Lt. Jim Thornton with the LA County Sheriff's Department explains what investigators know about a 7-hour search for a couple suspected of fleeing officers first in their car then on foot, and firing at deputies. Antonio Castelan reports from Whittier for Today in LA on Dec. 23, 2012.
A 7-hour manhunt ended in the shooting death of a man and the arrest of a woman early Sunday, several hours after police said the pair led officers on a brief pursuit through Whittier before ditching their car and allegedly firing at law enforcement, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials.
The pair apparently entered an unlocked garage in the Whittier neighborhood. Inside, deputies saw an armed man holding hostage a woman, who was later determined to be one of the people who ran from police. Deputies initially believed two men had fled the car.
"They were feigning as if she was a hostage," said Lt. Jim Thornton with LA County sheriff's.
SWAT team officers evacuated the home, which Thornton said was occupied at the time the pair broke in. The woman was ultimately released from the garage, he said.
Thornton said the man remained inside and fired a single round through the garage at officers.
Details were sketchy after the manhunt ended early Sunday. Thornton said hours after the man fired on deputies, they again spotted him.
Deputies shot the man, who, officers later confirmed, had died. The Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau is investigating the shooting, as it does with all deputy-involved shootings, fatal and non-fatal, according to department officials.
The pair is believed to be from Colorado, he added.
Search dogs, SWAT team and a helicopter had been scouring a 1-mile radius between Norwalk and Washington boulevards since late Saturday, when officers tried to pull over a driver for a traffic violation.
A chase began but was soon called off when sheriffs from the Pico Rivera substation spotted the car driving without its lights, and with a flat tire. Sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop the couple, who then ditched their car near Norwalk and Washington boulevards.
Residents in the area were ordered to stay inside their homes.
"Heard a couple of gun shots and we just dropped to the floor; that was enough to get us really, really scared. It was frightening," said Erica Santana, resident.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call 562-949-2421.