Case of man shot at 90 times on freeway 'tragic,' LAPD says
Los Angeles Police Department officials described the shooting death of a 19-year-old man after a bizarre high-speed chase on the 101 Freeway "tragic" but defended the officers' actions.
Eight Los Angeles police officers fired more than 90 rounds, killing him.
LAPD officials will review several factors related to the incident, including communication tactics and whether the large number of rounds fired endangered other freeway motorists.
When asked if this may have been a case of suicide by cop, LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said, "It's certainly bizarre behavior, and it ended in a tragic situation for all involved."
Police said they noticed Abdul Arian driving erratically near the Northridge Fashion Center on Wednesday and tried to pull him over. But he refused, instead taking them on a high-speed pursuit through city streets before pulling onto the Ventura Freeway.
He drove a black Crown Victoria, which his uncle said was a retired police cruiser that had been purchased at an auction.
During the chase, Arian called 911, and according to a partial transcript of the call released by the LAPD, he claimed to have a gun and made threats to the police.
"I have been arrested before for possession of destructive devices, I'm not afraid of the cops," he told the dispatcher. "If they pull their guns, I'm going to have to pull my gun out on them."
The dispatcher, according to the release, pleaded for Arian to surrender, saying "I don't want you to hurt yourself."
Arian responded with expletives and warned that the police are "going to get hurt."
Police did not recover a gun from the scene.
After cutting across lanes, Arian stopped, jumped out of his car and began running on the freeway. Facing police while back-stepping, he extended both arms with clasped hands, a gesture captured on video by a KTLA-TV news helicopter.
But as Arian headed toward the shoulder of the freeway in the vicinity of a vehicle that had pulled over, he turned again and assumed what police called a "shooting stance." He appeared to wield a weapon. His uncle believed it was a cellphone. Sources familiar with the investigation who were not authorized to speak publicly confirmed that it was a cellphone.
--Andrew Blankstein and Tom Curwen
Photo: LAPD officers watch as a tow truck removes a car driven by Abdul Arian during a police chase. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times