SOUTHLAND : Lifeguard at Huntington Beach Kills Suspected Drunk Driver

From Times Wire Services

A Huntington Beach state parks lifeguard shot and killed a suspected drunk driver during a gun battle that broke out as the man was driving out of the beach early this morning.

The identity of the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene of the 12:25 a.m. shooting, was being withheld pending notification of next of kin, Sheriff's Department spokesman Lt. Richard J. Olson said.

Olson said the shooting, near the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Newland Street, came after the unidentified man, suspected of driving while intoxicated, was pulled over as he was leaving the state beach.

The lifeguard, who is a state peace officer empowered to carry a gun and was in uniform at the time, had been notifying beach-goers that the gates were closing. The lifeguard is one of 49 peace officers assigned to protect Huntington State Beach, Bolsa Chica State Beach and Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County.

The man got out of his car and was standing by his car door when the peace officer, who also was not identified, asked him to show his driver's license, Olson said.

As the officer walked back to his patrol car to run a check of the man's license, the man reportedly reached into his own car, pulled out a semiautomatic handgun and fired twice at the officer, Olson said.

Ducking, the officer pulled out his service revolver, Olson said, and returned fire, shooting the suspect at least once, Olson said.

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