Santa Monica police arrested four individuals on Thursday, Jan. 17 after a shoplifting incident escalated into a police chase with the suspects throwing a gun out of the window.
At 2:50 p.m. officers of the Santa Monica Police Department were called out to Vons Market, located at 1311 Wilshire Boulevard in order to investigate a juvenile female who was being detained at the market on suspicion of theft.
As the officers were responding to this call they were informed via radio that a male suspect had just brandished a gun at an employee at the same market.
This gun-brandisher had apparently fled the location before officers had arrived in order to investigate the theft report.
When the officers arrived they spoke with the Vons loss prevention agent and discovered that three other people, namely two male adults and one female adult, had accompanied the detained juvenile.
The officers also learned that these three people had picked the juvenile up from school earlier in the day.
The loss prevention agent told the officers that all four of these individuals had entered the store and had proceeded to the alcohol aisle, whereupon the juvenile was witnessed to have concealed a bottle containing an alcoholic beverage in her purse while one of the others took a second similar bottle as well as some orange juice.
After taking the aforementioned goods all four of these people hastily exited the store.
The juvenile was the last one to exit and so the loss prevention agent managed to detain her, however the others escaped.
The officers further learned that as the loss prevention agents were detaining the female juvenile one of the male suspects returned to the store area and followed a Vons employee who was walking to his vehicle.
The male suspect then confronted this innocent employee and brandished a gun at him.
The male suspect however suddenly turned and left the area.
During the investigation, officers were able to identify one of the male suspects as a known gang member, and resident of Santa Monica. Additional officers then flooded the area where this gang member was known to frequent and it didn’t take long for these highly alert officers to spot the suspects vehicle being driven eastbound along the 2700 block of Kansas Avenue.
The vehicle also contained the other two suspects, namely the second male and the female. The officers followed this vehicle and conducted a felony traffic stop in the 2400 block of Centinela Avenue. After this vehicle came to a stop the female suspect exited and officers detained her.
The male suspects however, remained in the vehicle and despite several requests by officers for them to get out of the vehicle they refused and after a short period of time suddenly sped off and a pursuit ensued.
The officers followed this car through a number of Santa Monica’s streets and at one point one of the suspects threw a bag out of the window in the 1800 block of Delaware Avenue.
This bag landed on the sidewalk, and it was soon discovered that it had contained a gun.
The suspects continued to drive and after hitting two parked vehicles they eventually arrived in Venice, and the male passenger jumped out of the vehicle while it was on Pacific Avenue, and proceeded to run to the beach.
The driver kept going until he stopped in a cul-de-sac located at 25th Street and the Santa Monica Airport. The driver was then arrested without further incident.
The following charges involving the suspects in this case were as follows:
-- Gun Brandisher: Male, aged 21 (refused to state residency) was charged with possession of firearm at school, assault with a deadly weapon, felon in possession of a firearm, burglary, conspiracy, participation in a criminal street gang, and violation of probation. Bail was not granted.
-- Driver: Male aged 23 and a Los Angeles resident was charged with burglary, conspiracy, participation in a criminal street gang, hit and run, and being an unlicensed driver. Bail was set at $125,000.
-- Adult Female: Aged 21, resident of Santa Monica was charged with burglary, conspiracy, participation in a criminal street gang and a violation of probation. Bail was set at $60,000.
-- Female Juvenile: Aged 15, charged with burglary, conspiracy, participation in a criminal street gang and a violation of probation. She was released to the custody of her parents.
Editor's Note: These reports are part of a regular police coverage series entitled "Alert Police Blotter" (APB), which injects some minor editorial into certain police activities in Santa Monica. Not all of the Mirror's coverage of incidents involving police are portrayed in this manner. More serious crimes and police-related activities are regularly reported without editorial in the pages of the Santa Monica Mirror and its website, smmirror.com.
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