and Anthony Lynn Pinkins, 21, face charges of burglary, conspiracy, assault on an officer and felony evading.

Sherman is currently out on bail from Bakersfield for robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, Pinkins is on parole and Osborne is on probation in Riverside for burglary.

Galt police officers arrived at about 2:54 a.m. at an Aisle 1 gas station on Twin Cities Road yesterday after they received reports of a man breaking through the store's window with a large rock, said Lt. Brian Vizzusi, a spokesman for the Galt Police Department. The suspect stole packs of cigarettes and a large amount of cash from the register.

When police tried to pull the driver of the vehicle over about an hour later on Lincoln Way, he took off going east bound on Twin Cities Road at about 100 mph and almost struck the officer. The chase ended on Highway 104 near the Sacramento-Amador county line after Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies put down a spike strip to try and stop the car. The driver swerved to try to avoid the strip and the car rolled over once after hitting a tree stump.

Police arrested Pinkins after 8 a.m. after spotting him in a field off Twin Cities Road near Rancho Seco. Sherman and Osborne were located in a field near Carbondale Road and Ione Road at about 11:45 a.m. yesterday.

Call The Bee's Queenie Wong, (916) 321-1008.

By Queenie Wong
qwong@sacbee.com

A high-speed chase in south Sacramento County that began after a gas station burglary ended early this morning with a rollover crash near Rancho Seco Park, according to the Galt Police Department.

One suspect, who was found with a large amount of coins, was arrested around 8:45 a.m. near the scene of the accident. Two other suspects, who police described as black males in their 20s, also fled from the scene.

Lt. Brian Vizzusi, a spokesman for the Galt Police Department, said that they believe they've identified the two suspects, but no arrest has been made yet.

Police officers arrived at about 2:54 a.m. at an Aisle 1 Raley's gas station on Twin Cities Road after they received reports of a man breaking through the convenience store window with a large rock. The suspect stole packs of cigarettes and a large amount of cash from the register, Vizzusi said.

When police tried to pull the driver of the vehicle over about an hour later, he took off going east bound on Twin Cities Road at about 100 mph. The chase ended near Rancho Seco Park after Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies put down a spike strip to try and stop the car. The driver swerved to try to avoid the strip and the car rolled over once.

"Officers decided to terminate the pursuit because of the reckless driving," said Vizzusi.

The suspects are not believed to be critically injured from the accident, he said.

Call The Bee's Queenie Wong, (916) 321-1008.

catherinehall.jpgBy Queenie Wong
qwong@sacbee.com

The Lodi Police Department is still searching for a 77-year-old woman suffering from dementia, who has been missing from a convalescent hospital since Friday.

Catherine Elizabeth Hall (top photo), who is confined to a wheelchair, disappeared from the hospital in Lodi after her 58-year-old son, Eric Thomas Larson (bottom photo), came to visit her. Police believe that Larson took his mom from the hospital, but they have been unsuccessful in locating them. Hall has other medical issues that require medication.

thomaslarson.jpgHall is 5 feet 5 inches and weighs 150 pounds. Police believe Larson lives in the Bay Area, but that hasn't been confirmed.

Anyone with information about the missing person should call the Lodi Police Department at 209-333-6727.

Call The Bee's Queenie Wong, (916) 321-1008.

By Bee Staff

The Elk Grove Police Department will conduct a DUI/driver's license checkpoint beginning at 8 p.m. Friday and running until 3 a.m. at an undisclosed location in the city.

"We will be talking to drivers, making sure they are not impaired, arresting those who are, and getting the word out that impaired driving and driving without a proper license is not acceptable in Elk Grove," said Police Chief Robert Lehner in a news release.

Funding for this checkpoint comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A 49-year-old man with development disabilities who was reported missing in Elk Grove early this afternoon has been found.

Elk Grove Police said the man is safe, in good health and will be returned home.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The Sacramento County Coroner's Office has released the name of a man killed when his car hit a utility pole this morning south of Elk Grove.

He was identified as James Thomas Dittmar, 21, of Elk Grove.

California Highway Patrol officer Michael Bradley said at about 1:45 a.m. Dittmar was traveling eastbound on Lambert Road at Franklin Boulevard when his car drove up a small hill on Lambert Road and over railroad tracks.

At the top of the rise in the roadway, Dittmar's car became airborne. When the vehicle landed, the car veered to the left into a ditch and struck a utility pole.

He died at the scene, the CHP said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

A Sacramento Superior Court judge sentenced a 34-year-old woman today to 15 years to life in prison after she struck and killed 54-year-old Stanley Spaeth while driving drunk in April 2009 - her fifth drunken driving offense.

Rebecca Vela[1].jpgJudge Kevin J. McCormick handed down the sentence - the maximum Rebecca Vela (left) faced - during an emotional hearing this afternoon.

Vela's blood-alcohol level was .21 the night of April 18, 2009 when she rear-ended Spaeth's motorcycle as he was headed home on East Stockton Boulevard in Elk Grove. He had just finished a shift working as a security guard - a second job he had picked up to help pay for his older daughter's upcoming college tuition.

In September, McCormick found Vela guilty of second-degree murder, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, driving under the influence with prior convictions for the offense and hit-and-run.

Several of Spaeth's relatives spoke at today's hearing of their devastation over his death, his wife's struggle with financial ruin and their collective anger toward a woman whose pattern of drunken driving had reached a fatal climax.

"Rebecca Vela had many opportunities to change her behavior and stop drinking and driving before she murdered our son," said Virginia Spaeth, the victim's mother.

Vela cried for much of the hearing and offered a tearful apology to her victim's family.

"There are no words to express my remorse, my shame or my guilt," she sobbed. "I'm deeply sorry."

She went on to pledge to begin bettering herself, and to "never drink again."

After the sentencing, Spaeth's family members embraced each other and the Elk Grove police detectives who investigated the case.

Spaeth's wife, Denise Spaeth, was somber in her reaction to Vela's sentence.

"It's not a cause for celebration, but it's as much justice as we can have," she said, her eyes red and swollen. "I would rather the law for first offenders change to make this not happen again."

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A man accused of a robbery at a bank ATM in Elk Grove was arrested Sunday night after a police officer drove up during the incident.

A 20-year-old man was making a deposit at a Bank of America ATM in the 5000 block of Laguna Boulevard shortly before 6:30 p.m. when another man ran up to him and tried to take the deposit from the victim's hand, according to the Elk Grove Police Department's daily activity summary. The victim hung on to the money, and the man began trying to punch the victim and the victim's companion.

A police officer pulled up as the robbery was taking place and the man ran toward Franklin Boulevard.

Other officers responded and located Jeremy Kekahuna, 30, of Elk Grove, who was arrested on suspicion of robbery and booked into Sacramento County Jail.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The Sacramento County Coroner's Department has released the name of a woman who died in an early morning car crash today in Elk Grove.

She has been identified as Lynn Marie Silva, 51, of Elk Grove.

Police said she was traveling westbound on Elk Grove Boulevard at Highway 99 about 2:30 a.m. in an Chevrolet Camaro and for unknown reasons her car veered off the road.

The car went down an embankment, striking several trees, according to Elk Grove police spokesman Officer Chris Trim. The car then crossed northbound Highway 99 before coming to rest near the fast lane.

The vehicle suffered major damage before catching on fire, Trim said. The fire was extinguished by passing motorists.

The two faster lanes on Highway 99 were closed for several hours. All lanes opened at 6:12 a.m.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Q: What was the outcome of Vivian Hoang's trial for conspiracy and pot cultivation in Elk Grove? - Bill, Sparks, Nev.

Vivian HOANG x4235672[1].jpgA: Hoang, now 37, pleaded no contest on May 7 to one felony count of possession of more than $100,000 obtained from drug transactions, court records show. (Photo left is from 2007.)

She was sentenced to five years probation and 246 hours in custody. The 246 hours in custody was later converted to 246 hours of community service.

As reported in The Bee on Sept. 21, 2007, Hoang was one of 15 people arrested two days earlier as Elk Grove police, in a 14-hour operation, raided 21 homes in Elk Grove, Sacramento and Galt.

Records showed Hoang, a real estate agent, was listed as owner of two of the homes.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

adamcoleman.jpgTwo men suspected of taking piggy banks in a safe at gunpoint in Elk Grove are being sought by police.

Police released a sketch of one man and the photograph of another suspect wanted for the 5 p.m. Sept. 15 robbery at a home in the 9400 block of Havenview Way. The robbers were gained entrance by falsely saying they were selling magazines.

Once inside the home, the robbers searched the residence, taking a safe containing cash and two coin-filled piggy banks. Both suspects fled in a blue and gray, mid-1980s, two-door Oldsmobile Cutlass with big chrome rims.

The residents of the home were not injured.

One of the suspects is believed to be Adam Coleman (top photo), 28, of Sacramento, police said. An arrest warrant has been issued for Coleman.

piggybankrobber.jpgThe second suspect (bottom photo) has not been identified. He is described as an African-American, about 19 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall and about 200 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Elk Grove police at (916) 478-8060 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A sleeping Elk Grove resident was awakened by a smoke detector today that was triggered when fire erupted in his apartment.

Cosumnes Fire Department firefighters were called to 10099 Elk Grove-Florin Road about 11:50 p.m. Sunday to a fire in the a second-floor apartment.

The resident had been awakened by the sound of a smoke detector to find a fast-growing fire in his kitchen. He fled the apartment and notified an adjacent tenant.

Firefighters were able to control the flames in 10 minutes. The resident of the damaged apartment was transported to a hospital for smoke inhalation.

"This is a great example of how effective smoke detectors are at reducing loss of life from fire," said Deputy Fire Chief John Michelini.

Jennifer Rubin, public education officer for the Cosumnes Fire Department, said that October is fire prevention month.

"It is a good time to change your smoke detector batteries and practice your family escape plan," said Rubin. "It all worked during this fire and everyone survived."

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

An e-tran bus ran off the road after a collision involving a pickup at the intersection of Sheldon and Bradshaw roads in Elk Grove.

Minor injuries were reported to the drivers of the pickup and the bus. No injuries were reported to the six passengers on the bus, according to Elk Grove police spokesman Officer Chris Trim.

"It's not as bad as we first thought," said California Highway Patrol Officer Rich Wetzel. "Passengers have already been off-loaded into another bus and sent on their journey."

He said the bus and the pickup collided at about 6:30 a.m. The accident is under investigation.

The pickup blocked the roadway and the bus ended up in a ditch along the road shoulder.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Security video is being examined to help find four suspects wanted in connection with a fire inside an Elk Grove drug store this morning.

Firefighters were called to the Walgreens store, 7299 Laguna Blvd., at 5 a.m. When they arrived, the store was filled with smoke and a display case with sunglasses and reading glasses was burning.

Two fire sprinklers activated over the area of the fire in the rear of the store to prevent spread. Firefighters put of the small blaze and spent nearly two hours removing smoke and water from the store, said Cosumnes Fire Department Deputy Chief John Michelini.

Fire investigators said three male suspects and one female were seen shopping in the area that burned just minutes before the fire was discovered. Employees got out of the store without injury.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A bicyclist who died after being struck by a minivan this morning in Elk Grove was trying to cross Sheldon Road when the accident occurred, police said.

At 7:28 a.m. Elk Grove police responded to the call regarding a bicycle and a minivan colliding at Sheldon Road and Lewis Stein Road.

The bicyclist died at the scene after being struck and thrown upon the windshield of the Honda minivan traveling eastbound on Sheldon Road. Police did not identify the adult male bicyclist, who is thought to be in his 50s or 60s, pending notification of family. Police said he was traveling northbound inside or near a marked crosswalk.

The incident is under investigation. Police have several witnesses to the fatal collision.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

An 18-year-old man wanted in connection with July stabbing and shooting incidents in Galt was arrested early this morning in Butte County.

clip_image002.jpgGalt police detectives along with California Department of Justice investigators and the Butte County SWAT team arrested Thomas Edward Cruz (left) on outstanding arrest warrants.

Cruz had been sought for two months in connection with the July 21 stabbing of a man outside a market. Earlier that day, Cruz also was identified as a suspect who fired a handgun into an inhabited dwelling, according to a Galt Police Department news release.

Acting on a tip, investigators conducted surveillance on a rural property in Paradise. After he was spotted on the property, Cruz fled into a heavily wooded area, police said.

Investigators and the Butte County SWAT team searched the area and located Cruz, who was arrested without incident.

He was booked into Sacramento County Jail on the warrants for attempted homicide and firing into an inhabited dwelling, as well as gang enhancements. He is being held on $1 million bail.

Police said Cruz is the fifth person arrested in these cases.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove man is in custody after he allegedly robbed a bank on Laguna Blvd. Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Elk Grove police responded to the U.S. Bank at 5000 Laguna Blvd. about 11:05 a.m. Wednesday regarding a robbery that had taken place there, according to Officer Christopher Trim, Elk Grove Police Department spokesman.

Witnesses told police that a man had entered the bank and verbally demanded money from a teller, who gave the man money out of fear for personal safety, Trim said. The suspect was not armed, Trim said.

The suspect put the money into a white plastic grocery bag and exited the bank on foot, Trim said.

As officers were responding, witnesses in the bank told police dispatchers that the suspect was walking in a parking lot on the north side of Laguna Boulevard, Trim said.

Responding officers located a man matching the description of the suspect given by witnesses, detained him and recovered a white plastic bag containing money, Trim said. The suspect, Michael Crandell, 23, was taken into custody without incident, Trim said.

Crandell was later positively identified as the robber by witnesses, according to a police department release. Crandell was arrested on suspicion of robbery and transported to the Sacramento County Jail.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Bee Staff

The Elk Grove Police Department will conduct a DUI checkpoint beginning 8 p.m. Friday and running to 3 a.m. at an undisclosed location in the city.

Traffic volume and weather permitting, all vehicles may be checked, according to a police news release.

Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs will be arrested, the release states.

Drivers also will be checked for valid driver's licenses.

Funding for the checkpoint was by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A fire that burned outbuildings and equipment on former ranch property in Elk Grove early this morning was deliberately set, according to fire investigators.

Deputy Chief John Michelini of the Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department said the fire that burned about 1-1/2 acres in the 6200 block of Calvine Road was reported about 4 a.m. It involved a multitude of dilapidated outbuildings, tools and equipment, and was brought under control in about an hour.

Michelini said arson investigators determined that fires were started at several locations on the property but have not identified what type of device or devices were used.

"We have no reason to believe that this is related to arsons in the north county or Carmichael areas," he said.

Michelini said the property once included a small house and ranch operations, but it had been abandoned and had been declared uninhabitable by city code enforcement officers.

Because arson is often used to cover up other crimes, Michelini said, a cadaver dog was brought in to search the site to make sure there were no victims.

He said the fire department was working with Elk Grove code enforcement officers and county hazardous materials officials to handle removal of containers of unidentified liquids and other potentially hazardous materials on the property.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bee Staff

Elk Grove police are investigating a motorcycle crash that killed a 43-year-old man.

Officers responded to a 911 call about a single-vehicle motorcycle accident at Auberry and Geneva Pointe drives and found the victim, a police spokesman said.

Officers believe the unidentified victim was driving his motorcycle south on Auberry Drive, lost control and hit a tree.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call the Elk Grove Police Department Traffic Bureau at (916) 478-8148.

By Bee Staff

Elk Grove police officers will conduct a two-day crosswalk sting on Wednesday and Thursday, focusing on motorists who fail to stop for pedestrians.

The operation will be conducted at two locations, which the Police Department did not identify nor give the times of the operations.

The Sacramento Police Department have conducted at least one such operation this year. On Aug. 4, Sacramento police officers handed out 47 tickets to motorists who failed to stop for an undercover officer trying to cross a street in midtown Sacramento.

In Elk Grove, a plain-clothes officer will work try to cross at two heavily traveled intersections, according to a Police Department news release.

Uniformed motorcycle officers will monitor the operation for motorists who fail to yield the right-of-way, the release states.

"This crosswalk safety operation is another tool our department can utilize to improve traffic safety and educate motorists," said Elk Grove Police Chief Robert Lehner.

By Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

Sacramento sheriff's candidates Jim Cooper and Scott Jones are scheduled to appear before a public meeting of the Old Foothill Farms Community Task Force Wednesday night as they continue their quest to replacing retiring Sheriff John McGinness.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at Pioneer School, 5816 Pioneer Way, and is designed to give area residents a chance to hear what each of them plans to do to boost law enforcement efforts in unincorporated areas of the community.

Both candidates are captains in the department and face a runoff election in November.

Call The Bee's Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091.

By Jim Wasserman
jwasserman@sacbee.com

A two-year-old Elk Grove girl was hospitalized this afternoon after falling out of a second-story apartment window, Elk Grove police reported.

Officer Christopher Trim said the girl was alert and conscious when taken to an unidentified hospital by the Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department.

The accident at Waterman Square Apartments in the 9100 block of Waterman Road was reported at 1:36 p.m.

The victim's name was not released.

Call The Bee's Jim Wasserman, (916) 321-1102.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove woman who admitted to murdering her 3-year-old adopted daughter from China was sentenced today to 15 years to life in prison.

Sabrina Alberta Banks, 42, was arrested last year in the May 2, 2008, death of her daughter Lavender.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Ernest W. Sawtelle imposed the term today after Banks pleaded no contest to the second-degree murder charge on July 27.

According to a probation report filed in the case, Banks called paramedics to say that her daughter was unresponsive. She said she thought the girl had choked on a piece of pizza.

An autopsy later showed the girl died of multiple blunt force injuries and "probable asphyxia," according to the report.

Banks had several child abuse allegations filed against her from 1998 to 2003, according to the probation report.

One of them included the death of a 4-month-old who died in Banks' care after being placed in her foster home under emergency circumstances, the probation report said.

No charges were filed in that case.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

Q: Is there any news regarding the death of Craig Dalton, a shooting victim in Elk Grove? - tumbl23, Elk Grove

A: The Sacramento County district attorney has charged Dalton's ex-wife, Jennifer Ann Dalton, with murder. Doctors' reports on her competency are due to be presented in court on Sept. 8, court records show.

J_Dalton[1].jpgCraig Dalton, 39, was shot to death on July 14, 2009, The Bee reported.

Elk Grove police arrested Jennifer Dalton (photo left), who is also known as Jennifer Ann Tate in property records that day.

Police said Jennifer Dalton, 41, called 911 after her ex-husband was shot in the upper torso inside her home in the 9300 block of Rainbow Falls Way. Neighbors reported hearing three shots being fired.

Jennifer Dalton was detained and then taken by ambulance to a local hospital for evaluation, police said. Meanwhile, police obtained a search warrant and found a firearm inside that they believed was used in the shooting.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here

Chris Cochran, assistant director of Marketing and Public Affairs, California Office of Traffic Safety, answered this question and others about DUI checkpoints for Sacto 9-1-1.

Q: Why do police tip the public about checkpoints ahead of time?

A: There are two reasons for advance publicity. It is a 'best practice' based on court CHECKPOINT[1].JPGrulings and effectiveness. The State Supreme Court said that advance publicity reduces intrusiveness of the stop at a sobriety checkpoint. The publicity and high visibility adds to their primary deterrence effect.

Q: Why are police doing so many?

A: Virtually all nighttime DUI checkpoints are funded by the state Office of Traffic Safety. We have increased funding for checkpoints and raised their number by approximately 47 percent. Last year there were 1,740 checkpoints statewide. This year we anticipate 2,500. We are doing them because they work, dropping fatality rates up to 25 percent. They save lives better than any other single tactic. That's the bottom line.

Q: How many drunken drivers are caught in the checkpoints?

A: The number varies from city to city, checkpoint to checkpoint. Usually between five and 15 in an urban area. But the number of arrests is not the measure of success. The measure is whether the number of fatalities and injuries declines in the coming years if checkpoints are carried out often and effectively enough.

Q: Do the checkpoints serve a secondary function, such as preventing others from drunk driving?

A: For those who don't ever drink and drive, it reiterates to them that DUI is a dangerous, socially unacceptable behavior. For those who might be contemplating a night out drinking, it serves to warn them ahead of time of the dangers of drinking and driving as well as the consequences of being caught. They then have the opportunity to arrange for a designated sober driver.

Q: Do you have a ballpark figure of the number of checkpoints each year in the Sacramento area?

A: About 70 for the Roseville, Sacramento, Elk Grove, West Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, Folsom and unincorporated areas.

Q: Home much money is allocated to the program and when will it run out?

A: The Office of Traffic Safety will spend about $20 million on DUI checkpoints in the state for the year. The amount allocated varies from year to year, but we anticipate it will be in the same ballpark next year.

- Bill Lindelof

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police and state alcoholic beverage control investigators have recently made arrests from stings using decoys to stop underage drinking.

In July and August three people were arrested for either selling to minors or purchasing alcohol for minors.

In the case of selling alcohol to a minor, police arrested a clerk after a young person working under the supervision of officers attempted to buy alcohol. The decoy tried to buy the alcohol at a total of 31 Elk Grove businesses.

In the other operation, targeting people who buy alcohol for people under 21 years old, two adults were arrested for purchasing alcohol for minors.

In that sting, a minor, under the supervision of Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, stood outside a liquor store or convenience market and asked adults to buy alcohol for them.

Elk Grove police said that young people under the age of 21 have a higher rate of drunk driving fatalities than the general adult population.

Stings using minors as decoys have been conducted since the 1980s. The rate of arrest is going down because of the routine stings using decoys, police said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The Elk Grove Police Department is investigating an attempted kidnapping that was reported Friday night.

Police responded at 8:39 p.m. to a report of an incident that had taken place in the 10000 block of Van Brocklin Way.

