A man was arrested early Monday morning after occupying area first responders for more than a day in an incident that bordered on the surreal.
The man, identified as Cesar Sandoval, escaped from a moving ambulance as he was being transported to a local medical facility and hid from authorities in a San Marino neighborhood.
On Sunday, March 31 at 12:01 a.m. officers from the San Marino Police Department were dispatched to the area of California Boulevard and Sierra Madre Boulevard in response to a call from the private ambulance company that lost the patient, who was being taken to Las Encinas Hospital in Pasadena. Officers from the San Marino, Pasadena, and South Pasadena Police Departments made a check of the area, but were not able to locate the suspect.
On Sunday afternoon at approximately 1 p.m., a resident who lives in the 500 block of Sierra Madre Boulevard visited the SMPD lobby to report a suspicious person in her rear yard she had seen at approximately 11:30 a.m. The description she gave matched that which was earlier given to the SMPD by the ambulance company.
Officers arrived on scene and made a search of Sierra Madre Boulevard and Sierra Vista Avenue and found Sandoval hiding in the bushes of a rear yard at a house in the 500 block of Sierra Vista Avenue. But Sandoval was able to escape by jumping over fences to the rear yards of adjacent properties.
A containment was set up by officers from the South Pasadena, Pasadena, and San Gabriel Police Departments. A house-to-house search ensued and Sandoval was located behind another home in the 500 block of Sierra Vista Avenue. Sandoval then climbed up an electrical pole between a house on Sierra Vista Avenue and Sierra Madre Boulevard, then scaled his way onto the roof of a garage on the Sierra Madre Boulevard side.
Sandoval refused to come down and started tampering with wires that led from the pole to surrounding houses. Southern California Edison turned off the power to the electrical poles so the suspect would not be harmed.
Sandoval then leapfrogged from the roof of one home on Sierra Madre Boulevard to another before taking up residence on the roof of a home in the 500 block of Sierra Vista Avenue. Officers surrounded the house, but Sandoval steadfastly refused to surrender or leave the roof. According to San Marino Police Chief John Incontro, Sandoval repeatedly taunted the officers by pulling down his pants.
At about 10:30 p.m. on Sunday night, Incontro requested mutual aid from surrounding areas and officers from Pasadena, South Pasadena, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Alhambra, and Glendale were dispatched to the scene.
A crisis negotiating team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was also hailed.
Officers again surrounded the property and attempted to get Sandoval to surrender and come down off the roof, but he began breaking shingles from the terra cotta roof on which he was perched and proceeded to throw them at officers.
At one point, a police officer attempted to climb a ladder to confront Sandoval on the roof, but the suspect overturned the ladder, causing injuries to the officer.
At about 6:40 a.m. on Monday morning, Sandoval fell off the roof while trying to grab additional roof tiles. He was transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital with unknown injuries by the San Marino Fire Department.
Sandoval was arrested for vandalism and assaulting a police officer.
Incontro was informed of the incident on Sunday evening shortly after returning to Southern California from a family visit.
“I give everyone involved in this incident a lot of credit,” said Incontro. “This man obviously had some issues and we all wanted to make sure he was treated well. But we also had to assure the safety of everyone else in the community as well as the surrounding property.
The SMPD considers the incident as ongoing investigation and asks anyone with information on the matter to call (626) 300-0720 and refer to case CR19-0271.