Wednesday Morning News Roundup
2 Killed, 1 Injured In Shootings Reported Less Than 10 Minutes Apart
Two people were killed and a third was injured in two shootings that were reported less than 10 minutes apart in San Francisco’s Bayview District on Tuesday afternoon, a police spokeswoman said.
Officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert activated in the area of Ingalls Street and Revere Avenue at 4:15 p.m., San Francisco police Officer Grace Gatpandan said.
Police were told someone was shot in the 1200 block of Revere Avenue, she said.
Arriving officers found a woman in her 30s suffering from multiple gunshot wounds on the sidewalk of Ingalls Street and Revere Avenue, Gatpandan said.
The officers performed CPR on the woman and she was transported to San Francisco General Hospital where she died of her injuries, according to Gatpandan.
At 4:24 p.m., officers responded to a report of a person shot in the 200 block of Bayshore Boulevard, she said.
Two people were found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds and transported to San Francisco General Hospital, Gatpandan said.
One of the two victims, a 38-year-old man, succumbed to his injuries at the hospital, she said.
The other victim, a female, received treatment and is expected to recover from her injuries, according to Gatpandan.
Police have not determined if the two shootings are related, the spokeswoman said.
Anyone with information on the shootings is asked to call the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 with “SFPD” at the start of the message.
Supes Support Establishment Of Gun Violence Prevention Task Force
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of an ordinance that establishes a Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents neighborhoods including Visitacion Valley, Potrero Hill and the Bayview District, said Tuesday that the task force would be formed to advise San Francisco city departments and policymakers on methods to reduce gun violence.
Cohen said the ordinance comes following the release of a city report that shows $208 million was spent on violence prevention in the city over the last five years. She said that right now there is no way to evaluate what kinds of violence suppression tactics are working and where improvements are needed.
She said among other responsibilities, the task force would analyze and monitor resource allocations and police response time.
Cohen said not only would the task force be comprised of department heads and school district officials, but also community members who have lost a loved one to gun violence or who have otherwise been impacted by such violence.
The support for the ordinance comes following a peak in gun violence, including four people killed in Hayes Valley on Jan. 9, a homicide last week in the Visitacion Valley neighborhood near the Sunnydale public housing complex and two shootings Tuesday afternoon in the Bayview District that killed two people and injured one person.
Bicyclist Injured In Collision With Car Earlier This Month Died Monday
A 64-year-old bicyclist injured in a collision with a car in Berkeley earlier this month died Monday, a police spokeswoman said Tuesday.
The collision occurred on Jan. 13 around 6:45 p.m. at University and McGee avenues, Berkeley police Officer Jennifer Coats said.
A car hit the bicyclist then fled the scene east on University Avenue, Coats said.
The vehicle is described as a white or beige four-door sedan with tinted windows, she said.
The bicyclist was transported to a hospital for serious injuries and passed away Monday, according to Coats.
He was identified Tuesday as Berkeley resident Michael Lake, according to the Alameda County coroner’s bureau.
Anyone with information on the collision is asked to call the Berkeley Police Department’s traffic bureau at (510) 981-5900.
3 Injured, 1 With Serious Burns, In House Fire
A house fire left three people injured, one with serious burns, in Daly City on Tuesday afternoon, according to the North County Fire Authority.
Firefighters responded to a report of a structure fire in the 400 block of Evergreen Avenue at Peoria Street shortly after 3:30 p.m., fire officials said.
Arriving crews found heavy smoke and flames in the first floor of a two-story home, according to fire officials.
Fire crews initiated an aggressive fire attack and were able to extinguish the blaze, which did not spread to the second floor, fire officials said.
The blaze was extinguished at about 3:45 p.m., a San Mateo County fire dispatcher said.
Everyone in the home had evacuated themselves out of the structure before crews arrived, fire officials said.
One person in the home suffered serious burns to both arms and two others suffered from smoke inhalation, fire officials said.
The injured were transported to a hospital for treatment, according to fire officials.
The home sustained major fire and smoke damage that displaced six residents, who received assistance from the American Red Cross, fire officials said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Two Men Drove Cars 70 Mph On Public Street Before Pedestrian Was Killed
Two men were driving more than 70 mph during a suspected race on a public street in East San Jose where they crashed into a barrier and one struck and killed a female pedestrian on Monday, police said Tuesday.
