Man Arrested And Charged With Murdering 3-Year-Old
A man has been arrested and charged with murdering 3-year-old Carlos Nava in a drive-by shooting in East Oakland on Monday, and investigators are seeking a second suspect in the case, police and prosecutors said Thursday.
Lawrence Denard, 26, of Oakland, was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Pittsburg. He has been charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, according to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.
He also charged with several enhancements and could face more than 100 years in prison if convicted. He was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court Thursday afternoon.
Nava was shot in a drive-by shooting that happened at about 1:10 p.m. Monday near International Boulevard and 65th Avenue. Two men were also hit by bullets but survived.
Police said it appears the men were the intended targets and that Nava, who was in the area shopping with his family, was shot by accident. He later died at Children's Hospital Oakland.
Investigators believe the shooting was gang-related.
One of the men who was shot provided the name of the driver of the suspect vehicle when he was questioned at the hospital, police said in a probable cause statement.
Investigators also located an additional witness who identified the shooter as Denard.
Denard was taken into custody shortly after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in Pittsburg. A search warrant was served at an apartment associated with him, and several pieces of evidence were collected, according to police.
Denard, who has prior gun-related convictions, has denied that he was involved in the murder, police said.
Investigators are still seeking the second suspect who they believe drove the car used in the shooting, but have not released his name.
Lt. Brian Medeiros of the Police Department's homicide section said there are a "couple more loops to close on this that we're actively pursuing."
BART Protests On Thursday Did Not Occur
BART protests expected to disrupt service Thursday afternoon failed to materialize, but the agency said that riders should be vigilant in coming weeks while the threat of protests lingers.
"Today we heard rumors there might be protests, and there might be protests tomorrow," agency spokesman Linton Johnson said at a media briefing Thursday night inside the Powell Street station. "We don't know."
BART had put a warning on its website Thursday for passengers to be "advised that protesters may attempt to disrupt train service during August commute periods beginning as early as Thursday, August 11, 2011, in downtown San Francisco BART stations."
On July 11, protesters disrupted rush-hour commutes in response to the killing of Charles Hill by BART police a week earlier. BART police arrested a number of protesters that night and temporarily closed San Francisco's Civic Center BART station, among others.
Thursday afternoon, BART police were standing, with about a dozen officers in riot gear and a dozen safety officers in green vests present on the train platform at Civic Center Station, where protesters were expected to gather around 4:30 p.m.
Lt. Andy Alkire said that no arrests were made Thursday and that it helped to have a uniformed police presence.
"I don't believe it was a hoax," Alkire said. "We had pretty good intelligence that it was going to happen."
As an added precaution, the agency shut off cellphone service on the station's platform. While Alkire said the tactic was an unusual measure, he said it was "a great tool to utilize for this specific purpose" given that the agency was expecting a potentially volatile situation.
"This group seems to want to challenge BART, challenge the police department," Alkire said.
Johnson encourages BART passengers to remain aware of their surroundings as they commute over the next month.
"Report unsafe behavior, do not confront protesters," Johnson said. "Stay out of harm's way."
Passengers can report suspicious or unsafe behavior by calling (510) 464-7000 or by locating an intercom.
Santa Rosa Charter School Manager Charged With Embezzlement And Forgery
The finance and business manager of a nonprofit Santa Rosa charter school was arraigned in Sonoma County Superior Court Thursday afternoon on embezzlement and forgery charges.
Sheila Accornero, 42, of Cloverdale, allegedly embezzled nearly $400,000 from the Kids Street Learning Center charter school in Santa Rosa and the school building's owner, Lincoln Holding Company Inc., Deputy District Attorney Amy Ariyoshi said.
Accornero did not enter a plea to the eight felony charges and is scheduled to return to court Aug. 22.
She is being held at Sonoma County Jail without bail for violating her probation for obtaining a controlled substance by fraud in February 2008.
Accornero also is charged in the forgery and embezzlement complaint with possessing a controlled substance without a prescription.
