Crime Beat

AUTOPSY CONFIRMS PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY VEHICLE IN EL CAJON INCIDENT DISPUTED BY FAMILY

East County News Service 
 
December 2, 2020 (El Cajon) – An autopsy conducted by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office confirms that Stephan Anthony Harris, 29, of El Cajon died of multiple blunt force injuries caused by being struck by a vehicle on November 25.  The finding refutes claims made by Harris’ family.

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EL CAJON STABBING SUSPECT ARRESTED IN SPRING VALLEY

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On October 23, a family member found Victor Saul Garcia Jr., 33, dead inside his home in the 1100 block of Marlene Avenue in EL Cajon.  El Cajon Police homicide detectives and the forensic lab determined that the victim had been stabbed several times after a struggle.

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CAMPO MAN CHARGED WITH BURNING HISTORIC RANDALL LAMB BUILDING IN LA MESA DURING RIOT

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos and video by Jake Rose

December 2, 2020 (La Mesa)—La Mesa Police announce the arrest of Daniel Sandoval, 43, of Campo.  He is charged with arson and felony vandalism of the historic Randall Lamb building, which was set on fire during a riot on May 30-31 in downtown La Mesa, says Lt. Greg Runge.

The building had been designated a historic structure by the La Mesa Historical Society. Due to the extensive damage, it was declared a total loss.

Sandoval was arrested near his home yesterday, according to a news release issued by LMPD. He has been booked into San Diego County Jail on the warrant with bail set at $500,000.


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ARMED ASSAULT SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LAKESIDE, WITH HELP FROM MOTORIST, AFTER PURSUIT

East County News Service

November 27, 2020 (Lakeside) – An assault suspect is behind bars after leading deputies on a short pursuit in Lakeside Tuesday, says Sergeant Dane Wiesner.

Deputies from the Lakeside substation responded to an assault call around 11:30 a.m. near the 11500 block of Bridle Path Lane. The reporting party told deputies the suspect fled the scene in his vehicle.

Deputies located the suspect and tried to conduct a traffic stop, but he sped off and a short pursuit ensued.

The suspect slowed down and almost came to a stop in the 10400 block of Paseo Park Drive, where deputies in their patrol cars and a nearby citizen in his car surrounded the suspect's car and caused him to stop.


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EL CAJON POLICE SEEK WITNESSES TO ACCIDENT THAT KILLED PEDESTRIAN

By Miriam Raftery 
 
November 26, 2020 (El Cajon) – A man in his 20s suffered a fatal head injury yesterday when he was struck by an unidentified vehicle Wednesday evening around 8:40 p.m. in the 300 block of West Chase Avenue. El Cajon Police Department is asking anyone with information to call (619)579-3311.
 
Police and paramedics responded, but were unable to save the victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
 
An initial indication indicates the vehicle was traveling westbound on West Chase Avenue near Estes Street, when it struck the pedestrian, who was crossing the roadway.

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EMPTY CHAIR AT THE HOLIDAY TABLE CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS STORIES OF LOSS CAUSED BY “FAILED” WAR ON DRUGS

During the dual crisis of COVID-19 and opioid overdose, Moms United to End the War on Drugs Campaign representatives speak out to reduce stigma and promote harm reduction strategies during the holidays 

Source: Moms United to End the War On Drugs

 

November 25, 2020 (San Diego) -- The holidays can be a particularly painful time for families who are missing a loved one at their holiday gathering. Each holiday season mothers across the globe are joining Moms United to End the War on Drugs “Empty Chair at the Holiday Table” Campaign by sharing photos of the empty chair with a picture of a lost or missing loved one due to the War on Drugs. These photos represent the tens of millions of families that have been ravaged by punitive prohibition policies, whether it is separation due to a loved one’s incarceration; an accidental overdose; their being harmed or killed by drug war violence; or their being lost on the streets due to drug problems. During the isolation of the pandemic, this holiday season can be particularly troubling for families who have a loved one struggling with a substance use disorder, and a dangerous time for vulnerable at-risk communities.


