Crime Beat

SUSPECT ARRESTED AFTER SWAT STANDOFF IN SPRING VALLEY

Source: San Diego Sheriff Dept.
 
October 9, 2023 (Spring Valley)-- A man is in custody after attacking his wife and sparking a five-hour standoff in the East County that began shortly after 4:30 p.m. yesterday.

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OVER 50 GUNS SEIZED AFTER SWAT TEAM SEARCH OF POTRERO HOME

East County News Service

October 1, 2023 (Potrero) -- Two people have been arrested after more than 50 firearms were seized in a search of a  Potrero residence.


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SHERIFF SUGGESTS TIPS FOR AVOIDING A DUI

East County News Service

October 1, 2023 (Lemon Grove) - Sheriff Kelly Martinez reminds the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Some prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs may interfere with driving. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.


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HOMELESS REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER EXPOSES SELF TO WOMAN AT BUS STOP TWO DAYS AFTER RELEASE FROM JAIL

East County News Service

September 30, 2023 (El Cajon) –  A homeless sex offender exposed himself to a  66-year-old woman waiting at a bus stop in El Cajon on Sept.22 at 1 p.m.

According to Lt. Jeremiah Larson, the suspect told the woman he would not hurt her. The victim ran towards people nearby and asked for help to call police. Officers arrived and arrested  ClarenceWhite,62, for indecent exposure.


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ARREST MADE IN SPRING VALLEY SHOOTING: SUSPECT HAD ILLEGAL AR-15 GHOST GUN

 

East County News Service

 

September 28, 2023 (Spring Valley) -- A man is in custody in connection with a shooting in Spring Valley. The shooting happened on September 4 around 1:00 a.m. near the 100
00 block of Chavacan Lane. 

 

Deputies from the Rancho San Diego Sheriff's Station arrived at the location and found over a dozen gun casings, along with multiple bullet holes to a nearby home. No one was hurt


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COUNTY ACCEPTS ONE-YEAR CONGRESSIONAL GRANT TO FUND MOBILE CRISIS RESPONSE TEAM EXPANSION

By Cassie N. Saunders, County of San Diego Communications Office

September 28, 2023 (San Diego's East County) -- The Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) program that supports people confronting mental health struggles is getting a multi-million-dollar boost. 


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JOGGER, 73, FIGHTS OFF ROBBER IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

September 21, 2023 (El  Cajon) – A homeless man with an extensive criminal record has been arrested for attempting to rob a 73-year-old man. The victim was jogging near Mollison Ave. and Greenfield Dr. on Sept.15 at 11:09 a.m.  when the suspect demanded five dollars. He then “threatened to “tase” the man, grabbed onto his arm, and reached for his wallet,” says Lieutenant Jeremiah Larson, public information officer with El Cajon Police.

The man fought off his attacker and ran toward an apartment complex yelling for help.


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SUSPECT FACES MURDER CHARGE IN DEATH OF SAMUEL HOLTHAUS

By Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

September 15, 2023 (El Cajon) -- An arrest has been made in the death of a 59-year-old man in unincorporated El Cajon, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday.


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SUSPECTS ARRESTED FOR SERIES OF RETAIL THEFTS COUNTYWIDE

East County News Service

 

September 8, 2023 (San Diego) -- A man and a woman are in custody on suspicion of being involved in numerous organized retail thefts. Kyle Dillon Grant and Tabetha Lynn Rhodes, each 33 years old, were arrested by the San Diego Sheriff’s department this morning.


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NAKED MAN ON DRUGS WALKS INTO CHILDREN’S BEDROOM IN EL CAJON APARTMENT

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 7, 2023 (El Cajon) – A naked man on methamphetamines walked into an apartment in the 1000 block of Redwood Avenue in El Cajon around 5:30 a.m. on Monday. A young woman and several children, her siblings, were sleeping when the man walked into the children’s room.

