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Man Falls To Death From Port Of L.A. Crane After Hours-Long Chase And Standoff

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A man ascended a crane in the Port of Los Angeles and fell to his death on Wednesday night, after having led police on an hours-long vehicle pursuit through parts of the county.

Officials say that the chase stemmed from a report that a vehicle had been stolen from a San Bernardino dealership. At around 3:50 p.m., LAPD officers in the Mid-City area attempted to pull over a man driving a white SUV with paper plates, which was suspected of being the stolen vehicle.

At some point, officers lost the vehicle on the 91 Freeway, but it was spotted again around 5:40 p.m., heading past Carson on the 405 Freeway, reports ABC7. The chase later ended up in Long Beach and in the Wilmington area by the waterfront. "It was a multi-jurisdictional pursuit that ended up in the harbor area," Officer Drake Madison of the LAPD told LAist.

In Wilmington the suspect drove through a security booth and into a port complex beneath the Vincent Thomas Bridge, reports the L.A. Times. "He rolled right through that," Phillip Sanfield, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles, told the Times.

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The suspect, wearing a Lakers jersey, then left the vehicle and ascended a set of stairs that led up to a shipping crane. Sanfield told the Times that he'd positioned himself in an "extremely dangerous" position that made it difficult for rescue teams to get to him.

As shown in video taken by ABC7, the suspect was acting erratically while on top of the crane. He contorted his body into acrobatic positions. He also seemingly attempted to sidle his way across a large steel bar by placing his hands on a ledge and setting his feet on a set of wires. At one point he'd removed his clothes.

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At about 9:20 p.m. the man fell approximately 150 feet onto a freighter—he was pronounced dead at the scene. "Our involvement was that we had a SWAT team and a crisis negotiation team out there, but we were still in the process of setting up when he fell," said Officer Madison. "Either he slipped or just fell, that's all still under investigation." According to ABC7 it's also unclear if he'd jumped intentionally.

The man's identity has not yet been released. He is described as a man in his 20s who's from the Inland Empire and has a prior criminal record.