Police Pursuit Ends in Shots Fired

The driver, who is wanted in connection with a murder, was spotted when the stolen vehicle he was driving was detected by a LoJack tracker.

By Samantha Tata, Melissa Pamer and Robert Kovacik
|  Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012  |  Updated 7:25 AM PDT
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A carjacking suspect possibly wanted for murder led the LAPD on a dangerous pursuit for more than an hour Tuesday. The chase ended when the driver crashed into a vehicle in Downtown LA and began firing on officers with an assault rifle. Robert Kovacik reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012.

A carjacking suspect possibly wanted for murder led the LAPD on a dangerous pursuit for more than an hour Tuesday. The chase ended when the driver crashed into a vehicle in Downtown LA and began firing on officers with an assault rifle. Robert Kovacik reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012.

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All Quiet in Pacoima

A Pacoima neighborhood was the site of a search after a pursuit Monday. John Cadiz Klemack provides an update on Today in LA, Tuesday Sept. 11, 2012.

About 6 Percent of Pursuit Suspects Get Away, Data Shows

LAPD says about 6 percent of drivers who lead officers on pursuits escape on foot. On Monday, a man lead police on a chase for more than an hour before stopping in a dead-end alley in Pacoima, scaling several fences and disappearing. He still hadn't been found late Tuesday. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012.
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Police say a possible murder suspect was driving a stolen car when he led LAPD on a chase through neighborhoods near Downtown LA for more than an hour Tuesday then crashed into another vehicle and opened fire using a long-range assault rifle.

Updated Article: Suspect Remains Hospitalized

Dozens of squad cars and at least one K-9 unit descended on the intersection of Bixel and 7th streets shortly after 7 p.m.

The driver, who is in his mid-20s, crashed into another vehicle and when he exited the car, he immediately opened fire, police said.

The driver was the only person shot during the exchange of gunfire and was transported to the hospital with several gunshot wounds, police said. An unmarked LAPD car near the scene sustained several gun shots.

"He made it clear in the past that he was not going to be taken alive," LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said, adding that officers recognized the driver.

Police on Tuesday night confirmed that the driver's brother, 25-year-old Jack Schlesinger, was killed in a Downtown LA police shooting in 2010.

Schlesinger was stopped by officers when the car he was driving came up as stolen, according to a Los Angeles Times report at the time. When he exited the car, Schlesinger was wielding an AK-47 or a similar assault rifle.

Tuesday's chase paralleled several facets of that deadly 2010 shooting.

"I don’t think he surrendered at all. I think he was hit by officer gunfire and hit the ground. I don’t think he meant to surrender at all," said Sgt. Rudy Lopez with LAPD.

The chase started at about 6 p.m. near Sunset and Rosemont boulevards in Echo Park, where the stolen vehicle was detected using a LoJack tracker.

Lopez told NBC4 the driver was originally wanted in connection with an armed carjacking Tuesday morning in North Hollywood. No shots were fired during that incident, Lopez said.

Later Tuesday, police said the man is also wanted in connection with a murder in May near Downtown LA.

Throughout the pursuit, a minimum of seven patrol cars tailed the driver, who was driving erratically, at times using the sidewalk to get around traffic and blowing through several red lights.

It did not appear that there were additional passengers in the white, two-door Honda with the driver as he circled neighborhoods in Silver Lake, Echo Park, Elysian Park and downtown. The driver was talking on a cell phone throughout much of the chase.

"He's obviously familiar with that area...he knows the streets to drive," Lopez said.

The driver narrowly missed several cars and clipped at least one vehicle -- a Prius -- as the pursuit wound through residential streets and busy intersections. The vehicle's front left bumper appeared to be dangling after that run in with the Prius.

Because the pursuit wound through a highly populated area, Lopez said a PIT manuever -- which involves a squad car clipping the back of the pursued vehicle forcing it to spin around -- was not a safe option for ending the chase.

Tuesday's chase was the second rush-hour pursuit in the past 24 hours.

On Monday afternoon, the driver of a dark-colored truck eluded police for more than an hour before jumping out of his vehicle and scaling several fences in a residential area of Pacoima before disappearing among brush. That driver was still at large Tuesday night.

Correction: The original version of this article reported the chase ended in the intersection of Beaudry Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard. It has been edited to reflect that the pursuit ended at Bixel and 7th streets.

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