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LICENSE PLATE CAMERAS IN EL CAJON ARE CATCHING CRIMINALS, BUT CRITICS CLAIM POLICE DEPARTMENT IS SHARING PRIVATE DATA ILLEGALLY

By Branda Gorgies
 
Photos by Creative Commons via Google Images
 
September 3, 2023 (El Cajon) – Cameras in public are being used in El Cajon successfully to capture criminals, from car thieves to suspects in violent crimes. But some have raised concerns about privacy. Along with concerned community members, some lawmakers and lawyers are claiming that the police department is illegally sharing private license plate data.

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CAUGHT IN A 'HARD PLACE,' LA MESA POLICE CHIEF, ORGANIZERS CANCEL OVERSIGHT FORUM

By Ken Stone,Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  La Mesa Police Chief Ray Sweeney (right) succeeded Walt Vasquez (center) and Matt Nicholass in July 2021. Photo via Twitter

September 3, 2023 (La Mesa) - The announcement came Monday in Facebook.

“Join us Thursday at 10am for presentation and discussion about La Mesa community policing in three years since the rioting and looting of May 2020,” said the illustrated flier appearing in several La Mesa groups.

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172 STOLEN CARS RECOVERED IN EAST COUNTY UNDERCOVER STING, 50 PEOPLE CHARGED

By Miriam Raftery

September 1, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – Undercover officers with the San Diego Regional Auto Theft Task Force infiltrated organized auto theft rings locally, says CHP Captain Charles Leonard. Through a sting operation at a storefront in East County, suspects were caught on video selling stolen vehicles, guns, ammunition and narcotic drugs to undercover detectives.

On August 31, the task force announced that Operation Sunrise has resulted in recovery of stolen vehicles worth an estimated $3.3 million.  Fifty suspects have been indicted on crimes including auto theft, identity theft, illegal firearms possession and selling drugs.  Officers also seized  narcotics and 14 firearms, including several untraceable and illegal ghost guns.

La Mesa Police Chief Ray Sweeney, who serves as the task force's Executive Chair, said cracking down on auto thefts is important because stolen cars are often used to commit other crimes, 10 News reports.


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MULTIPLE ARRESTS MADE, STOLEN PROPERTY RECOVERED IN EL CAJON WITH HELP FROM LICENSE-PLATE READING TECHNOLOGY

East County News Service

September 1, 2023 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police Department is crediting newly installed automated  license plate reading (ALPR) cameras with solving three crimes in three days, according to Lieutenant Jeremiah Larson.  The Flock Safety technology sends ECPD real-time crime alerts when a stolen vehicle, or known wanted vehicle, from a state or national database is detected locally.


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TWO ARRESTED AT CITY OF LA MESA DUI CHECKPOINT

Source:  City of La Mesa

August 31, 2023 (La Mesa) - On August 26, 2023, the La Mesa Police Department held a DUI Checkpoint in the 4900 block of Spring Street. During the checkpoint, which lasted from 7:00 p.m. until 12:30 a.m., 752 vehicles were contacted. Two drivers were arrested for driving under the influence (suspected alcohol and/or drugs) and nine drivers were evaluated for impairment in the secondary screening.


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OFFICER KILLS SUSPECT WHO FATALLY SHOT WOMAN AND DOG IN ENCANTO

By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2023 (San Diego) – A SWAT team standoff last night ended in a hail of gunfire that killed a man who opened fire on police, after fatally shooting a woman and a dog, then setting fire to the home.


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FEDERAL JUDGE SETS TRUMP FEDERAL TRIAL ON ELECTION INTERFERENCE FOR MARCH 4

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Judge Tanya Chutckan, who will preside over the federal case in Washington D.C.

August 28, 2023 (Washington D.C.) – The first criminal trial against former President Donald Trump has been scheduled to begin on March 4, 2024, in the midst of the primary season, opening one day before Super Tuesday.

