SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A stolen car and a high-speed chase led to a manhunt at the Arden Fair Mall on Friday afternoon.
It all started in east Sacramento around Stockton Boulevard and Lemon Hill Avenue. The suspect drove into south Sacramento, back to Midtown, over to Sacramento State and finally ended at Arden Fair where he reportedly ran into the Nordstrom department store.
“All the police were just rushing through the mall, with the dogs,” one witness said.
There were tense moments as police converged and evacuated one of Sacramento’s high-end shopping destinations.
“About eight cop cars flying by in front of the mall,” a witness said.
“It was pretty crazy,” said another.
Police say it all started when they got behind a stolen gray Honda near 65th Street and Stockton Boulevard, but the driver wouldn’t stop, leading officers on a 30-minute chase where speeds approached 100 mph and three cars were clipped.
“He had no regard for anybody, driving up on sidewalks, going 90 miles per hour on the freeway,” Sacramento Police Sgt. Andrew Pettit said.
But the suspect would exit the freeway and head right for the highly populated Arden Fair Mall.
“Some guy was pushing a cart full of tomatoes and he almost hit him, ran out of the way,” a witness said.
With police not far behind, they say Christopher Abaya, 24, jumped from the car and made a beeline for Nordstrom.
“This is not a good place to hide because we see everything and everyone that comes here leaves a footprint and we follow the footprints,” said Steve Reed, the mall’s security director.
Mall security say they watched the pursuit on their security cameras and quickly shut down Nordstrom.
Shoppers and employees would be ushered out as the search was on for Abaya. Officers say after 10 minutes a K9 found him hiding in a stairwell.
“They pulled the guy down off the escalator after they caught him,” a mall customer said.
It all added up to a shopping day many won’t forget.
“A little freaky, a little scary,” one mall visitor said.
Police say Abaya is a validated gang member with outstanding gun charges.