A kidnapping suspect who led police on a winding pursuit across Orange County and slipped away after a tense standoff with officers in Newport Beach was arrested Tuesday night in Cerritos.
Deputies took Thomas Ueno, 35, into custody without incident about 7 p.m. in the 17800 block of Kensington Avenue, according to Deputy Sara Rodriguez of the
The Sheriff's Department had provided assistance to Huntington Park police, the original agency in a case that started as a domestic violence incident but evolved into a kidnapping-cum-televised police pursuit, drawing in law enforcement from across Southern California.
On Tuesday, police released a photo of Ueno, asking the public for help in determining his whereabouts.
The case was initially reported to Huntington Park police as a restraining order violation with a possible kidnapping of two "small children" and Ueno's girlfriend.
The chase began about 4:30 p.m. Monday near Beach Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue in Buena Park, Buena Park Police Sgt. Chris Nunez said.
Officers from Huntington Park, about 16 miles northwest in Los Angeles County, had asked Buena Park officers to check for a dark-colored Hummer that Ueno was believed to be driving, Nunez said.
After an officer spotted the large vehicle, the pursuit began.
"It appeared the driver noticed he was being followed right away," Nunez said. "He started attempting to evade."
From there, the pursuit took police into La Mirada and Norwalk before the Hummer entered the 5 Freeway heading south, Nunez said.
The driver occasionally veered onto the shoulder to dodge rush-hour traffic. Near Tustin, he turned onto the southbound 55 Freeway before heading onto the southbound 405 Freeway.
The driver left the 405 Freeway and continued south toward Irvine and Costa Mesa as CHP cruisers followed. As he approached Newport Beach, fog from a heavy marine layer obscured the view of helicopters.
The driver eventually stopped by Newport Harbor High School, staying there for several hours while a police negotiator tried to coax him to surrender.
During the standoff, the driver occasionally stepped out of the Hummer, clutching a young child as he faced law enforcement. Another child was seen craning his head out of the SUV's sunroof.
The driver jumped from the Hummer about 10 p.m. and officers chased him up a hillside near Castaways Park.
The two young children and a woman who were held inside the Hummer were seen walking toward the throng of officers waiting nearby. Police later said they were unharmed.
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