Man’s Cellphone Charger Leads To 4-Hour Standoff At Alhambra Shopping Center

ALHAMBRA (CBSLA.com) – Police were on scene at a standoff with a possibly armed suspect Friday at an Alhambra shopping center.

A Toys ‘R’ Us story and an Albertsons market at the shopping center at Fremont and Commonwealth Avenue were both believed to be on lockdown shortly before 1 p.m., authorities said.

Initially the suspect was believed to be inside a parked SUV outside the shopping center, possibly holding a gun.

Police later said the man was passed out, while a family member said the object was actually a phone case shaped like a pistol, according to KNX 1070’s Cooper Rummell.

The standoff ended peacefully after police confirmed the man had a gun-shaped cell phone case and was sleeping in his car, Rummell reported.

Several people reported being stuck in various stores in the area.

“Some of us are stuck in Party City for safety. We are not allowed to leave,” Paulina Shull wrote on Facebook.

(credit: Alhambra Police Dept.)

(credit: Alhambra Police Dept.)

“My sister is stuck inside Albertsons,” Sue Hweamel posted.

Another woman wrote, “Yes, I am now locked in the market and cannot leave until they get the guy with a gun.”

Reporting from the scene, CBS2’s Dave Lopez said officials tried everything to wake the sleeping man, but he wouldn’t get up. For four hours.

“I’m a heavy sleeper,” said 29-year-old Fernando Flores, “what can I say?”

The commotion, helicopters flying overhead, nothing would rouse Flores.

He said he had no idea that his phone charger set off a panic  until he woke up.

“I woke up to guns pointed at me, and a SWAT team around me. I didn’t know what was going on.”

Lopez asked Flores if the cellphone charger, in the shape of a gun, was a wise thing to carry in public.

“I just saw it online,” he said, laughing, “I liked it. It was cheap. I got it. You know, I never thought it could cause all this.”

Flores was handcuffed and questioned at length. He faces no criminal charges.

As for the cellphone charger? “I’m getting rid of it,” Flores said.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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