Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies engaged in two shootings Thursday, leaving one man dead and another in custody, after a stolen vehicle pursuit involving an exchange of gunfire ended in Compton.
The events began about 2:30 a.m. when deputies spotted a car — which was determined to have been stolen during a carjacking earlier in the evening — and attempted to pull the vehicle over for a traffic violation, sheriff’s Lt. John Corina said.
The driver stopped but then took off while deputies called for backup, a sheriff’s news release stated.
During the pursuit, someone leaned out of the vehicle and fired at the deputies, striking their patrol car, Corina said.
Just after the gunfire, the driver crashed near the intersection of West 133rd Street and North Slater Avenue, according to the release.
“One of the suspects exited the car with a gun in his hand and pointed it at the deputies and a deputy involved shooting occurred,” the release said.
Corina initially said a man fleeing the vehicle was involved in a gun battle, but authorities later said they didn’t know if the man had fired.
The man disappeared into a nearby neighborhood, Corina said, and it wasn’t known if he was hit by gunfire. That shooting occurred about 2:30 a.m.
Authorities set up a perimeter and were using special enforcement personnel and K-9 units to search for the man, the Sheriff’s Department stated.
Investigators found two individuals hiding about 200 feet apart — at different homes. One was taken into custody without incident at a home in the 2000 block of Slater Avenue.
The other man was discovered hiding outside, in a residential home’s yard in the 800 block of West Stockwell Street. The man would not respond to deputies’ commands, according to the lieutenant.
Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau deputies “try to use less-lethal weapons with him to get him to comply. He doesn’t comply. He ends up charging them, and the shooting happens,” Corina said.
A KTLA photographer was on scene and recorded audio of what sounds like two gunshots being fired about four seconds apart. The photographer said he shut off his camera and five to 10 minutes passed before he began recording again.
Then, the video shows a mass of deputies and a K-9 near a person lying motionless on the sidewalk. Two rounds are fired, and the man appears to be struck by objects that bounce off, as though the rounds were nonlethal.
Sheriff’s Capt. Steven Katz told KTLA the initial rounds heard on the video were probably “flash-bangs” intended to startle the man and get a reaction. The second two rounds were probably rubber projectiles, Katz said.
The second shooting occurred about 5:30 a.m.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the sheriff’s news release. Both he and the man arrested match the description of those wanted in the carjacking, the release stated. Neither have been identified.
The man who was shot was believed to be the passenger in the carjacked vehicle, authorities said.
Investigators have not found a weapon at the scene of the fatal shooting, Corina said. Deputies and K-9 units were continuing to search for the weapon.
“No one wants to see us use lethal force or deadly force. We don’t want to do that either. But sometimes, in this case, when you have someone who has a gun, carjacked a car, is running from you, and then shoots at you, he leaves you little choice,” Corina said. “You have to defend yourself and the people in the community.”
At the scene of the end of the pursuit, a gray, two-door Honda coupe had glass shattered in a passenger-side window, and its front bumper and right-front tire were heavily damaged, apparently from the crash.
None of the deputies were injured in the incidents.