News Briefs


Two arrested after armed robbery at liquor store

Two people were arrested late Monday night following a robbery at a liquor store in northwest Fresno, police said.

The robbery occurred about 10:15 p.m. at The Liquor Zone, 1452 W. Ashlan Ave.

One juvenile and one young adult entered the store wearing black bandanas, Fresno police Lt. Mike Doyle said.

They put a gun to the clerk's head and pushed him to the floor. They began loading cigarettes into a backpack when the clerk told them he pressed the alarm to alert police, Doyle said.

About 10 minutes later, officers with the northwest district crime suppression team spotted the suspects about a half-mile from the store and saw them drop the backpack loaded with cigarettes. One of the suspects then dropped a gun. Officers also found the bandanas, Doyle said.

He said the suspects confessed after being captured.

Car drives under big rig

A fatal accident was reported Monday night after a vehicle drove under a big rig near Coalinga, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The accident occurred near Derrick and Gale avenues, northwest of Coalinga, about 9:30 p.m.

Man dies after car runs off road, lands in canal

A Corcoran man died Monday when the 2000 Dodge Stratus he was driving ran off southbound Peach Avenue north of Central Avenue, hit a metal and concrete canal check structure and overturned into a canal, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The Fresno County Coroner's office identified the man as 51-year-old Gabriel Palomo. Divers found him seatbelted in the driver's seat in the submerged vehicle, the CHP reported.

Missing teen girl located

Clovis police located Sierra Berg, 14, Monday when she returned to her Clovis home to talk with her mother. The girl had been missing since May 30 and police had been searching for her since her disappearance was reported June 10.

Detectives received more than 30 calls about Sierra's whereabouts after stories about her appeared in local media outlets, said Clovis police spokeswoman Janet Stoll-Lee. Sierra was turned over to Fresno County juvenile authorities.

Man apparently killed by shot fired by a friend

The shot that killed a Lindsay man last week was apparently fired by a friend after a disturbance outside the victim's home.

Chris Medina, 36, was booked Monday on suspicion of homicide in the June 12 death of Able Ceballos.

Tulare County Sheriff's Department investigators said Medina and Ceballos were outside Ceballos' home when people approached the home near Road 216 and Avenue 254 and fired several shots.

Detectives said Medina fired several shots in the direction where he thought the intruders were. Investigators think one of the shots is the one that struck and killed Ceballos.

Medina was arrested Thursday on a parole violation; he was already in custody in the Tulare County Jail when the homicide charge was added.

Three Rivers man killed after truck veers off road

A Three Rivers man died Saturday after his truck veered off the road and struck a telephone pole and a tree in Visalia.

The victim, identified Monday as Jonathan Lentz, 39, was driving a 2001 Ford truck east on Highway 198 approaching Old Three Rivers Drive when the vehicle veered to the left and off the road at 11:50 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

The man, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown from the vehicle.

Woman, children missing

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in locating a missing Orange Cove woman and her two children.

Maria Villalobos, 35, her son Victor Marquez, 14, and her infant daughter, Anibal Villalobos, were last seen about 2 p.m. Sunday at the Los Amigos Market in Orange Cove.

Villalobos is described as Hispanic, 5 feet, 2 inches tall, about 130 pounds with short brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a white tank top and tan dress. A sheriff's spokesman said she is mildly retarded.

Victor is described as Hispanic, 5 feet, 3 inches tall, about 130 pounds with short brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a dark green T-shirt and black shorts.

The infant girl is described as Hispanic with brown hair and brown eyes.

Investigators believe Villalobos and the children may be in the Orange Cove or Reedley area. Anyone with information is asked to contact detective Darrel Olivas at (559) 488-3638 or the Sheriff's Department at (559) 488-3111.

Fire chief hurt in crash

Tulare County's fire chief and his wife were injured Sunday during a motorcycle crash in Monterey County.

County Fire Chief Steve Sunderland and his wife, Janet, were riding a motorcycle Sunday on Carmel Valley Road near Monterey when Sunderland apparently lost control of the motorcycle, said county fire division Chief Joe Garcia.

He said California Highway Patrol officials are still investigating and haven't determined a cause.

Sunderland and his wife suffered some broken bones in the crash, but their injuries were not life-threatening.

Two fire calls at Bullard

Fresno firefighters were called twice Sunday to Bullard High School for fires in roofing materials stored in a parking lot at the rear of the campus. The cause was termed "illegal."

The two calls came within three hours of each other before dawn, the Fire Department reported. No one was injured, and no suspects have been identified.

In a separate incident, fire crews extinguished a vehicle fire in an attached garage at 4426 W. Avalon Ave. about 4 p.m. Sunday. Officials said tenants in the apartment at that address had just parked when they saw smoke coming from the hood of the vehicle. The vehicle was heavily damaged, but the structure was largely spared.


Closing arguments in boating accident case

Closing arguments began Monday in a trial involving Los Angeles-area residents Thomas Kirby and Roger Guzman.

The men, both 37, are facing several charges in connection with a September 2006 Shaver Lake boating accident that left multiple scars on the face and chest of Dallen McEntire, who was 11 years old at the time of the incident.

Prosecutor Dennis Cooper spent the morning and much of the afternoon giving his closing argument, and was followed by defense attorney Jeff Hammerschmidt. The case is expected to go to the jury today after Hammerschmidt finishes; Kirby's attorney, Roger Nuttall, gives his closing argument; and Cooper delivers a rebuttal.

Prosecutors say witnesses have identified Guzman as the boat's driver and Kirby as a passenger.