San Francisco Bay Area Friday Morning News Roundup

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Gilroy: Suspect in Standoff Today Arrested for Criminal Threats

A suspect barricaded inside a Gilroy apartment complex Thursday afternoon and feared to have a bomb or guns surrendered to police and residents were able to return home, Gilroy officials said.

The complex was evacuated after police received a call at about 10 a.m. about a person creating a disturbance at the Cypress Pointe Apartments at 8200 Kern Ave., Gilroy spokesman Joe Kline said.

Police ordered the evacuation of the complex and isolated a specific apartment after witnesses indicated that the person inside might have a bomb and firearms, Kline said.

A SWAT team and other negotiators tried to convince the person to leave the apartment but he refused to come out and said he had a bomb and the detonator, police said.

Police were preparing to use chemical agents to force him from the apartment but as they approached he surrendered at 4:21 p.m., police said.

No one was injured.

Officers from the Morgan Hill Police Department and the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office also responded to the scene, Kline said.

The bomb squad searched the apartment and the surrounding area but found no evidence of a bomb.

Police arrested the man, identified as 32-year-old Daniel Wheatley, on suspicion of criminal threats.

He was booked into Santa Clara County Jail.

Traffic was blocked on Kern Avenue between Welburn Avenue and First Street, and a two-block area around the scene was cordoned off, Kline said.

A shelter for evacuees was set up at the Gilroy Senior Center at 7371 Hanna St. in Gilroy.

A nearby school was placed on lockdown during the standoff, police said.

Anyone with information about the case has been asked to call Gilroy police (408) 846-0335 or anonymously at (800) 782-0347.

Oakland: 16-Year-Old Charged as Adult for Murder of Paramedic

A 16-year-old boy was charged with murder Thursday for the shooting death of off-duty paramedic Quinn Boyer in the Oakland hills earlier this month, prosecutors said.

Christian Burton, of Oakland, who was arrested at 8 a.m. Tuesday, was scheduled to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland Thursday afternoon.

He is being charged as an adult.

In addition to murder, Burton faces a special-circumstance allegation that he murdered Boyer during the course of a carjacking, which could make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

A total of six juveniles have been charged in connection with Boyer's death, but Oakland police Officer Phong Tran said in a probable cause statement filed in court that authorities believe Burton is the person who
shot Boyer.

Tran said Burton was linked to the killing through physical evidence and witness statements and, after he was arrested, "he provided an admission of his involvement in the shooting death of the victim."

Boyer, 34, had worked as a paramedic for five years, the last two for Santa Clara County Ambulance.

He was shot while driving on Keller Avenue just below Skyline Boulevard shortly before noon on April 2 and crashed his car down a ravine in the 5200 block of Keller Avenue.

He died two days later.

Boyer, who grew up in Oakland, was in the city the day of the shooting to take his father to a medical appointment.

He was a graduate of Sonoma State University, the Santa Rosa Fire Academy and the Foothill Paramedic Program, and is survived by his wife and family.

Prosecutors said the other boys in custody, who range in age from 13 to 15, have been charged in juvenile court with multiple felonies, including murder, for their alleged roles in the crime.

Their names have not been released because they are not being tried as adults.

Tran said Burton and the other five teens saw Boyer in a parking area at Keller Avenue and Hanson Street, and that Burton and one of the other youths approached him "with the intent to forcefully take his vehicle."

Burton then allegedly shot Boyer during the attempted carjacking, Tran said. 

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said in a statement, "This senseless murder has shocked the community of Oakland as well as all of us who work in the criminal justice system."

She said, "Mr. Boyer, a paramedic, dedicated his life to helping others.

His brazen daytime killing at the hands of a 16-year-old armed with a gun is a tragedy on many levels.

My office will ensure that justice is served."

PG&E Calls for Safe Digging Practices as Leaks Cause Evacuations in San Mateo, San Jose

PG&E and local fire officials Thursday were in San Carlos to emphasize the importance of calling 811 before doing any type of digging.

PG&E officials are promoting safe digging practices as part of National Safe Digging Month, pointing out that PG&E responded to over 1,000 incidents in 2012 where a third party dug into PG&E gas pipelines without
calling 811 to verify where the pipelines were.

Thursday's news conference, at 275 Industrial Road, came on the heels of two Bay Area evacuations from gas leaks caused by crews digging: on Wednesday by a Caltrans subcontractor in San Mateo, and Thursday by a PG&E crew in San Jose.

Thursday's incident by PG&E crews "underscores the importance of utilizing and implementing safe digging practices in any situation on any project, including a PG&E project," PG&E spokeswoman Brittany Chord said.

The gas leak in East San Jose prompted the evacuation of 15 homes for hours Thursday morning, according to PG&E officials.

The leak was caused when a PG&E crew doing work in the area nicked the gas line. 

While the incident is still under investigation, Chord said it initially appears that the crew was using the wrong digging equipment around the pipe, causing the rupture.

But each year PG&E says there are hundreds of similar incidents by homeowners or contractors that the utility stresses are avoidable.

