MONTROSE (CBSLA.com) — A Southland dentist recalled his story of survival after he and his staff were held hostage and robbed last week.
The ordeal happened at the office of Dr. Gabriel Gonzalez on Ocean View Boulevard in Montrose.
Gonzalez said a former patient, who also used to do odd jobs around the office, kept him and two female employees locked up, threatening them with a handsaw, knife, hammer and screwdriver.
“He’s outside here, and he produced the saw, and he said that he was going to cut us up into bits if we didn’t do exactly what he said,” Gonzalez said. “I’m thinking that I’m gonna die.”
The dentist, a father of three, said the suspect eventually forced the trio into a bathroom.
“He rigged this door with these two adjacent doors with cables, so we were locked in there,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said he was in there for five hours while the suspect kept the two women busy, having them cancel appointments in order to make sure no one came in.
“He tells me a story about how he escaped from court, he got away from the bailiff down a fire escape … how the cops are after him, how he doesn’t care, he’s going to go out in a blaze of glory and kill one or two police with him,” he said.
Eventually, the female employees were able to kick open a door and make a run for it.
The suspect drove away in one of the victims’ cars, taking cash, keys and cell phones.
“We’re lucky to be alive,” Gonzalez said.
The next morning, authorities spotted the stolen vehicle in the Sunland area.
A pursuit ended with a pit maneuver, and the suspect surrendered to law enforcement.
Gonzalez said investigators tracked the suspect through the GPS on the stolen cell phones.
“I’m grateful to be here, and I’m so grateful to the police,” he said.
CBS2’s Rachel Kim reported that the suspect faces robbery, kidnapping and grand theft charges. He’s being held on $1.6 million bail.