San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday Midday News Roundup

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Teen Pleads Guilty To Vehicular Manslaughter For Death Of Concord Father, Daughter

A teenage driver accused of hitting and killing a father and daughter with his SUV as they were out for a Saturday morning bike ride in Concord in April pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving charges this morning in juvenile court in Martinez.

David Rosen, 17, could face up to three years in prison for the deaths of Concord man Solaiman Nuri, 41, and his 9-year-old daughter Hadessa, and for injuring Hadessa's sister, 12-year-old Hannah.

Police said Rosen was speeding down Treat Boulevard at an estimated 72 miles per hour in a 45 mile-per-hour zone when he struck Solaiman Nuri and his daughters around 9:30 a.m. on April 7.

Solaiman Nuri died at the scene, and Hadessa succumbed to her injuries a short time later at John Muir Medical Center. Hannah suffered minor injuries in the crash.

The teen pleaded guilty this morning to two counts of vehicular manslaughter and to a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving causing great bodily injury in exchange for a maximum sentence of seven years and eight months in prison.

Two misdemeanor charges for unrelated incidents in which Rosen was found in possession of a butterfly knife and alcohol were dropped under the deal.

He previously pleaded not guilty to all charges in August.

Rosen, who had not been jailed up until this point, is now in custody.

Juvenile Court Judge Lois Haight this morning deemed the teen "a danger to society" and said he should be incarcerated immediately.

Peter Coleridge, Rosen's attorney, told the court this morning that his client is "not an evil person" and wants to take responsibility for the pain and suffering he has caused.

Coleridge said he has a file full of apology letters from the teen to the Nuri family. Members of the family in court declined to hear an apology from Rosen this morning.

Outside of the courtroom, family members consoled Stoorai Nuri, widow of Solaiman Nuri and mother of Hannah and Hadessa, as she sobbed. 

"I just wanted justice for me and my daughter and the family," she said. "I know everyone out there who is a parent can feel my pain."

Michael Cardoza, an attorney for the Nuri family, said that while Rosen's willingness to admit guilt and apologize is good, it comes too late and appears to be more of a strategic legal move than genuine sentiment.

"It rings a bit hollow to us now," he said, standing next to Stoorai Nuri and a group of family members in front of the courthouse this morning. "We didn't hear it on the day he was arrested, when it would have meant something to us."

Although the teen could face a maximum sentence of seven years and eight months in prison, he can only be held until his 21st birthday, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Cabral.

He is set to be sentenced in juvenile court in Martinez on Oct. 22.

Livermore Man, Woman Plead No Contest In Drug Lab Explosion Death

A Livermore couple who had been charged with murder for a drug-related explosion that killed a man last year have pleaded no contest to lesser charges and avoided lengthy prison terms.

Evan Aviles and his girlfriend, Lexie Hutson, both 23, were charged in connection with the death of Paul Lom, a 35-year-old San Jose man.

The charges stemmed from an explosion at their apartment at 3624 Silver Oaks Way in Livermore on May 21, 2011.

Aviles, Hutson and Lom were all hospitalized with severe burns after the explosion, and Lom died several days later.

The explosion caused a fire that left the five-unit building temporarily uninhabitable and caused $350,000 in damage.

Police said in June that a 13-month investigation indicated that Aviles, Hutson and Lom were manufacturing hashish oil in the apartment using highly flammable liquid butane to extract the oil.

The gas pooled on the floor during the manufacturing process, eventually leading to the explosion, police said.

Aviles and Hutson were charged with murder and manufacturing a controlled substance.

Police said the two acted with a conscious disregard for human life while making the hashish oil, which led to Lom's death and endangered other residents of the building.

On Tuesday, Aviles pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter and Hutson pleaded no contest to being an accessory to a crime.

Prosecutor dismissed the charge of manufacturing a controlled substance against both defendants.

Aviles' plea bargain calls for him to get a three-year state prison term when he is sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing on Oct. 24.

Under Hutson's plea agreement, she will receive a sentence of five years' probation, including one year in the county jail. She will be sentenced the same day as Aviles.

11-Year-Old East Oakland Boy Who Was Shot While Sleeping To Be Released From Hospital

An 11-year-old boy who was seriously injured when a barrage of bullets was fired into his family's East Oakland home last week is expected to be released from the hospital as early as today.

