LAGUNA BEACH (CBSLA) — A 36-year-old Florida man was shot and critically wounded by Laguna Beach police after leading them on a wild pursuit Thursday night up and down the Pacific Coast Highway.
The pursuit began at 6:20 p.m. when an officer tried to pull over the suspect on the PCH at Smithcliffs Road.
The suspect refused to stop, and hit two other cars on the PCH while trying to speed away, prompting the pursuit.
The driver sped north into Newport Beach, then pulled a U-turn and drove back down south into Laguna Beach, police said.
A little before 7 p.m., an officer attempted a PIT manuever on the suspect’s car, finally bringing it to a stop. The driver, later identified as Tobiah Paul Steinmetz of Jupiter, Fla., jumped out of the car.
At that point, at least one officer opened fire on him, police said.
Steinmetz was rushed to a local hospital, where he is in critical condition, police said Friday.
It’s unclear whether Steinmetz was armed or why officers opened fire on him. There was also no word on what prompted the initial traffic stop attempt.
The drivers of the two cars which Steinmetz hit were not injured.
The PCH between Terry Road and Blue Lagoon was shut down for several hours, but has since reopened.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office will investigate the officer-involved shooting.