Officers contacted a 12-year-old boy who said he was riding his bike on Van Brocklin Way when a gray Toyota Tundra truck pulled up next to him, according to a Police Department news release. The boy told officers that the vehicle stopped and the driver opened the passenger door from inside the vehicle. The driver told the boy to get in the truck and grabbed him by the arm. The man tried to pull the boy into the vehicle, but the youth pulled away from the man and rode away on his bicycle.

The driver of the truck was described as a white man in his 30s, 5 feet, 5 inches tall, with a skinny build, blonde hair and a 2- to 3-inch-long scar near the right ear. The man was wearing a black shirt and dark blue pants. The boy also told police that the inside of the truck smelled of alcohol.

The pickup was described as having a gray metallic camper shell with dark tinted windows, and large-profile, off-road type tires with shiny silver rims. It also was reported to have a large dent on the right rear fender near the rear wheel.

Police ask anyone with information about the incident to call the Elk Grove Police Department Communications Center at (916) 714-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357. Callers to Crime Alert can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Tips also can be sent via SMS text message by entering 274637 on a cell phone, followed byTip732 and the message.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A Hummer SUV driven by a suspected drunken driver slammed into the front of an Elk Grove home this morning.

The driver, Tony Tran, 18, fled from the scene but was captured by officers. He was booked into Sacramento County Jail at 3 a.m. on suspicion of drunken driving causing injury and hit and run.

At 1:30 a.m., Elk Grove police responded to the call of a Hummer H-2 into a house on Schubert Court near Sheldon Road and Freesia Drive.

Major damage was caused to the front of the residence. A 70-year-old woman suffered a minor injury when trying to leave the home after the crash.

Police said that Tran ran from the home, along with one of his passengers. A second passenger remained in the vehicle, suffering a broken arm.

Tran was found a short distance away by officers, who determined he was under the influence of alcohol.

Inspectors were scheduled to look at the house today to determine if it is structurally sound.

"Fortunately nobody was downstairs," at the time of the crash, said Elk Grove Police spokesman Officer Chris Trim.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bee Staff

Sacramento Valley law enforcement agencies issued nearly 600 citations for cell-phone use to drivers on Wednesday.

Dozens of agencies participated in the second zero tolerance day this month for cell-phone use and texting while driving.

The California Highway Patrol reported today that 588 citations were used for cell-phone use while driving and four for texting while driving. On Aug. 10, the first crackdown day, 345 citations were issued for cell phones and seven for texting.

A similar effort was made in Contra Costa County where law enforcement agencies issued more than 300 citations to motorists caught violating the hands-free driving law - including one who was caught twice within three hours - during a two-day crackdown, the California Highway Patrol told the Contra Costa Times.

The Sacramento Valley crackdown was conducted by the CHP and by police departments including the Sacramento, Elk Grove, West Sacramento, Roseville, Galt, Twin Rivers, Lodi, Ripon, Rancho Cordova, South Lake Tahoe departments and the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department.

Cell-phone violations carry a minimum fine of $20 for the first offense and $50 for the second. When court costs and other fees are added, the total can exceed $100 for a first offense, the CHP said.

Cell phones are the leading cause statewide of crashes by inattentive drivers, the CHP said.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A suspected burglar got away this morning when the culprit tossed tire-puncturing cinder blocks at pursuing police cars.

At about 4:30 a.m. this morning, Elk Grove Police officers responded to a burglar alarm at Laguna Day Spa, 7440 Laguna Blvd. Burglars had smashed a window and taken the cash register.

A suspect vehicle, a black 1998 Ford Crown Victoria, was chased by police as it was leaving the parking lot of the business. As officers pursued the car, a suspect threw cement blocks onto the roadway.

Two police cars suffered flats and rim damage when they hit the thrown blocks. The patrol cars were unable to continue and the suspect was last seen traveling eastbound on Sheldon Road.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A pedestrian who died Monday night after being struck by a car in Elk Grove has been identified by the Sacramento County Coroner's Office as Eric Vernon Hayman, 34, of Elk Grove.

Hayman was crossing on the north side of Elk Grove Boulevard, within a marked crosswalk, about 9 p.m. when he was hit by a black Honda de Sol that was southbound on Waterman Road, according to Elk Grove police.

The driver, an 18-year-old man, pulled over about 100 feet from the collision and was contacted by officers. Police said the accident in under investigation. Anyone with information regarding the collision is asked to call (916) 478-8148.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove residents can get their crime questions answered with their morning coffee on Friday.

Officers from the Elk Grove Police Department's Problem Oriented Policing Unit will answer questions during "Coffee with a Cop."

The POP officers will be at the Starbucks, 2300 Longport Court, and Nugget Market, 7101 Elk Grove Blvd., from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Friday.

Police Chief Robert Lehner said the informal meetings over coffee are a way for the department to connect with the community. Citizens can ask specific or general questions about law enforcement in their neighborhoods.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove pedestrian has died after being struck by a car while crossing a street in that city Monday night.

The victim, 34, was crossing the street at Elk Grove Boulevard and Waterman Road when he was hit by a black Honda del Sol, an Elk Grove police spokesman said.

The Honda was southbound on Waterman, said Officer Christopher Trim, police spokesman.

Police responded to the area at 9:05 p.m. and found the victim suffering from "severe, life-threatening injuries," Trim said.

The victim was transported to a local area hospital, where he was declared dead, Trim said. The victim's identity was not immediately available.

Whether the victim was in a crosswalk is still under investigation, Trim said.

The driver, a male adult, pulled over about 100 feet from the collision and stayed on scene, Trim said. He is currently being interviewed by traffic investigators, Trim said.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

RB Cellphone 0004[1].JPG1.JPG

A motorist uses a cell phone while driving in Sacramento on Tuesday. Bee photo by Randall Benton.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The first zero tolerance cell-phone day in the Sacramento area resulted in 345 tickets for talkative drivers.

Police and the California Highway Patrol dedicated Tuesday to focusing on drivers talking or texting on a cell phone that is not a hands-free device.

On Tuesday, the officers issued 345 citations for talking on the cell phone while driving. The officers also handed out seven citations for texting while driving.

The CHP handed out 147 of those tickets for cell-phone conversations and allied police departments wrote 198 tickets for the same offense.

The crackdown was conducted by the CHP and by the Sacramento, Elk Grove, West Sacramento, Roseville, Galt, Twin Rivers, Lodi, Ripon and Rancho Cordova police departments.

Another crackdown by CHP and police departments is planned for Aug. 18.

"If you are one of those who can't resist answering that cell phone, we will be out in force again," said CHP officer Adrian Quintero.

Cell-phone violations carry a minimum fine of $20 for the first offense and $50 for the second. When court costs and other fees are added, the total can exceed $100 for a first offense, the CHP said.

Cell phones are the leading cause statewide of crashes by inattentive drivers, the CHP said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A Galt woman, 23, and her infant son died early today after a suspected drunken driver struck their car, according to the California High Patrol.

CHP Sgt. Scott Baland said the woman and child, were waiting at a south Sacramento intersection at 4:30 a.m. when a car operated by Xieng Her slammed into the back of their Honda Accord at high speed.

The Sacramento County Coroner's Office identified the victims as 23-year-old Nancy Angelica Naranjo and 8-month-old Joshua Bonton.

Baland said the Naranjo may have been en route to pick up or drop off her husband or boyfriend at work when the crash occurred.

She had been driving north on Stockton Boulevard and was waiting at the signal light at Orange Avenue.

"Just as the light cycled to green, the Toyota 4Runner rear-ended the Honda and propelled it into the intersection about 200 feet, spinning both cars around as they became entangled," he said.

The infant was in a child car seat. Both the toddler and the Galt woman died at the scene, before CHP officers arrived, he said.

Baland said Her, the motorist who struck the car, appeared to be intoxicated.

Her was booked into the Sacramento County jail on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Police and the California Highway Patrol in the Sacramento area are dedicating two days this month to "zero tolerance" of cell phone use or texting while driving.

Anyone caught talking or texting on a cell phone that is not a hands free device Tuesday or Aug. 18 will be given a citation that carries a fine of up to $100, according to the CHP. (An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the effort would cover nine days.)

The CHP indicated that such enforcements may become an annual effort.

Cell phones are the leading cause of inattentive driver crashes in the state, the CHP said.

Since the start of the hands-free law two years ago more than 1,200 collisions have cell phones as a contributing factor.

Those collisions have resulted in 16 fatalities and 850 people injured.

Among the agencies participating in the crackdown are: the CHP and officers in the Sacramento, Elk Grove, West Sacramento, Roseville, Galt and Rancho Cordova police departments.

The July 1, 2008 law prohibits the use of handheld cell phones by all drivers. In addition, it forbids drivers under the age of 18 from using both handheld and hands free phones. Six months later, a ban on text messaging by drivers was put in place.

CHP officers have issued more than 244,000 citations for violation of the cell phone law.

Cell phone violations carry a minimum fine of $20 for the first offense and $50 for the second. When court costs and other fees are added, the total can exceed $100 for a first offense, the CHP said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A woman missing from an Elk Grove residential care home was found early this morning.

Roberta Clooney, 70, on Wednesday was reported missing from her residence in the 9100 block of Newport West Way near Laguna and Franklin boulevards.

Clooney was seen wandering many miles away early this morning near Fair Oaks Boulevard, Elk Grove police said. Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies located her at 1:19 a.m. and took her to a hospital for observation.

Clooney was considered an at-risk person because she suffers from schizophrenia and has been without medication, police said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The Elk Grove police needs help in finding a woman who is missing from a residential care home.

Roberta Clooney, 70, is missing from her residence in the 9100 block of Newport West Way near Laguna and Franklin boulevards.

She might be found at Starbucks and shopping centers, places she often visits, police said.

Clooney is considered an at-risk person because she suffers from schizophrenia and has been without medication, police said.

She is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, 165 pounds, has black and gray hair and blue eyes.

She was last seen wearing a pink shirt, black pants and black tennis shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (916) 691-5246.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police are investigating a home invasion robbery after a neighbor responding to cries from the home discovered a resident who had been tied up all day.

Police Department spokesman Officer Christopher Trim said police were called to a home in the 8700 block of Agave Way at 8:33 p.m. Tuesday. A neighbor had gone to the home after hearing cries for help and discovered the resident, a 58-year-old man, in a rear room. The man had been tied up by intruders who entered the house sometime between 7 and 8 a.m., and had partially freed himself when the neighbor found him.

Trim said the resident had been examined by paramedics and did not appear to have been injured.

Trim said it is unclear how two or three males gained entrance to the house. He said one was armed with a gun and one was wearing a blue and white striped polo-style shirt.

They confronted the man in the rear room and tied him up before taking items from the home.

The thieves stole a 2005 white Chevy Corvette with red interior and custom rims. The vehicle's California license plate number is 5NKJ166. The intruders also took two LCD televisions.

Trim said detectives were working with the victim to determine whether other items were missing.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The Galt Police Department seeks the community's help in locating an attempted murder suspect.

clip_image002.jpgcruz.jpgThomas Edward Cruz (photo left), 18, of Galt is wanted in connection with two violent attacks last week, police said.

In the early morning hours Wednesday, Cruz and several other people are accused of confronting a man at his home in the 200 block of Emerald Oaks Drive, according to a Police Department news release. Cruz allegedly fired several rounds at the man, who was not struck by the gunfire.

In the middle of the afternoon the same day, Cruz and four other people allegedly attacked a man at a gas station in the 300 block of Pine Street. The victim was stabbed several times in the abdomen and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Police said investigators have obtained an arrest warrant for Cruz for one count of attempted murder and one count of discharging a firearm at an inhabited dwelling. Both incidents appear to be gang related, according to the news release and several other suspects have been arrested.

Cruz is described Hispanic, 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 148 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He is believed to frequent Galt, Lodi, Sacramento and Rancho Cordova.

Police said Cruz is considered armed and dangerous, and they caution citizens not to take any action that could result in a confrontation.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Galt Police Department at (209) 366-7000 or the Galt Area Crime Stoppers at (888) 393-8477. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for anonymous tips.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bee Staff

An 18-year-old man is being held in the Sacramento County jail on an attempted murder charge and other felonies, following a stabbing of another teen in a gang fight in Galt, according to police reports and court records.

Anthony Kapewa of Tracy is being held on a no-bail warrant, accused to attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with the likelihood of causing great bodily harm, and battery, all felonies, jail records show.

Four teenagers were arrested Wednesday after another 18-year-old Tracy man was stabbed, police said.

A 17-year-old Acampo boy and two other Galt boys, ages 16 and 17, also were booked into the Sacramento Juvenile Detention Center on suspicion of various charges related to the assault, police said. Their names were not released because they are juveniles.

The victim was stabbed multiple times in the abdomen but is expected to recover from his injuries, Galt Police Lt. Brian Vizzusi told the Lodi News-Sentinel.

Police believe it is related to a shooting the previous day in which nobody was struck, the newspaper reported.

In Wednesday's stabbing, officers said they were called around 2:15 p.m. to the 300 block of Pine Street, where several people were fighting.

The suspects fled, but officers detained them and witnesses ultimately identified them as suspects, according to a news release issued by police.

Officers found the victim suffering multiple stab wounds, and he was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, Vizzusi said.

Around 1 a.m. Tuesday, shots were fired in the 200 block of Emerald Oak Drive. Someone apparently fired several rounds at an occupied home, but nobody inside was injured, police said.

Police believe that matter was also gang-related and is connected to the subsequent stabbing.

Anyone with information on the crimes may contact Galt police at 366-7000. Anonymous calls may be made to Galt Area Crime Stoppers at 888-393-TIPS (8477).

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A 19-year-old man killed in a vehicle crash on Highway 99 near Galt on Friday has been identified by the Sacramento County Coroner's Office as Victor Martinez of Stockton.

Martinez was the driving a white Toyota Corolla northbound on Highway 99 near the central Galt exit about 1 p.m. Friday. Witnesses reported that car went off the road and up a steep embankment, hit a bridge abutment and rolled over onto its roof, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Martinez was taken to Kaiser Permanente South Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

His passengers, a woman and two young girls, were hospitalized with injuries.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Police seek the community's help identifying a suspect in a June 21 burglary at an Elk Grove independent- and assisted-living facility for seniors.

The Elk Grove Police Department says a woman entered The Commons at 9564 Sabrina Lane through a service entrance about 5:20 p.m. that day. Surveillance video shows her checking door handles on rooms to see if they were unlocked, a police department news release states.

The woman was seen entering a resident's room without permission and leaving a short time later. The surveillance footage shows the woman exiting the building and leaving the parking lot in a black four-door vehicle.

A few days after the burglary, the resident was contacted by her bank regarding several suspicious charges on her account. At this point, the resident discovered that her wallet, credit cards, jewelry, cash and a digital camera had been stolen from her room, and she called police.

Detectives say they believe the suspect captured on video surveillance is responsible for the theft. She is described African American, about 20 years old, 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighing about 170 pounds. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail with braids, and she was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information about the burglary is asked to call the Elk Grove Police Department's Detective Bureau at (916) 478-8060 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357. Callers to Crime Alert can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Tips also ca be sent via SMS text message by entering 274637 on a cell phone, followed by Tip732 -- the agency identification number -- and the message.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof and Matt Kawahara
blindelof @sacbee.com

The Sacramento County Coroner's Office has released the names of two people who were killed Sunday in an Elk Grove car crash.

Dead are Ying Yang, 44, who was driving the car, and Blia Moua, 80, a passenger. Both victims were from Sacramento.

Yang apparently lost control of his car, a Honda, which went off an embankment from eastbound Elk Grove Boulevard and landed on Highway 99, where it collided with a pickup truck in a southbound lane, Elk Grove police spokesman Christopher Trim said.

Trim said the Honda flipped and Moua was partially ejected from the passenger seat. A child in the pickup's passenger seat suffered minor injuries.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Carlos Alcalá
calcala@sacbee.com

Fire investigators are looking into a suspicious fire near Excelsior and Gerber roads in Sacramento County. It had threatened homes in the Vineyard housing subdivision Friday evening.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District arrived at the fast-moving grass fire at about 7 p.m. It took 24 firefighters about 20 minutes to subdue the fire.

Officials were unable to determine an accidental cause for the fire, which started in the middle of a field, and are treating it as having been intentionally set, said Capt. Christian Pebbles.

Anyone with information on this fire is asked to call Metro Fire's Arson Tip Line at (916) 566-4320.

Call The Bee's Carlos Alcalá, (916) 321-1987.

By Ed Fletcher
efletcher@sacbee.com

Authorities arrested Sheldon Watson, 45, Thursday evening in connection with two Elk Grove robberies.

The most recent robbery Watson is accused of perpetrating is the July 6 robbery of the U.S. Bank at 5000 Laguna Boulevard. Witnesses said the robber presented a note demanding money and gave the teller a white plastic bag. The teller gave the man an undisclosed sum of U.S. currency and the man rose away on a metallic green "cruiser" style bicycle.

Watson, of Elk Grove, is also accused of the June 16 robbery of the Walgreens at 7299 Laguna Boulevard.

He was booked into Sacramento County jail on two felony counts of robbery.

Call The Bee's Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police seek the public's help identifying a man suspected of robbing a U.S. Bank on Tuesday.

EGBANKROBBER.jpgJust after 1 p.m., the suspect (left) presented a note demanding money from a teller at the U.S. Bank at 5000 Laguna Boulevard, an Elk Grove police news release states. The teller complied, putting an undisclosed amount of cash into a white plastic bag held by the suspect, the release states.

The suspect left the bank and mounted a metallic green cruiser-style bike, the release states.

The suspect is described as a black man about 30 years old, 5-feet-6 inches tall and weighing about 140 pounds, the release states. He has a short, full beard and was wearing a tan baseball cap, black hooded zip-up "sweat jacket," white shirt and light blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call Elk Grove detectives at (916) 478-8060 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357. Tips also can be sent via text message to 274637, followed by "Tip732" and the tip information.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

By Deia de Brito
ddebrito@sacbee.com

suspect1.jpgGalt police officers are investigating a robbery that occurred on June 20.

The victim told police he was walking on a dirt path near the area of Dry Creek and Highway 99 that afternoon when he was assaulted by four men who stole his wallet and medication, according to a news release from the Galt Police Department. No weapons were reported.

The first suspect (top sketch) is described as a dark-skinned Hispanic male in his late 20s, about 5-foot-10 with a stocky build, a mustache, goatee, and short, faded hair. He had a tattoo on his left arm and three dots tattooed near his right eye. He was wearing a blue and white striped polo shirt and black shorts.

The second suspect (bottom sketch) is described as a Caucasian male in his early 20s with shaggy brown hair and short unshaven facial hair. He was wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans. His name could be "Alex."

suspect2.jpgThere were two other suspects but police say there is no further information about them.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Pittman at (209) 366-7000 or the Galt Area Crime Stoppers at 1-888-393-8477. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for anonymous tips.

Call The Bee's Deia de Brito, (916) 321-1087.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Law enforcement agencies in a five-county area arrested 115 people for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol during Independence Day weekend.

Collaborative efforts in Sacramento, Placer, Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties were part of a campaign involving sobriety checkpoints and DUI saturation patrols to reduce the number of traffic deaths and injuries caused by impaired drivers.

Between midnight Friday and midnight Monday, 59 DUI arrests were reported in Sacramento County, 33 in Placer County, and a total of 23 in Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties. No deaths attributed to drunken drivers were reported in those areas.

Law enforcement officials plan to conduct more such efforts in partnership with a nationwide 18-day campaign in August ending with the Labor Day weekend.

Motorists are encouraged to report impaired or dangerous drivers by calling 911.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A Sacramento judge today ordered that Aaron Norman Dunn be executed by lethal injection for his 2006 shotgun killing spree in which he murdered two men who had just finished dining with their families in Elk Grove.

MOREDUNN.JPG"It is the judgment and sentence of this court that you, Aaron Norman Dunn, should be put to death within the walls of San Quentin in the manner proscribed by law upon the date to be fixed by this court in the warrant of execution," Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet told the 32-year-old defendant.

Dunn (left) was convicted of murder April 13 in the March 25, 2006, slayings of Michael John Daly, 45, and Jon Johnson, 46. The two men were leaving popular Laguna Boulevard restaurants when they were killed by Dunn, who was distraught over the break-up of his marriage and had been ingesting methamphetamine.

The same jury that convicted Dunn voted on May 12 to recommend he face the death penalty. Dunn also was convicted of trying to kill four other people in the spree, two of whom were Elk Grove police officers.

Wearing a yellow jail T-shirt and flanked by three defense lawyers, Dunn remained silent but fiddled with a pencil at times during the sentencing hearing. At one point, he turned to look at Karen Johnson, the wife of victim Jon Johnson, who told the court, "Satan worked through that man that night."

Still, Johnson told the killer, "Aaron Dunn, I have forgiven you."

In a letter read to the court by Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett, Daly's older sister, Dianne McGarry, refuted the defense contention that drugs, depression and a lousy upbringing combined to lead Dunn to murder.

McGarry said in her letter to Dunn that he had a choice in the events that have sent him to California's death row.

"Aaron Dunn, you have brought these consequences upon yourself with the actions you chose in March 25, 2006," McGarry wrote. She told Dunn in the letter, "You are truly a cold, ruthless killer."

Earlier in the hearing, Sweet rejected a defense motion to exercise "independent mercy" and refrain from sentencing Dunn to death.

The judge said the aggravating circumstances of the killings were "so horrendous" that they outweighed the defendant's problematic upbringing of a drug-abusing father and an indifferent, uncaring mother.

