A man suspected of opening fire during an armed robbery at an Oceanside Target store, along with his alleged female accomplice, were arrested Friday after the couple carjacked a man who stepped away in fear and fell off a cliff in Silverado Canyon, according to CHP.
Just before 7 a.m., a California Highway Patrol officer stopped to check on a black BMW that was stopped on the side of State Route 133, the toll road, in Irvine. He saw a man and a woman asleep in the car, Officer Florentino Olivera said.
When he woke them up and asked for identification, the male driver sped away, Olivera said. The officer followed, with the pursuit taking them onto northbound State Route 241.
The BMW exited at southbound Santiago Canyon Boulevard, where the BMW collided with a Chevrolet Tahoe. No one was injured, Olivera said.
The BMW continued, going northbound on Silverado Canyon Road. Soon, just north of the fire station, the couple jumped out of the BWM and carjacked a man, taking his white Ford F-150, according to Olivera.
The Ford’s driver felt threatened, took a step back, and fell off a cliff, dropping 20 to 50 feet. He was later airlifted by the Orange County Fire Authority, suffering from a broken leg.
The woman was arrested near the truck with the assistance of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
The man was arrested following a foot pursuit a bit later. A gun was found in the area where the man was arrested, Olivera said.
Investigators from Oceanside, in San Diego County, think the couple was involved in an armed robbery of a Target that occurred Thursday. They were suspected in an armed robbery in Yorba Linda as well, Olivera said.
During the Oceanside robbery, a guard was escorting a shoplifter to the front of the story about 1:10 p.m. when the man began to fight with the officer, pulled a handgun and fired at the officer multiple times, according to a news release from the Oceanside Police Department.
The gunman and a female accomplice fled the store in a black, newer-model BWM, the news release stated. No one was injured in the gunfire.
It was not known if the vehicle is stolen. The number on the BMW's license plate did not return an active vehicle records, according to the DMV.
They were identified as Dennis Lam, 28, and Ana Molina, whose age was not known, Oceanside police Sgt. Rick Favela told KTLA sister station KSWB in San Diego.
They were being held on suspicion of evading an officer, reckless driving, hit-and-run, and carjacking, Olivera said.
Olivera said a lengthy investigation was expected.