10/09/2006

CHP chase ends in fatal gun battle

Erika Hayasaki, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times
Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times
All Rights Reserved

California Highway Patrol officers shot and killed a man in front of the Commerce Casino on Sunday morning after a 45-minute car chase and gun battle that crossed two counties.

At 1:43 a.m., officers tried to stop a speeding car on the Riverside Freeway near Weir Canyon Road in Orange County, said CHP Sgt. Mark Garrett. Instead of stopping, the 2005 Toyota hatchback accelerated to 110 mph, and officers gave chase, Garrett said.

The unidentified driver, who had a female passenger, began shooting at officers while the car was moving. Officers returned fire, chasing him across surface streets and the San Diego and Santa Ana freeways into Los Angeles County. The driver exited at Washington Boulevard in Commerce and drove into the valet parking area of the Commerce Casino in the 6100 block of Telegraph Road, where he got out of the car and continued shooting at officers, Garrett said.

"It was a running gun battle for some time through the parking lot," Garrett said.

The shooting ended just after 2:30 a.m., when the man collapsed from gunshot wounds. The unidentified passenger was taken into custody for questioning, Garrett said.

It was the weekend's second shooting involving a CHP officer. At 3:30 p.m. Saturday, a woman flagged down an officer at the Sunland Boulevard offramp on the Golden State Freeway in Sun Valley and told him that a man in the bushes had assaulted her, CHP Officer Patrick Kimball said. When the officer got out of his car and approached, the man picked up a crowbar and threatened him, Kimball said. The officer shot him, and the man died on the way to the hospital.

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