Category: california

Police aware of Utah man’s gun possession, mental health issues weeks before CA deputy was shot

UPDATE: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joseph Solano, who was shot by Rhett Nelson, has died.

ST. GEORGE, Utah – A Utah man was reported missing weeks before he allegedly shot and killed two people in Southern California.

Just two weeks ago, on May 28, 30-year-old Rhett Nelson was reported missing to St. George Police.

“[The family] contacted the police department on the 27th to notify us that Rhett Nelson had left the residence inexplicably,” said Capt. Mike Giles with the St. George Police Department.

Fast forward to Tuesday, June 12 – Nelson is behind bars, accused of killing one person in a Los Angeles neighborhood and then shooting an off-duty police officer at a Jack in the Box restaurant, just one hour and 15 blocks later.

“One of our own deputies, Deputy Joseph Solano, 50-years of age, was tragically shot in the head and is currently in grave condition on life support,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during a press conference Tuesday.

The LACSD announced Solano died Wednesday evening.

Now looking back, SGPD said when the missing person’s report was filed — they had no reason to believe Nelson was dangerous.

“He wasn’t posing a threat to himself or someone else,” Giles said.

But based on new information, it appears as though there were signs for concern.

Police said the family had reported strange behavior amid their initial call to police on May 27.

“In departing [Nelson] somehow communicated with the family that he wanted to make it on his own or die,” Giles said.

Police also knew that Nelson had a firearm.

“We’d been informed that he took a firearm with him, but again the family believed he was taking that with him for self-defense,” Giles continued.

The family also expressed concerns over Nelson’s mental health on more than one occasion.

“Their concern was his mental well-being,” said Giles.

Yet, SGPD said there was nothing further they could do.

“The officer did inquire about specific diagnosis and there wasn’t any formal diagnosis at that time,” Giles said.

“Part of Utah law, when it comes to dealing with people that are suffering with mental health issues, places restrictions on what law enforcement can and can’t do as far as forcible treatment or recommendations of treatment,” Giles said. “The circumstances, in this case, didn’t come close to that.”

The family contacted SGPD officers again on June 5, to alert them that Nelson had called them the day prior and let them know he was in California.

“Again, they expressed some concerns about his mental health and former drug use,” Giles said.

Nelson’s missing person’s case was closed that day.

“We learned that Rhett wasn’t even in the state, we had no concerns,” said Giles.

Five days later, the two shootings took place. Nelson was arrested the next day.

“A suspect went into a church in the city of Long Beach on Clark Avenue, from that church he called his father in St. George, Utah, during the call he referred to committing murder in Southern California,” said Homicide Capt. Ken Wegener with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, as he described the events that led to Nelson’s arrest.

Nelson was taken into custody by police in California on Tuesday. Los Angeles law enforcement said the investigation is still ongoing and they have reason to believe Nelson may have been involved in even more crimes since he got to the state.

Anyone with information regarding Rhett Nelson may contact homicide investigators at 323-890-5500.

9-year-old boy pays off lunch debts for entire 3rd grade class

NAPA, Calif. – A 9-year-old California boy used his allowance to pay off his fellow classmates’ outstanding lunch debts.

According to KGO, cooking and mealtime are important to Ryan Kirkpatrick’s family and after a discussion with his mom about some students being unable to afford school lunches, Ryan decided he wanted to help.

Ryan asked his mom to find out how much money his fellow third-graders at Napa’s Park Elementary School owed in lunch debt.  So, his mom, Kylie Kirkpatrick, emailed the school to inquire.

“It was I think $74.50,” Kylie told the news outlet. “So I took that email and came to Ryan and said, ‘What do you want to do?’ and he said, ‘I guess I can pay for it.’ I said, ‘are you sure?’ And he said, ‘yes.'”

Ryan reportedly used his allowance money, which normally would’ve been used on sports gear, to pay off all his classmates’ outstanding debts anonymously.

Depending on income levels, meals at Ryan’s school range in price from 30 cents to $3.25 each. District policy requires students to receive a meal even if they have a “negative lunch account,” KGO reports.

Ryan said he just wants his classmates  to know they are cared about and hopes knowing that will make them feel happy.

Ladybug ‘bloom’ shows up on National Weather Service radar

SAN DIEGO – A large blotch that could have been mistaken for rain moving into Southern California Tuesday was actually a massive swarm of ladybugs, the National Weather Service said in a tweet.

“The large echo showing up on SoCal radar this evening is not precipitation, but actually a cloud of lady bugs termed a ‘bloom,'” NWS San Diego tweeted.

Joe Dandrea, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, estimated the bloom to be about 80 miles by 80 miles, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Despite the uniform, colored blob that appears on radar over San Diego County, Dandrea said the ladybugs likely didn’t form a dense cloud of that size. He said a spotter in the San Bernardino Mountains described the ladybugs as “little specks flying by.”

The large echo showing up on SoCal radar this evening is not precipitation, but actually a cloud of lady bugs termed a “bloom” #CAwx pic.twitter.com/1C0rt0in6z

— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) June 5, 2019

‘Miracle Pup’ who was shot three times recovering well after eye-removal surgery

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Thanks to her foster fur-parent, the ‘Miracle Pup’ that was shot three times earlier this month is recovering well, according to KCSO.

KCSO posted Facebook photos of Oakley and a dispatch assistant who is currently fostering her. The puppy had surgery over the weekend to have her eye removed because of a pellet that was lodged in it. According to officials, a Good Samaritan heard gunshots outside her home and after running outside, she found people running down the street and a crying puppy under her car. After following the dogs cries, the individual found that the dog had been shot in the head.

Oakley, who is now blind in her left eye from one of the bullets had surgery to remove the eye.

KCSO said she’s doing great, and will be up for adoption with Pet Matchmaker soon.

Van passenger impaled after tripod thrown from freeway overpass

SACRAMENTO – A Caltrans tripod was stolen Thursday in Old Sacramento before it was thrown through the windshield of a van traveling on Interstate 5, injuring the people inside.

The van was a shuttle for Military Families Support Group.

“I was picking a veteran up from the Sacramento Airport heading to Mather to pick up another veteran. That’s what we do,” driver Tim Page said.

The California Highway Patrol says around 10:30 a.m., someone stole a Caltrans survey team’s tripod from the corner of Neasham Circle and Front Street.

Minutes later, investigators determined the tripod was deliberately thrown from the 2nd Street overpass. It pierced a windshield on the passenger side of a passing Chevrolet van heading south on I-5, according to the CHP.

“And out of the corner of my eye I see this yellow thing and the next thing I know, my rider has this thing stuck in his chest,” Page said.

Page said his passenger was impaled by the tripod. He pulled onto the shoulder and admits he panicked, but Page said his passenger remained calm.

“And there was no blood or anything,” Page said. “And I didn’t realize that that spike had  gone into his chest into his lung, and broke four ribs.”

Page says his passenger didn’t even think they should call 911.

“He says, ‘Nah, I’m okay.’ I look at the windshield and I said, ‘We can’t drive out of here anyway. I’m calling 911,'” Page told KTXL.

(Credit: CHP South Sacramento)

While waiting for an ambulance in the rain, Page says his passenger suggested they move under an overpass so first responders wouldn’t get wet.

“You know he’s very experienced in what he did before he retired,” Page said.

Investigators say officers used a local business’s surveillance footage to determine the suspect was a man wearing dark-colored shorts and a dark-colored shirt, as well as blue sneakers.

Around 1:20 p.m., a sergeant spotted a man matching the suspect’s description walking in the area where the theft took place. The 32-year-old transient man ran and struggled with the sergeant before he was detained.

The man was arrested on suspicion of resisting a peace officer and for an active warrant. The CHP is still investigating the incident, but if the man is found to be responsible for the crime he could face a felony charge for attempted murder.

Page says his passenger is recovering in the hospital, but is in good spirits. Had the tripod hit him just a few inches to the left, he would have been in much worse shape.

“He could have been dead. If that thing would have hit over here in his heart, I mean that spike is that long,” Page said. “And it went all the way in.”

10-year-old girls at slumber party fight off naked man who allegedly broke in and assaulted them

CLOVIS, Calif. – Two 10-year-old girls at a slumber party fought off a naked man who allegedly broke into the home and sexually assaulted them.

Timothy Jay Picard, 26, of Fresno, Calif., was arrested and faces charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under 14, first-degree burglary, and violating his probation, according to Clovis police.

Police said Picard entered the home at about 12:30 a.m. last Sunday through an open window while the victims were sleeping.

The girls woke up to Picard inappropriately touching them and fought him off, according to police.

Picard escaped through a window and was arrested after the victims alerted the adults in the home who called 911.

Police responded and were assisted from the air by a California Highway Patrol airplane.

Picard has multiple prior arrests which include stalking and burglary. He had been on probation for stalking.

