Authorities said the chain of events started around 3 p.m. Wednesday as a jewelry robbery and attempted homicide by five suspects in Moreno Valley. The suspects fled the scene in a Lexus and exited the freeway at Nutwood Avenue in Fullerton, near the CSUF campus.
Two male suspects were arrested almost immediately at the scene. Two other suspects were at large. Police set up a perimeter around Mihaylo Hall, where students said they saw at least one suspect moving through the halls.
Sgt. Jeff Stuart of the Fullerton Police Department said members of the SWAT team conducted a systematic room-to-room search at Mihaylo Hall. By 11 p.m., they had cleared the building and released all the students but did not find either suspect.
By 10:30 p.m., police said all but two children had been released from a campus child care center. The parents of those two children were on lockdown at that time.
Classes were expected to resume as scheduled on Thursday, according to the university's website.
Many of the students on lockdown were communicating with the outside world through social media. Students took to Twitter to share pictures of the scene. One showed students hunkered down in a classroom with its lights off. Others posted photos of one of the suspects being arrested outside on the street.
The fifth suspect, a male, apparently carjacked a silver Toyota Camry and led authorities on a high-speed pursuit down the 91 Freeway into Compton. That suspect bailed on foot in Watts, but was soon taken into custody in a park without incident. Coincidentally, a toy giveaway was being held there at the time. LAPD officers were in attendance, including Chief Charlie Beck.
"He picked the wrong rec center to run into today," said LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith.
Earlier in the day, police said the suspects forced their way into a pawn shop in Moreno Valley with the intention to rob it. Witnesses told police the suspects were wearing ski masks and armed with .22- and .25-caliber handguns.
During the alleged heist, the armed suspects shot a worker multiple times. The victim, identified only as a man in his 20s, was taken to a hospital where doctors performed emergency surgery on him. The victim was in stable, but critical condition, officials said.
Two other clerks were there at the time of the alleged robbery. They were not hurt, investigators said.
Last April, a lone gunman attempted to rob the same pawn shop. The gun was wrestled away from the man by a clerk with the help of his dog.
On Wednesday, Troy High School, which is across the street from CSUF, was also placed on lockdown as a precaution during the search. Western State University College of Law and Hope International University, also nearby institutions, took precautions as well.