San Jose police arrest carjacking suspect

ByJanet O and Elissa Harrington via KGO logo
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
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A carjacking suspect is in custody after Good Samaritans, including a San Jose city councilmember, wrestled him to the ground.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A carjacking suspect is in custody after Good Samaritans, including a San Jose city councilmember, wrestled him to the ground.

Police identified the suspect as John Lam and booked him on three felony counts, which include kidnapping.

The terrifying ordeal took place Monday night when the suspect allegedly stole a van with a woman still inside.

It's business as usual for San Jose city councilman Raul Peralez who appeared at Tuesday's city council meeting. However, he put his experience as a former San Jose police officer to good use Monday night. "I don't look at it as I did something heroic. I look at it as opportunity to help in this situation," he said.

San Jose Deputy Fire Chief Robert Sapien and Peralez were at a meeting when they heard a crash near Auzerais and Delmas Avenue and jumped into action. "We actually just held him down on the ground and had his arms wrapped up behind his back and he was trying to still get away," Peralez said.

But, Peralez said the real heroes are two young men. A photo shows one on his cellphone calling for help, and the other alongside Peralez holding the suspect down.

It turns out those two young men chased after the suspect when they saw him hijack a van that belonged to Paritza Cleaning Services.

The carjacking victim is recovering from the frightening ordeal.

Norma Gutierrez went back to work Tuesday a day after the scary incident. "I feel OK today, but yesterday I was panicking," she said.

It all started when a group of co-workers were getting dropped off at the end of the day. Gutierrez was the last one, sitting in a back seat when the driver got out and a strange man got behind the steering wheel. "He started driving really crazy, so then I realized that something was wrong. He was speeding really, really fast and going and hitting cars and I thought, wait, wait I need to get out of here," Gutierrez said.

That's when Gutierrez opened the door and jumped out and the suspect crashed before being wrestled to the ground.

Nancy Guich with the cleaning company said the van was totaled. "When my co-worker told me there was somebody in the car, I was shocked,totally because I feared for her life," she said.

Guich told ABC7 News that they found some stolen items inside the van, including a few purses, a laptop and an identification car.

The suspect was injured and taken to the hospital, but police have not release his name at this time.