A man suspected of getting into a shootout with an off-duty FBI agent during an attempted kidnapping at a gym in the San Fernando Valley on Wednesday was arrested after leading officers on a pursuit into Malibu, investigators said.
Backed by snipers in a helicopter, officers took the gunman into custody about 9 p.m. at Malibu Bluffs Park (map) between Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Road after he bailed from the car and fled down a hillside into heavy brush just south of Pepperdine University.
Before the pursuit, an FBI agent in gym clothes intervened in the attempted abduction at an LA Fitness parking lot on De Soto Avenue in Chatsworth (map), officials said.
"We had an FBI agent who was here on personal business. He witnessed what he believed to be a suspect attempting to kidnap a female victim, and a shooting occurred," said Robert Clark, Los Angeles FBI assistant special agent in charge.
There was exchange of gunfire before the man fled in a car with a woman, officials said.
The man then led officers on a 15-minute pursuit through parts of the San Fernando Valley and into Malibu in a black BMW, at times driving in opposite lanes on Pacific Coast Highway, investigators said. The windshield appeared to be riddled with bullet holes. Officials said the man had been struck by the gunfire.
The woman was able to get out of the car near Ventura Boulevard and Woodlake Avenue in Woodland Hills. She was taken to the hospital and was expected to be OK.
"It’s extremely fortuitous for her that he was able to intervene," Clark said. "He is trained to respond to violent and felony in progress."
After bailing from the car the man ran, then staggered down a hill, where he curled up on his side and remained there for two hours until SWAT members in protective gear and rifles surrounded him and took him into custody without incident.
The man was placed in the back of an ambulance and transported to a hospital. His condition was not known.
No law enforcement officers were hurt, FBI officials said.
Witnesses said the FBI agent ran after the car as it left the parking lot.
"Next thing I knew I heard shots fired and I was like, freaking out because I've never been that close to gunshots in my life," said witness Liz Cook.
Traffic was jammed on Pacific Coast Highway during the standoff.
A witness who was at a nearby park recalled seeing the man ditching his car and running by her and her child.
"The guy come in and all the cars and I went running for the bushes and I laid on top of my baby," said Kimberly Fuentes. "I looked up and the guy with the gun run past like 10 feet away from us into the bushes, toward the rich people's houses at the beach."
Officers were canvassing the hillside in search of the shooter's gun.
Crime scene tape surrounded the gym as LAPD and FBI investigators worked at the scene.
In all, officials said there were four different crime scenes, including in Chatsworth, Woodland Hills and Malibu. In addition to where the woman left the car, the gunman and law enforcement officers exchanged gunfire at Valley Circle Drive near the 101 Freeway in Woodland Hills.