“The Clovis Police Department would like to commend the two juveniles for their bravery and quick action in fighting off the attacker and for the assistance of the CHP’s airplane in helping with this arrest,” Clovis police said in a press release.

F-16 fighter jet crashes into building in California; pilot ejects

F-16 fighter jet crashes into building in California; pilot ejects

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A pilot ejected before an F-16 fighter jet crashed into a building at the end of a runway near a California air base on Thursday, authorities said.

A large is is visible in the roof of a building after an F-16 pilot ejected just before a crash near March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County on May 16, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

The crash took place about 3:30 p.m. at the air base in Riverside County, U.S. Air Force Maj. Perry Covington said.

The pilot managed to eject from the aircraft and was receiving medical treatment, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The pilot was hospitalized in stable condition and not seriously injured, officials said. No injuries were reported on the ground.

A parachute is seen in a field after a F-16 pilot ejected just before a crash near March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County on May 16, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

Aerial video from KTLA showed a large hole in what appeared to be a commercial building. There were no signs of a fire at the building, which sat in the 22200 block of Opportunity Way.

A parachute and an ejector seat could be seen sitting in a nearby field.

California Highway Patrol officials shut down both directions of the 215 Freeway between Harley Knox Boulevard and Cactus Avenue as first responders continued working at the scene.

Sheriff’s officials asked the public to keep clear of the area. No further details were available.

Here’s the scene where an F-16 fighter jet crashed into a building near March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County. The 215 Fwy is shut down in both directions. Details: https://t.co/pIyQXcCorG pic.twitter.com/1uBVypn61a

— KTLA (@KTLA) May 16, 2019

🚨Plane crash🚨 into building, pilot ejected and being medically evaluated. Please stay away from area and clear from emergency vehicles until directed otherwise. Updates to follow.

— Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept (@RSO) May 16, 2019

Full freeway closure northbound and southbound I-215 between Harley Knox and Cactus due to an aircraft crash. Please avoid the area and use an alternate route.#Riverside #Closure #traffic pic.twitter.com/rFB92Ntz00

— CHP – Inland Communications (@InlandChp) May 16, 2019

KTLA’s Matt Phillips and Nidia Becerra contributed to this report.

A former officer couldn’t walk his daughter down the aisle. So a CHP officer stood in for him.

SACRAMENTO – The day before her wedding, Amanda Rabe found out her father would not be able to make it.

Rabe told KTXL her dad still suffers from a spinal cord and brain injury after he was shot in the line of duty several years ago. To this day he experiences severe migraines, which cause him to pass out.

“It’s normal for him. We’re very used to it, TSA wasn’t,” Rabe said in a video chat with KTXL while on her honeymoon in Moab, Utah.

The Transportation Security Administration wouldn’t allow him to fly from their home in Idaho to California for the most important day of his daughter’s life – her wedding day.

A tight-knit law enforcement circle immediately got to work and put out a BOLO for a stand-in for the bride’s father.

“Her magic day they planned for her father to be there. It was years in the making and they were saying in the last minute he couldn’t make it and they needed somebody to stand in for him,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Jake Steel.

An hour before her wedding, Rabe got a phone call from her mother.

“‘Hey, I pulled some strings,'” Rabe recalled her mother saying. “‘I was able to get a hold of some people and they found some people.’ And so she was like, ‘You actually have a chippie walking you down the aisle and your dad is so happy that somebody there can do that for him.”

Rabe and stand-in dad Steel met at a riverside winery minutes before the ceremony.

“A very proud moment,” Steel told KTXL. “Just knowing I’m there to help somebody out at their magic moment in time.”

“He showed up with his two beautiful children. So that was pretty amazing,” Rabe said.

To top off an already incredible day, Steel even stepped in for the father-daughter dance.

“There were tears the minute it started,” he recalled.

Rabe’s sister had prepared the special song, “Stand By Me,” for that tender moment.

“So that was very special to me,” Rabe said.

When Steel was a teenager he lost his father, a CHP sergeant, to a head-on collision caused by a wrong-way driver.

“He also knows exactly how that feels to have his dad miss his special moments,” Rabe said.

“I was immersed in Amanda’s life for a small moment, yet it seemed like an eternity,” Steel said.

They said the wedding day has bonded them for life.

“It was absolutely like being taken into the family,” Steel said. “So it made me feel great for what I did.”

“It was wonderful to have him there,” Rabe said. “I don’t think words can ever describe having somebody just completely wrap you in their love and share that moment with you.”

