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Fleeing police, man changes clothes inside store and leaves before officers arrive

A man who led police on a chase Tuesday afternoon escaped into a shopping plaza in Inglewood, where he changed clothes inside a discount store and left before officers arrived, authorities said.

At 4:30 p.m., officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Southeast Division pulled over a motorist at the intersection of Manchester Avenue and Figueroa Street in South Los Angeles.

It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted the officers to initiate the traffic stop, said Det. Meghan Aguilar, a spokeswoman for the LAPD.

Aguilar said the man refused to comply with the officers’ commands and reversed his car toward them, prompting at least one of the officers to open fire. The man was not believed to have been shot, although his car was struck by gunfire, she said.

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The man fled southwest “at a high rate of speed,” tracked by an LAPD helicopter, Aguilar said. Officers did not immediately pursue him in their squad cars.

The motorist drove to Crenshaw Imperial Plaza, a busy shopping center at the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Imperial Highway in Inglewood, where he struck a planter in a parking lot and abandoned the car.

He entered a General Discount store, changed into clothes off the store’s racks and walked out before officers arrived, Aguilar said. Police do not believe he was armed and he didn’t harm any of the store’s employees.

Detectives have reviewed surveillance footage from the store showing him changing clothes, Aguilar said.

They are still working to identify the suspect. He was last seen leaving the General Discount on foot, headed east.

Police were examining his car, a dark-colored Mazda SUV with several bullet holes in the front windshield. Aguilar said the vehicle had not been reported stolen.


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