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LAPD May Have Mistakenly Killed Car Chase Suspect Because Of 'Friendly Fire'

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The LAPD is looking into whether police startled by "friendly fire" ended up mistakenly shooting and killing an unarmed car chase suspect.

Cops pursued and then fatally shot Oceanside driver Brian Newt Beaird, 51, on Saturday night for suspected drunk and reckless driving. The chase ended when Beaird slammed into another car downtown. An anonymous LAPD officer told Fox 11 News (via the LA Weekly) that police may have mistook beanbag rounds from fellow officers as fire coming from Beaird himself.

KTLA's helicopter video footage captured the shooting. After Beaird hit the other vehicle in downtown, he got out of his destroyed Corvette, put his hands up only for a moment without making any sudden moves before he was gunned down by police. The Los Angles Times notes that there is an object rolling on the sidewalk at about the same moment that Beaird is shot.

Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Times that it was too soon to say whether that was a beanbag or whether the shooting was a mistake. But he explained the protocol for firing bean bag rounds: "Before an officer discharges the bean bag, the protocol is to loudly state, 'Bean bag ready, bean bag ready,' so everyone knows the detonation heard is not a gunshot. These are tough instances. It is difficult to do them perfectly in the haste of the moment."

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Beaird's brother, John Beaird told CBS Los Angeles that his brother, who was a disabled vet, called their family during the pursuit and was scared. "We’re pretty angry," Beaird said. "I mean, there didn’t seem that there was justification for what happened."

Related stories:
Five People Die In Two Separate Police Pursuits [UPDATES]