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Category: Riverside County

Police seek man who tried to coax girls into his vehicle

Riverside police Thursday were seeking the public's help in identifying a man who has tried to coax teenage girls into his vehicle. Sketch of man whom police say tried to coax Riverside school girls into his vehicle.

In three separate incidents in recent months, the suspect told the high school girls that he could get them a modeling job, according to police.

The man approached the girls during school hours near Poly High School and Raincross High School. "The incidents are believed to be related," Riverside Police Department officials said in a statement.

The man was seen driving a silver Toyota Tacoma pickup with four doors and a short bed. Police described the man as a Latino in his 20s or 30s with dark curly hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Rita Cobb at (951) 353-7120 or Det. Melissa Brazil at (951) 353-7121.

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— Robert J. Lopez

twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: Sketch of the suspect. Credit: Riverside Police Department

Man on probation for beating son is rearrested on similar charges

A 26-year-old San Bernardino County man on probation for physically abusing his 9-year-old son has been arrested on suspicion of beating the boy and his younger sister, authorities said Thursday.

After the 5-year-old girl returned from a weekend visit with her father, Antwone Rattler, her mother noticed significant bruising on the child’s back, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner’s Department.

The girl told detectives that her father had beaten her for misbehaving. He also bound and gagged her and forced her to hold “physically exhausting” positions for long periods, said a Sheriff’s Department news release.

Her older brother reported that his father had inflicted similar punishments on him.

Rattler, of Highland, pleaded not guilty to four counts of child abuse, including two counts of willful cruelty leading to possible injury or death. He is being held on $500,000 bail at West Valley Detention Center.

In January 2011, Rattler was arrested in Riverside after police investigators observed visible injuries on both children. According to an arrest warrant, the boy told police that his father beat him with a belt, making him strip naked before the beatings. 

The girl, who had a bruised and swollen lip, said her father had also beaten her with a belt.

Both children told investigators that their father hit them on the hands with a hanger until their fingers bled.

The girl, then 3, told investigators that the beatings “hurt bad, but I am being good now.”

Rattler pleaded guilty in Riverside Superior Court to two counts of inflicting bodily harm on a child. He was sentenced to six months in jail, six months in the sheriff’s labor program and three years of probation.

According to court records, Rattler was required to enroll in child abuse classes and refrain from using corporal punishment on his children.

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-- Cindy Chang

10 charged in Southern California marijuana grow house ring

Ten people were arrested Wednesday by state and local authorities and charged in connection with a ring that operated marijuana grow houses across Southern California.

Authorities served search warrants at 26 locations, including 15 that were grow houses, across Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Authorities seized more than $250,000 in cash, seven guns--including an assault rifle--and more than 8,000 marijuana plants. Each house contained an average of 1,000 to 2,000 pot plants.

A 124-page affidavit in support of the criminal complaint alleges the trafficking organization purchased or leased single-family residences and converted to indoor farms "with the sole purpose of growing marijuana."

The defendants all face charges including conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. If convicted of the narcotics conspiracy charge, the defendants could face a  maximum of life in federal prison with a minimum sentence of 10 years behind bars.

Those arrested Wednesday include Raymond A. Lam, 42, of Arcadia, who federal authorities claim was the ringleader of the drug trafficking organization and responsible for the acquisition of residences that were converted into "industrial-type marijuana grows."

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Girl, 5, hit by runaway school bus in Moreno Valley

A 5-year-old girl was recovering Tuesday after being hit by a runaway school bus at a Moreno Valley elementary school.

The girl was standing on the sidewalk, waiting to be picked up around 2:30 p.m. Monday at Box Springs Elementary School just after classes let out for the day, California Highway Patrol investigators told KTLA-TV.

The bus was parked in the driveway of the school parking lot when it began rolling backward, jumping the sidewalk and pinning the girl against a metal fence. There was no driver inside the bus at the time but two children were onboard.

School faculty gave the girl CPR until paramedics arrived. She was hospitalized with a crushed pelvis, a lacerated liver and a collapsed lung.

The CHP, which looks at all crashes involving school buses, says the bus will be torn apart to look for mechanical problems that might have caused the accident.

The school district planned to send out a crisis team on Tuesday for staff and students at the school.

