Driver who killed himself after chase was wanted in assault, police say

Suspect leads police on pursuit that ends on Arleta street after driver apparently kills himself

A man who led police on a pursuit through Los Angeles early Wednesday afternoon was wanted on a warrant for allegedly pistol-whipping a man who was dating his ex-girlfriend, officials said.

The man, whose identity has not been released, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after a police spike strip popped his truck’s tires and officers closed in.

“The fact that he had a weapon on him and what his warrants were, it could’ve turned out much worse,” said Los Angeles Police Officer Jack Richter. “But it’s unfortunate he took his own life.”

A dog that was riding in the man's car was rescued unharmed.

The pursuit started about 11:30 a.m. in Arleta, where officers said they had been looking for the man for weeks. When they finally located him Wednesday, officers said they began to tail him.

But when officers tried to pull him over, he sped off, police said.

Video of the pursuit showed officers following the man’s white utility truck across L.A. streets and freeways for about 20 minutes. At one point he drove through the parking lot of an apartment complex and barreled through a steel gate.

Officers twice tried a maneuver to bring the truck to a stop but failed both times. Once officers were informed that the driver was armed, they fell back as the chase continued.

Finally, the truck drove over a spike strip near the spot where the chase began and rolled to a stop.

Officers said they then noticed a white dog inside the cab. After nearly an hour of waiting, a SWAT team moved in and saw the man slumped over and bleeding. He was declared dead at the scene.

The dog was rescued and the scene was cleared. The dog will be returned to the man’s family once they verify ownership, Richter said.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

3:31 p.m.: This article was updated with police reports that the driver was wanted on suspicion of assault.

1:10 p.m.: This article was updated with reports that the driver had died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

12:28 p.m.: This article was updated with reports on the driver's condition and school lockdowns.

The first version of this article was published at 12:09 p.m.

 

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