Chopper 6 was over the scene as the 25-year-old suspect, tentatively identified as Louis Ortiz, tried to make his latest getaway Wednesday.
Officials said the chase began after he rammed an unmarked police car at 9th and Lehigh streets.
"Two detectives had to physically jump out of the way of the van or they would have been struck," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small.
The suspect, who was being sought for multiple alleged crimes, including burglaries, thefts, stolen autos as well as aggravated assault on an officer, somehow managed to escape from police custody back in March.
"This individual is a dangerous person," said Small.
Late Wednesday, as he tried to get away again, he drove over the grass median and onto Roosevelt Boulevard going the wrong way into oncoming traffic.
"He was going the wrong way," said Small. "That's why police did the right thing; they called off the pursuit."
But the police helicopter and Chopper 6 continued to follow as they observed the suspect jumping onto the center median of the Boulevard where he began to lose control of the van.
He then drove back onto the Boulevard where he was nearly struck by an oncoming vehicle.
Finally, he pulled into a parking lot in the 5300 block of 5th Street and made a run for it with foot patrols in pursuit.
He jumped onto the roof of The Rice Cake House where Myong Choy was working inside.
"We were very scared," said Choy. "We locked all of the doors."
Resident Robert Jenkins said he saw the suspect on the roof trying to flee, but soon realized the place was surrounded.
"I saw the guy on the roof. I didn't know if he had a gun or not, but they got him before he jumped down," said Jenkins. "I thought it was a movie rehearsal, but it was serious."
Police said the man suffered minor scrapes and bruises in his attempted getaway.
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