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TimesOC: Former La Habra police chief, now yoga instructor, indicted on Capitol riot conspiracy charges

"Sign up for our TimesOC newsletter" and the L.A. Times logo over the Huntington Beach Pier at sunset.
TimesOC, a newsletter about Orange County, is published Wednesdays and Fridays.
(Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, it’s Friday, June 11. I’m Carol Cormaci, bringing you today’s TimesOC newsletter with the latest roundup of Orange County news and events.

Five months after the U.S. Capitol was breached to disrupt a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, two Orange County extremists, Alan Hostetter and Russell Taylor, have been indicted along with other Californians for their roles in the insurrection, according to an in-depth report by our colleagues Anita Chabria, Paige St. John, Del Quentin Wilber, Richard Winton and Hannah Fry.

The 56-year-old Hostetter, a former police chief of La Habra who later became a yoga instructor, and Taylor, 40, a tech entrepreneur, partnered to organize pro-Donald Trump Stop the Steal rallies in California. They are being charged along with Erik Scott Warner, Felipe Antonio “Tony” Martinez, Derek Kinnison and Ronald Mele. The men, all of whom reside in Southern California, connected with each other via social media and identified themselves as members of the Three Percenters, an extremist group that often includes ex-military and law enforcement members.

According to prosecutors, Taylor took a selfie video while he and Hostetter marched toward the Capitol that January day. In it, police lights and officers can be seen. “We’ll see who these guys end up working for,” Taylor declares in the video, according to our colleagues’ report.

Each of those indicted this week face a charge of conspiracy, various obstruction counts and two counts of entering and remaining on restricted grounds while carrying a dangerous or deadly weapon, among other charges.

As of Thursday, five of the six men were in custody. Taylor had not yet surrendered, according to the FBI.

Alan Hostetter clings to a fence at the Pier Bowl parking lot on May 21, 2020, as part of a rally he organized.
With sheriff’s deputies holding him in place, Alan Hostetter clings to a fence at the Pier Bowl parking lot on May 21, 2020, as part of a rally he organized to demonstrate against the fencing around the lot. Hostetter has been indicted along with members of the Three Percenters militia for their roles in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
(Shawn Raymundo / San Clemente Times)

MORE NEWS

— Although Amazon.com Inc. and city officials won’t confirm the project, the e-commerce business is apparently eyeing a 20-acre San Clemente site to build a distribution center.

— The Tri-Parish Homelessness Collaborative, which is made up of St. Philip Benizi, St. Mary’s and St. Juliana Falconieri Catholic churches in Fullerton, plans to meet with city and county officials in hopes of facilitating a countywide safe parking program for people without homes, my colleague Ben Brazil reports.

— A 37-year-old Garden Grove police officer has been charged by the O.C. district attorney’s office with threatening and striking homeless people while on duty in two separate incidents last year. Kevin Dinh, a 12-year veteran of the force, has not been arrested but is on administrative leave.

— Are you fully vaccinated against COVID-19? If so, the countdown begins for the day you can shed your mask, this coming Tuesday, June 15. Some of the ground rules can be found here.

SPORTS

— The Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 6-1 on Wednesday night, completing their first three-game series sweep of the season. The Halos play the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight, Saturday and Sunday at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) and Justin Upton (10) celebrate after scoring off of a double.
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) and Justin Upton (10) celebrate after scoring off of a double hit by Anthony Rendon during the third inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Wednesday, June 9.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

— As the academic year winds down a number of local high school sports teams have been working to capture championships. One elated team this week is the Newport Harbor High School girls’ basketball squad, which defeated Temecula Rancho Christian 58-45 on Wednesday night in the CIF Southern Section Division 4A championship game. It is the first time Newport Harbor has boasted a championship basketball team, boys or girls, in its history, writes my colleague Andrew Turner.

LIFE & LEISURE

— A water tower built in the 1890s and converted to a unique home with some spectacular views is on the market in Sunset Beach for a cool $4.95 million. Good news for those pondering life in an 87-foot-tall building: it does have an elevator.

First constructed in the 1890s and rebuilt multiple times since, the water tower is now a home.
First constructed in the 1890s and rebuilt multiple times since, the tower features four stories of living spaces with pirate themes and striking views.
(Sheldon / IVESTER creative inc.)

— In other O.C. real estate news, skateboarding star Ryan Sheckler recently closed the sale of his coastal San Clemente home for $3 million in a quiet, off-market transaction. And Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf just laid down $5 million for an estate in Coto de Caza.

— A free virtual screening hosted by the Laguna Playhouse today through Monday will feature “140LBS: How Beauty Killed My Mother,” an autobiographical performance by Susan Lieu. The show centers on Lieu’s mother, who died in the middle of a plastic surgery procedure from loss of oxygen to her brain. Lieu was just 11 years old at the time.

— Food writer and TimesOC freelancer Edwin Goei delves into the dim sum offerings in three old-school establishments, two in Westminster and one in Garden Grove, in this enticing piece.

A combination of dim sum offerings from Giai Phat Food. Co. and Dim Sum Food Co.
(Edwin Goei)

COMMENTARY

— Over the years there’s been too much hand-wringing and not enough action after episodes of gun violence, writes columnist Patrice Apodaca. “We readily hand over deadly weapons, even weapons of war, to pretty much anyone who wants them,” she notes.