Check out the new California section
L.A. Now
California: This just in
Metro bus struck by gunfire; passengers appear uninjured

Police are searching for a gunman who fired shots that struck a Metro bus in South L.A. on Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

The shooting occurred a few minutes before 4 p.m. as the No. 40 bus was eastbound on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at Vermont Avenue, said Metro spokesman Paul Gonzales.

The gunshots shattered the glass of the rear door, but no one appeared to have been injured, he said.

Though no one has been arrested and no weapon recovered, “passengers got a pretty good look at the suspect” and are talking to Los Angeles Police Department and L.A. County Sheriff’s Department investigators, Gonzales said.

It was not immediately clear if the gunman was aiming at someone on the bus or if the bus was just caught in the crossfire, officials said.

The bus stopped at Figueroa Street and is now being combed for evidence, LAPD Officer Jane Kim said. The incident is being investigated as an assault with a deadly weapon, she said.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.

Read more
LAPD officer accused of faking military documents to get paid leave

A veteran Los Angeles Police officer was arrested Tuesday on charges of stealing public funds related to allegedly submitting fictitous military leave documents on several occasions.

Christine Bulicz, a 15-year LAPD officer and a California Army National Guard member, is alleged to have submitted fake military documents that allowed her to take more than $5,400 worth of paid time off from the department, which she was not entitled otherwise, an LAPD news release said.

L.A. County prosecutors charged Bulicz on Monday with felony grand theft and attempted grand theft after an LAPD investigation, according to a district attorney's spokeswoman.

Bulicz was taken into custody Tuesday at police headquarters by LAPD detectives, according to the LAPD news release. She was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail.

The investigation into Bulicz began in November 2013. The department's Special Operations Division, which conducts higher priority internal inquiries often involving surveillance, conducted...

Read more
L.A. County supervisors finalize rule to break stalemate on labor commission

Los Angeles County supervisors gave final approval Tuesday to a proposal that would allow them to break an impasse between management and labor over the makeup of a commission that rules on disputes involving county workers.

A three-member commission had been stalemated, without a working majority to make decisions. Unions and management have been in a standoff since the supervisors changed the process for appointing commissioners last year.

Under the old process, labor and management had to agree on all three appointments. Under the new rules, each side could independently pick a commissioner but would have to agree on the third. Unions preferred the old system and mounted an unsuccessful bid to get the new process thrown out through state legislation.

In the meantime, the Employee Relations Commission has only one member -- the one appointed by management -- and has been unable to decide on any of hundreds of complaints that have piled up.

Under the plan approved Tuesday, if...

Read more
Take a look: Officials consider extending 710 Freeway with tunnels

Officials are exploring several ways to extend the long unfinished 710 Freeway, including the construction of 4.9-mile-long twin tunnels. We took to Twitter on @CAExplained to break down what the $5.4-billion project would look like.

Read more
Downey teacher charged with having sex with student

A Downey High School teacher and coach was charged Tuesday with 15 felony counts involving unlawful sexual acts with a female student at the school, officials said.

Brandon Hitchcock, 30, who also serves as Downey High's girls soccer coach, was arrested Friday in connection with allegations he had a sexual relationship with a student when she was a junior and senior.

Hitchcock was charged Tuesday with 10 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and five counts of oral copulation of the minor, said Sarah Ardalani, a district attorney's spokeswoman. She said the alleged sexual acts occurred this year between March and October.

Downey police began investigating the allegation after the high school  reported the teacher's alleged behavior to authorities. Sources familiar with the investigation said Hitchcock committed many of alleged sex acts inside the classroom where he teaches.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were unauthorized to publicly discuss the...

Read more
L.A. school board ratifies contract for Cortines to lead district

The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday ratified a contract for Ramon C. Cortines to serve as superintendent through June.

The vote was 7-0 and was conducted without discussion. Cortines will be paid at an annual rate of $300,000 per year, $50,000 less than his predecessor John Deasy, who resigned Oct. 15.

The decision to hire Cortines was made last week, during a closed session, and was kept confidential until the morning after Deasy signed his separation agreement. This is the third tour of duty in L.A. Unified for Cortines, 82. He led the nation's second-largest school system for six months in 2000, then again from late 2008 through April, 2011, when Deasy took over.

Cortines said he will operate as a fully empowered superintendent until the board finds a permanent replacement for Deasy or until it asks him to step down. His contract can be terminated with 30-days' notice, either by Cortines or the school board.

The new superintendent started Monday with a full slate of...

Read more