San Jose Police Officers Arrested And Charged For Grand Theft
Two San Jose police officers were arrested and charged Tuesday with felony grand theft following an investigation into allegations that they embezzled $120,000 from a Latino police officers organization.
The officers are San Jose Police Officer Marco Ybarra and former San Jose Police Officer Manuel Villagrana.
Both are 37-year-old residents of San Jose and former members of the San Jose chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association, a nonprofit organization that seeks to eliminate discrimination and improve police-citizen relations by engaging in political activism.
The primary focus of the organization is to award scholarships to minority students through fundraising efforts and donation solicitations.
Officers arrested Ybarra and Villagrana Tuesday morning following a nine month-long investigation by police.
Investigators allege that Ybarra, when he served as treasurer of the San Jose chapter from 2005 to 2006, withdrew cash totaling $19,900 from the LPOA account and separately issued himself two $10,000 checks drawn on LPOA funds that he deposited into his personal bank account.
Villagrana is accused of withdrawing $83,900 in cash from the LPOA's account between 2007 and 2009, while he was president of the San Jose chapter.
John Chase, who is prosecuting the case, said they withdrew the money in dozens of transactions. He would not disclose how Ybarra and Villagrana spent the money.
Police In Search For Tattoo Party Promoter
Police said Tuesday that they are trying to find the promoter of a tattoo party after which three people were shot to death and three others were wounded.
San Leandro police Sgt. Doug Calcagno said promoter Oscar Edwards talked to police shortly after the shooting at the corner of Alvarado Street and Aladdin Avenue shortly before 1:20 a.m. Sunday but hasn't been in touch with them since.
He said police want to talk to Edwards, who lives in Oakland, because "he has information on the people who were at the party" and those who were helping to run it.
It's estimated that about 200 people attended the tattoo party, which was held at a warehouse and was heavily promoted on Facebook and other social media websites, according to Calcagno.
The shooting occurred about 50 minutes after the party ended at 12:30 a.m. Sunday, he said.
The initial indication is that Edwards was at the party but left before the shooting and didn't see it, Calcagno said. But he said police want Edwards to give a formal statement and confirm that information.
Edwards didn't get a permit for the party but it's unclear whether he was legally obligated to do so, Calcagno said.
Killed in the shooting were 16-year-old Leneasha Northington, 19-year-old Shanice Kiel and 23-year-old Joshua Alford.
Three other people were wounded in the shooting. Calcagno said one of them has been released from a local hospital but the other two victims are still in serious condition.
Man Accused Of Fatal Shooting Of Another Man In Parkside Pleaded Not Guilty
A man accused of the fatal shooting of another man in San Francisco's Parkside neighborhood last month pleaded not guilty to murder charges Tuesday, a district attorney's office spokesman said.
Konstantin Solodukhin, 22, was arrested last Wednesday in connection with the Sept. 17 death of 25-year-old Edgar Yegiyan, who was shot near 35th Avenue and Rivera Street, police said.
Yegiyan was standing in front of a friend's house smoking a cigarette during a party when Solodukhin allegedly shot him several times with an assault rifle, police and prosecutors said.
Another man, 22-year-old Oren Zakhrabov, drove Solodukhin away from the shooting and housed him afterward, prosecutors said.
Solodukhin was arrested at San Francisco International Airport last Wednesday, hours before he was set to leave on a one-way international flight, police said.
Zakhrabov was also arrested at his home in the city's South of Market neighborhood.
Solodukhin was arraigned Tuesday morning on murder and firearm charges and denied all allegations, district attorney's spokesman Omid Talai said.
Solodukhin is being held in county jail in lieu of $7 million bail and will return to court for a pre-hearing conference on Oct. 11, Talai said.
Zakhrabov, who pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of being an accessory to the crime after the fact, will return to court this Friday for a hearing on his bail, which is currently set at $750,000, Talai said.
UC Berkeley Professor Saul Perlmutter Won Nobel Prize In Physics
University of California at Berkeley professor Saul Perlmutter won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday by being part of a team of scientists who discovered that the universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating pace.
And now Perlmutter's fame is expanding at an ever-accelerating pace as well.
Perlmutter, 52, told about 150 people at a news conference at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he is a faculty senior scientist, that he was wakened at 3 a.m. by a reporter who asked him how he felt about winning the prize along with two other scientists.
He said he spent about an hour wondering if it was a hoax as "reporter after reporter" called him, but he finally got a call from Nobel Prize authorities in Sweden who officially told him that he had in fact won the prize.
Perlmutter, a native of Champaign, Ill., who earned his doctorate from UC Berkeley in 1986, will get half of the $1.5 million prize. The other half will be shared by Adam G. Riess, 41, of Johns Hopkins University and Brian Schmidt, 44, of Australian National University's Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories.
Perlmutter heads the international Supernova Cosmology Project, which pioneered the methods used to discover the accelerating expansion of the universe, and has been a leader in studies to determine the nature of dark energy.
San Jose Police And Firefighters Unions Meet For Pension Reform
San Jose's police and firefighter unions will meet with the city's negotiating team today to discuss a pension reform plan they submitted to San Jose elected officials last week.
Last Wednesday, five San Jose unions announced a plan that they claim would provide the city with $467 million in reduced pension costs over the next five years.
The unions, representing San Jose police officers, firefighters, architects and engineers, middle managers, and maintenance supervisors, submitted the plan to city officials on Sept. 28 and are meeting with the city's negotiating team today to discuss it.
"We have lots of questions about the proposal they provided to the city," said Gina Donnelly, deputy director of employee relations.
The unions submitted proposals that significantly reduce the cost of pension benefits for employees, increase the retirement age, and decrease the rate at which pension benefits are earned.
