By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff and the Danville Police Department this afternoon received notification from the Kane County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois that a suspect being sought in a homicide in Danville had apparently shot and killed himself at his parents’ home in St. Charles, Illinois.
Detectives were looking for 51-year-old Mark Allan Sypien of Dublin in connection with the killing of Danville resident John Moore. The shooting happened on Sunday, February 24, 2019, at about 2:25 PM. Danville officers were dispatched to the 3400 block of Fostoria Way for a report of gunshots. Officers arrived finding Moore suffering from gunshot wounds. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Investigators identified Sypien as the suspect in the killing. An arrest warrant for murder had been issued for him.
Detectives continue to work with their counterparts in Illinois.
Anyone with any information on this case is asked to contact the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600. For any tips, call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message or email: email@example.com.Read More
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority will host government and industry leaders to discuss cutting edge transportation technology; Six start-ups competing for $10,000 prize money
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) will host the fifth annual Redefining Mobility Summit on Friday, March 8th in San Ramon. The Redefining Mobility Summit brings together government and industry leaders to discuss how innovative research and cutting edge technology are revolutionizing transportation.
What: Redefining Mobility Summit
Who: Industry leaders speaking about the future of Connected Vehicle/Autonomous Vehicle technology
When: Friday, March 8, 2018 from 8:15am-4:45pm
Where: Roundhouse Conference Center, 2600 Camino Ramon, Suite 100 San Ramon, CA 94583
A complete list of speakers is available here.
A brief overview of the schedule and highlighted speakers is below:
8:15am: A roundtable with transportation innovators around the world including Japan, Canada, Spain and Australia and New Zealand.
10:00am: Keynote speaker, Anousheh Ansari, Co-founder and Executive Chairwoman of Prodea Systems, space explorer, and serial entrepreneuer.
10:45am: A panel on the latest and safest self-driving car innovations from AAA and AV technology developers featuring Ignacio Garcia, VP, Autonomous Vehicle Strategy – AAA NCNU; Alan Jowett – VP of Business Development – Ottopia and others.
1:00pm: Six transportation start-ups competing for $10,000 to help them on their quest to redefine mobility including Route Reports; Detecterra; Smart Edge; Traffic Patterns; Allvision IO; and EVSEE.
2:30pm: The future of freight, moderated by California Transportation Commission Chair Fran Inman and featuring Jonny Morris, Head of Public Policy, Embark and Paul Konasewich, Director of Business Development, PACCAR Silicon Valley Innovation Center, and others.
3:30pm: A panel on the dynamic nature of urban mobility with Ali Mortazavi; the director of Nissan R&D and AI Sohier Hall, President/CEO of Luum; Hugo Fozzati Director of Business & Operations for AutoX and others focused on shifting transportation’s mindset from thinking about moving cars to moving people.
4:45pm: Closing Remarks & Announcement of Start-up Pitch Winner About the Contra Costa Transportation Authority
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is a public agency formed by Contra Costa voters in 1988 to manage the county’s transportation sales tax program and oversee countywide transportation planning efforts. With a staff of twenty people managing a multi-billion-dollar suite of projects and programs, CCTA is responsible for planning, funding and delivering critical transportation infrastructure projects and programs that connect our communities, foster a strong economy, increase sustainability, and safely and efficiently get people where they need to go. CCTA also serves as the county’s designated Congestion Management Agency, responsible for putting programs in place to keep traffic levels manageable. More information about CCTA is available at ccta.net.Read More
By LTC Christopher Ophardt, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, U.S. Military Academy
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Cadet Peter L. Zhu, a member of the Class of 2019, passed Feb. 28 at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York, with his family by his side, after succumbing to injuries sustained on Feb. 23 while skiing at Victor Constant Ski Area located on the academy grounds.
“I wish to extend to his family the sincere and profound sympathy of the U. S. Military Academy and all members of this command. We lost a brother today, and the pain will be felt for a long time,” said Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams.
Zhu, 21, of Concord, California, was found unresponsive by a fellow skier on Saturday afternoon on the slope. Ski Patrol conducted life-saving measures as he was transported to Keller Army Community Hospital and then airlifted to Westchester. The details of this incident are under investigation.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Zhu family during this difficult time. The entire West Point community is heartbroken over this tragedy,” said Brig. Gen. Steve Gilland, commandant of cadets. “Peter was one of the top cadets in the Class of 2019, very well-known and a friend to all. He embodied the ideals of the Corps of Cadets and its motto of Duty, Honor, Country and all who knew Peter will miss him.”
