Nathaniel Percy

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Some coastal areas in Orange County may experience minor flooding during high tide

Low-lying roads or parking lots near the ocean in Southern California may see some minor flooding during high tide cycles Saturday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

In a beach hazards statement, high tide warnings were put in place for Seal Beach, Newport Beach and Balboa in Orange County. The tide was expected to reach nearly 7 feet in Newport Beach just before 10 p.m., officials said.

The warnings included San Diego County spots Oceanside Beach and Imperial Beach.

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“Strong rip and longshore currents will create dangerous swimming conditions and enhance flooding effects of the high tides … Saturday,” the warning said.

A separate statement was issued for the Ventura and Los Angeles county coasts, where a high tide of 7 feet was anticipated between 7 and 9 p.m.

Beach hazard statements are issued when strong rip currents, elevated surf heights, minor tidal overflow or lightning are possible at local beaches, officials said.

High tides earlier this summer caused some beach erosion and other problems.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/08/11/some-coastal-areas-in-orange-county-may-experience-minor-flooding-during-high-tide/

Elderly woman who went missing in Newport Beach has been found

An 84-year-old woman who briefly was reported missing in Newport Beach was found Saturday afternoon, Aug. 11, authorities said.

Just before 5:30 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department announced that the woman had been located and reunited with family.

Police thanked the community for placing calls with information, but did not release details as to where she was located.

Police earlier announced the woman was missing about 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/08/11/newport-beach-police-ask-for-publics-help-in-locating-missing-84-year-old-woman/

Santa Ana police asking public’s assistance to find missing at-risk man

Santa Ana police are asking for the public’s help in locating a 44-year-old man who went missing two weeks ago, authorities said Tuesday.

Victor De Jesus Munoz, 44, of Santa Ana was last seen at his residence July 25. (Courtesy of Santa Ana Police Department)

Victor De Jesus Munoz was last seen by his caretaker at his residence in the 1200 block of East Fairhaven Avenue on July 25. Munoz suffers from schizophrenia, is bipolar and takes daily medication, police said.

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He has a speech impediment and walks with a slight limp, according to police. Munoz is not known to be aggressive and does not carry a cell phone. He can communicate his name and date of birth, but not his home address, police said.

His primary method of transportation is on foot. He is known to frequent the 7-Eleven on Fairhaven Avenue and Grand Avenue in Santa Ana.

Munoz has been reported missing in the past and is known to frequent the intersection of Garden Grove Boulevard and Euclid Street, Hart Park in Orange and the Ralphs grocery store on Main Street and Chapman Avenue in Orange, police said.

Anyone with information on Munoz’ whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Andy Garcia at 714-245-8408.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/08/07/santa-ana-police-asking-publics-assistance-to-find-missing-at-risk-man/

Firefighters from 5 departments battling commercial building fire in Santa Ana

  • Approximately 85 firefighters from five different fire departments were battling a three-alarm commercial building fire in Santa Ana, Tuesday, Aug. 7. (Courtesy of Orange County Fire Authority)

  • Approximately 85 firefighters from five different fire departments were battling a three-alarm commercial building fire in Santa Ana, Tuesday, Aug. 7. (Courtesy of Orange County Fire Authority)

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Firefighters from five agencies were making progress Tuesday afternoon on a three-alarm fire at a commercial building in Santa Ana, authorities said.

About 1:53 p.m., firefighters received a call of fire at a commercial building in the 2100 block of S. Yale Street in Santa Ana, said Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority.

When firefighters arrived, they were met with fire that had gone through the roof of the building, Concialdi said.

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Approximately 85 firefighters were on scene, surrounding the blaze to ensure it didn’t spread to other buildings, Coincialdi said.

By 3:15 p.m., officials said firefighters were making “excellent progress” on the fire and reported no injuries. One civilian was treated and transported to a hospital in unknown condition, officials said in a post on Twitter.

Firefighters from Garden Grove, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach fire departments were on hand to help fight the fire, Concialdi said.

It wasn’t immediately known if anyone was inside the building when the fire started.

This story will be updated.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/08/07/firefighters-battling-commercial-building-fire-in-santa-ana/

Anaheim man arrested by Fountain Valley police after agreeing to meet undercover officer he thought was a minor

A 32-year-old Anaheim man was arrested after agreeing to meet with a person he thought was a 15-year old girl at a park for a sexual encounter, authorities said.

