Sunday, January 23, 2011

No arrest after five-hour standoff at Palm Springs apartment

By Denise Goolsby and Colin Atagi, The Desert Sun

After a nearly five-hour standoff in a Palm Springs apartment complex Saturday, authorities found that an attempted murder suspect was not inside the apartment they had surrounded.At 11:30 a.m., police received a tip that Hismael Pereira, 22, lived at the San Jacinto Village Apartments in the 3200 block of Escoba Drive, Sgt. Melissa Desmarais said.
Nearby units were evacuated and at least one flash grenade was thrown into the suspect's apartment, which had been surrounded by about 30 officers and SWAT team members.
But when Palm Springs and Cathedral City SWAT team members entered the apartment they only found “several pitbulls,” which were taken to the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, Desmarais said.
She added that the dogs did not attack anyone.
“They were nice (dogs),” Desmarais said.
Pereira remains at large, and police say he should be considered armed and dangerous.
He is accused of stabbing someone near the intersection of Tramview Road and Granada Road on Jan. 17.
The victim suffered two stab wounds and is in critical but stable condition, officials said.
Robert Hughes lives at San Jacinto Village and said there's always a lot of activity going on in the suspect's apartment. “They party a lot,” Hughes said. He and his son were among those evacuated from the east side of the complex at about 1:10 p.m. Saturday.
Police lifted the evacuation about 4 p.m., and the only signs of a police action that remained were a broken window and a broken sliding door.
Anise Guarnieri lives in the complex and watched all of the activity.
“It's just nerve-wracking,” she said. “It's kind of scary.”
She said she no longer parks in the parking area in the apartment because she worries about criminal activity. Instead, she parks her car on the street.
“I'm so scared to go back there,” she said. “Here, I just walk right out.”
Jane Galvan has lived near San Jacinto Village for more than a year, but she said she doesn't believe Saturday's incident is a reason to move elsewhere.
“It's pretty quiet here; I really think (the incident) is an exception,” Galvan said. “I like to think this is the first incident of this magnitude (in the area).”
Authorities ask that if anyone has any information on Pereira's whereabouts to call police at (760) 323-8145.

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