Zhu was an accomplished cadet who was President of the Cadet Medical Society and served on Regimental Staff the first semester of his senior year. He was looking forward to receiving a commission as a Medical Corps Officer and attending the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences for medical school.
According to his Facebook page, Zhu was a native of Hongku, Shanghai, China and a graduate of De La Salle High School in Concord, CA.
A memorial ceremony for the West Point community and private funeral service will be held at West Point next week.
About West Point
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point is a four-year, co-educational, federal, liberal arts college located 50 miles north of New York City. It was founded in 1802 as America’s first college of engineering and continues today as the world’s premier leader-development institution, consistently ranked among top colleges in the country. Its mission remains constant— to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the U. S. Army. For more information, go to www.westpoint.edu.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More
On February 10, 2019, at approximately 1:45 am, Concord Police Officers were called to the area of Clayton Road and Detroit Avenue on a report of a man lying on the sidewalk and with an apparent gunshot wound. The victim, 27-year-old Carlos Nunez of Concord, was declared deceased at the scene. Detectives of the Concord Police Department conducted an investigation and located surveillance camera footage from a nearby apartment complex camera that showed the suspects a block from the crime scene prior to the murder.
The investigation revealed that the victim contacted a group of persons and asked them if anyone wanted to purchase his bicycle. Two members of the group claimed that the bicycle was stolen and belonged to them. When the suspect left the area, he was followed by the two suspects who shot and killed him when he got to Clayton Rd. The suspects then stole the bicycle and other personal property from the victim.
The suspects were identified by detectives and warrants were issued for their arrest. On February 22nd, Jose Hernandez-Barajas, 21 years old, and Luis Angel Mendoza, 19 years old, were arrested for Nunez’s murder. Both are residents of Concord. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office has charged both with Murder, Robbery, and Personal Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Crime. They are currently both incarcerated in the Contra Costa County Jail.Read More
More appeals expected
By Daniel Borsuk
Over a volley of citizen complaints about potential neighborhood blight and health cancer risks concerns linked to Verizon Wireless’ plans to install five small cell wireless facilities on PG&E poles in bucolic unincorporated Alamo and Walnut Creek residential locations, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously upheld the county Zoning Administrator’s and Planning Commission’s rulings approving the telecommunication corporation’s requests on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
According to the staff report for agenda item, “On December 21, 2018, Ms. Alice Lee filed an appeal with the Department of Conservation and Development, Community Development Division, over the decision of the County Planning Commission to deny the appeal and uphold the decision of the County Zoning Administrator to approve the Wireless Facilities Access Permit. Ms. Alice Lee submitted a revised appeal letter on December 24, 2018.”
With Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood absent from the meeting because she was recuperating from successful heart surgery on Monday, supervisors voted 4-0 to sustain favorable county zoning administrator and planning commission rulings on Verizon Cell Wireless’ requests to install five small wireless cell facilities in the right-of-way of 401 Horsetrail Court, 1524 Alamo Way, 184 Creekdale Road, 1955 Meadow Road and 20 Francesca Way, but threw in a carrot that might sway residents to feel more comfortable about Verizon Wireless installing the antennas. (See PowerPoint presentation, here).
Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen, who represents the unincorporated Alamo and Walnut Creek areas where Verizon Wireless plans to install the cell wireless facilities, each valued at an estimated $200,000, recommended that Verizon Wireless mail to affected homeowners living nearby the five proposed wireless cell antennas to be offered free, independently conducted, in-home health tests. Verizon Wireless will pick up the costs for the health tests.
Verizon Wireless attorney Paul Albritton said the communications company would agree with Supervisor Andersen’s in-home health test request. Other supervisors also approved Andersen’s proposal. Albritton said residents must live within 300 feet of a proposed small cell wireless antenna. He said the offer will be valid for one year.
Even with the in-home health inspection provision, one Alamo resident, Ruth Strong, who lives with her aged mother near a PG&E pole that is slated to have one of the Verizon Wireless antennas installed directly across from her mother’s bedroom window, told supervisors, “I don’t trust them (i.e. Verizon Wireless) from coming into my house.”
Dr. Alice Lee, one of the five appellants, told the Contra Costa Herald it is too early to tell what course of action she and other appellants might pursue. Dr. Lee said Verizon Wireless has plans to install as many as an additional 87 small cell wireless antennas on PG&E poles in unincorporated areas including Alamo, Walnut Creek, and Orinda. “There will be other carriers. There will be more towers,” she told supervisors.
