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El Monte man barricades himself, sets fire to own apartment

Approximate location of incident shown in black.

A man who barricaded himself and set fire to his El Monte apartment was in custody Friday for mental evaluation, El Monte police said.

Shen Myint-Thu Latweef, described as being in his mid-40s, barricaded himself inside his apartment in the 3700 block of Peck Road at about 4:15 p.m. late Thursday afternoon, police said. A manager of the apartment complex had called police after overhearing Latweef argue over the phone with a family member and seeing him acting strangely, they said.

"[Latweef] does have a past history of mental issues," said Lt. Dan Burlingham, a watch commander for El Monte police.

Sometime during the standoff, police reported that the man set a fire inside his apartment and then proceeded to put it out, officials said.

Residents were evacuated from the complex as a result, but police could not confirm how many people were affected. No one was hurt during the standoff, Burlingham said.

At about 7:30 p.m., a SWAT team was called to negotiate with Latweef, officials said, and they entered the apartment at about 2:30 a.m. Friday and took him into custody. No details were released about how the SWAT team was able to get into the apartment.

Latweef is being detained for a 72-hour mental evaluation, police said.


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-- Melissa Leu

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Image: Approximate location of incident shown in black. Credit: Los Angeles Times Mapping L.A.

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