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Oakwood School evacuated during North Hollywood gunman standoff

Students evacuated from Oakwood School during police standoff with armed man in North Hollywood

Police on Monday have begun evacuating students from Oakwood School, a private campus close to the scene of the North Hollywood standoff between officers and an armed man.

"There are several buildings with children and we will bring them out systematically," said Los Angeles police Lt. Andy Neiman.

Neiman added that the suspect appears to be in a house that officers have surrounded.

"We are very confident the suspect has been contained at this time,” Neiman said, adding, "it is our belief that nobody else is in the home.”

Oakwood students are being reunited with parents at a nearby park.

“The school has sent out an email that the kids are safe and the school is on lockdown,” said a parent, who asked not to be named, moments before the evacuation announcements.

According to the school’s schedule, middle schoolers were supposed to be released at noon. Seniors were to have a graduation practice. Some students also were taking final exams.

UPDATE: Pursuit suspect surrenders; 4-hour standoff over

The parent added that the school already was dealing with the trauma of students who were hit and seriously injured in a crosswalk last week.

In the earlier incident, one 14-year-old girl was put on life support with head trauma, another suffered a dislocated hip and the third a broken arm, said a California Highway Patrol spokesman last week.

After the earlier incident, the school provided extra counseling and made the week’s final exams optional, said the parent.

The North Hollywood suspect led police on a high-speed chase on several freeways Monday before roaming around a North Hollywood neighborhood with an assault rifle, police said.

SWAT officers were surrounding the home on Hartsook Street. The suspect 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. 

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 appear to be barricaded in a home across the street.

“It’s really scary,” she said. 

Franklin Hanock, 80, who has lived on Hartsook Street for 53 years, 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 Los Angeles Police Department sealed off the area and were urging residents to stay indoors. 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.

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, who was not identified, based on the earlier threat. Police tried to arrest him and that's when the chase began.

The suspect 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 chase began around 10:15 a.m. in the Boyle Heights area, police said.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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