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$1,000 REWARD OFFERED IN RAMONA COMMERCIAL BURGLARY CASE

Source: San Diego Sheriff, Ramona substation

Photos: Suspect #1 and Suspect #2

November 24, 2020 (Ramona) -- San Diego County Crime Stoppers and investigators from the Ramona Sheriff’s substation are asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating the suspects responsible for a commercial burglary.

On Monday, November 16 at around 10:00 p.m., two unknown suspects forced entry into the Sunbelt Rentals store located at 2055 Main Street in Ramona. The suspects cut a hole in the outer fence of the property and then proceeded to break a window of the business to gain entry inside. The suspects stole several power tools and generators totaling around $15,000.


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COVID OUTBREAKS IN COUNTY DETENTION FACILITIES PROMPT QUARANTINES

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2020 (San Diego) – Several dozen COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in inmates at the George Bailey and East Mesa Detention facilities in San Diego, the Sheriff’s office reports.

On Nov. 16, the Sheriff reported that nine inmates tested positive the prior week at George Bailey in Module 1C, prompting more tests which returned 46 more positive test results.  Those who tested positive were transferred to isolation units and one was hospitalized. Fifteen tested negative but were isolated and monitored for symptoms.  Two asymptomatic inmates were released before their test results were available.


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MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER IN DEHESA SHOOTING DEATH

East County News Service

Update: The victim has been identified as James Owens, 31, of unincorporated El Cajon.

November 21, 2020 (Dehesa) – Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call reporting a shooting Thursday night at 10:30 p.m.in the 6000 block of Stallion Oaks Road in unincorporated El Cajon.

According to Lt. Thomas Seiver, deputies learned that a person acquainted with the man who was shot had driven him away from the scene. Deputies stopped the vehicle on Stallion Oaks Road near Dehesa Road about a mile and a half away.

They found the victim inside and attempted lifesaving measures. Sycuan Fire Department arrived and relieved deputies, but unfortunately they could not revive the man and he was pronounced dead at the scene.


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SDG&E JOINS NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO RAISE AWARENESS OF UTILITY IMPOSTER SCAMS

Source: SDG&E
 
November 18, 2020 (San Diego) -- As part of Utility Scam Awareness Week (Nov.16-20), SDG&E is joining electric, water and natural gas utilities across the country to educate customers about utility imposters who prey on people’s reliance on essential services to cheat them out of money. To date, in 2020 alone, SDG&E customers have reported over 25,000 scams. That translates into nearly 80 per day.
 
“Scammers target our customers year-round, but we want everyone to be even more vigilant during these unprecedented times, as new waves of scams have emerged amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With more people staying at home or possibly facing financial difficulty, scammers try to take advantage of the situation,” a statement from SDG&E indicates.
 
Common Scams

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SUSPECT ARRESTED IN SERIES OF EL CAJON HOT PROWL BURGLARIES AND CAR THEFTS

By Miriam Raftery

November 13, 2020 (El Cajon) -- A man suspected of a series of residential hot prowl burglaries and auto thefts in El Cajon has been arrested. Davon Lee, 20, of El Cajon was taken into custody yesterday by San Diego police while in a vehicle stolen from the site of the most recent burglary.  


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HOMICIDE DETECTIVES INVESTIGATING DEATH IN SANTEE

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

Nov. 11, 2020 (Santee) Homicide detectives are investigating a death at a home located on Greencastle Street in Santee tonight.

"We found a person deceased of a gunshot," Lt. G. Twyman with the San Diego County Sheriff's communication division told ECM. The initial call came in at 3:55 p.m and they arrived at the scene at 4 p.m. He added that homicide detectives were called to the scene. 

Yellow caution tape is currently blocking off the street near the scene of the investigation.


