Maricopa County, AZ – A violent suspect wanted for allegedly opening fire on a San Fernando police officer after a vehicle pursuit through Angeles National Forest in California was tracked down and arrested in Arizona this week, according to investigators.
The series of events leading to the arrest of 38-year-old parolee Juan Carlos Vazquez began at approximately 4 a.m. on Nov. 8, when a San Fernando police officer attempted to pull him over for a traffic violation, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LACSD) Deputy Trina Schrader told KTTV.
Police said Vazquez, who was driving a white GMC pickup, refused to stop and took off through Angeles National Forest, eventually winding up in the 13300-block of Little Tujunga Canyon Road in Sylmar.
The officer lost sight of the suspect vehicle briefly but located it disabled on the shoulder of the road moments later, KTTV reported.
She got out of her patrol unit and began searching the area for the suspect when she suddenly came under fire, according to Deputy Schrader.
The officer returned fire, but Vazquez managed to escape, KTTV reported.
The officer was not injured in the attack, according to KABC.
The LACSD identified Vazquez as a person if interest the following day, KTTV reported.
The sheriff’s office’s Homicide Bureau and Major Crimes Bureau worked together to track down the “armed and dangerous suspect,” and determined in late November he was hiding out near Buckeye, Arizona, LACSD Deputy Shawn Du Busky said in a statement Thursday.
They reached out to the Buckeye Police Department (BPD), which teamed up with the Phoenix Area West Valley Federal Marshals team to pinpoint the wanted parolee’s exact location.
Investigators found Vazquez traveling with several other males in a compact car on Thursday, according to Deputy Du Busky.
“A tactical traffic stop was conducted and after a short standoff, suspect Vazquez was taken into custody,” Deputy Du Busky said. “An AR-15 style semi- automatic `ghost’ pistol was in his possession at the time of his arrest.”
Vazquez was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on a fugitive from justice charge and an outstanding parole violation warrant, KTTV reported.
Once he is extradited to California, he will be charged with attempted murder of a peace officer, Deputy Du Busky added.