Police evacuated a schoolground Monday night in north Fresno after a man armed with a knife ran onto the campus after reportedly robbing a liquor store.
The incident happened about 7 p.m. at Pinedale Elementary, police said. Brian Espinoza, 21, identified as a Pinedale Bulldog gang member, was taken into custody about three hours later after a standoff at an apartment complex in the 200 block of West Spruce Avenue.
A clerk at Liquor King in the 6700 block of North Blackstone told officers he recognized Espinosa from previous incidents and saw him walking back and forth in front of the store. The clerk approached Espinosa and asked him to leave. Instead, Espinosa entered the store, pulled a knife, demanded a bottle of liquor, then fled.
After a motorcycle officer saw Espinosa running from the store, Espinosa tossed the bottle and ran onto the schoolground and then to the apartments, where a California Highway Patrol helicopter tracked him as he ran into an apartment.
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Officers, police dogs and negotiators were brought in. Espinosa surrendered and was booked on armed robbery charges.