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News Release

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Media Relations

LAPD Arrest of Southwest Pursuit Suspect NR10395an


Suspect Tonsha Wilcher was released from LAPD custody at California Hospital on Saturday, August 7, at 2 p.m.  At that time, Wilcher left the medical facility by his own choice, and the LAPD had no further information on his whereabouts. A short time later, the LAPD presented the pursuit case against Wilcher to the district attorney and obtained a filing for felony evading.   A warrant was then issued for his arrest, and his bail was set at $130,000.  On August 10, Wilcher presented himself to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Inmate Reception Center and turned himself in.  Investigation of the case is ongoing, and the LAPD may gather and present more evidence to the district attorney for consideration of additional charges.

Los Angeles:
  Suspect arrested and taken to local hospital after leading police on a car chase through business and residential neighborhoods.

On Thursday, August 5, 2010, around 2:00 p.m., officers from the Los Angeles Police Department's Southwest Division, attempted to stop a man who had walked into the lobby of that station and threatened to kill police officers.  The suspect, later identified as 39-year old Tonsha Wilcher, ran from the police station as officers tried to detain him.  A police pursuit was initiated in an attempt to stop Wilcher for further investigation of his threatening behavior.  Wilcher refused to stop his vehicle and led police on a chase that was televised on local news channels.  

As Wilcher drove at high speeds through both business and residential neighborhoods, officers made several attempts to stop him through a variety of pursuit intervention techniques (PIT).  At one point the officers attempted a PIT maneuver, but Wilcher was able to escape.  Officers deployed spike strips in several locations also to no avail.  At one point in the pursuit, after colliding into a citizens' vehicle, Wilcher recklessly drove up onto a sidewalk.  

The pursuit ended when Wilcher again crashed into another innocent victim's vehicle and was ultimately pinned in and surrounded by the pursuing officers.  Wedged between two cars, Wilcher resisted officer's commands to submit to arrest.  He was eventually taken into custody and placed under arrest for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, the weapon being the vehicle and the deadly manner in which Wilcher drove the vehicle endangering a number of citizens and police officers.

Immediately following the arrest, Wilcher was taken to a local hospital where he was admitted for treatment of injuries he received as a result of the several traffic collisions he was involved in during the pursuit.  In addition to his physical injuries, the medical staff was asked to evaluate the nature of Wilcher's threatening behavior toward the police.  Due to the nature of Wilcher's condition he was left in the care of the hospital for further evaluation and treatment and booked for his crimes on Saturday August 7th.

Captain Steve Zipperman, Commanding Officer Southwest Division said "I personally met with Wilcher's brother on the day of the pursuit, at Western Avenue and 45th Street, where it ended."  Captain Zipperman gave Wilcher's brother a business card and phone numbers where the family could obtain information on Wilcher.

It is believed that any confusion regarding Wilcher's status likely resulted from the family attempting to obtain information from the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Division, which was not involved in the arrest of Wilcher.  

For more information, contact the Los Angeles Police Department, Media Relations Section 213-486-5910.