The man who allegedly led police on a wild freeway chase and carjacked a woman's car at gunpoint has been identified as 29-year-old Aaron Lorta.
Lorta was arrested after a high-speed chase Monday that included the alleged carjacking caught on cellphone video and police shooting at the suspect on live television.
A parolee and alleged gang member, Lorta was booked on suspicion of carjacking Tuesday after undergoing surgery for multiple gunshot wounds. He is currently listed in stable condition at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.
The high-speed chase began following reports of a stolen vehicle about 5:15 p.m. near East 1st and Soto streets in Boyle Heights, east of downtown Los Angeles. Officers tried to stop the driver, but he continued driving, police said.
He crashed the car, and cellphone video shows the man then running up to Elizabeth Yarahuan’s car and opening her driver’s side door.
The 22-year-old South Gate woman told reporters the man pointed a gun at her and demanded she get out of her car. Yarahuan exited the vehicle and ran, and the man drove away.
The driver then led police through heavy traffic on southeast Los Angeles County freeways clogged by commuters heading home.
He headed west on the 105 Freeway and north on the 710 Freeway, driving erratically and striking several vehicles. He continued on the 60 Freeway and exited in Montebello, where the car was trapped in heavy traffic. He abandoned the vehicle and led about a dozen officers on a foot chase.
As he tried to carjack another driver, officers opened fire on him. A handgun was recovered at the scene.
Lorta was arrested near Via Campo and Garfield Avenue, police said.
“Anytime that you have complete disregard for public safety and the safety of other individuals, and the individual was armed with a firearm, it’s very, very dangerous,” LAPD Sgt. Frank Preciado told reporters.
Records show that Lorta was released from state prison in July 2013 after an attempted-robbery conviction two months earlier.
The year before, he was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon, according to court records. He has previous convictions for vandalism, interfering with a business, domestic battery and grand theft stretching back to 2007.
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