A California Highway Patrol officer was being questioned late Saturday after being involved in a fatal shooting following a brief high-speed pursuit that ended in a crash near the 101 Freeway and Padre Juan Canyon Road, just north of the city of Ventura, according to county sheriff’s officials.
The man was initially wanted on suspicion of speeding, officials said, adding that the pursuit reached speeds in excess of 90 mph.
"Whenever there is a pursuit, we don’t know what’s in the mindset of the person being pursued or what their intentions are or why they’re fleeing law enforcement," said Sgt. Eric Buschow, with Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. "So, standard procedure at the end of a pursuit is that person’s going to be confronted at gunpoint."
An initial investigation found that the driver led a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer into a canyon between two mountains on Padre Juan Canyon Road near the 101 Freeway, narrowly missing construction crews before he crashed off an embankment.
Officials were releasing few details Saturday night of the deadly encounter that followed the crash, such as what caused the officer to open fire or if the deceased was found with a weapon.
The man died at the scene. The officer involved in the shooting was not injured and was being questioned by investigators late Saturday, Buschow said.
An autopsy is not expected to be complete until Monday afternoon.