Former Burbank officer accused of attempted murder and kidnapping in Pasadena

A former Burbank police officer was arrested by Pasadena police on suspicion of slitting a woman’s throat and attempting to kidnap another woman early Monday evening.

The attack took place sometime around 5:30 p.m. when a woman sitting against a low retaining wall in the 600 block of South Arroyo Parkway was approached from behind by a man who cut her in the neck with a knife. According to the Pasadena Police Department, the woman screamed out in pain and caused the man to flee the area in an SUV.

The woman was subsequently transported to a local hospital and is expected to survive the attack.

A police helicopter soon arrived on the scene and was able to spot a vehicle matching a description given by a witness. Officers were able to stop the vehicle and detain the driver near the intersection of California Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue without incident, according to Pasadena Police Lt. Jesse Carrillo.

Carrillo said the driver matched the description of the attacker given by the same witness, and a knife was recovered the vehicle.

Police identified the suspect as 73-year-old Lance Semkus. A resident of Pasadena, Semkus previously worked as a sworn officer with the Burbank Police Department from 1974 to 1977.

Sgt. Derek Green, a spokesperson for the Burbank department, said Semkus left the force on a disability. No other information was available on Semkus’s time with the department as most of the information on his record has since been purged, Green said.

Authorities believe Semkus is also a suspect in an attempted kidnapping of another woman that happened prior to the knife attack.

Carrillo said a man attempted to force a woman and her dog into his SUV in the 3300 block of Sierra Madre Villa around 4 p.m. Monday. A bystander soon came to the woman’s aid, which allowed her and the dog to escape.

The man then fled from the scene in his vehicle, according to Carrillo.

Semkus is currently detained in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in lieu of $10,000,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

andy.nguyen@latimes.com

Twitter: @Andy_Truc

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