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Off-duty detective fatally shoots car-theft suspect

October 31, 2011 12:11:50 AM PDT
An off-duty Santa Ana police officer shot and killed a man in Lakewood early Monday morning, authorities said.

L.A. County sheriff's detectives said one auto-burglary suspect was fatally shot by an off-duty Santa Ana Police detective.

The shooting was reported on the 20700 block of Studebaker Road at 6:30 a.m. The person was declared dead at the scene.

The detective heard noises just outside his Lakewood home. He looked outside to see two men breaking into a car.

He came out and identified himself as a Santa Ana cop. One suspect fled on foot and the other in a small white car.

The detective than got into his personal car and followed the suspect who drove away.

According to investigators, the detective lost the suspect. While driving back, the detective called the Lakewood sheriff's office to inform them about what was going on. He encountered the suspect fleeing on foot.

"He got out of his car, confronted the suspect. Somehow, that suspect got into the officer's car. The officer gave him commands to stop and freeze and put his hands up in the air. The suspect did not comply and reached for his waistband. Because the officer knew he was dealing with a burglary suspect and believed him to be armed, he fired approximately four rounds," said L.A. County Sheriff's Lt. Eddie Hernandez.

The second suspect remained at large Monday afternoon. The suspect vehicle was described as a small, white 4-door Ford or Honda.

The Santa Ana Police Dept. said the detective was placed on administrative leave until reviewed by a department psychologist.

Sal Guerra of Lakewood said he heard some of the commotion from his house.

"I heard some arguing, and you know, there's a bus stop here, and I just thought it was some kids, but then it sounded like adults," Guerra said. "About just two or three minutes later, I heard four loud pops, and soon after, the sirens."

Guerra said there have been auto burglaries in the area recently.

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