POLICE: Crowd Dispersed After Property is Vandalized, Officer Assaulted During Covina Protest Sunday
Written by AARON CASTREJON
COVINA - Three people were arrested after another large crowd of protestors turned up at the reported home a deputy who fatally shot a man in Gardena.
The three were accused of various crimes, ranging from trespassing, to assaulting a peace officer and lynching — the latter is a confusing use of the term, according to Lt. Ryan Davis of the Covina Police Department.
“At some point there was an intoxicated person who came onto the property and pushed an officer,” Davis told SGV CityWatch. “As he was attempting to make an arrest, the crowd basically surrounded the officers and started pulling her away.”
The protestor was pulled away from the officer. Eventually, an unlawful assembly was declared and the crowd was dispersed roughly after 7 p.m. with the help of officers from Azusa, Glendora, West Covina and the San Dimas Sheriff’s Station.
The woman who allegedly assaulted an officer was later seen near the Covina Police Department and arrested, Davis told SGV CityWatch.
One of the people who pulled the protester away from the officer during the arrest was also found and taken into custody, Davis told SGV CityWatch. That person was booked on suspicion of lynching, which the California Penal Code describes as removing someone from police custody by means of a riot, Davis told SGV CityWatch.
Police originally responded to the home, which is located near San Bernardino Road and Hollenback Avenue, to keep protesters off the private property.
The protests began around 4 p.m.
Protesters allegedly placed Post-It notes and larger signs on the deputy’s home and walkway, Davis told SGV CityWatch. Protestors also wrote messages in chalk on a public as well as the private walkway claiming that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy Miguel Vega is a murderer, Davis told SGV CityWatch.
One other person was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and for not providing his name to an officer.
Written by AARON CASTREJON
COVINA - Police arrived en mas Thursday night to a neighborhood to quell a group of protestors who reportedly found the home of the deputy who fatally shot an 18-year-old man in Gardena.
The deputy reportedly lives in the area of Hollenbeck Avenue and San Bernardino Road. Protesters stood in the street, on the sidewalk and walked all over the front yard of a home believed to belong to Miguel Vega July 30.
Police from Covina, Glendora, Azusa and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arrived to push back protestors who left behind signs at the home. Most, if not all, of the signs were removed by police.
In a video posted to social media, law enforcement could be seen going in and out of the home, talking to whoever was inside.
Deputies descended on Andres Guardado, who was employed as a security guard, at a Gardena business June 18.
Deputies claim they saw a gun on Guadardo’s person. Guardado ran from deputies a brief distance into an alley. He was shot and killed by deputy gunfire.
A gun was reportedly found in Guardado’s possession. Deputies allege he reached for his weapon during the foot pursuit.
Guardado’s death has strained the somewhat current tenuous relationship between law enforcement and the public, amidst calls for defunding law enforcement and amidst destructive protests and rioting.
Compounding the investigation is the allegations that shortly after shooting Guardado, deputies ripped surveillance cameras from a nearby business without a search warrant.
A security hold was placed on the autopsy report for Guardado — a standard procedure in police shooting investigations, but the very public family squabble between embattled Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and County authorities took an unexpected turn.
The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner defied the Sheriff’s security request and made public the preliminary results. Guardado was shot five times in the back, according to the coroner report.
An independent autopsy confirmed the county coroner’s findings.
Written by AARON CASTREJON
COVINA - Richard Sheehan, a superintendent beloved by many in the Covina-Valley Unified School District, has agreed to resign effective June 30.
The Covina-Valley Unified school board made the announcement after a closed session meeting Tuesday. Sheehan is mired in a criminal investigation involving three victims.
The Covina Police Department was contacted during an internal investigation conducted by the school district into misconduct with current and former students, according to a written statement by the Covina Police Department.
“We’ve asked the Glendora Police Department to assist us by handling this initial investigation. Our intent is to ensure a thorough and transparent investigation by law enforcement,” Covina Police said in a written statement.
Sheehan will remain on paid administrative leave until his resignation next month.
What Sheehan is accused of doing has run the gamut among the community, in real life and on social media.
Covina Police emphasized that Sheehan's alleged transgressions go beyond social media posts allegedly involving the embattled former superintendent.
In doing light research on social media, a video surfaced showing very brief flashes of a shirtless Sheehan flexing a bicep in a selfie -- his lower half was blocked by a black square insinuating he was nude. That same photo was seen elsewhere on Twitter sans the black square, showing he was actually wearing a pair of black shorts.
How these photos were acquired is not immediately known.
Parents took to the streets May 17 to protest Sheehan’s treatment by the district after learning of the plan to replace him — the same day the district announced he was placed on administrative leave.
Elizabeth Eminhizer was named acting superintendent by a unanimous vote May 18.
Written by AARON CASTREJON
COVINA - Four teens were arrested Wednesday after a feud between students of the Charter Oak Unified School district devolved to a brutal fight and social media threat of further violence at Charter Oak High School.
The reported threat of violence is supposedly to take place at Charter Oak High School Friday, November 22. Covina Police and San Dimas Sheriff’s deputies will have an increased presence to ensure the safety of students and staff, the Covina Police Department said in a written statement.
Social media posts suggest that the long-standing feud would allegedly escalate to gunfire and as the posts were shared more and more, people believed a school shooting was planned, according to Lt. Ryan Davis of the Covina Police Department.
“There isn’t any specific information that we can confirm as valid at this point,” Davis said.
The threat is fallout of an escalating fight between students at Charter Oak High School and students from elsewhere in the Charter Oak Unified School District -- the latter group entered a Charter Oak High locker room and a fistfight broke out November 20, Davis said.
“This was a planned fight. A mutual fight,” Davis said. “One of the the subjects from another school gets this kid into a choke hold and he ends up choking the kid unconscious.”
The subject kept the teen in a choke hold, even after the teen lost consciousness. The teen was dropped to the ground and kicked twice in the head, Davis said.
Police were notified the evening of the fight. Four suspects were identified. Police took them into custody Thursday, Davis said.
Among the charges are assault with a deadly weapon for the primary suspect, fighting on a school campus and trespassing, Davis said.
Some of the students were advised to stay away from the high school previously.
The Charter Oak Unified School District released a statement on the threat:
“The Charter Oak Unified School District, Glendora Police Department and Covina Police Department are aware of a fight at Charter Oak High School and video postings of the fight and are investigating rumors regarding potential additional serious disturbances on the COHS and/or Arrow High School campuses tomorrow, Friday, November 22, 2019.
“The entire COUSD administration is being proactive and is planning with the Covina Police Department, Glendora Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff to ensure a presence in the area tomorrow. Additionally, district leadership and Covina Police will be on campus at Charter Oak High School all day on Friday.”
Written by AARON CASTREJON | CityWatch Editor
COVINA - “So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
William Shakespeare wrote the above words in the 16th century’s “A Merchant in Venice” and they certainly apply to one Covina Police Chaplain who saw fit to help a homeless couple get on their feet.
Chaplain Dave Truax, who has served Covina Police for 29 years, purchased bus tickets for the man and woman, who was in her second trimester of pregnancy, to go live with the woman’s sister in Georgia.
Truax and the local multi-agency Homeless Assistance Liaison Officer team met the couple at Covina Park, right outside the Covina Police Department this month.
The HALO team consists of Covina, West Covina, Azusa and Glendora Police officers, whose sole purpose is to provide local homeless people a plethora of helpful resources.
Truax listened in to the couple’s conversation with Los Angeles County social workers and heard of the offer to move to Georgia, but the couple could not save enough money to purchase tickets. Some of their money had even been stolen, Covina Police said.
The HALO team agreed that moving to Georgia was the best option.
“Chaplain Truax again offered the couple ... two options. Accept local housing and job placement help from the county, or relocate to Georgia and the care of family members,” Covina Police said.
The couple chose Georgia.
Truax met the couple the following afternoon outside the Covina Police Department, packed and ready to leave. After saying goodbye to their Covina Park family, Truax drove them to a nearby bus station and purchased tickets and some travel essentials, Covina Police said.
Two days later, the sister reported the couple arrived safely in Georgia and were in her care, Covina Police said.
“Finding smart and creative ways to solve these issues on a local level is challenging and that’s why we invest in not only the HALO program, but also the Mental Evaluation Team,” Covina Police said, referring to the local multi-agency program, which features a County Department of mental Health clinician.
“This act of kindness, compassion and generosity are what we see daily by the men and women of law enforcement,” Covina Police said. “It’s what we do. Chaplain Dave Truax is an extension of the law enforcement community and we are fortunate to have his skills and abilities.”