(Sept. 19, 2005, updated post) -- LBPD dealt with a dangerous and tense situation this afternoon (Sept. 19) after a man allegedly entered a check cashing business in the 2200 block of E. 7th St...and held a number of people hostage, saying he had a bomb.
"An employee advised dispatch that a male suspect inside the business claimed to have a bomb in his backpack. The suspect held one customer and three employees hostage with the threat of the concealed explosive device," LBPD said in a written release.
Heavily armed officers were visible along 7th St. as LBPD methodically evacuated nearby businesses and got into position.
The standoff played out over several hours as multiple news helicopters beamed live video on L.A. afternoon newscasts.
East Division units were bolstered by units from other parts of the city. North Division unit is visible in foreground.
SWAT and expert negotiators were on scene.
Officers coordinated their response from the Pic N Save parking lot, about a block east of the affected location, concealed from the suspect's view.
A canine unit was visible.
During the roughly three hour standoff, LBPD negotiators made contact with the suspect. LBPD SWAT negotiators convinced the suspect to release three of the four hostages...and after continuing negotiations, the suspect released the last hostage and surrendered to police at about 4:30 p.m.
For safety, a perimeter was maintained and traffic along 7th St. and neighborhood streets was snarled.
At roughly 5:45 p.m., LBPD SWAT Officers and the L.A County Bomb Squad completed a search of the business and the suspect's backpack; there was no explosive device; streets began reopening at about 6:00 o' clock.
The suspect has been identified as James Locklear, 24, of LB. LBPD investigators do NOT believe this was a robbery attempt because there was no demand for money or property. The suspect is facing charges of false imprisonment and a bomb threat.
LBPD adds that the suspect is also on active parole.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call LBPD Violent Crimes Detective Butch Sriwanthana at (562) 570-7250.