By Perry Smith, Trevor Morgan and Chris Torres
Signal Staff Writers
An hourslong standoff in a Canyon Country neighborhood ended Monday afternoon with an armed robbery suspect being taken into custody.
The suspect was seen being led away in handcuffs shortly after noon, about 15 minutes after deputies with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Special Enforcement Bureau deployed what appeared to be tear gas to flush out the suspect.
“The suspect has been taken into custody and the area has been cleared,” the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station tweeted shortly after the incident was brought to a close.
At the time of this publication, his identity had not been confirmed by the SCV Sheriff’s Station or by the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“All evacuations have been lifted,” read an updated Nixle alert from the LASD shortly before 1 p.m. “Residents are able to return to their homes on the 19000 block of Newhouse Street in Canyon Country. All roads have been opened. Thank you for your cooperation.”
The man had barricaded himself in an SUV on the 19300 block of Newhouse Street after leading deputies from the SCV Sheriff’s Station on a pursuit as they responded to a report of an armed robbery in the 28000 block of Bouquet Canyon Road at 6:20 a.m.
The incident was reported Monday at approximately 6:22 a.m., according to a Nixle alert from the LASD. Shortly after 10 a.m., it appeared as if deputies deployed a “flash-bang” grenade and could be heard calling out to the suspect, instructing him to end the barricade situation.
The suspect did not immediately comply.
According to reports from the scene and L.A. County radio dispatch traffic, it was initially believed that a suspect from a pursuit that ended nearby was barricaded at a home on Newhouse. Later it was reported the suspect was actually in a vehicle.
SEB deputies believed the suspect was armed. Street closures were in effect in the surrounding area, including a section of Whites Canyon Road at Delight Street.
“SEB personnel will assume tactical command and Crisis Negotiation Team will attempt to make contact with the suspect to bring this to a peaceful resolution,” the Nixle reported.
The suspect told his sister he threw an Airsoft gun out of the vehicle, but deputies were not immediately able to confirm that.
Residents of the neighborhood were evacuated. “Homes along the 19000 block of Newhouse Street are being evacuated as a precaution,” said a Nixle released by LASD in mid-morning. An evacuation space was established at the nearby Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Drycliff Street.
The Nixle also reported that schools in the area were not being evacuated: “All schools within the area are still in session. There are NO lockdowns. Additional deputies will be present at the schools as added security. Please expect traffic delays.”
Reports from the scene indicated that the suspect was communicating to deputies via cell phone through independent journalist Austin Dave. A woman, apparently a relative of the suspect, had approached Dave with the phone and asked him to talk to the suspect.
“They don’t want to hurt you,” Dave told the suspect.
The woman subsequently was seen talking to the suspect on the phone. Soon after that, deputies told the woman that her phone communication with the suspect was not helping to resolve the situation.
“You’re impeding our investigation,” a deputy told the woman, who identified herself as the suspect’s sister, as her phone was being confiscated.
She argued with the deputies, saying, “You can’t take my belongings.”
“You’re making it worse for us, OK,” a deputy responded.
“You guys, you’re supposed to keep him calm and you just made a giant bomb noise,” she said, referring to the flash-bang.
“Because he’s not listening,” another deputy told her. “How long have we been here? For hours.”
Shortly after 11 a.m., LASD crisis negotiators spoke to the suspect’s family members, seeking ways to resolve the situation peacefully.
Around noon, deputies deployed what appeared to be tear gas, and shortly after that the suspect was taken into custody and was to be transported to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital to be evaluated for any injuries.
Saul Hernandez was getting ready to take his kids to school around 7:30 a.m. when he noticed the commotion outside of the family’s home on Newhouse Street.
It’s usually a pretty quiet neighborhood, he said, but on this morning his neighborhood was surrounded by deputies.
Danielle, a mother who declined to give her last name, lives next to the parking spot where the suspect parked his white Chevrolet Tahoe.
She left her home before 7 a.m., when deputies were starting to show up. By the time she had returned by around 10 a.m., there were significantly more units, and she couldn’t get back to her house.
“It looked like they were kind of making a breakthrough,” she said, “and they were talking, but I don’t know what happened.”
This is a breaking news story and additional information will be added as it becomes available.