Luis Duenas Hernandez was sleeping at his family's home in the 200 block of Makin Road just before 1 a.m. last Thursday when multiple shots were fired into the home and he was struck by two bullets.

There were nine people in the house at the time of the shooting but Luis was the only person who was injured, family members said.

Luis' brother, 16-year-old Francisco Duenas, said today that Luis' parents are completing paperwork to finalize Luis' release from Children's Hospital Oakland and that Luis is expected to go home this afternoon.

Children's Hospital spokeswoman Erin Goldsmith said she can't confirm that Luis is being released, but she said he is in good condition.

Oakland police Sgt. Chris Bolton said investigators are still pursuing leads in the shooting but can't divulge further details because they don't want to compromise the case.

San Francisco Reports First Human Case Of West Nile Virus Since 2005

A San Francisco man has been diagnosed with West Nile virus -- the first locally acquired human case reported in the city since 2005, health officials said.

The patient, who is recovering at home, had not recently traveled outside the Bay Area, suggesting that he contracted the virus somewhere in the region, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

There is no way to determine whether the virus was contracted in San Francisco or in one of the surrounding counties, health officials said.

Another San Francisco resident was diagnosed with West Nile virus in 2010, but it is believed that person was infected through an organ transplant, health officials said.

Earlier this month, a dead bird infected with West Nile was found near City College of San Francisco.

Health department officials said the find indicated that the virus was present in the city at the start of San Francisco's warmer season, when mosquitoes tend to breed in stagnant water.

In response to the human case, the city this week issued a health update to medical providers requesting that clinicians watch for symptoms of the disease and report any suspected cases to the health department.

Local agencies are urging residents to eliminate standing water from storm drains, water basins, ornamental ponds, lawns, bird baths, wading pools and leaking pipes to limit mosquito breeding.

Mosquito bites -- the means by which the disease is spread to humans -- can be avoided by wearing long pants and shirts, using repellants on exposed skin and placing screens on windows, public health officials said. 

People over age 50 and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to the virus. Anyone who has a fever and headache for more than seven days may have the virus and is advised to seek treatment.

Residents who discover significant mosquito activity should report it to public health officials by calling 311. Those who find a dead bird are urged to notify the state of California by calling (877) WNV-BIRD.

San Francisco Unveils New Scooter-Sharing System

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Board of Supervisors president David Chiu were on hand at Civic Center Plaza today to unveil what was described as the world's first network of shared electric scooters.

The network was created in part to help reduce traffic in San Francisco and provide a new alternative mode of transportation for those who live or work in the city.

The fleet of Chinese-made bikes, owned by Scoot Networks, are operated by plugging an iPhone or Android smartphone into the dashboard, which will start the vehicle. Renters need to download a special app to be able to participate.

The bikes are available for public use at the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets and garages at Fifth and Mission streets, Ninth and Bryant streets and Second and Brannan streets.

Lee is already a member.

The shared-scooter system functions similarly to the Zipcar system. Drivers must apply for a membership, obtain a login and password, and will be able to rent the scooters for $5 an hour.

Each scooter costs only 18 cents' worth of power to charge over eight hours, and can travel up to 30 mph, according to the company.

Lee said he likes the fact that the Scoot system allows the city to showcase another alternative form of transportation -- especially an alternative to gas-powered vehicles.

"It's exciting to see this happen in San Francisco," he said. Michael Keating, CEO of Scoot Networks, called San Francisco "the city that leads the world in what's coming next."

He said he believes the scooters will soon become indispensable to those who try them.

"Once you have a shortcut to anywhere in the city, you don't want to go back," he said.

More information on the scooters is available at www.ScootNetworks.com.

One Treated For Smoke Inhalation After Visitacion Valley Fire

One person was treated for smoke inhalation after firefighters doused a single-alarm fire on the second floor of a home in San Francisco's Visitacion Valley neighborhood this morning, according to the fire department.

Firefighters were called to the 1800 block of Sunnydale Avenue at 8:13 a.m. and saw flames coming from a second-floor window in the rear of the building.

Fire crews controlled blaze, which was confined to one room, at 8:25 a.m. The civilian who suffered from smoke inhalation was transported to a hospital, a fire official said.

Drill Involving Simulated Plane Crash Under Way Near SFO

Emergency rescue teams from around the Bay Area were participating in a simulated airplane crash in the Bay near San Francisco International Airport this morning.

