Police: Person dropped loaded handgun while running from officers in Riverside

RIVERSIDE (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Police are searching for a person who dropped a loaded handgun as he eluded officers early Saturday in west suburban Riverside.

Just after midnight, an officer conducting a traffic stop near Blackhawk Road smelled cannabis come from the vehicle he pulled over, according to Riverside police. The male driver then took off on Riverside Road before losing control and crashing into a tree at Swan Pond near Burning Road.

No one was injured in the crash, police said.

The vehicle’s passenger was quickly taken into custody, but the driver ran off, police said. While the driver was running from officers, he dropped a semiautomatic handgun with an extended magazine holding 53 bullets.

Officers set up a perimeter and used helicopters and canines to search the area, but they failed to locate the suspect, police said.

About 45 minutes later, officers were informed that a person in the 200 block of Scottswood had let a shirtless male use their phone, police said. He was likely picked up by a friend or an Uber.

Officers later identified the suspect by tracing the phone calls he made to his girlfriend, police said. He is an “extremely violent individual” who was paroled for an attempted murder charge.

“I want our residents to know that they should call 911 anytime someone comes to their home that they do not know,” Riverside police Chief Thomas Weitzel said in a statement. “While the resident thought he was helping him, this individual was a violent criminal and hiding from police who had been searching for him for over 45 minutes. I am very thankful the resident was not injured but this certainly was a recipe for disaster.”