Armed-robbery suspects led police on a wild chase from Montgomery County to Prince George’s County late last week, forcing officials to completely shut down the Inner Loop and all but one lane of the Outer Loop near Route 1 to Kenilworth Avenue. The pursuit ended when the robbers’ getaway van crashed on the Beltway and a police car accidentally fatally struck the van’s fleeing driver.
The chase began after reports of an armed robbery in the 11200 block of Georgia Avenue at a Cash Depot store in Wheaton, Md., around 12:30 p.m. Friday. A white Chevrolet van matching the reported getaway vehicle’s description was spotted in Takoma Park, where it was trailed by unmarked Montgomery County police vehicles onto the Inner Loop of Interstate 495, the Montgomery County Police Department said in a statement Saturday.
As the suspects approached the Route 1 area, they collided with at least one vehicle. After the collision, the driver of the suspects’ van, Juan Carlos Gomez, 37, fled from the vehicle onto Interstate 495 attempting to elude capture, police said. Gomez was struck by an unmarked MCP vehicle involved in the pursuit and later died despite treatment from first responders.
Two other suspects who fled from the van were arrested after a brief foot pursuit. Officers later found multiple firearms in the van, the MCPD said.
Police arrested the following individuals in connection with the Cash Depot armed robbery:
- Miguel A. Ayala-Rivera, 23
- Marcio Roney Avila-Castro, 21
- Yeruin J. Romero-Rivera, 21
- Juan R. Ramirez-Delgado, 34
- Edwin Geovanny Zelaya-Ramirez, 17, who is being charged as an adult
Ayala-Rivera, Avila-Castro, Romero-Rivera, Ramirez-Delgado and Zelaya-Ramirez were charged with armed robbery, first-degree assault and the use of a firearm during the commission of a violent felony. Ayala-Rivera was also charged with an additional count of armed robbery for a Sept. 22 Exxon gas station armed robbery, MCPD said. The officer involved in the collision, a 24-year MCPD veteran, is on paid administrative leave while the Maryland State Police investigate the incident on the highway.