Suspect arrested after holding man hostage in Long Beach during SWAT standoff, police say

Jaysha Patel Image
Thursday, June 20, 2024
Suspect arrested after man held hostage in Long Beach
An allegedly armed suspect who was holding a person hostage inside a home in Long Beach was taken into custody.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- An allegedly armed suspect who was holding a man hostage inside a home in Long Beach was taken into custody Thursday morning, hours after the standoff began.

The chain of events started after the suspect fired shots into the air on East Ocean Boulevard around 10 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Long Beach Police Department.

When officers arrived, they say the suspect ran into a residence near Gaviota Avenue and 1st Street and took someone hostage inside.

SWAT teams responded to the scene during the barricade to conduct negotiations. The suspect was eventually taken into custody around 4:30 a.m.

Video from the scene shows the shirtless suspect walking out of the residence with his hands up. Officers deployed gas and took the suspect into custody, police said.

The hostage had a gas mask on, and he did not appear to be hurt. It's unclear if that person knew the suspect.

Police identified the suspect as Erick L. Smith, a 31-year-old resident of Los Angeles.

Smith was booked on suspicion of kidnapping, burglary, obstructing a peace officer, felon in possession of a firearm, assault with a firearm and false imprisonment. Bail was set at $1.2 million.

Loren Graham, the hostage's neighbor, said they woke up to the sound of running and flash-bangs. Graham said the hostage and his wife are a retired couple.

"The house was definitely shaking," Graham said. "It was nuts. There were like 50 cops outside."

Toni Knudson, a neighbor who lives across the street, identified the hostage as Bob.

"You get scared for them. You don't know if he's going to shoot them or hurt them... but I do give the Long Beach police a lot of props because they showed up," she said. "And there was a lot of them here... I felt a little better."