Three 'Cal State Lockdown' Suspects in Custody

Three of the men involved in the robbery that eventually led to the Cal State Fullerton's lockdown have been taken into custody.

Two of five men suspected of robbing a Moreno Valley jewelry store and shooting a clerk before leading law enforcement on a four-county chase culminating in a carjacking and second pursuit remained at large today.

Three of the alleged bandits were locked up at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside in the predawn hours, after being turned over to the custody of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

Jerome Bernard Allen, 23, Damine Lavonte Banks, 30, and Traevon Cortez Vidaud, 24 -- all of Los Angeles -- were arrested on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy and attempted murder in connection with Wednesday's hold-up at Empire Jewelry and Loan, 24571 Sunnymead Blvd.

Allen and Vidaud also are being held for alleged parole violations and Vidaud alone was arrested for felony evading.

Only Banks is eligible to post bail -- $1 million.

The men and an unidentified accomplice allegedly forced their way into the pawn shop around 3 p.m. Wednesday, leaving a fifth cohort in the driver's seat of a waiting charcoal-colored Lexus, according to the sheriff's department.

The suspects were wearing ski masks and allegedly armed with .22- and .25-caliber handguns. According to sheriff's officials, they robbed the business and shot a clerk in the process. The victim was rushed to Riverside County Regional Medical Center and remains in stable condition.

Within 15 minutes of the robbery, the California Highway Patrol began pursuing the getaway vehicle as it headed west on the Moreno Valley (60) Freeway. The chase reached speeds of 100 miles per hour through San Bernardino County and into Los Angeles County, according to the CHP.

The robbers transitioned from the 60 to the southbound Orange (57) Freeway in Diamond Bar and made their way to Fullerton, where the chase ended on Nutwood Avenue, near Mihaylo Hall at the Cal State Fullerton campus.

Allen and Banks fled on foot and were arrested at or near the university, but another suspect is believed to have entered Mihaylo Hall and another, to have run south from the campus, according to Fullerton police Sgt. Jeff Stuart.

Vidaud allegedly carjacked a motorist near the campus, stealing his silver compact car, triggering a high-speed 20-minute chase that went west onto the Artesia (91) Freeway just as rush hour began. The suspect exited the freeway in Compton.

Vidaud allegedly plowed through multiple intersections, with police, CHP and sheriff's units close behind.

Clad in a white T-shirt and dark pants, he stopped in the parking lot of the Imperial Courts Recreation Center near Alameda Street in Watts, bailed out and ran onto a baseball diamond, where law enforcement officers tackled him and arrested him.

As it turned out, the man had picked a bad spot as his portal to freedom: Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck and other members of his department were at the complex at the time, distributing gifts to children as part of a toy drive.

At Cal State Fullerton, an estimated 10,000 people, mostly students, were stranded on the campus for more than seven hours Wednesday night, hundreds of them in the rain, as authorities searched for the two outstanding suspects.

Witnesses told reporters they had seen a man run frantically toward Mihaylo Hall, then walk calmly inside, mixing with the crowd. Not finding the suspect, police cleared Mihaylo Hall about 10 p.m., allowing approximately 400 students who had been inside to leave, according to Stuart.

The other suspect evaded a building-by-building search, Stuart said.


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