San Jose City Councilman, Deputy Fire Chief Help Stop Carjacking Suspect from Fleeing - NBC Bay Area
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San Jose City Councilman, Deputy Fire Chief Help Stop Carjacking Suspect from Fleeing

Police say the suspect forced a woman driving the work van out of the vehicle and fled in her car.

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    A carjacking suspect who was stopped with help from a San Jose city councilman and a fire official on Monday evening has been identified as 32-year-old John Lam, police said. Pete Suratos reports. (Published Wednesday, March 16, 2016)

    A carjacking suspect who was stopped with help from a San Jose city councilman and a fire official on Monday evening has been identified as 32-year-old John Lam, police said.

    Lam was arrested on suspicion of carjacking, kidnapping and hit-and-run with injuries, police said.

    Councilman Raul Peralez said he and Deputy Fire Chief Robert Sapien Jr. were at a community meeting at iJava Café at 387 Delmas Ave., where they heard a car accident nearby sometime between 7:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

    They stepped outside and saw one of the involved drivers, who turned out to be the suspect and tried to run away, Peralez said.

    "It was definitely a hectic scene. There were a lot of witnesses and bystanders who heard it," Peralez said.

    At first they looked to see if anyone was injured and quickly learned there was a confrontation between the suspect and two men, Peralez said.

    One of the two men was in a struggle with the suspect, who had tried to steal a car, according to Peralez.

    The councilman said he helped the man restrain the suspect to the ground in the middle of the road while Sapien called 911.

    They were able to keep the suspect's arms behind his back until police arrived, said Peralez, a former police officer who added that he missed having handcuffs to keep the man from escaping.

    Police said before the suspect was stopped, he allegedly took an occupied work van parked in the 500 block of South Willard Avenue while the keys were still in the ignition.

    A female passenger was still inside the van and asked the suspect to release her, but he ignored her, according to police.

    Eventually the suspect slowed the van and allowed the victim to safely jump out before he continued to drive away, police said.

    Officers were notified of the carjacking around 7:15 p.m. and responded to the scene, but were unable to find the van, police said.

    A short time later, the suspect drove the van into two other vehicles in the area of Auzerais and Delmas avenues, near the community meeting, police said.

    Lam suffered injuries not considered life-threatening and was later booked into Santa Clara County Jail, according to police.

    Anyone with information on the case is asked to call police Detective George Constantine at 408-277-4166. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-7867.

    The meeting near the scene was to discuss a large fire last month in the neighborhood and how to bring an engine back to the fire department's Station 30 nearby, Peralez said.

    The four-alarm fire on Feb. 26 displaced a dozen people and damaged three homes in the 400 block of Auzerais Avenue, fire officials said.

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