The crash, reported shortly after noon Monday on Yerba Buena Road at Edenview Drive, ended when of the cars slammed the pedestrian, 24-year-old Kiran Pabla, against a tree where she suffered fatal injuries, police Sgt. Heather Randol said.
The drivers, Gabriel Esparza, 18, and Manuel Maldonado, 24, were arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and reckless driving causing great bodily injury, Randol said.
According to online jail records, both men are being held at the Santa Clara County Main Jail on $100,000 bail, with Maldonado set to appear in Superior Court today and Esparza on Feb. 9.
Based on an investigation, the Police Department’s traffic investigations unit reported that Esparza and Maldonado were traveling in excess of 70 mph on Yerba Buena, possibly while racing each other, police said.
They lost control of their vehicles, collided with a guardrail, went onto the sidewalk and one of the cars crashed into Pabla, who was walking or jogging there at the time, and pinned her against the tree where she died at the scene, according to Randol.
Anyone with information about the crash is urged to call police officers at the traffic investigations unit at (408) 277-5382 or leave an anonymous message at the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers tip line at (408) 947-7867.
Smoke Stop Owner Pistol-Whipped In Robbery On Sand Creek Road
A business owner is recovering from a pistol-whipping suffered in a robbery Sunday afternoon at his store in Brentwood, a police sergeant said.
The robbery occurred at the Smoke Stop, a tobacco store located at 50 Sand Creek Road, at 12:17 p.m. Sunday, according to Brentwood police Sgt. Doug Silva.
One suspect beat and pistol-whipped the store’s owner, tying him up and holding him down. Two other suspects stuffed tobacco products into garbage bags before leaving the scene in a white Chrysler Town and Country minivan that was driven by a fourth suspect, Silva said.
The victim who suffered head wounds as a result of the pistol-whipping was hospitalized with cuts and bruises to his head and body.
Police said he is expected to make a full recovery.
Employees at the Smoke Stop said the victim was “OK” Tuesday afternoon.
Interim SJ City Manager Selects Deputy Fire Chief To Serve As Interim Fire Chief
San Jose’s interim city manager on Tuesday announced the appointment of a deputy fire chief to serve temporarily as head of the San Jose Fire Department until the city selects a permanent chief.
Interim City Manager Norberto Duenas chose Deputy Fire Chief Curtis Jacobson as the city’s interim fire chief effective Feb. 1 with the retirement this week of Fire Chief Ruben Torres, Duenas stated in a memo Tuesday to the City Council.
Jacobson will serve in the top job during the transitional period while the city holds a national search for a pool of candidates for chief this spring, to be selected by the person the council appoints as City Manager to replace Duenas this year.
Jacobson is a 23-year veteran of the Fire Department where he rose from firefighter to be promoted to captain in 1999 and battalion chief in 2007. He also served as a higher-class deputy chief from 2011 to 2013 and division chief in 2014.
He has been deputy fire chief in the department’s Bureau of Operation Support since last summer, where he has been administrator of emergency medical services, training, apparatus, facilities and bond programs.
Man Suspected Of Using Fake Furniture Store As Front To Grow Marijuana
A man suspected of using a furniture store in Gilroy as a front for an illegal grow operation with $2 million worth of marijuana was arrested last Thursday by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, a spokesman said Tuesday.
Phuc Nguyen, 39, of Gilroy, was taken into custody while inside his fake furniture store in the 7500 block of Monterey Road, a major business thoroughfare in Gilroy between Fifth and Sixth streets, sheriff’s Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup said.
Nguyen was arrested on suspicion of theft of utilities and illegal cultivation of marijuana for sales, Stenderup said.
He was booked into the county’s Main Jail and his bail was set at $200,000, according to Stenderup.
Last Thursday, deputies with the office’s Marijuana Enforcement Team served a search warrant at the supposed furniture business following a long investigation by the team along with Gilroy police, Stenderup said.
The establishment, despite furniture displayed on the floor up front, was in fact never open for business and none of the merchandise was even for sale, he said.
In the rear of the business past the furniture, team members found a room crammed with more than 1,000 marijuana plants and more than 50 pounds of processed marijuana, worth about $2 million, he said.
