Florence barricade suspect flees home; on-the-run in stolen pickup

A man in a 9-hour-long barricade situation with Pinal County SWAT officers in Florence managed to flee the home and steal a pickup truck.

He is on the loose.

Pinal County sheriff’s deputies said the suspect, John Bowman, 49, was last seen driving north on Gantzel Road, about 5 miles away.

Bowman is considered armed and dangerous, PCSO said. He is a registered sex offender who vows to kill deputies before the incident ends.

He was last seen driving  the silver 2008 Chevrolet Pickup truck with black rims in the Copper Basin community.

The plate is Arizona 370-ZZY. It has a skull sticker on the back window.

Deputies spotted the suspect running into a park near a school. The school was locked down as a precaution but the suspect never entered school property.

At about 10:25 a.m., a resident in the 2800 block of Mineral Park Road in Copper Basin reported a person matching the suspect’s description stole her pickup truck from in front of the home.

PCSO issued a neighborhood alert for Magic Mountain as they dealt with the situation that began in the 23,000 block of Desert Drive at around midnight.

According to PCSO spokesman Mark Clark, Mesa police asked PCSO to check the welfare of a woman who texted her son that her 49-year-old boyfriend was threatening her. Her son was in Mesa.

Deputies pulled up to the Florence home and found a vehicle stolen in Gilbert in the driveway. It was believed to have been driven by suspect, PCSO said.

The suspect’s girlfriend fled the home safely with two children, ages 11 and 12, and told deputies her boyfriend was inside with guns threatening her. She said he would not be taken alive by law enforcement.

At 5:30 a.m., he called his girlfriend and said that he was going to kill deputies prior to the conclusion of the incident, PCSO said.

The suspect is a registered sex offender wanted for previous violation of sex offender registry laws, as well as threats and harassment and violating a restraining order.

Our reporter at the scene said he heard a loud blast coming from inside the home about an hour later. Other flash bangs were heard periodically.

Pictures from our news helicopter showed SWAT officers taking their positions in the doorway of the home. A K-9 was closeby ready to be deployed, if needed.

A neighbor described what she heard and saw.

“I woke up to my dog shaking on my lap,” she said. “There was this big blast. I looked out the window and saw the police car. I came out and looked down the street and they had the house surrounded.”

She described the man, woman and children who live there as friendly and nice.


Editor’s note: Through partnership Independent Newspapers is publishing a photograph provided by CBS 5 News. The story can be found here:http://www.cbs5az.com/story/32769873/florence-barricade-suspect-flees-home-on-the-run-in-stolen-pickup?autostart=true.

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