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Suspect with 2 child hostages killed

January 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Officers shot and killed a Hemet murder suspect who led them on a chase holding two children hostage. Caught in the middle, a 5-year-old girl was shot and injured by police. The girl remains hospitalized in stable condition.Officers responded to the 43800 block of C St. 12:30 a.m. Monday and found a woman shot to death. The suspect had reportedly driven away in a white van with two children.

Officers spotted the van and a chase ensued.

Authorities say the man then jumped out of the van and shot at them while holding the 5-year-old girl. Seven officers fired back, killing the suspect and hitting the little girl in the leg.

Police say the suspect was holding his 5-year-old daughter in his arms when he was shot by police. The daughter is doing OK in stable condition at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital. If what neighbors say is true, then that child and her three siblings lost both their parents Sunday night.

A violent domestic dispute ended in a police shootout. Crime tape crisscrosses the Hemet neighborhood as police and residents try to figure out what went wrong.

"You know when people are irrational, they don't think right," said "Laura," a neighbor. "I'm just glad the kids are all right. It's very emotional, my kids were both friends with them, and I would hug them every day and I'm just glad they're safe."

The kids are safe, but both parents are dead.

Police say it started at a house outside Hemet. Neighbors tell us the suspect, who they say is the father, shot the mother and then took off with the children.

"He grabbed two of the children, got them in the van and peeled out," said Laura.

"An alert officer located the white van, tried to pull it over, and the white van refused to stop," said Jerry Franchville, Riverside County Sheriff's Dept. "That's when a vehicle pursuit was initiated."

The pursuit lasted a few miles, and ended at the mother's home in Hemet. Police say the suspect pulled over, got out, and with the child in his arms, opened fire.

"We heard 'bang bang bang bang bang.' I said, 'That person's not alive, no way,'" said neighbor Dexter Willard.

Police say the suspect died. The 5-year-old child was hit in the leg but should be OK. Meantime, neighbors can only wonder why this all happened.

"He didn't seem like a violent guy but there were problems in the relationship so it's just devastating because we really liked the kids a lot," said Laura.

The coroner has not released the names of the victim or the suspect shot by police. Because police did return fire, the Sheriff's Dept. is investigating to make sure they did everything they were supposed to.


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