L.A. Now

Pursuit suspect surrenders; four-hour standoff over

Man who led police on high-speed chase and barricaded himself in North Hollywood home now in police custody

A high-speed pursuit and standoff that captivated Los Angeles for hours on Monday came to an end when police fired tear gas into the home where the suspect, armed with an assault rifle, was holed up.

The barricade situation lasted more than four hours and caused blocks of North Hollywood -- and several schools -- to be on lockdown as police flooded the area.

Three officers standing on roofs next to the home fired gas into the Hartsook Street residence about 3 p.m. The suspect walked out of the house, and following police instructions, lay on the ground. Two dogs that were apparently with him also exited the home, watching as police took the man into custody.

The man was suspected of making what police described as "terrorist threats" against his former girlfriend several days earlier. Police responded to the woman's home Monday in El Sereno after he was spotted sitting outside.

There was an arrest warrant for the man based on the earlier threat. Police tried to arrest him, and that's when the chase began.

The unnamed suspect, 40, went on a high-speed chase on the 10 Freeway and made his way to the 101 Freeway and the northbound 110 Freeway. He eventually drove onto northbound Interstate 5 near downtown with Los Angeles police and California Highway Patrol cars in pursuit.

The man jumped out of his car around 11:30 a.m. and started running through the neighborhood off Magnolia Boulevard. 

He was seen walking through backyards in North Hollywood, then standing on the roof of a home. He then entered an empty home.

A woman who lives on Hartsook Street said in a phone interview that she feared for her safety. She is staying inside her home, adding that the suspect appeared to be barricaded in a home across the street.

“It’s really scary,” she said. 

Franklin Hanock, 80, has lived on Hartsook for 53 years, and said the area is generally quiet. With police swarming the area, Hanock said he's monitoring events.

“We are prepared for things that are going on and we are armed if necessary,” he said.

The police perimeter was Magnolia Boulevard to the north, Otsego Street to the south, Irvine Avenue to the east and Colfax Avenue to the west.

The Magnolia Boulevard exit of the 170 Freeway was also closed.

Several schools are affected.

Around 1:40 p.m., authorities escorted students from Oakwood School, a private school nearby, out of the campus.

Los Angeles Unified confirmed that Reed Middle, Colfax Elementary and North Hollywood High schools were on lockdown for several hours.

Also on lockdown was the entire six-person staff on hand at tiny Amelia Earhart High School, a non-traditional alternative public high school in the area, according to the school’s office manager.

A few students were at North Hollywood High to pick up diplomas, according to staff there. They, along with staff, were caught up in the situation.

About 100 students are at Colfax participating in a summer camp run by a teacher, said office technician Rosalyn John. At 12:05 p.m., the lockdown there was lifted, said district spokesperson Daryl Strickland.

As of 2:30 p.m., some of those lockdowns were being lifted. 

Residents said they were stunned as police swarmed into the area. 

April Gutierrez, 47, lives about a half mile from where police have blocked traffic at Magnolia Boulevard. She was at the North Hollywood Park with her dog moments before she heard sirens and someone on a bullhorn yell, "He's got a gun!"

Tamrah Land, 22, lives a flew blocks from the standoff. She was pedaling her scooter to North Hollywood Park when she asked someone what was going on, looking up at the hovering helicopters above the 101 Freeway near Magnolia Boulevard.

"I'm not surprised by how the world is going. It's funny I don't feel scared. That says something about our society," she said.

Times staff writers Howard Blume, Alicia Banks and Kate Mather contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times


11:49 a.m. PDT: The post has been updated with more details about the neighborhood where the suspect was spotted.


12:06 p.m. PDT: The post has been updated with details on the perimeter the Los Angeles Police Department has set up to seal off the area where police believe the suspect is. It also lists the schools in the area on lockdown.


12:43 p.m. PDT: The post has been updated with more details on the area schools on lockdown; that the police suspect the man of making "terrorist threats" against his ex-girlfriend; and with comments from a resident in the neighborhood that has been sealed off by police.


1:05 p.m. PDT: The post has been updated to say that the police believe the suspect is in a home and that the LAPD SWAT team is on the scene.


1:40 p.m. PDT: The post has been updated with comments from other residents in the neighborhood, and to note that students at one of the schools in the area have been evacuated by police.