GLENDALE (CBSLA.com) — A 40-year-old man who stole a police cruiser and led officers on a chase through the San Gabriel Valley has died, authorities said Monday.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the pursuit ended around 10 p.m. Sunday in Glendale after three police cruisers slammed into the driver’s side of the suspect’s stolen vehicle. The suspect then reversed in an attempt to flee from police and subsequently rammed a patrol car.
An officer-involved shooting took place and the man was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity is being withheld pending family notification.
No officers were injured during the incident.
A preliminary investigation revealed the incident began when the man entered a Verizon Wireless store in West Covina seeking help.
“He told us he needed to use our phone because his car broke down,” said Justin Guzman, assistant manager of the store. “His hands were all black, his face was black. He seemed a little anxious.”
Two officers immediately responded to the store due to the fact that the comments the man made raised concerns.
“They were not threats made towards the officers, they were more indications that there may be some mental illness issues,” said Sgt. Bill Cotter.
One of the officers tried to help the man by giving him a ride. When it ended, the suspect somehow got control of the cruiser. The pursuit then ensued.
The man drove recklessly on and off freeways through the San Gabriel Valley, speeding in the stolen police cruiser with lights flashing.
CBS2’s Kara Finnstrom reported vehicles pulled to the side of the roadways thinking the vehicle belonged to an officer responding to a crime.
The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information regarding this incident has been urged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.