110 Freeway closure: Lanes reopened after chase that left officer wounded, suspect dead

NBC4 screenshot

Los Angeles authorities say a suspect was killed and an officer was wounded during an exchange of gunfire following a high-speed vehicle chase during which police were fired upon several times.

The northbound 110 Freeway was closed early Monday from Slauson to Exposition as part of the investigation. NBC4 reports that lanes were reopened at 12:30 p.m.

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told KPCC the chase began after officers saw a Chevy Tahoe SUV driving recklessly and attempted to make a traffic stop at about 2:30 a.m.

"The officers followed the vehicle, tried to catch up to it onto the northbound 110 freeway and the vehicle exited on Vernon. At the bottom of the off-ramp the suspect suddenly exited the vehicle and fired rounds at our officers, resulting in an officer involved shooting," Smith said.

The suspect then got back in the vehicle and continued onto the 110 before exiting again and crashing near 137th and Hill streets, Smith said. The suspects fled on foot, and officers called in the SWAT team for support.

One suspect was flushed out of a dumpster with a flash-bang grenade and subdued with pepper spray, Smith said. The other suspect was involved in another officer-involved shooting.

"SWAT officers were on the search team in conjunction with K9 officers trying to search for the suspect. At some point when the suspect started to fire at the officers , our officers fired back and put him down and one of the officers was hit," Deputy Chief Bob Green told KPCC.

The officer suffered a significant leg wound, according to Green.

Authorities said the second suspect was killed at the scene and the wounded officer was transported to an area hospital.

Smith said officers were protected by an armored vehicle built for police called a BearCat. 

"Thank goodness we had it, because even though we had one officer wounded, the suspect fired multiple rounds at our officers with high velocity rifles, which had a drum magazine on it. We haven’t done a magazine count or a bullet count yet, but who knows how many rounds he fired and how many rounds he could have fired and what would have happened to our officers if they didn’t have the protection of the armored vehicle," Smith said.

The wounded officer is a 22-year veteran of the department and a 15-year veteran of SWAT, Smith said. He was undergoing surgery Monday. The officer is married with three children, Smith said.

This story has been updated.