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SWAT team ends Pacoima barricade with arrest

November 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A carjacking suspect barricaded himself in a Pacoima home Friday night while a resident locked herself in the bathroom. The suspect tried to make a run for it, but he was quickly captured by a SWAT team surrounding the house.

Police say the situation started as a possible carjacking. Police were chasing the carjack suspect on foot through an Arleta neighborhood when the suspect ran inside of a house.

An intense 90-minute SWAT standoff on a cul-de-sac in Pacoima near the intersection of Debell and Telfair

Police say a carjacking suspect ran into a house, then barricaded himself inside.

Police say there were three people inside the house. One of them locked herself in the bathroom while two others escaped through a window.

"There was two others in the house and they were in the front part of the house which they were able to access through an exterior window, which is where officers got them out from, apparently," said Sal Torres, uncle to the woman who remained inside the house.

Relatives of the young woman who barricaded inside her bathroom say she maintained contact with her family and with police through a cell phone.

Police say it wasn't clear if the suspect knew that there was a woman still inside the house.

"We've always talked to them about if anything ever happens, who you should call, what you should do, and just stay calm and stay smart and stay headstrong," said Lucia Torres, the woman's aunt.

Dozens of SWAT officers and police vehicles descended on the neighborhood.

Police maintained contact with the suspect throughout the standoff.

Eventually they got the suspect out and the 21-year-old woman inside emerged unharmed.

"She was a perfect victim, if you will, given the circumstances. Not that there's a perfect victim, but she certainly maintained communication with us," said LAPD Commander George Villegas. "We lost communication a couple of times, then picked it up right back. She didn't panic. She remained inside, followed directions, and then at the right time, came out when we were able to communicate with her."

Things were returning to normal in the neighborhood shortly after the incident. No one was hurt. One suspect, a male Hispanic, was arrested.


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