Tuesday Morning News Roundup
Duo Robs Rite Aid Pharmacy At Gunpoint
Two suspects robbed a Santa Rosa Rite Aid store at gunpoint Monday morning, making off with bottles of prescription drugs, according to police.
The robbery happened around 9:15 a.m. at the Rite Aid at 1793 Marlow Road, police said.
Two male suspects entered the store and one wielded what appeared to be a handgun and demanded a pharmacy clerk to lie down on the floor, according to police.
The second suspect jumped over the pharmacy counter and grabbed multiple bottles of prescription drugs from a storage shelf.
Police said the suspects fled and were last seen heading toward a creek area behind the store.
Responding officers searched the area extensively but were unable to find the suspects.
No one was harmed during the robbery.
The robbery remains under investigation and anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call Santa Rosa police at (707) 543-3670.
Facebook Agrees To Meet With Drag Queens To Discuss Profile Name Policy
Facebook officials have agreed to meet with local drag queens at San Francisco City Hall to discuss the social media website’s policy of people using their legal names on their accounts.
On Friday, San Francisco Supervisor David Campos called on Facebook to meet with the drag queens, who reported in recent weeks that they were locked out of their accounts under their stage names.
The drag queens said they could only regain access to their accounts if they listed their legal name, such as one on a driver’s license or credit card.
On Monday, Facebook accepted Campos’s invitation after a group of drag queens and supporters threatened to hold a protest this morning at the company’s Menlo Park headquarters.
“I am glad that Facebook has accepted our invitation to engage in a meaningful public dialogue with the drag queens and members of the transgender community who have been affected by the profile name policy,” Campos said in a statement on Monday.
Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence was one of many drag queens locked out of her Facebook account last week and entered her legal name “Michael Williams” in accordance with the website’s policy.
Whether or not in costume, Sister Roma said many people know her by her stage name, which she has used for the past 27 years.
In a post on her Facebook account on Monday she said the meeting is scheduled for Wednesday when she will join other drag queens to discuss the issue with representatives from the social networking site.
Roma and other local drag queens including Heklina, BeBe Sweetbriar and Lil Miss Hot Mess locked out of their accounts have used “#MyNameIs” to raise awareness on the social media’s website crackdown on their profile names.
“We gave Facebook a chance to meet with us and I’m glad they took it. Having my profile suspended and my name questioned has been a very frustrating experience,” Heklina said.
In a statement issued last week, a Facebook spokesperson said, “If people want to use an alternative name on Facebook, they have several different options available to them, including providing an alias under their name on their profile, or creating a Page specifically for that alternative persona.”
The drag queens have said that listing their legal names on their profile puts them at risk of being found by family members, co-workers and others they may not want to share the content of their pages with.
Man Shot, Killed In East Oakland Tonight
A man was shot and killed in East Oakland on Monday night, police said.
Officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 1300 block of 76th Avenue near International Boulevard around 8:10 p.m., Officer J. Moore said.
The man was found at the scene and pronounced dead about 10 minutes later, Moore said.
No arrests were made and no suspect information was immediately available, he said.
Closing Arguments Begin In Ssf Triple-Murder Racketeering Case
A two-and-a-half month racketeering trial in which two alleged gang members are accused of a triple murder in South San Francisco in 2010 began winding up as prosecutors started on closing arguments in federal court in San Francisco on Monday.
Victor Flores, 22, of Petaluma, and Benjamin Campos-Gonzalez, 23, of San Mateo, each face three counts of murder in aid of racketeering and four counts of attempted murder in a gunfire attack on a group of young men at a South San Francisco street corner on Dec. 22, 2010.
Three men died in the shooting, three others were wounded and a seventh member of the group was unharmed.
Prosecutors contend Flores and Campos-Gonzalez were members of the Norteno-affiliated 500 Block/C Street gang in South San Francisco and believed the victims belonged to a rival Norteno gang, the Cypress Park Locos, which allegedly had threatened their territory.
They are on trial together with alleged fellow gang members Armando Acosta, 29, of Pacifica, and Mario Bergren, 25, of South San Francisco, on a total of 22 charges including racketeering, murder, attempted murder, robbery and use of guns in violent crimes.