Sweet then delayed the sentencing hearing for a half hour while he read the probation report on Dunn that had been filed under seal.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

KCRA: Widow: I've forgiven Aaron Dunn:

Previous coverage:

Jurors tell why they decided spree killer must die - May 13, 2010

Jurors still weighing fate of killer in Elk Grove spree - May 5, 2010

Jury weighs fate of Elk Grove killer of 2 men - April 30, 2010

Family describes killer's grim life - April 27, 2010

Victims' relatives tell of pain, loss at killer's sentencing hearing - April 23, 2010

Jury convicts man of gunning down 2 in Elk Grove - April 14, 2010

Jury deliberating fate of double-murder defendant Aaron Norman Dunn - April 13, 2010

Prosecutor, doctor spar over Elk Grove murder defendant's actions - April 8, 2010

Prosecutor eager to attack psychiatrist in Elk Grove shooting spree trial - April 7, 2010

Meth psychosis cited in killings; defendant's words cast doubt - April 6, 2010

Elk Grove cop testifies how she and partner stopped deadly rampage - March 17, 2010

Witnesses tell of lives shattered in deadly Elk Grove shooting spree - March 12, 2010

Prosecutor, defense attorneys agree suspect killed two people in Elk Grove - March 10, 2010

Elk Grove residents eligible for murder case jury - Dec. 11, 2009

Prosecutor's bid for Placer DA could stall trial for double killing - Dec. 2, 2009

Homicide suspect's lawyers don't want any Elk Grove jurors - Aug. 11, 2009

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Smoldering fireworks in a garbage can likely caused a two-alarm fire just after midnight this morning that gutted one house and burned another on Laguna Lake Road in Elk Grove, neighbors said.

Nobody was hurt, thanks in large part to the quick action of Gilbert Rodriguez, 45, a neighbor who saw the fire from an adjacent backyard and ran to alert the residents, who were asleep.

The fire started between the two houses and spread up the walls and into the attics, said Cosumnes Fire Department fire chief Tracey Hansen.

The flames had gained significantly by the time firefighters responded at 12:15 a.m., Hansen said. Firefighters could not battle the flames from inside the house because the roof was collapsing, and they were still working on the fire at 3:30 a.m., she said.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

California's "hands-free" law, which prohibits talking on a hand-held phones while driving, has been in effect for two years, but statistics indicate far too many motorists still haven't gotten the message, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Cell phones are the leading, identifiable, contributing factor to inattentive driver crashes in the state, the CHP says.

According to the CHP's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System data, since the hands-free law became effective July 1, 2008, more than 1,200 collisions have occurred statewide in which a contributing factor was driver inattention due to cell phone use. Those collisions resulted in 16 fatalities and more than 850 people injured.

The law prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones by all motorists. It also forbids anyone younger than 18 from using any type of cell phone - hand-held or hands free - while driving. Six months later, a ban on text messaging by drivers also took effect.

Since the hands-free law's inception, CHP officers have issued more than 244,000 citations statewide to motorists who were in violation of the law, according to a CHP news release.

In Sacramento County during this same period, law enforcement agencies issued 34,673 citations to drivers using hand-held cell phones, according to Sacramento Superior Court statistics. A total of 262 citations were issued to drivers younger than 18 for using a mobile/wireless device.

Cell phone violations carry a minimum base fine of $20 for the first offense and $50 for the second. When court costs and other fees are added to the fines, the total cost of the violation exceeds $100 for the first offense, officials said.

For more information about the hands-free laws, see the CHP's website at www.chp.ca.gov.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Residences in Elk Grove and the Sacramento area were among those searched by federal agents and police Wednesday in the culmination of a large-scale indoor marijuana grow investigation.

The investigation began in the Elk Grove area and led law enforcement to the San Francisco Bay Area, according to a federal Drug Enforcement Administration news release.

The enforcement operation resulted in the service of 15 federal search warrants, the arrest of nine individuals and seizure of seven indoor marijuana growing operations and nearly 2,500 marijuana plants.

Officials said the indoor grows had the capacity to produce more than one ton of marijuana annually with an estimated street value of nearly $10 million.

The Elk Grove Police Department began the investigation and requested assistance from the DEA Sacramento District Office, Immigration Customs Enforcement and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division.

On Wednesday, search warrants were served at residences in Elk Grove, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and Milpitas.

In Elk Grove, authorities seized 1,097 marijuana plants at a residence in the 9200 block of Balboa Park Way and 298 plants at a residence in the 9200 block of Starfish Way.

In addition, 98 marijuana plants were seized at a residence in the 7100 block of Lawnwood Drive in South Sacramento and 109 plants at a residence in the 8600 block of German Drive in the Florin area.

Agents also concluded that power theft was occurring at the residences.

Arrested Wednesday were Hung Ngoc Pham, 28, Cuong Thoi Long, 54, and Phuong Pham, 35, all of Sacramento; Nhung Thi Vu, 51, of San Francisco; Diep Hoang Vu, 38, Chien Minh Le, 41, and Thuy Thi Tran, 51, all of Oakland; Quoc Bui Long, 44, of San Jose; and Tuan Chu, 28, whose city of residence was not known, the release states.

All made their initial appearance in federal court in Sacramento today.

All the individuals face charges of conspiracy to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants, manufacturing marijuana and knowingly maintaining a place for manufacturing.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police are looking for two men who smashed display cases and made off with valuables from an Elk Grove jewelry store.

The robbery occurred about 11 a.m. Wednesday at Dalin Jewelers, 8765 Elk Grove Blvd. One of the men was armed with a handgun and demanded everyone in the store drop to the floor.

The other robber then smashed display cases and removed an undetermined amount of jewelry.

The suspects were described as a Hispanic man in his twenties wearing a white baseball cap, white baggy shirt and black jeans and an African American man in his twenties wearing a black baseball cap and dark clothing.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Five Elk Grove restaurants were forced to close today following a lunchtime fire that started in an electrical box at a Baja Fresh restaurant in a shopping center at Laguna Boulevard and Bruceville Road.

The fire started at the rear of the Baja fresh restaurant, according to a news release from the Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department. Four adjacent restaurants also have been forced to close for an indefinite period while electrical repairs are made.

Four fire engines, two fire trucks, two batallion chiefs and a medic unit were dispatched to the fire, which was reported about noon.

Smoke entered the restaurants around Baja Fresh and all were evacuated. No injuries to patrons or firefighters were reported.

Fire officials said they did not know whether the fire was related to the weather and triple-digit temperatures.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A woman who fled from police was rescued by two Galt Police officers after her vehicle ran off the road into a ravine and caught fire.

The officers went to the 800 block of Lake Canyon Avenue shortly after 11 this morning after receiving a report of a physical fight between a mother and daughter. When police arrived, the 18-year-old daughter fled in a vehicle, striking her mother's house in the process and causing moderate damage, according to a Police Department news release.

Officers pursued the vehicle, which turned onto Carillion Boulevard, then careened into a ravine at the corner of Simmerhorn Road and Carillion Boulevard. The driver's airbag deployed and the woman lost consciousness.

Officers arrived, saw flames coming from the driver's side of the vehicle and yelled at the woman to get out of the locked vehicle. When they realized she was unconscious, Sgt. Ed Arlt broke the passenger window to unlock the vehicle. He and Officer Steve Denier pulled the woman out through the passenger side door as she was regaining consciousness, the news release said.

The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Police said no criminal charges will be filed.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The California Highway Patrol has launched a new mobile application allowing motorists to check for traffic collisions and roadway hazards on their mobile device before starting their daily commute.

The new application provides real-time updates on where CHP officers are responding along roadways. The traffic reports are updated around the clock and include incident time, location and whether it involves a collision, traffic hazard or lane obstruction.

"By using this application, motorists will be able to choose an alternate route to get where they're going and avoid the congested area," CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said in a news release. "This will help reduce frustration on the part of motorists stuck in traffic and possibly lessen the number of vehicles moving through the incident area."

He cautioned, however, that drivers should use the mobile application only when they are parked, or assign the task to a passenger while traveling. California law prohibits motorists from reading, writing or sending a text message, or operating a mobile computing device while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.

The mobile application works on most devices, including the Android, iPhone and Blackberry. To view the site from a mobile device, visit http://m.chp.ca.gov.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Jim Wasserman
jwasserman@sacbee.com

The owner of Elk Grove-based Liberty Mortgage Co. and Liberty Real Estate and Investment Co., and nine alleged accomplices face federal mortgage fraud and mail fraud charges, following a 48-count federal grand jury indictment, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

The indictment charges Liberty owner Hoda Samuel, 58, of Elk Grove, and others with masterminding 30 home purchases from April 2006 through Feb. 2007 using fraudulent loan applications. All but two of the homes have been foreclosed by lenders for a loss of $5.5 million, said U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

Five of those indicted are Elk Grove residents. Others are from Lodi, Oakland and San Diego. Charges include conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, mail fraud and making false statements in mortgage applications to federally insured banks.

None of those named in the indictment have been arrested and several have already appeared in federal court in Sacramento and made not guilty pleas.

The indictment alleges that the two Elk Grove companies prepared loan applications using inflated incomes and false employment information. Liberty typically offered sellers $15,000 to $40,000 more than the asking price, saying the extra money was going to contractors to make the properties livable for disabled people. The money went to Liberty and its clients instead, the indictment says.

Elk Grove residents indicted in documents unsealed Tuesday included Connie Devers, 40, Charles Robert Maness, 32, Ronald Burris, 36, and Sean Patrick Gjerde, 34.

Most of the lenders in the property deals were subprime lenders that have since gone out of business.

Call The Bee's Jim Wasserman, (916) 321-1102.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police need help identifying a man whom they say used a stolen credit card at an automatic teller machine.

10-4974.jpgThe man's image (photo right) was caught on a security camera at the Patelco Credit Union, 9121 East Stockton Blvd., on June 3.

He used the card but the transaction was denied. The ATM card was reported stolen during a home burglary.

If you know the man, Elk Grove police ask that you contact detectives at (916) 478-8060 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357.

Tipsters can remain anonymous and and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Sparks from power lines apparently caused grass fires that scorched 150 acres in the Elk Grove area.

A series of grass fires during the weekend spread through open fields, burning several farm buildings and haystacks.

A fire Saturday, driven by high winds, grew to 80 acres in an hour. It started near Grantline and Waterman roads, destroying a barn, several other buildings and vehicles.

On Sunday, four separate fires along the same north-south power lines blackened at least 70 acres east of Elk Grove and Wilton. The first fire that day spread to a haystack.

No buildings were damaged Sunday but three haystacks made of baled hay burned. Value of the hay was estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District, owner of the power lines, told investigators a line malfunctioned, a Cosumnes Community Services District news release states.

Firefighters from the Cosumnes CSD, Sacramento Fire Department, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department and Wilton Fire Department fought the blazes.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

A two-alarm grass fire in Elk Grove burned 80 acres and threatened the house on one of the oldest ranches in the area before firefighters got it under control this afternoon.

The fire started around 1:30 p.m., near the intersection of Waterman and Grant Line roads. It burned a couple of out buildings near the Mahon Ranch, which has stood in the area for over 125 years.

The fire quickly spread from covering five acres to covering 80 because of high winds, said Steve Capps, public information officer for the Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department.

It took a little over two hours for firefighters from the Cosumnes department and other departments to get the fire under control, Capps said.

There were no injuries, and the house on the ranch was not affected.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Bee Staff

The 30-day grace period for red-light camera at a major Elk Grove intersection ends early Saturday, police said.

Effective at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, drivers running red lights at Elk Grove Boulevard and Bruceville Road will be issued citations carrying a $436 fine, according to a release from the Elk Grove Police Department.

Other red-light cameras in Elk Grove are at:

-Laguna Boulevard and Franklin Boulevard

-Laguna Boulevard and Bruceville Road

-Laguna Boulevard and Laguna Springs Drive

For more information about the Elk Grove red-light cameras, go Elk Grove Police Department

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Vandals struck on an Elk Grove Unified School District campus again last night.

Somebody cut off the top of young trees, stuffing one sapling in a metal garbage can and setting it on fire at Helen Carr Castello Elementary School, a school district spokeswoman.

A metal bench pulled by vandals near to the burning trash can was also damaged. The incident occurred in the quad of the school at 9850 Fire Poppy Drive.

Last week, two cases of campus property crime occurred. Vandals smashed several classroom windows at Elk Grove High School, while a projector was stolen during a break-in at Raymond Case Elementary School.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Previous coverage:

Sacramento area schools hit by wave of end-of-year vandalism- June 3, 2010

By Laurel Rosenhall
lrosenhall@sacbee.com

An 18-year-old was killed Saturday night when a gun was fired during a graduation party at an Elk Grove motel, according to Elk Grove police.

The Sacramento Coroner's Office identified the victim as D'Andre Blackwell, a resident of Sacramento.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday night, police responded to a shooting at the Holiday Inn Express on West Stockton Blvd, near Laguna Blvd. They found Blackwell lying in the hallway of the hotel's third floor with a gunshot wound in his chest. He was declared dead at the scene.

Elk Grove Police Officer Christopher Trim said several parties were taking place in the motel Saturday night, including at least one graduation party. He said he did not know which school's graduation was being celebrated there.

"There were several groups of teenaged men circulating inside the hotel traveling between floors," a statement from the Elk Grove Police says. "Apparently the victim and some friends were confronted by a large group of unidentified males... During this confrontation, an argument ensued and the victim was shot in the chest by an unidentified African-American male. After the shooting, the suspect and the others who were present fled from the hotel in several different directions."

Elk Grove Police are asking anyone with information on the shooting to call them at (916) 714-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP (4357). Callers to Crime Alert can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a $1,000 reward. Tips can also be sent cell phone text message: Type "Tip732" and your message and send to CRIMES (274637).

Call The Bee's Laurel Rosenhall, (916) 321-1083.

By Robert D. Dávila
bdavila@sacbee.com

Besides graduations and parties, the end of the academic year is bringing a rash of vandalism and thefts to schools this week in the Sacramento region.

In Elk Grove, officials are investigating two cases of campus property crime today. Vandals smashed several classroom windows at Elk Grove High School, while a projector was stolen during a break-in at Raymond Case Elementary School.

In Sacramento, some students at Bancroft Elementary School were left in the dark today after brazen thieves cut live power lines to steal about 100 feet of copper cable running to a wing of classrooms. Investigators suspect more than one person was involved in the crime, which required lifting a heavy cement slab to reach the underground wires.

"Whoever did this has to have some knowledge about electrical lines," said Sgt. Vince Matranga of the Sacramento City Unified School District security service. "If you didn't know what you were doing with these lines, you could easily electrocute yourself."

The incidents followed vandalism Monday at Pioneer High School in Woodland, where superglue and toothpicks were used to jam locks to about 50 classroom doors. Officials estimated the cost to repair or replace the locks at $15,000.

On Sunday, an arson fire destroyed a playground structure at Hazel Strauch Elementary School in North Sacramento. The incident was the third fire at an elementary campus in the Twin Rivers Unified School District during the past nine months, police spokesman William Cho said.

"I don't know if you can attribute this to typical senior pranks," Cho said. "Seniors usually target their own schools."

At Elk Grove High School, where classes have ended for the year, vandals smashed classroom windows around 4 a.m., district spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich said. No theft was reported.

Police are investigating security camera footage for leads, including a possible connection to two men whom Elk Grove police arrested before dawn on suspicion of public intoxication.

Earlier, a break-in was reported around 10:30 p.m. yesterday at Raymond Case Elementary School, where a projector was found missing, Graswich said. The incident activated an alarm, but arriving officers found no one on campus.

Graswich urged neighbors to keep an eye on campuses and report any suspicious activity 24 hours a day to (800) 78 CRIME.

Officials said crime tips also can be reported anonymously to Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP or by texting 274637 (CRIMES) and entering SACTIP followed by the information.

Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for as much as $1,000 in reward.

While schools face vandalism, burglaries and other crime year-round, incidents often increase at the end of the school year, when campuses are less populated or mostly empty, Matranga said.

Security cameras at 75 percent of Sacramento City schools, Matranga said. But the key to prevention is neighborhood involvement, he said.

"You can have all the cameras and upgraded security systems, but nothing can replace people keeping an eye on their neighborhood schools," he said. "It's really the eyes and ears on the ground that we need to prevent these problems."

Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077.

By Ed Fletcher
efletcher@sacbee.com

Statewide this Memorial Day weekend was one of the safest in years for California drivers, CHP officials said today.

This year, 11 motor vehicle accidents over the holiday weekend resulted in 17 fatalities, a 62 percent drop from the 2009 statewide total of 45.

In 2008, the statewide total was 38 people killed in traffic accidents.

"We just credit it to increased awareness and better enforcement," said Erin Komatsubara, spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP has made the Memorial Day weekend a priority, placing every available officer on patrol. For statistical purposes the CHP deems 6 p.m. May 28 through 11:59 p.m. May 31 as the holiday weekend.

Of the 17 killed, 12 were in CHP territory and five there in incorporated cities.

The CHP also reported that DUI arrests are up from 1,465 in 2009 to 1,541 this year.

Call The Bee's Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269.

By Robert D. Davila
bdavila@sacbee.com

Firefighters will conduct controlled burning training exercises Thursday and Friday in Galt and Elk Grove.

The Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department will perform the training exercises for firefighters between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., a news release states.

In Elk Grove, crews will conduct a burn at the Elk Grove Airport property on Grant Line Road. In Galt, firefighters will burn vegetation on a 20-acre parcel at 10278 Kost Road, directly south of Meadowview Park.

The exercises are contingent upon approval from the Sacramento Air Quality Management District, officials said.

Call The Bee's Robert D. Davila, (916) 321-1077.

By Carlos Alcalá
calcala@sacbee.com

A 60-year-old woman shot and killed in her Elk Grove home Friday has been identified as Marian Renee Harry.

Willie Harry.jpgPolice arrested her husband, Willie Harry (photo left), 64, in connection with the shooting on Orchard Hill Way.

Marian Harry was found in an upstairs bedroom with a single gunshot wound to the head and Elk Grove Police officers discovered a rifle believed to be the weapon used in the shooting.

Willie Harry was arrested on suspicion of murder. Police continue to investigate the motive for the shooting. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the police department communications center at (916) 714-5515.

Call The Bee's Carlos Alcalá, (916) 321-1987.

Previous stories:

Husband arrested in wife's Elk Grove homicide - May 29, 2010

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police arrested the husband of a 60-year-old woman found fatally shot Friday inside her Elk Grove home.

Police said they believe Willie Harry, 64, shot his wife in the head, and arrested him on suspicion of murder.

Police spokesman Officer Christopher Trim said Harry called 911 about 3:50 p.m. to report his wife had been shot.

Officers arrived at the two-story house in the 5900 block of Orchard Hill Way to find the woman in an upstairs bedroom, Trim said. Paramedics pronounced the woman dead at the scene.

Trim said police recovered a rifle in the bedroom where the woman was found.

Authorities have not released the woman's name or determined what prompted the shooting.

"We are trying to figure out exactly what took place," Trim said.

Police said the address has no history of domestic violence reports.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

A 60-year-old woman was found fatally shot Friday afternoon in an Elk Grove home, police officials said.

Paramedics pronounced the woman dead at the home in the 5900 block of Orchard Hill Way, said Officer Christopher Trim, Elk Grove Police Department spokesman.

Trim provided these details:

A man made a 911 call to police at 3:49 p.m., saying his wife had been shot. Officers arrived and went to an upstairs bedroom, where they found the woman with a gunshot wound.

The husband has been detained for questioning. Police recovered a rifle in the bedroom where the woman was found.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A judge has denied a temporary restraining order sought by the City of Galt against a medical marijuana dispensary.

The City Council passed an ordinance last year prohibiting medical marijuana facilities. But last week the Galt Wellness Center marijuana dispensary opened at 520 Lincoln Way.

On Tuesday, the city filed for a temporary restraining order in Sacramento Superior Court, seeking the court's order for the shop to close.

City Manger Jason Behrmann said in an e-mail to The Bee that the judge noted that the issues are complicated and that the matter would be reconsidered in a few weeks.

"We are proceeding with this next step but a hearing date has not yet been set," he stated.

The council enacted the local law for public safety reasons, citing robberies at dispensaries in other cities.

However, Sacramento lawyer George Mull, lawyer for the dispensary, said the Galt law is unconstitutional and goes against Proposition 215, the medical marijuana law passed by voters in 1996.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Previous coverage:

Galt seeks shutdown of medical pot dispensary - May 26, 2010

Q: Who was responsible for the death of a woman found in a pond on a ranch years ago? - Wondering, Elk Grove

A: Danny Raymond Steele, now 61, pleaded no contest on Dec. 8, 2005 to voluntary manslaughter for killing a Rancho Cordova woman, according to Sacramento Superior Court records and Bee reports.

Steele of Wilton received a 10-year sentence for killing Phyllis Dianne Elame, 53, hiding her body in a ranch pond. Elame's mother reported her missing on Feb. 8, 2001.

Steele fled after the killing and was arrested almost a year later in Reno.

According to the Sacramento Sheriff's Department, Steele was suspected of shooting the woman and hiding her body in a pond on his father's land near the Cosumnes River. The body was found June 7, 2001.

No motive was revealed.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

By Bill Lindelof and Chelsea Phua
blindelof@sacbee.com

A man with a gunshot wound was found dead by SWAT officers in an Elk Grove home after a lengthy standoff early this morning.

Elk Grove Police Department spokesman Officer Chris Trim said a woman called shortly after 10 p.m. to report a domestic dispute inside a residence in the 9300 block of Newfound Way. Three children were reportedly inside the home.

Later, two gunshots were heard coming from the home. Trim said officers were able to help the woman and the children to safety. They were not hurt.

Authorities also sent out reverse 911 calls to neighboring homes to advise residents to stay inside as they waited for the SWAT team to arrive.

Then, about 2:30 a.m. SWAT officers from Elk Grove police department and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department entered the home. After making sure the first floor was safe, they went upstairs and found a man dead in one of the rooms.

Sacramento County coroner's officials identified the man as Christ Constantine Chipain, 51, of Elk Grove.

Cause of death has not been positively determined. Law enforcement did not fire a shot.

"However, before we can positively say it was some kind of self-inflicted gunshot, we have to go through our investigative process," said Trim.

Several agencies - the Sacramento sheriff and police departments and the California Highway Patrol - also assisted in the operation.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Previous story:

Man barricades himself in Elk Grove home - May 25, 2010

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Galt has filed for a temporary restraining order to close a medical marijuana dispensary that opened in the city last week.

The Galt City Council passed an ordinance last year prohibiting medical marijuana facilities. But last week an operation called the Galt Wellness Center set up shop at 520 Lincoln Way.

"They didn't notify the city until they actually opened up," said, said City Manager Jason Behrmann. "We gave them a copy of the ordinance and they didn't have much comment other then to say they were going to continue to operate and we would have to force them out."

On Tuesday the city filed in Sacramento Superior Court seeking a temporary restraining order asking that the court force the closure of the shop.

City officials said they hope to have a hearing on whether they will be granted the temporary restraining order by the end of the week.

Behrmann said the council enacted the local law for public safety. He cited robberies of stores and patrons at California cities that allow the dispensaries to operate as a big reason for the council to opt for a ban.

He said several cities have had similar bans and that other marijuana dispensaries have tested the other municipal ordinances.

"At this point the city ordinances have been upheld," said Behrmann.

However, Sacramento lawyer George Mull, speaking for the Galt Wellness Center, said the Galt law is unconstitutional.

"It is a broader ban than most," he said. "There are many cities that have banned storefront dispensaries. But this bans any two people getting together to exchange marijuana and grow. So a husband and wife who wish to grow for themselves cannot."

Mull said the Galt law goes against Proposition 215, the medical marijuana law passed by California voters in 1996.

"Galt is seeking injunctive relief to stop someone from being there who they feel is not in compliance with their zoning," Mull said. "But what they have done is not to regulate medical marijuana, but ban it."

He said the center is needed because there is no medical marijuana dispensary between Elk Grove and Stockton.

Mull said the Galt Wellness Center will fight the request for a temporary injunction. He said the center is a non-profit collective.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

A 60-year-old female inmate at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center died this morning after she apparently had a heart attack at the facility, according to authorities.

About 5 a.m., inmates at RCCC alerted Sacramento County sheriff's deputies that the woman was having a heart attack, said sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran.

Deputies summoned the jail's medical staff members, who rendered aid until an ambulance arrived, Curran said. Paramedics transported the woman to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 6:16 a.m., Curran said.

The Sacramento County coroner's office will determine the woman's cause of death. Her name has not been released, pending notification of family.

She has been in custody at RCCC since April 20 and was serving a sentence for possession of a controlled substance, Curran said.

Curran said the department will conduct an inmate-death investigation in accordance with department procedures and state laws.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

poodle.jpgBy Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging a Somerset man with armed robberies of six Central Valley banks, including one in Elk Grove.

The indictment alleges that between March 8 and May 6, Belko Yovanovich, 52, robbed banks in five counties from Bakersfield to Sacramento. In each of the robberies he wore a disguise, was armed with handgun and ordered a teller to give him money, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He is accused of robbing the U.S. Bank on Laguna Boulevard in Elk Grove on March 29.

As part of his disguise, he wore a curly gray wig, leading authorities to nickname him the "poodle bandit." (left photo)

Yovanovich was arrested after a citizen saw him leaving the Oak Valley Bank in Modesto and called authorities.

He is scheduled for arraignment May 21.

Yovanovich faces a statutory penalty of 25 years in prison for each count.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindeof@sacbee.com

A 3-year-old boy abducted by his mother during a supervised visit on Sunday has been found.

Little Cortrele Clayton was found at 8:45 a.m. this morning by Elk Grove Police Department detectives at a home in Sacramento.

Police say Latoya Washington, 24, handed her son to an unidentified man during a visit Sunday in the 8700 block of Elk Grove Blvd. He ran away with the child. All three drove away in a white two-door 1996 Toyota Celica. The license number was 4PCZ873, according to reports. The driver was Antoinette Cox, Washington's mother, said officers.

Elk Grove police said today that Washington still has not been located. The child has been turned over to Child Protective Services.

Washington does not have legal custody of the child and therefore took the child illegally, said a press release from the department.

Anyone with information about this incident should call the Elk Grove Police Department at (916) 714-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers to Crime Alert can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079

Thumbnail image for Clayton.jpg1.jpg
Cortrele Clayton
Thumbnail image for Washington1.jpg
Latoya Washington

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove man who traumatized a young clerk when he held up a sandwich shop has been sentenced.

bool_oleg.jpgOleg Bool (left), 22, who pointed a pellet gun at the Subway sandwich shop employee during the hold-up, has been sent to state prison for two years. He pleaded guilty in Placer County Superior Court to second-degree robbery.

Bool was convicted of entering the restaurant on Foothills Boulevard in Roseville on Feb. 13, pointing the weapon in the face of a 20-year-old female clerk and escaping with cash. He was later caught jogging away from the shop with $362 and deposit slips from the Subway.

The gun, mask, gloves and clothes were found in bushes behind the shopping center where the Subway is located.

The clerk did not attend the sentencing, the Placer County District Attorney's Office said, but she said in a letter read in court that her life had changed significantly.

"In about 35 seconds, I went from a content and normal college student to a terrified mess," she wrote.

She was too upset to leave her home for days, fell behind in schoolwork and dropped classes as she lost her focus. She also quit the sandwich shop job.

"I hope one day I can move on and the thoughts won't haunt me any longer," the young woman wrote.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

aaronnormandunn.JPGBy Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today recommended that Aaron Norman Dunn be sentenced to death for the March 25, 2006, shooting spree in Elk Grove in which he murdered two people and tried to kill four more.

The panel came back with its decision after deliberating nearly nine days on the penalty phase of Dunn's trial. The jury chose the death penalty instead of a term of life in prison with no chance of parole. It was the first death penalty verdict returned by a Sacramento jury in three years.

Dunn, 33, was convicted April 13 on two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of cameraman Jon Johnson, 46, and Xerox salesman Michael John Daly, 45.

It took the six-man, six-woman panel a little more than a day to convict Dunn in the guilt phase of his trial.

"He attacked our community," juror Fred Young said.

Trial evidence showed that Dunn was distraught over the breakup of his marriage, his estrangement from his wife who had begun dating men she had met on the internet, and his loss of contact with his daughter.

Under the influence of methamphetamine, Dunn drove to Elk Grove from his residence in Olivehurst and went on a shotgun rampage along Laguna Boulevard.

Witnesses said he swung his car along the side of the road and shot and killed Daly as the victim was driving out of a Chili's restaurant onto Laguna Boulevard. Daly's wife and two children also were in the car.

Dunn continued east on Laguna Boulevard and crashed into a truck while hanging out of his vehicle and aiming his shotgun at an Elk Grove police car. He shot out the back window of the police car then aimed and fired at another motorist, who was slightly injured by flying glass.

Dunn left his car, cut through a McDonald's parking lot and went to the front of Mandango's Bar and Grill, where Johnson and his wife were just coming out after eating dinner. Dunn shot Johnson in the face with his shotgun and was seen on a surveillance video holding the gun over his head and celebrating as he returned toward Laguna Boulevard.

Once out on the street, he confronted the two Elk Grove police officers he had fired on earlier. He chased one of them around the patrol car and shot and wounded a motorist who had stopped to help. The two officers, Janell Bestpitch and Tisha Smith, stopped the spree by shooting Dunn several times with their revolvers.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

Previous coverage:

Jurors still weighing fate of killer in Elk Grove spree - May 5, 2010

Jury weighs fate of Elk Grove killer of 2 men - April 30, 2010

Family describes killer's grim life - April 27, 2010

Victims' relatives tell of pain, loss at killer's sentencing hearing - April 23, 2010

Jury convicts man of gunning down 2 in Elk Grove - April 14, 2010

Jury deliberating fate of double-murder defendant Aaron Norman Dunn - April 13, 2010

Prosecutor, doctor spar over Elk Grove murder defendant's actions - April 8, 2010

Prosecutor eager to attack psychiatrist in Elk Grove shooting spree trial - April 7, 2010

Meth psychosis cited in killings; defendant's words cast doubt - April 6, 2010

Elk Grove cop testifies how she and partner stopped deadly rampage - March 17, 2010

Witnesses tell of lives shattered in deadly Elk Grove shooting spree - March 12, 2010

Prosecutor, defense attorneys agree suspect killed two people in Elk Grove - March 10, 2010

Elk Grove residents eligible for murder case jury - Dec. 11, 2009

Prosecutor's bid for Placer DA could stall trial for double killing - Dec. 2, 2009

Homicide suspect's lawyers don't want any Elk Grove jurors - Aug. 11, 2009

aaronnormandunn.JPGBy Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

Jurors in the Aaron Norman Dunn murder case today completed more than eight days of deliberations without reaching a verdict in the penalty phase of the convicted spree killer's trial.

The panel took a little more than one day to return first-degree murder convictions April 13 against Dunn for the shooting deaths of Michael John Daly, 45, and Jon Johnson, 46. The two were shot down while out with their families in Elk Grove.

Dunn, 33, also was convicted of trying to kill four other people the night of the March 25, 2006, shootings. Police and prosecutors, as well as his defense attorneys, said Dunn was distraught over the breakup of his marriage and his estranged wife going out with other men.

Jurors haven't had any more questions for Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet since they asked last week whether they could consider remorse as an aggravating factor in the case.

A Sacramento jury has not sentenced a defendant to death since April 25, 2007, when a panel recommended capital punishment in a penalty phase retrial for James Leslie Karis Jr.

Karis, a paroled rapist, had been convicted and sentenced in 1982 for the kidnap-murder of a woman in Placerville. His trial had been moved to Sacramento from El Dorado County because of pre-trial publicity.

The last death penalty murder sentence in Sacramento that also included a guilt phase in the trial was returned on Dec. 21, 2006 against Joseph Moreno Aguayo for the kidnap, rape and murder of a woman in 1979.

Both Karis and Aguayo are on California's death row.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

Previous coverage:

Jurors still weighing fate of killer in Elk Grove spree - May 5, 2010

Jury weighs fate of Elk Grove killer of 2 men - April 30, 2010

Family describes killer's grim life - April 27, 2010

Victims' relatives tell of pain, loss at killer's sentencing hearing - April 23, 2010

Jury convicts man of gunning down 2 in Elk Grove - April 14, 2010

Jury deliberating fate of double-murder defendant Aaron Norman Dunn - April 13, 2010

Prosecutor, doctor spar over Elk Grove murder defendant's actions - April 8, 2010

Prosecutor eager to attack psychiatrist in Elk Grove shooting spree trial - April 7, 2010

Meth psychosis cited in killings; defendant's words cast doubt - April 6, 2010

Elk Grove cop testifies how she and partner stopped deadly rampage - March 17, 2010

Witnesses tell of lives shattered in deadly Elk Grove shooting spree - March 12, 2010

Prosecutor, defense attorneys agree suspect killed two people in Elk Grove - March 10, 2010

Elk Grove residents eligible for murder case jury - Dec. 11, 2009

Prosecutor's bid for Placer DA could stall trial for double killing - Dec. 2, 2009

Homicide suspect's lawyers don't want any Elk Grove jurors - Aug. 11, 2009

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The state of California is making $6 million in grants available to expand education, job training and placement programs for young street gang members or youths who may be prone to join gangs as part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention Initiative, or CalGRIP.

"These grants will offer at-risk youth throughout California a chance to turn their backs on a life of crime and become contributing members of their communities," Gov. Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement today announcing the new funding. "This investment will help young Californians develop the life-long skills needed to succeed and not get caught up in gangs and violence."

As part of the CalGRIP initiative, the Employment Development Department is soliciting grant proposals to implement education, job training, supportive service and job placement programs for youths, according to a news release from the Governor's Office.

Proposals will be accepted from public, private nonprofit and private for-profit organizations through June 14. They should target youths 14 to 24 years of age who are at risk of joining gangs or are already gang members.

The EDD seeks proposals that promote career pathways that place at-risk youth in part-time employment tin after-school programs, while providing post-secondary education that will lead to teaching, community and social service positions, such as licensed social worker, youth worker or counselor.

Proposed strategies should be comprehensive and community-focused, providing a holistic approach to serving youth, according to the news release.

Funding for the grants is drawn from the governor's 15 percent Discretionary Workforce Investment Act funds under the administrative authority of the Employment Development Department.

For more information or to submit a grant application, see the EDD website.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

In the first case, the grand jury Friday returned an indictment charging Jake Weathers, 34; Glenn Watkins, 40; Kevin Watkins, 25; and Frederick Davis, 40, all of Elk Grove: and Paul Yearby Jr., 29, of Fair Oaks with 11 counts of mail fraud.

According to a federal Department of Justice news release, the five men are accused of changing their names to Muslim names to obtain new credit and to conceal poor credit histories and other liabilities associated with their birth names.

The indictment alleges that Glenn Watkins legally changed his name to "Rasheed Kahleb" to fraudulently purchase two homes. Once those homes fell into foreclosure, he legally changed his name to "Jason Johnson." The indictment also alleges that Kevin Watkins changed his name to "Jamal Ali" then to "Calvin Carter."

Their uncle, Frederick Davis, allegedly changed his name to "Ammar Rashad," to purchase a home, then to "Corey Green" once the home fell into foreclosure. Paul Yearby Jr. is accused of changing his name to "Malcom Ali" to execute the fraud scheme.

According to the indictment, Jake Weathers, an unlicensed mortgage broker operating as "Weathers & Associates," devised the scheme to obtain loan brokerage commissions and other cash payments from sellers made outside of escrow, meaning that they were not disclosed to the title company or to lenders.

Weathers also is charged with knowingly providing to lenders false documents such as W-2 tax forms, wage earning statements, bank statements and other documents to support loan applications that stated borrowers earned significant income through employment with a company owned by Weathers, "C Auto Brokers." Losses are estimated at more than $1 million, according to the news release.

In a separate case, the grand jury returned a four-count indictment charging Nathaniel Blanton, 27, of Roseville, with making false statements to financial institutions in connection with four mortgage loan applications on two residential properties in Roseville and Lincoln. The indictment alleges that Blanton submitted loan applications that falsely inflated his income and cash assets by tens of thousands of dollars.

The cases resulted from investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the IRS-Criminal Investigation, and both investigations are continuing, according to the news release.

In the Weathers case, the maximum statutory penalty for each count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud is 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

In the Blanton case, the maximum penalty for each false statement count is 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine and three years of supervised release.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A teenager has been arrested in Elk Grove on suspicion of setting five fires in two days last week.

The 13-year-old boy is suspected of starting two fires at the Spaghetti Factory restaurant on Laguna Boulevard on May 4. The following day, he is suspected of setting a grass fire on the west side of Camden Lake and fires at Joseph Kerr Middle School on Elk Grove Boulevard and Kohl's department store on Calvine Road.

No injuries were reported. Damage to structures was not extensive, fire officials said.

Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department investigators took the Elk Grove teen into custody Thursday. He was taken to Sacramento County Juvenile Hall.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

aaronnormandunn.JPGBy Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

Jurors have now completed more than three days of deliberations without deciding whether Aaron Norman Dunn should get the death penalty for shooting two men to death during a March 25, 2006, rampage in Elk Grove.

The six-man, six-woman panel did send a question to Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet late in its deliberations today asking whether it could consider Dunn's lack of remorse as an aggravating factor in deciding whether to impose the ultimate term.

In his response to the jury's question, Sweet wrote to the jury that it could consider it as a factor in aggravation if the panel found that Dunn exhibited a lack of remorse at the crime scene. Witnesses testified at trial that after the second of his two fatal shootings, Dunn held his shotgun with both hands over his head in celebration.

Sweet also told the jury it could not consider any evidence of his lack of remorse after the crime as an aggravating factor, but that it "may make remorse unavailable as a mitigating factor."

Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett chided Dunn during his closing argument for his lack of remorse throughout the case, while defense lawyers Amy Rogers and Hayes Gable III did not offer remorse as a mitigating factor on behalf of their client.

The jury convicted Dunn, 33, on April 13 of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of multiple murders for the killings of cameraman Jon Johnson, 46, and Xerox salesman Michael John Daly, 45.

The jury also found Dunn guilty of trying to kill four other people in the spree that was set off by his rage over the breakup of his marriage.

The panel has been deliberating since Thursday afternoon whether to sentence Dunn to death or to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

Previous coverage:

Jury weighs fate of Elk Grove killer of 2 men - April 30, 2010

Family describes killer's grim life - April 27, 2010

Victims' relatives tell of pain, loss at killer's sentencing hearing - April 23, 2010

Jury convicts man of gunning down 2 in Elk Grove - April 14, 2010

Jury deliberating fate of double-murder defendant Aaron Norman Dunn - April 13, 2010

Prosecutor, doctor spar over Elk Grove murder defendant's actions - April 8, 2010

Prosecutor eager to attack psychiatrist in Elk Grove shooting spree trial - April 7, 2010

Meth psychosis cited in killings; defendant's words cast doubt - April 6, 2010

Elk Grove cop testifies how she and partner stopped deadly rampage - March 17, 2010

Witnesses tell of lives shattered in deadly Elk Grove shooting spree - March 12, 2010

Prosecutor, defense attorneys agree suspect killed two people in Elk Grove - March 10, 2010

Elk Grove residents eligible for murder case jury - Dec. 11, 2009

Prosecutor's bid for Placer DA could stall trial for double killing - Dec. 2, 2009

Homicide suspect's lawyers don't want any Elk Grove jurors - Aug. 11, 2009

poodle bandit 2 Elk_Grove_032910_0903_14.jpgBy Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Police and FBI agents are trying to identify a man, dubbed the "poodle bandit," who has robbed at least five Central California banks, including one in Elk Grove.

The man (left photo) is described as Latino, 45 to 50 years old, between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall, and weighing between 150 and 180 pounds, according to an FBI news release.

As part of his disguise, the man wears a wig and possibly a fake mustache. The fluffy gray wig depicted in bank surveillance photos earned him the "poodle bandit" nickname.

The robbery spree started March 8 at a US Bank in Tracy and continued with the March 29 robbery of a U.S. Bank on Laguna Boulevard in Elk Grove. Since then, robberies have occurred April 14 at a Citibank in Fresno, April 28 at a Rabobank in Bakersfield and April 29 at a Rabobank in Turlock.

Upon reaching the teller counter, the man displays a small revolver and makes an oral demand for money, the news release said. He typically places the money in a dark-colored briefcase.

Surveillance photos from several of the robberies indicate the man usually wears a dark blazer, blue jeans, black gloves and glasses.

Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call the FBI in Sacramento at (916) 481-9110. People who wish to remain anonymous also may call the Sacramento Citizens' Crime Alert tip line at (800) 222-7463. Any tip leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the robberies is eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove woman has been sentenced to prison and ordered to make restitution for making fraudulent claims for of hundreds of thousands of dollars in healthcare benefits.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Savage sentenced Rosalee Marie Barfield, 28, to seven years in state prison and also ordered her to make restitution to four Sacramento-area medical facilities, according to the Sacramento District Attorney's office.

On Aug. 27, 2009, the Sacramento Police Department responded to Kaiser Permanente South Medical Center on Bruceville Road regarding a report of medical fraud. The hospital contacted police when Barfield gave a false name and false date of birth. Staff members recognized her and realized they had treated her before, but under different names, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.

An ongoing investigation by Detective Joyce Thorgrimson revealed that Barfield went to several Sacramento-area hospitals to receive treatment for various health problems, including sickle cell anemia. At each visit, she gave a different name, different date of birth, different medical history and a story of acute pain requiring intravenous narcotics.

During the investigation, Barfield's history of seeking drugs from local hospitals revealed at least 244 incidents since 1999 in which she received medical treatment, including prescribed narcotic medications, under false names. According to Barfield's health records, she does not suffer from sickle cell anemia or the sickle cell trait, the news release said.

Barfield acknowledged at her sentencing that she has a drug problem.

Deputy District Attorney Lani Biafore said Barfield has been ordered to pay $373,436 in restitution to the Kaiser Permanente healthcare system and $194,639 to Mercy Healthcare. She said the UC Davis and Sutter healthcare systems also are entitled to restitution and have 45 days to submit their requests to the District Attorney's Office.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Mark Glover
mglover@sacbee.com

A 13-year-old Wilton girl missing since early Friday has been found and returned to her parents, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

The girl was last seen by her family shortly after midnight Friday at her home in Wilton.

The girl, just under 5 feet tall and weighing about 90 pounds, was considered an "at risk" missing person because of her age and because she has never been missing before.

Sheriff's department spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran reported the girl's safe return today shortly before 6 p.m. this evening.

No other details about her disappearance were released.

Call The Bee's Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.

aaronnormandunn.JPGBy Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

Jurors went home today without reaching a decision in the penalty phase of the Aaron Norman Dunn murder trial.

The six-man, six-woman panel began deliberations Thursday on whether Dunn should be put to death or spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole for the March 25, 2006, shotgun spree-shooting deaths of Michael John Daly, 45, and Jon Johnson, in Elk Grove.

