Local News in Brief : Driver Fatally Shot by Passenger in 2nd Car

A20-year-old driver was fatally shot early Saturday by a passenger in another car after an argument, police said.

Michael James Altoonian was driving west on Roscoe Boulevard near Vanalden Avenue in Northridge when a brown Toyota pickup truck occupied by three men drove alongside him shortly after midnight, said Sheila Bell, a police spokeswoman. The men began arguing, she said.

Altoonian apparently asked, "What's the problem," and one of passengers in the other car responded, "You're the problem," Bell said. The unidentified man pulled out a gun and shot Altoonian, she said.

Friends who were with Altoonian took the victim to Northridge Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:54 a.m. Another of Altoonian's friends, who was riding a motorcycle, chased the pickup truck but failed to note the license number.

Bell said Altoonian apparently had some contact with the men in the other car, who have not been identified, earlier in the evening.

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