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Alleged Long Beach hoarder in custody after 7-hour standoff

July 5, 2012 |  3:11 pm

A SWAT team was part of the police response in a standoff in Long Beach
A Long Beach man who allegedly shot at code enforcement inspectors and police officers was in custody Thursday afternoon after a seven-hour standoff with SWAT officers.

Code enforcement officers arrived at the home about 8 a.m. Thursday to serve an inspection warrant in response to hoarding complaints. When they arrived, he fired shots, police said, hitting one of the code officers in the head.

Police spokeswoman Nancy Pratt said injured inspector was taken in a patrol car to a hospital. His condition was not immediately known, but Pratt said he was expected to survive.

Neighbors said the man's home and yard were filled with junk and other items, and the man has received several notices from the city to clean up the property. Pratt confirmed the residence "had been a problem for code enforcement over the past few years."

Jill Lofton, 53,  stood at the corner of Gaviota Avenue and Curry Street, not far from the standoff, and watched as authorities prepared to enter the home with a battering ram.

She said she had known the resident for 17 years.

"He looked like a homeless guy, but he really wasn't," she said. "If you got past that and you had started talking to him, you'd find out he was genuinely a nice guy."

"I think the city should have intervened in other ways, not just send code enforcement officers," Lofton said.

 She said four years ago, city crews came to his house with dumpsters. They had chopped his tree down and had thrown out some of the furniture he had outside.

Another neighbor, 19-year-old Chris Miller, also described the man as nice and outgoing -- but unkempt.

The man's mother had recently died, Miller said, and the man "took it very hard."


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-- Ruben Vives in Long Beach and Kate Mather in Los Angeles

Photo: Police were involved in a seven-hour standoff with an alleged hoarder in Long Beach. Credit: KTLA News