Man In Custody After High-Speed Chase, Malibu Cliff Standoff
MALIBU (CBSLA.com) — It played out much like a Hollywood story.
An off-duty FBI agent witnessed an attempted kidnapping outside a gym, and shots were fired when the rescue was attempted. After he broadcasted the “shots fired” call, an intense high-speed pursuit led officers through the San Fernando Valley and into Malibu, where the suspect bailed on foot, resulting in a standoff on a steep hillside.
Police took the man into custody after the standoff in Malibu.
Authorities were in pursuit of a black BMW shortly after 7 p.m., reaching intensely high speeds on surface streets.
“We had an FBI agent, who was here on personal business,” FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Clark said. “He witnessed what he believed to be a suspect attempting to kidnap a female victim, and a shooting occurred.”
The shots, fired outside an LA Fitness gym at Nordoff and Desoto, did not injure the agent, Clark said. The man, however, along with his vehicle, were reportedly shot before the pursuit.
“(The agent) said ‘Lock your doors, and get down’, and I’m like ‘OK’, because I don’t know what’s going on, other than the guy yelling ‘I’m a cop’,” witness Liz Cook said. “I just went straight across my front seat, and I heard about five to six shots, I think.”
The pursuit proceeded through Las Virgenes Road after exiting 101 freeway, weaving through traffic and knocking over obstructions on the road and narrowly missing vehicles.
The attempted kidnapping victim was transported to the hospital in unknown condition.
“I do know that the female victim was removed from the vehicle, we believe by the male suspect,” Clark said. “I know she was taken to the hospital, and we’re not sure of her condition.”
The suspect, wearing a black sweatshirt and shorts, then ditched the vehicle, with what looked like a firearm in hand, at 7:22 p.m., and began sprinting across a park. At that point, he attempted to escape into heavy woods on a steep hillside.
The 2-door BMW, idle at Topanga Canyon and Shoenborn, was clearly riddled with six bullet holes on the passenger side of the windshield, and had several broken windows.
The man may have experienced exhaustion or an injury after exiting the woods, as he appeared to have thrown the gun into a bush and slowed to a sudden walk.
At 7:25 p.m., the man sat down on the hillside and was reported to possibly still have a firearm in his hand. After about 10 minutes, the man began holding a knee.
Police, with firearms drawn and body armor on, locked down the area, and by 7:30, were locked in an apparent standoff not far from Pepperdine University.
Firefighter teams were also present on the scene as a cautionary measure.
An estimated three-dozen vehicles of the LAPD and CHP had been reported around the area’s established perimeter.
An LAPD helicopter began circling the man around 7:45 p.m. and was reportedly attempting to communicate with the suspect over the vehicle’s PA system.
Traffic on Pacific Coast Highway was closed in both directions shortly after 8 p.m. Malibu Canyon Road, directly adjacent to Pepperdine, was also closed to traffic.
While the man appeared to be incapacitated on the hillside, the fact that he was on high ground, and that he had opened fire at an officer earlier, prompted police to approach the situation defensively before any attempts to take him into custody were initiated.
The man was reported to be 40 to 50 feet above Malibu Road at the time of the standoff. Curious homeowners in the area were being kept a safe distance from the scene.
Shortly after 8:30 p.m., the man began moving again, and appeared to be attempting to proceed slowly down the hill.
K-9 units were present on the scene, according to CBS2/KCAL9’s David Goldstein, who observed the standoff from Malibu Road.
Seemingly unable to get a footing, the man managed to move down the hill an additional 10 feet or so, at 8:45 p.m. At that point, he was within 30 feet of officers.
The suspect was in a submissive position, face-down, with legs and arms spread at 8:48 p.m.
At 8:57 p.m., officers approached the suspect, and he was reportedly in custody by 8:59 p.m.
The man was secured to a gurney and loaded into a helicopter to take him to UCLA Medical Center. Officers, meanwhile, skimmed the hillside for an abandoned weapon.
Officers accompanied the man as he was taken into the hospital for medical attention.