A reckless police chase through Santa Monica and Venice earlier this month began when a teenage girl tried to snatch a bottle of liquor from a grocery store, according to Santa Monica Police.
A Vons security guard stopped the girl before she could make off with the bottle hidden in her purse, but three reputed gang members who had accompanied her, two men and a woman, walked out, the police said. In the parking lot, one of the men allegedly pointed a handgun at an employee—then fled.
It was initially reported that only two suspects had been taken into custody, but after citing the 15-year-old, the police later arrested the three others who, on that same Jan. 17 afternoon, led them on a chase on surface streets through Santa Monica and Venice.
Taken into custody were Santa Monica resident Elena Herrera, 21; Christopher Diaz, 21; and Javier Martinez, 23, of Los Angeles. Herrera, who was arrested on fewer charges, has posted bond. Diaz is being held on $205,000 bail, Martinez on $135,000.
Officers started pursuing Herrera, Diaz and Martinez near the 2700 block of Kansas, an area where officers knew one of the men spent time. They pulled over their car, a black Honda, in the 2400 block of Centinela.
"The female suspect exited the vehicle and was detained," according to police. "The male suspects refused to exit the vehicle. Both failed to comply and after several commands were given, the suspects fled in the vehicle and a pursuit was initiated."
At one point during the pursuit, one of the men threw a bag containing a handgun out of the car window, the police said. It landed on the sidewalk in the 1800 block of Delaware.
After striking two parked vehicles, they drove into Venice, where Martinez bailed from the car and jumped into the ocean at the Venice breakwater, according to the police. Martinez was in the water for about 45 minutes before taken into custody.
The driver continued on until he hit a dead-end near the Santa Monica Airport, where he was arrested.