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Man tampered with gas stove and possessed propane camping tanks, but had no detonating weapons; suspect used radio to broadcast he had ‘explosives’ 

Updated 9:41 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19. 

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By Eric Heinz

Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) officials said a man who claimed to have “explosives” and assaulted his caregiver in the Vista Pacifica residential complex at 1062 Calle Del Cerro in San Clemente surrendered and was taken into custody around 5:15 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18. The man had barricaded himself in a unit, and deputies had to use tear gas and break down a door in order to arrest him. No injuries have been reported at this time.

Christopher Cudin, 42, of San Clemente was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threats, an OCSD press release on Tuesday stated.

San Clemente Police Chief Lt. Mike Peters said following a security sweep, it was discovered Cudin had tampered with a gas stove and had a few camping propane tanks in his possession, but no weapons that would detonate on command were found.

Police said they evacuated the area of the complex as the situation developed. The standoff with officers lasted about five hours.

After the arrest, police said they conducted a security sweep of the unit to determine what, if any, explosives were in Cudin’s possession.

Peters told the San Clemente Times at on Monday that Cudin was with his caregiver and assaulted the caregiver before alerting media outlets and authorities that he had explosives. The caregiver was able to escape the situation, Peters said. The condition of the caregiver is unknown at this time.

“The suspect used VHF radio to contact the U.S. Coast Guard and announced over radio he was armed with explosive devices,” the OCSD press release stated. “He also called a local television station to report he had explosives in the apartment.”

Members of the OCSD SWAT, Hazardous Devices Section (HDS) and Crisis Assessment Team (CAT) responded to the scene at about 12:30 p.m. The Orange County Fire Authority also aided in the response, according to a press release.

Police said at 3:09 p.m. deputies had contact with the suspect but that Cudin was not talking much. Over a loudspeaker, deputies could be heard trying to persuade him out of the unit. Tear gas was seen coming out of the complex from the side of Calle Del Cerro throughout the ordeal.

Brian Crane, a resident of Vista Pacifica, said police knocked on his door asking him to vacate the area as law enforcement closed in on the location.




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