Attempted Carjacking in La Cañada Parking Lot


An attempted carjacking was thwarted by good Samaritans and an advanced ignition system.

At about 7:40 p.m. on June 15, a woman was sitting in her silver Mercedes SUV in the Ralphs parking lot in La Cañada. Her daughter was asleep in the backseat of the vehicle when suddenly a 19-year-old Los Angeles man, Jose Quintanilla, allegedly opened the driver’s side door. Without warning the man punched the woman in the arm; the force pushed her toward the center console. Her right shoulder struck the passenger side door. The man then entered the vehicle and revved the engine several times in an attempt to drive away. The woman yelled, and both she and her daughter exited the vehicle.

The daughter reported that as she slept in the backseat of the vehicle she heard the front door of the vehicle open and then heard her mom yell. When she awoke the man was sitting in the driver’s seat of the car. The daughter opened the vehicle’s door and was able to exit the vehicle.

The man then pressed the ignition button on the vehicle that turned the car off.

A witness reported seeing the man earlier. He had approached the witness asking for change. As the witness walked through the parking lot, he kept an eye on the man. He saw him get into the Mercedes then heard the woman scream. Believing the man was attempting to carjack the Mercedes, he ran toward the vehicle, opened the front driver’s side door and pulled the man out of the vehicle.

The witness was assisted by a Ralphs employee who saw what was occurring. The two detained the suspect until authorities arrived. There were several witnesses who came to the aid of the victims. The driver was transported to the hospital

Quintanilla reportedly told the deputy that he and two friends were at the “river” drinking beer when they got into an argument that resulted in a physical confrontation. The three later got into a vehicle and left the river. During the return trip there was another fight and the suspect was asked to leave the vehicle. He found himself in the Ralphs parking lot and saw the vehicle with its engine on. He allegedly admitted to hitting the woman. He reportedly told the deputy that he was attempting to drive the vehicle away but was unable to get it in gear.

The suspect was charged with two counts of carjacking and is awaiting trial on July 9. He is currently on probation for driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent and has a warrant in his name out of San Bernardino.