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-- Kellan Connor, KTLA-TV

Sex-bondage cultists to stand trial in death of Marine's wife

Brittany Killgore, in whose death a man and two women have been ordered to stand trial.A former Marine and two female friends -- all three practitioners of sadomasochism -- were ordered Monday to stand trial for murder in the death of the 22-year-old wife of a Marine who was deployed in Afghanistan.

At the end of a weeklong preliminary hearing in Vista, San Diego County Superior Court Judge K. Michael Kirkman ruled there is sufficient evidence to have the three face trial on charges of murder, kidnapping, torture, attempted sexual battery and conspiracy in the strangling death of Brittany Killgore.

Former Staff Sgt. Louis Perez, 46, Dorothy Marie Maraglino, 37, and Jessica Lopez, 25, have all pleaded not guilty. The three lived in a home in Fallbrook near the apartment where Killgore lived.

Killgore's nude body was found in a ravine in southern Riverside County days after she was reported missing April 13. Killgore had filed for divorce from her husband, who was deployed to Afghanistan when she disappeared after allegedly going on an outing with Perez.

Perez had boasted that he planned to hold a sadomasochism session that weekend, according to evidence submitted during the preliminary hearing.

Perez, Maraglino and Lopez were involved in "bondage, torture and master-servant-slave" behavior, according to evidence submitted by prosecutors. Maraglino calls herself a dominatrix, and Perez particularly likes to spank women, according to search warrants.

Killgore had agreed to go on a dinner cruise with Perez the night of April 13 in exchange for his help in moving her belongings out of her Fallbrook apartment.

"After getting into Perez's vehicle and leaving with him, nobody has seen or heard from Killgore," according to an investigator for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Within 13 minutes of getting into Perez's truck, Killgore reportedly texted a friend, "Help." Moments later the friend texted back, "Brittany are u okay I am freaking out here."

According to an investigator's statements in a search warrant, there is no evidence to suggest that Killgore knew of Perez's sexual habits that included bondage, whipping, spanking and cutting. She was an "unwilling participant," according to the warrants.

Prosecutors assert that Perez took Killgore to his Fallbrook home and then texted Lopez and Maraglino to join him. In the house, investigators found "sex apparatuses, toys, and a sex dungeon," according to a search warrant.

Among the items found were ropes, whips, a Taser, a nightstick and spiked gloves. Perez and the victim's husband, Cpl. Cory Killgore, were both assigned to Camp Pendleton. Perez was on active duty when arrested; he is no longer in the Marine Corps.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Brittany Killgore's body was found in a ravine in southern Riverside County days after she was reported missing April 13. Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's Department

 

Fullerton police search for two men after officer-involved shooting

Map shows location of an officer-involved shooting in Fullerton. Source: Google Maps
Authorities are searching for two male suspects who shot a Fullerton police officer multiple times early Sunday during a traffic stop, authorities said.

The suspects were pulled over in a dark-colored, four-door Pontiac about 12:13 a.m. near the cross streets of Woods and Knepp avenues, Fullerton Police Lt. Michael Chlebowski said.

As the male officer approached the vehicle, the driver fired a handgun, striking the officer multiple times, Chlebowski said.

The officer, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, managed to return fire but it was not known if he struck either of the two occupants. He was transported to a local hospital and was in stable condition. He has been with the department for seven years.

After issuing a “blue alert,” authorities located the suspects’ car in Riverside.

Anyone with information is asked to call Fullerton police at (714) 738-6800.

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-- Corina Knoll

Map shows location of an officer-involved shooting in Fullerton. Source: Google Maps

Shootings near UC Riverside leave 1 dead, 1 injured

Map: Approximate location of shooting shown in red. Credit: Google Maps

A Chino Hills man armed with two handguns allegedly opened fire in an apartment complex near UC Riverside on Wednesday night, killing one resident and wounding another “for no apparent reason,’’ authorities said.

Daniel John Jones, 44, was visiting an acquaintance in the apartment complex in the 5300 block of Canyon Crest Drive in Riverside when he entered the first victim’s apartment about 7:20 p.m. and allegedly opened fire, according to Sgt. Dan Russell of the Riverside Police Department.

Jones then walked to a landing between apartment buildings and shot a second person, again “for no apparent reason,’’ Russell said in a statement Thursday.