The trial before a jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston began on June 26. Prosecution and defense closing arguments are expected to continue at least through Wednesday before the case goes to the jury.
While only Flores and Campos-Gonzalez are accused of the three murders, all four defendants are accused of conspiring to racketeer, or to conduct a continuing criminal enterprise; conspiring to commit murder in aid or racketeering; and conspiring to commit assault, among other charges.
Prosecutors contend that Flores was one of two shooters and that Campos-Gonzalez drove the Chevy Impala from which the attackers spotted the victims walking along Eighth Lane near the intersection of Linden Avenue at dusk.
During his closing argument on Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Tolkoff described the murders as “brutal” and showed the jury a photo of the bloodstained sidewalk on Eighth Lane shortly after the shooting.
Tolkoff will complete his closing argument today, after which defense attorneys for the four men will begin theirs.
If convicted, Flores and Campos-Gonzalez would face mandatory life sentences.
The four men on trial are the last remaining defendants among 19 alleged gang members and associates indicted on racketeering charges in 2012. The others have all pleaded guilty to various charges.
UC Proposed Creation Of A New Venture Fund For Startups
The University of California announced Monday plans to create a $250 million independent venture fund to pursue investments in enterprises funded by UC research, subject to approval by its Board of Regents.
UC officials said the proposed “UC Ventures” will seek to generate attractive, risk-adjusted returns by investing in commercial opportunities that spring from research at the university’s 10 campuses, five medical centers and three national laboratories.
No tuition or state funding will be used, according to university officials.
The university said it already is a rich environment for innovation and the target of venture capitalists from around the world because of the efforts of its more than 20 incubators and accelerators, 233,000 students, 190,000 faculty and staff and 1.7 million living alumni.
UC’s Board of Regents will vote on the proposal at its regular bi-monthly meeting at the University of California at San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus on Wednesday. If the fund is approved, it will be launched next year.
UC chief investment officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher said in a statement, “UC Ventures is the result of careful evaluation of best practices to develop the most effective investment vehicle to capture the economic value the University of California is creating through its pioneering research.”
UC President Janet Napolitano said, “In addition to any financial benefits, we see this fund as a potential vehicle for providing resources to support the basic research and talent among both faculty and students that is required to develop innovations that can benefit California and the world.”
UC officials said recent examples of successful startup companies that came out of university research include Aragon Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in August 2013, Kite Pharma, which had its initial public offering in June, and Seragon Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Genentech in July.
The university said its office of the chief investment officer will hold certain key governance rights and help the fund develop its own resident expertise to mitigate risks. The UC Ventures team will have day-to-day investment management responsibilities, according to the university.
UC said that in collaboration with its 10 campuses, it also intends to create an independent advisory board of leading figures in Silicon Valley and throughout the state to provide advice and industry insight to the fund. Those advisory board members will be announced in the near future, UC officials said.
83-Year-Old Man Killed In Crash That Sent Vehicle Up Against Pole
An 83-year-old man was killed in a car crash in Salinas Monday afternoon, police said.
Officers responded to a report of a traffic collision on East Bernal Drive just west of Natividad Road around 2:50 p.m., police said.
Arriving officers found the man dead in the driver’s seat of a red Nissan Altima leaning vertical against a power pole with its front bumper facing the sky, according to police.
An investigation indicated that the man was driving south on Natividad Road and possibly suffered a medical ailment that caused him to go unconscious and lose control of the Nissan, police said.
As the man turned right on Bernal Drive the car straightened, drove across a dirt median and entered eastbound lanes, according to police.
The car then struck the power pole’s guide wire before it came to rest.
Police said it doesn’t appear the man tried to brake or steer the car to avoid the crash.
Prosecutor Says Two Men Murdered Victim In Marijuana Incident
A prosecutor told jurors Monday that two men should be convicted of murder for the beating death of another man who was planning to rob a marijuana grow house in unincorporated Hayward more than four years ago.