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DEPUTIES SEARCH FOR TRANSIENT SUSPECTED OF STABBING MAN IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

File photo by Nadin Brezinski

November 10, 2020 (Lakeside) – A man walking with a woman in the riverbed in Lakeside Monday night behind the 76 gas station on Willow Road was stabbed in the back by a stranger, City Times reports.

The victim called 911 to report the stabbing around 9 p.m.


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HOW TO GET TEXTS OF SAN DIEGO SHERIFF HELICOPTER MESSAGES

Source: San Diego County Sheriff's Department

Prepared by: Melissa Aquino

November 4, 2020 (San Diego) - A new San Diego County Sheriff's Department service is now available to keep you informed. 

Call or text "Hello" to (858) 866-HELO (4356) to receive helicopter messages straight to your phone. 

Sheriff's ASTREA (helicopter) uses a loudspeaker when searching for a missing person or suspect. Announcements are also made during critical incidents such as a SWAT standoff, disasters, crowd management events or to give people a shelter in place notification.

This is not an automated or a push notification service. You still need to call or text "Hello" to (858) 866-HELO each time you hear Sheriff's ASTREA making announcements over your area.


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TWO ARRESTED FOR ARSON ON CHASE BANK BUILDING DURING VIOLENT MAY PROTEST IN LA MESA

Source: Joint news release issued by La Mesa Police Department, San Diego Police Department, and San Diego FBI

Photo by Jake Rose

November 3, 2020 (La Mesa) - – Two men are in custody, charged with arson and looting, in connection with destructive fires intentionally set in La Mesa during a protest that turned violent in May.


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U.S. ATTORNEYS ACROSS CALIFORNIA JOIN DISTRICT ATTORNEYS TO HELP VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Source: U.S. Attorney's Office, San Diego

November 3, 2020 (San Diego) — The United States Attorneys for the Southern District of California, Eastern District of California, Northern District of California and Central District of California and the District Attorneys of San Diego, Sacramento, Alameda and Ventura counties launched an online outreach campaign Thursday to help victims of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States Attorneys and District Attorneys are joined by Childhelp, a national nonprofit organization aiding victims of child abuse.

The outreach campaign was created to combat an unintended consequence of COVID-19 public health measures— an alarming rise in domestic violence with victims trapped at home with their abusers under increasing stress. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (www.thehotline.org or 800.799.SAFE [7233]) has reported an increase in contacts to the hotline during COVID-19. Reports show...


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COMMUNITY POLICE OVERSIGHT BOARD RECRUITMENT NOW OPEN

Source: City of La Mesa

Photo: Themis, Blind Justice, Cast Bronze by Design Toscano

Click here to apply

October 28, 2020 (La Mesa) – Applications are now being accepted for the newly created Community Police Oversight Board (“CPOB”). The deadline for submission of applications is 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, December 1, 2020, in the City Clerk’s office at La Mesa City Hall, 8130 Allison Avenue. Applications may be obtained at City Hall or from the City of La Mesa website.

The CPOB will provide recommendations to the Chief of Police, Mayor, City Council, and City Manager on the La Mesa Police Department procedures and policies and on matters of public safety within the City. The CPOB will consist of an 11 member panel (must be residents of the City of La Mesa) as follows:


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HEARSE HEIST: MORTUARY DRIVING SERVICE OWNER ARRESTED FOR ROBBING DEAD MAN’S HOME

At least five others were victimized in a series of brazen thefts. Authorities seek more victims
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
October 27, 2020 (Spring Valley) – Sammy Willie Gates, the owner of Mortuary Transportation Services, has been arrested for stealing property from the home of a deceased man, smuggling some stolen goods out in a body bag.  

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LA MESA ADOPTS COMMUNITY POLICE OVERSIGHT BOARD

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Councilmember Akilah Weber led efforts to establish the police oversight body
 
October 25, 2020 (La Mesa) – By a 3-2 vote on Oct. 13, the La Mesa City Council approved creation of a Community Police Oversight Board. The board is empowered to retain an independent police auditor and to direct investigation of serious incidents involving police, such as shootings or major misconduct complaints. 