"Utility lines buried underground can lie just a few feet from the surface due to soil erosion or grading.

Whether planting a tree, installing a sprinkler system or building a fence, homeowners and professional excavators need to know where these lines lie underground before digging to prevent injuries, property damage and outages," PG&E senior director of gas maintenance John Higgins said.

By calling 811, customers reach the Underground Service Alert, which contacts local utility companies to mark the approximate location of their underground facilities around the excavation site to help crews avoid them.

PG&E said that according to California law anyone doing excavation work must notify utilities at least two days before digging.

But in Wednesday's incident, Caltrans spokeswoman Gidget Navarro said Thursday that USA was contacted and gas lines were unmarked at the dig site and Caltrans was informed that the line was "abandoned."

The Caltrans subcontractor, Mike Brown Electric Co., then punctured a natural gas steel pipeline, two inches in diameter, resulting in the evacuation of two buildings and a three-hour closure of El Camino Real, between Third and Fourth avenues, in San Mateo.

The subcontractor was working on the San Mateo County "Smart Corridor" project in the 300 block of South El Camino Real when the pipeline ruptured at 8 a.m., San Mateo police Sgt. Dave Norris said.

PG&E contends that a USA crew did mark the area and confirmed that the line was live, according to Chord. PG&E is continuing to investigate the leak.

Anyone with questions about any markings can call PG&E at (800) 743-5000 and crews will explain the marking or remark the area.

SJ: 95-Year-Old Woman Who Died in House Fire Identified

A 95-year-old woman was one of two people who died in a three-alarm fire Monday in San Jose a block west of state Highway 17, according to the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office.

Thelma Sheridan, of San Jose, died of smoke inhalation at her home in the 900 block of South Daniel Way, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office said.

The medical examiner's office has not released the name or gender of the second person found dead in the home. 

The fire was reported to the San Jose Fire Department at 8:27 p.m. and reached three alarms, San Jose fire Capt. Cleo Doss said.

Firefighters removed Sheridan from the burning home but she was pronounced dead at the scene, Doss said.

The other person's badly burned body was found after firefighters extinguished the blaze, Doss said.

The home was totally destroyed and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.        

SF: Supes to Consider Creating Buffer Zone Around Reproductive Health Clinics

A proposal to create a 25-foot buffer zone around entrances to reproductive health clinics in San Francisco was passed onto the full Board of Supervisors after a committee hearing at City Hall Thursday.

The legislation authored by Supervisor David Campos was heard at the board's neighborhood services and safety committee and comes after a Planned Parenthood clinic on Valencia Street has reported constant protesting from anti-abortion groups.

Current city law creates an 8-foot "bubble" around patients entering or leaving reproductive health clinics, but Campos said that ordinance is hard to enforce.

Phyllis Schoenwald, vice president of medical services at Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific, said "Planned Parenthood patients have faced an ongoing, unacceptable level of bullying and intimidation, simply because they have sought out reproductive health services at our center."

Schoenwald said, "Many of our patients walk through our doors crying and confused by the pamphlets they have been given" by anti-abortion activists.

Several of the activists attended Thursday's hearing and denied harassing women.

Larry McNeil, who said he was a supporter of the nationwide 40 Days for Life anti-abortion campaign, said the goal was "not to harass women, not to hurt anybody, but to protect a human being who should be in the most protected place in the world."

Many patients and workers at Planned Parenthood clinics also attended the hearing in pink shirts and spoke in support for the legislation. 

Campos said the anti-abortion activists use "a lot of misinformation and a lot of scare tactics" against patients walking into clinics.

"They don't have the right to intimidate women, that's what this is about," he said.

The legislation now goes to the full 11-member board, where it is assured of approval since eight other supervisors have already signed on in support as co-sponsors.

Regional: Update: Search for Dimitri Storm Shifts to Carmel After Area Jeep is Stolen

The search for fugitive Dimitri Storm continued in the Carmel Heights area south of Carmel Thursday morning when a resident reported a suspicious gray Jeep Grand Cherokee, Monterey County sheriff's Cmdr. Lisa Nash said.

The Jeep had been stolen about 10 miles away in the Palo Colorado Canyon area where Storm was last seen Wednesday in a gray Lexus GS 350 that was stolen in the Carmel area, Nash said. 

Storm had eluded sheriff's deputies Wednesday by driving the Lexus through a construction zone at the north end of Bixby Bridge.

The Lexus was found on Garrapata Road, but Storm eluded capture after an extensive search of buildings, vehicles and forest, the sheriff's office said.

It's believed Storm then stole the Jeep, Nash said.

At around 10 p.m. Wednesday, deputies spotted the Jeep Cherokee traveling west on Palo Colorado Road.

The driver looked away from the deputies as they passed him and almost collided with them head-on, Nash said.

The driver continued on to state Highway 1 and drove north at a high rate of speed.

Deputies were unable to locate the Jeep.

Storm, 42, is wanted on a variety of offenses including vehicle theft, robbery, burglary and evading police in Sonoma, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Marin counties and by Calistoga police.

