LAPD officer kills driver after a televised pursuit

Times Staff Writer

A man who led Los Angeles police on a televised pursuit in Van Nuys was fatally shot after running at officers with what they believed was a weapon, authorities said Wednesday.

LAPD officials said the man dropped a spark-plug socket after being shot multiple times late Tuesday.

The man, described as white and in his 40s, was pronounced dead at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

Lt. Paul Vernon said the incident began about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday when two Los Angeles Police Department patrol officers spotted a pickup truck being driven erratically near Sepulveda Boulevard and Raymer Street.

When the officers attempted to pull the driver over, he took off, leading them on a circuitous pursuit mostly around the Lake Balboa Recreation Area and Van Nuys Airport.

Other officers joined the chase and placed spike strips in traffic lanes to disable the pickup. After several tries, the strips punctured the vehicle's tires and it stopped on Woodley Avenue just north of Sherman Way.

"By the time the pursuit ended around 10 p.m., there were five officers including a supervisor at the scene," Vernon said. "As soon as the car stopped, the man got out and without hesitation charged at the officers, who were at least 20 feet away."

As he ran at the officers, Vernon said, "the man put his hands in his pockets several times and then would raise his arms as if he was shooting.

"One officer fired multiple times, striking the suspect," Vernon said, identifying the officer as Tim Olsen, 31, a 10-year veteran assigned to the LAPD's Valley Traffic Division. "At that point, the suspect dropped a shiny metal object, which turned out to be a spark-plug socket."

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