FOX 11/CNS - A police pursuit led today to a crash and officer-involved shooting that left the suspect -- who is believed to be the man wanted in connection with a series of recent crimes -- wounded on the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway in Sunland.
From Victoria Spilabotte:
Cell phone video shows the moments after police shot a suspect wanted for a crime spree across Los Angeles.
Matthew Mills filmed the video while driving northbound on Interstate 5 when it all happened right in front of him.
"I watched it go down 40 to 50 yards in front of us," Mills said. "I just heard the shots fired and watched the guy hit the pavement."
Police identified the suspect as 32-year-old Artyom Gasparyan.
He led police on a short pursuit that began at a nearby auto body shop then drove onto the freeway going southbound in the northbound lane.
Police said they were forced to open fire when he collided with another car carrying a mother and children, then he tried to escape on foot.
"The lady was just screaming – screaming at the top of her lungs he’s running away, he’s running away and we looked and we saw a guy running down the shoulder," Mills sad.
Witnesses heard police fire roughly four shots at the suspect who police said was armed with the same handgun he used in a month-long crime spree.
"I’ve had well over a hundred detectives and several hundred line officers assigned specifically to capture him over the past week," Los Angeles Police Chief, Charlie Beck, said.
After the capture police shutdown the interstate for hours in both directions in the Sun Valley area. The closure created a backup for miles during rush hour.
Beck called the situation tense for everyone involved, but law enforcement is relieved the manhunt is over.
"I want to say to the people of Los Angeles that you will sleep safer tonight than you did last night because Mr. Gasparyan is in custody," Beck said.
Gasparyan was taken to the hospital in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds.
He was wanted for murder, attempted murder and carjacking. Police said switched out license plates on his car to avoid being caught.
Police said the mother and children he hit with his car suffered minor injuries.
The pursuit began about 3:30 p.m. in the 1800 block of Foothill Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The chase ended a short time later in a crash on the northbound 5 at Glenoaks Boulevard.
The suspect jumped out of his car and tried to run, but was wounded in an officer-involved shooting. It was not immediately clear if the suspect was armed or fired at officers.
Paramedics treated several people -- including children -- who were in the vehicle that was struck by the suspect. Details on their conditions were not immediately available.
Multiple media outlets reported that the suspect was Artyom Gasparyan, who was being sought in connection with a series of violent crimes across the Southland over the past month.
Police did not immediately confirm the man's identity, although a spokesman said the chase began when the suspect was recognized by officers.
The 5 Freeway is expected to remain closed for several hours. Police over the weekend reached out to the public for help tracking down Gasparyan, 32, saying he is wanted on suspicion of murder, attempted murder,
carjacking and robbery in crimes committed across the area, stretching from Burbank to Long Beach to West Hollywood to Carson and Panorama City.
Most recently, Gasparyan was tied to a police pursuit that began near the Harbor Gateway area and ended when a second suspect, Daniel Ramirez, shot himself in the head at a Long Beach home in the 3300 block of Daisy Avenue after shooting two men and stabbing another.
Ramirez died Saturday at a hospital, and police identified him as a Gasparyan accomplice.
Police said Gasparyan's crimes date back to a Dec. 9 shooting in Burbank, where a 67-year-old man was shot multiple times at his home and a 33-year-old gardener was wounded.
On Dec. 30, Gasparyan allegedly was involved in the shooting death of a 37-year-old man near Van Nuys Boulevard and Plummer Street that was initially reported as a road rage incident. Officers found the victim lying near a car and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police also believe Gasparyan is linked to shootings in the Panorama City area on Dec. 30 that left three people wounded. The Long Beach pursuit began when Gasparyan and Ramirez allegedly stole a Volkswagen Passat on New Year's Day and then led police on a high-speed chase through the Carson area, police said.
At 9:30 a.m. on New Year's Day, an off-duty Los Angeles police officer spotted the Passat at 182nd and Vermont Avenue, which had been involved in another crime earlier that morning, said Sgt. Bradley Hearn of the LAPD's
Other officers then spotted the Passat near 223rd Street and Vermont Avenue, and a pursuit began, Hearn said.
During the pursuit, one of the suspects fired at the occupants of an orange Dodge Durango that pulled over when the driver heard the patrol car's sirens, Hearn said. They were not injured.
Ramirez eventually ran into the house on Daisy Avenue, police said. Ramirez allegedly fought with a man inside the house and stabbed him in the face with a knife from the kitchen. The man and a younger son, who suffered
injuries to his hands, were able to flee.
Ramirez allegedly held the remaining two sons in the house as hostages, eventually shooting them both, police said. Both survived.
As police approached the home, Ramirez shot himself in the head, Hearn said.
The 5 Freeway is expected to remain closed for several hours.
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