Investigators say it all started when two men stole a delivery truck in El Monte at about 4 a.m. Friday. Police officers chased the suspect, who struck several vehicles throughout the pursuit.
One suspect involved in the chase surrendered without incident. However, the suspect driving the stolen car kept going.
Officers used a spike strip to stop the suspect, who ended up losing control of the truck and hitting a tree. The truck pinned another vehicle against a building and came to rest on a residential yard.
The suspect refused police orders to surrender. Instead, authorities say he backed up the truck toward the officers. That's when the officers opened fire.
Residents watched in disbelief as the shots rang out. Area resident Harry Hernandez said the police gave the driver plenty of warning.
"I can hear the police telling the driver to shut the car off, shut the truck off and get out. It was a few minutes. They kept repeating it over and over again," said Hernandez.
Since the chase and shooting happened in the early morning hours, there were not many people on the street. If it had happened a few hours later, the neighborhood would have been crowded with kids going to a nearby school.
"It could have been bad. Plus in a shooting, you don't know where the bullets go," described area resident Domingo Galeazzi.
Detectives suspect it may have started as a crime of opportunity. The truck driver had left his key in the ignition of the truck. Why one suspect surrendered and the other did not remains unclear.
The suspect was transported to an area hospital, where he was reported to be in stable condition.
A total of five El Monte police officers were involved in the shooting. No officers were injured.