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L.A. County firefighter suspected in sexual assault near an elementary school

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A Los Angeles County firefighter was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of grabbing a woman and sexually assaulting her near an elementary school in El Monte, police said.

Richard Thomas Loken, 38, was taken into custody about 12:40 p.m. after his truck was spotted outside Portrero Elementary School hours after the attack, said Sgt. Richard Luna of the El Monte Police Department.

At about 8:15 a.m., the woman was walking near the school in the 2600 block of Portrero Avenue when the suspect appeared behind her, grabbed her and then sexually assaulted her, Luna said.

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As the woman ran to contact a witness and school officials, the suspect got into a Ford truck and drove away, Luna said.

Three hours later, police received a report about a suspicious person in a black Ford truck at the school.

As officers spoke to Loken, they noticed a loaded handgun on the passenger seat. A pair of handcuffs and a Taser were found, Luna said.

Loken was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence, possessing a firearm near school grounds and sexual battery, police said.

Before joining the Fire Department, Loken was an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.

A Moreno Valley resident, Loken worked for the LAPD for 10 years, police said.

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