SWAT training in Union City, not a real crime scene

For the second time in recent months, I’ve been tripped up by police scanner traffic that led me to believe there was an active SWAT incident going on in the Tri-City area.

In May I heard SWAT action on the Fremont police radio channels, and it turned out to be nothing more than a training exercise at a defunct car dealership. And today I heard similar static on the Union City radio channels. One big difference though: I didn’t race out there today with my notebook and press pass in hand. Instead I was able to confirm by telephone that stuff I was hearing was indeed a training exercise.

I suppose it’s a dead give away when you hear an officer calmly say “shots fired,” instead of screaming it as would be the case if the incident were real.

For you scanner junkies, be aware that this training will also be taking place tomorrow.


Oops! Man accidentally booked on murder charge

UPDATE 2 (Thursday, 11:20 a.m.): Looks like the issue has been fixed.

UPDATE: It’s probably worth noting that this is Alameda County booking records, not Union City police.

When I got into work today, I decided to check the status of Angel James Mendez, the the man arrested yesterday in that shooting in Union City  that left a mother of two wounded inside her own home. Imagine how I felt when I saw the image above. Records showed the man was booked on a charge of murder (PC 187 F), not attempted murder (PC 187/664 F), as police had said.

In other words, it appeared that the woman had died. Well, that is NOT the case. This looks to be nothing more than a clerical error as the victim is still alive, according to two sources. Looks like Mendez’s case is scheduled to be reviewed by prosecutors on Thursday morning, and Mendez will make a court appearance in the afternoon if he is charged with any crimes.


Cause of death for Newark’s abandoned baby undetermined

Yesterday we learned that the abandoned baby found in May at a Union City apartment complex died from a bacterial infection contracted through a prolonged labor. It’s probably worth noting that the cause of death for the baby boy found in Newark in 2006 hasn’t been determined, said Newark police Sgt. Bill Shaffer, who was the lead detective on the 2006 case.

Also, I swung by the grave site for Matea Esperanza today to see if there had been any new memorials or flowers (or visitors) — but there didn’t appear to be. If you’re interested in visiting her, she’s in the Eternal Life (near the south eastern corner) area of the Chapel of the Chimes cemetery on Mission Boulevard near the fence line.


Cops: Baby was dead before dumped in trash

Got some breaking news to report. It appears that the newborn girl found in a Union City trash can in May was dead before it was birthed, and likely died from a rare bacteria that entered the mother’s uterus during a prolonged labor. I’ll have more detail — I hope — later today. But the working story is posted here. It will be updated later.


Dead Infant Found in Union City Dumpster

By Ben Aguirre Jr.

Staff Writer

UNION CITY — The body of an newborn was found inside a dumpster at an apartment complex late Monday by a person who was digging through the trash for recyclables, Lt. Ben Horner said.

The body was discovered about 8:40 p.m. at the Parkside Apartments on Decoto Road, and a citizen immediaterly called police. When officers arrived, they could see that there was a dead baby in the trash, but they were not immediately able to tell if it was a boy or a girl, Horner said.

“It was not in a position where we could tell its gender,” the lieutenant said.

By 12:40 a.m. Tuesday, authorities were still at the complex waiting for the coroner to arrive and remove the body.

The deceased newborn is the second dead baby found in a trash can in the Tri-City Area in the last three years.

In January 2006, a boy less than five days old was discovered dead inside a trash can outside a Jack In The Box restaurant in Newark.

Horner said he cannot recall another case in Union City where a dead baby was found in the garbage.

“I’ve worked here for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said, speaking about the type of case. He aknowledged that he personally did not see the baby.




Union City cops receive thanks; host tip-a-cop event for Special Olympics

Got a bit of information worth passing on:

1: A woman walked up to a member of the Union City Police Department’s community oriented policing unit in the last day or two and gave them a card, a token of appreciation for all law enforcement officers in light of the killings in Oakland over the weekend. The card is now being shown to officers at the police department.  According to a different officer, others in the community have been verbally showing their appreciation over the last few days.

2: Police are hosting a tip-a-cop event at Applebees from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Match 24) to benefit the Special Olympics of Northern California. Applebees is located at 30980 Dyer St.


MTC approves $91 Million for the BART Warm Springs extension

Here’s my story on this in today’s paper. Thanks to Mike on Bike for bringing up good info. I’m no expert on the MTC.

For the first time the BART to Warm Springs project is fully funded, although some conditions apply.

the $91 million was loaned from the Dumbarton Rail Project, which, if it’s ever built, would run trains from Union City across the Bay to SF and SJ.

MTC vote was foregone conclusion, but good news for Fremont, bad news for Union City.


Swat action in Union City NOT related to ‘local’ homicide

If you happened to hear about the raid on a Union City home this morning you’re probably wondering what it’s all about. Well, Union City police, the ones who busted into the home on Galaxy Way about 6 a.m., told me that it was related to a homicide case in Hayward and then referred me to a different agency for more information.  We’ve got a reporter at The Daily Review working on the details, but it appears that at least a half-dozen suspected gang members were arrested related to a killing in Hayward last month. Check The Review for information later. We should have the full story in our paper tomorrow.


Another Torrico aide seeks public office

It’s starting to seem like anyone who works for Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico needs to hold some type of public office. First his Deputy Chief of Staff Trisha Tahmasbi gets appointed to the Ohlone College Board of Trustees and makes a run for the Fremont City Council. Now, on a much, much less significant note, his aide (and former Argus freelancer) Ben Liu has applied for a spot on the Union City Parks and Recreation Commission.

It’s hardly an influential board. It can only make recommendations to the City Council, and whether it was about getting more youth service programs or city-subsidized dog park lights, the council usually ignored the commission’s recommendations when I covered City Hall.

Liu grew up in Union City. Here is what he wrote when I asked him why he wanted to sit on the commission:

“Since college, I was interested in public service.  My experience in the USAF and current job as a field representative for Majority Leader Alberto Torrico allows me to serve in an expanded role. Among my areas of focus for the Majority Leader are parks and recreation and public safety.

I applied for the position to gain access to, to know the community, and to understand the needs of our city’s residents. Most importantly I want to volunteer my time and impact the lives of our youth.”


High Court Denies Union City’s Appeal in 911 Ruling

That means Union City won’t be able to collect the $2.7 million this year from the 911fee (now deemed an illegal tax) they had been tacking on to people’s phone bills. According to the city, it means they will also have to refund the $2.7 they collected from residents last year.

If you put it all together, it means the city budget forecast is getting a whole lot gloomier.

We’ll have more on this next week.