Ariyoshi said the alleged embezzlement and forgery charges occurred between December 2008 and Tuesday, when Accornero was interviewed and arrested, but that the case is still under investigation. Accornero was hired by the school at 709 Davis St. in Santa Rosa in 2005, Ariyoshi said.
Accornero allegedly embezzled $389,477.84 from the charter school and $7,156.03 from Lincoln Holding Company Inc., Ariyoshi said.
On its website, the Kids Street Learning Center lists its mission as providing children and families living in extreme crisis a caring, supportive educational community to call home.
The school fosters a "hands-on, real world self initiated education," according to the website.
Kids Street Learning Center also offers an after-school program.
Larae Archibald, an investigator with the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office, said she received information about "suspicious financial activity" from the United States Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network which tracks suspicious financial transactions.
"I dug deeper and got bank records and it appeared obvious to me," Archibald said of the alleged embezzlement outside the courtroom Thursday afternoon.
The school's administrators were unaware of the missing money until detectives contacted them Tuesday, Santa Rosa police Sgt. Mike Lazzarini said.
The school's executive director and principal, Linda Conklin, has not returned a phone call for comment. The school is funded through grants and donations, police said.
Inmate Accused Of Killing Nurse Ordered To Stand Trial
An inmate accused of killing a nurse in an unprovoked attack in Contra Costa County jail last October was ordered to stand trial for murder Thursday following a preliminary hearing.
Aaron Nygaard, 35, of El Cerrito, has been charged with murder in connection with the death of Cynthia Palomata, 55, of El Sobrante, who he allegedly attacked with a lamp on Oct. 25, 2010.
Nygaard had been arrested that morning after an El Cerrito resident caught him burglarizing his home, police said.
He was taken to county jail in Martinez and was in the jail's intake area when, at about 4 p.m., he allegedly faked a seizure.
Contra Costa County Sheriff's Deputy Dana Sanchou said she interviewed another nurse who was working with Palomata the day of the attack.
The nurse told her that Nygaard was thrashing around on the floor in front of a holding cell, but that he was clearly not having a seizure, Sanchou said.
He was sent to the nurse's station, where he admitted to a deputy that he had faked the seizure because he wanted to get out of the holding cell he had been placed in, Sanchou said.
Palomata and the other nurse checked Nygaard's vital signs and began treating him for what appeared to be alcohol withdrawal.
When the second nurse went to tell a sergeant that Nygaard had not had a seizure and could be booked into jail, Nygaard allegedly grabbed a lamp off the desk, stood up and struck Palomata on the head with it, Sanchou said.
According to Sanchou, one witness, an immigration agent who was booking other inmates into the jail, said he saw Nygaard swing the lamp at Palomata's head with both hands. The lamp shattered when it hit her and "she fell back like a statue and hit the ground," Sanchou said.
Nygaard, who is being held in Alameda County Jail, is scheduled to return to court Aug. 29 for an arraignment on the holding order.
San Francisco City And School District Leaders Urge Students To Attend School
San Francisco city and school district leaders had a message for the children who are starting school this Monday -- show up.
"People think that attendance is not a big deal. Well, it is a big deal," San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia said at a news conference Thursday afternoon at Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School in the city's Mission District.
Garcia was joined Thursday afternoon by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon to announce that the number of habitually and chronically absent children in public schools has dropped for the fourth year in a row.
They were also there to remind students and parents that the crackdown on chronic absenteeism is ongoing and that the trend can begin at a young age.
Garcia said that the school district has already sent out 976 letters to the parents and guardians of students in kindergarten through second grade who had a high rate of absenteeism last school year.
Garcia said the school district and district attorney's office established a system about five years ago that partners with city agencies, students' parents, and organizations such as the YMCA-run Truancy Assessment and Resource Center to identify truants, figure out why the student is absent from school, and attempt to resolve the issue.
The district attorney's office is integral to the model. The office sends out a letter to parents at the beginning of each school year explaining that it is illegal to keep children out of school.
