Suspects ID'd in Car Chases, Fullerton Campus Lockdown - NBC Southern California

Suspects ID'd in Car Chases, Fullerton Campus Lockdown



    Five suspected robbers involved in a violent heist at a Moreno Valley pawn shop were apparently caught on camera walking in and out of the store, where a clerk was shot four times. After the robbery, the group fled the scene, sparking a high-speed pursuit that ended at Cal State Fullerton. One of the men then allegedly carjacked a Toyota and began another high-speed chase that ended in a baseball field in Watts. Whit Johnson reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Dec. 13, 2012. (Published Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012)

    Three men arrested in connection with a jewelry store robbery that prompted two car chases and the lockdown of Cal State Fullerton were identified Thursday.

    Damine Lavonte Banks, Jerome Renard Allen and Traevon Cortez Vidaud were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and robbery along with other charges, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

    A manhunt for two more alleged robbers is still ongoing.

    Banks, 30, and Allen, 23, both of Los Angeles, were arrested as they fled a car crash in Fullerton, according to the sheriff's department.

    Student in Fullerton Lockdown: "I Almost Wanted to Cry"

    [LA] Student in Fullerton Lockdown: "I Almost Wanted to Cry"
    Emotions ran high Wednesday on the Cal State Fullerton campus as SWAT teams scouring the university for a gunman wanted in connected with an armed robbery in Moreno Valley. Hundreds of students were ordered to stay in their classrooms for several hours. Student Megan Belvedere says she "never thought this would ever happen to me." Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2012.
    (Published Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012)

    Exclusive: "Surveillance Video Shows Robbery That Sparked Pursuits, Lockdown"

    Vidaud -- a 24-year-old from Compton -- was arrested after allegedly carjacking another vehicle and leading police on a high-speed chase that ended with a brief foot pursuit in Watts, coincidentally in the presence of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who was in the area giving away toys to hundreds of young children.

    All three suspects were turned over to the Moreno Valley Police Department.

    CSU Fullerton Slowly Reopens After Hours-Long Lockdown

    [LA] CSU Fullerton Slowly Reopens After Hours-Long Lockdown
    Students and faculty were allowed to leave Cal State Fullerton just before midnight Wednesday, hours after the university was put on a modified lockdown prompted by two men fleeing onto campus, wanted in connection with an armed robbery that sparked two separate high-speed pursuits. Vikki Vargas reports from Fullerton for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2012.
    (Published Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012)

    The men, along with the two others still at large, are accused of robbing Empire Jewelry and Loan, located at 24571 Sunnymead Blvd. in Moreno Valley on Wednesday about 3 p.m.

    "Officers learned that four masked males entered the business armed with handguns, leaving a fifth suspect in an awaiting vehicle. During the commission of the robbery one of the employees was shot," according to a statement from the sheriff's department.

    Related: "Pawn Shop Clerk Shot 4 Times in Robbery That Sparked Pursuits, Campus Lockdown"

    CHP officers later spotted the apparent getaway vehicle and a pursuit began. Shortly before 4 p.m., the suspects exited the 57 Freeway at Nutwood Avenue, crashing into a student's car near campus. The men fled the collision, two heading onto campus while the other three ran south in the City of Fullerton.

    Vidaud allegedly carjacked a vehicle and a second pursuit started. The suspect wove in and out of traffic at high speeds while leading authorities north back to LA County, according to police. Around 4:20 p.m., Vidaud crashed the car in Watts, sprinted through a lawn and hopped a fence near a housing project, police said.

    He surrendered to dozens of officers on a baseball diamond at a recreation center. Chief Beck was nearby for a toy giveaway.

    "He picked the wrong rec center to run into today," LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith told City News Service.

    Meanwhile back on campus, a partial lockdown was issued while a police perimeter was set up and SWAT team members conducted room-by-room searches.

    "We had a large number of students who were able to flee the building where the suspect ran into. They've been evacuated from the campus," said Fullerton police Sgt. Jeff Stuart on Wednesday evening.

    Around midnight the all clear was given on campus. Classes resumed Thursday morning as scheduled. No students were injured in the ordeal.

    Related: "All Clear: CSU Fullerton Lockdown Lifted"

    During the lengthy lockdown, students stayed connected to family, friends and media outlets via text messages, phone calls and Twitter from classrooms and dorm rooms, some with doors barricaded.

    As of Thursday, two suspects remained at large.

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