They're calling it a "fair compromise" compared to Mayor Chuck Reed's plan, which calls for setting limits on retirement benefits for new and current employees and retirees -- a plan that George Beattie, president of the Police Officers' Association, called "illegal" because it attempts to nullify employee contracts.
The meeting will take place at 3 p.m. at City Hall.
Bernal Heights Man Fatally Shot In Home
A man who was fatally shot in a home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood on Monday night has been identified by the medical examiner's office as 28-year-old Richard Fowler Jr.
The shooting was reported at 9:38 p.m. at a home in the 400 block of Franconia Street. Fowler Jr. was taken to a hospital but pronounced dead upon arrival, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.
Police arrested Anthony Wright, a 34-year-old San Francisco resident, suspected of fatally shooting Fowler Jr. in the head, Esparza said.
Wright was seen fleeing from the home and entering a nearby home on Holladay Avenue. Police took Wright into custody at the home on Holladay Avenue, Esparza said.
Police booked Wright in county jail Tuesday afternoon on suspicion of murder and weapons related charges, Lieutenant Troy Dangerfield said. The motive for the shooting remains under investigation, Esparza said.
The homicide is San Francisco's 45th of 2011. At the same point last year, there had been 37 homicides in the city.
Santa Rosa Man Found Dead After Discharged From Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital
A Santa Rosa man who was found dead 12 hours after he was discharged from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital last month was taken there for severe neck pain from a fall the day before and for tremors from alcohol withdrawal, according to hospital records.
Doug Fladseth, the attorney for the family of the deceased man, Michael Torres, Tuesday afternoon provided the records of Torres' visit to the hospital emergency room on Sept. 19.
The results of the toxicology tests taken at Torres' autopsy are expected within two weeks. They will show what drugs or alcohol were in his body when he died.
Torres arrived at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital at 3:30 p.m. The hospital's emergency room report states Torres had a past history of alcohol withdrawal. It noted there were no visible injuries from trauma, assault or a fall.
Torres said he drank daily and both his hands were shaking, according to the hospital report. Torres said he had not had a drink since the day before.
Torres was resting comfortably when he was re-examined at 7 p.m. and was stable at 7:30 p.m., according to the hospital report.
He was counseled and given instructions about alcohol withdrawal and told he needed a follow-up appointment the next day at a health clinic.
The report states Torres again mentioned intense neck pain. He was given 1 mg of Lorazepam, a drug for anxiety, alcohol withdrawal and insomnia commonly known as Ativan.
Torres was discharged from the hospital at 7:37 p.m. His body was found in the southwest area of the hospital the following morning around 8 a.m.
Alameda County Board Of Supervisors Voted To Appoint Donna Ziegler To County Counsel's Office
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint Donna Ziegler to head the County Counsel's Office, the legal agency that advises county officials.
Ziegler, who joined the office in 2000, succeeds Richard Winnie, who died in March after a long illness.
Richard Karlsson, a former Chief Assistant County Counsel, has temporarily headed the office since Winnie's death.
Board President Nate Miley said in a statement, "Donna will lead the County Counsel's Office with a strong commitment to public service and an understanding of the many challenges and issues facing Alameda County."
County Administrator Susan Muranishi said, "With her broad experience and knowledge of the county, Donna will be an excellent addition to our executive leadership team."
Ziegler joined the office as a Deputy County Counsel, was promoted to the position of Assistant County counsel and later became Chief Assistant County Counsel under Winnie.
Prior to working for the county, Ziegler was a member of the Oakland law firm of Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May.
Ziegler graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and earned her law degree from the university's law school.
Ziegler said, "I am honored and excited to be appointed as the county's chief counsel and look forward to serving the Board of Supervisors and leading the staff in the Office of County Counsel."
Ziegler and her family live in the Fairview District in unincorporated Alameda County.
Blue Angels Fleet Week Begins With Navy's Precision Flight Demonstration Team
The Blue Angels -- the Navy's precision flight demonstration team -- are expected to arrive in formation at San Francisco International Airport today, one day before the kick-off of this year's Fleet Week festivities.
The flight team will conduct practice flights on Thursday and Friday ahead of the air shows scheduled for Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
The Blue Angels are scheduled to touch down at SFO at approximately 11 a.m. today.
Fleet Week brings together the U.S. Navy, Marine Corp and Coast Guard to offer air shows, ship tours, a parade and festivals, according to event organizers.
This year, the military pilots will share the sky with their Canadian Forces counterparts, the Snowbirds, according to event organizers.
The air shows are scheduled for 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.
Approximately 10,000 military servicemembers and nearly a million air-show spectators are expected to flock to San Francisco for this year's events, which mark the 30th anniversary of Fleet Week's current form.
The expanded festivities to honor the men and women in the naval services began in 1981, under then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein.
This year's events mark another milestone in naval history -- the 100th anniversary of naval aviation. On Jan. 18, 1911, Eugene Ely took off in a biplane from San Bruno and landed the aircraft aboard the USS Pennsylvania, which had been anchored in San Francisco Bay, marking the earliest demonstration that planes could land on ships at sea.
Ships are expected to arrive through the Golden Gate Saturday morning and will berth along the city's northern waterfront for the remainder of their visit, which concludes Tuesday.
San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast
Scattered showers are expected in the Bay Area this morning. Showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms that may produce small hail are expected in the afternoon. Highs will be in the mid 50s to low 60s.
Showers are likely this evening and there is a slight chance of thunderstorms that may produce small hail. There is a chance of showers after midnight. Lows are expected to be in the lower 50s.
Mostly cloudy skies are expected Thursday with a slight chance of showers. Highs near 60 are expected.
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