The man arrested in connection with the wild police chase across Los Angeles and Orange counties this week had previously been arrested on suspicion of grand theft, drug possession and willful child cruelty, among other crimes, according to court records.
The hourlong, high-speed pursuit, which began Wednesday afternoon, involved two stolen vehicles, ramming multiple cars, including two police cruisers, before ending in gunfire at a gas station in Hacienda Heights.
Johnny Anchondo, 32, of Moreno Valley was arrested Wednesday and charged with violating his parole, pending other charges, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Anchondo is being held at the sheriff’s Norwalk station without bail and on a parole hold.
“This was obviously an incredibly dangerous pursuit involving a suspect who had zero regard for public safety, for the motorists on the street and the police officers involved,” said Capt. Jon Radus, a spokesperson for the police department in Fullerton, where the chase began. “I’m just grateful that nobody was seriously injured.”
Anchondo had been charged 18 times by Riverside County prosecutors on drug possession, grand theft, evading arrest, willful child cruelty, receiving stolen property, parole violation and other charges dating back to 2013. He had also been charged in Los Angeles County with carjacking, driving or taking a vehicle without consent, felony reckless evading and misdemeanor hit-and-run, among other crimes.
Anchondo was last arrested in August and charged with violating his parole, according to Riverside Superior Court records. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Wednesday’s chase began around 4:45 p.m., when officers saw the driver of a black Honda Civic commit traffic violations near Auto Center Drive and the 5 Freeway in Fullerton, Radus said. The man sped off and police followed him into Anaheim.
The suspect then entered an apartment complex, where he parked the Civic and jumped into a white Chevrolet van nearby, video from KABC-TV Channel 7 shows.
A police SUV tried to block the van from behind, but the driver got it started and backed into the SUV, ramming it repeatedly before making his way out of the apartment complex.
The pursuit crossed into L.A. County, with the suspect driving without a left rear wheel on the van and crashing into multiple vehicles, video shows. The driver rammed another police vehicle, Radus said.
After the van became disabled, with sparks flying from its rear wheels and smoke pouring from the engine, the suspect jumped out and ran into a residence in Whittier through the back door, video shows.
He emerged in the driveway, chased by several people, including one holding a knife, and dogs. The suspect got into a white Chevrolet pickup truck and smashed into a gate as he fled again, narrowly missing a small dog that ran under the vehicle.
The chase ended in the 1000 block of Hacienda Boulevard, according to the Sheriff’s Department. The suspect hit another car and was rammed by a police vehicle before driving into a gas station, where he hit a pump and tried to back up, according to KCBS-TV Channel 2.
Deputies opened fire on the suspect, but the Sheriff’s Department said no one was hit by the gunfire. A brief standoff ensued until deputies approached the suspect with ballistic shields, broke the driver’s side window and detained him while he had his hands up.