Pursuit crash, suspect search prompts Athens school lockdown


The pursuit began when deputies tried to pull over a four-door sedan for failure to yield in traffic at about 10 a.m. The vehicle did not stop and led deputies on a pursuit.

The pursuit lasted approximately 3 to 4 minutes, according to the sheriff's department, and reached speeds exceeding 60 mph


A sheriff's patrol car collided with the suspect vehicle. Two suspects then exited the vehicle and ran away.

Sheriff's deputies set up a perimeter and searched the area. The suspects were wanted for assault with a deadly weapon following the crash.

West Athens Elementary School was locked down as deputies searched the area.

Luis Ramirez, 19; Jose Garcia, 20; and Estevan Mendoza, 25, all were arrested. All three are suspected gang members. A sawed-off shotgun was recovered from the scene at the time of their arrest, the department said.

The driver of the vehicle, who was described as a male Hispanic adult, escaped and was still being sought.

One deputy was injured and was treated at the scene by Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics. His injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Ramirez, Garcia and Mendoza were booked at South Los Angeles Station on a variety of charges including assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer. They were held on $50,000 bond.

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