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SWAT team rescues boys in freeway standoff drama

San Diego County motorists Thursday were asked to keep a look out for four young Los Angeles-area brothers and their biological father.
SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Four L.A.-area boys are safe Thursday after their father was taken into custody following a tense standoff along a Santee highway.

Daniel Perez, 43, of Montebello stopped the black 2014 Toyota Camry he was driving in the middle of the eastbound state Route 52 connector road to state Route 67 about 8:30 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol. A standoff ensued until around 9:50 a.m., when two SWAT vehicles pulled up to the front and the back of the Camry and officers in full tactical gear approached the suspect and took him into custody.

Montebello police earlier named Perez as a person of interest in the disappearance of his 39-year-old wife, Erica. On Thursday, the L.A. County Coroner's Office confirmed the body found in the trunk of the family car on Wednesday was Erica Perez.

The Perez family was last seen Friday, police said, adding that extended family members described the couple's marriage as unstable and marred by domestic violence. An Amber Alert was issued early Thursday morning for four of the couple's five children.

Sometime around 8 a.m. Thursday, officers pursued Perez from the downtown El Cajon area to state Route 125 to the highway ramp where he stopped. A CHP spokesman said that officers located Perez in the downtown El Cajon area earlier Thursday using the LoJack technology installed on the Camry.

Just before 9 a.m., two of the four young boys got out safely and ran to nearby authorities, but two others remained in the vehicle along with their father until he was taken into custody.

Before the SWAT vehicles pulled up, about a dozen law enforcement cruisers and SUVs stopped behind the black Toyota Camry, which was on an elevated transition roadway. Officers with weapons drawn were just yards from the car.

Perez was talking to law enforcement via cell phone, the CHP said. The CHP reports that during the hour long standoff, Perez was calm and then just suddenly snapped. Also during the standoff, family members in the San Diego area were feeding negotiators information.

Once the suspect's car was blocked in by SWAT vehicles, the
standoff quickly came to an end

"The suspect attempted to jump over the guard rail, was shot with one bean bag nonlethal. Immediately taken to the ground and is in custody. All four boys I saw and talk to them. Seem to be okay physically no injuries. Mentally we don't know how this has affected them,” said Kevin Pearlstein with the CHP.

Officers believe Perez was headed to Mexico.

Perez and his children were transported separately Thursday afternoon to Montebello. The fifth child -- who was not involved in the standoff -- was being cared for by his grandparents.



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