A domestic violence suspect who was arrested at a 99 Cents Only Store in Rowland Heights on Wednesday evening following an hourslong police chase has been identified as a former felon who had been released early from prison, authorities said.
The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Alexis Leonardo Avina, is an ex-felon and and an early release parolee under AB 109, according to South Gate Police Department Sgt. Ismael Ververa.
The measure, which was passed by California lawmakers and approved by voters in 2011, allows nonviolent, nonserious, and nonsex offenders to be supervised at the county level after being released from prison, according to Los Angeles County.
Ververa did not disclose the crime Avina was sentenced for committing. It was also not immediately clear when he was released, though the sergeant did say that he was under L.A. County supervision.
Avina is accused of leading police on a dangerous pursuit through South L.A. and Orange County that lasted for about three hours and began after officers received a report of a man beating a woman in a vehicle, officials said.
A witness provided a description of the vehicle, which officers located in the area of California Avenue and Firestone Boulevard, according to a statement from the Police Department.
Officers tried to initiate a traffic stop, but the vehicle failed to stop, which spurred police to pursue the suspect, the statement read.
Sky5 video showed the car driving recklessly, at one point crashing through a chain-link fence and into Roosevelt Park in the Florence-Firestone area of South L.A.. People could be seen scrambling to get out of the way as he through drove the park, the aerial footage showed.
At other times, he could be seen driving on a sidewalk and on the wrong side of the road. He hit one car while trying to squeeze through rush-hour traffic, according to Sky5 video.
California Highway Patrol officers eventually took over the pursuit.
The woman was inside the vehicle throughout the ordeal, and at one point she could be seen struggling with the driver after apparently trying to grab the wheel from him. She tried to get out of the vehicle during another part of the chase, but her attempt was unsuccessful.
The pursuit finally came to an abrupt end when the driver ditched the car in the parking lot of a 99 Cents Only Store in Rowland Heights. He then ran into the business, which was packed with customers at the time.
CHP officers evacuated the store and were able to take Avina into custody. He was arrested and booked on suspicion of felony evading and domestic violence, police said.
First responders pulled the victim out of the car and transported her to a hospital in Pomona. She is in stable condition, according to Ververa.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has been presented with the case and is weighing possible charges, police said.
KTLA’s Alexandria Hernandez contributed to this story.