FULLERTON, Calif. - Students at Cal State Fullerton have been told to stay inside with doors locked while police search the campus and surrounding neighbourhoods for two suspects in an armed robbery at a Riverside County jewelry store where one person was shot.
Three other suspects have been detained, including one who stole a car and led police on a high speed chase along busy freeways and through residential streets before surrendering to more than a dozen officers some 60 miles away in Los Angeles. The two others were arrested in Fullerton.
The search is centred on three buildings along Nutwood Avenue on the southeast edge of the campus, said Chris Bugbee, the school's director of public relations. Students were alerted via text message Wednesday evening and told to shelter in place.
Some occupants of Mihaylo Hall at the university's College of Business were evacuated.
"We saw all these cops coming through with - I think they were like AKs or something. They were pretty big guns. And they eventually told us we had to leave the campus," student Nate Chu told KABC-TV.
At least one suspect fired a handgun while attempting to rob a store on Sunnymead Boulevard in Moreno Valley just after 3 p.m., according to Riverside County Sheriff's Corp. Angel Ramos. One person was shot. The victim's condition was unknown.
Five suspects fled the scene of the robbery in a charcoal grey Lexus. They were stopped by police in Fullerton near the school when the Lexus rear-ended a Hyundai.
One person was detained at the scene of the crash and four others ran off.
"They ran right at me, I decided to get out of their way, I did not know if they were armed or not," said student Shaun Kintaudi, who was on his way to take a test. "I decided I it was best to run away from them, and let the cops do their job."
Some students posted photos to Twitter of their locked-down classrooms and dorm rooms with doors barricaded as they waited inside, watching the news on their laptops.
The campus is in its final week of classes before final exams.
One suspect carjacked a silver sedan and drove onto the westbound 91 Freeway, speeding erratically through rush hour traffic.
News helicopters showed California Highway Patrol officers chasing the car until it exited onto LA County surface streets.
The suspect ran from the car and surrendered to dozens of officers on a baseball diamond at a recreation centre in Watts, where LA Police Chief Charlie Beck was giving away toys to hundreds of young children.
"He picked the wrong rec centre to run into today," said LAPD Commander Andy Smith.