Troy Shellenbaum, 32, of Anaheim. (Courtesy of Fountain Valley Police Department)

Troy Shellenbaum was arrested Friday, Aug. 3 by Fountain Valley police, who were conducting an undercover operation, police said.

Shellenbaum contacted an undercover officer who he thought was a 15-year old girl on Facebook Messenger, police said.

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Shellenbaum initiated a sexual conversation and later arranged to meet with the undercover officer at a park in Fountain Valley. Shellenbaum went with the purpose of meeting the 15-year old girl and going to her home for a sexual encounter.

Shellenbaum is a registered sex offender who was previously arrested for rape by force of fear. He was on parole at the time of the incident, police said.

He was arrested when he arrived at the park and made contact with the undercover officer. Shellenbaum was booked into Orange County Jail on suspicion of contacting a minor with intent to commit a felony and the parole violation.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/08/07/anaheim-man-arrested-by-fountain-valley-police-after-agreeing-to-meet-undercover-officer-he-thought-was-a-minor/

Former Century High School coach arrested on suspicion of multiple sexual assaults with students

A 28-year-old former volleyball coach at a Santa Ana high school has been arrested on suspicion of having sex with three minor students in 2015 and police believe there may be more victims, authorities said Tuesday.

Omar Rojas, 28, was arrested Friday, Aug. 3, on suspicion of sexual assault with students at Century High School in 2015, police said. (Courtesy of Santa Ana Police Department)

Omar Rojas, who coached volleyball at Century High School, was arrested Aug. 3 and booked at the Orange County Jail on multiple sexual assault charges in 2015, Santa Ana police officials said.

Rojas is currently employed with the Santa Ana Unified School District as a District Safety Officer. The district reported allegations to police that Rojas had sexual intercourse with several students, police said.

The police department’s Special Crimes Section Detectives started an investigation and found the incidents occurred in 2015, police said. Two of the victims were 17-years old and a third was 15-years-old at the time of the crimes, Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

Police are interviewing another former student who may be a fourth victim, he said.

“We’re releasing this information now because he’s continued to work at the district as a coach and safety officer,” Bertagna said.

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Detectives found that Rojas would have the victims excused from class in order to meet them for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity on campus, police said.

Rojas was not a District Safety Officer when the crimes were committed, police said.

The Santa Ana Unified School District said it learned of Rojas’ arrest on Aug. 3 and said he worked as a District Safety Officer at Sierra Preparatory Academy.

The district issued a statement and said walk-on coaches go through the same federal, state and local background checks before interacting with students as full-time staff members.

“These allegations are being taken seriously and are in direct conflict of the District’s zero-tolerance policy relating to staff misconduct, in which all district employees are held to the highest standards,” the statement said.

The District said it will provide counseling support and resources to Century High School and Sierra Preparatory Academy to support students, staff and parents.

“In the days and weeks ahead, we will work closely with the Santa Ana Police Department on this investigation,” the statement said.

Rojas’ bail has been set at $1 million. He is scheduled to make a court appearance Tuesday, Aug. 7, according to jail records.

Police believe there may be additional victims and ask anyone with information to contact Detective Nick Vega at 714-245-8368. Anonymous tips can be made to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/08/07/century-high-coach-arrested-on-suspicion-of-multiple-sexual-assaults-with-students/

Clerk stabbed while confronting 2 men stealing beer from Tustin convenience store

A convenience store clerk was transported to a local hospital after suffering a stab wound to the abdomen while confronting two men trying to steal beer from the store in Tustin, police said.

About 11:20 p.m., Tustin police officers were dispatched to the 600 block of First Street on a report of a possible stabbing, Lt. Robert Wright said.

  • Tustin police are looking for two Hispanic men who walked into a store, stole beer and stabbed a clerk in the abdomen before fleeing in a light-colored sedan driven by a third suspect. (Courtesy of Tustin Police Department)

  • Tustin police are looking for two Hispanic men who walked into a store, stole beer and stabbed a clerk in the abdomen before fleeing in a light-colored sedan driven by a third suspect. (Courtesy of Tustin Police Department)

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  • Tustin police are looking for two Hispanic men who walked into a store, stole beer and stabbed a clerk in the abdomen before fleeing in a light-colored sedan driven by a third suspect. (Courtesy of Tustin Police Department)

  • Tustin police are looking for two Hispanic men who walked into a store, stole beer and stabbed a clerk in the abdomen before fleeing in a light-colored sedan driven by a third suspect. (Courtesy of Tustin Police Department)

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When officers arrived, they found the clerk suffering from a stab wound. Officers and paramedics rendered aid before transporting the clerk to the hospital. The victim’s condition was not known.

