Louis Sahagun, Times Staff Writer January 23, 2001, Tuesday, Home Edition Copyright 2001 / Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times January 23, 2001, Tuesday, Home Edition
(LOS ANGELES) -- A man was shot to death in Florence on Monday after he attacked a passerby with a hammer and then tried to run down several sheriff's deputies with a stolen car, authorities said.
The deputy-involved shooting followed a violent rampage that began shortly after the unidentified man entered a church in the 600 block of Compton Avenue about 11:45 a.m. and took off his clothes, Deputy Cruz Solis said.
The 34-year-old man eventually was persuaded by a minister to put his clothes back on. Then he crossed the street and allegedly began smashing the windows of vehicles in a small parking lot.
He attacked another man with a hammer, inflicting minor injuries, then broke into a car, authorities said.
Deputies ordered him to show his hands and leave the car. After they repeated the order several times, the man got out and put his hands on the roof.
"Then the suspect took his hands off the roof and reentered the vehicle and put it in reverse," Deputy Valentine Rosario said.
Two deputies fired several stun bag rounds at the car, but the man "accelerated out of the parking lot and struck a station wagon parked nearby," Rosario said.
He continued in reverse and stopped momentarily before allegedly speeding toward a sheriff's sergeant.
The sergeant "was forced to dive inside the station wagon for cover as it was struck by the suspect's vehicle," Rosario said. "The deputies, unable to see the sergeant and believing he had been run over, fired their weapons at the suspect, striking him in the upper torso."
The suspect then backed his vehicle into the garage and sped toward a deputy, whose companions started shooting.
When the car finally stopped, the suspect was taken into custody and rushed to Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, where he died. His name was not released.
"This guy was irrational to say the least," said Deputy Solis. "He was possibly under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol, or both, and/or mentally ill."