Los Angeles

Man Killed in BBQ Restaurant by Deputies Identified

The coroner's office identified a 41-year-old man on Friday killed inside a Downey restaurant in a deputy-involved shooting at the end of a 45-minute car chase.

Eddie Tapia -- who was suspected of vehicle theft and carjacking a second vehicle -- led law enforcement personnel on a high-speed chase before running into Chris' and Pitt's barbecue restaurant at 9243 Lakewood Blvd. around 7:45 p.m. Thursday, where he was shot and killed, officials said.

Tapia fired shots as he ran toward the restaurant after the car he was driving crashed into another vehicle following a PIT maneuver by a California Highway Patrol officer.

After Tapia ran into the restaurant, dozens of people began exiting and were corralled by law enforcement officers who surrounded the business with guns drawn.

Police said Tapia took several patrons hostage at gunpoint after he ran into the restaurant.

Tapia was shot and killed after SWAT deputies from the Sheriff's Special Enforcement Bureau entered the restaurant, sheriff's Cmdr. Mike Parker said.

No officers or deputies were injured.

Tapia has a criminal record and has served multiple sentences in prison since 1998 for various charges, including grand theft, burglary, and evading police.

Tapia's family said even though they didn't see him for many years, he still remained in contact with them.

"He was very happy. Very supportive. Whenever I had games, he would always cheer me on," said Christina Rubio, Tapia's niece. 

"Honestly, we're all just surprised," Rubio said.

The pursuit, which reached speeds of around 80 mph, began in an unincorporated area near Whittier and continued north, mostly on surface streets but also on the Long Beach (710) Freeway, as the suspect raced through Monterey Park, Montebello and East Los Angeles for about 45 minutes before heading south to Downey.


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A sheriff's helicopter picked up a LoJack signal from a stolen car and as deputies on the ground headed to the location, the chopper pilot and an observer saw the suspect carjack another vehicle at gunpoint on See Drive, Parker said.

During the chase, the suspect weaved through traffic, at times driving on the wrong side of the street. The car driven by the suspect collided with at least one vehicle during the chase, Parker said.

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