Vehicle Chase Leads to Shootout in Vernon

May 10, 2019 - 4:10 pm

VERNON - A police chase believed to have started in Downey ended in Vernon today with an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement officers and a passenger -- believed to be a murder suspect -- in the pursuit vehicle.

It was not immediately clear exactly where the chase began, although it originated with Downey police pursuing a dark-colored Toyota Prius with two people inside. At the onset of the pursuit, officers reported from the scene that the passenger in the car was a murder suspect.

During the wild pursuit that went north on the Long Beach (710) Freeway then on streets in Commerce and Vernon, the passenger in the Toyota leaned out of the car's window and fired at pursuing officers and even appeared to shoot at a sheriff's department helicopter.

The vehicle came to a stop in traffic at about 2:45 p.m. in the area of Bandini Boulevard and Downey Road, where the male passenger in the Prius again began firing at officers, who returned fire, shattering windows on the car.

No law enforcement officers appeared to have been injured in the shooting.

The female driver of the Prius got out and surrendered a short time later. She appeared to have blood on her, but it wasn't clear if it was hers.

The passenger remained in the car, with officers and more than a dozen cruisers positioned behind.

About 3:20 p.m., a sheriff's armored vehicle, called a Bearcat, arrived at the scene.

There was no immediate word if the armed passenger was injured in the shootout, although images from the scene appeared to show the suspect lying motionless in the passenger seat.

No details were immediately released on the suspect and the killing for which he was being sought. It was unclear if the man was connected to the Tuesday night fatal shooting of a Downey liquor store co-owner during a possible robbery attempt.

That shooting at ASL Liquor and Market in the 8500 block of Paramount Boulevard, killed 44-year-old Gurpreet Singh, of Cerritos. Police on Thursday released surveillance video and photos of the shooting suspect, who wielded a weapon that appears strikingly similar to the one used by the passenger in Friday's pursuit.

-CNS News