Jailed Pursuit Suspect Has Several Arrests in LA, Riverside Counties

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The man who allegedly stole multiple vehicles, rammed sheriff’s and police cars and broke into a family’s home during a wild, televised pursuit has a lengthy criminal history in Riverside and Los Angeles County, authorities said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Inmate Locator lists at least seven encounters that Johnny Anchondo, 32, has had with law enforcement, including his latest skirmish, which ended with a no-bail felony arrest by Norwalk station deputies at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Anchondo was arrested on suspicion of burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, grand theft auto and felony evading, according to Sgt. Jose Corrales of the sheriff’s Norwalk station.

His convictions in Los Angeles County include carjacking, joyriding and reckless evading. Anchondo has an even lengthier criminal case history in neighboring Riverside County.

“We can confirm that there is a subject named Johnny Anchondo that has 18 criminal cases out of Riverside County. It appears he has two traffic related warrants out of our county and was last in custody for a violation of parole on 8/19/22,” said Sgt. Brandi Swan of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

“He was sentenced to 160 days, so if he was no longer in custody, you would need to contact the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to determine why there was an early release,” Swan said.

The state corrections department provided the following statement to ABC7: “As is our policy, we’ve reached out to the investigating agency before releasing commitment history. At the request of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, because of their ongoing investigation, no information on Johnny Anchondo will be provided at this time.”

According to Fullerton police, the suspect fled from an attempted traffic stop at about 4:40 p.m. Wednesday at Auto Center Drive and the Santa Ana (5) Freeway. He was originally in a dark-colored sedan, but at one point stopped and jumped out of the car and tried to steal a parked pickup truck in Anaheim. When he was unable to break into the vehicle, he jumped back into the sedan, eventually parking and running into a town home complex.

The man then hopped into a parked white van, but a Fullerton police officer parked a cruiser directly behind the vehicle, pinning it in a parking space. Undaunted, the driver repeatedly rammed the cruiser until he was able to slip by the police vehicle and sped away.

Eventually the suspect reached Whittier, where the van lost one of its rear tires and became disabled. The suspect continued trying to escape, spinning the stripped rear wheel, which sent sparks flying and eventually sparked a fire under the van.

With police stationed behind the vehicle, the suspect crawled out of the passenger side and fled on foot, running into a residential neighborhood where he walked into a home and got into a confrontation with one of the residents, Andres Benitez, inside.

“I was in the kitchen drinking an energy drink, my mom was on the couch and we were talking. And we see the back door open, and that back door is never suppose to open, no matter what. So when I saw it open, my first reaction was someone is trying to get into the house,” Benitez told ABC7.

Benitez told Fox11 he grabbed a knife to try and defend himself and his mother, who was also inside the residence.

“I told him, `You got to get out of the house or I’m going to stab you right now.’ And when I told him that, he felt threatened and put his hands up and kept saying, `Please, please.’ Knowing my mother is in the house, I’m going to defend the house,” Benitez told FOX11.

The confrontation spilled onto the front driveway, where the man, after grabbing Benitez’s truck keys, jumped into the white pickup truck and drove off, nearly striking some of the residents as he fled.

Benitez told Fox11 he bought the truck three weeks ago to help with his family’s landscaping business.

“It was just hard work. This was my goal since two years ago,” Benitez told the TV station.

The suspect struck multiple vehicles during the chase, appearing desperate to avoid capture as he drove on the wrong side of various streets. At one point, the front driver’s side tire on the truck became deflated and fell off the vehicle.

The suspect crashed into several more vehicles before the truck became disabled at a gas station. He attempted to flee as deputies attempted to box him in, prompting the deputies to open fire on the truck as it rammed into their vehicles.

A small fire erupted beneath the truck as the man continued to attempt to flee, though deputies managed to extinguish the flames from behind a ballistic shield.

Deputies approached the vehicle and took the suspect into custody at about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday. He was walked to a squad car and placed inside before paramedics placed him into an ambulance at about 6:30 p.m. and took him to a hospital for treatment of unknown injuries.

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