Garden Grove

After three hours, gunman surrendered

AFTER A THREE-HOUR standoff, a New York man was arrested early Wednesday morning in Garden Grove after seizing a police rifle and firing one shot.

A 33-year-old New York man was arrested early Wednesday morning in Garden Grove after a three-hour standoff in which he grabbed a police rifle and fired one round. No one was hurt.

According to Lt. Carl Whitney of the Garden Grove Police Department, the incident started at 9:25 p.m. at the Morningside Recovery, 9842 13th St. Orange County Mental Health workers asked for help while they evaluated a man at the drug and alcohol treatment facility.

When it was decided that the man – identified as Stephen Matthews – needed to be taken to another facility, an ambulance was called to transport him. In the interim, Matthews was placed in the back seat of a GGPD patrol car. He was not handcuffed.

“At some point,” according to Lt. Whitney, the man “was able to access the front portion of the police car and took possession of the semi-automatic patrol rife.” Officers ordered the man to put the gun down, but he refused and fired one shot through the windshield. Police did not return fire.

More officers arrived and a barricade situation developed with SWAT members, crisis negotiators and armored vehicles. “After several hours of attempted negotiations, the suspect surrendered at 12:41 a.m.,” according to Lt. Whitney.

During the standoff, Brookhurst Street was closed between Westminster and Hazard avenues.

Matthews was taken into custody and arrested for discharging the weapon. He was booked into Orange County Jail in Santa Ana.

“Supervisors at the police department will investigate how the suspect was able to gain access to the patrol rifle,” according to Lt. Whitney. “At this point, it is unknown if the locking mechanism for the rifle failed or if the suspect somehow was able to trigger the release of the weapon.”

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