The exercise, taking place between 9 a.m. and noon, will test the effectiveness of the San Francisco Fire Department's new bayside Marine Emergency Response Facility, which became fully operational in August.

A team of volunteers will portray passengers rescued from the simulated wreckage in the water, as well as family members and friends of those on board, airport officials said.

Volunteers portraying injured passengers will be transported to a local hospital as part of the exercise.

Agencies participating in the exercise include the San Francisco Fire Department's Airport Division, the San Francisco Police Department's Airport Bureau, the South San Francisco Fire Department, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, the FBI, the U.S. Coast Guard and American Medical Response.

Two Arrested, 49 Laptops Recovered In Burglary At Former Facebook Headquarters In Palo Alto

An off-duty security guard and his alleged accomplice were arrested early Tuesday morning after they were caught stealing 49 laptops from Facebook's former corporate offices in Palo Alto, police said.

Palo Alto police received a call at 1:31 a.m. from a private security guard at the building at 1050 Page Mill Road.

The security guard told police that two masked men dressed all in black were inside the building and removing property, police said.

Upon seeing the security guard, both suspects fled with stolen items. Facebook contracts with the security company to patrol the property, although the building is not regularly occupied, according to police.

The on-duty security guard gave police a description of the suspect vehicle, and a Palo Alto police sergeant spotted the car traveling south on El Camino Real. Another vehicle was following it, police said.

Officers stopped the two vehicles after they turned left onto Page Mill Road near Ash Street at 1:37 a.m., police said.

They found 49 stolen laptops in the second vehicle, all of which belonged to Facebook. The driver of that car briefly resisted arrest before being taken into custody, police said.

Officers also located a stolen license plate and burglary tools inside the first vehicle, police said.

The off-duty security guard, Brandon Simon, 20, and his alleged accomplice, Travis Calhoun, 21, both of Sunnyvale, were arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary, grand theft, possession of stolen property, and conspiracy.

Police also arrested Simon for embezzlement and resisting arrest, and Calhoun was also arrested for possession of burglary tools and driving with a suspended license.

The police investigation revealed that Simon had patrolled the Facebook offices at 1050 Page Mill Road and had knowledge of what property remained inside the building.

The investigation also revealed that the security company had reported a broken window near an exterior door early Sunday morning. Palo Alto police officers were called, but no property was reported stolen. The two suspects had entered the building at the same point of entry, police said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Palo Alto police at (650) 329-2413 or anonymously send a text or voicemail to (650) 383-8984 or anonymously email paloalto@tipnow.org.

Suspect Shot And Killed By Hayward Police Identified

A man who was shot and killed by Hayward police after he allegedly reversed his car toward officers early Monday has been identified by police as 24-year-old Edgar Alvarez.

Alvarez, a Hayward resident who police said was a documented gang member, was suspected in a shooting that occurred at about 1 a.m. Monday at the Dirty Bird Lounge at 29308 Mission Blvd.

The shooting left two people injured, a bar patron and the DJ, Hayward police Sgt. Mark Ormsby said.

The patron was treated at a hospital and released, and the DJ suffered only a minor wound to his lip, Ormsby said.

Officers investigating the shooting learned that the shooter had fled in a car described as a dark-colored Buick or Cadillac. Police searched the area and found a car matching that description on Tennyson Road, west of Mission Boulevard, police said.

While the officers were attempting to make contact with the driver, he allegedly reversed his car toward them and police shot him, killing him, police said.

He was later identified as Alvarez. A handgun was found in his vehicle, police said.

On Monday night, a vigil for Alvarez turned into a protest that ended in 11 arrests, Hayward police said.

Ormsby said a group of 50 to 70 people gathered around 7:30 p.m. Monday near East 13th Street and Tennyson Road for a vigil. The arrests were made after the group blocked traffic several times by placing objects, including couches, in the roadway, police said.

San Leandro Police Seeking Five Men Who Robbed Safeway Store

Police are trying to identify five men who robbed a Safeway store in San Leandro on Tuesday night, a lieutenant said.

The suspects, at least four of whom were carrying handguns, entered the Safeway at 555 Bancroft Ave. at about 9 p.m. and ordered the employees and patrons to get on the floor, Lt. Rick DeCosta said.

"Everyone in the store complied," DeCosta said, "so no one got hurt."

