GULF OF ADEN (Feb. 13, 2020) Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Chester Gaza, from Concord, California, strikes eight bells signifying noon aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60). Normandy is part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.
By CHP – Contra Costa
Monday evening, Feb. 17, 2020 at about 5:59 pm, a CHP unit observed a vehicle driving recklessly at over 100 MPH, in and out of traffic, on Hwy-4 westbound at Laurel Road. The CHP unit initiated a traffic enforcement stop but the vehicle (a 2019 silver Kia Rio) failed to yield to lights and sirens and accelerated away from the patrol officer.
The suspect vehicle led CHP on a pursuit on Hwy-4 westbound to approximately San Marco Blvd. where CHP discontinued the pursuit due to safety concerns for the other drivers on the road and CHP Officers involved due to the reckless manner of driving from the suspect. CHP lost sight of the Kia but as the CHP unit exited Hwy-4 at Willow Pass Road in Concord, the Officer saw that the Kia had crashed into an embankment just off of the off-ramp of Willow Pass Road and had caught fire. A CHP Officer immediately exited his patrol car and put out the blaze with an extinguisher and discovered the Kia was abandoned. Witnesses related to CHP that multiple parties exited the Kia after it crashed and fled the scene.
CHP towed the Kia and set up a perimeter to locate the suspects in and around the Willow Pass Road and Evora Road area. Shortly after the area was surrounded, all four occupants from the Kia were located and detained. All four occupants were male juveniles, including the driver. Thankfully there were no reported crashes or injuries to Officers, other drivers on the road, and only minor complaints of pain to the occupants of the Kia.
The male juvenile driver was arrested and will be booked into the Contra Costa County Juvenile detention center and the other occupants will remain in CHP custody until a parent or legal guardian arranges pickup for each juvenile.
Reckless driving over 100 mph on the highway that endangers all drivers’ safety will not be tolerated. These extremely poor choices from unsafe drivers are the exact drivers we are continually attempting to get off the road at all times. We are thankful nobody was seriously injured or killed due to this reckless driver and we hope that these young juveniles get some guidance, realize the error of their ways, and begin a path to better choices for their future when behind the wheel.
By Concord Police Department
If you were thinking about buying perfume for your special someone this Valentine’s Day, make sure you get to the store before this man and woman! View the surveillance video.
On January 23rd, just before noon the couple shown in this video entered a local beauty store and made a beeline to the fragrance section. There, they selected thirty-three bottles of a variety of perfumes and placed them into a bag. With haste, they left the store failing to pay for the almost $3,500 worth of merchandise!
Although we made light of the case at the beginning of the post, we take these crimes very seriously. We would love to get the suspects identified and make them answer for their crime. So, if you recognize either of them please contact the Concord Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit at PDInvestigations@cityofconcord.org or you can call our anonymous tip line at (925) 603-5836.
Domestic violence related; suspect arrested
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at about 3:24 PM, the California Highway Patrol received a call of a rollover vehicle accident in the area of Kirker Pass Road and Hess Road near Concord.
During the initial CHP investigation, it was discovered that the cause of the accident was apparently domestic-related. The Office of the Sheriff responded to the location and started an investigation.
Deputy Sheriffs found the incident involved a woman and a man who were in a previous relationship. The woman was driving a tan colored 2004 Chevy Tahoe SUV with two passengers. The suspect, who was in a white colored 2015 Mercedes Benz, followed behind and later pulled in front of the victim’s car causing her to lose control and flip over an embankment.
The driver of the Chevy Tahoe, who was ejected from the vehicle according to ConFire personnel, was taken to a local hospital and is said to be in critical condition. According to the CHP many vehicles pulled over and passersby turned the vehicle onto its side. One of the other occupants, a young girl, was treated and released from the hospital. The last occupant of the SUV was uninjured.
The driver of the other vehicle was later arrested by Deputy Sheriffs. He is identified as 28-year-old Alejandro Arriaga of Concord. He was later booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one felony count of child cruelty. Arriaga is being held in lieu of $190,000 bail.
Anyone with any information on this case or who might have witnessed it is asked to contact detectives at (925) 313-2600. Tips could be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (866) 846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.
By Megan Brown, Navy Office of Community Outreach
SAN DIEGO – As a member of the oldest Maritime Strike Squadron helicopter squadron, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ahren Aaron is a part of a Naval legacy. Aaron is an aviation electrician’s mate who is responsible for maintaining all the electrical components on the aircraft. He is currently serving with of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71, which supports the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.
