A carjacking suspect who led authorities on a lengthy slow-speed chase in a small SUV from South Gate to Redondo Beach Wednesday surrendered to a SWAT team after a nearly two-hour standoff.
The approximately 90-minute chase led to Pacific Coast Highway near Palos Verdes Boulevard, where the SUV — which had a Lyft ridehailing service decal on the windshield — was forced to stop about 9:40 a.m. by officers who used a PIT maneuver that left the vehicle wedged against a curb.
Officers boxed in the SUV with their patrol cars and pointed weapons at the vehicle, and the standoff began. A sheriff’s SWAT team then arrived at the scene and its heavily armored vehicles drove up against the SUV.
The man — later identified as 27-year-old Carlos Mercado, who was described as a known gang member from Whittier — surrendered about 11:10 a.m. without further incident.
A man who identified himself as the driver’s brother and said his sibling was mentally unstable was in contact with authorities during the standoff, according to broadcast reports.
The carjacking occurred about 8 a.m. at 68th Street and Central Avenue, in the unincorporated Florence area, according to the sheriff’s department. Patrolling South Gate police officers saw the vehicle a short time later and began chasing it.
The man subsequently led officers on a slow-speed chase on streets in South Gate, South Los Angeles, Inglewood and Hermosa Beach.
At one point, officers deployed a spike strip, which flattened at least one of the vehicle’s tires. A PIT maneuver was used to get the driver to come to a stop.
Mercado was taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation and once cleared was booked on suspicion of carjacking and felony evading, the sheriff’s department reported.
Mercado was jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail, according to sheriff’s inmate records.
Some nearby homes were evacuated while the standoff was underway, officials said.
–City News Service