A rolling gun battle between Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and the occupants of an armored Cadillac SUV roared through Compton and Inglewood Wednesday night, leaving one man dead and a deputy wounded, according to authorities and press accounts.
The pursuit began in Compton around 11:20 p.m. after deputies attempted to stop an SUV the Sheriff’s Department said was operating in a reckless manner on a block of West Spruce Street known for gun violence.
“Shortly after the initiation of the pursuit, an occupant of the pursued black Cadillac Escalade opened fire on the deputies with a high-power assault rifle,” the department said in a statement.
Deputies returned gunfire. A man in his 60s apparently standing nearby was struck multiple times and died in the street.
“At this time, it is unknown if the victim was shot by the suspect in the fleeing Escalade or if he was caught in the crossfire” from deputies, the department said.
Deputies then pursued the SUV into Inglewood, and during the chase, a passenger in the vehicle fired several shots at a helicopter tracking the pursuit, “possibly striking the helicopter,” the department said. The SUV had “aftermarket” armor and bullet-proof windows, according to reports of a press briefing early Thursday by a sheriff’s supervisor. Bullets also shattered the windshield of a patrol car, and a deputy suffered minor graze wounds to his arm and shoulder, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
In Inglewood, the suspects abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot, the Sheriff’s Department said. One man was arrested. Authorities did not identify the suspect.
“It is believed at least one suspect is still outstanding, and the assault rifle was not recovered from the Escalade,” the department said.
Photos posted online showed bullet casings littering a street and a patrol car windshield riddled with bullet holes.
Authorities did not release the name of the man killed. Homicide detectives were at the scene in Compton Thursday morning, and the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release that as an officer-involved shooting, the death would be reviewed by internal affairs and the district attorney’s office.
A sheriff’s spokesman said that “as of right now” there was no known connection to Wednesday’s homicide.