Amarillo Police Department had their work cut out for them on March 20 as an early morning auto theft was linked to an afternoon auto burglary, which led to an evening car chase, and the arrest of two individuals involved.
On March 20 at approximately 6:20 a.m., Amarillo police officers were dispatched to the 1600 block of Amarillo Boulevard East on a stolen automobile call.
Upon arrival, officers learned that the owner left his vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition while he went inside the store. When he returned, his 1996 Toyota was gone.
At 4 p.m. the same day, officers were dispatched to the 1000 block of SE 10th on an auto burglary. As officers were investigating the auto burglary, they learned that the aforementioned 1996 Toyota was abandoned in a nearby parking lot.
Police used a nearby business's surveillance video to identify a possible suspect vehicle, a grey Toyota 4Runner.
At approximately 8:55 that same evening, officers responded to a call for service when they observed a grey Toyota 4Runner traveling southbound on Nelson from Interstate 40. Officers initiated a traffic stop. The vehicle slowed down and pulled closure to the curb, but and suddenly came to an abrupt stop. A female passenger was pushed out from the front passenger seat and the vehicle took off again.
A vehicle pursuit ensued and officers chased the 4Runner for several minutes. On at least two different occasions, officers terminated the pursuit due to the actions of the getaway driver. In these instances, the driver was driving into oncoming traffic and was creating a greater risk to public safety. Each time, officers would disengage pursuit of the vehicle; the suspect would then turn and drive toward the officers.
Eventually, the vehicle was traveling toward the intersection of I-40 and Grand. An officer was present at the intersection, and in the process of throwing a spike strip. The driver, however, aimed his car directly at the officer to avoid the spike strip. The officer retreated, but pulled the spike strip along behind him in an attempt to slow the vehicle down as it closed in on the officer.
The driver lost control, began sliding, and came to a stop. The vehicle was blocked in and the driver was taken out at gunpoint and handcuffed. Two other occupants were also removed from the vehicle.
Subsequent investigations led officers to recover a firearm that the driver discarded from the vehicle during the pursuit. Also in the vehicle was stolen property from the 4 p.m. auto burglary in the 1000 block of East 10th, as well as a syringe with what appeared to be methamphetamine.
The driver was identified as Travis Ewayne Little, 26, who was arrested and booked into the Potter County Detention Center on a charge of Aggravated Assault on a Public Servant, possession of a Controlled Substance more than 1 gram less than 4 grams, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, and Evading Arrest/Detention with a Motor Vehicle.
One passenger was identified as Brandon Joe Gordon, 20, and was arrested on seven outstanding warrants in the amount of $1,996. The other passenger and the female that was pushed out the vehicle at the beginning of the chase were identified and released.