Gun-Toting Youth Wounds LAPD Officer : 18-Year-Old Car Theft Suspect Arrested After Airport Shoot-Out

A Los Angeles police officer was shot Monday in an exchange of gunfire with an 18-year-old auto theft suspect at Los Angeles International Airport.

Officer Charles Block was reported in stable condition at Daniel Freeman Memorial Medical Center after treatment for a bullet wound in his right thigh.

The young gunman, who was grazed by a bullet in the shoot-out, stole another vehicle and fled from the scene, but he was subsequently captured by airport police, authorities said.

A police spokesman said Block had spotted several young men driving away from Westchester High School in an automobile that later proved to be stolen.


Block attempted to force the car to the curb and gave chase when the young driver sped away.

The car raced down Lincoln Boulevard to Sepulveda Boulevard, made a right turn into the airport and crashed into the concrete support pillar of a parking structure on World Way near Terminal One.

Several youths got out of the car, the spokesman said, and the driver--who appeared to be the only one armed--opened fire as Block was getting out of his patrol car.

Block, wounded, returned the fire and the youth ran to a nearby parking lot.

Airport police said he then stole another car in the lot and raced east on Century Boulevard, pursued by an airport officer who forced him off the road and took him into custody near the San Diego Freeway.

He was booked, as were two other young men arrested at the airport, on suspicion of auto theft and attempted murder of a police officer. Names of the suspects were not released immediately.