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill said it is difficult for counties to overturn requests of telecommunication communication companies requesting to install new equipment such as small cell wireless facilities on existing PG&E poles because of the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 that has been amended numerous times. California counties and cities are contesting certain aspects of Telecommunications Act in the Supreme Court because the federal law supersedes local or state law.
Among consent item supervisors approved without comment from the public, were:
Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle Funding
Spending $1.3 million from the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District budget to buy a Type I Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle that will be owned and operated by the county fire district. The acquisition of a new Type I Hazardous Material Response Vehicle will allow the fire district to own and operate its own vehicle. Since the formation of the county’s Hazardous Materials Team in 2016, the team has operated a vehicle on loan from the California Office of Emergency Services. That vehicle was recently out of service for over 30 days while it received warranty related repairs in Sacramento. That compromised the Contra Costa County team’s ability to respond to hazardous response incidents. Buying this vehicle will permit the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District to respond to future hazardous material response incidents.
Emerging Aeronautical Technologies to Be Promoted at County Airports
Supervisors permitted County Airports Director Keith Freitas to promote and market Buchanan Field and Byron Airport as testing locations for emerging aeronautical and aeronautical related technologies. There will be no financial cost to the county general fund associated with the promotion and marketing campaign. Airport staff and any county counsel staff time will be charged to the Airport Enterprise Fund.
Kirker Pass Road Truck Lane Funding
Supervisors awarded a $14,153,763 contract to Granite Rock Company to construct the Kirker Pass Road Northbound Truck Climbing Lane project. Construction is set to begin this summer to add a truck lane on Kirker Pass Road from the Concord Pavilion to Hess Road. The addition of the lane is designed to reduce accidents caused by trucks traveling up Kirker Pass Road. Other contractors and their bids at the Jan. 22 disclosure were: Bay Cities Paving & Grading, Inc., $14,886,666; Ghilotti Construction Company, Inc., $15,225,077. 60; Gordon N. Ball, Inc. $15,528,038.20; Flatiron West, Inc. $15,528,038.20; Granite Construction Co, $16, 073, 185.10; O.C. Jones & Sons, Inc. $16,073, 788 and DeSilva Gates Construction, $17,500,000.
Waterfront Initiative Funding
Supervisors approved the new funding allocations of $142,500 to implement approved Northern Waterfront initiatives planned for 2019-2020. Those expenditures included $50,000 for the Hercules site exploration for bioscience, $12,000 for a May forum, $10,000 for State Lands/Crockett waterfront access, $70,000 for collaborative marketing and a marketing video. Supervisors had budgeted $500,000 in 2017 to cover Northern Waterfront Economic Development Initiative projects. Since the initiative’s launch, the only expenditure since then has been the $263,000 to consultant contracts or grant match.
Paying Additional $11,000 to Winchester for Sheriff’s Department Ammunition
Supervisors agreed to pay an additional $11,000 to buy Winchester ammunition for the Office of the Sheriff because after more than 20 years, Winchester has changed its ammunition distributor in Northern California from Adamson Police Products to Dooley Enterprises. In 2017, the Office of the Sheriff executed a new purchase order with Dooley Enterprises as the new Winchester ammunition distributor to meet future training and duty ammunition demands. As a result of the change in the purchase order. the county will have paid $411,000, not $400,000 for the purchase of ammunition for the period of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019.
To see the entire meeting agenda, click here.Read More
Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis’ surgery to replace her aortic valve was a success. (See related article).
The surgery performed on Monday, February 25 by a medical team at John Muir Hospital Concord began at 8 am, with the valve replacement completed just before noon. Supervisor Burgis was up and making jokes with friends by early evening. She will be in the hospital for one week and then recovering at home before returning to work.
“We are excited and relieved that the surgery was such a success,” said Mark Goodwin, Supervisor Burgis’ Chief of Staff. “I’ll be speaking with her regularly over the next few weeks. I’m not sure what the greater challenge will be, keeping her away from the work she loves while she recovers or keeping up with her when she gets back, but I look forward to both. We’re grateful to the medical team at John Muir Hospital Concord and to everyone who has reached out to express their support.”
Goodwin will be the primary point of contact during Burgis’ recovery. Cards and well wishes may be sent to her main office, 3361 Walnut Boulevard, Suite 140, Brentwood, CA 94513.
