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Man charged for allegedly killing accomplice during botched robbery

A man accused of fatally shooting his accomplice while attempting to rob an El Sereno liquor store has been charged with murder. Prosecutors say Jose Alfredo Favela and Jose Espidon entered Meadow Maid Market in the 5300 block of Alhambra Avenue on Friday and allegedly attempted to rob the store, but the owner put up a fight. During an ensuing struggle, Favela allegedly fired his assault rifle, striking Espidon, who was carrying a machete, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. Favela, 22, fled the scene on foot, but was arrested a short time later. The liquor store owner was unharmed. Favela was charged Tuesday with one count of murder -- with a special circumstance that it occurred during the commission or attempted commission of a robbery -- and the special allegation that he personally and intentionally discharged a rifle. If convicted, Favela could face life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. Prosecutors have to decide...

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President Obama's fundraising tour to hit Los Angeles, and commuters

President Obama's scheduled arrival in Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon will mean two things: big bucks for his fundraising tour and traffic headaches for commuters as his motorcade hopscotches across the city. Obama will be arriving in L.A. after first stopping in San Francisco. He kicked off his West Coast tour on Tuesday with a stop in Seattle. For the president's L.A. visit, a section of West Hollywood will be affected for most of Wednesday and Thursday, with areas in between shut down sporadically, police warned. Here's a look at the street closures planned over the two-day visit: From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, police will be blocking traffic around Beverly Boulevard and North Doheny Drive. From 2 to 4 p.m., the area around La Brea Avenue and West Olympic Boulevard in Mid-Wilshire will be affected, and from 4 to 8 p.m., roads around West 3rd Street and Rossmore Avenue in Hancock Park will see delays. Rimpau Boulevard, between Edgewood Place and Olympic, and...

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Two people killed, deputy injured after Moreno Valley shooting

Law enforcement officers were searching Moreno Valley late Tuesday for one or two suspects after a deputy responding to an assault-with-a-deadly weapon call was injured. Several other incidents, including two homicides, appear to be related, according to authorities. The violence broke out Tuesday afternoon at a Shell gas station near Sunnymead Ranch Parkway and Old Lake Drive, authorities said. A Riverside County Sheriff's Department deputy sustained an injury that was described as non-life-threatening while responding to the assault call and getting into an apparent altercation with a suspect, Deputy Albert Martinez said. The deputy has since been released from Riverside County Regional Medical Center, according to KABC Channel 7. Witnesses told the Riverside Press Enterprise and KCAL-TV Channel 9 that they heard multiple gunshots in the area. A woman was slumped over the wheel of a white SUV at the gas station, according to one witness. A man who identified himself as Randy Greene...

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Two people rescued from sinking boat off Catalina Island

Two people were rescued Tuesday night from their sinking boat off Santa Catalina Island. No injuries were reported, according to U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Adam Eggers. The 26-foot commercial fishing boat was reported sinking about 9:30 p.m. on the eastern side of the island near Long Point. Baywatch personnel from Avalon and Cabrillo responded to the scene and pumped water from the stricken vessel. A Coast Guard vessel towed the boat to San Pedro. Follow @LAJourno for breaking news

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Murder suspects caught in L.A. are returned to Mexico to face charges

Two Mexican nationals recently captured in Los Angeles County were turned over Tuesday to authorities in Mexico, where they are wanted in connection with separate murder charges, federal authorities said. The men also had convictions in California for driving without a license and driving under the influence,  according to authorities with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. Jose Adrian Mendoza Del Muro, 33, has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in connection with a May 2011 shooting in the Mexican state of Zacatecas.  Mendoza Del Muro was taken into custody May 14 at his home in South Gate and was granted a voluntary departure earlier this month by an immigration judge. He had a previous state conviction in California for driving under the influence and was sentenced to 36 months' probation, according to federal immigration authorities. Luis Fernando Quintero-Heras, 44, is wanted in a 2000 slaying in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, where he is...

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Drone seen hovering over massive blaze at L.A. high school

A mystery drone was seen hovering over the scene of a massive blaze as it tore through a South Los Angeles charter school Tuesday afternoon. The small drone seen on KTLA-TV shows the craft flying above a plume of smoke and the curling flames at Animo South Los Angeles Charter High School. Los Angeles police and fire officials said the drone did not belong to them and that they don't who was operating the craft. As the drone hovered over the blaze, about 34 firefighters took a defensive stance against the flames. The fire, which started about 2:20 p.m., consumed the school's roof, ultimately causing it to collapse. A wall and the school's facade also collapsed in the flames, Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Scott Miller said. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the blaze and were taken to hospitals, he said. For now, Miller said it appears no one else was hurt in the blaze but cautioned that firefighters must still sift through a large amount of debris. The campus was...

