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SANTA ANA : Officer Robbed of Car; 4 Later Arrested

Three men and a juvenile suspected of stealing an off-duty Santa Ana police officer’s car at gunpoint were in custody Tuesday after leading Beverly Hills police on a 15-minute chase through Los Angeles County.

The incident began about 11:30 p.m. Monday when an eight-year veteran with the Santa Ana Police Department was forced off Irvine Boulevard between Jamboree Road and Culver Drive by a van as he was driving home.

Police said the officer jumped from his 1985 Toyota Supra and ran for cover in bushes around the embankment when he saw someone get out of the van with a revolver.

The officer fired one round at the suspect who was driving away, police said.

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About 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, Beverly Hills police officers stopped to investigate a van parked near a car dealership, police said. The officers were not aware of the earlier incident, but the van later proved to match the description of the one used in Orange County.

Two men in the van “tried to conceal themselves” when officers drove by, Beverly Hills Police Lt. Robert Curtis said.

When the officers went in for a closer look, the driver of the van sped off.

Police followed the van through Culver City, West Los Angeles and Hollywood before stopping it in the parking lot of Universal Studios.

Both the driver and the passenger tried to run away, Curtis said. One of the Beverly Hills officers shot at, but missed, the passenger who dropped a gun holster on the ground, Curtis said. The passenger, identified as Willie Lamb III, 21, of Mount Union, Pa., ran back into the van and was arrested.

The van’s driver, a 15-year-old boy, also of Mount Union, was stopped by a police dog, Curtis said. His name was not released because of his age.

Two other suspects, identified as Jorge Bautista Gutierrez, 19, of Hawthorne and Carlos Perez Perez, 19, of Inglewood were arrested a short time later near the Beverly Hills car dealership after allegedly breaking into several cars on the lot, Curtis said.

All four suspects were held at West Hollywood Jail on suspicion of robbery, grand theft auto and attempted auto burglary. The two suspects in the van were also booked on suspicion of possessing a loaded firearm.

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Police said the van was stolen in Pennsylvania. The officer’s car was found Tuesday night in Los Angeles.


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