Shots fired, two arrested in police chase across five cities in O.C.


Two men were arrested and another remains at large after a 30-minute police pursuit Thursday that spanned five cities and ended with Santa Ana officers opening fire.

Justin Phabmixay, 21, of Santa Ana and Michael Nguyen, described as a 29-year-old homeless man, were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and robbery, authorities said.

At about 1:45 a.m. a man who had just withdrawn “several hundred” dollars to pay for a new car stopped on Harbor Boulevard near Hazard Avenue because his vehicle was giving him trouble, said Santa Ana Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.


While he was parked, another man jumped into the car and ordered him to follow a black Toyota Tundra to a nearby industrial area.

Once there, the two suspects took the man’s car keys before driving away in the Tundra.

The victim called 911 and Santa Ana police said they quickly spotted the truck, prompting a 30-minute pursuit through five cities that ended when the suspects’ vehicle slammed into the curb.

The two men, one carrying a backpack loaded with an assault rifle, ran from the truck, authorities said. At some point, officers opened fire, Bertagna said. He declined to be more specific.

No injuries resulted from the shooting.

A third suspect appeared to have jumped from the Tundra at some point during the pursuit, but authorities did not know when.

Phabmixay and Nguyen were booked at a Santa Ana jail and could be charged with robbery, kidnapping and evading police, authorities said. They could also face gang enhancement charges.

In addition to the assault weapon, police said they recovered a shotgun and a handgun from the scene. Phabmixay was on parole and Nguyen was on probation.


“These two guys shouldn’t even have a BB gun,” Bertagna said.

Twitter: @AdolfoFlores3