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Wednesday
Jan052011

Armed Fugitive in Custody after Standoff with Police at Phoenix Mall

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- An armed fugitive turned himself into police after a three-hour standoff Wednesday at a Phoenix-area mall that started with an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and U.S. Marshals.

A man believed to be Daniel Munoz Perez, 25, walked out of a Baja Fresh near Chandler Fashion Center with his shirt off and immediately was surrounded by SWAT members with their guns pointed at him. The man was handcuffed and taken into custody.

It's not known whether the suspect took hostages at the Mexican restaurant, but two employees reportedly walked out of the restaurant after he did. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Authorities put the Chandler Fashion Center on lockdown at around noon when undercover officers exchanged gunfire with a man believed to be Perez, a fugitive who has been on the lam since last month.

"U.S. Marshals task force members attempted to arrest Daniel Perez, who is wanted for aggravated assault for shooting at an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer last month," Jeff Carter from the United States Marshals Service said. "The store is being locked down and the mall evacuated."

Perez was arrested Dec. 10 for the shooting of the DPS officer, but mistakenly was released out of the Pinal County Jail on Dec. 16.

Armed police officers wearing helmets and bulletproof vests searched the mall and a nearby strip mall for Perez. Some of the officers were using dogs to search the mall.

U.S. Marshals confronted the suspect near the Sears store when gunfire was exchanged, sparking the standoff, ABC affiliate KNXV reported. The suspect then fled into the Sears store and eventually across Chandler Boulevard to the Baja Fresh.

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