Bell Gardens police cruiser catches fire during chase

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A brazen armed robbery of a Verizon store in Bell Gardens ended with a police car on fire and officer-involved shooting on Thursday. (KABC)

A brazen armed robbery of a Verizon store in Bell Gardens ended with a fiery police chase and officer-involved shooting on Thursday.

By the time the wild incident was over, one vehicle was left marked with bullet holes and a police cruiser was charred beyond recognition.

Miraculously, no one was seriously injured. One suspect was taken into custody with minor injuries. At least one more suspect is believed to be still on the loose.

The incident began around 10:45 a.m. at a Verizon store in Bell Gardens. At least two men held workers and customers at gunpoint, looted the store and then fled in a black SUV, police said.

Bell Gardens police pursued the vehicle until it hit a dead end on Bluff Road in Downey.

At that point, police say the vehicle tried to ram a police cruiser and run over an officer. That's when another officer opened fire.

"The suspect vehicle then sped toward one of the officers who was on the side, had to get out of the way," Bell Gardens Police Chief Robert Barnes. "That's when the shooting occurred. Several shots were fired by the second officer to stop the suspect vehicle from hitting the officer that was standing nearby."

A suspect in the vehicle tried to run away down a bike path but was taken into custody by officers.

During the chase, the lead pursuit cruiser overheated and caught fire, officials said. The officer was not injured.

Officials later identified the suspect in custody as Dillan Wilson, 25.

From inside the vehicle, officers say they recovered a hand gun that had been stolen from Whittier. They also recovered stolen iPhones.

They said at least one more suspect is believed to be on the loose and they asked anyone with information to call the Bell Gardens Police Department.
Related Topics:
newspolice chaseofficer involved shootingpolice-involved shootingcar fireBell GardensDowney
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