In his opening statement in the trial of Mohammed Kahn, 51, and 66-year-old Manuel Trujillo of Hayward, prosecutor Luis Marin said the victims in the case, 27-year-old Francisco Lopez of East Palo Alto, and his brother, Fernando Lopez, “made a horrible mistake” by trying to rob the grow house at 19123 Standish Ave. at about 2 a.m. on Feb. 26, 2010, and Francisco
Lopez “paid for it with his life.”
Marin said the house was guarded by two pit bulls and two men, one of whom was armed and held them at gunpoint while he called Kahn, who he alleged was the operator of the grow house.
Marin said Kahn, Trujillo and several associates then came to the house and started beating up the Lopez brothers in what he described as “a vicious attack.”
Fernando Lopez managed to escape but Francisco Lopez “was not so lucky” and was beaten at the house on Standish Avenue as well as at another house at 328 Panjon St. in Hayward, Marin said.
Francisco Lopez’s decomposed body wasn’t found until six months later, on Aug. 26, 2010, when it was discovered down an embankment off of Niles Canyon Road in Fremont, according to Marin.
A total of six defendants originally were charged in the case but Kahn and Trujillo are the only ones who are standing trial. Marin said three of the defendants have entered into plea bargains in the case and will testify against Khan and Trujillo.
Kahn’s lawyer, William Linehan, told jurors not to believe those three men because “they have huge motives to say they weren’t responsible” for Francisco Lopez’s death because they faced life in prison until they entered into their plea agreements.
Linehan said it’s also not clear that Francisco Lopez died from the injuries he suffered when he was beaten, saying one of the suspects in the case told authorities that Lopez was still alive when he was dumped in Fremont.
He said Lopez could have died “from some other cause after he was left there.”
Trujillo’s lawyer, Brian Hong, said Trujillo worked as a handyman who worked on various properties owned or rented by Kahn but he said Trujillo wasn’t involved in the marijuana grow operation at Standish Avenue and had never been there until the night of the beating.
Hong also told jurors not to trust the testimony of the three men who entered into plea bargains, alleging that the prosecution “basically made a deal with the devil” in making the agreements.
In addition to being charged with murder for Francisco Lopez’s death, Kahn and Trujillo are charged with attempted murder for the beating of Fernando Lopez and with illegally cultivating marijuana.
Elderly Couple Beaten, Robbed Inside Their Home
Police are attempting to locate a pair of suspects who severely beat and bound an elderly couple in their El Cerrito home on Saturday, a day after stealing valuables from the house, police said Monday.
Police said officers responded around 5:20 p.m. Saturday to a 911 call from a home on Richmond Street where they found a married couple in their 90s suffering from multiple injuries.
The couple’s ordeal began on Friday when a man and woman drove up to their home and started a conversation about their flowers, police said.
The suspects asked for clippings of the flowers and eventually talked their way inside, police said.
After the suspects left, the elderly couple saw that their wallet, jewelry and cash were missing from a bedroom, police said. The victims called their son and had their credit cards cancelled but didn’t contact police.
The next day, the suspects returned to the house carrying a dolly that they offered to the couple and once again gained entry after engaging the victims in conversation.
When the elderly husband and wife were in different rooms, the female suspect yelled something out and the two suspects began beating the victims.
Police said the elderly woman was stabbed in the arm with a sharp object before being tied up with rope while her husband was beaten and bound with duct tape in a bedroom.
The suspects used the dolly they had brought to wheel out a safe, police said.
The female suspect noticed the elderly woman calling 911 and beat her again.
As the suspects fled the woman exited the house through a side door and sought help with neighbors. The husband freed himself and called 911.
Both suspects were taken to a hospital with injuries that police said were “very serious but not life-threatening.”
Police said the male suspect was described as a man of unknown race in his 40s with short black hair and brown eyes who is about 6 feet tall, weighs about 175 pounds and walks with a very noticeable limp.
The female suspect was described as a woman of unknown race in her late 40s with short hair who is about 5 feet 4 inches tall and around 150 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white striped dress, according to police.
The suspects’ vehicle was described as a dark blue two-door vehicle.
Machinists In Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition Holding One-Day Strike Tuesday
Machinists in the Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition will hold a one-day strike today at the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’s office at the bridge’s toll plaza.
