By Erik Luna
Police officials from the Monterey Park Police Department arrested Jorge Meraz, a Monterey Park resident, for residential burglary last Friday after a nine-hour standoff.
Meraz was found hidden in the attic of a home, which was located in the 600 block of Hammel Street after police tear gassed the house. Meraz was found by a K-9 unit and was treated at Monterey Park hospital for dog bite wounds.
MPPD responded to a call from a witness that saw Meraz burglarize a home on the 1900 block of Bradshawe Avenue at around 11 a.m. Meraz then barricaded himself in the Hammel Street house.
Officials set up a perimeter and surrounded the house within minutes. They started checking the backyards, because Meraz had fled from the first house through the backyards.
Arthur Flores, the owner of the house, was on the scene and was cooperating with officials. “I told them to give me two guys and to let me go knock on the door to let whoever is there know that they (wouldn’t) get hurt, but that they have to get out,” Flores said.
According to a news release from MPPD, Meraz had been out on parole since July, also for residential burglary. Police officials received information that Meraz was possibly armed, so they sent in the Special Response Team.
The SRT helped with the evacuation of Hammel Street with the use of an armored truck.
Along with the SRT, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Crisis Negotiation Team attempted to get in contact with Meraz – they called out to him and threw a phone inside, so that they could communicate.
Resident Joseph Palos, who went out for a bike ride, said that if he had left a minute earlier, he would have seen the suspect running away. “I’m very protective of my community, especially because my sisters walk around here,” Palos said. “If I would have ran into him, I probably would have done some damage to him first, then called the police.”
According to Palos, there have been a string of burglaries happening around that area. “It’s messed up. You expect to go to your home and be safe,” Palos said. “You don’t mess with someone’s place of rest.”
Due to the situation, police closed off Riggin Street at Gerhart Avenue and Findlay Avenue to direct motorists from harm’s way.