A flood of LAPD squad cars and a police helicopter descended on the Elysian Heights section of Echo Park tonight after officers called for back up as they encountered a large street party while in pursuit of a suspect who ran from a stolen car. The search in the blocks west of Echo Park Avenue near Fargo Street was called off at about 10 p.m. after the suspect was not found.  However, police took a passenger in the stolen vehicle – a Mercedes SUV – into custody and recovered a .38 caliber handgun from underneath the driver’s seat, said Sgt. Christopher Gomez. No shots were fired.

The car theft and party on the Fargo Street cul de sac west of Echo Park Avenue were not related, Gomez said. But with a suspect on the loose and the sight of about 100 people in the street, the pair of officers who were first at the scene called in for help, triggering the large police response, said Gomez. One resident who lives nearby said that at least three dozen squad cars were on the scene.

The incident began after officers recognized the Mercedes that had been reported stolen through a Lojack system. The driver fled the vehicle, running into the nearby hills.

Police officers with flash lights combed the streets during the search, said one resident. “There are cops all over the place – up and down the street,” she said. “I got my doors locked.”

*  Update: More police activity to report. A helicopter hovering over Elysian Heights after midnight was part of a “confidential police matter,” according to an officer with the LAPD’s Air Unit. Meanwhile, in another Echo Park crime tonight,  a suspect that been involved in a knife attack near Sunset Boulevard and Sutherland Street was in custody, an officer with the Northeast Division said.

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