Palisades High School period 7 dismisses at 3:08 p.m., which meant traffic started backing up on Temescal Canyon Road almost immediately as cars waited to make the turn onto Pacific Coast Highway and . . ..and then everything went “south.”
Santa Monica put out an alert at 3:20 p.m. that southbound PCH was closed between the California Incline and McClure Tunnel because of a traffic accident. All traffic was taken off PCH and routed through Santa Monica.
Traffic gods were not finished, yet, because almost immediately, a second alert came in that the Santa Monica Pier was closed because of police activity.
A man, wearing a backpack, who was later identified as 37-year-old Juan Gonzalez of Garden Grove, was found climbing in the iconic 130-foot-tall Ferris Wheel. Witnesses said that the subject said he had a bomb.
According to X (formerly Twitter), the SMPD Crisis Negotiations Team was on site, dealing with a person that was said to be “in crisis.”
People, who were on the Ferris Wheel were evacuated, and everyone was asked to steer clear of the area.
Officers spent hours clearing Pacific Park as they attempted to speak with the man.
On X, Santa Monica Police wrote shortly after 5:30 p.m., “The suspect is in custody and will be transported to a local hospital for evaluation. No bomb or incendiary device was located.”
Traffic once again backed up on Sunset in Pacific Palisades as drivers sought to avoid PCH. This editor observed at least five cars going up the one-way Bowdoin Street the wrong way in attempt to bypass Temescal and Sunset.
(Editor’s note: anyone who argues for increased density in this area needs to first address the lack of egress and ingress. A resident called to tell me that at 3:40 p.m. that eastbound Sunset Boulevard traffic was already backed up several miles to Marquez.
It is also not helpful that Corona Del Mar developed a sinkhole on Friday, off Toyopa, which means one less street to leave Palisades.)