Domestic violence charges have been filed against a parolee accused of kidnapping his girlfriend and beating her while leading authorities on an hourslong pursuit that ended when he ran into a Rowland Heights discount store last month, officials announced Friday.
Alexis Leonardo Avina, 29, of Buena Park, is facing one felony count each of kidnapping, injuring a girlfriend, false imprisonment by violence and fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle and driving against traffic, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
Prosecutors are seeking sentencing enhancements for the allegations that the defendant caused great bodily injury and is an ex-felon with prior convictions for assault with a firearm, carrying a loaded firearm and carrying a concealed dirk or dagger with gang allegations in 2008, 2010 and 2013.
Police have also said Avina was released early from prison under AB 109.
The dangerous chase unfolded the evening of April 24, after a witness reported seeing a man beating a woman inside a car around 5 p.m.
Officers located the sedan in South Gate, near the corner of California Avenue and Firestone Boulevard, but Avina allegedly refused to pull over.
During the pursuit that ensued, the driver was seen maneuvering recklessly through southern Los Angeles and Orange counties, at one point mowing down a chain-link fence and driving across Roosevelt Park in South L.A.’s Florence-Firestone neighborhood. People had to scramble to safety as the sedan tore through pedestrian areas, aerial video from Sky5 showed.
The 31-year-old victim attempted to get out of Avina’s car several times during the chase, prosecutors said. In the aerial footage, it also appeared as if she tried to take control of the steering wheel at one point.
The ordeal last about three hours, ending when Avina ditched the sedan in a 99 Cents Only Store parking lot in Rowland Heights.
The defendant then ran inside the shop, which was packed with customers. Authorities had to evacuate the location before he could be taken into custody.
The woman was pulled from Avina’s car by first responders and treated at a hospital in Pomona.
If convicted as charged, Avina could face a maximum sentence of more than 43 years to life in state prison, officials said.
Charges in the case were filed last Friday, May 10, and Avina was expected to be arraigned this Friday.