San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday Morning News Roundup

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Oakland: 8-Year Old Girl Shot in Leg Yesterday Afternoon, Injuries Not Life-Threatening

An 8-year-old girl was shot in the leg during a drive-by shooting in East Oakland Monday afternoon but her injuries aren't thought to be life-threatening, police Chief Howard Jordan said.

He said the girl was standing on the sidewalk outside a house at 2249 65th Ave. shortly before 2:30 p.m. Monday when several suspects in a vehicle that was driving by fired multiple shots at a sports utility vehicle that was parked in the home's driveway.

The 8-year-old girl wasn't the intended target but the suspects missed the people they were shooting at and she was the only person who was injured, Jordan said.

The girl is receiving medical treatment at a nearby hospital, he said. Jordan said police haven't yet determined the motive for the shooting that are still interviewing the intended victims and witnesses to try to develop more information.

The house was hit by gunfire and has several bullet holes.

The black Chevrolet Silverado Z71 that also was hit by gunfire had its back window blown out and glass fragments lie on the ground next to it.

Jordan said he came to the scene of the shooting "to show my support for the community and to show that we take this seriously and will do our best to bring the perpetrators to justice."

He said, "I'm particularly sensitive to young kids being shot and we want to make sure this doesn't continue."

However, Jordan said solving the crime and similar cases "depends on getting cooperation from the victims and witnesses" and admitted, "some of it may come down to luck."

A woman who lives just a few houses away from the shooting and has a 5-year-old daughter said the shooting is "disturbing and sad" and she's concerned because her daughter could have been a victim if she'd been in the same spot at the same time.

The woman said, "I feel under siege at times" and is planning to move away from Oakland in a few years because she and her family don't feel safe anymore.

The woman, who was born and raised in Oakland and said she continues to love the city, said, "My dad is very concerned for me" and wants her to move away as soon as possible. 

Santa Cruz: Man, Teen, Dog, Swim to Safety After SUV Tumbles Off Santa Cruz Wharf

A man, a teen boy and a dog escaped from a flooded SUV Monday after the vehicle accidentally drove off the Santa Cruz Wharf and into Santa Cruz Bay, authorities said.

The man and his 16-year-old son were with their dog inside a Toyota 4Runner parked on the wharf shortly before 10:30 a.m. when their vehicle plowed through a wooden fence, a Santa Cruz Police Department dispatcher said.

The SUV tumbled into the seawater on the Boardwalk side of the wharf and was completely submerged when it landed near some kayaks stored beneath it, the dispatcher said.

The two people and the dog were able to get out of the SUV and swim to Santa Cruz Beach a short distance away, the dispatcher said.

No one was reported injured and police made no arrests in the accident, the dispatcher said. 

SF: Mayor Lee Gives 'State of the City' Address

San Francisco is thriving thanks to booming tech and tourism industries but still has room for improvement, Mayor Ed Lee said during his first "State of the City" address Monday.

Speaking for more than an hour Monday morning in front of most of the city's top officials and other dignitaries, Lee outlined the economic improvements San Francisco has made in recent years.

"The state of our great city is vital, resurgent and strong," he said.

Lee noted the city's unemployment rate is at 6.5 percent, a drop of more than 3 percent over the past two years, while 26 large cranes currently dot the city's skyline constructing new buildings like the new Transbay Center, which will include the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

"We're living today in an extraordinary city in an extraordinary time," he said.

Much of the economic success is due to the roughly 18,000 tech companies in the city as well as tourism and business travel, which bring $8.4 billion in spending to the city each year, the mayor said.

Lee said while business is booming in San Francisco, the city's lack of housing options has caused rental prices to skyrocket.

"We cannot defy the laws of supply and demand," he said.

Lee said 42,000 new units have been approved for construction in the city over the next several years, while a housing trust fund approved by voters in November will create a $1.5 billion stream of funding over the next 30 years for low-income housing and first-time homebuyer assistance.

He also proposed overhauling San Francisco's beleaguered Housing Authority with input from federal officials on how to improve public housing in the city, including possibly replacing the agency with a new model built on public-private partnerships.

"What we're doing right now with our public housing isn't working," Lee said.

"If we can't mend that structure, we should end it."

Lee's speech was made at College Track, an organization in the city's Bayview District that assists youth looking to go to college.

He said he chose that location to emphasize his focus on education, saying he is proposing nearly $50 million in his next budget for public schools and $25 million for universal pre-school.