Trump—now the leading candidate for the GOP's 2024 presidential nomination—has pleaded not guilty to the four federal charges of election interference. He is the only named defendant in the case, which lists four unindicted coconspirators.


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EX-COUNCILMAN BEN KALASHO AND WIFE SENTENCED TO JAIL FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT

 

Judge denies couple’s request to delay sentencing, after they claimed air travel was unsafe for Jessica Kalasho due to pregnancy

By Miriam Raftery

File photo of  Ben and Jessica Kalasho at a prior hearing

August 26, 2023  (San Diego) – Former El Cajon Councilman Bessmon  “Ben” Kalasho and his wife, Jessica have been found guilty on four counts each of contempt of court in a civil defamation case won by attorney Lina Charry. 

They have been ordered to report to San Diego Superior Court on September 1 to being serving an eight-day jail sentence, as well as pay fines of $1,000 apiece for each count.


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ONE FOR THE BOOKS AS TRUMP AND REST OF FULTON 19 ENTER GEORGIA JUSTICE SYSTEM OVER 2020 ELECTION

BY:  AND 

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Booking photos from the Fulton County conspiracy case charging Donald Trump and allies with trying to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. Top row, from left Jeffrey Clark, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, Michael Roman, Ray Smith, David Shafer, Sen. Shawn Still. Center row, from left, Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, John Eastoman, Kenneth Chesebro. Bottom row from left, Robert Cheeley, Harrison Floyd, Stephen Lee, Scott Hall, Misty Hampton, Cathleen Latham, Trevian Kutti. (Georgia Recorder illustration from Fulton County Sheriff’s Office photos)

August 26, 2023 (Fulton Co., Georgia) -- At the end of a historic week at the Fulton County jailhouse, the criminal case against former President Donald Trump and his 18 allies also accused of subverting Georgia’s 2020 presidential election is just beginning.


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TRUMP AND 18 ASSOCIATES CHARGED WITH RACKETEERING IN GEORGIA FOR CONSPIRACY TO CHANGE ELECTION OUTCOME

 

Scheme involved fake electors, seizing voting machines, and pressuring officials in Georgia and other states to break the law

By Miriam Raftery

August 15, 2023 (Fulton County, GA) – In a sweeping 98-page indictment, Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis filed indictments against former president Donald Trump and 18 others with violating the state’s Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO)  Act. The indictments, recommended by a Grand Jury, accuse the defendants of willfully joining a “conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump.”

41 counts in the conspiracy case include forgery, filing false documents, making false statement and writings, impersonating a public officer, pressuring public officials to violate their oaths of office to commit illegal acts in multiple states, and illegally accessing ballots on voting machines in Coffee County, Georgia, among other things.

Trump faces 13 new criminal charges in Georgia, the fourth jurisdiction where he is under criminal indictment. The former president and current presidential candidate is charged with conspiracy to  impersonate a public officer (related to the slate of fake electors that cast votes and submitted them to official channels), conspiracy to commit forgery, conspiracy to commit false statements and writings (including in official proceedings), and conspiracy to commit filing false documents. He is also charged with pressuring public officials to violate the law for the purpose of stealing the 2020 presidential election.

The indictment alleges that after  Trump falsely declared victory following the Nov. 2020 election, Trump among other things personally committed the ofllowing illegal acts:

