SUNLAND — Police arrested two men suspected of a wild hourlong crime spree Wednesday that included an armed robbery, a home-invasion robbery, a carjacking and a shootout with police--culminating with one suspect accidentally shooting himself in the groin.
The mayhem left a police car riddled with bullet holes, but the officer inside escaped with minor scrapes by diving to the ground, police said.
"That officer is so lucky to be alive," said Lt. Horace Frank, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department.
The crime wave began at 2:30 p.m. at a Sport Chalet sporting goods store in La Canada Flintridge, said Sgt. Dean Miller of the county Sheriff's Department. A robber displayed a handgun and demanded cash.
The robber and an accomplice fled the Foothill Boulevard store in a red Pontiac Trans Am, heading west on the Foothill Freeway at speeds above 120 mph, authorities said.
Sheriff's deputies spotted the vehicle and gave chase but lost sight of the car as it sped off the freeway at the Sunland Boulevard exit.
A few moments later, the suspects appeared at the door of a home in the 1100 block of Leolang Avenue in Sunland, Frank said.
Pretending to be stranded motorists, they asked the homeowner if they could make a telephone call. He let them in and they used the phone without incident and left, Frank said. The homeowner heard a popping noise outside, and a minute later, they were back.
Based on accounts of the homeowner and witnesses, police believe one suspect accidentally shot himself in the groin.
When the homeowner let the men inside a second time, they quickly bound and gagged him and stole his sport utility vehicle, a silver Honda CRV, police said.
About 3 p.m., a police officer spotted the stolen Honda near the intersection of Fenwick Street and Sherman Grove Avenue, next to Sunland Park and Recreation Center. The men inside opened fire on the patrol car, hitting the driver's side door, the hood and the light bar mounted atop the hood, Frank said.
The officer, whom police declined to identify, returned fire. But police do not think he hit either of the men.
Both suspected assailants were apprehended after one showed up at Northridge Hospital Medical Center with a bullet wound to the groin. The other man was caught in the vicinity of the hospital and taken to the LAPD's Foothill Division jail, police said.
Police declined to release the suspects' names Wednesday night.
The wounded man was listed in serious condition but his wounds were not life-threatening, Frank said.
Times Community News reporter Greg Risling contributed to this story.