Officers discovered that two men entered the convenience store, grabbed beer and then walked out without paying, Wright said. The clerk ran out to confront the suspects, but during the confrontation, one of the suspects reportedly stabbed the clerk with the knife.

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Both suspects fled the scene and jumped into a light-colored sedan being driven by a third suspect. They then fled westbound on Main Street, Wright said.

The two suspects who entered the store were described only as Hispanic men and were scene on surveillance cameras. A description of the driver was not known.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact detectives at 714-573-3372 or 714-573-3220.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/08/04/clerk-stabbed-while-confronting-men-stealing-beer-from-tustin-convenience-store/

1 arrested, 2 others sought in Garden Grove home burglary that led to shot fired

A 36-year old Long Beach man was arrested on suspicion of a residential burglary in Garden Grove after neighbors held him down following a confrontation with the homeowner.

During the melee, two other suspects got away in a black Lincoln Navigator SUV with paper plates, police Lt. Carl Whitney said.

Chantha Van, 36, of Long Beach. (Courtesy of Garden Grove Police Department)

Garden Grove police responded at about 11:30 a.m. Friday to the 13800 block of Rosita Place on a report of a fight in progress, during which gunshots were heard.

Officers arrived and saw neighbors holding the suspect, Chantha Van, on the ground. Officers immediately took Van into custody.

During the investigation, officers discovered the fight was related to a residential burglary that had just occurred at a home in the 13800 block of La Bonita Avenue, just west of the location.

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Two suspects, including Van, smashed a sliding glass window and ransacked the home, police said. The alarm was set off and the two suspects fled out the back and into the rear of the residence on Rosita Place, Whitney said.

The homeowner, who armed himself with a legally owned handgun, confronted the two suspects and a fight started, during which the gun discharged and the two suspects fled, Whitney said.

Neighbors held Van down, while the other suspect jumped into the SUV, being driven by a third suspect. They fled the neighborhood, Whitney said.

The homeowner believes one of the suspects had been shot, but a general broadcast to local hospitals did not net any gunshot victims, Whitney said.

Van was transported to a local hospital for minor injuries and was admitted for observation for unrelated health issues.

Detectives are looking for the other suspects involved in the crime. The suspect who entered the home with Van is described as an Asian male in his late 20s or early 30s. Police did not have a description of the getaway driver.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Garden Grove Police Department at 714-754-5704. Anonymous tips can be submitted at OCCrimeStoppers.org.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/08/03/one-arrested-two-others-sought-in-garden-grove-home-burglary-that-led-to-shot-fired/

Motorcyclist dies after collision with car exiting Fullerton shopping center

A 28-year old man died Saturday after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a car exiting a shopping center in north Fullerton, authorities said.

Fullerton police shut down northbound Harbor Boulevard at Imperial Highway to investigate an injury crash involving a motorcycle, Saturday, July 28. (Courtesy of Fullerton Police Department)

About 11:27 a.m., Fullerton police officers responded to the area just north of the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Imperial Highway regarding reports of a traffic collision involving a car and a motorcycle, Sgt. Jon Radus said.

When officers arrived, they located the motorcyclist lying in the northbound lanes of Harbor Boulevard with life-threatening injuries, Radus said. Fullerton Fire Department paramedics began treating the man.

They then transported him to a local trauma center where he was pronounced dead from his injuries, Radus said.

He has not yet been identified.

Investigators have determined that a 58-year old woman driving a 2017 Honda Civic was exiting a shopping center in the 4100 block of Harbor Boulevard and attempting to cross northbound lanes to go southbound on Harbor Boulevard when the motorcycle collided with the Civic, Radus said.

The driver of the Civic stayed at the scene and cooperated with investigators. Police do not believe drugs or alcohol played a factor in the cause of the crash, Radus said.

Northbound Harbor Boulevard was expected to be closed for four hours while investigators remain at the scene, Lt. Michael Hines said.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact the Fullerton Police Department Traffic Bureau at 714-738-5313. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling 1-855-TIP-OCCS.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/07/28/motorcyclist-dies-after-collision-with-car-exiting-fullerton-shopping-center/

Police shoot 50-year-old man in Anaheim at end of brief pursuit

Police shot a 50-year-old Anaheim man at the end of a brief pursuit on Saturday morning, July 21, Anaheim Police Sgt. Shane Carringer said.

