Port of LA's security called into question after chase suspect falls from crane

SAN PEDRO, Calif. -- A wild chase that ended with a car theft suspect slipping from atop a loading crane at the Port of Los Angeles is raising questions about the strength of the vital port's security measures.

The coroner's office on Thursday identified the man as 23-year-old James Llamas. He has previous arrests for drugs and robbery, police said.

MORE: Man dies after bizarre chase, standoff at Port of LA

The fall came after Llamas had been on top of the crane hundreds of feet in the air, dancing, rolling around and at one point removing his clothes.

After the hours-long standoff and bizarre behavior, Llamas fell from the crane. He died at the scene.

The chase started around 3:50 p.m. in the area of Mid-City by the westbound 91 Freeway. Authorities began a chase with the suspect, who they believed had stolen a white SUV.

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A stolen vehicle suspect led authorities on a bizarre chase that ended with him climbing a high crane at the Port of Los Angeles, staying up there for hours and then plummeting to his death.

At some point, authorities lost the vehicle on the 91 Freeway. He was spotted again around 5:40 p.m. and headed through Carson on the 405 Freeway.

The chase eventually ended up in Long Beach and then in the Wilmington area along the waterfront. Llamas was able to easily blow through two guardhouses at the port with no barriers or other obstructions in his way.

After driving around erratically for several minutes, Llamas fled from the car, leaving it to roll away.

Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who called for a full investigation into the incident, said Llamas could have been carrying anything in the vehicle that entered into the region's most sensitive zone for commerce.

The Port of Los Angeles processes $750 million worth of goods per day.

Port officials said in a statement that Los Angeles Port Police have launched an investigation into the security breach at the container terminal that led to Llamas being able to climb the crane.

"This thorough review, including protocols necessary to address improvements, will be completed as soon as possible," port officials said.
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