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Two arrested after police standoff

A car involved in Friday night's chase along East Evans Creek Road is removed from the residence in the 5200 block where police fired upon fugitive Conan James Lapping. / Roy Musitelli — — —

A Grants Pass man was finally taken into custody in Crescent City, Calif., after a chase with police in Rogue River

A Grants Pass man who fired at police while leading them on a wild chase Friday night, then escaped during a tense standoff in Rogue River, was ultimately arrested more than 90 miles away in Crescent City, Calif., early Saturday.

A second man involved in the chase surrendered Saturday afternoon at the Josephine County Sheriff's Office.

Wearing a bullet-proof vest but wounded from his gunplay in Oregon, Conan James Lapping, 24, tried to face down law enforcement officers in Crescent City who had been warned he was headed their way.

— At first he didn't comply with our commands, said Crescent City Police Chief Douglas Plack. It was very stressful there for a while.

Lapping finally surrendered to police, as did a man and woman he was traveling with, Plack said. Lapping was taken to Sutter Coast Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, then lodged in the Del Norte County Jail in Crescent City.

Meanwhile in Rogue River, investigators worked all day Saturday to piece together what happened when police tried to stop Lapping and John Tomsson Hench, 22, Friday evening, Oregon State Police Lt. Brian Powers said. Traffic was restricted on East Evans Creek Road most of the day as investigators gathered evidence.

OSP had been looking for Lapping since he ran from a traffic stop Aug. 9 in Grants Pass, leaving behind a car with nine firearms, including two that had been reported stolen, a small amount of methamphetamine and packaging material for the drug.

Powers said Lapping had been seen at a home in the 5200 block of East Evans Creek Road in Rogue River, and police had been in the neighborhood watching for him Friday.

Around 7:45 p.m. Friday in the 3300 block of Foothills Boulevard, not far from the south Grants Pass exit on Interstate 5, troopers tried to stop Lapping and Hench in a white Lincoln believed to be stolen.

The car sped away and troopers chased it along back roads north of Rogue River. Shots were fired from the fleeing car sporadically throughout the chase with at least one bullet hitting a police car, Powers said.

A 49-year-old resident in the 800 block of East Evans Creek Road said she was washing dishes when she heard the commotion coming down the road. She saw the Lincoln speed past with police not far behind.

It was scary, said the woman, who declined to be identified. They were firing right in front of our house. It sounded like someone was popping a paper bag. A 20-year-old man in the 5000 block who also declined to be identified said he was told to get in the house and put my head down. He said he heard eight to 12 shots from what sounded like a pistol.

Troopers who had been in the East Evans Creek area watching for Lapping were waiting when he pulled into the driveway of the home where he had been spotted earlier and fired multiple shots, Powers said.

The two fugitives ran into the house and police believed they were barricaded inside. Officers swarmed the area, setting up roadblocks that closed East Evans Creek Road and prevented some neighbors from getting home. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office sent helicopters to watch from above.

But Lapping apparently fled on foot, Powers said.

He slipped through our perimeter, Powers said.

Police didn't know Lapping had escaped until the SWAT team and investigators finally persuaded four people in the surrounded house to come out at about 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Through interviews with those people, investigators determined Lapping planned to head south on Highway 199 in a white Mitsubishi.

A teletype was sent to California authorities, who spotted the car stopped at the Battery Point scenic viewpoint in Crescent City about 5 a.m., Plack said. Officers from Crescent City Police, the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office and California Highway Patrol surrounded the car.

Lapping was in the backseat of the Mitsubishi with a bullet-proof vest and a 9 mm handgun and initially refused to obey police orders. The other two people in the car ' Michael Souza, 28, and Danielle Trujillo, 26, both of Grants Pass ' were taken in without incident, Plack said. All three remained in jail in Del Norte County Saturday.

Souza was charged with two counts of possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia linked to 2.5 ounces of methamphetamine found in the car. Trujillo was charged with being an accessory to a felony firearms violation. Lapping was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and resisting arrest and was being held on a parole violation warrant from Oregon. More charges likely are pending in both states, Plack said.

After Hench turned himself in, he was interviewed by investigators Saturday evening, OSP reported.

The four people in the East Evans Creek Road house were not arrested. Powers said he did not know whether charges would be filed against them.

Powers said troopers who fired shots have been placed on administrative leave as policy dictates, but he declined to disclose how many officers were involved or how many shots were fired. A Jackson County interagency major crime team is investigating.

Two arrested after police standoff"aburke@mailtribune.com. Reporting intern Chris Conrad contributed to this story.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail