A dangerous pursuit of a driver who stole several vehicles and led authorities on a chase through L.A. and Orange counties ended with a crash at a gas station in Hacienda Heights and shots fired by deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Cpt. John Radus with the Fullerton Police Department said that around 4:45 p.m., in the area of Auto Center Drive and the 5 Freeway, officers attempted to stop a black Honda Civic for traffic violations when the driver refused to yield.
Fullerton PD caught up to the pursuit suspect later at an Anaheim apartment complex in the area of West Coronet Avenue. There, the suspect stole a white van, backed into officers’ vehicles and fled again, Cpt. Radus said.
Deputies with the LASD took over the pursuit as it entered L.A. County.
In Whittier, the suspect bailed from the van and ran into the backdoor of a home where a family was inside. Sky5 was overhead as the suspect came out of the home, carjacked the family’s white pickup truck and rammed the vehicle into their gate as the homeowner attempted to stop him.
Andres Benitez, who lives in the home with his mother and father, told KTLA’s John Fenoglio that he grabbed a knife when the suspect entered the house.
“I told him ‘You got to get out the house, man, or I’m going to stab you.’ The only thing that I wanted him to do was just get out, get out the house, but no, man, he did way more damage. If I knew he would’ve done all that, the second I saw him, man, I wouldn’t have let him make any more steps,” Benitez said.
After taking off in the white pickup, the suspect reached speeds of 80 miles per hour on surface streets, crashed into other cars on the road, drove on the wrong side of the street, crossed over center dividers and blew through red lights.
In La Habra, the driver turned into a cul-de-sac with deputies behind him. He appeared to be trapped, but then whipped the truck around and weaved through several deputy cruisers and back onto surface streets.
Near the end of the pursuit in Hacienda Heights, sparks could be seen coming from beneath the truck. The driver crashed into several cars before rolling to a stop in front of a gas station, where police rammed the vehicle.
The driver attempted to back up, but was surrounded by deputies, who fired shots.
He was removed from the pickup truck, seemingly able to walk on his own, and arrested. The suspect was then placed onto a gurney, loaded into an ambulance and transported to the hospital.
The suspect was later identified Johnny Anchondo, 32. He was booked into the LASD Norwalk Station.
It is unclear if any deputies or police officers were injured during the pursuit. The condition of Anchondo is also unknown.