LAPD officers in front of The Savoy with weapons drawn. (JUN NAGATA/Rafu Shimpo)

By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer

A manhunt shut down Alameda Street and a residential community in the Little Tokyo/Arts District area for about three hours on Monday night.

According to witness accounts, a suspected car thief abandoned his vehicle outside The Savoy — which covers an entire city block bounded by Alameda on the west, First Street on the north, Rose Street on the east, and Second Street on the south — and somehow gained entry into the building.

LAPD units, including K9 units, searched the building while officers closed off Alameda between First and Second as well as First and Second between Alameda and Rose. A police helicopter with a searchlight circled overhead. When the search began, there were officers outside the building with weapons drawn.

An LAPD helicopter circles overhead in search of the suspect. (JUN NAGATA/Rafu Shimpo)

Savoy residents were either unable to leave or unable to enter from about 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Resident Daniel Iwao, who was waiting to get back into the building, said that after working out in the gym that evening, “I walked outside and the helicopter beamed on me, so I knew something was bad. I told my wife and my sister-in-law to get back in the building.”

In The Savoy’s courtyard, located on the ground floor, “I saw an African American dude with a green shirt holding a diaper box,” Iwao said. “I didn’t think nothing was up because he looked very innocent. So I just kept walking … Then I came out here, the cops drew their guns at me. I got scared … What’s crazy is that the dude passed the door where the cops were, so I thought he was innocent. And now they’re looking for him.”

On Tuesday, Iwao reported, “I went back in around 9:30 p.m. The police did find the suspect. Actually they handcuffed him right in front of my door.”

Officers on the scene did not provide details, the LAPD has not posted any information about the incident online, and there was no response from the Central Area station to a request for further information.

Rafu staff writer Jun Nagata contributed to this report.

Police units surrounded the building as it was searched. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

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