L.A. campus lockdown ends, suspect still at large

Police vehicles pull up to Mihaylo Hall at the Cal State Fullerton campus Dec. 12, 2012, in Fullerton, Calif.
AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Bruce Chambers

Updated 3:45 a.m. ET

LOS ANGELES Students at Cal State Fullerton who barricaded themselves inside classrooms and dorm rooms Wednesday were given the all clear early Thursday by campus officials.

They were told Wednesday afternoon to prepare to stay put into the night as police searched for one of two suspects who was still on the loose after a jewelry store-pawn shop robbery-shooting. Five men were involved in all, authorities say. Three were in custody.

The other suspect was believed to have fled to somewhere in the city of Fullerton, according to CBS Los Angeles station KCBS-TV.

One suspect was caught after a high-speed pursuit that spanned three counties and ended on a baseball field where Los Angeles' police chief was giving away toys, and two other suspects were apprehended shortly after the robbery, police said.

Fullerton police told KCBS the search of the campus failed to find the suspect.

The search was centered on three buildings along Nutwood Avenue on the southeast edge of the campus, said Chris Bugbee, the school's director of public relations. Students were alerted via text message at about 4 p.m. and told to stay where they were with doors locked.

Police believed at least one suspect fled into Mihaylo Hall at the university's College of Business, where some occupants were evacuated.

SWAT officers were clearing Mihaylo Hall room by room, which was expected to take several hours.

At least one person fired a handgun while attempting to rob the combination pawn shop and jewelry store in Moreno Valley just after 3 p.m., according to Riverside County sheriff's Cpl. Angel Ramos. One person was shot, and the victim's condition was unknown.

Five suspects fled the robbery in a gray Lexus and were stopped by police in Fullerton when the Lexus rear-ended a vehicle near the school. Two people were detained soon after the crash. Three others ran off.

"They ran right at me, I decided to get out of their way, I did not know if they were armed or not," said student Shaun Kintaudi, who was on his way to take a test. "I decided it was best to run away from them and let the cops do their job."

The suspects were considered armed and dangerous, said Fullerton police spokesman Jeff Stuart.

All students were safe the entire time, school officials said. Some students posted photos to Twitter and Facebook of their locked-down classrooms and dorm rooms with doors barricaded as they waited inside, watching the news on their laptops.

Two student news anchors stuck in their campus television studio were posting video reports at the school newspaper's website as they got updates via text messages.

They said they had been rehearsing for just such an event.

"About a week ago we were doing live shots, and now we are actually doing live shots with a tragic situation," journalism major Cara Seo said in a video.

All evening classes and activities were canceled Wednesday. The campus is in its final week of classes before final exams.

One of the suspects who fled after the crash near campus carjacked a silver sedan and drove onto westbound state Route 91, speeding erratically through rush hour traffic until exiting onto surface streets nearly 30 miles away in Los Angeles County. The victim of the carjacking was not hurt, Stuart said.

The suspect crashed the car, sprinted through a lawn and hopped a fence near a housing project in Watts. He surrendered to dozens of officers on a baseball diamond at a recreation center where Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck was giving away toys to hundreds of young children.

"He picked the wrong rec center to run into today," said LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith.

"All of a sudden, we were there with the little kids and saw the bad guy jump over the fence being chased by an army of county sheriff's across the baseball field," Smith told KCBS.