What started as a robbery in Moreno Valley appears to have ended up with a standoff on the campus of Cal State Fullerton, with the suspect apparently barricaded inside Mihaylo Hall. Students and staff there were sheltering in place as police searched for a suspect in a jewelry store robbery Wednesday.
The SWAT team was conducting room-by-room searches of Mihaylo.
Three buildings are on lockdown, Cal State Fullerton spokesman Christopher Bugbee said: Langsdorf Hall, College Park and Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. Bugbee said he was sheltering in place and waiting to follow the evacuation order until he heard otherwise on the loud speakers.
Classes at Cal State Fullerton were canceled for the evening, their public information officer said.
Fullerton police say they believe the suspect took part in a Moreno Valley jewelry store robbery in Riverside County that happened earlier Wednesday afternoon. That’s when California Highway Patrol chased the suspects all the way to Orange County.
Authorities were not sure how many suspects were involved but that they believed they were searching for five people. Two were arrested in Fullerton and a third was arrested in Watts.
Los Angeles police caught one suspect in the armed robbery following a pursuit that ended at a recreation center in Watts. LAPD Commander Andrew Smith said officers just happened to be distributing toys at the Watts recreation center where one suspect tried escaping following a high-speed chase.
“When the bad guy jumped over the fence of the baseball field and started running with his hands clutching his waistband and the sheriffs in foot pursuit behind him, he ran into a wall of LAPD officers who just happened to be there — and bad luck for him."
The officers ended up catching him on the baseball diamond. LAPD Chief Beck was also at the recreation center — but he was on the other side of the building when the suspect was captured.
Authorities are searching at Cal State Fullerton and the surrounding areas. The fifth suspect drove toward the Los Angeles area and remained at large.
People on the Cal State Fullerton campus are being told to stay indoors as Fullerton police and campus police search for a robbery suspect who ran on campus sometime between 4 and 4:30 this afternoon — to hide from authorities chasing him.
Campus police have told students that if they are outside a campus building, they need to leave the campus. People who are in classrooms or offices should stay inside and lock doors.
The Fullerton Police Department, Cal State campus police, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and a SWAT team were all involved, though the Orange County Sheriff's Department backed away from the situation, leaving it to the Fullerton PD.
This story has been updated.