Vehicle Chase That Started in Maywood Leads to Shootout in Vernon

VERNON (CNS) - The suspect wanted for the murder of a liquor store co-owner was hospitalized this morning in unknown condition with at least one gunshot wound suffered in a shootout with police in Vernon at the end of a chase that started in Maywood.

“Downey detectives observed a man believed to be the homicide suspect enter a vehicle outside a residence in Maywood,” Lt. Kathleen Mendoza of the Downey Police Department said. “When assisting officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop, a vehicle pursuit ensued. During the pursuit, the suspect fired at pursuing officers and an officer involved shooting occurred.”

It was not clear where in Maywood the chase began, although it originated with Downey police pursuing a dark-colored Toyota Prius with two people inside.

During the wild pursuit that went north on the Long Beach (710) Freeway then onto streets in Commerce and Vernon, the passenger in the Toyota leaned out of the car's window and fired at pursuing officers and even appeared to shoot at a sheriff's department helicopter.

“He was hanging out the side of a car speeding down the freeway and the surface streets, firing a large-caliber revolver,” Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lt. Derrick Alfred told reporters at the scene.

The vehicle stopped in traffic at 2:45 p.m. Friday in the area of Bandini Boulevard and Downey Road, where the male passenger in the Prius again began firing at officers, who returned fire, shattering windows on the car.

Bullets struck two Downey police vehicles and a civilian down range of the shootout suffered a “superficial graze wound,” Alfred said. No law enforcement officers were injured in the shooting.

The female driver of the Prius got out and surrendered a short time later. She appeared to have blood on her.

“The driver of the vehicle was... struck by gunfire,” Alfred said.

The woman was taken to a hospital where she was treated for a non-life threatening gunshot wound. Upon her release from a hospital, she was taken into custody and booked at the sheriff's East Los Angeles station, LASD Deputy Erin Liu said.

The passenger remained in the car, with officers and more than a dozen cruisers positioned behind.

At 3:20 p.m., sheriff's armored vehicles, called Bearcats, arrived at the scene. Two of the vehicles boxed in the Prius.

Images from the scene appeared to show the suspect lying motionless in the passenger seat.

A bomb squad robot was later sent in to get a closer look and deploy tear gas or a flash-bang device, but the suspect remained inside.

A police dog was sent into the Prius' open driver-side door at 4:30 p.m., with minimal reaction from the suspect.

The K-9 was pulled out and sheriff's Special Enforcement Bureau deputies approached the vehicle and dragged the suspect, who was not moving, from the car.

He was then placed into an ambulance and taken from the scene in unknown condition.

The suspect's weapon was recovered at the scene, Liu said.

After the chase, authorities confirmed the man was suspected of being the gunman who killed a Downey liquor store co-owner on Tuesday night during a possible robbery attempt.

“This is one that you're not going to let go,” Alfred said. “He has to be stopped... we believe that he has already murdered one person and we don't know what this person is capable of.”

That shooting at ASL Liquor and Market in the 8500 block of Paramount Boulevard, killed 44-year-old Gurpreet Singh, of Cerritos. Police on Thursday released surveillance video and photos of the shooting suspect, who wielded a long-barreled handgun that appeared strikingly similar to the one used by the passenger in Friday's pursuit, authorities said.

Photo: Getty Images

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