Dunn, 33, was convicted April 13 on two counts of first-degree murder. He also was convicted of trying to kill four other people, including two Elk Grove police officers, in his drug-fueled rampage on a Saturday night on Laguna Boulevard.

The jury is scheduled to resume deliberations Monday in Sacramento Superior Court.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

Previous coverage:

Family describes killer's grim life - April 27, 2010

Victims' relatives tell of pain, loss at killer's sentencing hearing - April 23, 2010

Jury convicts man of gunning down 2 in Elk Grove - April 14, 2010

Jury deliberating fate of double-murder defendant Aaron Norman Dunn - April 13, 2010

Prosecutor, doctor spar over Elk Grove murder defendant's actions - April 8, 2010

Prosecutor eager to attack psychiatrist in Elk Grove shooting spree trial - April 7, 2010

Meth psychosis cited in killings; defendant's words cast doubt - April 6, 2010

Elk Grove cop testifies how she and partner stopped deadly rampage - March 17, 2010

Witnesses tell of lives shattered in deadly Elk Grove shooting spree - March 12, 2010

Prosecutor, defense attorneys agree suspect killed two people in Elk Grove - March 10, 2010

Elk Grove residents eligible for murder case jury - Dec. 11, 2009

Prosecutor's bid for Placer DA could stall trial for double killing - Dec. 2, 2009

Homicide suspect's lawyers don't want any Elk Grove jurors - Aug. 11, 2009

aaronnormandunn.JPGBy Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

Jurors began deliberations today on whether to execute Aaron Norman Dunn or sentence him to life in prison with no chance of parole for his murder spree that killed two men in Elk Grove four years ago.

The panel went out about 2 p.m. after prosecution and defense attorneys gave their closing arguments on the issue of whether Dunn lives or dies.

Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett told the Sacramento Superior Court panel that Dunn's rampage that killed Jon Johnson and Michael John Daly on March 25, 2006, while they were out with their families was so horrific that the circumstances of the crime alone should be enough to qualify the 33-year-old Dunn for the death penalty.

"Now you're being asked to speak the conscience of the community," Triplett said. The prosecutor called Dunn "the community's worst nightmare" who "achieved a level of depravity only the smallest fraction of people do."

Triplett said "capital punishment would be meaningless if it does not apply to this man."

Dunn drove to Elk Grove from Olivehurst and killed Daly, 45, and Johnson, 46, in a rage prompted by the breakup of Dunn's marriage and the impending loss of his daughter and amplified by his heavy use of methamphetamine.

Besides killing Johnson and Daly, he also shot one other man and was convicted of trying to kill four other people, including two Elk Grove police officers.

The same jury that is now contemplating his sentence convicted him last week of the murders and attempted murders.

Assistant Public Defender Amy Rogers told the jury its decision in the penalty phase of the trial will be the "most awesome responsibility" they will ever undertake.

Rogers said Dunn was a loving father, husband and uncle until the he went off the edge when his wife took up with other men and took their daughter with her.

When they left him, Dunn went on to lose his electrician's job and his house.

"He lost everything that a person values, that a man values," Rogers said.

She said that the methamphetamine use did not justify the murders in the jurors' minds, but that it might explain them.

Rogers also noted that Dunn was raised by a father who used drugs and consorted with prostitutes in front of him and a mother who essentially abandoned him.

She told the jury that no family members appeared in court to support Dunn unless they were subpoenaed to testify.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm asking you to be compassionate, strong and noble," Rogers told the jury. "Reject death. Come back with a verdict of life without possibility of parole."

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

Previous coverage:

Family describes killer's grim life - April 27, 2010

Victims' relatives tell of pain, loss at killer's sentencing hearing - April 23, 2010

Jury convicts man of gunning down 2 in Elk Grove - April 14, 2010

Jury deliberating fate of double-murder defendant Aaron Norman Dunn - April 13, 2010

Prosecutor, doctor spar over Elk Grove murder defendant's actions - April 8, 2010

Prosecutor eager to attack psychiatrist in Elk Grove shooting spree trial - April 7, 2010

Meth psychosis cited in killings; defendant's words cast doubt - April 6, 2010

Elk Grove cop testifies how she and partner stopped deadly rampage - March 17, 2010

Witnesses tell of lives shattered in deadly Elk Grove shooting spree - March 12, 2010

Prosecutor, defense attorneys agree suspect killed two people in Elk Grove - March 10, 2010

Elk Grove residents eligible for murder case jury - Dec. 11, 2009

Prosecutor's bid for Placer DA could stall trial for double killing - Dec. 2, 2009

Homicide suspect's lawyers don't want any Elk Grove jurors - Aug. 11, 2009

5.JPGBy Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The Elk Grove Police Department seeks the community's help in identifying the suspect in the burglary of a California Family Fitness center last month.

At 3:30 p.m. March 24, the man (left photo) entered the fitness facility and presented himself as a guest with a free pass, according to a Police Department news release. Once inside, he went to the men's locker room and broke into a locker, stealing a wallet that contained cash and credit cards. He then went to a nearby Best Buy electronics store, where he used the stolen credit card to purchase a computer.

Surveillance photos from California Family Fitness revealed that the suspect was about 30 years old, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet 1 inch tall, and heavy set, weighing 250 to 300 pounds.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Elk Grove Police Department Detective Bureau at (916) 478-8060, or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357.

People calling Crime Alert can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Tips also can be sent via SMS text message by entering 274637 on a cell phone, followed by Tip732 (the agency identification number) and the message.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke and Bill Lindelof
clocke@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove man died this morning after losing control of his vehicle on Highway 160 and striking a power pole.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Michael Bradley said the 36-year-old man, identified as Joshua B. McDonald, was driving a GMC pickup south on Highway 160, between Highway 12 and Isleton near the Vieira Resort, when he drifted to the right side of the road. The driver swerved back to the left and overcorrected.

The truck traveled across the northbound traffic lane, over an embankment and into a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power pole before coming to rest on its top.

Bradley said McDonald, the only occupant, was partially ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.

The accident caused a power outage affecting about 2,900 PG&E customers. Brian Swanson, a PG&E spokesman, said power was restored to all but about 100 customers by 7:20 a.m. Service was fully restored about 4:45 p.m.

That section of Highway 160 was closed in both directions for about 3 1/2 hours, Bradley said.

By Carlos Alcala
calcala@sacbee.com

Coroner's officials have identified the Sacramento man who died in a single-car accident today as Travis Moses, 63.

Moses was killed when the car he was driving left the roadway on Sunnybrae Drive and crashed into a tree. Sacramento police reported that there were apparently no witnesses to the accident.

A passerby on the street, near Cosumnes River College, notified police about 7 a.m., said Sgt. Norm Leong. It was not known how much earlier the accident happened.

Moses was the only occupant of the car. It is unknown why his car veered off the road into the tree. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Call The Bee's Carlos Alcala, (916) 321-1987.


View Larger Map

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Seven Sacramento-area residents were arrested this week as a result of two indoor marijuana growing investigations by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Elk Grove Police Department.

The two-day enforcement operation resulted in seizure of six indoor operations, more than 4,300 plants, approximately $82,600 in U.S. currency and one vehicle, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration news release.

In November 2009, the Elk Grove Police Department and the DEA's Sacramento District Office identified a suspected marijuana cultivator, Tac Che, 50, of Sacramento. According to the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint, law enforcement officers learned of several residences with suspected indoor marijuana grows that were linked to Che. Based on the investigation, officers believed power theft was occurring at many of the grow sites.

Agents identified five other Sacramento residents as being involved in the growing operations: Bob An, 52, Cuong Hoang, 54; Lien Truong, 49; Kenny Lu, 22; and Julia Saechao, 22.

On Tuesday, federal search warrants were served at six Sacramento locations associated with the individuals: two in the 8200 block of Cliffe Way, one of which was occupied by Bob An; 1700 block of Highbridge Way; 100 block of Stone Valley Circle, residence of Kenny Lu and Julia Saechao; 8600 block of Prairiewoods Drive, residence of Tac Che; and 7900 block of Scottsdale Drive, residence of Cuong Hoang and Lien Truong.

Marijuana plants were seized at the Highbridge Way, Stone Valley Circle and Scottsdale Drive addresses, and one of the houses on Cliffe Way. Officials also confirmed that electricity was being bypassed at the Stone Valley Circle, Highbridge Way and one of the Cliffe Way sites.

All six individuals were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants, manufacturing marijuana and knowingly maintaining a place for manufacturing. They appeared in Sacramento Federal Court on Wednesday.

The other investigation began in December 2009, when Elk Grove police and the DEA were conducting surveillance on a suspicious residence in Sacramento, the news release said. Officials identified Vinh Hoang, 44, of Sacramento as a suspected marijuana cultivator as well as multiple residences with which they believed he was associated.

On Wednesday, law enforcement officers served federal search warrants at homes in the 9200 block of Earl Fife Drive in Elk Grove, and the 5400 block of Elderdown Way and 7800 block of 51st Ave in Sacramento. The 51st Avenue address is believed to be Hoang's residence, according to the news release.

Marijuana plants were seized at the Elderdown Way and Earl Fife Drive addresses, and agents confirmed that electricity was bypassed at both sites.

Vinh Hoang was arrested without incident at the Elderdown Way residence, officials reported.

Hoang appeared in Sacramento Federal Court on Thursday. He was charged with manufacturing at least 1,000 marijuana plants and maintaining a place to manufacture marijuana.

Law enforcement officials said they believe these indoor marijuana growing operations had the capacity to produce nearly 2 tons of marijuana annually, with an estimated street value of more than $17.9 million.

"The indoor cultivation of marijuana continues to pose a serious problem in the Sacramento region," Gordon Taylor, the DEA's assistant special agent in charge, said in the news release. "These people moved into our residential areas, set up illegal marijuana factories and endangered the lives of everyone in the neighborhood."

If convicted of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing marijuana, the defendants face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years, a maximum prison term of life, and a fine of up to $4 million, according to the news release.

They could face a maximum prison term of 20 years and a fine of up to $500,000 if convicted of maintaining a place to grow marijuana.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

The penalty phase of Aaron Norman Dunn's murder trial got under way today with the jury set to decide whether the Elk Grove spree killer will be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet told the panel that among the factors it must consider is whether Dunn's ability to consider the impact of the March 25, 2006, rampage that killed two men was impaired by "mental defect" or intoxication.

Defense lawyers Amy Rogers and Hayes Gable III put on evidence during the guilt phase of the trial that Dunn shot and killed Jon Johnson, 46, and Michael John Daly, 45, while he was in a methamphetamine-induced psychotic state.

Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett put on four witnesses this morning in his case that he said could wrap up by the end of the day.

The prosecution witnesses included a bouncer in a Yuba City bar who testified about getting assaulted while breaking up a fight in 2005. The bouncer, Sandee Bassi, did not specifically identify Dunn as one of the men who assaulted him.

Another witness, William Alejandro Garza, said that Dunn was in a group of four youths that assaulted him while he was walking home from Marysville High School in 1993.

Garza said that Dunn said "What"s up? C'mon, punk," moments before he was attacked. Garza said Dunn kicked him in the face and chipped a tooth during the attack.

A former Sacramento jail deputy said he found an object during a November 2008 search of Dunn's cell that the officer believed to be a weapon.

The item was a plastic bag stuffed with wet, wadded up newspaper tied to a string. Defense lawyers contended the object was a jail communication device used to pass notes.

Another deputy testified that he saw Dunn get into a fight with another inmate at the jail.

Relatives of the victims are expected to testify later today about the impact of the killings on their lives.

The defense is scheduled to put on its evidence next week.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

Previous coverage:

Jury convicts man of gunning down 2 in Elk Grove - April 14, 2010

Jury deliberating fate of double-murder defendant Aaron Norman Dunn - April 13, 2010

Prosecutor, doctor spar over Elk Grove murder defendant's actions - April 8, 2010

Prosecutor eager to attack psychiatrist in Elk Grove shooting spree trial - April 7, 2010

Meth psychosis cited in killings; defendant's words cast doubt - April 6, 2010

Elk Grove cop testifies how she and partner stopped deadly rampage - March 17, 2010

Witnesses tell of lives shattered in deadly Elk Grove shooting spree - March 12, 2010

Prosecutor, defense attorneys agree suspect killed two people in Elk Grove - March 10, 2010

Elk Grove residents eligible for murder case jury - Dec. 11, 2009

Prosecutor's bid for Placer DA could stall trial for double killing - Dec. 2, 2009

Homicide suspect's lawyers don't want any Elk Grove jurors - Aug. 11, 2009

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

One person has been taken into custody after a search in Elk Grove for car burglary suspects.

A van eventually stopped had inside items police believe are linked to car burglaries.

Elk Grove police officer Chris Trim said that at 4:42 a.m., the department received a call reporting a vehicle break-in at an apartment complex in the 6800 block of Di Lusso Drive.

An officer responding to the area spotted a green Dodge Caravan and tried to pull it over. When the officer activated lights and sirens on the police cruiser, the van sped away.

After a short pursuit, the van stopped in the 6700 block of Alamar Way. The suspects in the van - either two or three men - fled on foot.

Officers gave chase and surrounded the area. About 6:50 a.m., a police dog picked up a scent of a suspect.

Duran, Moises.jpgThe dog tracked the suspect to the north side of Big Horn Boulevard, not far from where the van was abandoned. Officers found a man hiding there in the bushes.

Moises Edgardo Duran (photo left), 22, was taken into custody. He was booked into Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of burglary, possession of burglar's tools, resisting arrest and evading a peace officer.

Trim said that officers will attempt to identify others possibly involved in the car burglary.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Anna Tong
atong@sacbee.com

Police have arrested a man for robbing an Elk Grove Wendy's fast food restaurant Friday morning.

At around 9:30 a.m., an armed male suspect entered the Wendy's on the 9100 block of Harbour Point Drive, and took an undisclosed amount of cash from the register. He was last seen leaving the restaurant, wearing a black mask, blue sweatshirt and black pants. He was carrying a handgun.

Officers searching the area found George Henderson, 25, who appeared to match the suspect description and was carrying a loaded gun. Witnesses from Wendy's confirmed that Henderson was the robbery suspect. Police arrested Henderson on robbery and weapons charges and transported him to Sacramento County Main Jail.

Call The Bee's Anna Tong, (916) 321-1045.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The roadway is now open where the spill of a gallon jug of swimming pool acid that possibly fell out of a truck earlier caused traffic to detour in Sacramento County, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The spill closed a portion of Vineyard Road just north of Calvine Road near the community of Sheldon for about an hour.

A fire department hazardous material team was called to the scene to clean up the spill that was reported at 6:30 a.m.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

Aaron Norman Dunn was convicted today in Sacramento Superior Court of first-degree murder with special circumstances in a shooting spree that killed two people and wounded another man in Elk Grove four years ago.

Read the full story.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916), 321-1141.

Previous coverage:

Jury deliberating fate of double-murder defendant Aaron Norman Dunn - April 13, 2010

Prosecutor, doctor spar over Elk Grove murder defendant's actions - April 8, 2010

Prosecutor eager to attack psychiatrist in Elk Grove shooting spree trial - April 7, 2010

Meth psychosis cited in killings; defendant's words cast doubt - April 6, 2010

Elk Grove cop testifies how she and partner stopped deadly rampage - March 17, 2010

Witnesses tell of lives shattered in deadly Elk Grove shooting spree - March 12, 2010

Prosecutor, defense attorneys agree suspect killed two people in Elk Grove - March 10, 2010

Elk Grove residents eligible for murder case jury - Dec. 11, 2009

Prosecutor's bid for Placer DA could stall trial for double killing - Dec. 2, 2009

Homicide suspect's lawyers don't want any Elk Grove jurors - Aug. 11, 2009

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Michael Patrick Leary, a former Elk Grove city councilman, has been dismissed from his job as a lieutenant with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Leary had been on administrative leave from the department since October, when he was arrested on suspicion of trying to defraud a former girlfriend through an elaborate real estate transaction.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran confirmed that Leary was dismissed Wednesday morning. Curran said he could not comment on the reasons for Leary's dismissal from the department.

Leary was a member of Elk Grove's first City Council and served eight years. He was defeated in a re-election bid in 2008.

Leary's trial is scheduled to begin May 4, according to online court records.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 773-6866.

Previous coverage:

Sacramento deputy arrested on suspicion of real estate fraud - Oct. 3, 2009

Q: What happened in the murder case of Frank Champion Jr. of Elk Grove? - RC, Elk Grove

A: The Oct. 21, 2003, shooting of Champion, 26, is unsolved, according to court records and Bee reports.

1219_media_lg[1].JPGChampionsuspect.JPGChampion was killed in front of a food market on Stockton Boulevard after Frank Champion, 26, and another man exchanged words with two other men and a woman, said sheriff's Sgt. R.L. Davis. (Artist's sketch at left is of the suspect. The sketch was released shortly after Champion was killed.)

One of the men fired shots, killing Champion and severely wounding Champion's companion.

A suspect was arrested in the shooting but was released because the shooting survivor could not identify him, investigators said.

Sacramento sheriff's officials described the shooter as in his early 20s, 6 feet tall, thin, dark-skinned and wearing a red nylon jacket. He and a shorter man, also in his early 20s, fled with the woman driving an old two-door car with faded green or red paint with a white strip in the center of the hood.

Champion was an Elk Grove High School graduate who was a focused on boxing, with dreams of going professional, The Bee reported.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

Aaron Norman Dunn is a possible sociopath who had a copy of the Satanic Bible in his car when he went on a killing spree in Elk Grove four years ago, a prosecutor said today.

Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett made the remarks in a heated exchange with the judge in Dunn's death-penalty murder trial about the prosecutor's impending cross-examination of a defense psychiatrist.

Dr. Douglas Tucker of UC San Francisco testified Monday that Dunn, 33, suffered from "methamphetamine psychosis" when he shot and killed two people during his March 25, 2006, rampage.

Defense attorney Amy Rogers told jurors in her opening statement that the drugs prevented Dunn from forming the intent to kill and that he shouldn't be convicted of anything more than second-degree murder.

Triplett said today he wants to ask Tucker, whom the prosecutor characterized as "a joke," if he explored other possible mental conditions that might have affected Dunn. Among the ones mentioned by the prosecutor: anti-social personality disorder and intermittent explosive disorder.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet said he was all in favor of a "full-throttled" cross-examination on the prosecutor's part. But Sweet told Triplett he risked a possible mistrial if he delves too far into some areas such as Dunn's criminal background that the judge excluded in pretrial motions from the jury's consideration.

Besides the different psychiatric maladies, Triplett said he also wants to ask Tucker if he knew that Dunn had the Satanic Bible in the trunk of his car the night he shot and killed Michael John Daly, 45, and Jon Johnson, 46, and whether it might have affected his diagnosis.

Sweet said it "might be a stretch" to connect the Satanic Bible to the Elk Grove killings, but the judge did not specifically bar it.

The book was written in 1969 by an author named Anton Levay. According to gotquestions.org, the Satanic Bible is a collection of essays on satanic "rituals and ideology" that reflect Satan as "a symbol of struggle against a tyrannical God."

The prosecutor argued that the defense introduction of Tucker's psychiatric testimony opens the door to cross-examining him with evidence of Dunn's criminal record that included a lengthy stint in the old California Youth Authority as a youth and that he also abused animals.

Triplett's cross-examination of Tucker is expected to take place at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1079.

Previous coverage:

Meth psychosis cited in killings; defendant's words cast doubt - April 6, 2010

Elk Grove cop testifies how she and partner stopped deadly rampage - March 17, 2010

Witnesses tell of lives shattered in deadly Elk Grove shooting spree - March 12, 2010

Prosecutor, defense attorneys agree suspect killed two people in Elk Grove - March 10, 2010

Elk Grove residents eligible for murder case jury - Dec. 11, 2009

Prosecutor's bid for Placer DA could stall trial for double killing - Dec. 2, 2009

Homicide suspect's lawyers don't want any Elk Grove jurors - Aug. 11, 2009

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A Galt street gang member who accidentally shot and killed one of his friends last year was sentenced today to four years in state prison for involuntary manslaughter.

Hector Quintero, 19, pleaded no contest March 5 to the shotgun killing of his friend, Gerardo Briseno, 19.

Quintero's probation report, filed today in Sacramento Superior Court, showed that Briseno bought the shotgun just three days before his Sept. 10 death in a friend's residence on Alice Rae Circle.

Briseno and Quintero were joking around with the shotgun, cocking it and pretending to shoot each other, when Quintero -- thinking the weapon was unloaded -- pulled the trigger and blew a hole through the right side of Briseno's nose, the report said.

"It was an accident," Quintero told another friend right after the shooting, the probation report shows. "I just shot the fool."

The probation report identified Quintero, a Galt resident, as an admitted Sureno street gang member since 2006. The report said he had been on probation for possession of a deadly weapon and graffiti vandalism. It said he violated of his probation with street gang activity, possession of vandalism tools, smoking marijuana, failure to participate in drug and alcohol counseling, being intoxicated in a public place, fighting, curfew violations and associating with street gang members.

Quintero had been placed in the Sacramento County Boys Ranch in 2009, the report states.

The victim's mother was "not satisfied" with the terms of Quintero's plea deal, the probation report shows, stating that Briseno's mother "will never forgive the defendant for leaving her son on the floor dying and not calling for help."

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A burglary was reported at a middle school in southern Sacramento County early this morning.

It was the sixth time since June that James Rutter Middle School has been burglarized.

It was unknown if any property was taken in the latest burglary at the school at 7350 Palmer House Drive, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department states. Windows were broken during the burglary reported to the department about 3:15 a.m.

The Elk Grove Unified School District school is on spring break.

