The search for a kidnapping suspect who ran from a sport utility vehicle after a hourslong pursuit centered on a rugged hillside behind a park in Orange County.
Authorities have been looking for Thomas Ueno since Monday night when he ran from a Hummer after a pursuit through several Orange County communities that ended near Castaways Park in Newport Beach. The 35-year-old is accused of kidnapping his girlfriend and two children before the chase and standoff.
"That’s why we took so many precautions - the distance from the pursuit - we were afraid he might be armed," Lt. Al Martinez, Huntington Park police, said. "He did have a history of weapons violations. We were concerned he may have been armed with a gun."
Video from Southern California's police pursuits and follow-ups on what happened after the chase
A replica gun as well as a toy gun were found in and near the Hummer. Despite this, police said they believe Ueno is armed.
"He could be on the hillside. Who knows, he could be down by the water," said Deborah Keillor, a resident of the seaside community.
Ueno was originally wanted in connection with a domestic violence case, but refused to pull over for law enforcement authorities, said CHP Officer Denise Quesada. The chase began at 4:47 p.m. Monday in Buena Park when that city's police department was contacted by its counterpart in Huntington Park, which had received a report of a domestic violence situation and that the subjects were in a vehicle.
Authorities chased the Hummer on streets and freeways. Much of the chase north from Los Angeles County was on the 5 Freeway. The pursuit came to a stop near Dover and 16th streets in Newport Beach before the driver freed the occupants, abandoned the vehicle and sprinted up a hillside.
The woman, his ex-girlfriend, and children, ages 1 and 5, did not appear to be injured, according to police.
Crimes allegedly committed by Ueno date back to 2001, including traffic violations, theft, evading police, domestic violence, violating a restraining order, and child abuse and endangerment.
Ueno was last seen wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt, dark blue pants and a red baseball cap. The suspect should be considered armed and dangerous, according to the Huntington Park Police Department, which investigated the initial domestic violence report in January. He is described by police as Latino, 35, 5 feet, 7 inches tall, 175 pound with a shaven head and brown eyes.
Police advise that if anyone comes into contact with Ueno, do not engage with him in any way -- call 911.
Angie Crouch contributed to this report.