SANTA MONICA, Calif. – A man suspected of committing a carjacking at a Santa Monica State Beach parking lot was in custody Friday.
Officers were dispatched at 7 p.m. Thursday to Beach Parking Lot 1 North at 1550 Pacific Coast Highway where they met with a woman who told them two men approached her and demanded the keys to her gray Ford Focus while one brandished a handgun, Santa Monica Police Department Lt. Rudy Flores said.
The victim complied and the suspects fled in her vehicle, a gray Ford Focus. The vehicle description was broadcast to all assisting units. Officers located the stolen compact car on the eastbound Santa Monica (10) Freeway, Flores said.
Officers witnessed the passenger jump out the vehicle before it continued east on the freeway. As the driver began to exit at the Robertson Boulevard off-ramp, the Focus collided into other vehicles, Flores said.
The driver, Jonathan Manuel Perez, a 22-year-old from Los Angeles, was located in the Ford and taken into custody, Flores said. A replica firearm was found in the vehicle.
Perez was taken to the Santa Monica Police Department Jail where he was booked for carjacking and violations of other Vehicle Code sections, Flores said. Officers also discovered Perez was on active parole for a prior armed carjacking.
Although a perimeter was set in an attempt to arrest the passenger, with the Los Angeles Police Department assisting via helicopter, he remains at large, according to Flores. He is described as a Hispanic man, wearing a black jacket, black pants, and a dark facemask over the mouth.
Anyone with any additional information on the carjacking was encouraged to call SMPD Detective Ismael Tavera at 310-458-2256 or the watch commander at 310-458-8426.