A California teacher on medical leave for breast cancer has to pay for her substitute

(CNN) — A San Francisco teacher who is on medical leave has to worry about more than just battling breast cancer.

On top of footing medical bills, she has to pay for a substitute teacher at Glen Park Elementary School.

All teachers receive 10 paid days of medical leave a year in the San Francisco United School District. If a teacher needs more time, they can get another 100 sick days — at a price. Under a 1976 California law, the cost for the substitute teacher will be deducted from the teacher’s salary.

The average daily cost of a substitute teacher in San Francisco is $203.16, San Francisco United School District spokeswoman Laura Dudnick said. In 2018, the average teacher salary in the school district, excluding benefits, was $82,024.37.

“This reflects California Education Code language related to extended sick leave that applies to all other school districts in California,” Dudnick said in a statement. “This is not unique to San Francisco. This is not a district-only rule.”

Teachers who require additional medical leave can draw from a Sick Leave Bank for up to 85 days without any deduction from their paycheck. Teachers donate unused sick days to the bank to help their colleagues.

Parents say it’s unfair

The Glen Park teacher has chosen to remain anonymous, but parents at the school are speaking out about what they think is an unfair policy.

Parent Elia Hernandez told CNN affiliate KGO that the teacher deserves better treatment. “She’s an incredible teacher and that’s not fair,” Hernandez said. “That’s crazy!”

Another parent, Abby Hipps, told KGO that the the teacher is “one of the best teachers” in the school and called her situation “terrible.”

Susan Solomon, president of United Educators of San Francisco, said her teachers union is hoping to negotiate better sick leave policies next year.

“The issues involving teachers’ use of extended sick leave and the catastrophic sick leave bank, as well as the school district’s use of a daily substitute dock rate, are governed by law and the collective bargaining agreement,” Solomon said in a statement.

“UESF is consulting with our members on their priorities for contract negotiations next year. As always, we look forward to making improvements in this and other parts of the contract.”

A GoFundMe for the teacher that has now stopped collecting donations received $13,000.

Teen has frightening encounter with naked intruder who undressed in his room

ROSSMOOR, Calif. – A naked man who was chased out of a California home after undressing in a 14-year-old boy’s bedroom was taken into custody at a nearby elementary school early Thursday following an hours-long standoff, authorities said.

Keith Eric Newbury is seen in a booking photo released by the Sheriff’s Department.

The incident began Wednesday night when the intruder walked into a teen’s bedroom while the boy was laying in bed, according to a statement from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

“When he got into my room, he shook me on my shoulder. I was facing away from the door,” Dane Boryta said. “He looked at me and said, ‘Just making certain you weren’t deaf.’”

Detailing the harrowing ordeal, the teen told KTLA he had never seen the man before and believed he was either mentally ill or on drugs at the time. Somehow he managed to keep his composure as the man started taking off his clothes.

“He started undressing. I looked at him and told him to give me a moment,” Boryta said.

As the man disrobed, the teen then went to the kitchen and found his mother and told her there was a stranger in his room.

The man – completely naked by then – came out of the room and into the kitchen where he attacked the mother, putting a computer cable around a neck, according to Boryta. His mother fought back.

The quick-thinking teenager didn’t want to hit or punch the man because he concerned it would only escalate the situation. Instead, he grabbed a meat cleaver.

“I raised it over my head and I told him that I didn’t want to have to use it,” Boryta said, adding, “I would never use the meat cleaver on the guy, but he doesn’t know that.”

The boy’s father, who had been outside, heard the commotion and went back into the house. He grabbed the man around the neck and then chased him outside.

Boryta said his father was moving a car and left the front door unlocked, which was how the intruder got inside.

Deputies responded to the scene after receiving multiple 911 calls regarding the incident. When they arrived, the man got into a white Dodge Van and sped off, stopping his vehicle several blocks away on the grass of Hopkinson Elementary School.

He then climbed atop one of the buildings at the school.

Helicopter video over the scene showed him crouched on the roof, apparently in an effort to hide from deputies.

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded, including at least two air units, and surrounded the area, according to the sheriff’s statement.

The naked man remained on the roof for about 2 1/2 hours before surrendering, authorities confirmed to KTLA shortly before 2 a.m.

He was allegedly under the influence of an unknown drug and had committed “several acts of vandalism” while trying to hide on the roof, according to the statement.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department identified the suspect as 37-year-old Keith Eric Newbury.

He was treated at a local hospital emergency room. After, Newbury was booked at the Orange County Jail on suspicion of burglary, indecent exposure, assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.