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News

Carjacker Shot Dead By SWAT After Taking Hostages In Packed Restaurant

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A carjacking suspect who led authorities on a chase across several cities was shot dead by a SWAT team after taking hostages inside a packed restaurant.

SWAT team members moved in on the suspect inside a Chris' & Pitt's barbecue restaurant in Downey after he held hostage some customers and workers. According to KTLA, a negotiator tried to reach the suspect but authorities moved in when "an emergency developed."

The whole situation started after a Sheriff's Department helicopter detected a LoJack signal from a stolen car in Pico Rivera around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. While following the car from the air, authorities then saw the man carjack another car near Whittier, threatening the driver at gunpoint. Authorities then chased the suspect on surface streets, hitting speeds of 80 miles per hour and cutting through Monterey Park, Alhambra, Montebello, Pico Rivera, and East Los Angeles. The suspect bailed on foot when deputies used the PIT maneuver on his car, forcing him to lose control and stop, which can see in the video below. Footage from news choppers showed the suspect fire one shot into the air with a handgun before running down the block into the Chris' & Pitt's restaurant on the 9200 block of Lakewood Boulevard.

Armed suspect who led police on dangerous chase runs inside Chris & Pitts in Downey http://t.co/jrnzLRz2YX https://t.co/aylWv9xl4v

— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) September 11, 2015
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The suspect entered the restaurant around 7:45 p.m. and according to the L.A. Times, around 80 people managed to escape to safety.

"He came in there and he said, 'Get down, get down,'" cook Roman Ruiz told NBC Los Angeles. "He grabbed one of our employees because she looked at him."

"He points a gun at me and demands water. ‘I need water, give me water,'" employee Hector Perez told the L.A. Times. "I honestly thought he was going to shoot me for a second."

A deputy shot the suspect from outside through a window when he saw the suspect wave his gun in the air and act "erratically" in front of the hostages he was holding. The SWAT team subsequently moved in and fatally shot the man when he reached for his gun on the floor, while wounded, according to ABC 7.

A press release from the sheriff's department says four hostages were rescued from the restaurant after the standoff.

Here's a condensed version of the chase, via NBC4: