A man wanted in connection with a violent, month-long crime spree was shot by police today following a short pursuit that ended with a wrong-way crash on the Golden State (5) Freeway in Sunland, leaving afternoon rush-hour traffic snarled for miles in both directions. He was reported to have died in the hospital, which WEHOville cannot yet confirm. The crimes included the shooting last week on WeHo’s North Kings Road of a food delivery man working for Bossa Nova restaurant.
The pursuit began about 3:30 p.m. in the 1800 block of Foothill Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said police have been actively searching for the suspect, 32-year-old Artyom Gasparyan, for the past week, and when officers spotted him at an auto-body shop in the Sunland area today, a chase ensued, ending with the crash on the northbound 5 Freeway at Glenoaks Boulevard.
The suspect jumped out of his car and tried to run, but was wounded in an officer-involved shooting. It was not immediately clear if the suspect was armed or fired at officers.
Paramedics treated several people — including children — who were in the vehicle that was struck by the suspect. Details on their conditions were not immediately available.
The 5 Freeway is expected to remain closed for several hours.
“He’s been involved in several carjackings, several armed robberies, at least one homicide, at least four attempted homicides and is a very, very dangerous individual,” Beck said of Gasparyan. “I have had well over a hundred detectives and several hundred line officers assigned specifically to capture him over the past week.”
Police over the weekend reached out to the public for help tracking down Gasparyan, saying he is wanted in connection with crimes committed across the area, stretching from Burbank to Long Beach to West Hollywood to Carson and Panorama City.
Most recently, Gasparyan was tied to a police pursuit that began near the Harbor Gateway area and ended when a second suspect, Daniel Ramirez, shot himself in the head at a Long Beach home in the 3300 block of Daisy Avenue after shooting two men and stabbing another. Ramirez died Saturday at a hospital, and police identified him as a Gasparyan accomplice.
Police said Gasparyan’s crimes date back to a Dec. 9 shooting in Burbank, where a 67-year-old man was shot multiple times at his home and a 33- year-old gardener was wounded.
On Wednesday, Gasparyan allegedly was involved in the shooting death of a 37-year-old man near Van Nuys Boulevard and Plummer Street that was initially reported as a road rage incident. Officers found the victim lying near a car and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police also believe Gasparyan is linked to shootings in the Panorama City area on Wednesday that left three people wounded.
The Long Beach pursuit began when Gasparyan and Ramirez allegedly stole a Volkswagen Passat on New Year’s Day and then led police on a high-speed chase through the Carson area, police said.
At 9:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day, an off-duty Los Angeles police officer spotted the Passat at 182nd and Vermont Avenue, which had been involved in another crime earlier that morning, said Sgt. Bradley Hearn of the LAPD’s Harbor station. Other officers then spotted the Passat near 223rd Street and Vermont Avenue, and a pursuit began, Hearn said.
During the pursuit, one of the suspects fired at the occupants of an orange Dodge Durango that pulled over when the driver heard the patrol car’s sirens, Hearn said. They were not injured.
Ramirez eventually ran into the house on Daisy Avenue, police said. Ramirez allegedly fought with a man inside the house and stabbed him in the face with a knife from the kitchen. The man and a younger son, who suffered injuries to his hands, were able to flee.
Ramirez allegedly held the remaining two sons in the house as hostages, eventually shooting them both, police said. Both survived. As police approached the home, Ramirez shot himself in the head, Hearn said.