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SWAT situation in Irvine ends with 2 in custody

Irvine Police detained a man and a woman Wednesday after an hours-long standoff, which followed a high-speed pursuit of a vehicle reported taken from a local resident.

A SWAT team spent hours negotiating with the possibly armed man and his girlfriend in an apartment at The Village at Irvine Spectrum, near Irvine Center and Quasar Drives. The couple was suspected of stealing an Irvine resident’s car and leading police in the pursuit before returning to the victim’s apartment and refusing to surrender to police.

Police evacuated about 15 neighboring apartment units at the complex as officers negotiated with the man and woman, who was not being held against her will, Irvine Police Sgt. Karie Davies said. Authorities asked people to stay away from the area, and a portion of Quasar Drive near the scene was blocked off Wednesday evening.

The events leading up to the standoff began when a resident of the building called police at about 9 a.m.  Wednesday to tell them his Ford Mustang was taken by a man and a woman he had recently met from Los Angeles County, Davies said. Officers then spotted the missing car near the complex at 12:27 p.m., just a few minutes after they had finished interviewing the victim.

The car took off when police attempted a traffic stop, Davies said. Its driver blew through red lights and was speeding on and off of the nearby 405 Freeway.

Police terminated the high-speed pursuit in order to prevent the suspect’s dangerous driving from causing a collision, Davies said. Instead, they returned to the victim’s apartment building, and found the stolen vehicle running but unoccupied in the complex’s underground parking structure at 12:42 p.m.

A drone was deployed to perform surveillance and announce that police were searching the area, Davies said. The victim was in his apartment with both suspects at the time. He told officers he was pistol-whipped and felt coerced to stay in his home, but was allowed to leave when the suspects heard the drone announcement.

A SWAT team was summoned and made contact over the phone with both the man and woman inside the apartment, Davies said. After several hours of sporadic negotiation, officers fired less-than-lethal rounds to break the windows of the residence.

“The device is loud, so that may have motivated them to give up at that point,” Davies said.

The woman exited the building at about 8:43 p.m. followed by the man about 10 minutes later, police said. Both were detained, and appeared unharmed, Davies said.

Police planned to take them into custody in connection with outstanding warrants as well as the events that unfolded Wednesday. Their identities were not immediately released.

Source: Orange County Register

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