UPDATED: Crash And Burn Gives Deputies Chance To Catch Violent Carjacker
UPDATED 2:05 p.m. Monday
Deputies injured in a scuffle with a suspect who did his best to get away from them and destroy as much as he could in the process are recovering from bites and bruises received Friday night during a violent and expensive crime spree.
The suspect, Aaron Clay Tanner, of Chatsworth, is still hospitalized for treatment of injuries he sustained in the same scuffle, and the multiple traffic accidents he initiated. When he's released from the hospital, deputies are waiting to take him into custody and ask the District Attorney to file multiple charges.
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On Friday night, nearly every deputy working in the valley was involved in the melee that included four crime scenes after Tanner went on a rampage that involved attempted murder, carjacking, stealing and destroying a patrol car and fighting several deputies before ending up in the hospital himself.
According to Lt. Robert Lewis, it all started around 6 p.m., when the 30-year old Tanner engaged in a heated verbal altercation with his mother as they traveled northbound on the I-5 in a white Scion, approaching the I-5/Highway 14 split. Tanner stabbed his mother repeatedly and threw her out of the car before heading northbound on the 14.
Occupants of a car following the Scion witnessed the incident and stopped to render aid. The mother was taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, where she underwent surgery for her wounds.
Around 6:10, Tanner arrived at the overpass near the Park and Ride lot at Newhall Avenue, where he abandoned the Scion and ran over to a red PT Cruiser that was on the onramp next to the Park and Ride lot. Tanner assaulted the PT Cruiser driver, a Palmdale woman, throwing her down to the ground and driving off with the woman's 4 year-old son in the back seat.
Arriving at the Park and Ride, deputies talked to the victim and immediately put out a broadcast describing the suspect vehicle. They also learned that Tanner had hit another vehicle in the Park and Ride lot, causing damage to that car. A deputy spotted a PT Cruiser matching the car’s description had crashed on Carl Boyer Drive. Arriving on the scene, deputies found that license plate matched the suspect vehicle. Tanner had rear-ended another driver and backed into a tree on Golden Valley Road, rendering the PT Cruiser inoperable.
As deputies went to the disabled car to check on the welfare of the child, Tanner ran around them, jumped into an empty patrol car and took off. The pursuit ensued with Tanner in the lead, running lights and siren northbound on the cross-valley connector.
The child was found safe in the PT Cruiser and has been reunited with his mother. Both were treated at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital for scratches and minor injuries suffered during the carjacking.
Tanner drove into a housing tract under development in the Riverpark area off of Newhall Ranch Road, where he led deputies through the streets, ending up in a cul-de-sac and turning onto a vacant pad, driving the patrol car through a three-foot-tell block wall and down 100 feet into the riverbed, where the vehicle rolled several times. As Tanner exited the vehicle, it burst into flames. Tanner tried to retrieve a shotgun that had been thrown from the vehicle, but was tackled by deputies and they engaged in a fight to subdue him.
Once booked, he faces possible charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, carjacking, attempted carjacking, auto theft, assault with a deadly weapon, evading arrest, felony hit-and-run (with injuries). Bail is anticipated to be set at half a million dollars.