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Inglewood shooting call results in fatal crash

May 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Early Tuesday morning an Inglewood police sergeant fired a shotgun at two armed men. Moments later, a police car responding to that shooting slammed into an SUV, killing a passenger. The crash happened at Manchester Terrace and Prairie Ave.

A Range Rover carrying the driver and a passenger was driving eastbound on Manchester at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday. The police car was headed north on Prairie when they collided. The police car was responding to a call of an officer-involved shooting where two suspects were wounded.

The vehicles collided in the intersection, with the patrol car slicing into the passenger side of the Range Rover. The passenger, identified as 45-year-old Loretta Gerard of Van Nuys, was apparently not wearing a seatbelt. She was ejected from the SUV and killed.

"The Range Rover and patrol vehicle entered the intersection at the same time, resulting in a collision between those two vehicles," said California Highway Patrol Lt. Mark Garrett. "A female passenger in the Range Rover sustained fatal injuries as a result of the collision and was pronounced dead at the scene."

The patrol car veered off and into a light pole with two officers in the car. It hit with such force that the front end was smashed and the officers were trapped for a time. The two officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Earlier, an Inglewood police sergeant was responding to what turned into a home-invasion robbery on the 600 block of Venice Way. He had been told it was a burglary.

"The first officer on the scene, sergeant confronted two armed suspects, deployed his shotgun and hit both suspects," said Inglewood Police Sgt. Gabriela Garcia.

The two suspects were hospitalized in critical condition after the shooting but the call had gone out about an officer involved in a shooting. Several cars responded, including the patrol car that hit the Range Rover.

"The officers were responding to the officer-involved shooting but were not involved in the shooting," said Garcia.

There were video cameras at the intersection. And the patrol car also had a camera. Police are looking at any surveillance video for answers as to what happened.

The California Highway Patrol is conducting the investigation into the fatal accident and has interviewed everyone involved but won't say whether the patrol car had its lights and siren running. One witness said she heard a siren before she heard the crash.

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