NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) – Police on Tuesday hunted a domestic violence suspect who led them on a televised chase through Orange County with his two sons and their mother in the car, then fled into the fog after an hourslong standoff.
Thomas Ueno, 35, ran up a hill in Newport Beach on Monday night after the woman and children dashed to safety, and it was too foggy for helicopters to help hunt him down, authorities said.
“The victims are safe,” police Sgt. Rachel Johnson said.
Ueno, whose neck is heavily and distinctively tattooed, has been known to carry guns and should be considered armed and dangerous, according to a police statement.
The chase began shortly before 5 p.m. Monday when the woman, who had filed a restraining order against Ueno, sent police a message that she was being held against her will, police told the Orange County Register (http://bit.ly/1RkOneD).
Authorities tracked Ueno, the woman and their 1-year-old and 6-year-old sons to Buena Park.
The woman’s gray Hummer was spotted and chased by Buena Park police after it refused to pull over.
The chase, which also involved the California Highway Patrol, ranged from a slow crawl through traffic to 70 mph on a freeway, authorities said.
In Newport Beach, the car’s battery died and the Hummer stopped, CHP Officer Florentino Olivera told the Register.
Ueno and his family were in the Hummer for about three hours – although Ueno got out and back in several times. Finally, around 10 p.m., the woman and children got out of the Hummer and ran toward police while Ueno raced off into the fog, authorities said.
A CHP officer fired three or four beanbag shots at him, Olivera said.
Witness Michael Hicks says he was confronted by the suspect as he ran from police on foot.
Michael Hicks heard shots and then saw a man in a hoodie running towards him, yelling “I’m hit, I’m hit, they shot me,” he told KABC-TV (http://bit.ly/1RERVLs).
“I’m in shock. I don’t know if he’s got a gun, so he asked me to get him out of there,” Hicks said. “I didn’t say anything, but I made sure to watch where he went … The police came up, and I pointed out where he jumped over the fence.”
Police searched door-to-door in a nearby gated community but couldn’t find Ueno.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.