Officers responded to a call at 9:40 a.m. about a man in a vehicle acting erratically and hallucinating, Carringer said. The man was in front of a family member’s home in the 500 block of West Street.

The man led police on a short pursuit around the neighborhood before the shooting occurred.

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Carringer said police pulled the wounded man from the vehicle, and paramedics took him to a hospital. His condition was not immediately known. No officers were reported injured.

The man was alone in the vehicle, Carringer said.

Estella Bennett, 63, has lived at the corner of West Street and Santa Ana Street for eight years. She said a suspect began firing at a pursuing officer while they were driving. She and her sister ran inside.

A few minutes later, the pursuit returned and Bennett heard more gunshots, she said. The suspect was driving a white pickup truck, which is still on scene.

Carringer did not say if police recovered a weapon.

Investigators were combing Santa Ana Street just east of West Street for evidence into the afternoon. They also focused on the man’s truck. The passenger door appeared to be shattered.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/07/21/breaking-news-officer-involved-shooting-occurs-in-anaheim/

Electrical fire temporarily shuts Barclay Theatre in Irvine, performance moved to CSUF

A fire to an electrical panel has temporarily shut down the Barclay Theatre in Irvine, forcing at least one scheduled performing group to find another venue this weekend.

Orange County Fire Authority firefighters responded to a call of an electrical fire at the theatre about 5:11 p.m., Wednesday, July 18, Fire Captain Tony Bommarito said.

The fire was contained to an electrical panel in the basement of the theatre and the venue will be inspected Monday, July 23, said Karen Drews Hanlon, director of communications for Barclay Theatre.

With power still out, the MenAlive chorus, which was scheduled to perform its finale concert “Heroes” at the theatre, had to move to the Meng Concert Hall at Cal State Fullerton.

Performances will be held at 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, July 21 and parking will be free at the adjacent parking structure.

A reopening date has not been set at the Barclay Theatre pending the inspection, Drews Hanlon said.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/07/21/electrical-fire-temporarily-shuts-barclay-theatre-at-uci-performance-moved-to-csuf/

Boy, 4, shoots 2-year-old cousin to death in San Bernardino County

  • San Bernardino County Sheriff’s investigators are on scene, in 2700 block of Duffy in Muscoy, where a 2-year-old girl was shot and killed by her 4-year-old male cousin, according to Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Cindy Bachman on Friday, July 20, 2018. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • San Bernardino County Sheriff’s detective walks toward a home in 2700 block of Duffy in Muscoy, where a 2-year-old girl was shot and killed by her 4-year-old male cousin, according to Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Cindy Bachman on Friday, July 20, 2018. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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  • San Bernardino County Sheriff’s investigators are on scene outside a home in 2700 block of Duffy in Muscoy, where a 2-year-old girl was shot and killed by her 4-year-old male cousin, according to Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Cindy Bachman on Friday, July 20, 2018. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • San Bernardino County Sheriff’s investigators are on scene in 2700 block of Duffy in Muscoy where a 2-year-old girl was shot and killed by her 4-year-old male cousin, according to Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Cindy Bachman on Friday, July 20, 2018. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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A 4-year-old boy accidentally shot his 2-year-old cousin to death in Muscoy on Friday morning, July 20, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.

About 9:16 a.m., deputies received a call of the shooting in the 2700 block of Duffy Street.

The girl died about an hour after being hospitalized, sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said. Both children lived at the house.

The adults in the house at the time of the shooting or shortly after were taken to Sheriff’s Department headquarters for questioning, Bachman said. All of them have cooperated.

Investigators are trying to determine how the boy got the gun and who it belonged to. Bachman said investigators must get a warrant to enter the house.

The area near the house is rural. Many of the homes are on large lots with dirt front yards and sidewalks. The home where the child was shot, which appears to be a duplex, is across the street from a Mexican restaurant and near the Baker Family Learning Center.

Columbus McBath, a 72-year-old neighbor, said he heard someone from the house yell about calling 911. McBath said he has known the family for about 30 years, calling them “cool people, nice people.”

He called the news “devastating.”

McBath, a truck driver, lives with his wife, sister-in-law and three young grandchildren, from 4 months to 9 years old.

“People who got guns have to lock them up so kids can’t get them,” he said.

Another neighbor, Danitra Lewis, 56, lives with two grandchildren — a 9-year-old and a 15-year-old — and said she could not understand how a boy as young as 4 could be left alone long enough to find a gun.

