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Authorities hunt for a jail escapee and his wife


SOUTH EL MONTE, Calif.–Authorities today continued their hunt for a jail escapee and his wife wanted for wounding of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy with a shotgun during a crime spree that included carjackings.

Darnell Washington, 24, and Tania Washington, 25, were sought in Sunday’s deputy-involved shooting at a South El Monte 7-Eleven at Durfee Avenue and Michael Hunt Drive. They may be traveling in a light-blue 1996 Plymouth Voyager minivan with the California license plate 3PHK484, said sheriff’s Cmdr. Ray Leyva.

Darnell Washington, who was doing time for robbery and receiving stolen property and supposed to be in court Sept. 14, escaped from the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center in Devore on Aug. 28 with help from his wife, sheriff’s deputies said.

The wounded deputy, assigned to the sheriff’s Temple station, was treated at a hospital and released.

The shooting occurred after a deputy patrolling South El Monte checked a license plate on a Nissan Armada he saw pull into the 7-Eleven parking lot, according to sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker. The license plate came back to someone considered “armed and dangerous,” prompting him to call for backup.

Moments later, “the suspects came out of the store, and a deputy-involved shooting occurred,” Parker said. “Gunfire was exchanged between at least one suspect and the deputy.”

The suspects fled in the Armada and, about 45 minutes later, it was abandoned in South Gate, where the couple allegedly carjacked a minivan. The couple was also suspected in other carjackings, Parker said.

Darnell Washington was described as Black, about 6 feet 2 and 197 pounds, with a tattoo of a cross with the words “By Any Means” on his right forearm. Tania Washington was described as Black, about 5 feet 3 and 130 pounds.

Anyone who sees the suspects or the Plymouth minivan was urged to call 911.