A police chase ended abruptly at the interchange of the Costa Mesa and Corona del Mar freeways Tuesday when the pursued driver fatally shot himself in the chest with a rifle, Costa Mesa police said.
The driver, Louie Guillen, 45, of Forest Falls, Calif., died in surgery Tuesday night at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital & Medical Center, where he had been placed for 72-hour emergency observation for attempted suicide, authorities said.
Costa Mesa Police Lt. Gary Webster said that Guillen had been drinking and that it was likely he shot himself intentionally.
Webster said the chase began shortly before 4 p.m. on Newport Boulevard at 32nd Street, after Newport Beach police received reports of a man in a Honda Civic firing rifle shots into the air. No one in the commercial area was hurt.
Guillen spotted police and sped north on Newport Boulevard. Costa Mesa police officers, who took over the chase when it entered their city, could see the driver holding a Winchester rifle against the dashboard, its barrel pointed at himself, Webster said.
Just south of the on-ramp to the Corona del Mar Freeway, Guillen’s car veered off into the dirt when the gun fired.
“We’re extremely lucky no citizens were shot or officers injured,” Webster said.