Boys rescued, father arrested after tense freeway standoff

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EL CAJON, Calif. -- A tense freeway standoff ended Thursday morning when SWAT officers rushed a man suspected of killing his wife when he got out of his car with two of his young sons.

Daniel Diego Perez was swarmed by officers at 9:49 a.m. as he attempted to jump off an elevated freeway transition ramp. All four of Perez's sons were safe and in police custody.

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El Cajon police first spotted the black 2014 Toyota Camry on Fletcher Parkway near East Main Street in El Cajon shortly after 8 a.m. after they were alerted by the LoJack system in the car. After a brief chase, the car stopped on the transition ramp from eastbound state Route 52 to southbound state Route 167 and was quickly surrounded by police and California Highway Patrol squad cars. A short time later, two boys got out of the car and walked back to the police line.

The standoff continued until around 9:50 a.m., when two armored SWAT vehicles pulled up to the front and the back of the Camry and officers in full tactical gear approached the car. Perez got out of the car with his two remaining sons and walked to the edge of the freeway ramp. As SWAT officers swarmed him, he appeared to try to jump, but officers quickly pinned him to the ground.

An Amber Alert was issued on Dec. 5 for Alex Hayden Perez, 6, Tristin Devin Perez, 8, Jaden Eric Perez, 9, and Jordan Dante Perez, 11, according to the California Highway Patrol. They were believed to have been taken by their biological father, Daniel Diego Perez, in a black 2014 Toyota Camry, California license plate No. 7FDS891, the CHP reported.

Police in Montebello, Calif.,  named Perez a person of interest in the disappearance of his 39-year-old wife, Erica.  Her body was found in the trunk of a car belonging to the family on Wednesday, Montebello police announced Thursday afternoon.

The Perez family was last seen Friday, police said, adding that extended family members described the couple's marriage as unstable and had a history of domestic violence.

In a Thursday afternoon news conference, officials from CHP, San Diego Sheriff's Department and El Cajon police said Perez remained the person of interest in his wife's disappearance. They also said all four children were "fine" and would be driven to Montebello and placed with the Department of Children Services.

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