Report details runup to hourslong standoff  

Sheriff's deputies established a containment in response to a barricaded suspect who was reported to be seen carrying a machete near Canyon Springs Elementary School on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. Habeba Mostafa/The Signal
Sheriff's deputies established a containment in response to a barricaded suspect who was reported to be seen carrying a machete near Canyon Springs Elementary School on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. Habeba Mostafa/The Signal

Courthouse records offer details of an incident that led to an hourslong law enforcement standoff on Feb. 1 with Carl Pruett, a 65-year-old Canyon Country man who’s currently being held at Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles. 

Two Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station patrol deputies were flagged down by a concerned citizen who said “a man was outside of the school holding a sword,” according to a sworn statement by a station detective, relaying information from deputies who responded, in a search warrant for the property on the day of the standoff. 

The suspect left his home in the 27400 block of Plumwood Avenue in Canyon Country — which is across the street from Canyon Springs Community Elementary School — armed with a black-handled machete fitted with a rusted 24-inch metal blade, according to the report. 

Deputies ordered the suspect to put the machete down and tried to detain him at gunpoint, according to the court records. 

Pruett exited the property and walked toward deputies while “screaming incoherently and waving the machete at deputies while ignoring orders to stop,” according to the detective’s statement.  

One of the deputies pointed his taser, which also is referred to as an electronic control device, at the suspect, and the suspect allegedly responded, “If you tase me, I’m going to kill you!” according to deputies.   

The deputies reported that the suspect then lifted the machete over his head in a motion the deputies interpreted as preparation to lunge forward and swing the machete at them, according to the record of the investigation. “The suspect was within 10 feet of the deputies and preparing to swing the machete. Without intervention, the suspect would have been capable of causing grievous bodily injury to the deputies.” 

While the deputy opted for the less-lethal form of intervention, it failed to stop the suspect, according to the report. 

“The suspect removed the taser probes from his torso and stated, ‘Oh you got guns, I got guns too!’” according to the detective’s report, which states the suspect then retreated into his doorstep and shouted at deputies from there before barricading himself inside his Plumwood Avenue home.  

Neighbors said Pruett was a widower, describing him as somewhat of a recluse. The yard at the Plumwood home was lined with shopping carts at the time of the standoff. 

One of his children, a Canyon High School student at the time, died from a heart attack while jogging in 2009. Pruett has had several run-ins with local law enforcement in recent years, according to Sheriff’s Department records available online. 

Deputies contained the neighborhood for more than six hours, with nearby homes evacuated, before Pruett came out and was taken to the hospital. He was treated at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and then released to Sheriff’s Department custody. 

Prosecutors currently have three active cases filed against Pruett, according to records available with the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.  

At his most recent hearing for the Feb. 1 standoff, on Monday, he pleaded not guilty to three charges: assault with a deadly weapon against a peace officer, criminal threats and grand theft — for stealing an iPhone in an unrelated incident. 

The criminal complaint against Pruett also lists the following “circumstances in aggravation”: as separate allegations, namely a Rules of Court violation that accuses Pruett of using a weapon at the times of the offenses and that he has previously served time for a violation that included a diversionary sentence. 

The complaint also cites his previous 2017 conviction from an assault charge connected to a standoff that happened at the same Plumwood Avenue residence in 2016. 

In separate, unrelated cases, Pruett stands charged with one misdemeanor count of obstructing or intimidating business operators or customers, with an arraignment and plea scheduled for Thursday in Department 2 of the Santa Clarita Courthouse. 

He’s also been charged with a one misdemeanor count of resisting an executive officer for a Jan. 3 incident. 

He pleaded not guilty to this charge at his arraignment, but his next court date was not immediately available. 

Pruett is currently being held in lieu of $170,000 bail and is due back in court March 6 in Department S of the San Fernando courthouse. 

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