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Three vehicles, two counties, one blistering-hot pursuit: Chase caught on camera ends as deputies open fire on berserker
Image source: Twitter - Screenshot

Three vehicles, two counties, one blistering-hot pursuit: Chase caught on camera ends as deputies open fire on berserker

A suspect led police on a dangerous high-speed chase through two Southern California counties on Wednesday night, stealing multiple cars, ramming deputies, breaking into a house, and putting countless lives at risk. The suspect, who has been identified as 32-year-old Johnny Anchondo, made abundantly clear with his crime spree that he'd rather risk death than jail time. Over an hour later, deputies appeared ready to oblige him.

Act I

It all began at 4:45 p.m. in the northern Orange County city of Fullerton when police observed the Hispanic driver of a black Honda Civic committing traffic violations near Auto Center Drive and I-5. The L.A. Times reported that the driver sped off, inaugurating a police chase that would last for well over an hour.

CBS News reported that the suspect had stopped near Buena Park to try to steal a truck. Having proven unable, he got back into the Civic.

According to Capt. Jon Radus, spokesman for the Fullerton Police Department, the driver of the Civic led police into Anaheim, getting on and off state route 91 in a successful attempt to lose the squad cars on his tail.

Although officers briefly lost sight of the Honda, KTTV reported that they quickly managed to track the suspect down to an apartment complex parking lot in northern Anaheim.

Act II

The suspect traded in the Civic and stole a white van belonging to Josh Reynolds.

The trade-in appeared short-lived, as police quickly cornered the suspect in the parking lot and readied their weapons.

Despite the commands issued by police, the driver of the stolen van refused to surrender. Instead, he rammed the single police cruiser that had hemmed him in, performed a four-point turn, and pulled out of the parking lot.

Reynolds said, "My refrigerated van was so heavy that he was able to push the police car out of his way by backing up and ramming it and squeezed out."

Just as the suspect got out of the parking lot, additional police units began to arrive. The driver nearly smashed into one cruiser head-on, threading by and speeding down a residential street.

The suspect made his way to the city of Whittier in Los Angeles County.

Near Marquardt Ave and Imperial Highway, one of the stolen van's tires gave out. The van began to spew sparks as it rolled along on an exposed rim.

The suspect continued driving recklessly, trailing sparks right through a gas station.

On the other side of the station, another police unit managed to trap the suspect, pinning the wrecked van at Carmenita Rd. and Placid Drive. The suspect floored the gas, but rather than momentum, all he got was smoke and more sparks.

Once again police officers drew down on the suspect, and once again he evaded them, this time ditching the smoldering van and fleeing on foot.

Here is more footage of the van portion of the chase:

Police Chase: Suspect not giving up after tense pursuit in OCyoutu.be


In a desperate attempt to evade the police now encircling the area, the suspect broke into a nearby house.

One of the residents, Andres Benitez, told KTTV that when the suspect stole into his house, Benitez confronted the man with a knife.

Benitez, who was disappointed the family's pit bull didn't make mincemeat of the intruder, escorted the suspect out of the home.

Benitez told reporters, "I told him I'm going to have to stab you right now, bro. ... But my mom just kept screaming and screaming. He saw that my mom was holding me back and he just got out of the house."

The suspect did, however, manage to steal the key to Benitez's pickup truck — a new acquisition he and his brother had made for their landscaping company.

The family can be seen on video frantically trying to stop the suspect as he steals Benitez's truck, nearly running over dogs on his way out of the driveway:

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department took over the chase, which saw the suspect driving the wrong way, over medians, onto curbs, and threatening countless lives as he blasted through crowded intersections.

After several close calls on South Hacienda Boulevard, where the suspect reached speeds over 70 mph, the truck's front left wheel gave out. Losing control of the car and the situation, the suspect crashed into a Jeep, resulting in heavy damage.

Notwithstanding the damage, the suspect continued to press his luck.

Approaching traffic stopped at a red light, the suspect punched through four vehicles, hammering one into the intersection. A police cruiser barreled into the pickup in an apparent effort to prevent the suspect from endangering more lives. Several other police units closed in.

The front tires on Benitez's stolen truck were all rim, yet the rear drive still proved capable of scraping it along and into another gas station. LASD deputies immediately stormed the gas station, guns drawn.

After nearly toppling a gas pump, the suspect reversed into a deputy's vehicle. At that point, deputies — who believed the suspect was armed — weren't taking any more chances, electing instead to light Anchondo up.

Deputies riddled the stolen truck with bullets, but reportedly missed the suspect.

They approached the truck with ballistic shields and took Anchondo into custody.

CBS News reported that one bystander was injured during the standoff and detained for refusing to get out of the line of fire.

Adrian Cruz had been sitting at the Hacienda Heights stoplight when the suspect drove into his sedan. A police cruiser rammed the white pickup, which in turn re-hammered Cruz's sedan.

Cruz said police began shooting at the suspect. "It just sounded crazy, like a war zone."

In total, three people were taken to the hospital with injuries caused by the suspect's reckless driving.

According to police records, Johnny Anchondo was previously charged with multiple felonies. He was arrested in November 2020, December 2020, January 2021, and February 2021, just in Los Angeles County.

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