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Officers fatally shoot driver after pursuit in downtown L.A.

March 12, 2009 |  9:11 am

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One man was killed and three officers were injured this morning after a  hit-and-run driver rammed into police cruisers during a pursuit, triggering an officer-involved shooting.

The chase ended at 4th and San Pedro streets shortly before 6 a.m., when officers fired their weapons. Authorities said officers fired at the driver when he continued to try to push one of the cruisers sideways with a trapped officer inside.

The suspect was killed. It was unknown whether anyone other than the officers was injured, said LAPD Sgt. Kelly Arnett.

Capt. Blake Chow of the LAPD's Central Division said the pursuit began about 5:15 a.m. when officers responded to a hit-and-run at East 4th and South Alameda streets. The victim described the driver's vehicle as a dark SUV, and officers later stopped the SUV at Central Avenue. Shortly afterward, the SUV fled and, for 10 minutes, led officers in pursuit.

During the pursuit, the driver rammed into three police cars and attempted to run over pedestrians. At one point, he drove in the wrong direction on 4th Street and crashed into a police cruiser at 4th and San Pedro streets. At least 10 police cruisers surrounded the driver's dark SUV after the crash. Then the shots were fired.

Ricky Sharp, 49, a transient using a wheelchair, said he was turning on San Pedro when he heard three to four gunshots.

Two officers were taken to the hospital with hip and back injuries from the impact of the SUV ramming into the cars,  Chow said.

More photos.

Read more at KTLA.com.

-- Ruben Vives and Richard Winton

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