A man who was shot by police after leading officers on a wild chase that began in Boyle Heights and ended on the Pomona (60) Freeway in Montebello pleaded not guilty Friday to carjacking and other charges.
Aaron Lorta, 29, is charged with one count each of carjacking and fleeing a pursuing police officer’s vehicle while driving recklessly, along with three counts of attempted carjacking.
The criminal complaint alleges that Lorta wielded a replica handgun and was previously convicted in May 2013 of attempted robbery in Los Angeles County.
The chase began near the intersection of North Mott and Cincinnati streets around 5:15 p.m. Feb. 9 when officers attempted to intercept a vehicle they believed to be stolen.
The chase went through downtown Los Angeles and as far south as Lynwood. The driver allegedly pointed a weapon at a 22-year-old woman and took her car after hitting another vehicle at Imperial Highway and Garfield Avenue in South Gate.
The pursuit, which was shown on live television, ended after Lorta ran into the eastbound lanes of Via Campo near Garfield Avenue in Montebello, where he was shot by officers around 6 p.m.
Lorta allegedly tried to carjack two people inside one car and then tried to carjack another vehicle as officers pursued him on foot.
Officers said they saw a gun in Lorta’s hand and opened fire, striking him several times.
LAPD Sgt. Frank Preciado said as many as three LAPD officers may have fired on the suspect when “he exited the vehicle after a number of felonies and attempted to commandeer another vehicle at gunpoint.”
Lorta was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $615,000 bail. He is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom March 13, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.
If convicted as charged, Lorta could face up to 27 years and 10 months in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
— City News Service