MECCA – Three male suspects barricaded themselves inside a Mecca apartment complex today after at least one of them allegedly stole a sheriff’s patrol car and shotgun, but the standoff ended peacefully.
The incident began to unfold when a sheriff’s sergeant recognized a teenage gang member wanted on an outstanding juvenile warrant near an apartment complex in the 91000 block of 66th Avenue at 1:07 p.m., said Deputy Herlinda Valenzuela.
The sergeant tried to make contact with the boy, but he ran away and a foot pursuit ensued, she said.
The sergeant left his patrol car unattended, and another suspect jumped into the car and drove to the southwest corner of an apartment complex near Saul Martinez Elementary School, at Johnson Drive and 66th Avenue, Valenzuela said.
Several parents called authorities and reported that they “had seen three males, one armed with a shotgun, enter an apartment at the complex,” according to Valenzuela.
Arriving deputies tried to contact the suspects, who did not answer.
“The Sheriff’s Department decided to place the school on lockdown for the safety of the children,” she said. “At no time were the children in any type of danger.”
Around 3:30 p.m., the trio sent two children and two females from the apartment, then emerged and were taken into custody, Valenzuela said, adding that at least some of the suspects were believed to be juveniles.
The children at the elementary school were allowed to go home shortly after the suspects left the apartment, she said.
“After everyone was out, the deputies searched the apartment and located the stolen shotgun,” Valenzuela said.
The teenager who originally led the sergeant on the foot pursuit remained at large late this afternoon, Valenzuela said.