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Tagger runs afoul of dozens of L.A. County deputies gathered in Commerce

February 12, 2010 | 11:13 pm

A 22-year-old graffiti tagger picked the wrong place Friday to leave his mark: a glass door at an aquatic center in Commerce that separated him from 100 Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies discussing having enough backup when chasing suspects, authorities said.

Joshua Vasquez looked shocked as a throng of deputies began running toward him, said Capt. Mike Parker, who was teaching the class. Vasquez turned and ran as at least 40 deputies crammed through the doorway to get him, Parker said. Vasquez tripped over his own feet and fell, Parker said, and deputies restrained him.

As it turned out, the incident was instructive to the deputies, who were participating in a training meeting.

“We were discussing the importance of having backup when engaged in foot pursuits,” Parker said.

That’s when the entire class was drawn to the doorway, where it looked like the suspect was waving at them, Parker said. “It turns out we could see him, but he couldn’t see us,” he said.

Not lacking in backup, the deputies gave chase. But the suspect didn’t give up so easily, and he kicked out the rear window of a sheriff's cruiser before being further restrained, authorities said.

Vasquez was booked on suspicion of felony vandalism to the glass door and to the cruiser.

-- Richard Winton