Suspect in custody after standoff at Phx apartment complex

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Suspect in custody after hours-long standoff at Phx apartment complex By Catherine Holland Suspect in custody after hours-long standoff at Phx apartment complex By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A suspect who kept police at bay for hours overnight and into the morning was taken into custody shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Police and the bomb squad spent the early morning hours on the scene of a barricade situation at 34th Street and McDowell Road that began with a chase late Monday night.

The Department of Public Safety initially stopped the 19-year-old suspect for speeding in the area Interstate 10 and 12th Street at about 11:15 p.m. The suspect, who is believed to be in this country illegally, did not have identification and refused to give the officer his name.

When the officer tried to take the suspect into custody, the man fought him off and ran.

"The suspect hit our officer in the face," said DPS spokesman Carrick Cook, explaining that the suspect darted across all lanes of eastbound I-10 at 12th Street. "He ran to the north side of the road, got in another struggle with the officer. The officer tried to tase him. That didn't work."

The suspect took off and, despite an extensive search, vanished into the neighborhood.

Two other people who were in the vehicle that was initially stopped led officers to  the San Terra apartment complex at 34th Street and McDowell Road, where the suspect lives with his family.

Early on, a neighbor told 3TV the suspect took an entire family, including children, hostage. DPS confirmed that it was the suspect's own family -- four adults and several children. They all left the apartment unharmed.

When officers tried to go inside the apartment, the man reportedly told them that he had explosives. They backed off for safety's sake and called in reinforcements.

Video from the scene showed a large police presence and a bomb-squad command vehicle. A SWAT team was on site, as well.

Several nearby apartments were evacuated as a precaution and fire personnel were on standby.

The bomb squad sent in a robot to find out if there were indeed explosives in the apartment. There were not.

When the SWAT team was finally able to get inside, the suspect was pepper-sprayed, wrestled to the ground and taken into custody with no further incident.

The suspect has been identified as Victor Mauricio Ruelas-Rodriguez, 19, of Mexico. He was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on felony charges of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, escape and failing to provide identification while driving a motor vehicle. He also has several felony convictions on his record.

No injuries were reported.