“This is negligence here,” Lewis said. “I know these people are hurting, but a 4-year-old shouldn’t know where a gun is kept, let alone have access to it.”

She added: “It’s unfortunate. So sad.”

Shooting deaths of children so young are not common – but they are not unheard of.

In 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, there were 78 deaths by firearms of children ages 1 to 4 among the 36,252 firearms-related deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From 1999 to 2016, according to the agency, 294 2-year-olds died from gunshot wounds.

Children up to 12 years old who died from gunshot wounds were 10 times more likely than children ages 13 to17 to die from accidental or undetermined intent shootings, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics.

Many times, when a child picks up an unsecured gun and shoots another, the parents are charged.

In 2017, a 3-year-old in Alabama died from a gunshot wound while playing cops and robbers with another child. The parents were charged after investigators learned that the children had been left alone at home and a gun was left unsecured.

Also in 2017, the father of a 4-year-old Tennessee boy who fatally shot himself in the head was charged, as were the parents of a 4-year-old in Las Vegas who died after accidentally shooting himself.

And in March, the parents of a 9-year-old Milwaukee girl were charged after being shot by her 10-year-old brother. Officers found a gun lock, unused, in the house, the Journal Sentinel reported.

But no charges were filed against the parents of an 11-month-old boy shot to death by his 2-year-old brother in Alabama.

No such decisions had been made Friday in the Muscoy case.

 

Staff writer Nathaniel Percy contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/07/20/2-year-old-shot-and-killed-in-muscoy-area-of-san-bernardino-county/

Mountain View man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of family member in Newport Beach

A 28-year old Mountain View man was arrested in Newport Beach on suspicion of attempted murder after he tried to choke a family member and battered her neighbor Thursday, July 19, authorities said.

At 8:54 a.m., Newport Beach police officers received a report of unknown trouble in the 200 block of Jasmine Avenue, police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said.

When officers arrived, they found the suspect already restrained and no longer inflicting any damage. Officers learned he had tried to choke a female family member and he had battered a male neighbor, Manzella said.

Police arrested Carl Alexander Waniek on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with deadly force and great bodily injury and battery, Manzella said.

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The relationship between Waniek and the female family member was not immediately known, but it was not a dating relationship nor a domestic violence issue, Manzella said.

Paramedics with the Newport Beach Fire Department responded to the scene, but the victims declined further medical treatment, Manzella said.

No additional information was immediately available. The Newport Beach Police Department is investigating the incident.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/07/19/mountain-view-man-arrested-on-suspicion-of-attempted-murder-of-family-member-in-newport-beach/

Teen boy’s right arm nearly severed when boulder falls on him at Emerald Bay

A 15-year old boy was badly injured and transported to a hospital after a boulder fell on him while he walked along the rocks in Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach, Wednesday, July 18.

The teenager was walking with a friend when a boulder, about the size of a cooler, fell on him, Orange County Fire Authority Fire Captain Tony Bommarito said. His right arm took the brunt of the blow and was nearly severed, holding on by a little bit of tissue, Bommarito added.

“As the rock hit him, he fell backward and his leg got lodged in a rock,” Bommarito said adding there was no major damage to the leg.

OCFA firefighters were dispatched to Emerald Bay about 3:20 p.m. on a report of a person trapped, Bommarito said in a tweet.

The Laguna Beach Police Department, Laguna Beach Fire Department and OC Lifeguards also responded to help free the teenager. The Police Department tweeted about the rescue as it was happening.

Laguna Beach firefighters used extrication airbags, normally used to lift cars off people, to partially move the rock. Eight first responders used brute strength to move the rock off him the rest of the way, Bommarito said.

“These bags lift up to 15,000 pounds,” he said in an on-air interview with NBC LA. “It wasn’t an optimal place to use airbags, but it did help.”

Firefighters then freed his leg and “packaged him in a Stokes basket” before lowering a cable and lifting him up into an OCFA helicopter.

He was airlifted to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange about 4:13 p.m. in serious medical condition.

“The danger was tremendous, working on the side of a cliff,” Bommarito said. “Lifeguards and firefighters put themselves in danger to help this young man.”

It was unknown if the teenager and his friend live in the area, but the friend told Bommarito the two teenagers had made the walk along the rocks before.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/07/18/teenager-airlifted-to-hospital-after-fall-off-cliff-at-emerald-bay-suffers-serious-injuries/

Man dies at hospital after being rescued from ocean in Laguna Beach

A 52-year-old man died at a hospital after he was found struggling in the water off 1000 Steps Beach in Laguna Beach, on Saturday, July 14, authorities said.

