Los Angeles

Police Fatally Shoot Driver at End of Pursuit in Bellflower

The driver turned around on a Bellflower street that ended at a gated parking lot

A pursuit that crossed parts of southern Los Angeles County ended when the driver turned around and headed toward officers, who fatally shot the driver in Bellflower.

The driver of the Honda sedan attempted to turn around in the 10200 block of Foster Road, a street that ends at the gated lot of a business. Officers opened fire as the driver turned toward police and six patrol vehicles.

"I heard a bunch of helicopters in the air, so I came out and I looked," said witness Kika Benson. "Then I heard a 'pop, pop, pop, pop - four or five gunshots."

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The passenger surrendered to officers, who pulled the driver from the car after it rolled to a stop. The passenger was uninjured, police said.
Police provided first aid and firefighter-paramedics responded to the scene, but the driver died at the scene.

The driver was identified by police as 20-year-old Juan Manuel Avilla, of Paramount. They identified the passenger as 20-year-old David Anthony Luera, also of Paramount.

Luera was arrested on suspicion of firearms violations and vehicle theft. He is being held on $35,000 bond.

The pursuit involving the stolen Honda began in the Long Beach area when authorities received a notification from a LoJack vehicle anti-theft system. The driver narrowly missed other vehicles, sped through red lights and swerved through a strip mall parking lot as he headed north into Downey and Paramount. A handgun thrown from the car on a Downey street was recovered, police said.

It was not immediately clear how many officers opened fire.

In a briefing for reporters near the shooting scene, Long Beach police Sgt. Brad Johnson described the circumstances that would lead an officer to open fire.

"When it gets into threat of your own life, someone else's life, or imminent threat," Johnson said. "I don't have details on how many shots were fired, but I can say that multiple officers fired."

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