Latest Southern California news, sports, business and entertainment


Suspect in LA airport shooting pleads not guilty

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (AP) — The man authorities say killed a TSA screener and wounded three other people during a rampage at LAX last month has pleaded not guilty to murder and other felony charges in a case that could bring the death penalty.

Paul Ciancia (see-AHN'-see-uh), who was wounded before his arrest, occasionally touched a bandage on his neck and spoke in a hoarse voice during a three-minute arraignment on Thursday. He went before a federal magistrate at the West Valley Detention Center east of Los Angeles where there is a medical facility.

The diminutive defendant acknowledged his name in a near-whisper and that he had read his 11-count indictment.

Trial was set for Feb. 11 in a downtown Los Angeles federal court.

Authorities say the unemployed motorcycle mechanic arrived at the airport's Terminal 3 on Nov. 1 with the intention of killing TSA workers.


Man fatally shot by police on Calif. school campus

TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) — Police have fatally shot a 19-year-old man after he allegedly set fire to his ex-girlfriend's Los Angeles-area apartment with their 2-year-old son inside and made threats to kill officers.

Torrance police Sgt. Robert Watt says Asa Dolak was killed Thursday after police found him in the girls' bathroom at Madrona Middle School armed with a knife. School was not in session. He fled and was shot in the school yard.

Police allege that Dolak set his ex-girlfriend's place on fire at 12:15 a.m. after a Christmas argument spiraled out of control. Firefighters rescued their son, who was taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Dolak then allegedly drove to his mother's house four miles away and set it on fire. She wasn't home.

The shooting is under investigation.


Man dies after collapse in Riverside County jail

BANNING, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say an inmate was declared dead after being found with a serious cut Christmas morning in his cell at a Riverside County jail, but it was later found he had suffered a medical problem and cut himself as he collapsed.

The Sheriff's Department said in a statement Thursday that the 52-year-old man's cellmate at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning called for medical help early Wednesday morning.

Deputies and medics found the man unresponsive with a major cut, and he was taken by a ambulance to a hospital where he was declared dead.

Investigators found that he had suffered a "significant medical event" that caused him to fall and injure himself.

They gave no further details, and the man's name was withheld because relatives hadn't been notified.


2,300 pounds of sewage spilled in Ventura County

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Ventura County health officials say more than 2,000 gallons of sewage spilled onto the ground and into a storm water drain in Thousand Oaks.

The county's Environmental Health Division said in a statement that a main line blockage caused the spill of about 2,300 gallons of raw sewage at about 11 a.m. Thursday.

The statement says the blocked line was cleared and the ground was cleaned, but the sanitation department has posted warning signs for areas within a half-mile downstream of the spill.


Brush fire smolders in windy S. Calif.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Southern California firefighters are working to mop up a 10-acre brush fire that was rapidly spread by gusty Santa Ana winds Christmas night.

Ventura County authorities say the blaze was reported shortly before 10:30 p.m. Wednesday near State Route 118 in the Santa Susana Pass, northwest of Los Angeles.

Fire officials say the blaze is only smoldering early Thursday and it's 20 percent contained.

Three hundred firefighters are dousing hotspots and trying to finish carving containment lines.

No homes are immediately threatened.

Thursday's forecast, however, calls for dry weather and more Santa Ana winds possibly gusting to 40 mph.

County fire Capt. Mike Lindbery says if the wind kicks up, there's concern it could sweep embers into nearby areas containing hundreds of homes and ranches.


LA plans $8M housing project toxic cleanup

(Information in the following story is from: Los Angeles Times,

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Efforts to redevelop a notorious South Los Angeles housing project are literally starting from the ground up.

The Los Angeles Times says the city expects to spend up to $8 million to haul away dirt contaminated with lead, arsenic, oil and cancer-causing industrial chemicals from the site of a former steel factory and truck repair shop. The site will be used in a $1 billion effort to convert the Jordan Downs housing project in Watts into a mixed-income community of up to 1,800 apartments.

The city Housing Authority hopes to start work this spring.

However, some critics say the contamination may be more widespread and they want more testing.


'Booty Call,' 'Above the Rim' director dies at 54

HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A producer of TV's "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and writer-director of "Above the Rim" has died.

Police say Jeffrey Ian Pollack was found collapsed early Monday morning in the Greenbelt jogging area of Hermosa Beach, about 20 miles southwest of Los Angeles. Pollack was 54.

Authorities said Thursday they do not suspect foul play. Pollack was wearing jogging clothes and carrying an iPod when a passer-by discovered him and contacted police.

Pollack produced several seasons of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," as well as a Jennifer Lopez concert documentary. Besides "Above the Rim," Pollack directed the films "Booty Call" and "Lost & Found."