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Driver fatally shot after police pursuit around LA County

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The driver of a stolen car who led police on a high-speed pursuit across southeast Los Angeles County on Tuesday morning was fatally shot by police after turning down a road that led to a closed gate and trying to drive toward officers.

Long Beach police officers had tried to stop the green Honda Accord shortly before 6 a.m. after receiving an indication from the Lo-Jack system that the vehicle was possibly stolen. The driver of the car refused to pull over and led officers on a high-speed chase through several cities.

Television news helicopters followed the pursuit as the car raced at extreme speeds on streets, boulevards and freeways, narrowly missing collisions with other vehicles.

At one point during the pursuit, a handgun was thrown out a window of the car. Investigators later recovered that weapon, police said.

The pursuit came to an end about an hour later in Bellflower when the car turned down a road that led to a closed gate and the driver turned back toward officers.

Police opened fire, striking the male driver, a Long Beach police spokeswoman said. The officers tried to revive the man, but he died at the scene. A male passenger in the car was uninjured and was taken into custody, she said.

Los Angeles police officers were also involved in a pursuit Tuesday morning of a stolen moving truck that drove erratically through rush-hour traffic on several freeways, narrowly missing other vehicles and at times driving in reverse along the crowded roadways.

Police had initially responded to a report of a “possible suicidal person.” When police attempted to speak to the man, he stole the moving truck and led them on a pursuit, said Officer Aareon Jefferson, a Los Angeles police spokesman.

The driver was taken into custody about 40 minutes after the pursuit began when he pulled up next to another truck in the Van Nuys neighborhood and tried to hop into it.

Controversy has surrounded high-speed police pursuits in recent years with some law enforcement experts saying the benefits of potentially apprehending a fleeing suspect don’t outweigh the risk of endangering police officers and the public.

The Los Angeles Times reported in November that 78 people were hurt during Los Angeles Police Department chases they had nothing to do with in 2015.

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Associated Press writer John Antczak contributed to this report.

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