The suspect had bypassed the building’s electrical meter and stolen an estimated $80,000 worth of electricity from PG&E, which posed a serious fire hazard as none of the wiring was installed in compliance with electrical codes, he said.
The Marijuana Enforcement Team investigates marijuana grow operations that do not comply with state laws on the use and possession of medicinal marijuana.
In 2014, the team seized more than 104,000 plants, 250 pounds of processed marijuana, arrested 20 people and confiscated three firearms, according to Stenderup.
First Batch Of Birds Found Covered In Mysterious Goo To Be Released Wednesday
The International Bird Rescue will release its first batch of cleaned seabirds today recuperating from getting covered in a mysterious goo on the shores of the East Bay and the Peninsula, bird rescue officials said Tuesday.
The bird rescue nonprofit plans to release 15 to 30 seabirds at Fort Baker in Sausalito, where there is plenty of food with a large herring spawn going on and tens of thousands of other seabirds of the same species feeding there.
Most of the 323 birds brought to the International Bird Rescue facility in Fairfield are surf scoters, horned grebes, scaups and common goldeneyes. There are still 221 recovering there, but 102 died after they were brought in covered with the mysterious sticky substance.
At least 150 more also died from exposure to the substance.
Bird rescue executive director Barbara Callahan said she talked to state investigators Tuesday afternoon and they are no closer to identifying what the substance was or where it came from, but is not believed to be petroleum-based.
Regardless, it appears to be gone and there have been no reports of birds covered with the gunk since Thursday.
Birds first started showing up covered in the substance on Jan. 16 on the bay shores in the East Bay including Alameda, Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward and Fremont. Some birds also were found on the Peninsula.
Once cleaned at the International Bird Rescue facility in Fairfield, they are moved to pools there to finish recovering. When their ability to waterproof has been restored and they are not suffering any other medical problems, they can be released, Callahan said.
“Everybody’s been cleaned and is in various stages of waterproofing at this point,” she said Tuesday afternoon.
The rest of the birds are expected to be released over the next 10 days, Callahan said. Rescuers have not decided where they will release the remaining birds, but in addition to Sausalito they have used Crissy Field in San Francisco and locations in the East Bay in the past.
Since the source of the substance hasn’t been identified, the bird rescue has had to foot the bill of helping the cleaning and recovery of the birds they’re taking in at a cost of $9,500 per day. The bird rescue has been requesting donations, which can be made via their website at http://www.bird-rescue.org.
Large Family Displaced By Dryer Fire In Home
Two parents and five children were displaced by a structure fire Tuesday morning in Richmond that severely damaged their single-family home, a fire captain said.
At 11:09 a.m., Richmond and El Cerrito firefighters responded to a residential structure fire in the 400 block of 30th Street, Richmond fire Capt. Rico Rincon said.
Once on the scene they found smoke and flames showing from the exterior of the building, he said.
Residents told firefighters the blaze started near a dryer at the back of the home, and that information was later confirmed by investigators.
The blaze was under control at 11:36 a.m., Rincon said.
No injuries were reported.
All seven residents were already outside when firefighters arrived, Rincon said, and there were no victims located during a subsequent search of the home.
The American Red Cross also responded to Tuesday morning’s fire, helping the displaced residence find a place to stay.
First Death Of Year From Flu Virus Reported, Vaccine Not Fully Effective For All Strains
Santa Clara County had its first fatal case of the flu of the year over the weekend and current vaccines have not proved fully effective against one of the season’s strains of the virus, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.
The unidentified person died at a local hospital and was under 65 years old and so was young enough to be reported to the public under criteria set by federal public health officials, according to Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System spokeswoman Joy Alexiou.
The person had been admitted for being ill with the flu and lab tests confirmed that the virus, which causes respiratory problems, led to their death over the weekend, Alexiou said.
Seven other severe cases of the flu have been reported to the county Public Health Department since the season began, she said.
This year’s flu season in the county started about a week ago, later than most years when seasons typically begin between the end of
December and early January and can extend to March, April or May, she said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, the vaccine now available can protect people from this year’s flu strains that include H1N1, Influenza B and H3N2, also known as Influenza A and the strain that is producing the most severe symptoms.
