Los Angeles Chief of Police Charlie Beck confirmed that the suspect is Artyom Gasparyan, who was wanted for a series of crimes including robbery, carjacking, attempted murder and murder over the past 26 days across Los Angeles County.
The 32-year-old was injured and transported to a hospital in critical condition following an officer-involved shooting at the end of a chase near Glenoaks Boulevard, which shut down the 5 Freeway.
All SB I-5 traffic diverted to SR-170 due to police activity on I-5. NB I-5 traffic diverted to SR-134. pic.twitter.com/rNAjhlBENX— CHP West Valley (@CHPWestValley) January 5, 2016
Beck said the chase began after an undercover officer spotted Gasparyan trying to repair his vehicle at a car shop. Authorities said he changed the license plate several times on that car, which he had been using to flee from police.
Around 3 p.m., after the suspect realized police had spotted him, police said they began chasing the suspect going southbound on the northbound lanes of the freeway when he crashed with a car that had a family inside. Authorities said a mother and one or two children were hurt with non-life threatening injuries.
Authorities said police opened fire when the suspect approached officers. Police could not confirm whether Gasparyan fired at officers but said they believe he was armed with the same weapon that's been used throughout the crime spree.
No officers were hurt in the shooting.
"Police officers with guns came out of the car, not in uniform, just with their flack jackets, and started chasing him 50 to 60 yards down the freeway," said eyewitness Nick Phillips.
Beck said that with the dangerous suspect in custody, the public can now sleep better at night.
"He's a very dangerous individual. I've had well over 100 detectives and several hundred line officers assigned specifically to capture him over the past week," he said.
The series of crimes began on Dec. 6 in the northeast area of Los Angeles, with the most recent incident being a carjacking in the city of Carson on Friday.
According to a press release issued by the LAPD, Gasparyan has been identified as committing a number of the crimes with Daniel Ramirez, who was taken into custody in Long Beach after a standoff with police in which he shot two people, stabbed another and then shot himself at a home in the 3300 block of Daisy Avenue.
Police believe surveillance cameras captured Gasparyan driving on Dec. 30, right before murdering a 37-year-old victim. The LAPD said Gasparyan was also being investigated for crimes in the cities of Los Angeles, Burbank, Carson and an armed robbery in West Hollywood that happened Tuesday in the 1000 block of N. Kinds Road.
Authorities said they were unsure of the suspect's motivations but said he may have been a methamphetamine addict.
Meanwhile, commuters on the 5 Freeway said the closures were long and hectic but well worth it.
"I want to say thank you to the police," said Christine Lori, a Sun Valley resident. "They were there for our community."