CHP identifies suspect who exchanged gunfire with officers on 405 Freeway, forcing closure

CHP officers walk on the freeway
California Highway Patrol officers look for evidence on the southbound 405 Freeway near the Skirball Center Drive exit after a suspect was shot by an officer early Thursday morning.

The California Highway Patrol identified the gunman they say opened fire on officers on the 405 Freeway on Thursday morning before he was shot.

Officers spotted Michael Northcott, 37, standing by a red Ford Mustang parked on the right side of the shoulder of the southbound freeway north of Skirball Center Drive about 2:45 a.m., according to authorities. The vehicle’s airbags were deployed.

When the CHP officers stopped behind him, Northcott reached into the Mustang and pointed a handgun at the officers and started to shoot, according to the CHP.


Police shot back at him and hit him several times, the CHP said. Once police were able to determine that the situation was safe for them to approach, they gave medical aid to the suspect until paramedics arrived.

Northcott was then transported to a hospital. His condition remains unknown.

None of the officers were injured during the shooting, but their vehicle was struck by gunfire, according to authorities.

The 405 was closed for several hours as CHP investigators combed the scene for evidence. Traffic on the freeway snarled for miles as the Sepulveda Pass was closed for most of the morning commute on Thursday.

All lanes were reopened around 12:30 p.m., according to CHP’s Southern Division.