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Armed suspect shot dead in Montebello pursuit

March 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Montebello police officers in pursuit of a vehicle fatally shot a suspect Monday afternoon.

Police were in pursuit of a man armed with a handgun in a 1997 Honda after 1 p.m. Monday. A 3-year-old girl was in the car.

The car stopped in the middle of southbound Greenwood Avenue near Oakwood Street about 1:50 p.m. The driver then pulled the car around and faced at least five police cars.

The driver exited the vehicle and raised his arm toward police with what appeared to be a handgun. Officers then shot the suspect, killing him.

An unidentified woman rushed from the sidewalk and opened a back door of the car and retrieved the child from the back seat. She's believed to be the child's mother.

Another woman had to be restrained after the shooting as she tried to get to the victim. She appeared to be distraught.

At a news conference shortly after 4 p.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said the suspect committed "suicide by cop" based on statements the suspect made on the phone to family members before the incident.

Montebello police received a family disturbance call about 12:30 p.m. Monday.

A woman called to report her boyfriend, who had been drinking alcohol and was armed, entered her home and abducted their shared-custody 3-year-old daughter.

A police pursuit ensued through East Los Angeles, then returned back to the Montebello apartment complex where it began.

"The suspect exited his vehicle and produced a handgun, pointed it at the Montebello officers, and we believe he had fired at least one round," said sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman. "The officers returned fire and struck the suspect several times."

Between 10 and 30 rounds were fired by officers, according to Coleman, who stressed the investigative findings were preliminary.

"We know that he was in contact with other family members, and he indicated that he wasn't going to 'go down,' if you will, easily, and it appears it resulted in a 'suicide by cop' incident here," said Coleman.

The child was safe and sound.

"[The suspect] stopped, he opened the door, got out the car and as soon as he got out the car, you heard handgun fire," said Anthony Clark, who witnessed the incident. "And then after that, as soon as he hit the ground, you heard like machine-gun fire, basically. It was like it let the whole clip out. After that, he was just laying there. I don't know if it was his gun, but I'm pretty sure the first shot was them when they shot at him," said Clark.

Family members identified the man as Jorge Jimenez and that he celebrated his 31st birthday a few days ago.

"He was a nice guy, he was a hard-working guy, he was an easy-going guy," said a woman who claims to have gone to high school with the suspect.

Montebello police officials, sheriff's detectives and federal investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were on scene investigating.