The strike is from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and traffic on the bridge will not be impacted during the Unfair Labor Practice strike, labor coalition co-chair Alex Tonisson said.
Representatives of 13 unions in the labor coalition and the bridge district negotiated Monday before the strike was called at 4 p.m.
The 450 union employees in the labor coalition are ferry deckhands and captains, bus service workers and mechanics, bridge ironworkers and inspectors and construction trade employees, Tonisson said.
The union members voted in August to authorize a strike and there has been no contract settlement since then, Tonisson said.
The bridge district is proposing a three-year contract with an annual 3 percent wage increase and an increase the cost of employees’ healthcare premiums that is equal to 2 percent of wages, Tonisson said.
The district and unions have been negotiating since April and have been working without a contract since July 1, Tonisson said.
“We cannot trust the District on healthcare, and this ULP strike shows why the machinists and the coalition will not agree to healthcare concessions being pushed by the district at the bargaining table,” Art Gonzalez of Machinists Local 1414 said.
“All the (labor) Coalition unions at the worksite will be honoring the machinists’ picket line,” Gonzalez said.
The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District said it has been negotiating weekly in good faith with the labor coalition since April.
“The District has offered compromises on numerous issues in an effort to reach an agreement, including modified proposals offered just (Monday) morning,” the district said in a statement.
“Despite the District’s ongoing willingness to bargain, the Coalition has advised of its intention for a limited strike tomorrow. Fortunately the Coalition has stated that the strike will not affect the bridge, bus or ferry commuters,” the district said.
Santa Rosa Man Dies When Car Drives Off Side Of Route 1 On Sonoma Coast
A Santa Rosa man died when his vehicle went off the side of a cliff on state Highway 1 on the Sonoma Coast Sunday evening, a Sonoma County sheriff’s sergeant said.
The Sonoma County coroner’s office identified him as 52-year-old William Douglas Gallagher.
The crash happened around 6:10 p.m. Sunday in the High Pont area north of Jenner, sheriff’s Sgt. Cecile Focha said.
Three visitors who stopped their vehicle in a turnout on the highway reported seeing a black Saab drive off the shoulder of the road and careen over the edge, Focha said.
One person went to rescue the driver and the other two called for help, Focha said.
The sheriff’s Henry-1 helicopter crew arrived within 10 minutes and spotted the vehicle about 300 feet down the side of the cliff, Focha said.
The highway was closed as the helicopter landed and the crew prepared a 100-foot long-line rescue. The helicopter crew discovered there was no one in the vehicle, and after a search of the cliff side they spotted a body about 150 feet below the vehicle, Focha said.
A sheriff’s deputy, acting as a tactical flight officer, and a paramedic were flown on the long line to the body, Focha said.
Gallagher was pronounced dead at the scene, and he was placed in a rescue basket and removed from the cliffside, Focha said.
3 Pg&E Officials, Cpuc President’s Chief Of Staff Removed Over Inappropriate Emails
Inappropriate email exchanges regarding regulatory proceedings led to the ouster of high-ranking PG&E and California Public Utilities Commission employees on Monday.
CPUC President Michael Peevey’s chief of staff Carol Brown resigned over emails about the assignment of administrative law judges to a regulatory case on potential PG&E rate hikes, according to the CPUC.
Peevey recused himself from future proceedings with PG&E because of inappropriate communication between his office and the utility during regulatory proceedings.
Emails released by PG&E on Monday show employees attempting to influence the selection of judges appointed to its gas transmission and storage rate case, which would determine whether and to what extent PG&E could raise rates to complete improvements to its pipeline system.
The utility said that three employees have lost their jobs over the communication: senior vice president of regulatory affairs Thomas Bottorff, vice president of regulatory relations Brian Cherry and vice president of regulatory proceedings and rates Trina Horner.
The emails released Monday were written between Jan. 9 and Jan. 29. Cherry advocated to have CPUC Administrative Law Judge John Wong assigned to the case, and objected strongly when Judge Douglas Long was assigned instead.
“I’m not sure we could get someone worse,” Cherry wrote. “This is a very important case that is now in jeopardy.”
Brown responded, “I can see if anything can be done” but said repeatedly Wong was overbooked and too busy to take the case.