About 10:45 a.m., a lifeguard responded to a swimmer in distress about 100 yards off shore at the 10th Street tower, said Jason Young, a spokesman for OC Lifeguards.

The lifeguard fought through heavy surf to get to the victim and bring him back to shore, said Steve Concialdi, fire captain with the Orange County Fire Authority.

The man, identified as Brian Riggs of Aliso Viejo, lost consciousness sometime after he was brought back to shore and went into full cardiac arrest. The lifeguard immediately began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Young said.

Paramedics with the Laguna Beach Fire Department and the Orange County Transportation Authority arrived and continued advanced life support, Concialdi said.

An OCFA helicopter landed on the sand and transported Riggs to Mission Hospital in grave condition. The flight took an estimated five minutes, Concialdi said.

But the man died at the hospital, Young said.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/07/14/man-rescued-from-ocean-near-thousand-steps-beach-in-laguna-beach/

Officials investigating cause of 2 car fires in Placentia

Investigators with the Orange County Fire Authority are looking into what caused a pair of car fires about two blocks apart in Placentia early Saturday morning, July 7, authorities said.

  • Firefighters put out a car fire in the 5300 block of Cederlawn Drive in Placentia early Saturday morning, July 7. (Courtesy of Southern Counties News Service)

  • Firefighters put out a car fire in the 5300 block of Cederlawn Drive in Placentia early Saturday morning, July 7.(Courtesy of Southern Counties News Service)

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  • Firefighters investigate the cause of a car fire in Placentia near Valencia Avenue and Palm Drive early Saturday morning, July 7. (Courtesy of Southern Counties News Service)

  • Firefighters investigate the cause of a car fire in Placentia near Valencia Avenue and Palm Drive early Saturday morning, July 7.(Courtesy of Southern Counties News Service)

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About 1:57 a.m., firefighters were dispatched to the area of East Palm Drive and Valencia Avenue on a report of a car on fire, Captain Carlos Huerta said.

Then, at about 2:30 a.m., the department received another report of a car fire two blocks west in the 5300 block of Cedarlawn Drive, Huerta said.

Firefighters quickly put out both fires and an investigator was called out to the scene of each incident, Huerta said.

It has not been determined if the two fires were intentionally set and damage estimates were not immediately available, Huerta said.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/07/07/officials-investigating-cause-of-2-car-fires-in-placentia/

Officials investigating cause of 2 car fires in Placentia

Investigators with the Orange County Fire Authority are looking into what caused a pair of car fires about two blocks apart in Placentia early Saturday morning, July 7, authorities said.

  • Firefighters put out a car fire in the 5300 block of Cederlawn Drive in Placentia early Saturday morning, July 7. (Courtesy of Southern Counties News Service)

  • Firefighters put out a car fire in the 5300 block of Cederlawn Drive in Placentia early Saturday morning, July 7.(Courtesy of Southern Counties News Service)

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  • Firefighters investigate the cause of a car fire in Placentia near Valencia Avenue and Palm Drive early Saturday morning, July 7. (Courtesy of Southern Counties News Service)

  • Firefighters investigate the cause of a car fire in Placentia near Valencia Avenue and Palm Drive early Saturday morning, July 7.(Courtesy of Southern Counties News Service)

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About 1:57 a.m., firefighters were dispatched to the area of East Palm Drive and Valencia Avenue on a report of a car on fire, Captain Carlos Huerta said.

Then, at about 2:30 a.m., the department received another report of a car fire two blocks west in the 5300 block of Cedarlawn Drive, Huerta said.

Firefighters quickly put out both fires and an investigator was called out to the scene of each incident, Huerta said.

It has not been determined if the two fires were intentionally set and damage estimates were not immediately available, Huerta said.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/07/07/officials-investigating-cause-of-2-car-fires-in-placentia/

9 more medical professionals charged in Pacific Hospital healthcare fraud scheme

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced nine more doctors will face federal charges tied to their alleged roles in a now $950 million healthcare scheme centered around Pacific Hospital in Long Beach.

Daniel Capen, Timothy Hunt, George Hammer, Lauren Papa, Tiffany Rogers, William Parker, Brian Carrico and two companies Carrico partially owns – Performance Medical & Rehab Center and One Accord Management, Inc. join nine other defendants accused of playing a part in a 15-year-long scheme that federal prosecutors say involved more than $40 million in illegal kickbacks for medical professionals.

