Police shooting prompts hourslong closure of southbound 405 Freeway through Sepulveda Pass

The suspect opened fire on CHP officers as they approached a stalled car with its airbags deployed, the agency says.

Thursday, April 14, 2022
Police shooting prompts hourslong closure of 405 Fwy at Sepulveda Pass
The southbound side of the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass was shut down for hours after officers shot a man they say opened fire on them as they approached a stalled car.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The southbound side of the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass was shut down for hours after officers shot someone early Thursday morning.

All southbound lanes reopened shortly before 1 p.m., Caltrans announced, but not before causing a traffic nightmare for commuters.

The shooting happened shortly before 3 a.m. just south of the 101 Freeway near Skirball Center Drive.

According to CHP Officer Jose Barrios, officers saw a damaged, red Ford Mustang stopped on the right shoulder of the freeway with its airbags deployed, and they stopped to investigate.

When they approached the vehicle, they spotted a man, later identified as Michael Northcott, 37, standing nearby, Barrios said. When the man saw the officers, "that's when he reached into the vehicle, pulled out a gun and started shooting at the officers."

The officers returned fire, striking the man, who was taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in unknown condition. Barrios said early Thursday afternoon that while the suspect's condition was unknown, he was still alive.

Barrios said it was still unclear how the Mustang was originally damaged, noting that it would take a significant collision to cause the airbags to deploy. He said it was unclear if the man owned the car, but the vehicle was not believed to have been stolen.

The shooting initially prompted a closure of the entire freeway. Northbound lanes were reopened just before 5 a.m. and at least two southbound lanes were reopened just after 9 a.m.

The closures created a major traffic backup that spilled into surrounding surface streets as the morning progressed. Many people spent as much as three hours trying to navigate around it.

No law enforcement officers were injured in the incident. It was not immediately known why Northcott allegedly opened fire on officers.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to call the CHP West Valley area office at (818) 888-0980.

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report