LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An armed man suspected of leading police on a wild pursuit was arrested Monday after he barricaded himself in a North Hollywood home.
Authorities pursued 41-year-old Nolan Perez, who had a warrant out for his arrest on a domestic violence charge, along several Southland freeways after he was spotted in Boyle Heights. The chase continued for more than an hour before he pulled over on a surface street and got out of a maroon Nissan Altima at about 11:30 a.m.
The suspect, dressed in white, could then be seen jumping from rooftop to rooftop in a residential neighborhood near Irvine Avenue and Magnolia Boulevard before he reportedly entered a home in the 11500 block of Hartsook Street.
Officers began firing tear gas into the home roughly three hours later, and the man could be seen on the ground before he was taken into custody at 3:05 p.m.
KCAL9’s Serene Branson reports investigators later found an assault rifle on the sofa inside the residence.
The homeowner, Cynthia Duvall, said she was at work and rushed home to find her neighborhood on lockdown and her house broken into. Her two dogs, a German Shepherd and black Lab, were inside when the break-in occurred.
“My ex-husband was in the back house. They pulled them over the back wall,” she said, adding that windows and doors in the residence had been broken.
Several other residents were evacuated for hours with an active perimeter set up at Magnolia to the north, Otsego to the south, Tujunga to the east and Colfax to the west.
ABC Preschool, The Country School, Lankershim Elementary School, Walter Reed Middle School, Colfax Charter School, North Hollywood High School, Oakwood Secondary School and LA Valley College were placed on lockdown. Just before 2:30 p.m., lockdowns at North Hollywood High School, Lankershim Elementary School, Colfax Charter and Reed Middle School were lifted, school police said. Students at Oakwood Secondary School were evacuated from the campus.
Police told KCAL9’s Cristy Fajardo students were never in any immediate danger and that the evacuation and lockdowns were ordered as a precaution.
One North Hollywood student recalled the tense moments inside her classroom after her school was placed on lockdown.
“I texted both my parents. We weren’t allowed to call in the classroom. They wanted us to be quiet and lay down. They turned off all the lights and closed the blinds and and we were either supposed to squat or sit very low to the floor or lay down,” the student said.
A woman who lives in the area was shaken as she described the moment authorities asked her family to leave their home.
“We were just evacuated from our house. [We live] right across the street. [Police told us] just to get out,” she said.
Court documents show Perez had a warrant for his arrest for seven counts of criminal threats. The documents also show Perez has prior convictions, including domestic violence, possession of a firearm and negligent discharge of a firearm.
Officials told KCAL9 police began chasing the suspect when they saw him in the 4900 block of Axtell Street at about 10:15 a.m. A pursuit that reached speeds up to 100 mph continued onto Interstate 10, as well as the 101, 110, 5 and 170 freeways.
The suspect, who allegedly aimed his weapon at authorities during the chase, was believed to be the solo occupant of the vehicle. Police are investigating if he fired any shots.
One man described to KCAL9’s Randy Paige the moment he saw the suspect flee the vehicle.
“He was reaching into the car, and when I saw him pull out a rifle, I ducked down. I let them go by me and then I looked up and I saw him running down Magnolia,” the man said.
KCAL9’s Greg Mills reports detectives on Monday were also at the Pacoima home where the suspect lives with his parents, who are very upset over the incident. A neighbor said the suspect has two teenage daughters who live with their mother.
A man who claims he has known the suspect since they were both 5 years old said he was shocked by the day’s events, but also said the suspect had some issues and the family tried to get him help.
The LAPD told KCAL9 no one was injured during the pursuit, and no shots were fired by police.
Police also said Perez faces a number of charges, from evading arrest to perhaps attempted murder on a peace officer.
The investigation is ongoing.