Suspects involved in a high-speed chase by law enforcement left a panicked scene in Little Tokyo on Saturday evening after they jumped out of their cars and ran through the popular shopping area, causing sickening shoppers to run for cover.
The chase began around 5:30 p.m. after Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies attempted to pull over a vehicle allegedly involved in a felony, said Deputy Michael Chen. According to Chen, the driver hit a patrol car and took off. He could not confirm where the chase began, but ended in Greater Tokyo, where at least two suspects abandoned the vehicle and ran into Japan Village Plaza.
Video from Fox 11 Los Angeles It shows a car speeding north on the 110 Freeway from South Los Angeles, then colliding with another car heading east on 1st Street after reaching Little Tokyo. At least two people were seen getting out of the car and running into the square, where restaurants, shops and markets of Japan’s cultural fair are decorated with bright paper lanterns. The video shows several people leaving the square and running for cover in a chaotic dash.
Deputies set up a holding area to search for the suspects. As of late Saturday, two suspects were still in custody and one person had been arrested, Chen said.
He did not have further information on the identity of the suspects, whether they were armed or whether there were any injuries in the incident.
Chris Sandoval, a barista at Cafe Dulce in the square, said people rushed into the bakery and took cover for about 15 minutes before law enforcement officers knocked on the window and gave a clear signal. At 6:50 p.m., he said officers returned and told them to close for the day.
Sandoval said he doesn’t know what prompted the law enforcement response, but he saw deputies stop cars on 2nd Street to make entry. Helicopters circled overhead, loudspeakers ordering the suspects to cooperate, he said, “surrounding us.” Police in SWAT gear also arrived.
The barista said he was unfazed by the commotion. “This is LA – things like this happen,” he said. “I wasn’t really trippin’.”
This story appeared first Los Angeles Times.