In exchange, the medical professionals referred thousands of patients who received surgeries and other services at Pacific Hospital. The total in inflated billings is reported at $950 million.

“Health care fraud schemes cost Americans billions of dollars every year through higher premiums and tax money stolen from public programs, such as Medicare,” said First Assistant United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “There is an incredible array of scams, some of which involve services that are simply never provided, and some of which use complicated and sophisticated ruses to conceal illegal acts, such as bribes.”

According to prosecutors, orthopedic surgeon Capen, 68, of Manhattan Beach has accounted for about $142 million of Pacific Hospital’s claims to insurers, of which he was paid about $56 million. He has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and illegal kickback charges.

Palos Verdes Estates resident Hunt, 53, has agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge involving his receipt of illegal kickbacks stemming from various financial relationships with Pacific Hospital. The orthopedic surgeon referred spinal surgery patients to Capen and other doctors.

The former chief financial officer of the physician management arm of Pacific Hospital, Hammer, 65, of Palm Desert has agreed to plead guilty to tax charges based on the fraudulent classification of illegal kickbacks in hospital-related corporate tax filings.

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Chiropractor Papa, 52 of Tarzana has agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge involving her receipt of illegal kickbacks to refer patients to a neurosurgeon with knowledge that neurosurgeon would perform the surgeries at Pacific Hospital.

Rogers, 53, an orthopedic surgeon living in Palos Verdes Estates, was named in an indictment unsealed Wednesday in connection with receiving illegal kickbacks to refer patients for spinal surgeries at Pacific Hospital.

Carrico, 64, of Redondo Beach, and the two companies he partially owns were charged in connection with the receipt of illegal kickbacks to influence the referral of patients to Pacific Hospital. Prosecutors allege he and the companies, as well as other co-conspirators, were responsible for $80 million in claims submitted to the federal workers’ compensation program and were paid about $56 million in connection with patients that were referred to Pacific Hospital by Performance Medical.

Parker, 64, of Redondo Beach was charged in a separate indictment Wednesday in connection with the same kickback scheme involving Carrico and his companies.

The nine new defendants will be summoned to appear for arraignments in United States District Court Santa Ana next month, authorities said.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/06/28/9-more-medical-professionals-charged-in-pacific-hospital-healthcare-fraud-scheme/

Body of female found near Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro, unknown if it is missing Rossmoor woman

  • The body of a female washed up near shore at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro Thursday morning, but there is no confirmation whether or not it is the body of a Rossmoor woman missing from the area since Saturday, authorities said. (Photo By Charles Bennett/Daily Breeze)

    The body of a female washed up near shore at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro Thursday morning, but there is no confirmation whether or not it is the body of a Rossmoor woman missing from the area since Saturday, authorities said. (Photo By Charles Bennett/Daily Breeze)

  • The body of a female washed up near shore at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro Thursday morning, but there is no confirmation whether or not it is the body of a Rossmoor woman missing from the area since Saturday, authorities said. Photo By Charles Bennett

    The body of a female washed up near shore at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro Thursday morning, but there is no confirmation whether or not it is the body of a Rossmoor woman missing from the area since Saturday, authorities said. Photo By Charles Bennett

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  • The coroner’s van leaves with the body of a female that washed up near shore at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro early Thursday, June 28, 2018. Officials said the body is that of a white female but haven’t yet confirmed whether of not it is Haley Ora Downen, the Rossmoor woman reported missing from a nearby trail on Saturday. (Photo by Donna Littlejohn/Daily Breeze)

    The coroner’s van leaves with the body of a female that washed up near shore at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro early Thursday, June 28, 2018. Officials said the body is that of a white female but haven’t yet confirmed whether of not it is Haley Ora Downen, the Rossmoor woman reported missing from a nearby trail on Saturday. (Photo by Donna Littlejohn/Daily Breeze)

  • Authorities are investigating the scene where the body of a female that washed up near shore at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro early Thursday, June 28, 2018. Officials have confirmed that the body is that of a white female but haven’t yet confirmed whether of not it is Haley Ora Downen, the Rossmoor woman reported missing from a nearby trail on Saturday. (Photo by Donna Littlejohn/Daily Breeze)

    Authorities are investigating the scene where the body of a female that washed up near shore at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro early Thursday, June 28, 2018. Officials have confirmed that the body is that of a white female but haven’t yet confirmed whether of not it is Haley Ora Downen, the Rossmoor woman reported missing from a nearby trail on Saturday. (Photo by Donna Littlejohn/Daily Breeze)

  • Haley Ora Downen (Courtesy of the Los Angeles Police Department)

    Haley Ora Downen (Courtesy of the Los Angeles Police Department)

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The body of a female washed up near shore at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro Thursday morning, but there is no confirmation whether or not it is the body of a Rossmoor woman missing from the area since Saturday, authorities said.

