Man who led police on wild rush hour chase is a ‘maniac,’ police say


In the land of high-speed chases, it was a menacing ride.

An armed man careened down traffic-clogged freeways during Monday’s evening commute, bobbing and weaving across southeast Los Angeles County, often against traffic.

He collided with at least six vehicles and forced a 22-year-old woman out of her car at gunpoint, police said.

The chase came to a halt only after as many as three officers fired bullets into him on live television, arresting him as he lay on the pavement in Montebello.


“This individual acted with a complete disregard for other people’s lives,” Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andy Smith told The Times.

“He callously put innocent people’s lives in danger, even after the police backed off the pursuit and tracked with the helicopter. Thank God no one was killed by this maniac.”

As of 10 p.m., the man -- who had not yet been identified -- was alive in the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. His exact condition was unknown, Sgt. Frank Preciado said.

The pursuit began about 5:15 p.m. near the intersection of East 1st and Soto streets east of downtown Los Angeles on reports of a stolen vehicle.

Officers in the Hollenbeck Division called for backup before attempting to pull over the man; the vehicle’s license plates were listed as stolen.

The driver failed to stop, spawning a high-speed chase that wound through southeast Los Angeles County and neighboring cities.

About 5:30 p.m., the man crashed his car near Imperial Highway, then pulled out what appeared to be a gun and stole a car driven by a woman, later identified as 22-year-old Elizabeth Yarahuan.

“He just came up to me and pointed the gun at me and told me to get out of my car,” Yarahuan told KABC-TV Channel 7. “I was just scared he was going to hurt me.”

The pursuit continued onto the westbound 105 Freeway before the driver darted onto the northbound 710 Freeway.

At least eight LAPD patrol cars trailed the suspect as helicopters tracked his movements.

The man continued onto the eastbound 60 Freeway, but as he exited the freeway in Montebello, the vehicle he apparently carjacked was hemmed in by heavy traffic.

After exiting the car, he was pursued on foot by about a dozen officers. After he brandished a gun and tried to carjack a second car, as many as three officers opened fire at him, Preciado said.

It’s unclear how many bullets struck the suspect. A throng of officers surrounded him as he was arrested near Via Campo and Garfield Avenue.

A semiautomatic firearm was recovered at the scene.

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