People and Events

From staff and wire reports

Any more of this and the Sheriff's Department might deputize actor Sean Penn. With the aid of his 18-year-old brother-in-law, Penn made another citizen's arrest outside his Malibu home early Wednesday, collaring five prowler suspects.

He had to subdue one of them with a bottle of tofu salad dressing.

Penn, 26, who only a couple of weeks ago arrested the alleged driver of a pickup truck that crashed through his front gate, was returning with his wife, Madonna, about 12:30 a.m. after picking up a few things at the market when he spotted a small clutch of strangers lurking around that same gate.

Deputy Bill Wehner of the Sheriff's Information Bureau said Penn drove to the house and let the Mrs. out to telephone the Malibu Sheriff's Station. Madonna's brother, Mario Ciccone, a visitor from Minnesota, then followed in another car as Penn drove back toward the gate, meanwhile dialing 911 on his car telephone.

By that time, Wehner said, two 17-year-old boys and Richard Barcelo, 20, of Chino Hills, had managed to squeeze through the gate. Penn and Ciccone persuaded the two boys and two young men outside the grounds to wait for the deputies. A transcript of the conversation is not available.

Barcelo, however, allegedly tried to punch the actor, who grabbed the salad dressing from the grocery bag and clobbered him near the right ear.

The wound was superficial, Wehner said, but Barcelo "decided he'd better relax and wait quietly for the officers." The deputies booked Barcelo and the two 17-year-olds on suspicion of trespassing and prowling. One of the minors was also booked on suspicion of stealing U.S. mail after some letters addressed to Penn and Madonna were allegedly found in Barcelo's car.

The two outside-the-gate loiterers were not booked.

Television news cameraman Martin Clancy, 39, who has been at KTLA for about a year and a half after working for years in Canada, was in the Compton area Tuesday night filming an interview with a witness to a shoot-out in which police captured two suspected drug dealers.

While he talked to the witness, there were a couple of shots and a third suspect dashed from behind a house and ran down the street with the cops in pursuit.

Clancy said he turned off his light "to keep a low profile" and followed the action. But before he could talk to the police lieutenant on the scene, still more shooting--apparently part of a second incident--broke out a block away.

A few minutes later there were other shots--which may or may not have been related to a third situation.

"Fortunately, I was wearing my bullet-proof vest," observed Clancy. "The news in L.A. is a lot different from the news in Canada."

Convicted slumlord Vijaynard Sharma failed to appear in court on Wednesday for a hearing on whether he had violated terms of his probation by ignoring fire safety laws on a Menlo Avenue apartment building that was burned by an arsonist.

Municipal Judge Veronica Simmons-McBeth decided he was guilty and issued a bench warrant, but ordered it held on the promise by attorney John Heine that his client will show up today for sentencing.

Heine said, however, that he has had a little trouble contacting Sharma because the landlord hasn't been home lately. The city "ran him out of there," Heine said, by cutting off his water and electricity.

Harvey Uribe, deputy director of customer service for the city Department of Water and Power, confirmed that Sharma's electricity and water have been shut off since last September "as the result of delinquent bills at his residence and a number of units he owns."

There was plenty of help in a hurry Wednesday when fire broke out at a manufacturing plant at 3833 Medford St. in City Terrace. At least 40 county and city firefighters were holding a hazardous materials response drill at County Fire Station 1, several blocks away.

The fire, which did not involve any hazardous materials, was knocked down quickly because--in the words of County Fire Capt. Ross Marshall--"I had people so fast I had a hard time directing them."

He said operators of the plant near Monterey Park, Barber-Webb Paraline, which manufactures vinyl chloride lining for trucks and tanks, "were saying, 'I couldn't believe how fast you got here.' "

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