By Assistant Editor Zamná Ávila and Contributor Phillip Cooke
Authorities are looking for an armed suspect who ran into the Numero Uno market in San Pedro. Harbor Division Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Gerald Woodyard said that the suspect may be responsible for a number of theft-related crimes in the area in the past couple of weeks. Officers blocked off Pacific Avenue and Mesa Street between 6th Street and 4th Street.
Officials said the officers and the suspect saw each other, and the suspect ran off and into the market, where he barricaded himself. Police were not sure whether the suspect was armed at the time.
“There was some detectives who chased a robbery suspect,” Police Officer II Paul Ulmer said.
“He fled through the allies and ended up inside a Numero Uno market. That was evacuated and now he’s barricaded in there, most likely armed. He’s been seen in the past with a semi-automatic handgun…. He was seen pulling his waistband, so he’s believed to be armed.”
About 20 employees and several customers were evacuated from the business. “There is always a possibility of a hostage situation,” Ulmer said. “So, SWAT is taking over and they may treat as such, since we are not 110 percent sure that it is completely evacuated.”
Employees said the suspect entered the business at about 9:30 a.m. Nov. 14.
“[Police told us] only to get out because he was armed,” said Nelly Lopez, a cashier. “I left the lady there (her customer) [and evacuated].” Lopez said she saw someone running but was not able to get a description.
“I was there when they evacuated us,” said meat manager Jesús Garcia, in Spanish.
“[The police told us) that they were following him because he was hiding from the police. Everyone was evacuated.”
“My partner and I actually saw him pop out of a side door,” Ulmer said. “I think he popped out to check the area to see where our positions were so he could try to get an advantage. At one time he was seen on the roof running around. He got onto the roof. He appeared as he was going to jump over …. He went back inside.”
The suspect was apprehended without a shooting incident and the perimeter was taken down by about 3 p.m. Officials described the suspect as a male, Hispanic, in his early to mid-20s, between 5 feet 5 inches tall to 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing about 120 pounds. Customers at the nearby Farmers Market on 6th Street seemed unaffected by the situation a block away.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” said Emilia Lafiguera, a 21-year-old military student who was there with her friend for the first time. “We’re in the military. So, I’m used hearing helicopters around.