Once truants are identified, the district attorney's office often steps in to intervene. Garcia said their involvement is not intended to be punitive and they try to avoid prosecution if possible.
In most cases, he said, it is a matter of connecting the parents with the proper resources, like affordable childcare.
San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Presented Plan For Jet Ski Patrol
The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Thursday presented federal officials the framework for a proposal that will allow volunteers on Jet Skis to patrol the surf break at Mavericks.
The program, called the "San Mateo County Motorized Personal Watercraft Volunteer Marine Rescue Program," could be formed as an extension of the sheriff's marine unit, sheriff's Sgt. Joe Sheridan said.
"We would be taking our current marine unit and expanding it to include personal watercraft," Sheridan said.
The all-volunteer marine unit is comprised of certified divers and boatmen who are trained by the sheriff's office to respond to cliff rescues and waterway emergencies, Sheridan said.
The unit could be expanded to encompass a fleet of volunteers on Jet Skis who would eventually patrol all the ocean waters off the San Mateo County coast, including Mavericks and coastal zones further south that lie outside the 1,282-square-mile Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.
The proposal, still in its planning phase, was outlined Thursday morning at a meeting of the sanctuary's advisory council, who approached the sheriff's office and requested they formulate a plan to establish patrols in critical areas of the sanctuary, Sheridan said.
The Mavericks break lies within the marine sanctuary and is therefore subject to federal regulations, which include restrictions on personal watercraft for personal use in federally protected waters.
The use of Jet Skis was restricted in sanctuary waters in the 1990s to protect endangered wildlife from being disturbed, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary spokeswoman Mary Jane Schramm said.
"That is an area that is used by many species that are protected by federal law," Schramm said.
Jet Skis are permitted at Mavericks when they are operated by a public agency like the sheriff's office, or when ocean conditions prompt a high surf warning from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sanctuary superintendent Maria Brown said.
Sheridan said the sheriff's office is in the process of identifying money to establish a certification program for the proposed Jet Ski unit, and is excited to work with surfers and the community to improve safety at Mavericks.
"Anything we can do to provide a more safe environment for locals or people who visit, we're excited to do," Sheridan said.
Dozens Urge San Francisco Planning Commission To Review America's Cup Plans
Dozens of people came to a San Francisco Planning Commission hearing Thursday on plans for the America's Cup sailing race to say that the city's environmental review of the project is inadequate.
The hearing at City Hall Thursday afternoon was on the draft environmental impact report for the plans for the race, which will transform much of San Francisco's northern waterfront for several weeks in 2012 and 2013.
The California Environmental Quality Act requires a report to be prepared that assesses the environmental impacts of the project, from marine biology in the Bay to the issues of transportation and historic resources in the city.
During public comment at Thursday's hearing, a standing-room only crowd of environmental and recreational groups and stakeholders along the waterfront urged the city to make improvements to the environmental review document.
An official from the Ferry Building said she worried that the proposed closure of The Embarcadero's northbound side during the races will negatively impact merchants there, who rely on vehicle access to deliver their products.
Several members of the Dolphin Club, an athletic organization that organizes swims in the city's Aquatic Park, also spoke, saying the race activity would prevent them from their normal activity.
"The report is not acceptable as it stands now," Ken Coren, the club's vice president, said following the meeting.
Coren said his and other groups had been trying since early this year to give input about the potential impacts that the race activity would have on the city and in the Bay, but were disappointed that the document did not include most of their suggestions.
"We were ignored," he said, adding that he was thankful that many of the planning commissioners Thursday acknowledged that the environmental review still needs some work.
Commission Vice President Ron Miguel said at the close of the hearing that the report was not yet adequate and complete, and said that, as a swimmer in Aquatic Park years ago, he sympathized with the Dolphin Club's concerns.
Miguel said the idea in the report that the swimmers could use Ocean Beach as an alternate location is "ludicrous ... that's not a swimming venue."
San Jose Investigators Seek Help In Solving Homeless Man's Death
A year and a half after Hideki Hirakawa was found murdered in a vacant Victorian church, San Jose police investigators are reaching out to the public to help solve the 45-year-old homeless man's death.
