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Fwy. gun battle kills cop-shooter suspect

June 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A suspect accused of shooting an officer was shot and killed by police on the 91 Freeway in Anaheim early Monday.The 91 Freeway in Anaheim is open after a deadly gun battle between a suspect and police.

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A bizarre chain of events started Sunday when an officer was shot outside a hotel near Disneyland. Hours later, officers caught up with the suspect on the 91 Freeway.

The suspect is in his 40s, from Southern California, and has a lengthy criminal history. Police did not go into detail, not yet releasing the suspect's name, nor what the exact criminal past is, but they did say there was a one-million-dollar warrant for his arrest.

The early-morning shootout shut down all lanes of the eastbound 91 Freeway near Brookhurst Street for hours. Investigators searched for evidence after police shot and killed a man in his 40s after he allegedly shot at officers.

"We thought it was a traffic accident," said eyewitness Isileli Vunileva. "Until like 30 cop cars coming on my left and right sides. And then once it broke, everyone jumped up, and then BAM, everybody started shooting."

Minutes before, police had tried to pull the man over, suspecting he was involved in the shooting of an Anaheim police officer less than 24 hours before at a hotel near Disneyland.

Police were called to the hotel Sunday morning after receiving complaints of indecent exposure.

"We were told that the man was inside the room, he was standing with the windows open and the curtains open, exposing himself," said Sgt. Tim Schmidt, Anaheim Police Dept.

Police say as two officers approached, the suspect got into his vehicle.

"They started talking to the individual," said Sgt. Schmidt. "Shots were fired, and one of our officers was hit in the upper thigh. The suspect was able to get in his car at the same time and drive out."

The officer's injuries are not life-threatening, but after this, for more than 15 hours, detectives managed to identify the suspect and track him down. When he refused to stop, he led police on a chase that ended when he crashed into another vehicle on the 91 Freeway.

"He comes out with a handgun, and then starting to use the cars stopped on the freeway as cover, to hide behind them, and that's where he starts firing at officers again, right there on the freeway. We shoot back, ultimately killing the suspect right there on the freeway."

An innocent victim, a woman in another car, was shot in the elbow and back. She is expected to be OK. So far, it's not clear who shot her.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office is investigating, which is standard procedure for any officer-involved shooting. Eyewitness News reporter Amy Powell contributed to this report.

 

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