The Latest | Southern California breaking news and trends

Arrested: sheriff's official found passed out in a stopped car in the middle of the freeway

Photo by Joseph Stevenson via Flickr Creative Commons

Sheriff’s civilian Director Natalie Salazar was found by authorities on Friday after several 911 calls to the California Highway Patrol reporting a motorist stopped in the middle of the freeway.

The 55-year-old top Los Angeles County sheriff’s official was found passed out in her county vehicle, reports the L.A. Times, with her head on the steering wheel, her engine in drive, her foot on the brake, stopped in a middle lane of the Foothill Freeway.

She was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, according to CHP Officer Ming Hsu, and tests showed a 0.20 blood alcohol level, twice the legal limit.

Salazar, the head of the sheriff’s Community/Law enforcement Partnership Program, posted $15,000 bail less than four hours after her arrest, according to jail records.

The official was convicted of driving under the influence in 2009 and put on probation, according to CHP.


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Prop 8 ruling: appeals court overturns same-sex marriage ban in California

Julie Small/KPCC

Prop 8 had a double rainbow moment Tuesday morning as the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the California voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. The ban was ruled unconstitutional in a 2-1 decision. KPCC has in-depth analysis of the three-judge panel's decision, what the ruling may mean for same-sex couples in the state, and what will likely happen next. Local reaction and photos will be updated throughout the day.

Become a source on Prop 8 for KPCC.


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Rain with a chance of more rain on Tuesday

Photo by atomicjeep via Flickr Creative Commons

Rain, says the National Weather Service, is expected in these parts. Like so many of us, the sky will probably start crying after 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday. 

A storm system off the coast will be moving east through the region with the high Tuesday expected to reach 62 degrees, with wind between 5 and 10 mph. The chance of precipitation is 90 percent and showers will probably call it quits before 10:00 p.m., notes NWS.

A hazardous weather outlook and special weather statement were issued Monday in advance of the non-sunny stint

Strong winds ahead of a cold front may gust more than 60 mph through mountains near San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Additional coastal water wind warnings were also issued.

Light to moderate mountain snow above 6000 feet elevations is possible in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and a period of three to eight hours of moderate rain is expected.


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Amen for architecture: Crystal Cathedral changes holy hands

Photo by Ben Kraal via Flickr Creative Commons

At the holy intersection of business, commerce, art and religion lies the landmark Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove's nationally-known Protestant church now owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.

In a case of dollars over doctrine, escrow closed on the $57.5 million court-ordered sale Friday, following Crystal Cathedral Ministry’s filing for Chapter 11 in 2010 in light of a $60 million debt.

The formal title transfer is complete, but a Catholic congregation will not be relocating to their new real estate right away. Under the terms of the purchase agreement the Crystal Cathedral Ministries -- named for the building that is neither made of crystal nor technically a cathedral -- is allowed to worship for three more years.

The ministry will be "leasing it back from the Diocese for $100,000 per month for the first year, and $150,000 per month for the next two years," explains OC Metro, at which point a few architectural changes are expected to make the property "appropriate for the Catholic liturgy."


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Wilshire Blvd shut down, shooting and standoff near Miracle Mile

Sky 5 photo of LAPD and shooting suspect at Mansfield and Wilshire near Miracle Mile.
Photo: KTLA's David Begnaud via Twitter

A section of Wilshire Boulevard is shut down near Miracle Mile after a man was shot around 1:45 p.m. Monday at South Orange Drive, LAPD Officer Greg Baek told the L.A. Weekly.

The shooting victim survived and was taken to a local hospital. LAPD radio traffic reportedly indicated that a wounded man was taken to Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

News outlet footage depicts a standoff LAPD SWAT members and the suspect. According to reports, Wilshire is closed from Highland Avenue to La Brea.

Reporter David Begnaud has been live tweeting images from the KTLA helicopter circling over Wilshire and Mansfield. 

Updated 4:20 p.m.: The suspect was taken into custody around 3:30 p.m.

Updated 6:12 p.m.: The man is accused of shooting another man in the face, the Associated Press reports.

Los Angeles police Officer Karen Rayner says the suspect, whose name was not released, was taken into custody after an hour-long standoff that brought traffic in the area to a halt.

Rayner tells a local wire service that the shooting was the culmination of a dispute that began on a bus around 1:45 p.m. Monday.

Police found the suspected shooter in front of a BMW dealership a few blocks away. Rayner says officers fired a couple of bean bag rounds at him, but he refused to surrender. Eventually a SWAT team was called in and surrounded the man.

Rayner says the victim is listed in critical but stable condition.


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