A gunman who shot a police officer and held two hostages captive in a Southern California has been arrested and charged with attempted murder, police said today.
Christopher Warsaw, 45, is being held at South Los Angeles Station on $1 million bail, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Guillermina Saldaña confirmed Thursday. The charges follow a nearly nine-hour standoff with officers which ended with Warsaw's arrest shortly before Thanksgiving.
The standoff began when police responded to a domestic disturbance call at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, after receiving a call that a man was dragging a woman into a house at the 10700 block of 5th Avenue in Inglewood.
As officers approached the front door, Warsaw, who has a criminal record, opened fire, sparking a shootout that led to two officers being injured, said police.
"The officer that was actually shot was shot in the chest but was saved by his bullet proof vest," said Inglewood Police Spokesman Oscar Mejia.
The unidentified male officer was taken to a Centinela Hospital in Inglewood overnight and is said to be in a stable condition. He was later transferred to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for treatment.
A female officer was not struck by gunfire, but was slightly injured when she fell while trying to help her fallen colleague, a police statement said.
"The female officer began running back down the avenue," witness Kimberly Edwards told ABC7. "She collapsed in front of us on 5th Avenue, and they slung her over the shoulder like a sack and took her out."
The female officer, who also remains unidentified, was also taken to Centinela Hospital and later released.
A neighbor captured the chaos on camera through his window across the street. As the gunfire intensified, police told residents to remain inside their houses, while Warsaw barricaded himself inside the house with his girlfriend and her 14-year-old daughter.
As the standoff continued into the evening, police went door-to-door evacuating those inside to safety.
Hostage negotiators from both Inglewood Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department eventually persuaded the suspect to surrender peacefully at around 9:30 p.m.
The hostage's brother, who only wanted to be identified as "Matt," told ABC7 that he was at work when he received a call saying his 42-year-old sister and niece were being held hostage. He said his nephew had managed to escape the house and called 911.
Both hostages and the gunman emerged from the home unharmed.
The incident has terrified neighbors, some who were preparing for Thanksgiving when the shootout started.
Esther Frazier told the Los Angeles Times she was baking a Thanksgiving cake when the commotion began and was walking back inside to turn off her oven when gunfire rang out.
"There were so many gunshots, oh my God, it was like you were in a war zone," Frazier said. "A shot came through the screen on my door."