The driver of a white Bentley with Illinois license plates who led police on a circuitous slow-speed pursuit on Los Angeles freeways that ended with a lengthy stand-off died later at at St. Joseph's hospital, police officials said Tuesday morning. A source told the LA Times that the driver, identified later as Mustafa Mustafa, had shot himself.
Mustafa, 27, was a businessman of Pakistani origin who was distraught over the loss of his business. Police said he was from Illinois, but it was not clear if he was a current resident.
The chase began around 8 p.m. when police attempted to arrest Mustafa, who was being sought for an alleged armed assault on his girlfriend late Monday night, in the 4000 block of Lankershim Boulevard. When police arrived at the scene, they saw Mustafa driving away in the Bentley, and the chase was on.
Mustafa's $100,000-plus car never exceeded 40 mph. He led officers southbound on the Hollywood Freeway, to southbound Interstate 5, back to the Hollywood Freeway then southbound on Interstate 405. At approximately 11:15 p.m. he stopped his car, and a standoff of more than an hour began. Police later said they had been in phone contact with Mustafa during the pursuit.
When Mustafa stopped, an unknown woman walked up to the car, spoke to him and then walked away. The car's trunk then popped open, making it difficult for officers behind the vehicle to have a clear view of him.
Police stood close by with weapons drawn, but did not move in. Officer Karen Smith of the Los Angeles Police Department said Mustafa was "despondent, allegedly armed, " and potentially suicidal.
Media and onlookers at the scene were cordoned off by police and California Highway Patrol officers. Then SWAT officers approached with guns pulled. They broke the passenger window with a crowbar, and opened the door. Minutes later, an ambulance arrived, and Mustafa was pulled from the car, put on a gurney and taken away. A source later told the Times that the man had shot himself.