He is known to steal and switch license plates on vehicles and has been in possession of firearms, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said.

Storm is described as 5 feet 10 inches and 180 pounds.

He has blue eyes and blond hair.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office is encouraging residents in the Carmel Heights area to check their vehicles and report any suspicious circumstances to the sheriff's office at (831) 755-3722.

Alameda Co.: Work Stoppage Delays Garbage Service in Fremont, Union City

A work stoppage has delayed garbage service in Fremont and Union City, officials in those cities said.

Fremont officials said they were notified by Allied Waste Thursday morning that garbage and recycling service has been temporarily delayed due to "an unanticipated work stoppage."

Officials said that because of the stoppage, Allied Waste, which is a division of Republic Services, one of the nation's largest solid waste companies, won't be able to service Fremont accounts Thursday.

Allied Waste, according to Fremont officials, is advising its customers to leave their containers out and available for collection and they will service them as soon as possible, but no later than the next service
day.

Union City officials said all single-family residential customers with Thursday and Friday pickups won't be served and shouldn't set out their blue trash carts.

They said that next week, Thursday and Friday customers can place extra bags of trash out equivalent to their normal weekly amount of trash with their blue carts and it will be picked up.

However, they said recycling and green waste will be picked up as usual over the next several days, so brown and green carts can be set out.

Union City officials said some commercial customers will be served and they will release a list of such customers as soon as they receive it from Republic and Allied Waste.

They said commercial customers who aren't on the list won't receive trash or recycling pickups but will receive green and food waste pickups.

Union City officials said commercial customers with Saturday pickups may also experience service disruptions but they won't know for sure until early Saturday morning.

Union City officials said the disruption is due to picketing at Republic and Allied Waste facilities in the Bay Area.

Allied Waste officials couldn't be reached for comment. 

In a statement posted on their website, they told customers in Fremont and Union City, "Unfortunately, because of this unanticipated work stoppage we will not be able to service your account as scheduled."

They also said they apologize for any inconvenience. 

SF: Authorities Find One of Two Youths Who Escaped From Juvenile Hall

A 12-year-old boy who escaped from San Francisco's juvenile hall with a fellow inmate on Tuesday night was found at his mother's home Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

The escape was reported at 9:54 p.m. Tuesday at the Youth Guidance Center at 375 Woodside Ave., near Laguna Honda Hospital, according to police. 

The pair, ages 12 and 16, escaped from a unit reserved for lower-risk and younger youth, smashing a roughly 1-square-foot window with a metal fixture in the room then squeezing through the opening, said William
Siffermann, San Francisco's chief juvenile probation officer.

The boys then somehow made their way past a 20-foot-tall barbed-wire fence and escaped.

The 12-year-old is being returned to the juvenile facility, Siffermann said at about 3 p.m.

The 16-year-old, who was in custody for a probation violation, remains at large.

He was last seen wearing inmate garb -- a sweatshirt and khakis -- and was likely wearing slippers or socks when he escaped, according to Siffermann.

The 12-year-old was at the youth detention center after being arrested for a property-related offense, Siffermann said.

Hayward: Livermore Teacher Pleads No Contest to Having Sex With 14-Year-Old Student

A female Livermore high school teacher has pleaded no contest to nine felony counts for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old male student from December 2010 to May 2011.

Marie Johnson, 43, who taught math at Granada High School, entered her plea on Tuesday and is scheduled to be sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gary Picetti on May 15. She remains in custody at the Alameda County Jail in lieu of $950,000 bail.

Johnson, who was placed on administrative leave after she was arrested at the school on Jan. 11, 2012, initially was charged with 24 felony counts but an amended complaint reduced that total to nine counts.

Livermore police Detective Joseph Draghi said in a probable cause arrest warrant filed in court that when police interviewed Johnson she "admitted to committing the above-listed violations," referring to the
charges against her.

The charges to which Johnson pleaded no contest include unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 16, oral copulation of a person under 16 and performing lewd acts on a child.

Draghi said the victim told a high school coach on Jan. 10, 2012, that "he was a victim of repeated molestation" and the student "provided a detailed statement of a long term sexual relationship with Johnson."

Livermore police spokesman Steve Goard said authorities believe that Johnson began having sex with the boy shortly after he finished taking a class from her in December 2010 and sexually assaulted the boy 24 times over a six-month period.

Police believe the alleged sexual assaults occurred in Johnson's car and in other undisclosed locations in Livermore, according to Goard.

Investigators believe Johnson and the boy formed their relationship through text messages, social networking on Facebook and instant messaging on a smartphone application called "Words with Friends," Goard
said. 

Johnson's attorney, Elizabeth Grossman, was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Weather Forecast for the San Francisco Bay Area

Sunny skies are likely in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are expected to be in the lower 60s, with winds up to 15 mph.

Clear skies are likely this evening. Lows are expected to be in the upper 40s, with westerly winds up to 15 mph. 

Sunny skies are expected Saturday morning.

Highs are likely to be in the lower 60s, with winds up to 15 mph.

 

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137