The principal's newsletter on the school's web site notes that over winter break James Rutter was burglarized twice. Those incidents resulted in broken windows and theft, including the loss of a computer and video equipment.

Total cost to replace equipment and repair property was placed at more than $15,000.

The newsletter asked for help in reporting anything suspicious on campus by calling the sheriff's department at (916) 874-5115 or the district police at (916) 686-7786.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916)321-1079.

By Bee Staff

The Elk Grove Police Department will conduct a DUI/driver's license checkpoint on Saturday, starting at 8 p.m. at an undisclosed location in the city, according to a news release.

The operation will run until 3 a.m. Sunday, the release states.

Funding for the sobriety checkpoint is provided through a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Sacramento County sheriff's deputies are investigating as a double homicide involving the death of two Elk Grove men early this morning at a home in Wilton.

Deputies along with Elk Grove police officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 1100 block of Rising Road at 1:43 a.m., according to a Sheriff's Department news release. They found two men lying on the ground outside a barn next to the home. One had multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body, and the other had at least one gunshot wound, also to the upper body, the news release says.

Paramedics pronounced both men dead at the scene. The Sacramento County Coroner's Office identified the victims as Marlon Maruice Aguilar Morales, 18, and Christopher Alexander Valdes, 19, both of Elk Grove.

Witnesses told sheriff's homicide investigators that a large party with up to 60 people had been held inside the barn. The witnesses said they heard sounds of a fight followed by gunshots outside the barn. When they went outside, they discovered the two men and called 911.

None of the witnesses was able to identify the people responsible for the shooting or the vehicle in which they left, according to the news release. A motive for the shooting has not been established.

The witnesses knew both victims, who were in their late teens to early 20s. Their names, however, have not been released pending notification of their families.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call sheriff's homicide detectives at (916) 874-5057, or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357. A text message tip may be sent by texting to 274637 (CRIMES), then entering SACTIP followed by the tip information. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 773-6866.

egsuspects.jpgBy Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police have arrested three men in connection with a home invasion robbery that occurred early Friday morning.

Police said two of the men, identified as Christopher Pascua (right in photo) and Richard Douglas (center), both 25 of Elk Grove, are believed to have posed as law enforcement officers to bully their way into a home in the 4800 block of Roselin Way shortly before 1 a.m. Friday.

The men were wearing law enforcement-style clothing and identified themselves as police officers when the residents answered the door, police said. Once inside, they handcuffed the residents and ransacked the house. After about 20 minutes, they left in the family's truck.

Although traumatized, no one in the family was injured, police said.

Interviews with the victims and neighbors led detectives first to contact and then arrest parolee Richford Caguiat (left in photo), 26, of Elk Grove. Sgt. James Fuller said police are still trying to determine to what extent Caguiat may have been involved in the robbery. He said Caguiat was found in possession of some of the stolen property.

Following additional investigation, police obtained search warrants for two Elk Grove homes, one on Moonlight Way and the other on Travo Way. As detectives and SWAT officers prepared to execute the search warrants late Friday, Pascua and Douglas attempted to drive out of the area, police said. Both were stopped and arrested without incident.

Searches of the two residences turned up numerous firearms, ballistic vests, handheld radios, handcuffs, a "US Marshal" hat and property belonging to the victims, police said.

Caguiat, Pascua and Douglas all were booked into Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of first-degree robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, impersonating a peace officer and conspiracy.

If someone comes to a home and says they are a police officer, residents should request identification, said Officer Christopher Trim, spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department. Officers should be able to present identification indicating the agency they represent. Anyone wishing to verify an officer's identification, he said, may call the department's dispatch center at (916) 714-5115.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 773-6866.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Two armed intruders posing as police went into an Elk Grove home early this morning, handcuffing all four residents there and eventually fleeing in a stolen vehicle.

Elk Grove police say they received a call about 12:45 a.m. about a robbery at a residence in the 4800 block of Roselin Way. The residents told police that the intruders were armed with handguns.

The suspects were dressed in attire similar to law enforcement, police said. Both were wearing black shirts and black vests, and one had on camouflage pants.
The vest worn by one suspect had "Sheriff" written on it. The other suspect had a hat that said "US Marshall."

The suspects left the home in the resident's 2008 black Chevrolet Avalanche truck, which was recovered by police a few miles away from the house.

Police are not yet sure if anything else was stolen.

Police spokesman Officer Christopher Trim said nobody was injured. Anyone with information is asked to call police at (916) 714-5115.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police are asking for help finding a man suspected of purse snatching.

PURSESNATCH.JPGPolice said that the theft occurred about 7:15 p.m. Feb. 27 as a woman was walking from her parked vehicle to the entrance of the Kohl's department store at 9650 Bruceville Road.

A man in his 20s approached the woman and grabbed her purse. He then fled on foot.

Detectives investigating the case say they believe the suspect is Jose Luis Mora-Ortiz (left), 25, of Sacramento. A warrant for his arrest has been obtained.

Police say Mora-Ortiz might have fled to Mexico.

Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at (916) 478-8060 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357. Tipsters to Crime Alert may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

Police arrested two 16-year-old Sacramento boys who allegedly carjacked an Elk Grove resident on Wednesday and led law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase.

Authorities are not identifying the teenagers because they are juveniles. No one was seriously injured, police said.

According to an Elk Grove Police Department news release, officers responded to a report of suspicious individuals loitering in the 8900 block of Meadowspring Drive shortly before 1:30 p.m.

Around the same time, someone in the neighborhood called to report a carjacking that just happened. Police said the victim was sitting inside his 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe in his open garage when the teens approached him. One of them brandished a gray firearm and ordered the victim out of his vehicle. Fearing for his life, the victim complied, police said.

The teens then allegedly got into the vehicle and drove off.

An Elk Grove police officer spotted the stolen vehicle westbound on Laguna Boulevard at Laguna Manor Drive and asked for more officers to help enforce a traffic stop. When the teens became aware of police presence, the driver accelerated and began evasive maneuvers. The pursuit north of Franklin Boulevard reached speeds of up to 100 mph in light traffic, police said.

The chase ended when the driver of the stolen vehicle attempted a left turn onto Valley Hi Drive from Franklin Boulevard and struck several poles surrounding the front yard of a residence. The suspect ran out of the vehicle and fled.

Officers from Sacramento police and sheriff's departments joined Elk Grove police in searching for the teens, and found the driver on Alcala Court and the passenger on Mill Stream Court.

Officers discovered two BB guns and the victim's property inside the stolen vehicle. The teens were taken to juvenile hall.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

Q: Back in the early '90s an ice cream vendor was killed in the Elk Grove area. Was this case ever solved and what was the outcome? - Michael, Carmichael

A: Three teens were convicted of the March 31, 1994 slaying of Ranbir Singh Bansel, according to Bee reports.

Bansel, the 46-year-old father of six children, was killed as he was canvassing the Meadowview neighborhood in his ice cream van.

A swarm of youths surrounded him and demanded free ice cream and soda. When he balked, he was shot at several times.

KJICE CREAM KILLERME[1].JPGHowever, only Paul Earl McIntosh (photo left in 1995 photo), now 33, was convicted as an adult. A Sacramento Superior Court judge sentenced him to 20-years-to-life in prison on Sept. 22, 1995.

Records indicate he is still in prison.

Two other teens arrested in the case were tried separately as juveniles and found guilty of theft and accessory to murder charges: A 16-year-old boy was sentenced to 10 years at the California Youth Authority and a 15-year-old boy is serving a two-year sentence at a boys ranch.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

The Elk Grove Police Department and Women Escaping a Violent Environment, a nonprofit organization, will host a sexual assault prevention seminar March 23.

The seminar, which is open to the public, is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. at 8400 Laguna Palms Way in the City Council chambers.

Authorities said the seminar is designed to raise awareness in the community about issues related to sexual assaults, from the dangers of "sexting" to safe computer usage for children to protection strategies for preventing assaults.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police Officer Tisha Smith told a jury today how she finally shot down a gunman who had already killed two people and was going for more during a methamphetamine-fueled rampage almost four years ago.

Smith testified that she had already been stunned by "probably the loudest thing I've ever heard" when murder defendant Aaron Norman Dunn shot out the rear passenger window in her patrol car during his March 25, 2006, shooting spree on Laguna Boulevard.

The officer said that she and her partner, Janell Bestpitch, sped away to safety then circled back to where their car had been blasted. When she got out of the car, Smith said people yelled warnings that the man holding a shotgun at his hip was approaching her from behind.

Smith said she turned, told Dunn to drop the weapon, then fired twice when he didn't. She testified she thinks she hit the 33-year-old Dunn, but that the defendant kept moving toward the patrol car and chased Bestpitch around it twice.

The two ultimately faced off across the trunk area of the car. Smith said Bestpitch fired twice and that Dunn crouched toward the ground. Then, Smith said, Dunn turned and aimed the shotgun at her.

"He lays out in a prone position, on his stomach, with the gun pointed outward," facing her, Smith told the Sacramento Superior Court jury. "I asked him to show me his hands. He raised the shotgun toward my direction."

Smith said she told Bestpitch over the radio to get out of the way. Then, "I fired two more shots in his direction."

Dunn "finally put the gun toward the ground and slumped over," Smith said. Several other officers who had just arrived at the shooting site ran up and handcuffed him.

Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett's timeline showed that Dunn already had shot and killed Johnie Ray Johnson and Michael John Daly by the time Smith and Bestpitch stopped him with a total of six shots that hit their mark and critically wounded the defendant.

The two officers, who were employees of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department at the time, were awarded with the Medal of Valor for bringing the rampage to an end.

Dunn is charged with two counts of murder in the case and faces the possibility of the death penalty if he is convicted on the first-degree murder charges.

Defense lawyers Amy Rogers and Hayes Gable III have conceded that their client shot and killed Johnson, 46, and Daly, 46, who were out having family dinners at popular Elk Grove restaurants when they were gunned down. The attorneys, however, say that Dunn's mental capacity had been diminished by the methamphetamine consumption and that he is only guilty of second-degree murder.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1079.

Previous coverage:

Witnesses tell of lives shattered in deadly Elk Grove shooting spree - March 12, 2010

Prosecutor, defense attorneys agree suspect killed two people in Elk Grove - March 10, 2010

Elk Grove residents eligible for murder case jury - Dec. 11, 2009

Prosecutor's bid for Placer DA could stall trial for double killing - Dec. 2, 2009

Homicide suspect's lawyers don't want any Elk Grove jurors - Aug. 11, 2009

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police are looking for three masked men who robbed a jewelry store Friday evening.

Police said the men entered Kenny G & Co. Fine Jewelers at 7440 Laguna Blvd. shortly before 7 p.m. and confronted employees as they were preparing to close.

At least one of the robbers was armed with a handgun, but no one was seriously injured, police said.

One of the suspects sprayed two employees in the face with a chemical agent believed to be pepper spray or Mace. Two of the suspects grabbed an undetermined amount of jewelry from inside the store. The three men then fled and were last seen getting into a dark-colored compact vehicle.

The robbers were described as Asian or Latino men who wore dark clothing and bandanas that covered their faces.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Elk Grove Police Department Communication Center at (916) 714-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Crime Alert callers can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Text information by entering CRIMES on a cell phone, followed by Tip732 and the message.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

A 54-year-old man accused of killing his former girlfriend's husband in Elk Grove four years ago has been extradited to Sacramento, five months after he was arrested in the country of Georgia, authorities said.

Nazir Ahmad Fazel was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail late Thursday night, jail booking records show. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on one count of murder.

Sacramento County sheriff's detectives say they suspect Fazel of fatally shooting 60-year-old Mohammad Nasim Samimi to death on Samimi's front lawn on Nov. 10, 2005.

Fazel, Samimi and Samimi's wife reportedly had known each other for about 20 years, beginning in Afghanistan. At some point, Fazel and Samimi's wife were romantically involved, but after the relationship ended, the couple and Fazel had problems.

Officials said Samimi and his wife had planned to file for a restraining order against Fazel the afternoon of Samimi's death, but Fazel showed up at the couple's home on Bertolani Circle before that could happen.

The men argued before Fazel allegedly shot Samimi, officials said.

Sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran said Fazel fled to Afghanistan after the shooting, where his movements were tracked by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Fazel was arrested after he crossed into Georgia in October.

He was fighting extradition but exhausted his appeals and surrendered to the FBI on Thursday.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

Adam Wheeler testified today that he couldn't believe what he was seeing four years ago when he saw a man hanging out of his car with a shotgun and then open fire on a police car in Elk Grove.

Wheeler's experience became even more surreal after the gunman rear-ended a truck, dropped his weapon, then got out, picked it up and pointed it in the witness's direction.

"He put a hood over his head - he was wearing a hooded sweater - picked up the gun and aimed it at our vehicle," said Wheeler, who was out on a date with his girlfriend, Stephanie Cartwright.

"I grabbed Stephanie's head and pulled it down, and the shot goes off, and I told her to punch it and take off," Wheeler said.

The blast shattered their windshield and sent a shard cutting into Wheeler's cornea. Wheeler has since recovered.

Police and prosecutors identified the gunman as Aaron Norman Dunn, 33, the defendant in the Sacramento Superior Court murder trial now under way in which he is accused of killing cameraman Johnie Ray Johnson, 46, and Xerox salesman Michael John Daly, 45.

Dunn also is accused of eight counts of attempted murder in the March 25, 2006, shooting spree on Laguna Boulevard in Elk Grove. Two of the counts are for the attack on Wheeler and his girlfriend.

The defendant's attorneys have conceded that he is responsible for the shooting deaths, but they contend he was delusional as a result of methamphetamine ingestion and that he's only guilty of second-degree murder.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

Previous coverage:

Prosecutor, defense attorneys agree suspect killed two people in Elk Grove - March 10, 2010

Elk Grove residents eligible for murder case jury - Dec. 11, 2009

Prosecutor's bid for Placer DA could stall trial for double killing - Dec. 2, 2009

Homicide suspect's lawyers don't want any Elk Grove jurors - Aug. 11, 2009

By Kim Minugh and Bill Lindelof
kminugh@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police arrested a 48-year-old man today whom they suspect of attempting at least three burglaries while posing as a sewer worker, according to authorities.

Caesar Raymond Fontillas was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail this afternoon on one count of attempted burglary, according to booking records.

Police spokesman Officer Chris Trim said more charges could come after further investigation.

Fontillas is being held in lieu of $130,000 bail.

Earlier today, police announced they were looking for someone who, on at least three occasions in the last two week, had tried to pry his way into homes and, when confronted, claimed to be a sewage worker.

That suspect had been described to police as an Asian male, 20 to 30 years old, 5 foot 3 inches tall and wearing a work vest, Trim said. He was said to be driving a tan or orange Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck.

A few hours later, patrol officers stopped a truck matching the description - "butterscotch" in color, they said - and discovered the driver also matched the suspect description, trim said.

The officers detained the driver until a victim of one of the attempted burglaries was able to positively identify the truck and the driver.

Detectives suspect Fontillas is responsible for the other two attempted burglaries, if not more, Trim said.

Crime analysts are reviewing reports of burglaries and attempted burglaries to see if suspect and car descriptions match those of Fontillas, Trim said.

Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to call Elk Grove police at (916) 714-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

The prosecutor concluded his opening statement in the Aaron Norman Dunn murder trial today with a phone message the defendant purportedly left for his estranged wife that portrayed him yelling "yee-haw" just moments after authorities said he shot and killed the first of his two victims in Elk Grove four years ago.

Sirens and gunshots punctuated the background while Lynrd Skynrd's hard-charging "Whiskey Rock and Roller" and the haunting "Simple Man" blared inside the white Toyota Cressida. It was that vehicle that Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett said Dunn careened down Laguna Boulevard in his homicidal blast the night of March 25, 2006.

When his spree was over, television cameraman Johnie Ray Johnson, 46, and Xerox salesman Michael John Daly, 45, were shotgunned to death on evenings they spent at popular Elk Grove restaurants, Johnson with his wife and Daly with his wife and two children.

"The evidence in this case, ladies and gentlemen, is compelling," Triplett told the seven-man, five-woman Sacramento Superior Court jury. "There was no question what was done in this case and who did it."

Dunn, 33, is facing the death penalty if he is convicted and jurors return the capital punishment verdict in the penalty phase of his trial in front of Judge Michael W. Sweet.

Assistant Public Defender Amy Rogers conceded that Dunn shot and killed Johnson and Daly, but she said the case will be decided on her client's mental state, which she said was upended by heavy methamphetamine ingestion.

Rogers said she will try to prove that her client is only guilty of second-degree murder.

The defense lawyer said that Dunn had lived a fairly normal working man's life and that he was married and had a child. But Dunn began to unravel when his wife "became involved with two different men she met on the Internet," Rogers said.

According to Rogers, Dunn found it "devastating" when his wife moved out with their daughter, and it was then that he began to use methamphetamine.

"His life spun out of control," Rogers said, with the heavy drug use making him delusional to the point where "he snapped."

Rogers said she will present expert testimony that Dunn "suffered from a methamphetamine-induced psychotic state" and that he had "lost touch with reality."

Triplett said that Dunn tore off on a methamphetamine-laced shooting spree because he was upset over the impending break-up of his marriage. The prosecutor said Dunn's estranged wife, Sara Pack, is scheduled to testify in the case, but he told the jury "it's unlikely you'll like her."

According to Triplett, Pack visited Dunn in the Sacramento County Jail about five months after the shooting and that he told her about "his lack of mental problems, and how they were going to say it was the drugs" that caused him to commit the killings.

In evidence the prosecution likely will use to thwart a possible mental-incapacity defense Dunn's attorneys might use, Triplett said that Dunn also told Pack during their conversation that "I might have been a little over the edge, but I wasn't totally."

Beside the two murder counts, Dunn also is facing eight attempted murder charges, including six separate counts related to three attacks that prosecutors say he launched on Elk Grove police officers Trisha Smith and Janell Bestpitch. It was Smith and Bestpitch who finally stopped Dunn, authorities said, shooting and seriously wounding him after his final assault on them.

Triplett said that Dunn first shot Daly while the victim drove his family onto Laguna Boulevard from the parking lot of the Chili's restaurant at Bruceville Road, where they had just attended a birthday party.

The defendant then drove up on Smith and Bestpitch and shot through the rear window of their patrol car, Triplett said. Then Dunn continued eastbound on Laguna, where he crashed into a truck while leaning out of his car, holding his shotgun with hands and firing at a couple out on a date - blasts that the prosecutor said were caught on the phone message.

After the crash, Dunn got out of his car while gunshots and sirens were recorded on his phone, to the background music of Lynrd Skynrd, Triplett said. Then the defendant walked through the parking lot of a McDonald's fast-food restaurant at Laguna Boulevards at Laguna Springs Drive and circled back through the Mandango's parking lot where he came across Johnson and his wife, according to the prosecutor.

Triplett said the attack on Johnson was captured on a surveillance video.

"You will see the defendant walk into view, and you'll see what happens," Triplett told the jury. "The last words (Johnson's wife) heard from her husband were, 'Man, get that thing out of my face,' and the next thing (she) heard was a tremendous explosion, a point-blank shot to the face."

Witnesses said that after the shooting, Dunn left the parking lot in a "canter," Triplett said, "raising the shotgun in victory," while "there were pieces of John Johnson strewn about that parking area."

Smith and Bestpitch, meanwhile, had driven back to the site of the collision and finally dropped Dunn to the asphalt with their service revolvers, Triplett said, but not until the defendant left "a mountain of destruction" behind him in the early Elk Grove evening, according to the prosecutor.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

Previous coverage:

Elk Grove residents eligible for murder case jury - Dec. 11, 2009

Prosecutor's bid for Placer DA could stall trial for double killing - Dec. 2, 2009

Homicide suspect's lawyers don't want any Elk Grove jurors - Aug. 11, 2009

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

Thieves cut the lock on a gate to Sheldon High School's Agriscience Center on the weekend, stealing at least $10,000 worth of equipment, authorities said Monday.

School instructor Jim Looper, who has been a part of the ag program since the campus opened 13 years ago, said he still was assessing the loss, which was discovered when the campus opened Monday.

The theft, under investigation by campus police, jeopardizes preparations to raise chickens and rabbits this spring for resale to the California State Fair and the Sacramento County Fair.

About four dozen students working under the auspices of Future Farmers of America invest $40 each of their own funds and sell the animals to make a profit.

The equipment was to help build chicken coops and the like.

"We had two chickens last year that sold for $3,000," Looper said. These weren't exotic chickens, Looper said. But the sale price reflected the support of those willing to encourage future ag enthusiasts.

Among the losses: a jackhammer, two wheelbarrows, a new air conditioning unit, a welder, construction tools, a borrowed commercial meat cutter used in fundraising, and an air compressor, said Elizabeth Graswich, Elk Grove Unified School District spokeswoman.

A crowbar apparently was used to force open the door of one of the sheds at the site, Graswich said.

The district has insurance coverage. But any settlement likely won't come quickly, she said.

The animals are due in about three weeks, Looper said.

"Can we get ready for them? That's the problem," he said.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

Q: Whatever happened to that Elk Grove or Wilton high school football player who, in the early '90s or late '80s, was charged with sexually assaulting an underage girl? - S.Pea

A: On July 15, 1986, a Sacramento Superior Court Judge suspended a state prison sentence for former Elk Grove High School football star Michael R. Halvorsen, The Bee reported.

Halvorsen, then 19, was sentenced to one year in the county jail and placed on five years' probation for kidnapping a 12-year-old girl in June 1985.

Halvorsen was convicted in November 1985 of kidnapping the girl from the bed of a pickup truck parked in front of a home in south Sacramento.

The girl testified that Halvorsen took her to a nearby field and sexually molested her.

Halvorsen admitted taking the girl and carrying her to the field, but denied any sexual intent.

Two previous juries leaned heavily in Halvorsen's favor on a number of sexual assault charges against him, acquitting him of most and deadlocking in his favor on others.

The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office declined to try Halvorsen a third time on the sexual-assault charges. Halvorsen lost a football scholarship to San Diego State University because of his conviction.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

Ronald Tomlinson.jpgBy Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A man was arrested after police said he used his dog in an attempt to steal two vehicles in Elk Grove, police said today.

Ronald John Tomlinson (photo left), 46, was booked into Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of carjacking and parole violation on Monday.

Elk Grove police said he used a pit bull to try to steal vehicles from customers at the AM/PM station, 10421 Grant Line Road.

In the first incident Tomlinson is suspected of ordering his dog to attack a customer, which resulted in a customer being bitten on his leg.

The customer had confronted Tomlinson when he tried to open the customer's car door, police said.

After that, police said Tomlinson and his dog got into a second vehicle. When the customer saw the two sitting in his vehicle he objected and Tomlinson began to open the car door to release his animal, according to a Police Department news release.

The customer backed away. Tomlinson, unable to start the vehicle, then fled with the arrival of police at the station, the release states.

A police dog helped officers find Tomlinson near a fence and some bushes. Tomlinson, police said, released his pit bull to fight with the leashed police dog.

The pit bull eventually broke off the fight and hid behind Tomlinson who was still in the bushes.

Officers then used the police dog to get Tomlinson to surrender.

The dog bit Tomlinson on the arm and the two dogs fought again. An officer was able to grab the pit bull by the scruff of the neck and the animal was removed from the immediate area.

Tomlinson, who was treated for his injuries, was taken into custody and his dog was turned over to animal services.

The police dog and officers were not hurt.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

A head-on collision in Elk Grove this morning has sent two people to the hospital.

The crash occurred about 5 a.m. at Bilby and Bruceville roads. Minor injuries were reported in the accident, the California Highway Patrol said.

Additional details were not immediately available.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A fire in an Elk Grove concrete pumping business was extinguished this morning after causing extensive damage.

The two-alarm fire was reported at 2:39 a.m. in the 9800 block of Kent Street near Elk Grove Boulevard and Waterman Road.

A fire department spokesman said the fire caused an estimated $1 million in damage.

Cause of the fire is under investigation by the Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department.

No injuries were reported, a spokesman for the district said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

Elk Grove Police are investigating two stabbings Saturday night linked to an argument inside Coach's Classic Bar & Grill on Laguna Boulevard near Interstate 5.

The department's dispatchers received a call shortly after 11:30 p.m. Saturday from two area hospitals reporting that two men had sought medical treatment for non-life threatening injuries from abdominal stab wounds. The men, who had been brought in by private vehicles, told hospital officials they were stabbed while inside Coach's.

The victims were identified by police as 30-year-old Ernie Moreno and 27-year-old Gilbert Montejano. The verbal argument inside Coach's apparently escalated to a physical fight involving several other individuals, police said.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the department at (916) 714-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357. Callers to Crime Alert can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police have partnered with a company that provides mini online crime reports.

Police Chief Robert Lehner said that www.CrimeReports.com gives Elk Grove citizens a way to keep current with any crime occurring in the city at any time. The reports give date, time, location and type of crime.

Elk Grove is one of 700 law enforcement agencies in North America to have signed up with the online crime reporting company. Other cities in partnership with CrimeReports are San Francisco, Boston, Baltimore and San Jose.

"We hope that giving the community this information will help them prevent crime in their neighborhoods," Lehner said.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Elk Grove police still have no motive today in the shooting of a teen who was confronted by three people near a local park.

Officers were called to a home in the 6900 block of Frankfort Court about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday where a young man was suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest.

Police said Anthony Arroyo, 19, was walking in the area of Laguna Community Park when he was approached by three people - identified only as male strangers. At that point, one of them pulled out a handgun and shot Arroyo.

He was able to walk to the residence on Frankfort Court, and police were summoned.

The victim was taken to a hospital for what police described as a non-life threatening wound.


View Larger Map

From Loretta Kalb:

Fire Chief Steven Foster, who has headed a 157-square-mile fire district in southern Sacramento County since mid-2006, announced today that he will retire June 1.

Foster, 51, cited the profession's demands as motivation for leaving the Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department, where he oversees more than 180 sworn fire personnel.

"It's time," he said in an interview. "It's public safety. This is a young man's game."

Foster executed consolidation of the former Elk Grove Community Services District and Galt Fire Protection District after a merger of the two entities was approved in late 2006.

The resulting Cosumnes CSD fire department provides fire protection to 169,000 residents throughout the Elk Grove area and the Galt.

Foster also oversaw planning and construction of the department's new fleet maintenance center and fire administration building, which is scheduled to open on East Stockton Boulevard in April. He was instrumental in passing a planning and fee funding program to build more fire stations and hire additional firefighters for the district.

Foster joined the department in 1985 as a consultant to build fire prevention programs in the fast-growing community. In 1990 he became a full-time battalion chief/assistant fire marshal. As assistant fire marshal, he sought to modernize the department,

He used technology to further the department's mission by promoting electronic fire response maps in fire engines. He oversaw creation of the Special Operations Division, which is responsible for the Urban Search and Rescue Program. He also guided expansion of the Community Emergency Response Team program, which includes more than 140 private citizens in the district.

He previously was president of the Sacramento County Fire Marshals and Fire Chiefs associations.

The community services district provides both fire and park services. District General Manager Jeff Ramos and the agency's board of directors is expected to hire a successor from within existing fire department ranks.

An Elk Grove woman admitted in federal court Friday that she conspired with her husband to distribute methamphetamine.

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Olivia Wimmer, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with her husband, Eric Brooks, 29, also of Elk Grove, to distribute methamphetamine in late December 2007 and early January 2008. Brooks pleaded guilty to the same charge on Jan. 8 of this year, a U.S. Department of Justice news release states.

Federal prosecutors said Brooks was one of nine people arrested Dec. 13, 2007, on charges stemming from a federal wiretap investigation into methamphetamine dealing in the Stockton area. Brooks was held in Sacramento County jail pending trial.

When inmates make phone calls from the jail, they are informed that all calls may be recorded or monitored, the Justice Department news release states. Despite that warning, prosecutors said, Brooks continued to run a drug-dealing business, using coded language in telephone calls to Wimmer, directing her to move methamphetamine, currency and firearms out of their home.

In one such call, the news release says, Brooks asked Wimmer whether she had "got everything out of the red tool box, all." Wimmer replied that she had, but added, "I didn't know how to open it, so I bent it up."

Prosecutors said Brooks also used coded language to direct Wimmer to move items from a storage locker on Charter Way in Stockton, and Wimmer subsequently tried to deliver and collect payments for Brooks' methamphetamine.

On Jan. 3, 2008, law enforcement officers searched the Elk Grove home that Brooks and Wimmer shared and a storage unit on Charter Way, which agents learned was rented in Wimmer's brother's name.

In the garage of the residence, the news release says, officers found a large red tool box with a drawer near the bottom that was bent at the corner. In the storage locker, they found items bearing Brooks' name, marijuana grow lights, two separately wrapped one-pound packages of methamphetamine, an SKS rifle, a loaded banana clip with additional ammunition, and two bullet-proof vests.

The methamphetamine was analyzed by the Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory and found to be 100 percent pure, the news release states.

When Wimmer was arrested, prosecutors said, she gave officers a false name and presented a California drivers license bearing her photo and the false name.

Brooks and Wimmer are to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. on March 26 and April 16, respectively. The maximum penalty is a lifetime term in prison, the news release states.

Justice Department officials said the case resulted from a joint investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration; San Joaquin County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force; Stockton Police Department; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Western El Dorado Narcotics Enforcement Task Force; Elk Grove Police Department; and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Q: What are the details of a bizarre road rage incident perhaps five years ago along Highway 50 where one man was killed and another man committed suicide? - Anonymous, Carmichael

A: Donald Rodger Bell shot himself to death on May 20, 2001, near the roadside memorial on Highway 50 to the man he was accused of killing in a road-rage incident about three weeks earlier, The Bee reported.

Investigators said Bell, 52, of Elk Grove called 911 on his cell phone about 10 a.m. to tell police he intended to shoot himself. He asked them to relay a message to his wife, and then fired one shot to his head.

Bell had returned to the Hazel Avenue offramp to meet with an investigator working on his criminal defense, investigators said. He faced voluntary manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Timothy Michael Mann, 53, of Orangevale on May 6, 2001. Bell was out on bail.

The fight between Mann and Bell started just before 11:30 a.m. when both motorists were traveling east on Highway 50 near Bradshaw Road. Sheriff's officials said Bell, who was driving a small white pickup truck, pulled into traffic in front of Mann's four-door sedan.

The two exchanged angry words and gestures while continuing eastbound before exiting at Hazel Avenue. Mann pulled into the left-hand turn lane. Bell was behind him in his truck.

While they were sitting at the light waiting for it to change, Bell allegedly got out of the car and gestured to Mann. Mann left his car and the two men began arguing. Witnesses said Mann took a swing at Bell, who then shot Mann.

Mann's wife and their 28-year-old son looked on in horror, as did Bell's 15-year-old son, who was in the pickup.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

By Ed Fletcher
efletcher@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove Unified School District substitute bus driver was arrested earlier this week under suspicion of molesting a child.

Amador County Undersheriff Jim Wegner described the investigation as ongoing, but said the arrest is not related to the driver's duties for the school district.

"It is related to events sometime prior," Wegner said.

He said the department would offer more details Tuesday.

The arrested bus driver was identified by other media outlets as Mark Tindal, whom officials confirmed is in custody at the county jail.

Elk Grove Unified spokeswoman Liz Graswich said the driver had only been with the district for six days when he was arrested Wednesday morning. The man had passed all required background checks, Graswich said.

The Elk Grove Police Department is accepting applications for its next Citizens' Academy.

According to a department news release, the Citizens' Academy is a 16-week program designed to inform and teach interested residents about the various aspects of municipal policing.

The program details procedures from patrol and investigations, vehicle operations, arrest and control techniques, 911 communications, code enforcement and animal control.

The Citizens' Academy is free and will meet from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Feb. 10 at the Elk Grove Police Department, 8400 Laguna Palms Way.

Participants must be at least 18 years of age, live or work in Elk Grove and have no felony convictions (a background check will be completed on all applicants before entering the Citizens' Academy).

For more information, contact Officer Jason Jacobo (916) 478-8126 or go to www.elkgrovepd.org.

-- Bee staff

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

A 53-year-old woman was sentenced Tuesday to four years in state prison for embezzling more than $500,000 from an elderly Elk Grove couple and evading taxes on her illegal income, authorities said.

Officials from the Sacramento County District Attorney's office and state Franchise Tax Board said Jocelyn Pascual Wong pleaded no contest to one felony count of grand theft and one felony count of state income tax evasion.

Authorities said Wong, who is an undocumented immigrant from the Philippines, befriended the 89-year-old husband and his 85-year-old wife, both retired school teachers.

She became their in-home health care provider, and the couple started to rely on Wong. They became so fond of her that they would refer to her as their daughter.

Wong asked the wife for money, promising that she would pay back the loan, authorities said. Instead, she used some of the money for living expenses, but gambled away most of it at a local casino. From 2006 to 2009, authorities said Wong stole $527,000 from her victims, by withdrawing cash from their bank account or having them write checks to cash or her family members.

Prosecutors said the victims had saved diligently to secure a comfortable retirement and Wong drained their savings and left them in financial disarray.

Wong later admitted to Elk Grove police investigators that she had no way to repay the couple.

Wong also failed to report $460,000 of the illegal income on her 2006 to 2008 state income tax returns. FTB officials said all income is taxable, including income from illegal sources.

Wong is ordered to make restitution to the victims and the Franchise Tax Board.

CHINESE SMUGGLING[1].JPGQ: What is the status of the federal case against John Luong? - Anonymous, Elk Grove

A: John That Luong of Elk Grove is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of various charges in federal court, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento.

Luong (2001 file photo at left) was among six defendants who have all been convicted of charges ranging from robbery and use of firearms to murder, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Luong, Minh Huynh, Thongsouk Theng Lattanaphon and Hoang Ai Le were found guilty by a jury on Dec. 14, 2007. They are scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 19.

Thy Chann and Hoang Nguyen were found guilty by jury on June 9, 2003. Chann was sentenced to life in prison on Dec. 17, 2007. Nguyen was sentenced to life on Aug. 20, 2003.

According to Bee reports, Luong and Le were among four men found guilty in federal court in San Francisco of major crimes.

Both were members of a gang that stole millions of dollars in computer parts in three states in the mid-1990s, investigators said.

Luong was sentenced to 88 years in prison and Le to 20 years in prison by a judge in San Francisco in 2001 for conspiracy, racketeering and armed robbery.

The sentences capped a joint federal-state-local investigation, dubbed Bytes Dust, of approximately 30 robberies and attempted robberies of electronics companies from 1994 to 1996 in California, Oregon and Minnesota.

Also sentenced in San Francisco was Mady Chan of Elk Grove to 75 years and Huy Chi "Jimmy" Luong of Elk Grove to 25 years.

John Luong and Le were also convicted of distributing heroin in the San Francisco case and had been serving federal sentences for immigrant smuggling.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

From Peter Hecht:

In a major operation targeting child pornography, officers for a Sacramento Valley Internet crimes task force Tuesday arrested 15 men on charges of producing, downloading or distributing sexual images of children.

Meanwhile, a Citrus Heights man was sentenced in federal court in an unrelated case for possessing more than 50,000 pornographic images of minors.

Those arrested in Tuesday's sweep of five Valley communities included a 38-year-old Elk Grove man accused of being directly involved in the production of child pornography.

Sacramento Sheriff's Department spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said Bradley Dayley of Elk Grove was booked at Sacramento county jail on suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography.

He said Dayley is also facing federal pornography indictments and is under investigation for alleged child abuse of two victims younger than 14.

"He was was exploiting children by photographing and filming them in his home," Curran said.

Authorities said suspects were arrested on suspicion of downloading or distributing child porn through the Internet. They were tracked after authorities served 20 search warrants, examined computer equipment and discovered some 50,000 pornographic photos or videos of children.

Two Roseville brothers who were taken into custody had a sizable collection, Curran said.

"They had over 35,000 computer files that they shared between the the two of them," Curran said. And each of those files contains many, many images," Curran said.

Samuel Coburn, 31, and Matthew Coburn, 24, face charges of possessing and receiving pornographic images of children.

Authorities seeking a total of 18 suspects served search warrants in Sacramento, Roseville, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Stockton. Three suspects are still at large.

The Sacramento Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force undertook the investigation. The unit is composed of officers from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and 47 other local, state and federal agencies.

Also Tuesday, a 27-year-old Citrus Heights man was sentenced to 13 years, four months in federal prison for possessing and transporting depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Authorities say Nathan Allen, who pleaded guilty in September to child pornography charges, maintained a collection of more than 54,000 sexually explicit images or videos of minors.

Under the sentence handed down by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence K. Karlton in Sacramento, Allen was ordered to serve a 10-year term of supervised release after his release from prison.

He was also ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution to one of the victims depicted in videos he distributed.

From Dixie Reid:

The Sacramento region is mostly in line with FBI figures released today, showing that the murder rate across the country fell during the first half of 2009, as did violent crimes, property crimes and car thefts.

Roseville, however, saw 11 more incidents of violent crime from January to June 2009, compared with the same period in 2008.

And in Elk Grove, murders and car thefts were up. Two people were murdered this year vs. none during the first six months of 2008, and motor vehicle theft rose from 190 last year to 230 this year.

In Sacramento, there were 356 fewer incidents of violent crime, 15 fewer murders and 371 fewer car thefts during the first six months of this year. Property crimes dropped, as well, from 11,464 to 10,605, a difference of 859 incidents.

The FBI's figures are based on data from police and law enforcement agencies across the country, and are for communities with a population of 100,000 or more.

The Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime compares January-June 2009 figures with the same period in 2008.

The 2009 crime statistics are preliminary; the final report will be issued next year.

View the FBI crime report here.

From Loretta Kalb:

Two rebuffed party crashers who returned and fired at a crowd, injuring one man, were booked into custody on attempted murder charges, Elk Grove police say.

Arrested were Steven Brown of Elk Grove and a 17-year-old Sacramento juvenile, both booked on a multiple charges, including carrying a loaded firearm, discharging a firearm from a vehicle and conspiracy and attempted murder. Brown was booked into the Sacramento County jail. The juvenile was taken to juvenile hall.

According to police, Andrew Tapalla of Sacramento was shot in the buttock at 11 p.m. Friday. He was taken to Methodist Hospital in South Sacramento for surgery.

The two suspects tried to "crash the party" on the 8300 block Caldicot Drive east of Highway 99 and were angered when they were denied access, police reported.

Minutes after driving away, the two returned and, as they drove by fired shots into a group of people standing in front of the residence, hitting Tapalla, police said.

Police apprehended the suspects fleeing in their vehicle.

Police said when they conducted a pat-down search of Brown, a small-caliber handgun fell to the ground from inside his pant leg.

Additional evidence was found inside the vehicle linking the suspects to the shooting, authorities said.

Anyone with additional information in the case is asked to call the Elk Grove Police Department Detective Bureau at (916) 478-8060

From Cathy Locke:

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced sentences and a guilty plea in three cases involving trafficking in counterfeit goods.

Sunshine Pascual, 37, of San Francisco has been sentenced to three years of probation for trafficking in counterfeit goods at the Galt Flea Market.

Pascual pleaded guilty in April to selling counterfeit items mimicking merchandise from Chanel, Coach, Gucci, Abercrombie & Fitch and others. Had they been the real brands, their value would have totaled more than $200,000, according to a news release issued Friday by U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner.

This case and two others are the product of a joint investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, Placer County Sheriff's Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Galt Police Department, Sacramento County Sheriff's Office and Sacramento Police Department. The trademark holders cooperated with the agencies in the investigations.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Taylor, who is prosecuting the case, another defendant from the Galt Flea Market, Eric Xu, 38, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to selling counterfeit handbags, wallets and other merchandise bearing the trademarks of Gucci, Coach, Chanel, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana. He faces a possible sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $2 million or both. The counterfeit items are also subject to forfeiture.

Michelle Bunfill, 48, of Loomis was sentenced Monday to three years of probation and 10 months of home detention for selling counterfeit handbags, wallets, sunglasses and other merchandise bearing the trademarks of Gucci, Coach, Prada, Burberry, Kate Spade, Chanel and others.

"The counterfeiting problem has become a global concern and presents social and safety problems that adversely affect global and local economies," Wagner said in the news release.

aaronnormandunn.JPGFrom Andy Furillo

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet today denied a motion to exclude Elk Grove residents from sitting on the jury in the murder trial of a man accused of killing two people in the community three years ago during a Saturday night shooting spree.

Attorneys for Aaron Norman Dunn asked for the exclusion during a two-day hearing on a change of venue motion. But in denying the motion as well as the request to exclude people from Elk Grove from the jury pool, Sweet said that he will put safeguards in place to try and ensure that Dunn gets a panel that will give him a fair trial.

Among the safeguards, Sweet said, would be individual questioning of potential jurors to determine if they can still judge the case fairly in spite of what they've read or seen about it.

Dunn, 31, is accused of shooting and killing television cameraman Johnie Ray Johnson and salesman Michael John Daly in a March 25, 2006, attack while the two victims were eating dinner with their families in popular Elk Grove restaurants. He is facing the death penalty.

Authorities said that Dunn was distraught from the break-up of his marriage and that he had been ingesting methamphetamine before going on the rampage that left the two men dead.

A defense expert witness on the effects of pre-trial publicity testified in the change of venue hearing that a survey he conducted showed an unusually high number of Elk Grove residents - 84 percent - knew something about the case. And 88 percent of those believed Dunn is guilty, according to the survey conducted by the expert, retired Chico State political science Professor Edward Bronson.

A similar number of people from the larger county of Sacramento also had pre-judged Dunn's guilt, according to Bronson's survey. But a much smaller ratio of county residents - 54 percent - were aware of the case, Bronson testified.

Sweet said there was no case law to support what he characterized as the "novel" attempt to exclude a portion of the county's population from sitting on the jury.

Still, the judge said he will permit attorneys to prepare a lengthy questionnaire for jurors to fill out before they are questioned for the panel and that he will allow the lawyers to ask them additional questions out of the presence of other potential jurors if they know something about the case.

"I obviously recognize the need to impose adequate safeguards to make sure Mr. Dunn gets a fair trial," Sweet said.

From Bill Lindelof:

A chimney fire that spread into the walls of an Elk Grove home Wednesday night has prompted fire officials to issue a safety reminder to help prevent such accidental blazes.

The fire in a two-story home in the 8400 block of Blue Maiden Court in the West Vineyard neighborhood of northeastern Elk Grove at about 10 p.m. forced firefighters to cut into the wall. The fire then was extinguished, and no injuries were reported.

The house suffered an estimated $50,000 in damage. Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department firefighters were assisted by personnel from the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

Cosumnes CSD officials provide these safety tips:

• Get wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connectors inspected annually by a professional cleaner. Have them cleaned when advised by a chimney pro.

• Don't forget to open the fireplace damper before lighting.

• Don't light a fireplace fire without a screen in place to stop sparks from flying into room.

• Only use seasoned wood. Green wood, with high moisture content, is likely to lead to a creosote build-up in a chimney and might result in a chimney fire.

• Make sure ashes are completely cooled before disposing of them. Douse them and allow overnight cooling in a metal container.

