By Richard Winton, Christine Mai-Duc and Veronica Rocha, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — A man armed with an assault rifle jumped across several North Hollywood rooftops and holed up in a home before he was captured Monday afternoon after police fired tear gas to flush him out, ending a dramatic, hours-long incident that played out on television and paralyzed a neighborhood.
The man led officers on a chase that spanned several freeways and at times reached 100 mph before he dumped his vehicle and fled through a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood, residents and law enforcement authorities said.
As frightened neighbors hid in their homes, the man scurried across rooftops and then barricaded himself inside a small, single-story home. News helicopters hovered, broadcasting the scene. Authorities closed nearby thoroughfares and locked down several schools while Los Angeles Police Department officers took up positions around the home.
Police arrested the suspect, a felon, about 3 p.m. after he walked out of the tear-gas-filled residence and lay down in the street. LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said late Monday that a gun was found on a sofa inside the house.
Prosecutors identified the suspect as Nolan Perez, 41, who was charged Monday morning with seven felony counts of making criminal threats and stalking a woman between May 19 and Friday. Perez had threatened to commit violence that would “result in death and great bodily injury,” according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Perez has served time in state prison and has convictions that include being a felon in possession of a firearm, negligently discharging a firearm and corporal injury to a spouse or loved one, court records show. He listed his occupation as a painter, according to booking records.
Authorities said the incident began after Perez was spotted about 10 a.m. outside the woman’s home in El Sereno in northeast Los Angeles. Officers with an arrest warrant tried to apprehend Perez, but he fled in a maroon Nissan Altima, according to authorities.
The vehicle raced along the 10 Freeway and made its way to the 101 Freeway and the northbound 110 Freeway. The suspect eventually drove onto the northbound 5 Freeway near downtown, with Los Angeles police and California Highway Patrol cars in pursuit. He pointed what was believed to be a high-powered AR-15 rifle at officers, the LAPD said.
The man jumped out of the car in North Hollywood about 11:30 a.m. and started running through a neighborhood that residents describe as usually a quiet place.
April Gutierrez, 47, lives about half a mile from where police blocked traffic. She said she was at North Hollywood Park with her dog moments before she heard police sirens. Then, she said, someone with a bullhorn yelled, “He’s got a gun!”
Tamrah Land, 22, said she was riding her scooter to the park when she noticed helicopters hovering near the 170 Freeway. She later said she wasn’t surprised that an armed man was seen running in the area.
“I don’t feel scared,” Land said. “That says something about our society.”
But another woman who lives in the neighborhood said in a phone interview that she feared for her safety and was staying inside her home as the suspect barricaded himself in the house across the street.
“It’s really scary,” the woman said.
Franklin Hanock, 80, who has lived in the neighborhood for 53 years, said he was ready to protect himself.
“We are prepared for things that are going on,” he said, “and we are armed if necessary.”
But the incident ended quickly after three officers on a roof next to the home where the suspect had holed up lobbed tear gas inside. The suspect, following police orders, lay on the ground and was handcuffed by officers. Two dogs that were apparently with him also came outside, watching as he was led away.
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