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Gardena police use bulldozer to end barricade at house

December 9, 2009 |  9:09 pm

A 12-hour standoff in Gardena between police and two men barricaded in a house ended when SWAT officers rammed the residence with a bulldozer, forcing the suspects to surrender, police said.

The two men, neither of whom was identified, were taken into custody about 5:30 p.m., said Lt.  Steve Prendergast of the Gardena Police Department.

The standoff began about 6 a.m. in the 1200 block of 168th Street when officers tried to serve a search and arrest warrant at the Gardena home. The suspects refused to come out and remained barricaded inside, Prendergast said. 

The SWAT team used several tear gas devices in an attempt to force the men out, to no avail.  After hours of negotiating, a yellow bulldozer rammed into the garage of the house, prompting the suspects to surrender.

The use of the bulldozer is an unusual tactic in barricade standoffs.

“It worked,” Prendergast said. “Ultimately, the end result was that we wanted the occupants to surrender. We were successful; there were no injuries to people and to the officers.”

The Gardena police chose to use the bulldozer, which belongs to the city, because it does not own an armored battering ram vehicle. 

-- Ruben Vives