Two Martinez men attempting to elude police in Lamorinda ditched a stolen Volkswagen Jetta and fled on foot onto Acalanes High School property at around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, prompting a lockdown of area schools and triggering a massive police response.
Police arrested two suspects who fled onto school property and who apparently sheltered there. One suspect was captured in the men’s locker room, the second was found sheltering under a tarp in the neighborhood south of the school – surrendering to a canine officer who had been tracking him.
The pair were identified as Charles Parks, 34, and Jeremiah Mercure, 35, both residents of Martinez. Parks was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, evading, and possession of controlled substance. Mercure was charged with burglary and identity theft.
The men are believed to be associated with a recent series of Danville auto burglaries, according to police.
Lamorinda police, supported by the California Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies, quickly moved to surround the school shortly after the chase came to a head Thursday morning. Pleasant Hill police initiated a pursuit of the Jetta from Pleasant Hill – where its two occupants had allegedly tried to use stolen credit cards at a Dick’s Sporting Goods store – and pursued the car to Acalanes High, where the two fled the vehicle and escaped into the school and surrounding area.
Police quickly established a perimeter around the area and called in police canine teams from adjacent agencies to help with the search while law enforcement aircraft circled overhead.
Springhill Elementary School, a short distance from Acalanes, was also placed under lockdown until police could search school ground. The lockdown order was lifted there around 11:36 a.m., with Acalanes following at 11:47 a.m.
Police did not immediately identify the suspects arrested during the incident, but said they faced a variety of charges.