By Barbara Boyer
Inquirer Staff Writer
A wild police chase through North Philadelphia yesterday afternoon ended after the driver of a stolen van had barreled into several cars, crashed through a fence, and was fatally shot by police, authorities said.
The van, taken earlier this month during a carjacking, was left in a small grassy lot at 32d Street and Susquehanna Avenue in Strawberry Mansion, where an old memorial painted on a wall read: "In loving memory of Abdul."
Authorities did not immediately identify the suspect, the police involved, or two people injured during the pursuit.
The chase began about 3 p.m. following a purse-snatching at Broad and Master Streets. Witnesses jotted down the tag number of the getaway vehicle and gave it to police, Chief Inspector Joseph Fox said.
Officers from the 23d Police District gave chase, heading west on Ridge Avenue, Fox said.
At 22d Street and Ridge, the van crashed into two cars, went into a spin, and within seconds crashed head-on into a police vehicle. The impact forced the air bags to deploy inside the police vehicle. A second police vehicle also was involved in that crash. The van kept going.
Two police officers were treated for minor injuries, as were a woman and her child who had been in one of the other cars.
"It was like a movie," said Bruce Webb, 72, who owns a local music store and watched the events unfold. "He didn't stop for anyone."
The chase continued. Highway Patrol officers joined the pursuit.
Fox said that the driver pointed a handgun at police while driving away, and that police responded by firing at him.
The driver jumped out at 32d and Susquehanna, ran behind a rowhouse in the 2100 block of Natrona Street, and again pointed his weapon at police. He was then shot numerous times. He was taken to Temple University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 4 p.m., Fox said.
It was unclear yesterday whether the suspect fired at police, Fox said.
A gun was recovered, but police said they were still trying to determine last night whether it was the weapon he pointed at police.
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