Infant found in suspect's SUV after police chase, gunfire

Infant found in suspect's SUV after police chase, gunfire
A family member holds an infant who was kidnapped in Long Beach by a man who then led police on a chase in San Pedro. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

An infant was found in the vehicle of a domestic violence suspect early Saturday after a 5-mile-long pursuit that began and ended in an exchange of gunfire with police officers, the Long Beach Police Department said.

About 2 a.m., officers responded to a report of a shooting in a domestic dispute at a home in the 6500 block of East Rosebay Street, said Nancy Pratt, a spokesperson for the department.


The shooting involved 22-year-old Joseph Gonzales, who lives at the home, according to a department news release.

About 50 minutes later, Gonzales called the home and said he was on his way back with his infant son and made threats against family members and officers, police said. He threatened to harm the boy and use him as a shield against the police, according to the news release.

Gonzales returned in a dark colored sport utility vehicle, got out and confronted the officers, the department said. He and the officers exchanged gunfire before he got back into his vehicle and fled, police said.

Officers, who at the time did not know if the child was actually inside Gonzales' vehicle, initiated a pursuit that ended when he stopped at the corner of South Bandini and West Oliver streets in San Pedro, the department said. Gonzales opened fire on officers, who shot back, police said.

He drove off and stopped again soon afterward and surrendered, police said.

Moments later, officers discovered the infant strapped into a car seat inside the vehicle. The infant, who was not injured, was taken into protective custody, Pratt said.

One officer was transported to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries from broken glass caused when gunfire struck his patrol car window, police said. The department released a photo showing numerous bullet holes in the front windshield of one police vehicle.

A handgun was found on the front seat of Gonzales' vehicle, according to the news release.

Gonzales was booked on attempted murder, assault with a firearm on a police officer and other charges. He is on parole in another criminal case, police said.

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Times staff writer Jack Leonard contributed to this report.