SANTA MONICA—Lt. Erika Aklufi of the Santa Monica Police Department informed Canyon News via email that they arrested a suspect who made bomb threats on the Santa Monica Pier on Monday, October 9.
The SMPD reported at about 2:35 p.m. they received a radio call of a distraught male subject climbing the Ferris wheel in Pacific Park on the Pier. A witness told officers that the man claimed to have a bomb in his backpack.
Officers found the subject, later identified as Juan Gonzalez, 37, of Garden Grove, approximately two-thirds of the way up the Ferris wheel in the steel supports. There were approximately 10 riders on the wheel, which was stopped with Gonzalez in the support structure.
The Santa Monica Fire Department worked to rescue the riders in the wheel’s gondolas while members of the SMPD Crisis Negotiation Team contacted Gonzalez and started talking him down to the Pier Deck. During the negotiations, Gonzalez was agitated and upset and continued to make bomb threats to the officers negotiating with him. The incident lasted for more than an hour before Gonzalez climbed down low enough for officers to take him into custody. He was not in possession of an explosive device or any other weapons.
Based on the multiple threats made to witnesses as well as the continued bomb threats articulated by Gonzalez to the officers, he was placed under arrest for criminal threats (a felony), making a false bomb threat to authorities, and resisting arrest. He was evaluated by the SMFD on-scene and transported to the Santa Monica Jail for booking. The case will be presented to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for filing on the threats charges.
Lt. Aklufi informed Canyon News that there were no injuries during the incident and the Department is unaware of any prior criminal record with the suspect. Lt. Aklufi told Canyon News on Wednesday, October 11, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed charges for felony criminal threats (422 PC), felony resisting arrest (69 PC), false imprisonment (236 PC) and making a false bomb report (148.1 PC).