LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The theft of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s cruiser at a Sylmar hospital prompted an early-morning pursuit Tuesday that spanned 15 miles across Santa Clarita and the San Fernando Valley, resulting in shots being fired and the arrest of a shirtless, barefoot man.
The incident began before 6:43 a.m. when a deputy responded to a call from a psychiatric unit at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. When the deputy arrived, the suspect ran out of the hospital, jumped into the deputy’s cruiser and sped away.
“That’s when you see the suspect running out of the hospital,” Deputy Juanita Navarro told CBS2. “He (the deputy) rushes out of his vehicle. At some point during that, the suspect enters the sergeant’s vehicle, and takes off.”
LASD and California Highway Patrol began pursuing the stolen vehicle through the Santa Clarita area. The chase wound its way from the 210 Freeway in Sylmar, to northbound Interstate 5 and northbound State Route 14 before exiting onto surface streets.
The suspect made his way south on the Sierra Highway to Balboa Boulevard and through Northridge.
While in the area of Roscoe Boulevard and White Oak Avenue, the suspect threw the stolen cruiser into reverse and slammed into one of the pursuing patrol cars.
At that point, a deputy jumped out of his vehicle and opened fire on the stolen cruiser, shattering one of the windows. It’s unclear if the suspect was struck by the gunfire before he sped away again.
The stolen cruiser eventually came to a stop at White Oak Avenue and Kittridge Street in Reseda, where the suspect was apprehended at 7:17 a.m.
The man, who was not immediately identified, was wheeled to an ambulance and taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the sheriff’s department reports.