SoCal chase: Shooting suspect arrested after leading authorities on historic 6-hour pursuit

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021
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A shooting suspect was arrested early Wednesday morning after leading authorities on a more than six-hour chase through several Los Angeles County cities and the Inland Empire.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In what could be the longest chase in Los Angeles police history, a shooting suspect was arrested early Wednesday morning after leading authorities on a more than six-hour pursuit through several Los Angeles County cities and the Inland Empire.

The man -- who authorities say has multiple warrants -- was taken into custody about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday on the eastbound 10 Freeway near the Vineyard Avenue exit after the front driver-side rim of the silver Chevy Malibu he was driving fell off and sent sparks flying. A man who identified himself as the suspect's brother could be heard on loudspeaker telling the man to get down on his knees as officers swarmed the area.

"As of now, we do know he has two felony warrants, he was wanted for burglary and criminal threats. He also had a long criminal history," said LAPD Sgt. Juan Garcia.

One LAPD officer said it's the longest chase he has seen in his 26-year career. The hashtags #pursuit and #ChevyMalibu were still trending Wednesday morning with many people talking about the car's ability to last 6-and-a-half hours without filling up for gas.

Officers from the LAPD's 77th Street Division gang unit began chasing the driver, who was accused of having a gun, about 7 p.m. Tuesday in South L.A., said Officer William Cooper of LAPD.

AIR7 HD was over the early part of the chase as the driver weaved through traffic, ran red lights, cut through parking lots and drove on the wrong side of the road at one point.

As many as six patrol vehicles were close behind the driver when the chase passed a small homeless encampment fire burning next to the freeway near West 81st Street and South Grand Avenue in South L.A. At various points in the chase, the driver would appear to come close to stopping the car, but would accelerate again and cause traffic nightmares in the process.

WATCH: Los Angeles chase passes by fire near 110 Freeway

Just after 9 p.m., the driver exited the Harbor Freeway and entered onto the northbound 101 Freeway near downtown, where the chase continued.

The driver traveled north toward the San Fernando Valley before exiting the freeway, making a U-turn and getting back on the northbound Hollywood Freeway.

Officers continued their pursuit of the driver, who turned southbound on the Hollywood Freeway, then transitioned to the eastbound San Bernardino Freeway in East Los Angeles and began traveling slowly, dropping to speeds below 10 mph for long stretches.

The driver hit a spike strip at one point in the chase, blowing out the two front tires of the suspect's vehicle.

Throughout the final three hours of the chase, the driver slowed to a stop several times on the San Bernardino Freeway in the San Gabriel Valley, allowing officers to briefly get out of their cruisers before the suspect continued to move along at a slow pace, at one point passing through a Caltrans construction zone near Via Verde in Covina.

Just after 1 a.m., the rim of the driver side wheel disintegrated and sparks began flying. Moments later, the driver stopped the vehicle, but remained inside.

About 1:15 a.m., the driver exited the car and stood in lanes of the freeway while officers shouted orders to him, as the suspect raised and lowered his hands.

The suspect was taken into custody without incident about 1:30 a.m. His name was not immediately released.

As the pursuit moved through the San Gabriel Valley, residents came out of their homes to take up positions on overpasses and along streets bordering the freeway to watch the pursuit pass by.

WATCH: Police chase possibly armed suspect through Los Angeles area

At one point, someone stopped on the side of the freeway produced a sign that read, "Fools gone wild."

In Ontario, California Highway Patrol officers began moving people who had stopped on the side of the freeway to catch a glimpse of the pursuit.

It is unclear if the man was armed. An investigation is ongoing.

City News Service contributed to this report.