For days, dozens of Los Angeles police detectives worked around the clock to track down a man suspected in a monthlong series of carjackings, robberies and shootings.
The crimes stretched across Los Angeles County, from a shooting in Burbank that left two people wounded to a dramatic police chase after a carjacking in Carson on New Year's Day. At least one man had been killed, a 37-year-old fatally shot in Panorama City.
Investigators believed the suspect, Artyom Gasparyan, was using stolen license plates to throw them off his trail. The Los Angeles Police Department put its elite Robbery-Homicide detectives on the case and deployed hundreds of other officers to find the suspect.
Authorities say the case finally broke Monday afternoon when undercover officers tracked Gasparyan to a car repair shop in the San Fernando Valley. At some point, police said, the 32-year-old noticed the officers, jumped in his silver Volkswagen and sped off.
Gasparyan was ultimately shot and critically wounded by police on the 5 Freeway in Sun Valley, where he crashed into another car while driving the wrong way near the Glenoaks Boulevard exit.
The woman and children who were in the car struck by Gasparyan were being treated for minor injuries, Sgt. Barry Montgomery said. No officers were injured.
The gun that police believe was used in the crime spree was found at the scene, Montgomery said.
After Gasparyan was loaded into an ambulance, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck made an impromptu stop at the scene. Gasparyan, the chief said, was a “very, very dangerous individual.”
Police went public with their search for Gasparyan on Saturday, describing him as an armed and dangerous man wanted in a series of crimes that began in northeast Los Angeles on Dec. 6.
Soon after the LAPD's announcement, Burbank police said Gasparyan was suspected in a Dec. 9 shooting in the 1700 block of North Catalina street, where a man was shot and wounded outside his home. A gardener working down the street was also shot in the foot as the suspect fled, the man's co-worker told the Burbank Leader.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Gasparyan was suspected in a Tuesday attack in West Hollywood during which a delivery man was robbed and shot.
A day later, the LAPD said, the 37-year-old man in Panorama City — who has not been publicly identified — was shot near Van Nuys Boulevard and Plummer Street. Capt. Billy Hayes, who heads the LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division, confirmed Gasparyan was suspected in that killing.
The investigation intensified Friday, after the wild police chase, carjacking and standoff that began in Carson.
An off-duty officer noticed a Volkswagen driving erratically on the 105 Freeway and called the California Highway Patrol, the LAPD said. A police dispatcher told the officer the vehicle was wanted in connection with a suspected car theft and robbery.
Patrol cars caught up to the car, which stopped near 223rd Street and Normandie Avenue. There, police said a passenger jumped out and carjacked a nearby Dodge Durango, firing four times at the driver. The shots missed, police said, but the man yanked the driver out of the SUV and took off.
The violent nature of the carjacking prompted police to follow the Durango instead of the other vehicle, police said. They chased the Durango into Long Beach, where it crashed on Wardlow Road near Maine Avenue.
The driver, later identified by police as Gasparyan's accomplice, Daniel Ramirez, jumped out of the vehicle and ran into a nearby home. Police said he shot and wounded two men inside and stabbed their father in the face before shooting himself in the head.
Ramirez, who would have turned 26 on Monday, was critically wounded. He died Saturday evening, at about the same time the LAPD released a flier with Gasparyan's picture.
“Armed and dangerous,” it read.
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