A suspect who shot at and carjacked multiple vehicles Thursday night in Fresno, killing one driver, collapsed and died after crashing an SUV he stole into a ditch, police said.
The deadly carjacking and shooting spree unfolded about 5:45 p.m. when two cars crashed at an intersection in central Fresno. The shooter got out of his car, leaving behind two passengers, and then forced his way into a passing car driven by a woman, the Fresno Bee reported.
The man, who was not immediately identified, then forced the woman to drive him to a liquor store and ordered her to wait while he went inside. She instead drove away and called 911, police said. When the suspect emerged from the store, he attempted to carjack a minivan, shooting the driver, who also sped away after suffering critical wounds.
The suspect then fired at a passing pickup truck, killing the driver and injuring his wife, but instead of commandeering the vehicle, the gunman shot out the window of another car, which drove away, police told the Bee.
The gunman then shot at a passing SUV, the driver of which stopped, got out and fled with his 5-year-old brother. That's when an off-duty correctional officer who saw the shooting spree got out of his own car and opened fire on the suspect, who sped away in the SUV.
Five miles outside city limits, the suspect crashed the SUV into a ditch, police said. He collapsed and died, KMPH-TV reported, apparently from gunshot wounds suffered with his encounter with the off-duty correctional officer, who was praised by authorities for likely stopping more bloodshed.
"The best decision that was made tonight was by the off-duty correctional officer, who engaged the suspect and had the courage to engage and was fortunately armed and ended up shooting and taking the suspect's life," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters. "Had the correctional officer not engaged the suspect there could have been additional victims tonight."