A motorist who led police on a chase in Burbank that ended in the unarmed man's death -- shot by the LAPD while behind the wheel of a stolen car -- had just completed a stint in jail.
Sergio Navas, 35, of North Hollywood has a history of drug and theft arrests in Los Angeles, records show. He was released from jail Jan. 13, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department jail records.
Navas was shot before 2 a.m. Thursday after the car he was driving collided with a police cruiser in a Burbank cul-de-sac. With no weapon found on him, the L.A. Police Department internal investigation will focus on why the officer fired. Police who resort to deadly force must be able to show that they reasonably believed their life or someone else's life was in imminent danger.
Navas' previous arrests included two in 2011 on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and one in 2014 on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance for sale, records show.
On Thursday, two LAPD officers encountered Navas as they were patrolling in a marked SUV. They noticed the driver of a gold Mercury Sable with temporary paper license plates driving erratically on Magnolia Boulevard near Riverton Avenue in North Hollywood, police said. Police didn’t learn the car was stolen until later in their investigation.
The officers attempted to make a traffic stop, but Navas sped away, police said, soon crossing the city boundary into Burbank. After a chase of about six minutes, Navas turned onto National Avenue, a short residential street that ends in a cul-de-sac.
One resident said she heard cars speeding down the street and the scrape of metal on pavement as one vehicle bottomed out on the road. The emergency lights from the police car lighted up her bedroom "like a Christmas tree."
As they approached the end of the street, the two vehicles collided. LAPD officials initially said the suspect had rammed the officers purposely but soon after said that was not accurate.
When Navas' car was alongside the police SUV, the officer riding in the SUV's passenger seat fired multiple shots at Navas as he sat in the driver's seat of the stolen vehicle, police said. Shattered glass littered the ground after the vehicles were towed away.
LAPD officials did not immediately identify the officers involved in the incident.
After being shot, Navas left the car and attempted to escape, but his pursuers caught him and handcuffed him on the sidewalk, where he died. A bloodstain on the pavement and a black latex glove apparently discarded by a coroner's official marked the spot Thursday afternoon.
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