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Manhunt in San Gabriel mountains for man suspected in shooting death of friend

May 1, 2011 |  8:07 pm

Officers conducted a manhunt Sunday in the San Gabriel Mountains for a man suspected of fatally wounding a friend near the Chantry Flats Recreation Area in unincorporated Sierra Madre.

Suspect Kevin Wolfe Pochter, 53, who is described as an experienced hiker, is considered armed and dangerous, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Pochter is white, bald and has blue eyes. He stands about 6 feet tall and weighs about 175 pounds. He was seen wearing dark clothing.

Investigators began their manhunt shortly after responding to a call about 5:40 p.m. Thursday, when a passerby came upon Dean Ron Albert, 55, of Arcadia, on the side of Big Santa Anita Canyon Road, south of Chantry Flats. Albert, who had a gunshot wound in his chest, later was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Authorities believe Pochter left the scene in Albert’s car, a silver 1993 BMW sedan. The car was spotted Saturday about 11 a.m. in the parking lot of the Mt. Wilson Observatory. Pochter was last seen in the mountains above Arcadia and Monrovia.

Involved in a fruitless search Saturday were deputies from the Crescenta Valley, Temple and San Dimas sheriff's stations as well as officers from the police departments of Arcadia, Sierra Madre and Monrovia.

At sunrise on Sunday, the manhunt resumed, with the addition of a sheriff's special enforcement and emergency services detail. An air search also began. Meanwhile, deputies monitored hiking trails and warned hikers. Officers searched along a “62-square-mile grid and didn’t locate him,” said Deputy Jeffrey Gordon of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The search had to be suspended at nightfall and will resume Monday, he added.

Any person who spots Pochter is advised to take no action other than to call 911. Anyone with additional information regarding the shooting should contact the sheriff's homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500.

-- Howard Blume