SAN GABRIEL, Calif. (KABC) --A transient man, who allegedly stole a parking enforcement officer's car in Rosemead, died inside a San Gabriel McDonald's following a confrontation with sheriff's deputies.
The officer was writing someone a ticket for an illegally parked vehicle around 4:30 a.m. in the 8700 block of Garvey Avenue when the suspect approached her, began yelling and hit her in the head.
The officer fell to the ground, and the suspect took off in her city vehicle. He drove about 5 miles and ended up at a McDonald's in the 6900 block of Rosemead Boulevard in San Gabriel.
According to Los Angeles County sheriff's officials, the suspect entered the restaurant, grabbed some cookies from the counter without paying, sat down and began eating. That's when McDonald's employees called 911.
Responding deputies surrounded the man, who authorities say lunged at one of the deputies.
What happened next is somewhat unclear. Sheriff's officials said no shots were fired, but the deputies did use force when placing the man in handcuffs. That's when the suspect became unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
"This is not something that we encounter every day - someone who's willing to take an officer's vehicle and then coming inside, taking food that he hasn't paid for. It can certainly be considered erratic," said Lt. Steve Jauch with the sheriff's department.
Officials said the parking officer was transported to a local hospital for injuries she suffered in the incident. Her injuries were not considered serious.
Sheriff's officials say they hope surveillance cameras inside the eatery captured the incident. It remains unknown if the suspect was armed.
One of the deputies injured his leg during the altercation. No restaurant employees or customers were hurt.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call LASD's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. You can also submit anonymous tips by calling Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.