Authorities with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday announced multiple felony charges against 33-year-old Johnny Anchondo, who led several law enforcement agencies on a multi-county high-speed pursuit that ended with an officer-involved shooting.
A parolee from Moreno Valley, Anchondo has an extensive criminal background. He’s been arrested at least six times in L.A. County in the past two years, according to court records.
On Wednesday, Nov. 9, the 33-year-old failed to yield to Fullerton Police officers who attempted to stop him for vehicle violations, the OCDA’s office said in a news release.
Not long after that, at an Anaheim apartment complex near West Coronet Avenue, Anchondo stole a white van that he used to ram police cruisers before getting away again.
Deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department took the pursuit over as Anchondo entered L.A. County, eventually bailed from the van and broke into a Whittier home where a family was inside. Anchondo was able to steal keys to the family’s white pickup truck, which he stole as they tried to stop him.
After taking off in the pickup, the 33- year-old reached speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour on surface streets, crashed into other cars on the road, drove on the wrong side of the street, crossed over center dividers and blew through red lights.
In La Habra, he turned into a cul-de-sac with deputies behind him and appeared to be trapped. However, he whipped the truck around and weaved through several deputy cruisers and back onto surface streets.
Near the end of the pursuit in Hacienda Heights, sparks could be seen coming from beneath the truck when the 33-year-old crashed into several more cars before rolling to a stop in front of a gas station, where police rammed the vehicle.
He attempted to back up, but was surrounded by deputies, who fired shots. Remarkably, Anchondo was not injured by the gunfire.
“The victims in this case can rest assured that the Orange County District Attorney’s Office will do everything in its power to hold this dangerous accountable for the dozens of crimes he committed across two different counties,” OCDA Todd Spitzer said in the release. “It is only by the grace of God that an innocent person wasn’t seriously injured or killed by someone who was hell bent on doing whatever he could to try to escape, including stealing multiple vehicles and assaulting numerous law enforcement officers.”
Anchondo was charged with multiple felonies, including assaulting eight law enforcement officers. He faces a maximum sentence of 54 years if convicted on all counts.