But flu strains may evolve or become “drifted” viruses each year with small genetic changes that make new vaccines less effective. This year, most of the H3N2 viruses have drifted, CDC officials said.
Alexiou said that even though the current vaccine may not prevent one of the strains, it would limit the severity of that strain of flu the vaccinated person may catch.
Symptoms of the flu, such as fever, coughing and respiratory congestion, can be similar to those of the common cold but are typically more harsh and can lead to complications, hospitalization or death, she said.
In addition to getting vaccinated, people should wash their hands thoroughly with soap or alcohol-based rub and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth, she said.
Those who do catch the flu can avoid spreading it by staying at home, avoiding contact with others and coughing or sneezing into their elbow or sleeve, she said.
County OKs Up To $8M In Hopes Of Saving Mobile Home Park
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to set aside up to $8 million and enter discussions to try to save more than 100 units of housing for mostly low-income Hispanic residents in Palo Alto’s only mobile home park.
The action, requested by Supervisors Joe Simitian and Dave Cortese, was meant to preserve affordable housing for nearly 400 people living in the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park who face displacement if the privately owned park is sold to developers.
The $8 million, held in the county’s Stanford General Use Permit Affordable Housing Fund, could be used to pay for a portion of the purchase price for the home park and be a catalyst to attract funds from other sources to preserve it for long-term inexpensive housing, according to the supervisors.
The 4.5-acre mobile home park at 3980 El Camino Real in Palo Alto has 104 spaces for mobile homes, 98 of which were occupied as of last October, as well as 12 studio apartments and one single-family home, according to Palo Alto city officials.
Families living there own their mobile homes and pay monthly rent on the spaces and shared utilities.
The owner of the park, Toufic Jisser, who controls it through a family trust, in 2012 asked the city to allow conversion of the park’s land in order to sell it after compensating its residents to vacate the park.
The sale would make way for the building of housing with rents equal to the higher market rate in Palo Alto, which the park’s current residents would not be able to afford, Simitian said.
In October, a hearing officer in Palo Alto ruled that the park’s owner met the legal requirements in the city’s mobile home park conversion law to close the park.
As reimbursement to relocate residents, the city officer proposed the owner might offer the fair market value of each mobile home, three months’ rent and moving expenses or a lump sum equal to the difference between renting a space at the park and an apartment in cities surrounding Palo Alto for 12 months.
Advocates for the residents have appealed the decision by the hearing officer to the Palo Alto City Council.
However, city officials have said that under state law, the Council does not have the ability to reject the owner’s approved application for closure and any appeal “would only cover the adequacy” of the owner’s proposed relocation and compensation measures.
Marin Co. Supes Approve $1.7 Million For Storm Repairs
The Marin County Board of Supervisors has approved $1.7 million in emergency funding to repair roads and levees damaged by a major storm in December, officials announced Tuesday afternoon.
According to the Marin County Department of Public Works, the storm resulted in a total of $13.3 million in damage in the county. Their figures indicate the storm caused $9.3 million in damage to public property and another $4 million in damage to private property.
The final cost of repairs for the Novato levees damaged in the storm are estimated at $1 million, and they need an additional $700,000 for landslide repairs on Muir Woods Road and Lucas Valley Road. The public works department will now move forward by soliciting bids.
Raul Rojas, public works director, said in a prepared statement the work must be done before more damage accumulates, and the repairs have to improve the levees in such a way that they can withstand stronger storms in the future.
The expenditure will reduce the county’s one-time reserve for extraordinary events from nearly $7 million to $5.25 million, public works officials said.
Two Arrested In Stolen Vehicle After Early Morning Pursuit
Morgan Hill police said they apprehended two Gilroy residents in a stolen vehicle early Tuesday morning after a pursuit that damaged two patrol vehicles.
Terrence Mauga and Veronica Salgado were both booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on no-bail warrants from Gilroy police.
At roughly 7:25 a.m., Morgan Hill police Chief David Swing saw a suspicious Dodge Durango in the vicinity of Monterey Road and Vineyard Boulevard in Morgan Hill. When Swing ran the plates, the vehicle came back as stolen and assisting officers attempted to make a traffic stop.
The vehicle’s driver tried to flee the scene and officers tried to stop the stolen vehicle by bumping it to force the driver to lose control.
