LONG BEACH -- A man suspected of shooting at police earlier this week as he fled the Willmore/Drake Park Historic District was arrested Thursday.

Officers with the Long Beach Police Department arrested Juan Carlos Vasquez, 24, of Long Beach, a reputed gang member, in Wilmington and booked him for the attempted murder of a police officer. Vasquez is being held at the Long Beach Jail without bail.

Officers were not injured in the pursuit that began near Eighth Street and Maine Avenue at around 6:35 p.m. Monday, according to police spokesman Sgt. Aaron Eaton, adding that the suspect was not struck by gunfire during the incident.

During the pursuit, gunfire was exchanged, with the suspect firing rounds at pursuing officers from a handgun. The officer returned fire, and a SWAT unit was called in for backup.

Members of SWAT set up a large perimeter between Seventh Street and 10th Street, sandwiched between Magnolia Avenue and west to the Los Angeles River channel, Eaton said. Several homes in the perimeter were evacuated during the search.

Homicide Detectives, through a lead, obtained a search warrant in Wilmington Thursday morning, and arrested Vazquez at the location.


Advertisement

Eaton said there was no known connection between Monday's shooting and a gang-related shooting that left one dead just a week prior. On March 13, police responded to shots fired at Eighth Street and Maine Avenue, and 23-year-old Nelson Suarez was pronounced dead at a local hospital. One other person was shot and wounded, but is expected to survive.

The two incidents in the Drake Park/Willmore neighborhood caused quite a stir at Wednesday's night's regularly scheduled Willmore Neighborhood Association meeting, at which Vice Mayor Robert Garcia and the Long Beach Police Department were present.

According to Garcia's Facebook page, there will be an "installation of six permanent high tech security cameras around Drake Park." He went on to say that the cameras will be connected to the Long Beach Police Department operations center.