| PHOENIX, March 27
PHOENIX, March 27 A manhunt for an armed
fugitive that triggered the evacuation of a popular wildlife
park south of the Grand Canyon ended peacefully on Monday with
the arrest of the suspect, police in Arizona said.
The accused gunman was believed to have possibly fled into
the Bearizona Wildlife Park after a confrontation with police
that began as a traffic stop and turned into a high-speed chase,
a spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office said.
One passenger was thrown from the car during a getaway
attempt, a second man was taken into custody when the car
crashed, but a third fled on foot, firing at least one shot
toward deputies from a handgun, according to the spokesman,
The suspect disappeared near the Bearizona park, a 168-acre
private attraction nestled within the Kaibab National Forest at
the edge of Williams, a gateway town to Grand Canyon National
Park about 60 miles away.
As a precaution, Bearizona was closed and evacuated, with
police escorting all 200 visitors and about 20 staff safely from
the facility, spokeswoman Jocelyn Monteverde said. Public
schools in Williams were also placed on lockdown during the
manhunt, police said.
At about 6 p.m. local time, nearly six hours after the
search began, police located the suspect, identified as John
Freeman, in a highway culvert near Bearizona, and he was
arrested without incident, D'Evelyn said.
Police said Freeman was wanted on a warrant from nearby
Kingman, Arizona, but no further information about him was
Bearizona is visited by some 300,000 tourists a year, many
on their way to or from the Grand Canyon, located about an
hour's drive to the north, Monteverde said. It features a
collection of bears, wolves, bison and other wildlife, some
roaming a drive-through exhibit and others displayed in smaller
(Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix; Additional reporting
and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Simon