Supervisor Diane Burgis represents District 3, the largest of the five Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor districts, which includes Antioch, Bethel Island, Brentwood, Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, and Oakley in East Contra Costa County and Blackhawk, Diablo and Tassajara Valley in the southern portion of the district.Read More
On Tuesday February 26, 2019, 21-year-old Martinez resident Aaron Mikkelsen pleaded guilty to one count of child molestation and was sentenced to six years in state prison. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable David E. Goldstein. Through his guilty plea, Mikkelsen admitted that he sexually molested a child under the age of 13 years old, in violation of California Penal Code section 288(a). Mikkelsen will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
On October 23, 2018, the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed a search warrant in Martinez related to Mikkelsen selling child pornography on social media. During the search, investigators discovered evidence that Mikkelsen had sexually abused a child under 13 years old. Investigators located a significant amount of child sexual abuse material on his cell phone and in various social media accounts. (See related article).
“Protecting our children from hands on sexual abuse and online exploitation is a priority for this Office. Individuals who seek to victimize the most vulnerable members of our society will face significant consequences,” said District Attorney Diana Becton.
The investigation was conducted by a multi-agency Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is managed by the San Jose Police Department. In Contra Costa County, detectives and investigators from the Walnut Creek, Martinez, San Ramon, Concord and Moraga Police Departments, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, United States Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Contra Costa County Probation Department, and Inspectors from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force.
Case information: People v. Aaron Kurtis Mikkelsen, Docket Number 01-187610-1Read More
Please see above the forensic sketch and details from the incident that was reported on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, in San Ramon.
On Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 at approximately 5:30 p.m. a 13-year-old female was walking in the 500 block of Fallen Leaf Circle when an Indian male driving a white, possibly Nissan Rogue hatchback four-door vehicle, pulled up and contacted her. The unidentified male told her, “Your Dad asked me to pick you up and drop you off at your house.”
When she said “No thanks,” the male reached across to the passenger side and through the window, tried to grab the juvenile’s arm, but instead brushed her sweater sleeve as she pulled back. The juvenile ran to the nearby Iron Horse Trail and hid in the bushes until the subject left the area. The juvenile immediately called her mother and father (as evidenced by her call log).
The suspect is described as follows:
*East Indian male
*Dark skin color
*35-50 years old
*Light blue circle around the left eye
*Spoke with an Indian accent with a lisp
*Wearing a black hooded jacket over a light blue or grey Nike shirt
*Ring on right hand with two overlapping snakes
The suspect vehicle is described as follows:
Possibly a Nissan Rogue. 4 Door hatchback, white in color, yellow star with smiley face sticker on front windshield, partial California plate of 7HM…6, back passenger side windows darkly tinted.
Any tips can be reported to the San Ramon Police Dispatch Center at (925) 973-2779.Read More
Thursday evening at about 8:26 pm, Contra Costa CHP was advised of a solo vehicle collision on Highway 4 eastbound, west of Pacheco Blvd. in Martinez. Upon emergency personnel and CHP arrival, a blue Saturn sedan was found crashed into the center divider of eastbound Hwy 4, several witnesses that stopped along the right shoulder of eastbound Hwy 4, and the adult female driver of the Saturn was lying in the westbound lanes of traffic and unresponsive. The driver of a white Dodge pickup truck was also stopped along the right shoulder but on the westbound side. Unfortunately, the female driver was pronounced deceased at the scene. She has not yet been identified. The Contra Costa County Sheriff Coroner,s Office will be handling the release of her identity.
In the initial investigation, it appears that the solo female driver of the Saturn sedan was traveling on Hwy 4 eastbound approaching Pacheco Blvd at an unknown speed, veered off the roadway and into the center metal guardrail. Witnesses related the female driver then exited her vehicle, climbed over the center metal guardrail, and began to run across the westbound lanes of traffic of Hwy 4. She was then struck by an oncoming white Dodge pickup. Once emergency personnel and CHP arrived on scene, they located the female driver lying in the westbound lanes and unresponsive. She was pronounced deceased at the scene. The male driver of the Dodge pickup remained on scene, was not injured, and cooperative throughout the investigation. Witnesses also remained on scene to provide information.
It is unknown at this time if alcohol or drugs are a factor in this collision as it is still under investigation. If anyone witnessed this collision or the events leading up to it, please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez, (925) 646-4980.Read More