SUN VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — A man shot following the end of a pursuit on a busy thoroughfare in the Sun Valley area is suspected in a series of violent crimes, CBS Los Angeles has learned.
An LAPD source confirms that Artyom Gasparyan was shot Monday afternoon on the 5 Freeway just before the Glenoaks Boulevard off-ramp. Gasparyan was transported to a hospital and was last listed to be in critical condition.
He had been wanted in connection with a series of violent crimes, which police say included murder, attempted murder, and several armed robberies and carjackings.
Gasparyan had been sought by several law enforcement agencies over the previous month, including by Burbank police allegedly for a double shooting.
He had also been suspected in the shooting death of a man in Panorama City and a carjacking and hostage situation that unfolded in Long Beach Jan. 1, authorities said.
The source tells CBS Los Angeles that the Robbery-Homicide division of the LAPD had been tracking Gasparyan over the weekend and learned from a relative that he had a storage facility in the Valley.
When authorities visited, he was not there.
Those officers returned and encountered him Monday.
A pursuit ensued about 2:10 p.m.
According to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, at one point the suspect began traveling in the wrong direction, which is when law enforcement stopped pursuing him.
At that point, though, the suspect’s silver vehicle and a red car crashed head-on along the northbound lanes of the freeway.
The red vehicle was carrying one adult and several children. They were transported to the hospital and are expected to be OK.
The suspect allegedly fled on foot and shots were fired. Police have confirmed that an officer-involved shooting transpired.
“All of a sudden we heard shots,” said Patrick Digrazia, a witness. “They were not fireworks. They were shots.”
“When they turned him around, he screamed one more time,” Digrazia said.
Cellphone video obtained by the newsroom showed the suspect running moments before shots were fired.
Beck said Gasparyan was the most wanted man in L.A.
“I have had well over 100 detectives and several hundred line officers assigned specifically to capture him over the past week,” Beck said. “I want to say to the people of Los Angeles, you sleep safer tonight than you did last night because Mr. Gasparyan is in custody.”
Police said the suspect had been armed with a weapon they suspect was used in other alleged crimes.
Both directions of the 5 Freeway were closed for four hours, causing traffic to be backed up for miles during rush-hour. The northbound lanes of the freeway remain shut, but could open as early as midnight.
“It was terrible. It was terrible,” said one driver, while another said: “I wanna go home. I’m tired.”