Suspect Who Threatened To 'Wreak Havoc' Killed By Police, 2 Victims Found In Car Trunk [UPDATED]
A suspect who threatened police he was going to "wreak havoc," was shot and killed after an hour-long freeway pursuit; two shooting victims found in the trunk of his car were taken to a nearby hospital.
The incident began around 7 a.m. this morning in Ridgecrest, which is about about 150 miles north of Los Angeles, the LA Times reports.
A Kern County sheriff's deputy began following the vehicle, which was wanted for an earlier shooting that morning that left one woman dead, Ray Pruitt, spokesman for the Kern County Sheriff's Office, said.
The suspect led them on an hour-long pursuit, during which he "fired numerous times" at both officers and civilians, Pruitt said, at times forcing other cars off the road.
The pursuit ended on Highway 395, where police opened fire, killing the suspect. At one point during the chase, the suspect had stopped and opened his trunk. That's when police spotted the two victims, authorities told the Times.
A man and woman, both of whom had been shot, were in the trunk. They were airlifted to Antelope Valley Hospital, authorities said. "We believe they are going to survive," Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told CBS 2.
Sheriff Youngblood told the Times that the suspect had called a Ridgecrest police officer's cellphone earlier this morning and said he wanted to storm the police station and "kill all the officers but they had too many guns."
The man also said he had a package for police and warned he was "going to wreak havoc," Youngblood said. The man's name has not been released but Youngblood said that the police "knew the suspect."
About 10 miles of Highway 395 remained closed this morning as investigators pored over the scene. Kramer Junction was closed off and all employees in nearby businesses were told to stay inside. The city's schools were placed on lockdown around 7:30 a.m. but later reopened.
Mayor Dan Clark told the Times, "Everyone is very shook up and concerned in Ridgecrest. This is a small town and things like this just don't happen here."
Sheriff Youngblood said such an incident was "very unusual" in a town of only 27,000 people. He said Ridgecrest is "known for no drugs, no gangs and graffiti. This type of thing is very alarming."
UPDATED, OCTOBER 26, 3:00 p.m., The suspect has been ID'd as Sergio Alberto Munoz, a 39-year-old Ridgecrest resident. The female victim who died was identified as 22-year-old Brittany Matheny of Ridgecrest, police told ABC.
At least 7 officers opened fire on the driver after he began shooting into the trunk of his car, which contained two hostages. There have been no updates so far on their condition.