DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. - Several agencies from all over the valley were called in to help Desert Hot Springs police with Wednesday night's stand off. With so many resources tied up for so many hours, we asked the question: was the police response too much?
With heightened tensions regarding police around the country, and budgets as tight as they are, when is the show of force by police too much? Or is the amount of police presence exactly what this community needs?
"It's pretty scary when you live right here and you don't know which way guns are going to be firing, what is going to be happening, yeah it was pretty intense," said Mike Anderson, who lives in the apartment building next door.
Neighbors tell us they're used to police activity in the area, but this lasted too long.
"It was a little overkill, I mean, they do what they got to do, I guess, that's a lot of tax dollars," said neighbor Tony Cadena.
Anderson and several others were forced to spend the night behind the police line but says police were just doing their job.
"I think it was the best I've ever seen them handle anything here, nobody got hurt, the way I see it they did their job real well," said Anderson.
Desert Hot Springs police say once officers chased the potentially armed suspects back into the apartment, they secured the area.
"They just asked us to move down in case of stray bullets and stuff like that, they didn't know there was going to be gunfire so they all had us moved down about a block down," said Anderson.
With a crowd of people starting to gather to watch what was going on, police waited for back up.
"We have a minimal deployment on the street right now and we needed additional help to help with the evacuations to set up a parameter to make sure the subjects involved in this did not escape, and to protect the public from any potential harm if in fact these subjects did get away," said Desert Hot Springs Police Chief Charles Maynard.
Three people did come out of the apartment eventually and were arrested, but police believed a fourth suspect was still inside. Chief Maynard says that's why the SWAT team stayed in place so long.
"We didn't know whether they were heavily armed or not, that was what the victim had told us that they were in fact heavily armed, so if in fact a gun battle ensued, they were able to escape and take a hostage, shots may have been fired and hit additional residences surrounding there," said Maynard. "We want to ensure that we have the personnel for any contingency so to ensure that everyone around there, the people that are neighbors, the community at large are safe, as well as taking the suspect into custody safely and none of our officers get injured."
"I think they handled that the way that they should have, it could have gone way worse than it did," said Anderson.
As far as the cost to the Desert Hot Springs Police Department, it does have a mutual aid agreement with other agencies in the area.
Police have not yet reported what kind of guns, if any were found in the apartment, though all three suspects arrested are facing charging including assault with a firearm.