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Suspect smashing Carl's Jr. windows killed

January 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Smashed windows at a fast-food restaurant in Monterey Park led to a deadly officer-involved shooting on Monday. One witness was able to catch the drama on video.

"I hear the sound of breaking windows, and a few minutes later, about six to 10 gunshots, a man on the floor, dogs barking, pedestrians all over the place, it was a pretty big scene," said witness Alex Soliz, who shot cellphone video of part of the incident.

Authorities responded to a report that a man was breaking windows at Carl's Jr. in the 1200 block of Avenida Cesar Chavez just before 9:30 a.m. Witnesses say the man had come in to Carl's Jr., but left without buying anything. He then came back with a 3-foot lead pipe and broke out all the windows.

"It was just like a loud shatter, like if somebody had literally crashed into the building, and it just happened to be where we looked up, and the glass literally shattered all over us," said witness Jimmy Aragon.

The suspect then walked inside, while workers and customers ran outside. Police arrived and surrounded the building, but investigators say the suspect was refusing their commands, and a Taser didn't stop him, either.

The suspect made a fatal decision as he raised the pipe and seemed to lunge at a police officer. A second officer fired five shots. Seconds after the suspect fell, the first officer fired five more shots.

"He literally brought his arms forward with the object, so it was like the officer was right there, and he was here, so by the time he kind of brought up the object ... the cops reacted to it quick," Aragon said.

The suspect was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"Not exactly optimal, but at this point, they did what they had to do," said Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

A stray bullet flew into a Tommy's restaurant sign. There was a woman standing underneath the sign, and some of the debris fell on her head. She was taken to a local hospital with minor abrasions, but was expected to be OK.

Workers boarded up the windows at the Carl's Jr. Monday night. It's unknown when the restaurant will reopen.