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HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION IN EL CAJON

East County News Service

October 24, 2020 (El Cajon) – Homicide detectives with El Cajon Police Department are investigating the death of a man in his 30s.

Officers responded to a call yesterday at 8:42 a.m. reporting a dead body inside a home on the 1100 block of Marline. They found the deceased man and determined the death to be “suspicious," according to Lieutenant Jason Taub.

No suspects have been arrested.  Anyone with information about this incident should call the El Cajon Police Department at 619-579-3300, or anonymously at Crime Stoppers, 1-888-580-8477 or sdcrimestoppers.org.


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DEPUTIES RESPONDING TO GUNFIRE IN SPRING VALLEY FIND BOOBY-TRAPPED GAMBLING DEN, BUT NO SHOOTING VICTIM

By Miriam Raftery

October 21, 2020 (Spring Valley) – Sheriff’s deputies responding to a call reporting a shooting Monday night discovered an illegal gambling establishment set up in an outbuilding at 1726 Helix Street in Spring Valley. “It contained approximately fifteen slot machines. Spent shell casings from a firearm were also located in the outbuilding,” says Lieutenant Joel Stranger.

Deputies from the Rancho San Diego station responded around 9:22 p.m. Monday and checked the property, but no shooting victim was found. During the search, one deputy stepped on a board with nails sticking up in an apparent “booby trap,” according to Lt. Stranger.


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LA MESA POLICE DEPT. SEEKS HELP TO IDENTIFY LOOTING SUSPECTS AT LA MESA SPRINGS DURING MAY 30 RIOT: REWARD OFFERED

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 15, 2020 (La Mesa) – Tips from the public helped identify five juveniles now charged with crimes related to the looting of Pierre’s Jewelers during the May 30 civil unrest. Now the La Mesa Police Department (LMPD) has released several surveillance images from La Mesa Springs Shopping Center at 8011 University.

Police also released additional photos from Pierre’s in hopes that the public can again assist in identifying suspects involved in these crimes.


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LA MESA POLICE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES GRANT TO FIGHT ALCOHOL RELATED CRIME

East County News Service
 
October 15, 2020 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa Police Department has been awarded a $52,349 grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to battle alcohol-related crime. This is important to the City of La Mesa in order to increase protection for youth and to keep our community safe.
 
The grant is one of 50 awarded in California to local law enforcement agencies through ABC’s Alcohol Policing Partnership (APP) Program. The grants strengthen local law enforcement efforts by combining the efforts of local police officers and ABC agents. ABC agents have expertise in alcoholic beverage laws and can help communities reduce alcohol-related problems.
 
“The program improves the quality of life in neighborhoods,” said ABC Director Jacob Appelsmith. “We’ve seen a real difference in the communities where the grant program resources have been invested.”

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STUDENTS ROBBED AT GUNPOINT NEAR GROSSMONT HIGH: POLICE SEEK TIPS ON SUSPECTS IN BLUE NISSAN SENTRA

By Miriam Raftery
 
October 14, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police seek public help to locate suspects in a blue Nissan Sentra who reportedly robbed three Grossmont High School students in front of the Shell Gas Station on Murray Drive at 12:45 p.m. today.  
 
The students were walking near the station when the Nissan’s driver pulled into the gas station driveway, stopped na got out of the car. He demanded money from the students while a passenger pointed a handgun at the students.
 
After taking the students’ money, the driver got back into the vehicle, which appeared to have multiple passengers. The driver is described as a light-skinned Hispanic male around 17 or 18 years old with brown eyes, a mustache and groomed eyebrows, according to a police bulletin.  The second suspect is described as Hispanic, age 18-19, with wavy black hair with light tips, wearing an orange long-sleeved shirt.

