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Man arrested after chase and standoff on 91 Freeway in Corona

A man was taken into custody early Thursday after a pursuit and standoff on the 91 Freeway in Corona, authorities said.

The California Highway Patrol said a woman called police after she thought the man matched the description of a gunman wanted in connection with seven killings in the Phoenix area. Costa Mesa police tried to stop the man, but he continued driving.

Authorities began pursuing the man about 12:45 a.m. Costa Mesa, CHP Officer Marcelo Llerena said.

The man, driving a Subaru, led law enforcement on a chase on the north 605 Freeway, then east on the 210 Freeway, west on the 10 Freeway, south on the 215 Freeway and finally west on the 91.

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About 2 a.m., the man, identified as Hector Vasquez, 43, of Beverly Hills, stopped east of Promenade Avenue, but he refused to surrender, Officer Dan Olivas said.

The standoff went on for about two hours and forced the CHP to close the freeway in both directions. 

He was holding what appeared to be a black handgun as he exited his Subaru, authorities said. Vasquez then tossed the handgun onto the eastbound freeway lanes before he was finally taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, brandishing a weapon and evading police, he said.

A pellet gun was recovered from Vasquez’s belongings, he said.

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Olivas thinks Vasquez evading police because he was under the influence of drugs.

Phoenix police were in contact with California authorities and think the arrest is unrelated to their case, Sgt. Jonathan Howard said.

Phoenix police said the random killings occurred mostly at night in west Phoenix. The last shooting resulted in the deaths of three women on June 12.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

10:03 a.m.: This article was updated with details that led to the police pursuit.

8:30 a.m.: This article was updated with details about the suspect.

7:25 a.m.: This article was updated with Phoenix police saying the chase was not related to the serial killer.

This article was originally published at 6:53 a.m.


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