Carjacker killed in barrage of LA police gunfire

Feb 25, 2012, 5:49 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) – An hour-long chase of an armed carjacker in Los Angeles ended with police gunfire that peppered the stolen car with bullets and killed the suspect just a few feet from a motorist pumping gas at a Koreatown gas station, investigators said Friday.

The dramatic conclusion of Thursday evening’s pursuit was broadcast live from a news helicopter, with the video showing officers firing on the Saturn, blowing out the car windows and killing the man in the Shell gas station.

A man pumping gas ducked for cover during the fusillade.

Investigators haven’t said how many officers fired or how many times they fired their weapons at the Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue gas station, Officer Lyle Knight said. The video appears to show up to two dozen bullets were fired at the car.

The man, identified by police late Friday as Shonchy Thaopraseuth, 22, of San Bernardino, was declared dead at 7:43 p.m., assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said.

Investigators said the man carjacked a vehicle Thursday afternoon in San Bernardino and drove 60 miles to Los Angeles, where he carjacked a 65-year-old woman’s Saturn just east of downtown.

The stolen Saturn headed north on U.S. Route 101 and took the Hollywood Boulevard off-ramp.

KCAL-TV, which broadcast the pursuit live, showed the car passing through Hollywood. The driver was caught in slow traffic as he approached Highland Avenue, and he appeared to slow down to talk with people on the sidewalk.

The suspect pulled the car into the Shell gas station with police squad cars right behind him. He appeared to wave a gun as officers approached.

Harry Hahn, the gas station owner, was pumping gas into his car when the Saturn and about 10 squad cars pulled into the station.

“I saw a guy with a gun behind my car, and after that the police came. Police said, `Just go down!'” Hahn told KCAL.

“He ended up pointing a gun at some point, while he was seated in the car, at some individuals inside of that gas station, and an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.

A handgun and a knife were found inside the Saturn.

Knight said no officers or bystanders were hurt.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Carjacker killed in barrage of LA police gunfire