A crashed car on First Street after a pursuit with L.A. sheriff’s deputies ended in Little Tokyo on July 2. (PETER YOON/Rafu Shimpo)

Rafu Wire Service and Staff Reports

Two suspects believed to be armed sprinted through a busy Little Tokyo marketplace on Saturday at the end of a pursuit with Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies that resulted in two car crashes. They remain at large.

Two other suspects were detained at the scene, authorities said.

The Sheriff’s Department became involved in the pursuit at 5:30 p.m., according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Veronica Fantom, taking over from Gardena police.

Deputies recognized the car from a police chase in the Glendale area earlier in the week, Fox11 reported.

The white sedan, reportedly a Mercedes-Benz, led deputies northbound on the Harbor (110) Freeway before exiting in Downtown L.A. and crashing into a car on First Street near Central Avenue, close to Oomasa Restaurant and the yagura (fire tower) at the entrance of Japanese Village Plaza.

Video showed the car crashing into a Volkswagen Beetle and at least three suspects jumping out of the car and fleeing.

“I was out here selling my art on the sidewalk in Little Tokyo. I like this community a lot,” a witness told ABC 7. “I looked over and I heard the crash and then the car is like skidding towards me, so I jumped out of the way. I didn’t get hit but my car got hit, but I didn’t get hit so that’s good.”

Two suspects bolted into the plaza, running toward Second Street, and deputies set up a perimeter to search for them, Fantom said.

The fleeting suspects caused pandemonium in the marketplace and panicked customers could be seen running to get out of the way. The commotion was captured live by a Fox 11 helicopter and on security video at Sushi Gala/Las Galas.

“Everyone just stormed inside so I ran in to duck for cover,” Seira Murakami, a server at a nearby restaurant, told ABC 7. “Everybody in the restaurant just ran inside. They ran behind the kitchen just to find cover. We had no idea what was going on and then I just heard the boom of the car crash.”

She added that deputies told people to lock their doors and stay inside.

No injuries were reported and authorities said no shots were fired.

Little Tokyo was particularly crowded during the holiday weekend because Anime Expo was being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Expo-goers, many dressed as anime and manga characters, often spend their free time in Japantown.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *