DOWNEY – A carjacking that began in Pico Rivera came to a deadly end at Chris & Pitts Barbeque restaurant in Downey on Thursday evening after a carjacking suspect was pronounced dead in a deputy-involved shooting.
At around 6:30 p.m., a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s (LASD) Police helicopter detected a LowJack hit on a stolen 1998 Honda Civic in the Pico Rivera station area. According to Commander Mike Parker of LASD, the Sheriff’s pilot observer called in the location to Pico Rivera Sheriff’s station deputies, then continued to observe the suspect.
Deputies then watched the suspect carjack another vehicle at gunpoint at the 11400 block of See Drive in unincorporated Whittier County after crashing the initial car.
The chase then left Pico Rivera, entered Montebello and continued through Monterey Park. At some point during this transition the suspect was involved in at least one hit and run collision in a location that was unconfirmed at the time this article was written.
Parker said that at times the incident was a pursuit involving a variety of agencies, and other times was considered surveillance by helicopter only.
The chase portion of the evening’s events came to a close when California Highway Patrol (CHP) performed a PIT maneuver at Gallatin Road and Lakewood. The suspect bailed on foot and fired shots into the air before entering the Chris and Pitt’s restaurant, located at 9243 Lakewood Boulevard.
At this point, a unified command and containment was established by multiple agencies, including Downey Police Department, LASD, and CHP. Special Enforce Bureau Canines and Special Weapons and Tactics was also quickly on scene.
Several of the restaurant’s occupants immediately fled the building when the suspect entered with gun in hand. Many of those who found themselves caught in the dangerous situation said that the suspect meant them no harm.
“He told me ‘close the windows,’” said Kelly Ford, 33 of Norwalk, who found herself inside with the suspect. “I closed the window and he said ‘I don’t wanna hurt nobody.’ So then he said, ‘just go get out of here.’”
Many are saying that the suspect first let out younger individuals and the elderly.
Shortly before 9 p.m., SWAT threw a flash-bang grenade into the restaurant and made their way inside. Several shots were heard soon after.
According to Lieutenant Eddie Hernandez of LA county Sheriff’s, at least four hostages were seen in the near vicinity of the suspect. The suspect was struck by gunfire once through the window when a deputy found a clear shot. After SWAT deputies entered the building, the then rearmed suspect was found crawling on the ground. Deputies fired on the suspect once again, this time fatally. A total of four deputies fired shots.
Witnesses and hostages were held in the McDonalds across the street for several hours while being interviewed by officials. When asked if any civilians had sustained any injuries, Parker said that he could not confirm anything at that time, however, as he understood none of the restaurant’s staff or customers had been hit by gunfire.
At this time, no information about the suspect has been released, and investigations had continued at the scene throughout the night.