CORONA, Calif. (KABC) -- A man who was carjacked Friday afternoon during a wild chase that went through Orange and Los Angeles counties said he's grateful to be alive - though he admits it was a frightening experience he'll never forget.
"My baby was basically stolen from me," said Josh Ross of his Ford F-150. "But after I came inside to the gas station and talk to the other witnesses, they're like, 'Dude, you're lucky to be alive.'"
Ross said he was pumping gas at a gas station in Corona when suddenly, he was startled by a man on the run.
"I was just here pumping gas, I was just on my phone looking at some social media ... a guy comes up, he's got a big automatic rifle," said Ross. "He stepped a little closer to me and said, 'Brotha, I need that truck.' I still kind of looked at him like, 'Nah, man, you're not getting my truck,' and then he popped a round from his automatic rifle. It just ... just made my heart race. It was so loud."
Police said the pursuit began at around 2:23 p.m. in Chino where officers were responding to calls of a reckless driver. Officers then began chasing the suspect, who later crashed into a vehicle but refused to stop.
That's when the suspect carjacked Ross and took off - leading police on a chase for more than an hour before it all came to an end when he crashed into a pole in Harbor City.
"I thought they had him, but they didn't know what vehicle he was in," Ross said. "So he pulled out right away from them and they were trying to close the gas station off. As soon as he hopped on that 15, he was just out. I mean a full tank of gas, he was gone."
The most shocking moment of the chase was when the suspect opened fire on officers. Two other shootings unfolded throughout the chase, one of which left Ross' windshield riddled with bullet holes.
At another point, the suspect came dangerously close to a large group of students at a busy crosswalk near Mayfair middle and high schools in Lakewood.
"It's amazing no other citizen or person on the roadway was injured," said St. Jason Waldon with the Corona Police Department.
In the final scene of the chase, the suspect lost control after crashing into a vehicle in Harbor City and slammed straight into a pole near 253rd Street and Western Avenue.
This all happened just steps away from Pines Christian School.
"We heard the helicopter, we had all the kids go inside and lock the room," said the school's principal. "Some of the kids may not be aware but ... everyone is safe."
The suspect has not been identified but police revealed he is 44 years old with a violent criminal history. He was rushed to the hospital after suffering a gunshot wound, though he's expected to survive.
Police are asking anyone with information to call police.