(January 1, 2003, updated 5:30 p.m.) -- A heads-up response -- many would say heroic -- by an LBPD officer averted might have turned into a major New Year's Eve tragedy.
LBPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Paul LeBaron told LBReport.com that on December 31 at roughly 2:25 p.m, police officers responded to a call from a woman who said her boyfriend was in a car in the parking lot of a large supermarket at Willow St./LB Blvd...and had threatened her life.
The woman told officers she was riding in a car with her boyfriend when he threatened her and showed her a gun. Among those responding was west division LBPD Officer Diego Escutia.
Officers found the car in the crowded supermarket parking lot but couldn't see the suspect inside. Officer Escutia approached the car, which appeared to be unoccupied. As Officer Escutia got closer, a man -- who'd been reclining in the car out of sight -- suddenly popped up. Police allege he was armed with a loaded, 40 caliber gun...and wearing a bullet proof vest.
Averting what could have turned into a life threatening tragedy, Officer Escutia managed to arrest the man, a 21 year old LB resident. He was taken into custody without a shot.
The suspect has been booked for domestic violence, terrorist threats and weapons charges.