Barricaded suspect found hiding in attic of El Monte home

EL MONTE – A nearly 10-hour standoff between El Monte police and a man wanted for burglary ended Thursday when the suspect was found hiding in an attic wearing a gas mask.

The mask explains how the man was able to remain inside the Gilman Road house even after police tossed in tear gas twice to flush him out.

David Huerta, 35, of El Monte was taken to a hospital to be treated for dog bites. He was expected to be booked later at the El Monte police station.

Sgt. Roger Cobian said police dog named Arno found Huerta in the attic and bit the suspect.

It started about 7 a.m. when El Monte police and SWAT officers went to the 4000 block of Gilman Road to serve search warrants at two neighboring homes.

Police were looking for Huerta who was wanted for burglary and possession of stolen property and James Lewis, 38, who was wanted for possession of stolen property, burglary and drug charges.

At the first location, Cobian said Lewis tried to hide in the attic but was quickly arrested with the help of a police dog.

A relative of Lewis was also detained but later released.

Police went to the second house but Huerta barricaded himself. Cobian said other adults and children obeyed officers’ orders to leave the house.

Nearby Twin Lakes and La Primaria elementary schools went on voluntary lockdown after being notified of the situation by police, Cobian said.

Students were released from school at the normal dismissal time.

Police called Huerta’s cell phone, the andline to the house and even tossed in a phone. They ordered him out and threw tear gas into the house. But he stayed put.

Around 5 p.m., the SWAT team entered the residence.

- Staff report

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