An armed man, who led police on a car chase through rush-hour freeway traffic in southeast Los Angeles County Monday evening, was involved in multiple car crashes as he rushed through oncoming traffic, ignoring traffic stop lights at major intersections.
He carjacked a woman on live TV and also tried to carjack two other drivers. Officers finally ended the chase by shooting him down as he tried to flee on foot.
The man is now in police custody.
The dramatic chase started in the evening at about 5:15 p.m., after officers responded to calls that a Toyota Camry had been stolen. According to the Los Angeles Times, the chase took off from the intersection of East 1st and Soto streets of downtown Los Angeles after police tried to pull over the man and he refused to stop.
The unidentified suspect was shown on live TV driving dangerously through traffic stop lights into oncoming traffic. As he tried to avoid police arrest he was involved in several collisions but continued driving.
In the first collision, he ran into a pickup truck as he tried to rush through a busy intersection while ignoring traffic lights. Soon after, his car was hit in the side by another vehicle as he tried to run through another busy intersection.
In a third crash, his car was damaged in the front.
The man was forced to abandon the car near Imperial Highway after a fourth crash which left the front-end of the car smoking. He was seen on live TV, at about 5:30 p.m., limping out of the Camry and carjacking a woman after pulling out a gun from under his shirt. The woman tumbled out of the car and fled in panic.
The victim, later identified as Elizabeth Yarahuan, 22, told KABC-TV Channel 7 that the man pointed a gun at her and ordered her to get out of the car.
“He just came up to me and pointed the gun at me and told me to get out of my car, and he just took off with it. He was pointing the gun at me so I just got off the car and ran. I was just scared he was going to hurt me.”
The chase resumed on the westbound 105 Freeway, with the man leading at least eight LAPD patrol cars through heavy traffic onto the northbound 710 Freeway. The chase continued on the eastbound 60 Freeway before the man exited in Montebello where his car became trapped in heavy traffic between two others vehicles. Unable to continue driving, he quickly exited the car and was pursued by several officers.
He was shown on live TV making two unsuccessful attempts to carjack two other drivers. The chase finally ended after the man was shot by at least three officers near via Campo and Garfield Avenue in Montebello.
The man was shown on live TV lying on pavement surrounded by a crowd of officers. He was later shown being driven away in an ambulance.
According to Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Cmdr. Andy Smith, the man “acted with a complete disregard for other people’s lives.”
“This individual acted with a complete disregard for other people’s lives. He callously put innocent people’s lives in danger, even after the police backed off the pursuit and tracked with the helicopter. Thank God no one was killed by this maniac.”
Police Sgt. Frank Preciado said the man, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds, was still alive as of 10 p.m. yesterday at the hospital. He was likely in a critical condition.
Police said they recovered a semi autonomic weapon from the scene of the shooting.
[Images: Fox11 LA, CBS News, via Twitter, USA Today; TheBlazeNow]