Chandler, Arizona – Police took an armed man into custody after he held up in a restaurant. It is not known at this writing if the man took hostages or was a mistakenly released federal fugitive. US Marshal David Gonzales states that the hostages were being in Baja Fresh Restaurant, north of the Chandler Mall. Chandler Police Detective David Ramer stated that the report of Hostages have not been confirmed.
Customer at the Baja Fresh, Leyda Schultz told CNN that a gunman held at least two employees after ordering customers to leave the area. Schultz also told reporters that she witnessed the man being taken into custody at approximately 2 pm. CNN affiliate, KPHO reported earlier in the day that two hostages were being held. KPHO stated that a SWAT team was called to the restaurant and was making a move towards the gunman and the hostages.
Marshals Service task force members chased a man thought to be a fugitive into an evacuated mall. Gunshots were heard coming from the area. The mall remains in lockdown until further notice. Video from a helicopter shows a police officer with guns drawn in front of the Baja Fresh. Audio from the same source indicates more shots may have been fired.
Marshalls were seeking a fugitive named Daniel Munoz Perez. It is assumed at this point that he is the gunman but identification has yet to be released. Perez was sought for alleged aggravated assault and the shooting of an officer in December. He was seen earlier in the day near the mall. Security officers for Chandler Fashion Center believed they spotted the fugitive and stated that he fired a weapon. The mall was immediately evacuated and put in lockdown.
Perez was mistakenly released from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office on December 16th. The US Marshals Service has been on the look-out for the fugitive ever since. Perez, 25 was injured in a shootout with public safety officers while outside a home in Casa Grande. It is there where Perez allegedly shot at the public safety workers on December 11th.