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Suspect on Westwood roof creates spectacle

February 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A suspect in a stolen vehicle fled from police on Thursday and ended up on a rooftop, creating a spectacle in a Westwood neighborhood.

The incident began at about 8 a.m. when LAPD officers tried to pull a stolen vehicle over. After a short pursuit, the man and a female passenger took off running. The woman was quickly taken into custody, but the man decided to climb up on a roof.

"He climbed onto a roof, and apparently there's a carport, so he used two houses to go back and forth, and just wouldn't come down," said LAPD Officer Cleon Joseph.

Inside one of the houses was 92-year-old Ida Wolf.

"The police came and said, 'Everybody in the house,' and then they said, 'Everybody get down on the floor,' she said.

She was then evacuated from her home, and soon after, the entire neighborhood was crawling with police. LAPD said at least 50 officers responded to the scene, including SWAT members and tactical teams with armored vehicles.

Officers watched the suspect as he paced back and forth on the roof near Le Conte and Hilgard avenues. Police surrounded the house and tried to coax the suspect down for several hours. Several streets in the neighborhood were cordoned off, traffic was backed up and residents were kept from their homes.

"It's kind of a hassle for everyone around here," said resident Danielle Dondanville.

For roughly five hours, the unarmed man refused to come down despite efforts from police negotiators.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the decision was made to try to disable the man with a bean-bag round. SWAT officers were then able to arrest the suspect on the roof.

Officers at the scene said the suspect appeared to be under the influence of drugs. He was checked out by medical personnel at the scene, and then taken away by ambulance.

Police described the man as a parolee with a long history of drug offenses.