A man who authorities say was behind the wheel of a stolen car that crashed during a police pursuit died after being shot by an officer during an altercation in Garden Grove early Wednesday.
The officer was driving to the Garden Grove Police Department shortly after 1:20 a.m. when he came across a vehicle “smashed up around a pole” near Harbor Boulevard and Trask Avenue, said Lt. Carl Whitney.
He approached the 2017 Dodge Challenger to see whether anyone was hurt, Whitney said. A few minutes later, the officer radioed for backup, saying he was in a fight with the vehicle’s driver.
“The officer walks up to the car, and the next thing you know, he’s fighting for his life,” Whitney said.
Shortly after, the officer reported that he had shot the other man.
That man — who has not been identified — was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 2 a.m., Whitney said. The officer was “banged up from the fight” and also taken to a hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, he said.
“It’s early; we don’t know exactly what led up to the shooting,” Whitney said. He said the Challenger had been stolen from a dealership in Santa Ana just before the crash.
The department will review body camera footage and other available video. The Orange County district attorney’s office will assist with the investigation, as is standard for police shootings.