SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy in a helicopter shot at a suspected home invasion robber who led authorities on a 100-mph chase, and the suspect died on a Southern California freeway, authorities said.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the man had been wounded by gunfire or died from other injuries Friday, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Deon Filer said.
Deputies began pursuing the robbery suspect from the Fontana area east of Los Angeles around midday, authorities said.
The gray Chevrolet Tahoe reached speeds of 100 mph as it raced along streets and traveled southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 215 into San Bernardino, sideswiping a car, authorities said.
During the chase, a deputy opened fire on the SUV from a helicopter.
“The suspect was threatening the safety of the public” by speeding, running stop signs, narrowly missing pedestrians and driving the wrong way on the freeway, sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller said in an email Saturday.
TV reports showed at least five gunshots in the SUV’s hood.
The driver then bailed out of the vehicle, which kept rolling and crashed head-on into a Dodge Durango. Three people in that SUV were injured and taken to hospitals, officials said.
One was listed in critical condition and two were in fair condition, KABC-TV reported.
The fleeing driver, meanwhile, continued along the freeway until he collapsed a short distance away near an overpass. He died at the scene.
The incident closed the northbound lanes for hours, backing up traffic for miles. The lanes reopened Saturday morning.
Sheriff’s department policy permits deputies to fire shots from a helicopter.
Deputies on helicopter patrols “train from the air every 90 days at a minimum. This training is specific to deploying weaponry from the aircraft” and has been going on since the mid-1980s, Miller said.
There have been seven deputy-involved shootings from the air since then, the latest occurring in Apple Valley in 2001, Miller said. She did not immediately have details.