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Critical Incidents

by Pasadena Independent
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On February 26, six teams of Pasadena Police detectives completed 290 (Sex Offender Registration) compliance checks at 30 locations. Detectives found that two registrants were out of compliance. The cases will be forwarded to the City prosecutor’s Office for filing consideration. Pasadena Police detectives routinely conduct 290 compliance checks throughout the city. Currently, there are approximately 173 registered sex offenders in Pasadena.

On March 1, at about 11:57 a.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to the Archery Range regarding a call of a male armed with a semi-automatic rifle. A witness said the suspect was firing the rifle indiscriminately. Officers arrived quickly, formulated a tactical plan, and took the extra time to talk with people leaving the area regarding the suspect’s actions. Officers also listened for gunshots as they safely approached the suspect’s location. PPD officers clearly observed the suspect (Bradley Cutler, Male White, Pasadena Resident) standing near the bridge and that he was armed with an AR-15 Rifle. Officer ordered the suspect to drop the rifle and he immediately complied. The suspect was detained without gunfire or other use of force.Upon further examination, officers determined the rifle was a replica! The suspect was also in possession of a dirk, which is illegal. He was arrested and booked at the Pasadena jail. Cutler has an extensive criminal record. As you will see from the attached photo, it is impossible (from the officer’s view point) to visually determine if the weapon is real or a replica. The involved officers used exceptional tactics and judgment in this case. Their actions were courageous and prudent to say the least, which in the end, averted a lethal encounter. Involved personnel included: Sergeant Peinado, Officers Morgan, Butler, K. Jones, and Morris. (See Attached Photo of the AR-15 Replica)

On March 3, at about 1:13 p.m., the Pasadena Police Communication Center received a call regarding a possible residential burglary in progress in the 2500 block of Monte Vista Street. The caller (witness) told police dispatchers that he saw a Male Black knocking on his neighbor’s door for prolonged periods. The suspect jumped over a fence into the victim’s backyard, which was reported by the witness. The suspect removed a screen covering and attempted to force open the window. When officers arrived, the suspect fled on foot. PPD officers quickly contained the area and subsequently observed the suspect running in a southerly direction across Villa Street toward Fire Station 32. Canine and cover officers chased the suspect, who refused to comply with the officers’ verbal orders to surrender. The suspect was subsequently taken into custody with the use of the PPD canine. PPD officers determined the suspect was a juvenile living in Rancho Cucamonga. The suspect received medical assistance and was later booked for residential burglary. PPD officers were on scene within about two minutes following the witness’ initial call. Apparently, the witness told one of the officers that he “was very impressed with the response by the officers and their efficiency…” This was another great arrest. The witness is commended for his willingness to get involved.

On March 5 at about 2:54 a.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to the area of Fair Oaks Avenue at Congress Street regarding a traffic collision. On arrival, officers observed the aftermath of a horrific traffic accident. Apparently, the victim’s vehicle was traveling north on Fair Oaks Avenue at a high rate of speed, veered into the southbound lanes and struck the front of a parked semi-truck on the west side of Fair Oaks Avenue. The driver was the sole occupant in the vehicle and died upon impact. The semi-truck was unoccupied at the time of the collision; however, the driver and passenger were unloading produce at the side of the trailer. Neither the truck driver nor his assistant was injured. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office responded to secure the victim’s (Male Hispanic, 20s, believed to be a Pasadena Resident) body from the vehicle. The department’s Major Traffic Incident Team is investigating the collision. (See Attached Photo of the TC).

On March 5, at about 2:00 p.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to the 1900 block of East Villa Street regarding a man firing a shotgun. Witnesses heard a loud gun shot and observed the suspect (Jermaine Jones, Male Black, 44 years, Pasadena Resident) armed with a shotgun. Officers arrived quickly and observed Jones sitting in a chair outside his apartment complex. The officers contacted Jones and detained him without incident. Pasadena Police officers conducted a search and located the shotgun and a few expended shells near the suspect. Jones was arrested for negligently discharging a firearm and later booked at the jail. He later admitted to firing the shotgun twice into the ground to “scare away” someone he though had stolen property from him. Jones also had $300,000 in outstanding warrants. Officers completed a comprehensive check in the area where Jones had been shooting. No victims were located and officers did not locate any property that had been damaged by gunfire. Personnel involved include: Sergeant Beene, Canine Officers Arcand (K9 partner Figo) and T. Brown (K9 partner Brock), Officers M. Hooker, Marin, Magat, Preston, Spatz, Luevano, Salinas, S. Rappuchi, De Sylva, Watkins, Blumenthal, Corporals Broghamer and Carter, Pilot Officer Mendenhall,and TFO R. Smith.

