Los Angeles police arrested two men clad in military gear who were seen carrying rifles on Tuesday after they were monitored for hours in a bizarre rolling standoff that began in Inglewood and ended in the San Fernando Valley.
The spectacle, which was captured by local television stations, began around 11:30 p.m. Monday in Inglewood and continued through the night and into Tuesday morning as the men shouted at police officers and drove randomly across the city.
The men were taken into custody after they exited their car at a busy intersection in Sylmar, and one was blasted with a less-than-lethal round. The other man stripped down to his boxer shorts and surrendered to heavily armed LAPD officers.
During a briefing Tuesday at the Police Commission meeting, LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore said the men carried “assault-type firearms” with ammunition magazines that “appear to be prohibited.”
Inglewood police initially responded to reports of men with rifles, and the LAPD assisted the smaller department, according to officials.
At one point, Moore said, the men got into a car and drove to an apartment complex in the San Fernando Valley. The LAPD “continued to monitor” the pair as they entered the Los Angeles city limits, Moore said.
Later in the morning, the two left the apartment, and police made an “investigative stop” in Sylmar, where Moore said the pair was taken into custody “without significant incident.”
Police in L.A. and Inglewood still are trying to determine the pairs’ motives, authorities said.
“We’re not completely clear on the intent yet,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing. “There’s still a lot of work to do.”
By Tuesday afternoon, police had obtained a warrant and were searching the apartment in the San Fernando Valley where it appeared the men lived, Downing said. Investigators had recovered two rifles that matched what the men were seen carrying, Downing said, along with ammunition, hatchets and backpacks.
Police also planned to examine computers and other devices for digital evidence, Downing said.
Investigators are also reviewing radio calls that indicated the men had said they were at a convenience store “waiting for the police to arrive so that they would shoot the police,” Moore said.
The assistant chief told police commissioners he was thankful the two were taken into custody. Police are concerned about the weapons, the anti-police remarks and “the violence that could have erupted from this incident and fortunately did not,” he added.
The names of the men have not yet been released. Downing said the pair had been arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats.