Los Angeles

Carjacker Shot by Deputies After Hostage Situation in BBQ Restaurant

An armed carjacking suspect was shot and killed by deputies who raided a crowded Downey barbecue restaurant where the man had taken hostages after a high-speed chase across Los Angeles, authorities said.

The suspect, who was not immediately identified, ran into Chris & Pitt's BBQ Restaurant at 9243 Lakewood Boulevard around 7:45 p.m., after the car he was driving crashed into another vehicle after police spun his car out, said Commander Michael Parker, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman.

The suspect could be seen apparently firing shots into the air with a handgun after he fled his vehicle and ran towards the restaurant.

After the man ran into the restaurant, people began running out. Police said the armed suspect kept about four of the patrons hostage while allowing others leave the restaurant.

Roman Ruiz, one of the restaurant's cooks, came face-to-face with the suspect after he stormed the restaurant.

"He came in there and he said 'get down, get down,'" he said. "He grabbed one of our employees because she looked at him."

After about an hour, SWAT members stormed the restaurant and fatally shot the man after he did not comply with their orders, police said.

Some patrons were put in handcuffs and were corralled by police while other officers surrounded the restaurant with guns drawn.

Parker said the patrons were put in handcuffs as a precaution because authorities were concerned the man would try to hide among the restaurant goers.

"We needed to confirm they weren't involved," Parker said. "A lot of people came out, but we didn't know who was still in. This was a rapidly evolving event."

The patrons were later escorted by officers into a nearby McDonald's restaurant to be interviewed by authorities.

The chase, which reached speeds around 80 mph, began in Downey and continued north on freeways and streets for about 45 minutes before the suspect returned to Downey.

"It was extraordinary," Parker said. "You could tell by his driving that he had absolutely no concern for the public. He showed it between his driving a stolen car, carjacking a car at gunpoint, shooting his gun. This was a very dangerous night for law enforcement and the public."

The pursuit began after a police helicopter got a hit on a stolen car -- a 1998 Honda Civic -- through LoJack, the vehicle tracking system, at 6:30 p.m. in Pico Rivera, Parker said.

The high-speed chase spanned several cities. The suspect ran several red lights and had several close calls with oncoming cars. The chase ended when a California Highway Patrol SUV spun his vehicle out, which forced his car to crash.

Police towed the suspect's vehicle and at least one police car as they continued to investigate the scene on Friday.

Authorities said they were continuing to investigate and gather information about the suspect's possible motives.

Robert Kovacik and Beverly White contributed to this report.

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