Police responded to the Safeway after receiving a call from a witness after the suspects had fled, DeCosta said.

The suspects, described as black men in their early 20s wearing dark hooded sweatshirts and bandanas over their faces, took cash from two cashier stands, DeCosta said.

DeCosta said police believe the robbers were in the store for about 40 seconds. They fled on foot and headed north on Bancroft Avenue, he said.

DeCosta said that there was no mention about a getaway car from any witnesses.

Police are unsure how much cash was taken from the two registers, DeCosta said. None of the patrons were robbed, he said.

Six Displaced By Early Morning Union City Fire

A one-alarm house fire in Union City displaced six people early this morning, a battalion chief said.

Firefighters responded to a report of a fire near Sixth and F streets at about 12:30 a.m., Alameda County fire Battalion Chief Chuck Palmer said.

The fire started in the back of the one-story house, and caused severe smoke damage throughout the home, Palmer said.

Two bedrooms, the kitchen and an enclosed patio sustained significant damage from the flames, he said.

Palmer said the fire was controlled within 20 minutes, but estimated that there was about $100,000 in damage.

Four adults and two children were displaced, and the American Red Cross was assisting them with temporary housing, Palmer said.

No one was injured in the fire, Palmer said. The cause is under investigation.

Murder Victim Identified as 23-Year-Old Richmond Man

A 23-year-old man who was shot and killed in Richmond on Monday night has been identified as Richmond resident Van Hopkins, Jr., a Contra Costa County coroner's deputy said today.

Police said Hopkins was found suffering from a gunshot wound near Gaynor Avenue and 23rd Street after the city's ShotSpotter gunshot detection system alerted officers to gunfire in the area around 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Two males seen running from the scene of the shooting are believed to have been involved. Police believe Hopkins may have been gotten into a confrontation with the pair leading up to the shooting, Richmond police Lt. Bisa French said.

No arrests had been made in connection with the case as of this morning, French said.

Santa Rosa Arrest Six On Drug Charges After Home Invasion Robbery

Police arrested six people on drug charges Monday after discovering an indoor marijuana grow in the wake of a Santa Rosa home invasion robbery.

Three of the suspects -- Cameron Barnes, 22, and Steven Torrell Johnson, 28, both from Indiana, and Mosiah Augustine Linder, 26, of Santa Rosa -- were arrested at the Redwood Inn Motel on Santa Rosa Avenue for marijuana sales, conspiracy to distribute, being armed while dealing and possession of cocaine.

Police are still looking for a fourth suspect, Juard Barnes, 26, of Indiana, who fled the motel and is wanted on the same charges. Barnes is considered armed and dangerous, Tosti said.

Although they are not yet facing robbery charges, all four are suspected of participating in a home invasion robbery at a Yolanda Avenue residence in south Santa Rosa late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

One of the occupants of the home told police the robbers kicked in the door and started shooting, Tosti said. An occupant of the home chased the suspects to a Denny's restaurant at 115 Baker Ave., Tosti said.

Police went to the restaurant at 12:15 a.m. Monday after receiving a report of a person with a gun, and detained one of the suspects, Tosti said.

When police learned of the home invasion and went to the Yolanda Avenue home, they found a large marijuana-growing operation there, Tosti said.

The occupants of the house were uncooperative and did not provide any information about the robbery, Tosti said.

At the home, police arrested Susanna Ramirez, 19, Salvador Jimenez, 54, and Abel Ceja, 19, all Santa Rosa residents, on suspicion of marijuana cultivation and sales, Tosti said.

Three other people associated with the Yolanda Avenue home -- Aaron Brown, 32, Kristin Webb, 38, and Jorge Ricardo Orozco-Vargas, 29, all of Santa Rosa -- are still at large and are wanted for questioning, Tosti said.

Police later received information that led them to a room at the Redwood Inn Motel, where they made the three arrests, Tosti said.

Narcotics investigators searched the motel, the Yolanda Avenue home, another residence on Wilbur Avenue and a storage unit, Tosti said.

They found 100 pounds of processed marijuana, a large amount of U.S. currency, small amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, several weapons and ammunition, Tosti said.

Detectives from the narcotics investigation team are still trying to locate the four outstanding suspects, Tosti said. Anyone with information is asked to call the narcotics investigation team at (707) 543-4175.

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