HIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) - A manhunt has ended, Wednesday morning, after police nabbed a suspect reportedly armed with a knife.
Hialeah Police took 30-year-old John Chavez into custody, just after 11 a.m., in Hialeah. Officials had called Chavez an “irrational male armed with a knife” while he was on the loose.
Police said Chavez has a history of violence, but according to the police report, Chavez also has a history of depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Officials said Chavez, a former amateur MMA fighter, fled from police with a kitchen knife after a violent domestic dispute in the 5700 block of West 21st Avenue, Wednesday morning.
“I’m hearing he pretty much gave himself up to officers,” said Hialeah Police Sgt. Carl Zogby. “He was located hiding. The knife hasn’t been found – we’re looking for the knife – but the most dangerous thing was to find him. We found him, no incidents, no one was hurt.”
7SkyForce HD flew over Ben Sheppard Elementary School just after 9 a.m., located at 5700 W. 24th Ave., where police were seen completely surrounding the campus with guns drawn.
“He runs from officers holding a knife,” Zogby said. “Runs into the neighborhood, and now you’ve got a very big, very strong man with a history of mental illness.”
The search ended when police found Chavez hiding in the back of a house near the area.
Police said this is not the first time Chavez has gotten in trouble with the law. On Monday, Chavez faced a judge in bond court, but the charges in that case were dropped after it was discovered that the weapon he was carrying was a toy.
“It’s plastic,” Chavez said to judge Mindy Glazer in court.
Chavez has, however, done time for burglary, grand theft and robbery.
While Chavez was on the loose, several Hialeah schools were locked down, Wednesday.
Parents were fearful for the safety of their children as the lockdown was in place. “Pretty scary because they just sent out a message that the school was closed without details, no nothing,” said an unnamed parent.
An aunt said she could not get much information concerning her niece’s safety during the entire ordeal. “There wasn’t much information,” she said. “I did speak to her. I called her, she answered the phone and said, ‘Abuela, I’m very scared’ and crying.”
Another unnamed parent said she received no texts or phone calls during the lockdown, as well.
Five Hialeah schools were placed on lockdown, but all lockdowns have been lifted, shortly after 11 a.m. The previously locked down schools are listed below:
- Mater Academy Charter School
- Paradise Christian School Inc.
- Ben Sheppard Elementary School
- Ben Sheppard Primary Learning Center
- José Martí MAST 6-12 Academy
“The most important thing is this man that was having some sort of crises today could have been potentially dangerous, is now in our custody,” Zogby said. “That’s what we needed to do.”
According to police, Chavez is now being charged with aggravated assault. They added that he will be getting the help he needs.
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