Jones fled the scene in his car and, moments later, was involved in a minor traffic collision on the Moreno Valley Freeway, near University Avenue, police said.

After Jones pulled over on an offramp, a passing motorist offered to help him. Jones, who the
witness described as intoxicated, then allegedly demanded the other motorist’s car keys and pulled out two handguns. The motorist ran to safety, police said.

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L.A. Now Live: Monday's earthquake tested early warning system

Monday's earthquake in Riverside County offered scientists one of their first opportunities to match data from an earthquake early warning pilot program to what they could actually feel.

According to Caltech and U.S. Geological Survey seismologists, the test was a success. The Monday morning 4.7-magnitude temblor gave Caltech scientists a 30-second warning ahead of the shaking.

Though the quake didn't cause any damage, researchers say even a few seconds of notice can prove vital for shutting down utilities, slowing trains and giving people time to prepare.

Reporter Joseph Serna will join us at 9 a.m. to discuss how the pilot program works and how far away it is from being introduced to the public.

Southern California earthquake points to danger of fault line

 San Jacinto fault zone. Credit: USGS

This post has been corrected. See the note below.

Some might believe that the 4.7 magnitude Riverside County temblor that rattled windows and swayed skyscrapers across Southern California on Monday morning released tension from the San Jacinto fault, thereby avoiding danger of a larger earthquake.

But according to a study published in January in the journal Nature, conventional wisdom is wrong.

A pair of researchers, one from Caltech and the other from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, concluded that stick-slip faults similar to the San Jacinto fault that ruptured Monday aren’t limited to frequent, smaller temblors.

The authors pointed to the 2011 Fukushima earthquake in Japan. That quake, a 9.0, was born from a stick-slip fault that unexpectedly ruptured with devastating consequences.

Before that disaster, seismologists believed earthquake faults that experienced “creep,” or small, gradual movement throughout the year, had little chance of massive ruptures. The San Jacinto fault, Hutton said Tuesday, is one of those creeping faults.

“It does have frequent, small earthquakes but it does have big ones every now and then,” she said. “It doesn’t make it any safer.”

The San Jacinto fault is similar, with tectonic plates that slide horizontally against each other. Monday’s tremor was the biggest in three years and was felt across a wider swath than typical West Coast earthquakes, Susan Hough of the U.S. Geological Survey told the Los Angeles Times on Monday.

Scientists said the finding is forcing seismologists to rethink faults worldwide. A quake from San Francisco to San Diego along the San Andreas fault now seems more plausible, the study’s authors wrote.

For the Record, 3:52 p.m. March 12: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Susan Hough as Sarah Hough.

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Image: San Jacinto fault zone. Credit: USGS

California earthquake: Hundreds of aftershocks, more expected

The magnitude 4.7 earthquake in Riverside County on Monday has produced hundreds of aftershocks, and experts said that trend should continue for several days.

There have been about 250 aftershocks Tuesday, and there were more than 200 on Monday. All were small and probably not felt by residents in the Anza area.

“I think in a week or so they should be back to normal but that’s still fairly high for that area,” said Kate Hutton, a seismologist at Caltech.

Monday morning's quake, centered near Anza, caused no major damage, but it was felt over what seismologists said was an unusually large area.

The quake was initially recorded as three separate quakes because a foreshock tricked seismographs into recording multiple quakes of multiple sizes, said Susan Hough, a seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey.

Earthquakes of a magnitude 4.7 are typically felt only about 120 miles away from the epicenter, but Monday morning's quake traveled farther. The USGS said it was felt as far away as Arizona. The temblor also shook coffee cups in Los Angeles. 

That's because the quake occurred in the San Jacinto Mountains, which are composed of hard granite rock that transmits energy more efficiently, Hough said.

The quake occurred along the San Jacinto fault zone, which runs through San Bernardino, San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties, roughly parallel to the San Andreas fault. It's one of three fault zones that absorb friction from the motion of the North American continent and the Pacific plates rubbing against each other.

“It's capable of generating moderate to large earthquakes,” USGS seismologist Robert Graves said Monday. “Today's activity was not out of the ordinary. Actually, it's pretty typical of the area.”

There is some evidence that the largest quake in the fault zone, a magnitude 7, occurred sometime in the early 1800s, Graves said.

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About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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