A man was arrested in connection with a stunningly brazen carjacking caught on video by a family who was dining in a San Bernardino restaurant on Monday.
Witnesses called 911 to report a man on a roof with a crowbar in the parking lot of a strip mall near in the intersection of Del Rosa and Highland avenues Monday morning, a spokesperson for the San Bernardino Police Department said. Bystanders began recording him on their cellphones after they noticed his erratic behavior.
Maria Garcia, who saw the violence unfold as she was dining at a nearby eatery with her family, said the man was first seen in a confrontation with a possible business owner in the shopping center.
“They told the guy to leave the area, or something, but he got mad,” she said.
As a group of employees watched the armed man pace back and forth across the street, good Samaritans called 911.
“I was a little bit afraid because my family was there and didn’t want anyone to get hurt,” Maria’s husband, Carlos Garcia, said.
The family watched as the suspect approached a man in what appeared to be a Southern California Gas vehicle. The suspect swung his weapon at the window, threatening the man and forcing him out of his car, cellphone video shows.
“I saw him swinging at the door, and he swung at the guy, too,” Carlos said.
The suspect then maneuvers his way inside the vehicle. Although bystanders attempt to block the vehicle’s path, he is able to flee.
Carlos later spoke with the man who was carjacked, and said he was “a little bit scared” but uninjured.
The suspect, meanwhile, had made his way onto the 210 Freeway, where he was being pursued by San Bernardino police, according to Sgt. Kevin Reese with the California Highway Patrol.
CHP became involved in the chase after the suspect collided with two other cars on the freeway shortly after 11:10 a.m., Reese said.
One of the victims, who was traveling with their dog, was transported for medical evaluation after complaining of chest pain, while the second was unhurt.
The dog, a pit bull, was recovered by San Bernardino City Animal Control and will be reunited with its owner upon their release from the hospital, Reese said. Video from the scene showed the pet visibly shaken as it was loaded into an animal control vehicle.
The drivers were apparently their vehicles’ sole human occupants.
The injured victim has not been identified, but a man at the scene who was involved in the crash identified himself as Jaime Garcia.
Garcia, 24, said he was driving in the slow lane when he became involved in his first collision.
“That car, it was swerving left to right, and then I tried to move and he hit me,” Jaime said. “The car ended up just pushing me to end — thank God I didn’t flip over — and he just went over there and started hitting the curbs.”
Several San Bernardino officers were at the scene taking the suspect into custody, Reese said.
San Bernardino police confirmed a suspect was arrested but could not confirm whether he was booked, and they did not release any information on the man’s identity or a possible motive.