Eventually, Wong was assigned to the case and Cherry wrote back, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Cherry also contacted CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio informing him of Long’s appointment.
“If I were you I would bump him– you really can’t do any worse! Even a brand new ALJ would at least work hard and try — you’ll get neither from him… Keep me posted and I’ll do what I can on this end,” Florio wrote back.
On Monday, Florio said in a statement that he took no action in response to PG&E’s request for reassignment of the judge.
“But I should not have responded to PG&E’s inappropriate inquiry and will not do so if something like this ever happens again,” Florio wrote.
Wong, who Cherry said he preferred in the emails, remains assigned to the case.
PG&E reviewed more than 65,000 emails in response to the allegations, which led to Monday’s announcements, company officials said.
Man Pleads Not Guilty To Murder Charges In Two Separate Incidents
An ex-felon pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he murdered two men in the vicinity of Highland Hospital in Oakland in separate incidents in January and February.
Harold Thomas Smith, 23, is charged for the fatal shooting and robbery of 24-year-old Brandon Clemons in the 2000 block of 14th Avenue on Jan. 16 as well as for the shooting death of Innocent Okoronkwo Jr., 24, in the 2400 block of 14th Avenue at about 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 22.
Smith was charged in early April for Okoronkwo’s death but wasn’t charged for Clemons’ death until May 14.
Smith is charged with murder, robbery, the special circumstance of committing a murder during a robbery and being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm for the incident in which Clemons was killed, as prosecutors alleged that he robbed Clemons’ friend.
Oakland police Sgt. Mike Gantt wrote in a probable cause statement that a witness, apparently Clemons’ friend, told police that Smith was the person who robbed Clemons’ backpack and shot Clemons.
The witness also told police that Smith took his wallet and phone, according to Gantt.
In addition, phone records show that Smith’s cellphone was activated in the area where Clemons was killed shortly before and after the shooting, Gantt said.
In the incident in which Okoronkwo was killed, Smith is also charged with attempted murder for shooting and wounding a 26-year-old man who survived his injuries.
In addition, Smith is charged with unlawful firearm activity for allegedly possessing a firearm because the terms of his probation for his conviction for second-degree robbery in May 2008, when he was a juvenile, barred him from possessing a gun.
Annie Beles, one of two lawyers who represent Smith, objected Monday to the filing of an amended complaint that charges Smith with both murders in a single case.
Beles said she thinks Beles should be charged separately for each murder because the evidence is different in each case but her objection was overruled by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Delucchi.
Plane Lands Safely In Oakland After Concern About Wing Flaps
A Phoenix-bound Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 landed safely at Oakland International Airport on Monday after its wing flaps did not perform correctly following takeoff from Mineta San Jose International Airport, authorities said.
Southwest Flight 468, with 128 passengers and a crew of five, landed at 3:30 p.m. at the Oakland airport and taxied on its own to Gate 29, airport spokeswoman Mona Hernandez said.
The flight took off from the San Jose airport at 2:34 p.m. heading for Phoenix and soon afterward radioed an alert about an emergency and that the plane would be landing in Oakland, Mineta airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said.
Soon after takeoff, the captain in command of the flight in the cockpit found that the redundant flight control wing flaps were not performing optimally and, as required, diverted from the plane’s flight plan, Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said.
The captain declared an emergency to receive a priority landing into Oakland International Airport because that is where the airline’s Technical Operations maintenance hub is located, along with many replacement aircraft, according to Hawkins.
The operations facility will take care of repairs to the plane and a new airplane is being assigned to the passengers and crew of Flight 468 so they may proceed to Phoenix, Hawkins said.
Man Gets Life Without Parole For Fatal Shooting During Burglary
A Hayward man was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the fatal shooting of a man during a burglary gone wrong at an apartment building in Hayward three years ago.
Joseph Connors, 24, was convicted on July 8 of first-degree murder and the special circumstance of committing a murder during a burglary for his role in the death of 28-year-old Maurice Collins at Collins’ apartment in the 29000 block of Vanderbilt Street in Hayward shortly before midnight on Jan. 4, 2011.
Prosecutor Jimmie Wilson said Connors and his best friend, 25-year-old Richard Delosangeles, had called Collins earlier that night in an attempt to buy marijuana but Collins didn’t have any marijuana to sell so he turned off his phone.
Connors and Delosangeles then decided to burglarize Collins’ home so Connors put on his bulletproof vest and gave Delosangles his .40-caliber handgun, according to Wilson.
Hayward police said Connors and Delosangeles climbed a tree that gave them access to a second-story balcony, where they broke into Collin’s apartment through a sliding glass patio door.
Once they were inside, the two men confronted Collins and his girlfriend, police said.
Collins reached for his 9mm handgun but was shot in the head by Delosangeles before he could get off a shot, according to Wilson.
The prosecutor said that after the fatal shooting, Delosangeles felt bad about it and told his mother, his cousin and others about it.
Wilson said Connors decided to “beat Delosangeles to the punch” by going to Hayward police the next day and claiming that he was a good Samaritan and could help them solve Collins’s murder.
Connors told the police that Delosangeles had bragged to him that he murdered Collins and subsequently provided police with the murder weapon, clothing and recordings of Delosangeles bragging about the murder, Wilson said.
After Delosangeles was arrested, he confessed to being the person who fired the shot that killed Collins but implicated Connors as being present at the scene, according to Wilson.
The prosecutor said Delosangeles took responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to second-degree murder but Connors fought the charges against him so his case went to trial.
Delosangeles was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison on July 25.
Pedestrian Injured, Possibly In Collision With Car, In Richmond District
A pedestrian was injured in San Francisco’s Richmond District on Monday afternoon and investigators are trying to determine whether he was struck by a car or merely fell in the roadway, police and fire officials said.
The incident was reported at 2:52 p.m. at Park Presidio Boulevard and Clement Street.
The male pedestrian was initially reported to have been struck by a car, but a witness said the pedestrian might have fallen instead of being hit, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.
The victim suffered injuries that are not considered life-threatening, Esparza said.
Man Arrested On Outstanding Drug Warrant After Crash Into Bar
A man who crashed a vehicle into a bar in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood on Monday afternoon was arrested on an outstanding $250,000 warrant from Sacramento County, police and fire officials said.
The crash was reported at 1:48 p.m. at Comstock Saloon at 155 Columbus Ave.
Two people in the bar were injured, as was the driver, whose name was not immediately being released. The driver was then arrested on the outstanding $250,000 warrant for the sale of narcotics, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.
The two other people injured were taken to a hospital with what is believed to be minor injuries, San Francisco fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.
Talmadge said the car went through the doors of the bar and did not appear to cause any major structural damage to the building.
Fire That Burned Vacant Classroom Deemed Arson
A one-alarm fire that burned a portable classroom at an abandoned school in Pittsburg on Sunday afternoon was intentionally set, a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokesman said Monday.
Crews responded around 4:10 p.m. Sunday to reports of a fire in the 1200 block of Stoneman Avenue and found the portable classroom ablaze on the former Central Junior High School campus, fire officials said.
Firefighters were able to get the blaze under control in about 20 minutes and no injuries were reported.
Investigators have determined that someone intentionally set the fire, but information about possible suspects was not immediately available Monday, according to Fire Inspector George Laing.
Fire officials said the portable classroom where the junior high school’s old campus is located is next to the school’s new campus and has been left vacant for about eight years.
The blaze caused an estimated $30,000 in damage and remains under investigation.
Suspect Arrested In Sunday Homicide
A suspect in a fatal shooting on Sunday morning in East Oakland has been arrested, police said Monday.
The shooting victim was identified Monday as Reginald Beamon, a 28-year-old Oakland resident. He was found at 6:16 a.m. Sunday suffering from a gunshot wound in the 8200 block of Bancroft Avenue and was pronounced dead there, police said.
Police have not identified the suspect, a 21-year-old man from Oakland, or released other details about his arrest pending review of the case by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
Anyone with information about the case has been asked to contact the Oakland police Homicide Section at (510) 238-3821 or the anonymous tip line at (510) 238-7950.