On March 5, at about 6:08 p.m., Pasadena Police Officers White and Knighton were on routine patrol in a marked police car when they observed a traffic violation near Halsted Avenue and Foothill Boulevard. The officers conducted a traffic stop and contacted the driver, Sanjay Varma (Pasadena Resident). During the stop, Varma was sweating profusely and seem agitated. As the officers talked with Varma, he continually reached for his waistband while seated in the car. Each time the officers ordered him to keep his hand in plain view
Officers White and Knighton asked Varma to exit from the vehicle several times; however, he (Varma) refused their lawful orders. Officers White and Knighton removed Varma from the vehicle to further their investigation and a brief struggle ensured. Varma was arrested for resisting without further incident. During a subsequent search (pursuant to a lawful arrest) Officers White and Knighton located a loaded S&W 9mm semi-automatic pistol in Varma’s waistband. Officers also recovered approximately 27.4 grams of Methamphetamine in his pocket. Varma was transported to the Pasadena jail and booked for felony charges.

This is not PPD’s first contact with Suspect Varma. On November 16, 2014, in the early morning hours, Varma was illegally parked in a vehicle (which was later found to be stolen) in the east end of the city. Corporal Montiglio (then officer) and Officer Tavera stopped to investigate. As the officers approached the car, Varma brandished a pistol while attempting to run over the officers with the car. Fearing for their lives, one officer fired his service pistol. Varma was not hit by the officer’s gunfire and fled the location. Officers entered their marked police cars and attempted to pursue Varma; however, they were unable to locate him. Varma was taken into custody several days later by the Fugitive Apprehension Unit following a vehicle pursuit. PPD detectives presented the case to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office who filed felony charges against Varma. Varma posted bail for the ADW (against a police officer) for the November 2014 incident. His ADW case was pending when he was contacted by Officers White and Knighton on March 5, 2015. Officers White and Knighton are both very experienced officers and currently assigned to the department’s Special Enforcement Section (SES). Varma has shown violent intentions in the past and does not appear concerned about his interactions with law enforcement. Pasadena Police Officers White and Knighton’s officer safety, assertive professional demeanor, and awareness prevented Varma from accessing his pistol, which could have led to an Officer Involved Shooting. I am including a photo of the loaded 9mm pistol and the methamphetamine taken from Varma. You will note the pistol is equipped with a laser/lighting sighting system for use in low-light environments. (See Attached Photo of the loaded 9mm Pistol & Meth).

On March 6, at about 11:13 a.m., Pasadena Police officers responded to a 9-1-1 call from One United Bank regarding a robbery. On arrival, officers talked with the victims who said two Male Blacks entered the bank wearing ski masks (at least one suspect was armed with a handgun). The suspects demanded money and quickly left the bank. Witnesses observed the suspect enter a small gray sedan and drive away south on Lake Avenue. Pasadena Police officers contacted the FBI and we are conducting a joint investigation. Fortunately, no one was injured in the robbery.

On March 6, at 5:27 p.m., Pasadena Police Officers from the Special Enforcement Section (as part of the Violence Reduction Task Force)served a search warrant at a residence located in the 2000 block of North Raymond Avenue. The warrant was authored by Officer De La Cruz. The warrant was approved after judicial review by a Superior Court Judge. The foundation of the warrant was based upon a gang assault that occurred in the area. As SES officers were preparing to serve the warrant, they observed two females leaving the house in separate vehicles. One female (Lisette Reyes, 25 year old female Hispanic, Altadena resident) was arrested without incident on a forgery warrant and later released on a citation. The second female (Diana Reyes, 27 year old female Hispanic, Pasadena resident) was detained without incident as the subject of the search warrant.

During the search, SES officers observed a BMW in the driveway of the residence and determined it was stolen in Pasadena on February 5, 2015. Also during the search, officers located drug paraphernalia, a container of possible bath salts, and a loaded Hi-Point 9mm handgun in a portable safe in the living room (the gun had a live round in the chamber). Suspect Reyes, who is a convicted felon from a prior narcotics case, admitted to possessing the handgun. Attached is a photograph of the handgun recovered in the search warrant. SES officers learned the pistol was unregistered. Diana Reyes was transported to the Pasadena jail and booked for felony charges. The Special Enforcement Section is supervised by Lieutenant Clawson, Sergeants Aguilar and Bzdigian. SES is responsible for gang enforcement and many of the officers on the unit are subject matter gang experts. (See Attached Photo of the loaded 9mm Pistol seized during our Search Warrant).

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