“My favorite part of my job is being able to travel and see new countries,” said Aaron. “My favorite country I have been to, was Japan because I could take a 45-minute train ride to Tokyo every weekend when I was stationed there.”
Aaron is a 2015 Ygnacio Valley High School graduate and native of Concord, California.
According to Aaron, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Concord.
“Concord taught me to be accepting of people,” said Aaron. “I was born in Northern California and I was exposed to a lot of different cultures. I do take people at face value and accept different cultures.”
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
Sailors assigned to HSM-71 are a part of history, flying with “Romeo” helicopters, the newest and most advanced in the fleet. Helicopters are equipped with the ability to conduct replenishments at sea, search and rescue missions and support operations.
The members of HSM-71 achieve excellence in military performance and create an example for other squadrons to follow through operational readiness, innovation and weapon development.
HSM-71 sailors play a critical role in supporting the Navy’s aircraft carriers. Aircraft carriers and carrier strike groups remain the centerpiece of our nation’s security strategy, supporting and protecting America’s national interests around the world. Carrier strike groups operate across the entire spectrum of military operations, according to Navy officials.
According to Admiral Mike Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, the focus of today’s Navy is squarely on warfighting, warfighters and the capabilities needed for the Navy of the future.
“I am confident we will maximize the Navy we have today while delivering the Navy that our nation will rely upon tomorrow,” said Gilday. “And we will do so with urgency. Our fleet will be a potent, formidable force that competes around the world every day, deterring those who would challenge us while reassuring our allies and partners.”
There are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers. However, Aaron is most proud of making third class petty officer.
“I took a lot of time studying for it and then had to take a placement exam that I passed,” said Aaron.
For Aaron, serving in the Navy is a tradition passed down from generations and one Aaron hopes to continue.
“My dad was in the Navy,” said Aaron. “I joined the Navy because the Navy sat down the morale foundation of how he wanted to be as a man.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Aaron , as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“Serving in the Navy means I am there for my shipmates whenever they need me,” said Aaron.
It takes CDC five to seven days to confirm; protocols in place for dealing with patients and protecting medical staff
By Allen Payton
2-15-20 UPDATE: “We still have no confirmed cases in Contra Costa,” said Will Harper, Acting Communications Officer for Contra Costa Public Health.
In an announcement on the Contra Costa Health Services website, entitled Novel Coronavirus, Information for People Living in Contra Costa County, states: “Contra Costa residents are at low risk of becoming infected. Only people who recently traveled to China or have had close contact with someone who became ill with the novel coronavirus after recent travel in China could be exposed.”
The statement also includes, “As of Feb. 5, there have been 12 confirmed cases in the United States, including four in Northern California. There are currently no confirmed cases in Contra Costa County.”
However, that could have changed as of Friday, Feb. 7.
A report of a possible, first coronavirus case at the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez has raised concerns and questions for county staff.
According to sources who have chosen to remain anonymous, a Martinez resident who returned from China on Wednesday, Feb. 5 was brought to the hospital and admitted on Friday, Feb. 7 by her husband. He said she was very sick and concerned it might be from the coronavirus. The woman is currently in the intensive care unit.
The case has medical staff concerned with what is being done with quarantining the husband, who could have been exposed for two to three days, and for the medical staff, to protect them from contracting the virus.
“All I can say is, at this point we have no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Contra Costa,” said Will Harper, Acting Communications Officer for Contra Costa Public Health.
When asked how long it takes to confirm, he responded, “It has been taking the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) about five to seven days.”
So, medical staff at the county’s public hospital may not know until sometime this week if the woman has the virus.
Harper was then asked if there are protocols in place for dealing with patients, their families and medical staff.
“We do have protocols in place about isolating for a suspect case, for both the patient and that staff has the proper protective gear,” he stated. “Our public health division, when there is a confirmed case, will do a contact investigation. They go and contact the person who has the contagious virus.”
“There are procedures in place to both protect hospital staff and for patients,” Harper reiterated. “But, as for dealing with the immediate family members, we can’t talk about specific patients, because of patient privacy. In terms of the public health role, when there is a suspected case that is not confirmed, public health contacts the person and the family and encourages them to stay at home as much as possible and monitor themselves for symptoms. It can go beyond the family, with a co-worker who has had contact. Anyone who has had contact with someone who possibly has the virus.”
