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May 12, 2005
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Stations Capture Live Coverage of Deadly Calif. Police Chase

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LONG BEACH, Calif.- A high-speed chase being televised live ended with police fatally shooting a suspected car thief brandishing a gun.

The nearly 40-minute chase Wednesday reached speeds of up to 100 mph. At one point, the driver crashed into a highway guardrail, and he also came within several feet of hitting a man and his 4-year-old daughter on a residential street.

The driver, whose identity was not immediately released, was shot after he jumped out of the car with a gun in his hand, and seemed to be heading toward a shopping center, police said.

News footage showed the man running from the car as officers open fire. A gun flies from the victim's hand, but the man appears to be reaching for something at his waist before collapsing.

KABC-TV, which followed the chase south of Los Angeles and broadcast the shooting live, immediately ordered its helicopter camera to zoom out for a wide shot. A reporter urged viewers to prevent their young children from watching. The station later defended its coverage.

"Obviously, no one knew shots were going to be fired," William Burton, a station spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times. "The instant we did, we went to a wide shot."

KNBC-TV decided not to air the chase live because it was "apparent to the seasoned eye that it was going to end badly," news director Robert Long said.

Two passengers who bailed out during the pursuit remained in custody. Police learned the car had been reported stolen during a home invasion robbery earlier this week.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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