Two men got out and were quickly arrested when the car stopped, but then the driver took off, initiating a short pursuit at about 10:15 a.m.
The suspect eventually stopped the vehicle in the area of Avalon Boulevard and 59th Street and opened fire on officers, who returned fire.
"When the car stopped the driver shoots at our officers, at that point we had several units present. Several officers fired back and the shooting from the Geo Metro ceased," said LAPD Dep. Chief Sergio Diaz.
The gray Geo Metro was riddled with bullets and the windows were shot out.
SWAT vehicles quickly surrounded the car and officers ordered the driver to get out, but they got no response.
Officers say they saw a gun inches from the shooter's hand, so a robot was sent in to check on the man's condition and retrieve the weapon.
"We knew that there was a weapon in there, that he had fired at officers," said Diaz. "We believed he was still alive so rather than put officers in harm's way and risk getting involved in another set of shootings we thought the prudent thing to do was to take that weapon out of there."
After the gun was retrieved, the suspect was taken into custody shortly before 12:30 p.m. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was taken to a local hospital, where he is said to be in critical condition.
Diaz says investigators will examine the actions of the five or six officers who fired their weapons.
"We need to account for all the bullets and every decision that an officer made, each of these officers made, every tactical decision, including where to stand, whether to fire or not," said Diaz. "It will be a very long and extensive investigation. It will take months to complete."
Police have not released the suspect's name.