Police chase: Domestic violence suspect who allegedly beat girlfriend during pursuit is early release parolee

SOUTH GATE, Calif. (KABC) -- A domestic violence suspect who led authorities on a dangerous three-hour chase while allegedly holding his girlfriend hostage Wednesday is an ex-felon on probation, police say.

Alexis Leonardo Avinai is an AB 109 early release parolee, according to South Gate police. AB 109, which went into effect in 2011, mandates that those sentenced to nonserious, nonviolent or nonsex offenses will serve their sentences in county jails instead of state prison, according to Los Angeles County.

Avinai was seen hitting the female passenger while fleeing from law enforcement in several cities such as South Gate, Huntington Park, Lynwood, South Los Angeles, Buena Park and Anaheim. The suspect's girlfriend was spotted at times struggling with him. Her legs were later seen stretched out onto the vehicle's dashboard as Avinai continued leading the hours-long chase.

Avinai sped recklessly on surface streets and freeways, at times driving on the wrong side of the road and on sidewalks. The suspect at one point reached a dead-end at a park, but instead of surrendering, he drove on a park trail and blew through a gate, narrowly missing pedestrians.

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A suspect wanted for domestic violence drove over sidewalks and toward oncoming traffic to flee police in a chase that started in the South Gate area.

The chase continued as the domestic violence suspect appeared to be arguing and fighting with the passenger. California Highway Patrol vehicles got very close at some points during the chase, appearing to attempt PIT maneuvers.

The pursuit finally ended when the suspect pulled into the parking lot of a 99 Cent Store in Rowland Heights and ran inside the store.

Customers were seen fleeing from the building as officers followed with weapons drawn. They took him into custody within minutes inside the business.

"In today's era of active shooters, police just pursue these things," said David Moeller of the California Highway Patrol. "You can't let people get into innocent people."

Following the pursuit, the woman who was considered to be a hostage in the incident was found unresponsive in the parked suspect vehicle but was able to get out and walk to a stretcher. She was taken to an area hospital in stable condition with minor facial injuries.
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