Hirakawa's body was found on Feb. 5, 2010, in an abandoned century-old church at 217 Delmas Ave., police said.
Hirakawa was known to frequent the INN Vision homeless housing at 358 N. Montgomery St. and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in downtown San Jose, according to police.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Sgt. Merlin Newton or Detective Juan Vallejo at (408) 277-5283. To remain anonymous, call the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP (7867) or visit http://svcrimestoppers.org/.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect or suspects.
Woman Accused Of Burglarizing Alex Trebek's Hotel Room Claims She Is A Prostitute, Not Burglar
The woman accused of burglarizing the San Francisco hotel room of "Jeopardy" game show host Alex Trebek told police she was there working as a prostitute when she was mistakenly identified as the thief, according to the public defender's office.
Lucinda Moyers, 56, said she was meeting a john at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis at 55 Fourth St. on July 26 around 3 a.m., San Francisco Public Defender's Office spokeswoman Tamara Barak Aparton said.
When her date did not answer the hotel room door, Moyers said she was in the hallway when Trebek rushed out his room, Aparton said. Moyers said she ran because she was afraid of getting caught for prostitution.
Trebek, who was in the Bay Area filming the National Geographic World Championship at Google headquarters in Mountain View, said he and his wife Jean were sleeping when he awoke to find a woman inside the room, stealing items, according to San Francisco police.
He sprung out of bed and chased her down the hallway when his Achilles tendon ruptured and he fell "in an ignominious heap to the carpeting," he told the audience at Google when he arrived on crutches to the taping.
Moyers, who was charged with one count of residential burglary and one count of possession of stolen property, pleaded not guilty.
The district attorney will review the case after the preliminary hearing to determine whether it will be prosecuted as a three strikes case. Moyers will be in court Monday to set a date for the preliminary hearing.
She is being held on $625,000 bail and was also ordered to stay at least 150 yards away from Trebek and his wife.
Last White Cross Hammered Into Hillside Memorial In Lafayette
The last white cross has been hammered into the hillside memorial in Lafayette this week, memorial organizers said.
The memorial, which was erected in 2006, had placed a cross for each United States military death since entering Iraq in 2003. But with the growing number of casualties overseas, project organizer Baika Pratt said, "It's too hard to keep track of."
Dozens of American soldiers, including 30 Navy SEALs, who died when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan last weekend highlight the growing number of casualties that have made the memorial difficult to maintain.
Approximately 4,000 crosses, Stars of David and Islamic crescents blanket the hillside, and Jeff Heaton, who started the memorial, said it has become difficult for the dozen active volunteers to upkeep the land.
This core group goes out once a month to maintain the memorial by trimming grass, as well as repairing and painting fading crosses.
The memorial began with 300 crosses and a sign that read "In Memory of 2839 U.S. Troops Killed In Iraq." The sign now reads, "In Memory Of Our Troops," with the death total number from the Department of Defense.
Heaton continually sees people visiting the memorial, some of whom are relatives of fallen soldiers.
"It's more for their personal need to find closure," Heaton said. "I'm always finding more crosses being decorated."
The total number of American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan stands at 6,198, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
"The war has gone on so long, it's crazy," Heaton said. "The crosses represent where we went wrong to begin with."
"We think a statement is still being made," Pratt said. "The statement is there are consequences for actions."
The memorial across from the Lafayette BART station on Deer Hill Road has generally been supported by the Lafayette community and has seen the number of opponents fade, Heaton said.
"It's a memorial and will always be a memorial," Pratt said.
Bay Area Weather Forecast
Mostly cloudy weather is expected in the Bay Area this morning with patchy fog before becoming partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated.
Tonight is expected to be partly cloudy becoming mostly cloudy with patches of fog after midnight. Lows in the mid 50s are expected.
Forecasters predict mostly cloudy skies Saturday with patchy fog in the morning becoming partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated.