ANAHEIM – A 51-year-old Huntington Beach man barricaded himself inside a Disneyland-area hotel room for more than eight hours Saturday, forcing police to close off a busy section of Harbor Boulevard and causing the evacuation of businesses and three hotels.
Steven Fishel, a parolee who police say had violated parole on a narcotics charge and had an outstanding warrant out of San Diego County on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon, surrendered about 6:45 p.m. after a long standoff that involved Anaheim police officers, a SWAT team, the Anaheim Fire Department and traffic officers. Fishel had two women in his second-floor room at the Ramada, 2141 S. Harbor Blvd., and was considered “armed and dangerous” during the standoff, police said.
The women were identified as Fishel’s girlfriend and her biological daughter, said Raul Quezada, deputy chief of the Anaheim Police Department. They were not being held against their will, Quezada said. They were questioned but not charged with any crime Saturday, police said.
The standoff started around 10 a.m. Saturday when Fishel was approached by officers from the California Department of Corrections and Anaheim police. He ran from them and barricaded himself in his room, police said.
Shortly thereafter, police blocked off South Harbor Boulevard between Orangewood Avenue and Wilken Way. Guests at the Ramada, Anaheim Carriage Inn and Rodeway Inn & Suites were evacuated. Many were taken to the nearby Clarion and Marriott hotels on Convention Way.
Residents, workers and guests at hotels on that stretch of Harbor were allowed to leave, but not allowed to enter during the standoff.
Despite telephone negotiations, Fishel refused to exit, police said. At 4:40 p.m., a woman came out of the hotel room on her own accord, police Sgt. Bob Dunn said. She was taken to a nearby command post and questioned. That woman was later identified as the Fishel’s girlfriend’s daughter.
After further negotiations with personnel from Anaheim police, Fishel surrendered without incident and was escorted via ambulance, because of a medical condition, to the command post. Fishel was later taken to Anaheim Police Department and arrested without bail for the warrant, issued in September, and parole violation.
The standoff caused inconveniences for many who lived or were staying on Harbor Boulevard. “I cannot get home,” said Gunnel Ericksson, 57, who was staying at the Rodeway Inn next door to the Ramada. “It’s a big inconvenience.”
Dave Pfeifer, 68, a disabled Army veteran who lives in a trailer park near the Ramada, said Harbor Boulevard is “one of the most heavily traveled streets in Orange County,” and “it’s all jammed up.”
“These guys are ready for the worst,” he said as he was watching the standoff. “This is a tense situation.”
Throughout the day, a police helicopter hovered over the scene and armed police officers and SWAT members could be seen entering the Ramada and walking on the roof of Rodeway Inn. Spectators congregated on street corners, waiting to see what would happen.
“This is crazy,” said Cypress resident Debbie Jones, 47, who was staying at the Hacienda Inn & Suites on Harbor. “I’ve never had to go through this.”
By RICHARD CHANG and KELLI HART KEHLER/ THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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