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Man in Custody After Making Repeated Bomb Threats

By Lookout Staff

October 10, 2023 -- A Garden Grove man is in custody after scaling the Pacific Park Ferris wheel and making multiple bomb threats during a more than one-hour standoff with officers, police officials said Tuesday.

Juan Gonzalez, 37, was placed under arrest for criminal threats, which is a felony; making a false bomb threat to authorities and resisting arrest, police said.

The arrest was made "based on the multiple threats made to witnesses as well as the continued bomb threats articulated by Gonzalez to the officers on scene," said Lt. Erika Aklufi, the Police Department spokesperson.

The incident -- which made international headlines -- began after a witness called police at 2:35 p.m. to report a "distraught" man, who had made a bomb threat, climbing the 130-foot tall Ferris wheel, Aklufi said.

The Pier was evacuated as responding officers found the man "approximately two-thirds of the way up the Ferris wheel in the steel supports.

"There were approximately ten riders on the wheel, which had to be stopped with Gonzalez in the support structure," Aklufi said.

The Fire Department rescued the stranded riders, while SMPD's Crisis Negotiation Team tried talking Gonzalez down to the Pier deck, according to police.

"During those negotiations, Gonzalez was very agitated and upset and continued to make bomb threats to the officers negotiating with him," said Aklufi.

After more tha an hour, Gonzalez "climbed down low enough for officers to take him into custody," she said. Officers found no explosive device or other weapons in Gonzalez's possession.

He was evaluated by the Fire Department and transported to the Santa Monica Jail for booking.

The case will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office for filing on the threats charges, Aklufi said.

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