Policeman Hit by Car Kills Driver

Times Staff Writer

A Claremont police officer shot to death the driver of a stolen car early Sunday after the man backed the vehicle into the officer and pinned him against his patrol cruiser, authorities said.

The man, who was described as white and in his 20s, was taken about 1 a.m. to Pomona Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to Claremont Police Lt. Gary Jenkins.

The officer, whose identity was withheld, was treated at the hospital for scrapes and bruises.

The shooting followed a pursuit that began when the officer tried to pull the driver over as he headed north on Indian Hill Boulevard just south of the San Bernardino Freeway, Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the chase ended on Mountain Avenue, where the street dead-ends. Jenkins said he did not know the reason for the initial attempted stop, but by the time the officer reached Mountain he knew that the car had been stolen.

The officer blocked the car with his cruiser and got out, Jenkins said.

The man then backed up and pinned the officer between the car's rear bumper and the driver's side of the cruiser, Jenkins said. The officer's legs, he said, dented the patrol car.

"The officer, fearing for his life, drew his service handgun and fired into the vehicle, striking and critically wounding the suspect," Jenkins said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the district attorney's office are investigating the shooting.

The identity of the dead man was being withheld pending notification of relatives.

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