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Tear gas is fired into car in failed bid to end standoff [Updated]

August 13, 2009 |  5:48 pm


Tear gas has been fired into a man's car in an unsuccessful effort by Los Angeles police to end a five-hour standoff in Westwood with the suspect, who allegedly made threats against the White House.

Officers used a robot to toss the tear gas into the Volkswagen Beetle outside the Federal Building on three separate occassions.

Apartment buildings near the Federal Building's parking lot, as well as some federal offices, have been evacuated. Veteran Avenue and surrounding streets have been closed.

The incident began with a pursuit through parts of the Westside and ended at the Federal Building, where the Los Angeles Police Department and UCLA police officers blocked the vehicle.

Law enforcement sources said that SWAT officers are now on the scene and are trying to determine how to proceed. One source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing, said the suspect might have mental problems but is alive and unarmed inside the car.

The Daily Breeze reported that the suspect is a 56-year-old man from Westchester. His mother told the paper that he suffers from depression. [Updated: The LAPD went to the man's home in that area to search for bomb-making equipment but apparently didn't find any.]

-- Andrew Blankstein and Nicole Santa Cruz in Westwood

Photo: Officers converge on the car after a robot was used to toss tear gas into it to draw out the suspect. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times