KOREATOWN (CBS) — Authorities fatally shot an armed carjacking suspect after chasing him through the streets of Hollywood and the Mid-Wilshire area Thursday night.
The suspect reportedly stole a car earlier in the day in San Bernardino. Police said he then drove to the Lincoln Heights area, where he carjacked another car at Eastern Avenue and Valley Boulevard at 6:16 p.m., Los Angeles Police Officer Gregory Baek said.
The suspect caught the attention of police officers on the 60 Freeway, near the 710 Freeway, when he refused to make a traffic stop.
The driver fled from police on the Ventura (101) freeway and exited at Hollywood Boulevard, where he momentarily pulled to a stop in the middle of the street at 7:10 p.m. The driver then continued westbound to the busy intersection of Hollywood and Highland, where he turned south onto Highland Avenue.
At that point, the suspect was slowed by heavy traffic.
At times, it appeared as if the suspect was speaking with people walking on the sidewalk.
The suspect kept driving down Highland to the residential area of Hancock Park and then eastbound on Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown.
Emergency dispatchers reported that the man driving the vehicle was carrying a blue steel handgun.
Authorities reportedly said that they did not use any technique, such as a PIT maneuver, to aggressively stop the suspect because he was armed. Each time the driver appeared to stop officers have remained ready to act, with doors open and guns drawn.
The suspect eventually pulled into a Shell gas station, alongside a civilian pumping gas into his Cadillac, at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue.
Police said that’s when they saw the suspect waving his gun in a threatening manner and pointing it towards innocent people at the gas station.
Officers responded by shooting several rounds into the suspect’s car, as the civilian lay crouched on the ground just feet away. The bystander, identified as Harry Hahn, escaped the situation uninjured and spoke to CBS2 about the shooting.
“I saw a guy with a gun behind my car and after that the police came,” Hahn said. “Police said, ‘Just go down!’”
When asked if he saw the suspect get shot Hahn said, “I could not see anything.”
Hahn continued, “I cannot go to my car right now. [Police] said maybe in a half hour.”
Dispatchers said the suspect, a 40-year-old man, had suffered several gunshot wounds and died. Officers pulled the man from the car and, moments later, covered his body with a sheet.
At least 10 police cars surrounded the area as dozens of people stood watching nearby. There is a red line Metro stop at that intersection.