Q: Is Martin Kuwabara still in prison? - Anonymous, Sacramento

A: Kuwabara, now 49, is still in prison.

Kuwabara, convicted of attempted murder, use of a deadly weapon and infliction of great bodily injury on his wife, was sentenced March 11, 1994 to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole, The Bee reported.

The sentence - the maximum permitted by law - was handed down by Superior Court Judge Jeffrey L. Gunther who said it was the most heinous crime that he had seen in his 10 years on the bench.

Kuwabara attacked his wife with a 10-pound steel dumbbell, dumped her into an Elk Grove ditch, choked her and left her for dead.

Note: Sacto911 thanks members of the area district attorney offices and law enforcement agencies who take the time to help this feature locate prisoners in and out of the state's prison system.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

Tafoya.jpgBy Stephen Magagnini, Ed Fletcher and Kim Minugh:

The search for a man suspected of shooting and killing two men Saturday night at a Quinceañera celebration in Galt ended Thursday evening with Alfredo Daniel Tafoya (left photo), 18, behind bars.

At 5:50 p.m., Tafoya, 18, was pulled from an apartment complex in the 4900 block of Mack Road in south Sacramento by Sacramento police officers. Agencies throughout the region, including the FBI, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and Galt Police Department, were involved in the hunt.

Officials said they just missed an opportunity earlier Thursday to apprehend Tafoya at a Rancho Cordova home by a matter of minutes.

As the manhunt wore on, Esperanza Chavez - who was standing behind her husband, Carlos Alonso Montes, 24, the moment he was shot to death - cried out for justice.

"It's not fair he's running around living his life," Chavez told The Bee hours before Tafoya's arrest while their 2-year-old son, Carlos Jr., cried " Mama, Mama" in the background.

"It's just heartbreaking - he was the best person in the world," Chavez said of her husband. "A fight broke out, he tried to separate the people, and somebody fired some shots and unfortunately hit my husband."

At least four or five people were involved in the fistfight inside the Estrellita Ballroom, according to video viewed by police, said Galt Police Lt. Kenneth Erickson.

Chavez said her husband, who drove up with the family from La Puente near Los Angeles, didn't know anybody involved in the 11 p.m. shooting.

Also slain was Efrain Zambrano, 20, who had just finished training to become a mechanic.

Both died as their cousin's Quinceañera party attended by 300 was winding down. A Quinceañera is a coming-of- age ceremony when a girl turns 15.

Montes was slain in front of his entire family, said his shaken sister, Mayra Guerrero. "My mom, his wife, his son and my three little brothers were all there."

Neither victim had any gang ties, relatives said.

Police agreed. "We haven't identified any gang connections," Erickson said.

Tafoya.jpgBee Staff

The Galt Police Department is asking the public's help in finding a suspect in the shooting deaths of two men Saturday night at a15-year-old girl's quinceanera.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of 18-year-old Alfredo Daniel Tafoya on suspicion of two counts of murder, police said. Tafoya should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information about this crime or Tafoya's whereabouts is asked to call Galt police at (209) 366-7000 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 393-8477.

An earlier report in The Bee gave this account of the homicides:

Shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday, Galt police received calls of shots fired at the Estrellita Ballroom on downtown's C Street. Officers arrived to find two victims -- Carlos Alonso Montes, 24, of La Puente and Efrain Zambrano, 20, of the Galt area -- on the ballroom floor. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

The ballroom had been rented by a family celebrating a quinceanera, a traditional 15th birthday party and rite of passage for Latina girls.

The suspect was not invited, but was eventually let in by people screening partygoers at the door, police said.

After the suspect arrived, police allege a fistfight broke out between him and the victims. The suspect eventually pulled out a gun and fired on the men before leaving, police said.

From Kim Minugh:

The man suspected of fatally shooting his former girlfriend's husband in Elk Grove four years ago has been arrested in another country and is awaiting extradition, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Nasir Fazel, who turned 54 on Tuesday, has been on the lam four years, since he allegedly shot 60-year-old Mohammad Nasim Samimi to death on Samimi's front lawn on Nov. 10, 2005, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Steve Dupre, a spokesman for the Sacramento office of the FBI, confirmed Fazel is in custody in another country, though he declined to say which one, or what agency arrested him. Dupre said the FBI is in the process of trying to get Fazel, who was a resident of Fremont at the time of the homicide, back to the United States.

"It's not an easy process," he said.

After the shooting, sheriff's officials said Fazel, Samimi and Samimi's wife had known each other for about 20 years, beginning in Afghanistan. Fazel and Samimi's wife were romantically involved at one point, but the relationship had ended and there had been conflict between the couple and Fazel since.

Officials said Samimi and his wife had planned to file for a restraining order against Fazel the afternoon of Samimi's death, but Fazel showed up at the couple's home on Bertolani Circle before that could happen.

The men argued before Fazel allegedly shot Samimi, officials said.

Upon returning to Sacramento, Fazel faces one charge of murder, according to Superior Court records.

From Kim Minugh:

Galt police issued an arrest warrant Sunday for Alfredo Daniel Tafoya, 18, of Sacramento, in connection with a double homicide inside the Estrellita Ballroom late Saturday.

Sacramento County Coroner's officials on Sunday identified the victims as Carlos Alonso Montes, 24, of La Puente in Southern California, and 20-year-old Efrain Zambrano of Galt.

Galt police said the shooting occurred just after 11 p.m. inside the ballroom, at 415 C Street in Galt. The ballroom had been rented for a family celebration, and many people were present when gunfire erupted, police said.

Witnesses told police the shootings followed a fist fight between the two victims and the suspect, who fled after he pulled out a gun and fired.

Nobody else attending the birthday party was injured, police report.


View Larger Map

bryan david weinrich (3-1-86).jpgFrom Kim Minugh:

A Sacramento police officer was arrested this morning on suspicion of felony domestic violence and brandishing his service weapon during an argument with his girlfriend, according to authorities.

Bryan David Weinrich (left photo), a 23-year-old patrol officer who works downtown, was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail at 11 a.m. and has since been released, according to jail booking records. He was booked on suspicion of domestic violence, brandishing a firearm, kidnapping and false imprisonment - all felonies.

Galt police Lt. Jim Uptegrove said the charges stem from an argument that began Wednesday night at the couple's Galt home and lasted through Thursday. Weinrich's girlfriend called police at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Uptegrove said.

Sacramento Police Department spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong confirmed that Weinrich is an officer with that department and said he has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case.

"We take the allegations seriously and we'll be conducting a concurrent internal investigation," Leong said.

That internal investigation will determine what, if any, administrative policies were broken while also monitoring the Galt Police Department's criminal investigation, Leong said. He said it's too early to say what would happen to Weinrich if he were found guilty of the allegations against him.

Uptegrove said Galt police officers arrived at the couple's home Thursday night and the girlfriend told them that Weinrich had "physically shoved her down" and brandished his service weapon when they'd fought the day before.

Uptegrove said officers found physical evidence of injury on the woman, but she did not need medical attention.

She also told officers that Weinrich left their home that night, and the couple patched things up when he returned the next morning, Uptegrove said. At some point Thursday, they drove together to a home Weinrich owns in Roseville and began arguing again during the drive, the lieutenant said.

Several times, the girlfriend told police, she tried to get out of the car when they were stopped at an intersection, but Weinrich "held on to her and wouldn't let her leave," Uptegrove said.

Weinrich eventually let go and she left, Uptegrove said. She told officers that she walked to his Roseville home, and the couple returned together to Galt. Weinrich left some time before his girlfriend called police and officers arrived, Uptegrove said.

Galt officers contacted Roseville police, who reached Weinrich at his home there and arrested him about 3 a.m., Uptegrove said.

The domestic violence charge stems from the allegation that Weinrich pushed his girlfriend to the ground, Uptegrove said. The kidnapping and false imprisonment charges stem from the allegation that he would not let her leave the car when she tried, according to the lieutenant.

Uptegrove said Galt police had never before been called to the couple's home.

Booking records indicate Weinrich is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Weinrich is the son of decorated police Sgt. Steve Weinrich, who is still with the department. The elder Weinrich was shot in the thigh in 1999 as he and other officers tried to arrest a parolee wanted in connection with a 35-day crime spree that included two murders.

That parolee, David Scott Daniels, was taken into custody and eventually was convicted of the two murders and the attempted murder of Weinrich, whose badge was cut by a bullet. In 2001, Daniels was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

From Robert Davila:

No autopsy is planned for a 19-year-old man who died early Sunday after his car hit several trees at Shana Way and Whitelock Parkway in a residential area of south Elk Grove, the Sacramento County Coroner's Office said today.

The driver was identified as Braeshaun Marcel Whaley. No other occupants were in the car.

Officers who responded to a call at 1:32 a.m. Sunday found the driver semi-conscious and pinned inside the Chrysler PT Cruiser, a news release from the Elk Grove Police Department states. The victim was extricated and taken to an area hospital but died at 5:42 a.m. Sunday, police said.

The crash remains under investigation today, Elk Grove police Officer Chris Trim said. A coroner's office employee said no autopsy was planned and the cause of death would be determined by a private physician.

 

From Kim Minugh

The Galt man wanted in connection with a Halloween night homicide in Acampo has been arrested and booked into the San Joaquin County jail, according to booking records.

San Joaquin County sheriff's deputies sought 22-year-old Anthony Adell Hubbard in the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Adam Mariano Campa, also a Galt resident.

Campa's body was found Saturday night lying in the street with multiple gunshot wounds on the 5800 block of East Jahant Road, according to authorities. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses at a south Sacramento County party reported seeing Hubbard and Campa at the party before the homicide, and then Hubbard after the homicide, according to Sacramento County sheriff's officials. Sometime after his return to the party, shots were fired outside the home where the party was being held, though the shooter was not found.

From Bill Lindelof:

Irvin Cook.jpgElk Grove police have released a photograph of a man described as armed and dangerous they suspect took part in a Halloween shooting.

Police said that Irvin Laverne Cook, left, 24, of Sacramento is suspected of shooting another 24-year-old man in the lower abdomen Saturday night. The non-fatal shooting in front of an apartment building in the 9200 block of Elk Grove Boulevard happened after an argument and fist fight between the men.

Police said that Cook shot the victim with a semi-automatic handgun and then fled in a gray 2003 Buick Century, license number 5SIE546.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police at (916) 714-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.

Mugshot For Anthony A. Hubbard.jpgFrom Kim Minugh:

A 22-year-old Galt man wanted in connection with a Halloween night homicide in San Joaquin County was seen hours later at a southern Sacramento County party during which a volley of gunfire erupted, according to authorities.

As of Monday night, San Joaquin sheriff's deputies continued their search for Anthony Adell Hubbard (left photo), who is suspected of fatally shooting 28-year-old Adam Mariano Campa, also from Galt, Saturday night in Acampo, said Deputy Les Garcia, sheriff's spokesman.

Authorities have not ruled out the possibility that Hubbard might have returned to the Galt area, or elsewhere in Sacramento County, Garcia said. They are asking for the public's help in finding him. Garcia said Hubbard is considered armed and dangerous.

The homicide occurred about 11:30 p.m. in the 5800 block of East Jahant Road, Garcia said. Campa's body was discovered lying in the roadway with multiple gunshot wounds, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Garcia said detectives have not yet determined the motive for the killing.

About 90 minutes later, Sacramento County sheriff's deputies were called to Ganzer Lane - west of Galt and about six miles from the homicide scene - for reports of a loud party, said Sgt. Tim Curran.

A deputy arrived at the home where the party was being held, but waited for backup, Curran said. As he waited, shots were fired outside of the home, Curran said.

Other deputies arrived and set up a perimeter, but the shooter was not found, Curran said. During witness interviews, deputies learned that Hubbard, the San Joaquin County homicide suspect, had been at the party twice that night: Once, earlier in the evening and accompanied by the homicide victim, and then again later, alone, when the shots were fired.

It's unclear whether Hubbard fired the shots at the party, Curran said. No witnesses identified him as the shooter, he said. Nobody was injured.

Deputies received a call Monday afternoon that Hubbard was seen at a park in Herald, but after a search of the area, authorities ruled the tip unfounded, Curran said.

Sacramento County Superior Court records show both Hubbard and Campa have criminal histories locally. Most recently, Hubbard pleaded no contest to felony assault with a deadly weapon in 2008, according to court records. Also in that year, he pleaded no contest to felony drug possession and misdemeanor evasion of law enforcement.

Campa's record includes felony drug possession convictions from 2006 and 2007 and a second-degree burglary conviction in 2006, according to the records.

Anyone with information about Hubbard's whereabouts is asked to call his or her local law enforcement agency: The San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department at (209) 468-4488 or the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department at (916) 874-5115.

By Hudson Sangree

Police in Rocklin and Elk Grove are investigating separate non-fatal shootings on Halloween night.

In Rocklin, police say a suspect fired into a crowd and struck a victim in the leg at a Halloween party.

The shooting occurred in the 3900 block of Rawhide Road about 11:14 p.m., Rocklin police said in a news release.

Witnesses said several people showed up at the party uninvited, and a fight broke out when they were asked to leave, police reported.

One of them fired a single shot into the crowd with a small-caliber handgun, striking the victim in the upper right leg, according to the news release.

The victim was taken to Sutter Roseville Hospital and was in stable condition, police said.

The suspects fled. No arrests have been made, and the investigation continues.

In Elk Grove, there was a shooting in the 9200 block of Elk Grove Boulevard about 9:30 p.m., police said.

During an argument in front of an apartment building, one man pulled out a handgun and shot the other in the leg, said Sgt. Eric White.

The 24-year-old victim was taken to Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and is expected to survive, White said.

No suspects have been arrested, White said. The investigation is ongoing.

From Chelsea Phua:

Elk Grove police arrested two 15-year-old boys suspected of robbing a liquor store Tuesday morning, officials said. Police are also investigating if the pair is also responsible for a recent rash of liquor store armed robberies in the area.

Department spokesman Officer Chris Trim said at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, one of the suspects walked into the Elk Grove Discount Wine and Liquor store in the 9300 block of Elk Grove Florin Road with a gun and demanded money, while the other waited outside in a vehicle. They made off with some merchandise and an undisclosed amount of cash, Trim said.

The store clerk took down the license plate number of the getaway vehicle and provided police with the suspects' description. Police found out that the vehicle had been stolen in a carjacking incident in the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department jurisdiction. Police later found the stolen vehicle in the 8700 block of Elk Grove Boulevard.

Witnesses told police that they saw two occupants of the vehicle jump a few fences and into the Elk Grove Creek area, where police set up a perimeter to search for the robbers, Trim said. A K9 unit was deployed.

Police found one of the 15-year-old suspects in the 9500 block of Blarney Court. A woman living in the 8700 block of Bray Vista Way was taking out some garbage and found the other suspect hiding inside a garbage can in her back yard. Trim said she ran outside to wave down police officers.

"She opened the lid and he was there," Trim said.

The suspects are not being identified because they are juveniles, but Trim said one is from Sacramento and another does not have a permanent address.

Trim said detectives are working to determine if the boys are also connected to the three liquor store robberies since the weekend. One took place Saturday, one on Sunday and another on Monday. Two were along the Elk Grove Florin Road area and one was along Elk Grove Boulevard.

From Bill Lindelof:

Four men were arrested on marijuana growing charges after Elk Grove police served warrants at six residences in the city and found more than 1,400 plants.

Detectives arrested Robert Le, 37, Tri Quang Trinh, 24, Tuan Tran, 25, and Son Le, 42, on charges that included suspicion of cultivating marijuana and possession for sale.

Detectives found indoor marijuana-growing operations at several of the residences and recovered a half-pound of processed marijuana.

Search warrants were obtained for homes on the 6700 block of Eskridge Way, 9000 block of Four Seasons Drive, 10300 block of Stathos Drive, 6000 block of Jefjen Way, 8500 block of Purcell Way, and 9500 block of Clarke Farms Drive.

From Kim Minugh:

Sacramento County sheriff's Capt. Jim Cooper, flanked by several dozen local politicos and law enforcement officials, today formally announced he will run for sheriff.

Cooper's intentions to run were not secret. The day Sheriff John McGinness announced that he would not run for re-election next year, Cooper, who also is an Elk Grove city councilman, said he intended to run.

Today, he said he was ending the "exploratory" portion of his campaign. The Sheriff's Department, he said, needs "new direction."

"It's time to make safety and security for our community our priority," he said.

Cooper is commander of the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes task force, which primarily investigates crimes against children involving the Internet and identify theft. He touted his street experience -- including the nine years he spent working gangs and narcotics undercover -- and his time as a councilman.

Among leaders endorsing Cooper's candidacy are former Sheriff Lou Blanas, Sacramento County Supervisor Jimmie Yee and Elk Grove City Council members Gary Davis and Sophia Scherman.

Cooper faces two official opponents in the race: sheriff's Capt. Scott Jones, who has been endorsed by McGinness; and Bret Daniels, an ex-sheriff's deputy and former Citrus Heights mayor who already has unsuccessfully run for sheriff three times. Former Sacramento police Chief Albert Najera has expressed interest in a run but has not announced a campaign.

From Bill Lindelof:

Elk Grove police have arrested a Sacramento man on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy he met on the Internet.

C. Licop.jpgCharles Licop (left), 31, was booked into Sacramento County Jail on two sex-related charges, including suspicion of committing a lewd or lascivious act with a child under the age of 14.

Officers suspect that Licop met the teen on a social networking site and picked him up at his high school in Sacramento on Wednesday. Police said Licop then drove the teen to a vacant residence in Elk Grove where the assault took place.

Licop then drove the teen back to school. The victim later reported the assault to law enforcement.

From Bill Lindelof:

A missing Galt teenager who had recently been depressed and expressed thoughts of suicide has been found, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department reported today.

Domingo Flores, 15, is in good health and has been reunited with his family today, a department news release states.

Flores had last been seen by his father Wednesday morning when he was dropped off at Liberty Ranch High School in Galt. Flores did not attend school that day, school administrators said.

From Julie Johnson:

Elk Grove Police Department officers arrested two people in Elk Grove on Wednesday in connection with a trio of marijuana growing operations.

D. Boson.jpgDalshawn Boson (left photo), 36, and Jovanna Johnson (right photo), 28, were booked at the Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of marijuana production and possession, conspiracy to sell drugs and for possession of drugs while armed with a loaded firearm.

J. Johnson.jpgPolice officers arrested Boson at a residence in the 8100 block of Drais Way in Elk Grove. They found and arrested Johnson after she left the Elk Grove residence.

A department investigation led detectives to three marijuana growing operations -- at the Elk Grove home and two Sacramento residences, in the 7900 block of Stevenson Avenue and the 5200 block of Village Wood Drive.

The department's narcotics and special weapons teams confiscated two semiautomatic firearms, 681 marijuana plants and more than 10 pounds of processed marijuana.

Boson and Johnson are allegedly connected to all three residences, according to Officer Christopher Trim, spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department. Trim said they were still determining if the suspects lived in one of the homes.

From Julie Johnson:

Nine people were arrested Wednesday for allegedly growing a total of 1,400 marijuana plants inside their homes in Sacramento and Elk Grove.

Several tips led Elk Grove Police and SWAT teams to search one home in the 8800 block of Marlin Seas Court in Sacramento and three locations in Elk Grove: in the 4200 block of Zaccaro Way, 4700 block of Coppola Circle and the 5000 block of Efthemia Way. Police also found high-tech plant cultivation equipment.

Four children, ages 1, 3, 6 and 9, were present at the time of the arrests and are in custody of Child Protective Services.

The suspects were also arrested for utility fraud, but police couldn't confirm whether high water or power bills led them to the homes.

"Typically in these types of marijuana growing arrangements there are some kind of diversion of power that takes place, but I can't comment on this case," said Officer Christopher Trim, spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department.

Trim confirmed that police suspected the operations among the homes were connected, but said they didn't seem gang related.

"It's assumed that the marijuana would be sold, but where is something our investigators are still pursuing," Trimm said.

Nhan Sinh Tang, 36; Hui Qing Chen, 28; and Phu Phung Tran, 50, were arrested under suspicion for utility fraud, marijuana cultivation, possession for sale and conspiracy to sell.

Ermei Yee, 67; Andy Cam Mach, 37; Kuntai Fan, 78; Ping Min Fan, 33; Jimmy Vy Tran, 48; Terrie Tran, 35 were also arrested for the same charges plus child endangerment.

Bee Staff

Elk Grove detectives arrested a 20-year-old man after investigators said they found evidence of marijuana and LSD sales at a residence.

Michael Wayne Sickels was arrested on suspicion of drug violations after a search of a residence in the 9200 block of Trenholm Way, according to an Elk Grove Police Department crime summary.

The search also turned up a stole firearm, the summary states.



About Sacto 9-1-1

Sacto 9-1-1 is a blog on crime and emergency services news in the Sacramento region.

Send feedback on Sacto 9-1-1 to Assistant Metro Editor Anthony Sorci at asorci@sacbee.com

Subscribe to Breaking News Alerts

FOLLOW US | Get more from sacbee.com | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook | Watch Bee news, lifestyle videos | View our mobile versions | e-edition: Print edition online | What our bloggers are saying

Sacto 9-1-1 Q&A

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues. QUESTION: A couple of years ago, a Sacramento tax attorney named Roni Deutch was the target of an investigation by the California Department of Justice. She was accused of bilking clients out of millions and defying a court (Read More)

More Questions and Answers
See all the crime Q&As
Submit your question

December 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

Monthly Archives


Kim Minugh on Twitter

Follow "Kim_Minugh" on Twitter

Local Agencies on Twitter

Categories