When asked why the coronvirus is getting so much attention, he responded, “This is a new virus, we haven’t seen it before, and there is no human immunity or vaccine for. So, the public worries, understandably.”
“We’re taking it very seriously,” Harper added.
The CC Health Services statement continues with the following information:
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and public health agencies across the U.S. are monitoring this new disease. Contra Costa Health Services is working closely with its partners and other health systems to track the situation locally.
Hospitals in the county, including Contra Costa Regional Medical Center & Health Centers, are asking patients about symptoms of coronavirus and recent travel to China. People calling 911 will also be asked about their symptoms and recent travel to China. Contra Costa Health Services has sent information about coronavirus to local medical providers, ambulance paramedics and schools.
Symptoms of this illness include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
If you have these symptoms AND have been in China within the past 14 days or have been in close contact with someone who has been in the area, seek medical care right away.
- Call ahead before going to see a doctor or emergency room – call Contra Costa Public Heath at 925-313-6740 for instructions about where to go if you do not have a healthcare provider.
- If you have a mask to wear over your mouth and nose, please wear it as you present to your health care provider or clinic. If not, please ask for one upon your arrival.
- Tell them your symptoms and that you were in China
As this is an unusual situation, information could change rapidly. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.”
Please check back later for updates to this report.
By Lieutenant Tracie Reese, Walnut Creek Police Department
On February 7, 2020 at approximately 2:10 p.m., Officers from the Walnut Creek Police Department went to a residence in the 200 block of Hall Drive in Orinda to interview 41-year-old David Martin Justice (born 6/13/78) in regard to a sexual assault that occurred in Walnut Creek. As officers arrived, Justice left the residence in a vehicle. Walnut Creek Police Officers attempted to pull over Justice’s vehicle, but Justice sped away at a high rate of speed.
Justice eventually returned to the address on Hall Drive and ran into the residence. Moments later, Justice exited the back of the residence with a shotgun pointed to his head. The Central County Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) responded to the address to assist officers on scene. The Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT) established communication with Justice and negotiated with Justice for approximately four hours. Justice peacefully surrendered at 6:02 p.m. and was taken into custody.
Justice will be booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on a warrant for multiple counts of PC 261, with a bail amount of $5,000,000.
This investigation is in the early stages and further information will not be released at this time. Additional details will be provided as they become available.
The Central County Special Weapons and Tactics Team and the Crisis Negotiations Team is made up of members from the San Ramon Police Department, Martinez Police Department, Pleasant Hill Police Department, BART Police, and the Walnut Creek Police Department.
The Walnut Creek Police Department would like to thank the Orinda Police Department, the Lafayette Police Department, the Danville Police Department and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.
If anyone has information regarding this incident, please call Detective Gerstner at 925-943-5878. WCPD Case Number: 20-4426
According to papers filed in court Thursday by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office, the 18-year-old Concord teen who called police telling them he had killed his mother on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 has been identified as Harrison William Mercier. He is charged with the murder of Elizabeth A. Barry. (See related article)
The filing papers allege Mercier used a knife to kill Barry and that it was premeditated, with “malice aforethought”. Complaint Mercier February 6 2020
According to Concord Police press release, on February 5th, at approximately 9:00 PM, Mercier called Concord Police Dispatch saying he had just killed his mother at their home located in the 3000 block of Treat Blvd. When Officers arrived, the man was outside waiting for them. His mother was found deceased inside the home. Mercier was arrested and CPD Detectives are currently investigating the case.
Anyone with information regarding this case may contact Detective Greg Mahan with CPD’s Major Crime Unit at 925-603-5817. CPD Case #20-1552
On February 5th, at approximately 9:00 PM, an 18-year-old male called Concord Police Dispatch saying he had just killed his mother at their home located in the 3000 block of Treat Blvd. When officers arrived, the man was outside waiting for them. His mother was found deceased inside the home.
The man was arrested and CPD Detectives are currently investigating the case. There are no further details to be released at this time. We are not releasing the identity of the deceased woman at this time, pending next of kin contact.
Anyone with information regarding this case may contact Detective Greg Mahan with CPD’s Major Crime Unit at 925-603-5817. CPD Case #20-1552
GULF OF ADEN (Jan. 3, 2020) Fire Controlman 2nd Class Michael Read, left, from Walnut Creek, Calif., and Fire Controlman 3rd Class Justin Janssen, from Crofton, Neb., perform a routine inspection on the surge antenna of the starboard close-in weapon system aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60). The Normandy is part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.