Lee said he was also committed to keeping City College of San Francisco open despite accreditation concerns that threaten to close the school.

"It's too important for our city's social and economic future," he said. Lee's first "State of the City" speech comes at the start of his second year as elected mayor.

He was appointed interim mayor in January 2011 when Gavin Newsom took office as lieutenant governor and then was elected that November.

Alameda County: Oikos Shooting Suspect to be Treated at Napa State Hospital

A judge Monday ordered the man accused of murdering seven people in a shooting rampage at Oakland's Oikos University last April to be treated at the Napa State Hospital in a bid to restore his mental competency to stand trial.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carrie Panetta said that based on reports by two psychiatrists who have examined 44-year-old One Goh she "had no other choice but to find him mentally incompetent to stand trial" and suspended legal proceedings against him at a previous hearing three weeks ago.

Panetta said the goal of the treatment for Goh at the Napa State Hospital will be to "progress toward the recovery of his mental competence" so he eventually can stand trial.

Goh, a Korean national who lived in Oakland, currently is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on seven counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder for allegedly shooting three victims who survived and 10 special-circumstance allegations, including committing murder during a carjacking.

Police said that Goh fled the campus after the April 2 shootings in a car belonging to one of the victims.

He was arrested in Alameda a short time later after he confessed to a Safeway security guard that he had just shot several people, according to police.

Panetta ordered Napa State Hospital officials to administer anti-psychotic medication into Goh involuntarily if he refuses such medication and doctors rule that taking such medication would be in his own best interest.

Goh's lawyer, David Klaus, said Goh "has not been taking good care of himself" and has lost about 60 pounds while he's been in custody.

Goh "is quite skinny and gaunt now" and "has little insight into his situation," Klaus said.

Panetta ordered Goh to return to court on April 29 for a progress report on his treatment and also set a hearing for Feb. 11 to make sure he's been transferred from Santa Rita to the Napa State Hospital because sometimes it takes a long time for authorities to transfer inmates to the mental institution.

Goh is a former student who had left Oikos University voluntarily.

Prosecutors have said he appears to have wanted a refund of his tuition, and may have been targeting an administrator who was not present the day of the shooting. 

San Jose: All-Nippon Cancels Boeing 787 Flights to San Jose, Other Cities Until Feb. 18

All-Nippon Airways has canceled until Feb. 18 all flights to Tokyo from Mineta San Jose International Airport as it continues to ground its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in the United States and Japan, an airport spokeswoman said.

The Japanese airline on Friday opted to halt operations of its Boeing 787 planes on all international flights to Feb. 18 and domestic routes to Feb. 12, airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said.

Last Monday, the airline said it had cancelled all flights aboard 787 aircraft through Monday.

There is no word yet on when All-Nippon will resume its five-day-per-week direct flights from San Jose to Tokyo that the airline launched on Jan. 11, Barnes said.

The airline decided to halt all flights involving its 787 Dreamliner planes on Jan. 16 after the pilot of a 787 had to make an emergency landing at Takamatsu Airport in Japan due to a battery failure on Jan. 15, airline officials said.

Since then, All-Nippon has cancelled 643 domestic and 195 international flights together affecting more than 80,000 passengers, who have been offered refunds or rescheduled flights, the airline said on its website.

The FAA on Jan. 16 ordered all 787 planes in the United States grounded and the agency continues to study the model's recent operational problems centering on lithium ion batteries that have failed or overheated on the planes.

The U.S. agency started to examine the 787 after a fire caused by a faulty battery on Jan. 7 and a fuel leak on Jan. 8 grounded 787s owned by Japan Airways in Boston.

The agency then ordered U.S. flights of the planes stopped after the Jan. 15 emergency landing in Japan.

Oakland: CHP Stresses Dangers of Doing "Doughnuts" After I-880 Incident

The California Highway Patrol is seeking more information about a "sideshow" on Interstate Highway 880 in Oakland on Saturday afternoon where participants were doing "doughnuts," a CHP sergeant said.

The CHP received a call around 4 p.m. about reckless driving on northbound I-880 at Coliseum Way, CHP Sgt. Diana McDermott said.

By the time officers responded, the drivers had left, however videos were posted online later that day.

One of the videos, taken by a passing motorist on the southbound side of I-880, can be seen at http://youtu.be/7i6Ux9UyiAw.

The drivers fled after someone in one of the videos can be heard saying the police were coming.

That video can be seen at http://youtu.be/I6jhd1A20d4. McDermott said the trick driving on the freeway is "just not acceptable," stressing the dangers of driving like that.

