A five hour-long standoff with a handgun-toting motorist who claimed to have booby-trapped his car ended late Wednesday with Laguna Beach police taking the a 41-year-old man into custody outside the gated community of Three Arch Bay.
No explosives were found, Sgt. Louise Callus said, though police had evacuated the immediate area early in the evening and told residents to remain in doors. The driver stepped out of his battered late-model Mustang on his own and collapsed around 10 p.m. after police tossed tear gas into the vehicle, she said.
A loaded .22 caliber handgun was recovered from the suspect’s vehicle.
Edward Ernest Uribe, of Carson, made no statement to police and was arrested on six charges, including three felonies, Callus said Thursday. One charge, a prohibition against felons and addicts possessing firearms, suggests the suspect has a previous record.
The incident unfolded beginning with a 5:20 p.m. multi-car collision outside the Vista del Sol gate of Three Arch Bay. A concerned bystander who went to assist the driver informed police he was armed, a statement said. After verifying the driver had a handgun in his lap, police evacuated the immediate area and ordered the man from the car. When he failed to comply, an officer fired one round, hitting the car. The driver told police if they pulled open the car door, the car would explode.
A sheriff’s department special weapons tactics team deployed sharpshooters around the suspect’s vehicle and used a bullhorn, trying to negotiate with the driver to exit his vehicle.
During the standoff, SWAT personnel had to transport a paramedic team in an armored vehicle through the scene into Three Arch Bay to render aid to a 70 year old driver involved in the original accident. In another unusual twist, a Laguna Beach police officer had to transport medical personnel through the scene from Crown Valley Parkway to Mission Hospital, Laguna Beach with a human organ that was urgently needed at the hospital.
Traffic was congested throughout Laguna during the evening commute due to the closure of Coast Highway between Seventh Avenue and Crown Valley Parkway during the standoff. Southbound lanes were reopened about 10 p.m.
Why the crash occurred remains unclear. A witness reported seeing a black Mustang driving erratically northbound from Dana Point, Callus said.
Asked earlier about how police intend to end the stalemate, Callus said police are prepared to wait out subjects, whose resolve tends to weaken with cold, hunger, and fatigue. “We try to get a peaceful ending to these situations,” she said.