The car came to a stop after crashing into a concrete pillar near Troy’s Bocce Ball and Wine Bar in the Tennant Station Shopping Center.
Mauga was taken into custody on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle, failure to yield to a police officer, possession of stolen property, possession of a deadly weapon, DUI with injuries and violating the terms of his probation.
Salgado was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft and possession of stolen property.
Police are asking anyone with information about the case to contact Cpl. Scott Purvis at (408) 779-2101.
Jury Convicts Elementary School Teacher Of 19 Child Molestation Counts
A Concord elementary school teacher was convicted of 19 counts of child molestation Tuesday for touching his male students’ bare chests in his classes and other inappropriate touching, Contra Costa County prosecutors said.
Tuesday’s jury verdict ends the second trial for Joseph Martin, 46, a longtime teacher at Woodside Elementary School. His previous trial on 116 counts involving 14 victims ended last year with a jury acquitting him of 21 counts and deadlocking on 92 others.
Prosecutors then retooled the case, dropping 68 charges before filing a new criminal complaint with 24 counts involving nine victims. This time, the jury convicted him of the 19 counts involving seven victims but deadlocked 10-2 in favor of conviction on five other counts, Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts said.
The jury found Martin had developed inappropriate relationships with several of his students beginning in the fourth or fifth grades, putting his hands under their shirts, on their chests or rubbing their nipples. In one instance, he rubbed a student’s thighs over his shorts.
All nine of the victims testified during the trial that Martin would develop close relationships with his students, invited them over to his house and developed a particularly close relationship with two of the victims, including one who he massaged in his bedroom, Butts said.
Following Tuesday’s verdict, the married father of two young daughters is likely facing life in prison.
Butts said it is unlikely the district attorney’s office will seek a third trial on the remaining five counts, but a final decision will be made by the time Martin is sentenced on Feb. 20.
Martin’s defense attorney Patrick Clancy was not immediately available Tuesday afternoon to comment on the case.
CHP Officer Sentenced To Probation For Stealing Nude Photos From Arrestees
A former California Highway Patrol officer who forwarded nude photos of arrested women to himself and other officers was sentenced Tuesday to three years of probation, according to a Contra Costa County prosecutor.
Sean Harrington, 35, pleaded no contest to two counts of unauthorized access to a computer and copying computer data Tuesday morning and was sentenced to the probation and a suspended 180-day jail sentence, prosecutor Barry Grove said.
One of the conditions of his probation is attending a community violence solutions class where he must participate as a speaker, Grove said.
If he violates his probation, he will have to serve the jail sentence.
Harrington’s attorney Michael Rains said Tuesday he thinks Harrington received a harsher sentence than anyone who wasn’t a law enforcement officer would have, despite potentially facing prison time for the felony charges.
He said because of Harrington’s position of authority, prosecutors insisted on felony charges.
Rains said he thinks Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Terri Mockler recognized Harrington took steps to take responsibility for his actions, including swiftly resigning once criminal charges were filed rather than forcing the CHP to take lengthy steps to terminate him.
Harrington was charged with stealing nude photos from the cellphones of two arrested women, but prosecutors said he admitted during interviews of stealing photos four to six times during the last few years.
He surrendered on Nov. 3 of last year after a 23-year-old San Ramon woman reported that about six nude and semi-nude photos had been secretly sent from her phone to an unknown number traced to Harrington.
Investigators obtained search warrants for Harrington and found he had forwarded the photos to himself while the woman was in jail for a DUI arrest in San Ramon.
Investigators also found he had stolen photos from the phone of a 19-year-old DUI suspect arrested in Livermore on Aug. 6 while she was in the hospital.
The DUI charges against both women have since been dropped.
Prosecutors also obtained evidence that Harrington had forwarded the photos to two officers in the CHP’s Dublin area office. Neither of the two officers implicated, Robert Hazelwood and Dion Simmons, are facing charges in the case.
Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area
Skies will be sunny today with highs in the lowers 60s. Winds will be from the northeast at 5 to 10 mph in the morning and from the northwest in the afternoon.
Skies will be mostly clear tonight with lows around 50. Winds will be from the west at 5 to 10 mph.
Skies will be sunny Thursday with highs around 60 and north winds of 5 to 10 mph.