"People think it's all fun and games until it turns disastrous," she said.

No one was injured in the incident, and the CHP is searching for those involved.

She said driving like this on the freeway is not common.

"I am absolutely hopeful this will not happen again," she said.

As to those who got out of cars and filmed the incident while driving, she advised exercising caution in the future.

Instead of becoming part of the dangerous driving behavior, she urged passersby to be "good witnesses" and share license plate numbers, vehicle and driver descriptions with the CHP.

"This has a definite effect on safety of others," she said.

Hayward: Wheelchair-bound Man Rescued From Fire by Grandnephew, Neighbor

A Hayward man was recovering Monday night after he was rescued from a fire in his bedroom with the help of his 9-year-old grandnephew, a fire spokesman said.

The wheelchair-bound 57-year-old was in his room in the two-bedroom apartment in a senior community in the 27000 block of Tyrrell Avenue when the fire broke out, Capt. Thor Poulson said.

He was eating and smoking with the door closed at about 4:30 p.m. when his wife heard the smoke detector go off.

She opened the bedroom door and found a fire scorching the walls and the room filled with smoke.

She tried to help the man out of the room but couldn't.

The couple's visiting 9-year-old grandnephew then ran to a nearby store and came back with the business owner, who tackled the bedroom blaze with a fire extinguisher, Poulson said.

The business owner helped the man out of the bedroom, but only could get him as far as the living room before Hayward firefighters arrived.

Poulson said that because the business owner had partially knocked down the fire, firefighters controlled it quickly and kept it contained to the bedroom.

However, it was necessary to cut ventilation holes in the room's roof and the bedroom and its contents were a total loss.

The man was taken to St. Rose Hospital to be treated for minor injuries to his hands.

Poulson said that it appeared he had tried to put the fire out himself before he was rescued.

He said it was unclear why the man hadn't called for help but that he had recently suffered a stroke and was still recovering.

The 9-year-old grandnephew "acted heroically," Poulson said, and because of that, firefighters gave him stickers and offered him a ride on a fire truck sometime in the near future.

SF: Jury Begins Deliberations in Retrial of Crime Lab Tachnician Accused of Taking Cocaine

A federal jury will resume deliberating today in the retrial of a former San Francisco police crime laboratory technician accused of taking small amounts of cocaine from the facility in 2009.

Deborah Madden, 62, of San Mateo, is charged with violating a federal law that makes it a crime to obtain a controlled drug by means of fraud, deception or subterfuge.

The jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco began deliberating Monday afternoon after hearing closing arguments Monday and three days of testimony last week.

After meeting briefly, the panel recessed for the day and will resume at 8:30 a.m. today.

The trial is Madden's second on the charge. Her first trial in Illston's court ended in a mistrial in October.

Jurors in that trial said a majority favored conviction, but they could not agree unanimously on whether there was proof of deception.

Madden, a 29-year civilian employee, admitted in a 2010 police interview to taking trace amounts of cocaine spilled during weighing in the fall of 2009 and taking them home in her pocket.

But her defense lawyers have argued that there is no proof of the fraud or deception needed for a conviction under the federal law because she simply took what was in front of her.

"She has it in front of her and she takes it.

The means of taking are sticking out her hand to the stuff that's assigned to her," defense attorney Paul DeMeester told jurors during his closing argument Monday.

Prosecutors contend Madden acted deceptively by working late more than usual in November and December 2009 so that she could take cocaine when no one was watching, and by opening a colleague's locked evidence locker and restapling an envelope that contained drugs.

"This crime cannot be committed without deception," Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Caputo told the jury Monday.

"It's deceptive to go into an evidence locker at night when no one's there and then lie about it and later shift your story," he argued.

Foster City: Driver Killed in Solo Crash That Killed Two Others Identified

One of the three people who died in a crash on state Highway 92 in Foster City on Sunday night has been identified by the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office as 21-year-old Juan Carlos Zaragoza Hernandez.

Hernandez was driving east on Highway 92, just west of the Foster City Boulevard exit at about 9:45 p.m. when he lost control of the vehicle, California Highway Patrol Officer Art Montiel said.

The car hit a guardrail, overturned and crashed into a utility pole, Montiel said.

Hernandez, a San Mateo resident, was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, he said.

Five people were in the vehicle, including three brothers from Redwood City who were all riding in the backseat.

The oldest brother, Jesus Reynaga-Reyes, 18, was transported to Stanford Hospital, where he underwent surgery and is in critical condition.

