BELLFLOWER ( — Two men face charges of driving a stolen vehicle after authorities say they were caught by a sheriff’s sergeant running away from a burning car on the Artesia (91) Freeway in Bellflower.

The sergeant, who works in the department’s Special Enforcement bureau, was driving an unmarked patrol vehicle eastbound on the Artesia Freeway just west of the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, sheriff’s Deputy Kimberly Alexander said.

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“He saw a burning vehicle stopped on the south side emergency lane,” Alexander said. “When the sergeant stopped to render aid, he saw two male adults flee from the burning vehicle, running east along the emergency lane.”

One man ran with a large nylon carrying sleeve, Alexander said, but when he looked in the direction of the sergeant, he threw the sleeve to the ground, causing a shotgun to fall out.

The sergeant detained both suspects at gunpoint and they were arrested, Alexander said. An unloaded shotgun was recovered at the scene.

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(credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department)

(credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

The suspects were identified as 25-year-old Anthony Hernandez and 27-year-old Danny Cruz, both of Hawaiian Gardens and both believed to be gang members, she said, adding that the Honda Civic was confirmed stolen out of the Norwalk area.

Cruz and Hernandez were booked on suspicion of driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent, she said. Cruz was also booked on suspicion of being a convicted felon in possession of a concealed firearm.

Cruz’s bail was set at $35,000, according to sheriff’s inmate records. Hernandez’s bail was set at $26,000. Both are scheduled to appear in a Bellflower court Tuesday.

The sheriff’s department did not immediately say what caused the car to catch fire.

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