LA HABRA (CBSLA) – A suspect is dead and an officer is in critical, but stable condition after a shooting Friday night directly outside the La Habra Police Department that was initially sparked by an earlier road rage incident.
Neighbors captured some of the aftermath of the gun battle.READ MORE: Child, 18 Months, Killed in North Hills Crash; Driver Still At Large
“We didn’t hear any yelling or anything before that. Just out of nowhere, watching a movie and ‘clack, clack, clack,’ and we’re like, ‘Fireworks,’ because nothing really happens here,” said Isabel Gonzales, who added that she then quickly realized it was gunfire she heard.
“They got ready to disarm the guy laying on the floor, but I’m pretty sure he was already gone,” Gonzales said.
The La Habra Police Chief, Adam Foster, says they were alerted around 7 p.m. Friday of a road rage incident headed their way after a female driver called 911 saying she was being followed. The Police Department sent two officers outside, in front of the station, to respond to the call.
“We’re not exactly sure what occurred if there was any type of communication between the two cars that pulled up. What we do know is once officers arrived, everything happened very quickly,” Chief Foster said.
According to Foster, there was an exchange of gunfire between responding officers and one of the drivers. The suspected road-rage driver, seen in a photo from a security camera at the police station, died. A weapon can clearly be seen in his right hand.
One officer was also shot during the exchange and was transported, by patrol car, to UCI Medical where he is expected to survive.READ MORE: Bill Clinton Released From UCI Medical Center After 5 Nights
“I was able to speak with him today, which is very encouraging,” Chief Foster said.
Cellphone footage captured the woman believed to have been driving the other car running for safety as officers surrounded a man on the ground who wasn’t moving.
“I think this is a very sad situation for everyone involved,” Chief Foster said. “There are many people affected by this, not only the officer, the suspect’s family, everyone. This is a very tragic event and I’m saddened by it.”
The road rage incident started at the 5 and 57 Freeways, 14 miles from La Habra. It’s not clear where the woman was when she called 911, but dispatchers told her to drive to the police station.
“Any type of situation like that, with road rage, I would highly encourage calling 911. Do not engage with the person,” Chief Foster said.
Neither the identity of the wounded officer, nor the deceased suspect, have been released.
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