Artyom Gasparyan, 32, was taken into custody at around 4 p.m. on Monday, January 4th, after a reign of terror that stretched from Panorama City to Long Beach, including 2 shootings in Burbank.
According to the LA Times, Gasparyan is suspected of having kicked off his crime spree on Dec 6th with a series of crimes in NE Los Angeles. Then on the 9th he came to Burbank, and according to Sgt. Claudio Locasso, Public Information Officer with the Burbank Police Department, with no apparent motive Gasparyan shot a 67 year old man and a gardener in the 1700 block of North Catalina Street in Burbank.
According to Sgt. Losacco Burbank PD detectives worked diligently on leads, which included reviewing video footage from the area, ultimately identifying the vehicle and vehicle’s association with the suspect Gasparyan. However at this time Burbank PD did not have enough evidence to arrest Gasparyan.
On the 13th Gasparyan’s vehicle, a VW Jetta, was located in Long Beach.
On the 29th the story picks up with a shooting in West Hollywood when a delivery driver was robbed and shot, and area law enforcement Agencies identified Gasparyan as a suspect.
The story only got worse. On the 30th Gasparyan was named in an armed gas station robbery, suspected road rage shooting, and other connected shootings in Panorama City, leaving one dead and two seriously injured.
On New Year’s morning Gasparyan and Daniel Ramirez, later identified as an accomplice, kicked off the new year with a crime in the Harbor area where the suspect, believed to be Gasparyan, was seen driving a VW Passat. An off-duty LAPD officer later noticed the Passat, and LAPD began pursuit. The pursuit ultimately ended with a car-jacking in Carson, a hostage situation in Long Beach with Ramirez, more shootings, a stabbing, and attempted suicide by Ramirez. Gasparyan got away.
By this time news sources around the region had posted pictures of Gasparyan, with the Burbank Police noting “Gasparyan should be considered armed and dangerous.” Given his activity in the Burbank area, residents were on edge, keeping their eyes open for anybody who looked like Gasparyan, and hoping the hundreds of LAPD, LA Sheriff Department, Burbank PD, Long Beach PD, and other area police department detectives and officers would quickly bring this dangerous suspect into custody.
Finally, on Monday afternoon at around 3:30 p.m. officers observed Gasparyan near an auto parts store in Sunland. The chase was on, and Gasparyan – driving the wrong way on the 5 Freeway near the Glenoaks Exit, was finally cornered. LAPD officers shot him while he was trying to run. Gasparyan was armed, wearing body armor, and was not planning to give up without a fight. Several innocent drivers were hurt on the freeway as Gasparyan smashed into the vehicles – thankfully none with critical or life-threatening injuries.
Although traffic was tied up for hours following Gasparyan’s capture, neither myBurbank or any other news agency reported any significantly upset drivers or citizens when it was broadcast Gasparyan’s capture was the cause of traffic snarls and extended disruption. Most were simply relieved, and as LAPD Chief Charlie Beck noted at the capture scene, Gasparyan was a “very, very dangerous individual.”
Gasparyan’s motives are still unclear. It was reported he may have been a Meth addict, but according to Sgt. Losacco, “as of now we just don’t know his motives.”
The average Burbank resident is not necessarily concerned with Gasparyan’s motives, rather residents and visitors are thankful the region’s law enforcement system was able to track him down, with a high level of inter-agency cooperation and communication.
How this story is finally closed and put in the archives is anybody’s guess. There are still many things we do not know, and it is important to continue analyzing and trying to understand the motives, conditions, background, or other catalysts that drove Gasparyan and Ramirez to commit such violent crimes against their neighbors and community. And hope we can learn the triggers, recognize, and avoid them in the future.