LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man critically wounded in an officer-involved shooting on a Los Angeles-area freeway following a police pursuit and a crash on Monday was identified as a suspect wanted in a series of violent crimes, including murder.
The suspect wounded in Monday’s shooting was identified as Artyom Gasparyan, according to Officer Jane Kim, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
Gasparyan, 32, was shot following a police pursuit, during which Kim said Gasparyan drove the wrong way on Interstate 5 in the San Fernando Valley, crashing into a car carrying a woman and child. They had minor injuries.
The shooting shut down all lanes of the busy freeway, causing traffic to back up for miles during rush hour. Many cars were still stuck hours after the shooting as police conducted an investigation.
Witness Matthew Mills said there were “so many police officers I thought for sure there was some sort of terrorist act going on.”
“I was a little bit shocked when they shot him because he was running away when they shot him,” Mills told KNBC-TV from his cellphone as he was stuck on the freeway in his Porsche. “He didn’t turn around. He didn’t pull out a gun.”
Detectives had been asking for the public’s help to find Gasparyan, whom they described as armed and dangerous.
Police say Gasparyan was suspected in a series of crimes in the Los Angeles area beginning Dec. 6, including the Dec. 30 shooting death of a 37-year-old man found lying near a car. He’s also suspected in a Dec. 9 shooting in Burbank in which a 67-year-old man was shot multiple times outside his home and a carjacking on Friday.
Police say Gasparyan committed a number of the crimes with a man named Daniel Ramirez.
On Friday, Ramirez led police on a pursuit that began in Carson and ended with a standoff in Long Beach. After the chase, police said Ramirez ran into a home, shot two men, stabbed another and then fatally turned the gun on himself.