RELATED STORY: Family, authorities continue search for missing 26-year old Rossmoor woman last seen in San Pedro

About 7:43 a.m., Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Division officers received a call from a man near the 1800 block of Paseo del Mar advising that he saw what he thought was a body in the water, said Sgt. Ron Pickering of the Harbor Division.

Officers along with firefighters from the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the location, found the body and brought it to shore, Pickering said.

The body is that of a white female, Pickering said, but it has not been confirmed whether or not it was Haley Ora Downen, the 26-year old Rossmoor woman who was reported missing from a shoreline trail near Royal Palms Beach on Saturday.

The investigation is ongoing.

More to come.

Authorities are investigating the scene where the body of a female that washed up near shore at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro early Thursday, June 28, 2018. Officials have confirmed that the body is that of a white female but haven't yet confirmed whether of not it is Haley Ora Downen, the Rossmoor woman reported missing from a nearby trail on Saturday. (Photo by Donna Littlejohn/Daily Breeze)
Authorities are investigating the scene where the body of a female that washed up near shore at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro early Thursday, June 28, 2018. Officials have confirmed that the body is that of a white female but haven’t yet confirmed whether of not it is Haley Ora Downen, the Rossmoor woman reported missing from a nearby trail on Saturday. (Photo by Donna Littlejohn/Daily Breeze)

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/06/28/body-of-female-found-near-royal-palms-beach-in-san-pedro-unknown-if-it-is-missing-woman/

Family, authorities continue search for missing 26-year old Rossmoor woman last seen in San Pedro

Los Angeles police and fire officials are searching the San Pedro area for a 26-year old Rossmoor woman who went missing in San Pedro over the weekend.

Haley Ora Downen was last reported seen at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, June 23, officials with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Harbor Division said Sunday.

Haley Ora Downen (Courtesy of Los Angeles Police Departmemt)
Haley Ora Downen (Courtesy of Los Angeles Police Departmemt)

Along with police and fire department efforts, family members have also searched the area for any clues as to where Downen may be, Pat Ginther, Downen’s grandmother, said Wednesday, June 27.

She was last seen along a shoreline trail between Royal Palms beach and the Trump National Golf Course in San Pedro, authorities said Sunday.

Downen is described as white, 5-feet, 2-inches tall, about 135 pounds with blond hair and green eyes. She has a tattoo on her left leg.

Ginther said she went with other family members to search on Saturday night and Sunday. Family members conducted their own search Tuesday as well, but Ginther did not join.

“We’re all trying to be strong, but it’s hard at times, the not knowing,” Ginther, 78, said adding that Downen lives with her in Rossmoor and has lived with her off and on since 2005.

Downen’s mother lives in Cathedral City and her father died in an auto accident when she was a baby, Ginther said.

Downen attended Los Alamitos High School while living with Ginther. After she recently returned to California from Colorado, she had been actively looking for a job and was recently offered a position, Ginther said.

On Saturday, Downen had gone to visit a friend who lives in the western part of San Pedro when she disappeared, Ginther said.

Officers searched the area over the weekend and found items of personal property belonging to Downen, police said.

On Tuesday, June 26, the Los Angeles Police Department sent a dive team to search the water surrounding the area based on a tip, but did not locate Downen or any clues to her whereabouts, Officer Tony Im said.

Los Angeles Fire Department divers were sent to assist the Los Angeles Police Department in its search for Downen, Amy Bastman of the fire department said in an alert, Tuesday.

The family is holding out hope Downen will be found. Ginther said the efforts of the police and fire departments have been fantastic.

“We’ve had no complaints and we’re just really impressed with how much they’re doing,” she said.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding Downen’s whereabouts to call Harbor Area detectives at 310-726-7700. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/06/27/family-authorities-continue-search-for-missing-26-year-old-woman-last-seen-in-san-pedro/