RESEDA (CBSLA.com) — One of the strangest pursuits in recent memory ended in Sherman Oaks Friday evening with what appeared to be a homeless man confronting and grabbing the chase suspect.
It was unclear what the man was wanted for. There was an unconfirmed report that the man was a DUI suspect.
He wasn’t speeding. But he definitely was looking to be noticed.
CBS2’s Stu Mundel said the driver was often going slower than 10 mph.
While the driver didn’t assume speeds normally associated with a chase, he was a spectacle nonetheless.
The chase began around 6 p.m. in Reseda. The slow chase went into Tarzana and Encino and then back to Sherman Oaks.
The man driving a 2004 Ford Mustang convertible with hazards flashing and the words “Victory Parade” on the side of the vehicle gave several fist pumps in the air. On another side of the vehicle appeared to be the words “War Over, We Win.”
The bearded man in a checkered hat often waved to onlookers.
At least eight patrol vehicles followed the suspect as he moved westbound through Encino.
As more onlookers gathered on sidewalks, the suspect continued to greet passersby. He also flashed peace signs at bystanders.
LAPD put down a spike strip on Ventura Boulevard, but the driver was going slow enough to avoid it.
CBS2 Anchor Paul Magers called the pursuit “One of the strangest things I’ve seen in a long time.”
Police said the same thing to CBS2’s Peter Daut. Many used the word “spectacle.”
After about an hour, a bystander, possibly a homeless man, stood in front of the vehicle, forcing the driver to stop. The car was stopped near the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Van Nuys.
As the driver got out to confront the man, police grabbed the man as he grabbed the suspect and pushed him onto the hood of a patrol car just behind the suspect vehicle.
Police took the suspect and the bystander to the ground before handcuffing them.
The bystander was briefly detained and questioned by authorities.
West Valley Police told CBS2’s Jasmine Viel that the bystander was detained because of a parole violation warrant. It was later determined that it had been taken care of, and he was released. His name is not being released because he is now a witness to the pursuit.
LAPD Sgt. Mike Patriquin said the witness walked a fine line by interfering. Police wanted to remind bystanders to never get involved in police matters as they are potentially placing themselves in the line of fire.
Daut spoke to stunned witnesses.
“The homeless guy decided to jump out and stop him before LAPD had the chance to get their hands on him,” said one witness.
Neighbors identified the suspect as Aaron Levy, 38, and described him as a war veteran who lives with his father. Levy has been arrested on previous occasions for what neighbors called bizarre antics. LAPD confirmed to Viel he has a history of arrests.
“He has a lot of opinions about certain topics, including government, military, anything like that, and he likes posting them,” said Danielle Stein.
His neighbors told Viel that Levy is harmless and they often see him spray-painting signs and posters that he puts up around the community. He told one couple living across the street in his Van Nuys neighborhood that he was arrested last weekend by police.
There were no reports of any injuries as a result of the chase.