  • Called Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers and pressured  Bowers to unlawfully appoint electors to vote for Trump, even though Biden won the state. Bowers declined and told Trump, “I voted for you… I campaigned for you.  I just won’t do anything illegal for you.”
  • Joined a call to Pennsylvania legislators, made false statements and asked them to appoint electors for Trump, though Biden won Pennsylvania;
  • Met with Mark Meadows and John McEntee to devise a scheme for Vice President Mike Pence  to count only half the electoral votes from some states and return others to state legislators, an illegal act which Pence refused to do;
  • Solicited Georgia’s Republican Speaker of the House David Ralston (since deceased) to commit a felony by arranging for Georgia to appoint presidential electors for Trump, even though Biden won Georgia;
  • Called the Republican Party chair Ronna McDaniel and asked her to help get certain people to meet as fake electors and cast electoral votes for Trump in states won by Biden;
  • Asked  U.S. Attorney General Jefrrey Rosen and Acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue to make a false statement.  Trump urged them, “Just say that the election was corrupt,and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen.”
  • Made false and harassing statements against officials who refused his demands to violate the law, such as “What a fool Governor@BrianKempGA of Georgia is…Demand this clown call a Special Session and open up signature verificfation NOW.”
  • Submitted false documents in a lawsuit, Trump v.Kemp, which falsely claimed that thousands of votes were cast by felons, unregistered voters, underage people and dead people, without any evidence.
  • Solicited Georgia’s Secretary of State,Republican Brad Raffensperger, to commit a felony by unlawfully altering  certified election results.
  • Making false statements to  Raffensperger and other Georgia officials claiming pollworker  Ruby Freeman stuffed ballot boxes, that ballots were dumped,and numerous other claims found to be false.
  • Was present at a January 4, 2021 meeting with Vice President Pence,  Eastman and others. After Trump pressured Pence to reject electoral voes or delay the joint session of Congress on January 6, Eastman “admitted both options violated the Electoral Count Act,” the indictment states.
  • Made false statements asserting election fraud (despite losing 62 court challenges, some decided by Trump-appointed judges) in his speech at the Ellipse and urged the crowd to march to the U.S. Capitol on January 6, where violence ensued that resulted in several deaths and 140 injured  Capitol police officers.

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POLICE ARREST HOMELESS MAN WHO ASSAULTED WOMEN IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery
 
August 22, 2023 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon Police have arrested a homeless man who is charged with several felony counts, including kidnapping with intent to commit rape and burglary.

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SOCIAL SECURITY SCAM ALERT

By Miriam Raftery

 

A close-up of several paper moneyDescription automatically generated

 

I recently signed up for Social Security.  On Aug. 12, a Saturday, I received an email from DoNotReply@ssa.gov with subject line “Request for Information” that Social Security confirms is a scam. Don’t be fooled into giving scammers info that could be used in an identity theft scheme or to steal benefits—and be sure to report suspected scams to the SSA’s Office of Inspector General at Report.Scam@ssa.gov.


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WANTED SUSPECT KILLED BY LA MESA POLICE OFFICER

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News

August 7, 2023 (La Mesa) – A wanted felon was shot and killed yesterday afternoon by La Mesa Police. 

As is protocol,  San Diego Police Department is investigating the shooting. ECM news partner reports that SDPD Lt. Steve Shebloski says

According to SDPD, around 4:15, an officer recognized the suspect, 41, who had an active felony warrant.  The officer confronted him in the parking lot of the Cypress Plaza condominiums in the  8000 block of University Avenue.

According to LMPD officers, the man pulled out a handgun during the interaction and fired, striking a passing vehicle, said Lt. Shebloski, 10 News reports.


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SAN DIEGO POLICE KILL GUNMAN WHO FATALLY SHOT POLICE DOG

East County News Service

 

August 2, 2023 (San Diego) – A man who fired shots at a person in the Mesa College area later shot a police dog.  A San Diego  Police officer shot the suspect, who later died.


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GANG MEMBER ARRESTED FOR DEADLY SPRING VALLEY SHOOTING

East County News Service

August 3, 2023 (Spring Valley) -- A suspect was arrested on August 1 for a July 4 shooting that killed one man and injured another in Spring Valley. The suspect is  a gang member with a criminal record.

Shortly after 10 p.m. on July 4, Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call reporting a shooting in the 2700 block of Central Avenue. Fernardo Kevin Villegas, 25, was found in the street with several gunshot wounds to his torso. Despite medical aid provided by deputies and medical personnel, he died of his injuries.

A second victim, Kaulana “Dustin” Hernandez Liu, arrived at a hospital with a gunshot wound to his arm; he was treated and released.


