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Gunmen Arrested, Hostages Freed in Santa Monica StandoffAired July 4, 2000 - 10:00 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Out of Southern California, a developing story we've been talking about throughout the morning here in Santa Monica. Just about 20 minutes ago, police took into custody a second man who had been holding hostages at the Santa Monica Pier. All appear to be unharmed.
The drama began more than five hours ago deep in the night Pacific time when police went to the pier to arrest a 25-year-old as a suspect in a triple homicide. That led to a shootout that ended up with three police officers wounded, and one civilian wounded as well.
CNN's Jim Hill, one of the first to arrive on the scene, with us once again live from Santa Monica -- Jim.
JIM HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Bill. This hostage drama, if you will, that began with the shooting of three police officers and one and perhaps two civilians lasted about five hours. The suspect finally giving himself up after releasing the last two hostages, the suspect led away in handcuffs. We're told he now faces 15 counts of kidnaping as well as four counts of attempted murder.
Now, this would be in addition to the fact that the suspect is also wanted in connection with three separate homicides; wanted by San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies.
Now, all of this unfolded shortly after 1:00 in the morning West Coast time when San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies contacted Santa Monica Police, saying two homicide suspects were believed to be along the Santa Monica Pier. The Santa Monica Police moved in, they arrested one suspect identified as 30-year-old Jose Flores without incident, taking two handguns from him. But police say the second suspect, who they identify as 25-year-old Oswald Amezcua, opened fire on them as he attempted to flee.
At that point, the three police officers were wounded. We understand a female officer, two male officers wounded in the arm, and two of the others wounded in the leg, as well as a civilian; possibly another civilian wounded as well. All those people were treated at a local hospital and were told they're in anywhere from good to fair condition, not life-threatening.
However, the suspect ran into what's called the Playland, the arcade area where he took 15 people hostage. Throughout the morning, hostage negotiators as well as Santa Monica SWAT team personnel, sharp shooters and so forth, converged on the area, maintained a long telephone conversation with the suspect who eventually released hostages in small groups.
Now, about a half an hour ago, the hostage negotiators say that they talked him into surrendering altogether. He released the final man and woman who he had been holding hostage, those people led away. And the suspect then came out, surrendered, was handcuffed, led away, and of course now faces multiple charges stemming from the earlier triple -- or rather three homicides and the incidents on the pier here.
But all considering, this very potentially dangerous situation, it is a peaceful end, at least to the hostage part of this drama.
HEMMER: All right, Jim -- Jim Hill -- good work there in Santa Monica.
And both suspects in police custody at this time.
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