EL SEGUNDO – Police officers in El Segundo were left scratching their head after a man was able to evade multiple law enforcement agencies May 27 after he appeared slumped over in his vehicle, and allegedly with a gun inside.
The standoff lasted for hours and near two schools with El Segundo Police Chief Jamie Bermudez defending the decision not to close them.
“Based on the information I was receiving from the incident commander at the scene, the decision was made not to shut down the school.” Bermudez admitted there were issues with relaying that information to school staff. “This is something I will review internally and take corrective action to ensure our messaging remains consistent during critical incidents.”LA Taco
Despite the massive police presence, the suspect was able to get out of the car, get back in, reverse into a stationary Bearcat, and get away.
On Friday at about 07:30 AM, ESPD Officers received a report of suspicious circumstances with a male slumped over the wheel in the 800 block of Center Street. Fire Department paramedics were on scene and attempted to contact the occupant of the car, who was unresponsive. Although the vehicle had dark window tint, one of the paramedics looked inside the vehicle and observed what he believed to be a handgun in the vehicle. The paramedics backed off and alerted ESPD officers to the presence of the firearm. We established a containment of the area , REACT team, and began to conduct call-outs for the occupant(s). The driver could be seen moving inside the vehicle but did not comply with the orders to exit the vehicle. Additional resources were deployed including, outside agency assistance for traffic control, K-9’s, Armored Vehicle Bearcat, Drones and Crisis Negotiators.
Hours into the incident, the driver suddenly opened his door and briefly exited the vehicle. He initially appeared compliant, but then suddenly jumped back into his vehicle and reversed into the rear of the Bearcat. The suspect was able to maneuver just enough to break away from the armored vehicle and he fled N/B on Center Street, then eastbound out of sight. Officers attempted to catch up to the vehicle to pursue the driver but were unable to locate him. Officers continued to saturate the surrounding area but were unable to locate the vehicle. An alert was sent out to surrounding agencies regarding the vehicle and the possible firearm. Further, based on the vehicle’s registration information, officers believed the vehicle was stolen.
Several hours later, the Police Department received a radio call of a vehicle illegally parked in an alley off Eucalyptus Drive. Upon arriving at the location, officers confirmed it was the same vehicle and it was unoccupied. A search of the vehicle was conducted in hopes of locating the firearm but none was located. However, officers located numerous power tools in the vehicle, including Sawzalls which are commonly used by burglars to cut and steal catalytic converters from vehicles. Officers were also able to confirm the vehicle was stolen out of LAPD jurisdiction. The vehicle is being held for evidence and has been processed for DNA and fingerprints in an effort to identify the driver. Video evidence was also obtained and we confirmed the suspect fled on foot from the vehicle shortly after evading officers on Center Street. We had a police K9 respond to the area of the suspect vehicle for an article search, and no firearm was located.El Segundo Police Department | Facebook
“Well we know he probably wasn’t Black or he would’ve been shot dead like Kisha Michael and Marquintin Sandlin were in Inglewood,” said an unidentified resident who sent us the story. “Or does this only happen in Inglewood and Texas?”
Local residents were outraged as a nearby school wasn’t alerted to the massive police presence, days after a mass shooting took place at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
The city, police department, and school superintendent released a joint statement to the community via the police department’s social media announcing they would have “significant” law enforcement presence for the remainder of the school year.
The City Manager, ESUSD Superintendent and Chief of Police are in regular communication regarding the incident that occurred on Friday, May 27th. To address heightened concerns in the local area, beginning tomorrow, May 31st, ESPD will have a significant law enforcement presence at all district schools for the remainder of the school year. ESUSD will continue to implement annually reviewed Comprehensive School Safety Plans. In addition, to further support our robust facility security upgrades that were prioritized bond projects, ESUSD will move forward to contract with the school security consultant(s) in order to assess existing protocols, maintain existing best practices and recommend any best next steps to further strengthen school safety at all schools.
Darrel George, City Manager
Dr. Melissa Moore, ESUSD Superintendent
Jaime Bermudez, Chief of Police
El Segundo was assisted by officers from Manhattan Beach and Hawthorne. Hawthorne has a two-year agreement with Inglewood to provide services during special events at SoFi Stadium. It is unclear if they were on scene the day a fan was beaten into a coma in one of the stadiums parking lots.
This story was first reported by LA Taco.