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LAPD officer arrests armed gang member outside Pico-Union elementary school

January 9, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
An effort to increase security at local schools paid off at one elementary just one day after it began. An armed man ran down the street as children were getting ready to go home, and a fast-acting officer went into action.

They could have been in the line of fire. But Los Angeles Police Officer Daniel Chavez was on the watch at Magnolia Avenue Elementary School. Just as children were released from school Tuesday, Chavez heard shots fired, then saw a suspicious man running to the very front of the school clutching a weapon.

"I was able to recover a .357 Magnum firearm revolver out of the waistband area," said Chavez.

The armed man may have forgotten about Operation Embrace, the LAPD program started just one day earlier to deploy officers to visit every elementary school in Los Angeles at least once a day. Operation Embrace was launched as a response to the Sandy Hook, Connecticut mass school shooting.

The crowd of kids pouring out of Magnolia Elementary Tuesday provided the suspect no safe haven. Officer Chavez drew his weapon and ordered him down.

"He didn't see me," said Chavez. "I heard the shots. I am ordering the kids to go in. And I was able to take him into custody kind of stealth-like. He had no idea that there was an armed police officer standing here."

It was just two short blocks from the school. Witnesses say they saw the alleged gunman fire two rounds at a rival gang member. When the gun was seized two empty casings were found, and one bullet was still in the chamber.

Marbin Siprian, 18, was taken into custody. Police say he's a documented gang member on juvenile probation. Parents could not be happier that he's off the street and that Officer Chavez was at the school.

Officer Chavez is a 10-year veteran who says even before Operation Embrace, he started regular visits to schools in his Pico-Union patrol area.

"I got a big silver gun here, so this getting pointed at you, you're going to probably comply with the police officer and I was glad that he did do that and no one was hurt," said Chavez.