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Wanted Bank Bandits Arrested After Standoff In Norwalk  

Unit 32 at Norwalk Village Mobile Home Park. Tear gas still lingers from the 8 hour standoff. Daniel E. Beckham Photo.

Unit 32 at Norwalk Village Mobile Home Park. Tear gas still lingers from the 8 hour standoff. Daniel E. Beckham Photo.

By Brian Hews

A dramatic eight-hour standoff between members of law enforcement and a wanted bank robbery suspect and his apparent accomplice ended with the two suspects being placed under arrest at the Norwalk Village Mobile Home Park.

Suspects Jason Devore and George Contreras were taken into custody by members of The Fugitive Apprehension Team, which consists of U.S. Marshals, Department of Corrections, Pomona Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office after they were conducting a robbery investigation at the well-known mobile home park located on Rosecrans Avenue near Interstate 5.

Both suspects Devore and Contreras barricaded themselves inside the location while members of the media provided regular live updates on the unfolding situation on both television, radio and in on line newspaper websites.

Officials said that one of the suspects brandished a rifle at the officers at the beginning of the ordeal.

Special Enforcement Bureau, K-9 and the Crisis Negotiation Team responded to the location and during the incident, several gun shots were fired at the Special Enforcement Bureau.

After an extensive operation, Suspect Devore and Suspect Contreras surrendered.

Luckily, no deputies were hurt during this incident and the suspects were transported less than a mile away to the Norwalk Sheriff is Station and were booked on attempted murder charges.

One resident who was literally five units away from the ordeal spoke exclusively to Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper via telephone as the arrests of Devore and Contreras was taking place.

Nedra Leggett, who lives in Space 25, just five spaces away where the armed suspect is located, told HMG-CN that she began hearing a series of “popping noises” at the location at approximately 10:40 p.m. The sounds were that of gunfire less than 50 feet from her location.

Leggett said that an ambulance, a fire truck and a Norwalk Sheriff’s squad car arrived inside the location shortly thereafter.

“We were told to stay inside.  I heard someone yell, ‘get back into your house.’  At least two to three helicopters were buzzing around literally on top of our park,” said Leggett.

Leggett said that she was slated to be at work in Downey at Lakewood Health Care Center, but she had her plans changed due to the situation.  “We were told not to leave our units, and to stay calm, and to not make any loud noises.”

Leggett said that is not familiar with the two arrested suspects. “I don’t know anything about the people in the unit, but I think one of the people in the unit does roofing, I don’t know them personally,” Leggett said.

Leggett has been a resident of the mobile home park since 1979.

A statement from the Sheriff’s Department to HMG-CN stated the following:

“At approximately 4:15 pm this afternoon, U.S. Marshals Service, Pomona Police Department, and the Department of Corrections, working as a Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force, attempted to arrest the suspect at the location. The suspect, a 38 year-old male adult, is currently on federal probation for bank robbery,” the statement read.

Bullet hole from one of the nearby units located across from the barricade. Daniel E. Beckham Photo.

Bullet hole from one of the nearby units located across from the barricade. Daniel E. Beckham Photo.

“When the officers approached the residence, the suspect saw them and pointed a rifle at the officers. The suspect then ran back inside the residence. The suspect was seen wearing a bulletproof vest. There is confirmation that another male adult is also inside the residence.  Approximately 30 surrounding residences have been evacuated and relocated to Thomas B. Moffitt Elementary School, 13323 Goller Avenue, Norwalk.”

At nearby St. Linus Catholic School located approximately ¼ of a mile from the incident on Shoemaker Avenue; students were placed on a protective “lock-down” situation.  Parents arrived at the school and safely escorted their children back to their individual homes.

One day after the incident, a strong smell of tear gas lingered around the area.

One resident who identified himself as the Assistant Manager of the mobile home park showed HMG-CN where bullets flew into a nearby wall of a unit located just 10 feet away from the area.

Members of the Norwalk Community Safety Department were also patrolling inside the complex on Wednesday.