Car theft suspects shot dead

Photo by Scott Davidson – flickr

FRESNO – Two people are dead after a high speed chase Thursday afternoon led to an officer-involved shooting in southeast Fresno.

According to California Highway Patrol Officer Matt Radke, the casualties included the female driver of a stolen Honda Civic and her male passenger, both of whom were known criminals, he said.

CHP officers spotted the stolen Civic on Butler and Sante Fe avenues around 2:30 p.m. Thursday. A police helicopter, motorcycle officers and CHP patrol units followed the stolen Honda throughout southeast Fresno until the vehicle crashed into both a truck and van, and was cornered by a number of officers.

The accident occurred on Tulare Street near Chestnut Avenue and Highway 41. Following the collision with the two vehicles, the driver of the Honda attempted to use the vehicle as a battering weapon against swarming authorities, Radke said.

“She used the car to try to take out one of our motor officers,” Radke said. “She tried to use the vehicle, which is a weapon. It’s bigger than a bullet. And she tried to run over several of our officers with her car.”

Two officers standing in front of the Honda began to fire at the front windshield of the vehicle. The officers were standing about 20 feet away from the Honda, which was driving toward them, officials said.

After the shooting, both suspects were taken by ambulance to Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno and later pronounced dead as a result of their injuries. The names of the suspects have not been released.

Radke has also confirmed that the two officers who fired at the Honda have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard procedure.


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