Suspect in Chandler mall shooting held on $1M bond

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by Jennifer Thomas

azfamily.com

Posted on January 5, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 7 at 7:07 AM

Map: Chandler Fashion Center

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CHANDLER, Ariz. -- A suspect is facing numerous felony charges after he allegedly shot at officers outside Chandler Fashion Center and took three people hostage inside a nearby restaurant on Wednesday.

According to the Chandler Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Task Force was looking for a suspect who had committed several armed robberies in the East Valley utilizing a stolen Kia SUV.

The SUV was stolen at gunpoint from an elderly victim on Nov. 18 outside of Banner Desert Hospital in Mesa.

Officers reportedly located a vehicle that matched the stolen SUV description at a Mesa apartment complex on Wednesday.

Police say a man who matched the description of a wanted fugitive got into the car and officers followed him to Chandler Fashion Center located at Chandler Boulevard and Loop 101 around noon.

That man turned out to be Adam Hernandez, 27, and not Daniel Perez, who was mistakenly released from a Pinal County jail on $320 bond last month. Perez, 25, is accused of shooting at Arizona Department of Public Safety officers outside a home in Casa Grande on Dec. 10

The officers confronted Hernandez outside the mall. Chandler police Sgt. Joe Favazzo said shots were exchanged, but no one was injured. Hernandez then ran into the mall with officers in pursuit.

The mall was placed on lockdown and people were evacuated while officers from multiple agencies searched for Hernandez.

Hernandez managed to get out of the mall and into another shopping complex.

According to Department of Public Safety Officer Robert Bailey, at approximately 12:30 p.m. there was a report of shots fired and a hostage situation inside a Baja Fresh restaurant north of the mall.

Chopper video showed officers with their guns drawn outside the restaurant.

All the customers and one employee fled the restaurant, but one male and two female employees were taken hostage by Hernandez.

Hernandez reportedly removed a large amount of cash from the safe, according to the police report.

Contact was made with Hernandez and after about an hour of negotiations he surrendered. He was taken into custody inside the Baja Fresh shortly before 3 p.m.

According to the police report, Hernandez said he knew he was "being followed." He indicated he was on the run for a probation violation after fleeing from police during a traffic stop. He also reportedly admitted to having previously served time in prison and being a convicted felon.

Hernandez has been booked on a long list of charges, including attempted murder of a police officer, vehicle theft, kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated assault of a police officer, and weapons possession. He is being held on $1 million bond.

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office, DPS, Chandler, Tempe and Mesa police departments, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals Office were all involved in Wednesday's incident.

Chandler Fashion Center reopened at approximately 4:30 p.m.

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