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PADRES' TOMMY PHAM STABBED OUTSIDE MIDWAY DISTRICT STRIP CLUB

East County News Service

October 13, 2020 (San Diego) - Padres' outfielder Tommy Pham was stabbed outside of a strip club on Sunday night.

Pham was outside of Pacers Showgirls International on Midway Drive around 10:35 p.m. on Sunday when an argument broke out near his car.  Pham claims he did not know anyone in the altercation and was stabbed when he asked them to get away from his car.


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THE RACIAL JUSTICE COALITION DEMANDS JUSTICE OR RESIGNATION

By Briana Gomez

October 9, 2020 (San Diego) -- In a climate of uproar against national police brutality, the Racial Justice Coalition of San Diego County is demanding that police officers in our region are held accountable for ample shootings of unarmed individuals over the course of 25 years.

Background

According to a review from the District Attorney’s Office, between 1993 and 2017 there were 451 police shootings of civilians, 55 percent of which were fatal.

According to this report, the DA’s office took on average 183 days to send a letter of review to law enforcement after these shootings (a letter was sent in only 432 of the cases).


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LA MESANS SHARE CONCERNS OVER PROTEST AND RIOT RESPONSE IN VIRTUAL LISTENING SESSION

By Miriam Raftery
 
October 7, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa residents voiced their concerns over the La Mesa Police Department response to the May 30 civil unrest and riot, also offering suggestions for future improvements in an online listening session held last night by Hillard Heintze, the firm hired by the city to conduct an independent investigation. 

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LA MESA CREDIT UNION ROBBERY SUSPECT IN CUSTODY, CASH RECOVERED

East County News Service

October 3, 2020 (La Mesa) – A suspect accused of brandishing a knife and demanding cash from a teller during robbery of the Navy Federal Credit Union on Grossmont. Blvd. in La Mesa on September 30 is in custody.

After the robbery around 10:02 a.m., the suspect fled the scene in a vehicle with an undisclosed amount of currency. He was located driving away from the area by responding La Mesa Police Department officers and followed to the 4500 block of Winona Avenue in San Diego, where a traffic stop was initiated.


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HIGH SPEED CHASE THROUGH EL CAJON AND SANTEE ENDS AFTER COLLISION

By Miriam Raftery

October 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – A suspect who failed to yield for a traffic stop in El Cajon early yesterday morning led officers from multiple law enforcement agencies on a high-speed pursuit through three cities. It took deployment of a spike strip, a taser and a struggle with Sheriff’s deputies to ultimately arrest 53-year-old Larry Route of San Diego.

The incident began at 1:42 a.m. when Deputy Young from the Sheriff's Lakeside substation saw a vehicle drive through a red light at the intersection of North Magnolia Avenue and East Bradley Avenue in unincorporated El Cajon.The driver of the vehicle failed to yield for a traffic stop and a traffic pursuit ensued into the City of Santee. The suspect vehicle collided into the center median at Halberns Boulevard and Mast Boulevard but continued to drive at a high rate of speed on to State Route 52 into the City of San Diego, according to Sergeant Anthony Portillo.

San Diego Police Air Support (ABLE) responded as deputies coordinated a tire deflation deployment with the California Highway Patrol (CHP).


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LA MESA POLICE RELEASE NUMEROUS PHOTOS OF SUSPECTS WHO LOOTED PIERRE’S JEWELERS ON MAY 30-31

25 arrests made so far, including 4 La Mesa residents
 
East County News Service
 
September 29, 2020 (La Mesa) -- As a result of the civil unrest event that occurred in La Mesa on May 30th – May 31st, 2020, over 50 crimes, including arson, vandalism, burglary, and theft, were reported by victims and documented by the La Mesa Police Department. Although the exact amount of damage is still being calculated, it can be reported that these crimes resulted in millions of dollars of losses to victims in the local area.

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