Los Angeles

Gunman Shot After Carjacking Pursuit is Gang Member

The pursuit began as a stolen car in Boyle Heights on Monday and ended 45 minutes later in Montebello

As a suspect who allegedly carjacked a woman at gunpoint in a dangerous, rush-hour pursuit was identified on Tuesday, police said that the victim did the right thing by following the gunman's demands.

The suspect carjacked a Volkswagen from a 22-year-old woman Monday after crashing another stolen vehicle during the 45-minute chase that began in Boyle Heights, police said.

"It's not worth losing your life over property," said LAPD Sgt. Frank Preciado.

The chase wound through downtown LA, went as far north as Lynwood, then ended in Montebello with the suspect running in lanes of the Pomona (60) Freeway.

Three LA police officers shot at him when he made a final run for it, trying to carjack more people, Preciado said.

"It was just shocking to see how blatantly he disregarded other peoples' lives," said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith. "He'll be in jail for a very, very long time, we hope."

The suspect, identified as Aaron Lorta, 29, was booked on suspicion of carjacking, said Officer
Liliana Preciado of the Los Angeles Police Department. Lorta, who's under a no-bail parole hold, is hospitalized in stable condition and has been speaking to detectives, police said.

Police recovered a large semi-automatic pistol at the scene.

They were trying to determine whether the suspect fired at other vehicles during the chase. They are also looking at whether this caused any of the four collisions that the suspect caused, Preciado said.

Police were also trying to establish the extent of injuries from the collisions.

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He has a long criminal history that includes convictions for domestic battery, carrying a concealed dirk or dagger, grand theft, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted grand theft auto, theft and unlawful taking or driving of a car, and attempted robbery, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records.

Lorta is a known gang member with history in the East LA area, police said.

It wasn't immediately known if he has a lawyer.

Alberto Saenz said the suspect lived in his Downey neighborhood two years ago. Saenz said he remembered Lorta, who he would see "acting crazy."

He said he tried to convert Lorta to Christianity, but he believed Lorta was too involved with drugs to respond.

After being carjacked on Monday, a tearful Elizabeth Yarahuan recounted the terrifying encounter.

"He just came up to me and pointed a gun at me ... and told me to get out of my car, and he just took off with it," she said. "I was just scared he was going to hurt me."

Nyree Arabian and Gordon Tokumatsu contributed to this report.

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