Hit-And-Run Driver In Fatal Crash Sentenced To Probation
A man was sentenced to probation Friday for fleeing the scene of a crash in 2012 that killed a man standing at a San Mateo bus stop, prosecutors said Monday.
Josue Lopez, 28, of San Mateo, received the sentence from San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Lisa Novak of four years’ probation and one year in jail after he was convicted by a jury in July of felony hit-and-run resulting in injury, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.
Lopez will be released on probation because he has credit for time served of more than a year in jail already since the crash on Nov. 24, 2012.
While he was convicted of felony hit-and-run, the jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal on charges of vehicular manslaughter and 9-3 for acquittal of child endangerment charges, prosecutors said.
Lopez had his 5-year-old child in the backseat of his 1994 Chevrolet Camaro as he was driving recklessly in a Kmart parking lot in the 1700 block of South Delaware Street.
He lost control of the car, the rear end spinning out and tires screeching, and hit a cement garbage container at a bus stop where 67-year-old Reynaldo Aguiniga was standing, police and prosecutors said.
The crash pushed the cement container into Aguiniga and crushed him against a tree.
Witnesses told police that Lopez then got out of the car, looked at Aguiniga and said something to him, then got back in the car and drove away.
A witness took down the Camaro’s license plate number, leading police to Lopez. Aguiniga was taken to a hospital but was pronounced dead there shortly after he arrived, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors moved to dismiss the manslaughter and child endangerment charges after the jury deadlocked but sought a sentence of four years in prison.
However, the judge decided since Lopez did not have a criminal record, expressed remorse for the crime and had already served more than 500 days in custody waiting for the case to be completed, he should be sentenced to probation.
He was also ordered to pay Aguiniga’s family $4,560 in restitution and $3,472 to the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board
Beaches Closed After Surfer Reports Shark Attack
Ocean access is closed for five days within a mile of a beach near Watsonville where a surfer reported being attacked by a shark on Saturday and warnings have also been posted after a shark sighting in Santa Cruz on Sunday, state park officials said Monday.
At about 6:45 p.m. Saturday, a man was surfing on Manresa State Beach outside Watsonville when he was knocked off of his board into the air and saw a shark biting on his board, California State Parks Supervising Ranger Joe Connors said.
The surfer, who was tethered to the board, was dragged underneath the water for a time, took off the leash and was then able to get back on the board and use his arms to paddle to shore, Connors said.
An attack by a shark triggers closure of ocean access and to be on the safe side, state parks officials posted notices prohibiting people from going into the water for the next five days within a mile of Manresa State Beach, Connors said.
State parks investigators want to interview the surfer further and examine his board for evidence of the reported attack, Connors said.
In a separate incident just before 5 p.m. Sunday, a woman on Seabright State Beach in Santa Cruz flagged down a ranger to report seeing a shark attack a harbor seal about 50 yards out in the water, state parks officials said.
The woman told the ranger she saw thrashing in the sea, the seal being thrown in the air, blood in the water and the head of a shark, which had a white neck, Connors said.
Rangers considered the report credible because the woman holds a doctorate in marine biology, according to Connors.
State parks officials order a three-day posting of warnings on beaches within one mile of a sighting of a shark that shows aggressive behavior toward animals or humans, Connors said.
The warning has been posted at Seabright and Twin Lakes State Beach and Santa Cruz Harbor officials and area lifeguards were notified, he said.
The two reported shark sightings so close together are unusual because state parks officials receive only about one reported sighting per year, Connors said.
Anyone with information about the two reported sightings may call Connors directly at (831) 423-0528, he said.
Sheriff’s Office Identifies Glen Ellen Man Who Shot His Wife
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has identified 76-year-old Hans Rosewsky as the bedridden man who admitted fatally shooting his wife in their Glen Ellen home Saturday evening.
Rosewsky called 911 and said he shot his wife, 73-year-old Alice Rosewsky, when she attacked him with a knife.
The sheriff’s office responded around 7 p.m. to the reported shooting and found Alice Rosewsky deceased in the home in the 4000 block of Warm Springs Road.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Cecile Focha said a motive for the shooting has not been released, but detectives are investigating Hans Rosewsky’s self-defense claim.