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RAMONA MAN HANGED SELF IN COUNTY JAIL, MEDICAL EXAMINER REPORTS

East County News Service

Photo courtesy of the San Diego Sheriff's Dept.

August 1, 2023 (Ramona) – Jonathan McDowell, 47, of Ramona died at Scripps Mercy Hospital on July 29, 10 days after he was found unresponsive in his cell at the George Bailey detention facility. The Medical Examiner’s autopsy has concluded that McDowell died of asphyxia due to hanging and that his death was a suicide.

A statement from the Sheriff’s department says,  “We extend our sympathies to the McDowell family and those affected by his death. A Sheriff's Family Liaison Officer will support the family as they deal with the loss of a loved one.”

McDowell was arrested on Feb. 20 on charges of assaulting a peace officer with a gun,  attempted murder, and committing a felony while  on bail or release.


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SHERIFF HOSTS NATIONAL NIGHT OUT AUGUST 1 AT THESE LOCATIONS

July 31, 2023 (San Diego's East County) -- Join the San Diego County Sheriff's Department for National Night Out on Tuesday, August 1.  Sheriff's Stations and Substations across the county will be hosting family-friendly community events to take a stand against crime. Find details on each station’s event below. 

National Night Out is an annual event that promotes law enforcement-community partnership and neighborhood camaraderie.

Meet your local Sheriff's Deputies and receive public safety resources.  Crime Prevention Specialists will share tips on how to keep your families safe.  Many of our events will feature giveaways and more.


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FIREFIGHTERS REPORT TWO PEOPLE SHOT NEAR BORDER,ONE DEAD

East County News Service

July 28, 2023 (San Diego) – Cal-Fire, which has been battling a fire near the U.S. Mexico border, notified the Sheriff at 1:30 a.m. about a shooting near the international border. One male victim was pronounced dead and the other was transported to a hospital.

Both victims appeared to have gunshot wounds. Neither have been positively identified at this point, says Lieutenant Joseph Jarjura.

The location was east of the Otay port of entry, near the border wall. according to the Sheriff's department.


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RABBI DETAILS ANTISEMITIC ATTACK NEAR SDSU: ‘I SAID HE IS GOING TO BURN IN HELL’

by Donald H. Harrison , Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Rabbi Aharon Shapiro said incident at this College Avenue 7-Eleven reflects hateful rhetoric by some political figures. Times of San Diego photo illustration

July 27, 2023 (San Diego) -- An Orthodox rabbi Wednesday said his tzitzits — ceremonial fringes — were torn from the woolen garment he wears under his shirt and thrown on the floor by a man who cussed Jews and Israel.

Rabbi Aharon Shapiro, formerly of Cape Town, South Africa, said the incident Monday near San Diego State University is a reflection of the hateful rhetoric spouted by some American political figures and celebrities.


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DANIEL ETHRIDGE WANTED FOR MARCH MURDER IN LEMON GROVE

 

$1,000 reward for info leading to arrest of suspect, who is considered armed and dangerous

Source: San Diego Sheriff's Department

July 26, 2023 (Lemon Grove) -- Do you recognize this man? He is Daniel Ethridge, 34, and he is wanted in connection with a homicide in Lemon Grove earlier this year.

On March 18 around 10:00 p.m., deputies from the Lemon Grove Sheriff's Substation responded to a report of a shooting in the 2800 block of Lemon Grove Avenue. While searching the area, deputies found Gregory Moore, 39, unconscious in a car at the intersection of Lemon Grove Avenue and San Miguel Avenue. He was later pronounced dead.

Sheriff's Homicide Investigators have identified Ethridge as a suspect. He has an active arrest warrant for homicide and is believed to be associated with a local street gang. Ethridge has prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon and shooting into an inhabited dwelling.

He should be considered armed and dangerous, according to Lt. Joseph Janjura with the Sheriff’s homicide unit.


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