International Fugitive Taken Into Custody
VERONA (KDKA) — FBI agents are still examining the scene in Verona where an international fugitive surrendered after a standoff.
Frank Perez, Jr., 30, kept authorities at bay for several hours in the 400-block of Center Avenue in Verona.
Perez, also known as Kenneth Leon Simms, is wanted for a murder that happened back in 1999 in Lake County, Indiana.
Authorities went to the duplex looking for Perez Tuesday afternoon.
Perez had a girlfriend and a baby inside with him, but police were able to get them out before the gunfire started. They had been living there for two months. The FBI had been preparing for a week to arrest him.
When they tried to arrest him, he refused to come out of the house and started shooting at them with a long-range high-powered rifle. He also had several semi-automatic handguns.
Pat Caldwell owns Patsy’s Market on Center Avenue – about 30 yards away from the shooting scene.
“All the windows on the second floor have been shot through,” Caldwell told KDKA-TV. “And what I got out in front of me is a big, black Chevy Suburban and the windows are shot out of it.”
Tom Gravelle lives across the street and ran to the back of his home when he heard the gunfire.
“I was pretty well freaked out,” he said. “Like I said, my wife, my daughter, me and the two grandkids, we got in the back as far as we could go and stayed there.”
Special Agent Jeff Killeen says authorities negotiated with Perez. He eventually came out of the house, got on the ground and was handcuffed.
“Just a short time ago, Mr. Perez decided to come out peacefully and he ended his 12-year odyssey of escaping justice, so we’re very pleased that he did not get hurt, we’re very pleased that the officers were not hurt, we’re very pleased the public was not hurt as well, so it’s a good outcome,” Killeen said.
The Allegheny County SWAT Team and the SWAT from the City of Pittsburgh assisted at the scene, in addition to State police.
“Well, right now he’s facing federal charges for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. He’s also facing charges in the state of Indiana for murder.
“Beyond that, I do know that the Mexican authorities are looking at him for kidnapping charges – so there’s a lot of charges he faces,” Killeen said.
Verner Elementary School at 700 1st Street was put on lockdown.
The FBI says they used “investigative techniques” to track him to the Pittsburgh area.
In addition to the 1999 murder and a kidnapping in Mexico, he also was allegedly involved in drug trafficking in Mexico and Texas.