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Metropolitan Digest / LOS ANGELES COUNTY NEWS IN BRIEF

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY : Distraught Man Barricades Himself in Car at Cemetery

May 06, 1994

A distraught fugitive, brandishing a gun and driving a stolen station wagon, barricaded himself in a San Gabriel Valley cemetery for three hours Thursday before surrendering peacefully, authorities said.

Sheriff's Deputy Rich Erikson said James Dale Parker, 30, of Moreno Valley, had entered Forest Lawn Memorial-Park Covina Hills shortly before 3 p.m., careening around the cemetery until a worker reported him.

Deputies and officers from the California Highway Patrol drove to the cemetery and chased the stolen gray 1988 Toyota over headstones and floral wreaths, eventually forcing the car into a bank of flowers, authorities said.

Parker allegedly barricaded himself inside the vehicle and yelled that he would not surrender until he could call his wife in Las Vegas. Later, as news helicopters circled overhead and SWAT team members closed in, the man threatened suicide, explaining that he was in despair over ongoing criminal problems.

Erikson said Parker was wanted in Las Vegas for suspected forgery, and a warrant had been issued for his arrest. The car he was driving had been stolen in Norwalk on Tuesday, deputies said.

About 5:45 p.m., the SWAT team fired two "flash bang" grenades at Parker's car. He surrendered about five minutes later, and was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, grand theft auto and felony vandalism, Erikson said.

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