*UPDATED: Click here for update.
Last week, when Daniel Perez was accidentally released from custody, authorities were quick to note that he should be considered armed and very dangerous. It appears they were right on both fronts.
If you're unfamiliar with the cluster fuck that allowed Perez's accidental release, click here.
Just before noon today, a man authorities believed to be Perez -- who was accidentally released from custody in Pinal County where he was being held for allegedly shooting at a Department of Public Safety officer -- was confronted on the west side of the Chandler Fashion Center Mall by agents from the U.S. Marshal's Wanted Violent Offender Task Force.
When the suspect, believed to be Perez, realized authorities had tracked him down, he immediately opened fire on the officers.
The officers returned fire but didn't hit the suspect, who ran into the
Sears store at the mall. Authorities then tried to evacuate the building.
About 30 minutes later, there was a report of shots fired at the Baja Fresh restaurant just north of the mall and that the shooter had taken hostages.
DPS officers have made contact with the suspect but can't confirm or deny whether it's Perez. In fact, they say, they can't even confirm that the two incidents involved the same suspect.
That said, we find it a little far-fetched to think that two different people decided today was the day to open fire near a suburban mall.
It's unclear if anyone's been injured, as cops continue to try and evacuate the mall and deal with the hostage situation.
Check back to Valley Fever throughout the day for updates -- the Chandler Police Department plans to brief the media again in about 30 minutes.