ESCONDIDO (CNS) - A suspected gang member and a female companion surrendered peacefully early Friday following a several-hour North County SWAT standoff that followed a high-speed road chase.
Omar Jacobo Hernandez, 30, and 23-year-old Natalie Mejia were taken into custody at the Mount Vernon Inn in Escondido shortly after 3:30 a.m., Lt. Mike Loarie said.
The events that led to the standoff and arrests began about 9 p.m. Thursday, when detectives in marked squad cars spotted Hernandez driving a white car near Mission Avenue and Rock Springs Road, according to Loarie.
Hernandez -- who was wanted on state and federal warrants for alleged drug possession, violation of a gang injunction and alien smuggling -- sped off toward San Marcos, with police in pursuit, their sirens and emergency lights activated, the lieutenant said.
After several minutes, the detectives canceled the pursuit for safety reasons and lost sight of Hernandez. Police then notified San Marcos sheriff's deputies, who eventually found Hernandez's abandoned car.
Over the next several hours, detectives gathered information that led them to the West Mission Avenue motel early this morning, Loarie said.
About 1:15 a.m., officers evacuated several rooms on the west side of the building and focused their attention on room 333, where Hernandez had holed up with two women, Loarie said.
One of the women immediately came out and spoke to police, while Hernandez and Mejia refused to leave the room, he said.
Nearly 2 1/2 hours later, special-weapons and tactics personnel fired tear gas into the room, driving out the suspects, Loarie said.
Hernandez was booked on suspicion of felony evasion of police and resisting arrest, as well for as the outstanding warrants. He was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Monday.
Mejia was expected to face charges of harboring a felon and resisting or obstructing police, Loarie said. It was not immediately clear when she would make her first court appearance in the case.
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