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Reward offered in killing of artist on Blue Line platform

Authorities announced a $10,000 reward Tuesday for information in the fatal beating of a 65-year-old artist on a crowded Blue Line train platform. John Wayne Whitmore was standing on the platform in the 1000 block of Willowbrook Avenue about 1 p.m. on June 13 when two women approached him, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. A brief argument started, then the women began beating Whitmore, who was on his way home from running errands, according to the department.   The two women blended into the crowd at the station, according to surveillance footage released Tuesday. Whitmore died a week later. Whitmore was a painter and sculptor who donated money to help other art students attend college, said Corey Aldridge, Whitmore’s brother-in-law. Art was Whitmore’s life, Aldridge said, and became a way for the introverted man to express himself. Aldridge, who lived next door to Whitmore, said he began worrying about Whitmore when he didn’t come home that night. Aldridge...

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Man driving Mercedes killed peacock with pellet gun, officials say

Officials on Tuesday said they have a possible break in the deaths of dozens of peacocks on the Palos Verdes Peninsula after a witness reported a man in a Mercedes-Benz shooting one of the birds with a pellet gun. Officials released a sketch of the suspect, seen driving a silver Mercedes sedan. He allegedly stopped at about 8:20 p.m. July 9 in the 27000 block of Eastvale Road and fired from the driver's seat, killing a peacock that was standing in a driveway. More than 50 of the exotic birds have been killed or injured in the last two years in the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Rolling Hills Estates areas. Some of the killings were accidental, but a significant number were apparently intentional, prompting an investigation by animal control and law enforcement officials. The peacocks — imported to the Palos Verdes Peninsula a century ago — are a rustic part of life for many in the upscale suburb, but the birds have detractors who complain about their noisy, aggressive disposition. The...

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La Puente girl attempting to run seven marathons on seven continents

It was around mile 24 of the Orange County Marathon when tears started to well in 12-year-old Blanca Ramirez's eyes. "Mija, we weren't supposed to finish this marathon. If you want to stop, stop," her father, Dimas Ramirez of La Puente, told her. "Dad, I want to finish because I want to help the kids," Blanca said, as her father remembered it. The marathon was supposed to be only a trial race -- if Blanca was going to try to become the youngest person to run seven marathons on seven continents, after all, her father thought it was only practical to use the O.C. Marathon to test her conditioning.  Ramirez obliged with his daughter's request to continue, periodically checking on her to make sure she was hydrated while keeping pace with her on bike and on foot, as he and Blanca's older sisters do at all her marathons. Blanca was motivated to finish, Ramirez explained, because she raises money for Operation Smile, a nonprofit that provides free surgery to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and...

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Riverside deputy injured while responding to assault call

A Riverside County sheriff's deputy was injured Tuesday while responding to an assault with a weapon report in Moreno Valley, authorities are reporting.  Details were still developing, but the Sheriff's Department wrote on its Twitter account that suspects were still being sought Tuesday afternoon. The nature of the deputy's injuries were not released, though authorities said they are not life-threatening. Around the same time, the department wrote that deputies were "extracting a subject from the scene with the help of our SWAT team." "It's a fluid situation," Deputy Alberto Martinez told KNBC Channel 4. The wounded officer was taken to a hospital for treatment. For breaking news in Los Angeles and the Southland, follow @Caitlin__Owens, or email her at caitlin.owens@latimes.com.

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Cal State lowers enrollment growth, other expenditures for fall

California State University will have to cut planned enrollment growth for the fall term -- from about 20,000 to 10,000 students -- after state funding fell short of expectations. The more pessimistic assessment was presented Tuesday to the Board of Trustees, at its regular meeting in Long Beach. The 23-campus university system had been lobbying for a funding increase of about $237.6 million -- instead of the $142.2 million proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown -- based on projections of higher than estimated state revenue. The California Senate and Assembly had proposed an additional $95 million to $100 million for the system, which would have supported an additional 20,000 students, 500 more faculty, essential building repairs and other services. But it wasn't to be. The state's final budget agreement assumes a lower level of revenue and puts the system's funding increase back where it started, at Brown's $142.2 million -- the same as committed to the University of California. The university...

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House passes bill to improve airport security in wake of LAX shooting

In the wake of November's deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, the House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to tighten security at the nation's airports. The measure, introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), is named in honor of Gerardo Hernandez, the Transportation Security Administration screener who was shot to death Nov. 1 while on duty at LAX. After Hernandez was attacked, two other TSA officials and a schoolteacher were wounded as a gunman with an assault-style rifle ran through a passenger screening area and went on a rampage inside Terminal 3. The Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act requires the Department of Homeland Security to work with airports and verify that they have adequate emergency plans to deal with active shooters, terrorists and incidents that target security checkpoints like the one near the spot where Hernandez was killed. The measure also requires the department to identify the best security practices that exist at the nation's...

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