The other two brothers, ages 12 and 16, were pronounced dead at the scene, Montiel said.

Hernandez's cousin, Eighteen-year-old Eduardo Zaragoza, was sitting in the front passenger seat at the time of the crash.

The San Mateo man was wearing his seatbelt and suffered minor injuries, Montiel said.

It is unknown whether any of the other passengers were wearing their seatbelts, Montiel said.

Investigators have not ruled out that alcohol or drug impairment led to the crash, Montiel said.

Two lanes of eastbound Highway 92 were closed for three hours due to the crash.

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to call the CHP Redwood City area office at (650) 369-6261.

Oakland: Fate of Lake Merritt Painted Gnomes to be Decided by PG&E, City

Whimsical gnomes that have been sprinkled around Oakland's Lake Merritt will continue to brighten residents' days for now, but may be moving sometime soon.

The gnomes are hand-painted by a local artist on small pieces of wood that are then screwed onto the bottom of PG&E utility poles and other objects in the neighborhood.

The small bearded men have brought smiles to residents' faces, but are potentially problematic for the utility company, spokesman Jason King said.

The roughly 6-inch wood pieces could threaten the integrity of the poles or possibly block crews' access, King said.

The utility has agreed not to destroy the gnomes, and instead plans to work with the city and local businesses to find the little men a new home, "because they can't live on our poles," King said.

However, until a suitable new place to display the gnomes is found, they'll be allowed to remain on the poles.

PG&E officials were first made aware of the gnomes on Friday after a news story about the art was published, King said.

The utility has received feedback over the weekend about the gnomes -- all positive, King said.

"There is a widespread love for the gnomes," he said. "Everyone wants to see them remain."

Oakland resident Guillermo Hayes, 30, who lives on Wayne Avenue, just off Lakeshore Avenue, is a fan.

He noticed roughly 20 gnomes on poles and fences on his block when he moved to Oakland in November 2011.

Hayes sees them as good luck, calling them the "guardians of Lake Merritt."

"A lot of crime that does happen to our neighborhood doesn't happen where the gnomes are posted up," he said.

He believes the gnomes help create a sense of community.

"Being from Oakland, we don't have much to be happy and proud of," he said.

The artist, who asked to remain anonymous, lives in the Lake Merritt area and said he started installing the gnomes more than a year ago as a lighthearted project.

He said he collects pieces of wood from old fences to use as his canvases.

Regional: Woman Suspected of Donning Doctor's Lab Coat, Stealing Credit Cards at Seven Bay Area Hospitals 

An Oakland woman has been arrested in connection with thefts of credit cards from employees at seven Bay Area hospitals while wearing a doctor's white lab coat, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said.

Yolanda Smith, 49, was captured by police in Fairfield in Solano County last Tuesday after a hospital security guard recognized her as a suspect in thefts from medical workers in Fairfield, Santa Cruz sheriff's Deputy April Skalland said.

Police in Fairfield stopped Smith at the end of a vehicle chase after she attempted to drive away when the security guard recognized her, Skalland said.

Santa Cruz County deputies plan to arrest Smith on suspicion of identity theft, burglary and fraudulent use of an access card in the pilfering of credit cards at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz on Jan. 2, Skalland said.

Investigators allege that Smith, dressed in a white lab coat to impersonate a doctor, entered Dominican, got into a secured employee lunch area and lifted many credit cards from purses and wallets there, Skalland said.

The suspect then allegedly left Dominican and used the cards to charge $4,500 worth of merchandise at a Target store, a Best Buy outlet and a gas station, Skalland said.

Smith also is suspected of donning a doctor's white robe while stealing credit cards at hospitals in Daly City, Tracy, Modesto, Gilroy, Walnut Creek, Skalland said.

"She has the same M.O.," Skalland said. "Dresses in a lab coat, goes to a secure area, steals credit cards and leaves."

The suspect only takes credit cards, leaving the purses and wallets behind, Skalland said.

The sheriff's office has already interviewed Smith about the incident at Dominican, Skalland said.

"There is a long list of counties, a long list of detectives who want to speak to her," Skalland said.

SF Bay Area Tuesday Morning Weather Forecast

Sunny skies are likely in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are likely to be in the mid 50s, with northwest winds up to 15 mph. Clear skies are likely this evening.

Lows are expected to be in the mid 40s, with northwest winds up to 10 mph. Sunny skies are likely Wednesday.

Highs are expected to be in the mid 50s, with light winds.

 

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