Pasadena Police Chief Recaps Recent Weeks’ Critical Incidents

Published : Monday, May 2, 2016 | 5:48 AM

Editor’s Note: In this report, Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez reviews noteworthy incidents which occurred or were concluded in recent weeks in Pasadena.

Critical Incidents:

On December 25, 2012, at about 11:08 a.m., a vehicle occupied by multiple local gang members was ambushed in the intersection of Newport Avenue and Wyoming Street by rival gang members.  During the ambush, several gunshots were fired from multiple firearms.  The shooting caused a traffic collision into a City light pole where the barrage of gunfire continued.  The suspects eventually fled the scene in their vehicle.  One of the involved parties, Damion Taylor, suffered a gunshot wound to the head during the shootout but survived his wound.  However, an innocent bystander, Victor McClinton, was standing outside his home a few properties north of Newport Avenue and Wyoming Street when the gunfire erupted.  His longtime friend had dropped off Christmas gifts and Victor had just walked him back outside to his parked vehicle. While on the sidewalk exchanging pleasantries with his friend, Victor was hit with bullets from the shootout (between the rival gang members), killing him.

The Pasadena Police Department’s Homicide / Assault Unit responded on Christmas morning to investigate the incident.  Sergeant Keith Gomez (then a police corporal) served as the lead investigator. After a complex and comprehensive investigation, two local gang members were arrested for Victor’s murder.  The case was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and several felony charges, including murder, were filed. On April 29, 2016, a jury at the Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles found Larry Bishop & Jerron “Ronnie Ron” Harris (both known gang members) guilty of:

  • 1st Degree Murder (Bishop & Harris); 1st Degree Attempted Murder (Bishop & Harris); Possession of Firearm by Felon (Harris); Shooting At An Inhabited Dwelling – multiple counts (Harris); Gang Enhancements, Serious Felony Enhancements, & several Firearm Enhancements (Bishop & Harris).  Both Bishop and Harris are facing Life without the Possibility of Parole and will be sentenced later this year.

This investigation was a complex case and a huge undertaking by the Pasadena Police Department.  As you might imagine, it was a team effort to identify, arrest, and subsequently receive convictions.  The case spans several months and involved many Pasadena Police professionals, including: Lieutenant Ibarra, Sergeants Ernie Devis, Keith Gomez (lead I/O), Jason Van Hecke, Ara Bzdigian, C. Pham, Carolyn Gordon, and Detectives Grant Curry (retired), William Broghamer, and David Duran.   Special Enforcement Section personnel  included: Sergeant Aguilar, Corporal Montiglio, and Officer Ling & SWAT Team members; FAU Sergeant Alaniz & Corporal Llanes; ID Techs Padilla, Roon, & Fish; Burglary Task Force Officer A. Torres; and of course, our uniformed first responders.

On December 25, 2012, during the evening hours, Pasadena Police officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Darrell Lee Williams (a known gang member).  Williams refused to yield in part because he was on parole and in possession of a firearm.  In his attempt to evade the police officers, Williams drove his vehicle recklessly and at high speeds. Tragically, the short pursuit ended when Williams slammed into a van near the Foothill Freeway and Marengo Avenue.  Two victims in the van, 25 and an 11 year old child, were killed on impact. Three other victims in the van were seriously injured. Williams and his passenger, Brittany Michelle Washington, were uninjured and arrested without further incident. The case was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office who filed several felony charges.  On April 15, 2016, the criminal trial for Williams concluded.  Williams was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to 30 years to life.  Washington pleaded no contest earlier in the year to possession of a firearm. Personnel involved in this case include:Pasadena Police Sergeant Ara Bzdigian (lead I/O), the Homicide Team, the Forensics Unit, the Pasadena Traffic Enforcement Section, and our uniformed first responders.

The loss of life is always tragic; however, when it involves willful and deliberate violence, it devastates families and shocks the conscience our community. As in the cases above, dedicated Pasadena Police officers, detectives, forensics staff, dispatchers, and other first responders all helped to identify the responsible persons.  Pasadena Police personnel serve as the vanguards of social order.  They are, bar none, some of the most talented and courageous law enforcement professionals I have had the privilege of leading.

On April 4, at 3:33 p.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to the 100 block of Glorieta Street regarding a shooting victim. On arrival, officers located a Male Hispanic Adult (Pasadena resident) who was suffering from a gunshot wound (grazing wound). The uncooperative victim was conscious; however, he did not provide much information about the shooting. The victim was transported to a local hospital for medical evaluation.

On April 22, in the early morning hours, the Pasadena Police Department coordinated a multi-jurisdictional enforcement effort in response to the recent shootings in our community.  The Pasadena Police Department and other law enforcement officials served 7 search warrants and conducted probation / parole compliance checks on 4 different locations.  The operation resulted in the arrest of a suspect for witness intimidation related to a criminal investigation by the Pasadena Police Department.  Another suspect was arrested for possession of marijuana for sale.  A third suspect was arrested for possession of methamphetamine for sale and a fourth suspect for an outstanding arrest warrant.   The Pasadena Police Department will continue to collaborate with local, state, and federal officials as necessary to address the active gang members in our community.  This mission was several weeks in the making and is a great example of the proactive police work executed by the Pasadena Police Department.

On April 22, at about 9:08 p.m., a night janitor was performing his normal duties at a business in the 1000 block of South Fair Oaks Avenue when he discovered a discarded passport (which included a photo) and a loaded revolver.  The janitor reported his findings to the Pasadena Police Department.  Officers responded and took custody of the firearm.  They also examined the passport in the name of Francisco Rico (age 44, Cypress resident) and began searching the area.  A short time later, Rico was located and detained without incident. During the field investigation, Rico admitted to discarding his passport and the firearm.  He is a felon and was arrested for possession of a firearm.

On April 22, at about 11:43 p.m., two Male Hispanic Adults (Adrian Rodriguez, 32, and Ricardo Saverda 19, both Pasadena residents) were observed by at least one witness discharging a firearm into the air in the area of North Marengo Avenue and Villa Street.  Following the shooting, a witness saw the suspects park their vehicle in the 400 block of North Marengo Avenue. The witness reported the information to the Pasadena Police Department. Uniformed and Special Enforcement officers responded to investigate.  They searched the area and located the suspects seated in the described vehicle.  The suspects were detained and a firearm was located in the car.

On April 24, at about 11:30 a.m., an Adult Male Armenian committed a strong-armed robbery on an elderly female near the west border of Pasadena and Los Angeles. The suspect fled the area in a vehicle, which was reported to police. Moments later, Pasadena Police officers saw the suspect vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop; however, the suspect failed to yield. Pasadena Police officers initiated a vehicle pursuit and the robbery suspect crashed near Community Arms, where he abandoned his vehicle and ran into the housing complex. He subsequently ran on to the roof of one of the housing units where he refused to surrender. The suspect consistently reached into his waistband gesturing as though he was armed.  Pasadena Police officers quickly contained the area preventing the suspect’s escape. LAPD’s Airship was immediately over the incident to assist the ground officers and watching the suspect’s movement.  Pasadena Police officers requested the assistance of a canine officer (which was never used) and positioned other less lethal devices to deploy if necessary. The LAPD Airship issued verbal orders to the suspect requesting he surrender. At about 11:45 a.m., the suspect climbed down from the roof top and surrendered without incident.

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