SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Attorneys for the families of two innocent victims who were killed in a multi-vehicle crash claim that Los Angeles police were chasing a suspect at the time of the violent collision.
The four-vehicle pileup -- involving three cars and a semitruck -- happened shortly after 4 a.m. Aug. 19 at the intersection of Manchester Avenue and Broadway, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
An LAPD spokesperson initially said officers were not in pursuit when the crash happened, but a preliminary police report that was later released by the agency states that officers were chasing the suspect.
Officers had attempted to pull over the suspect's green Cadillac after seeing it speeding westbound on Manchester but the driver refused to stop, the LAPD said.
The collision happened shortly afterward, when the vehicle ran a red light and collided with the others, police said. The force of the impact pushed the victims' car into the semitruck.
Janisha Harris, 35, and Jamarea Keyes, 38, were killed in the crash.
The suspect fled the scene on foot and was taken into custody shortly afterward, authorities said.
If the officers were in fact engaged in a pursuit, attorneys for the victims' families' said they will file a claim against the Police Department and the city of Los Angeles.
"If they were not in a high-speed chase, then there's a potential that there's no claim there against the LAPD, " attorney Jasmine Mines told reporters at a Friday news conference. "However, according to their preliminary report, they were in pursuit of this car. That's negligent, that's reckless, that's a wanton disregard for public safety."
"If you have a heart, just do what we're asking and release the cameras, and give us justice and closure," Tanya Keyes, Jamarea Keyes' widow, said.
In a statement provided to ABC7, the LAPD said: "Several hours after the initial investigation, and with further review through chain of command, it was determined that the officers were in pursuit of the suspect's vehicle for 15 seconds before disengaging prior to the collision. Any associated reports from this incident reflect a Multi-disciplinary Collision Investigation Team level investigation and a pursuit report."