Witnesses say a man who was possibly suicidal was forced out of his vehicle with powerful blasts from a fire hose. He was then fatally shot by cops on the scene in Orange, California, about 30 miles south of L.A.
The standoff and shooting incident was caught on video Sunday night.
It all went down at about 11:15 p.m. Orange police attempted to stop the victim for a traffic violation. He was driving a white GMC minivan, according to an Orange PD spokesman.
Initially, the 30s-something man refused to pull over for police. Eventually, he did. But, he barricaded himself inside the minivan, and produced a lighter and gasoline can.
Lt. Fred Lopez told the Daily News that the officers on the scene could smell the gas. And, they were really concerned about the man causing a deadly combustion as he made it clear he was about to light a cigarette.
“He poured some of the gasoline onto a cloth or rag, then he lit a cigarette. He actually at one point showed us the lighter and that he had something incendiary,” Lopez told the Daily News.
“At that point, we don’t know if we have a guy attempting suicide or attempting to blow up his van. The vehicle had privacy glass, so we couldn’t see what other issues there were in the vehicle,” Lopez said.
He said the small shopping center where the standoff unfolded had several businesses open 24 hours.
“There were other citizens around, so the concern becomes, ‘If this blows up, someone else could get killed,'” he said.
When the Orange Fire Department arrived on scene, police devised a plan to borrow a hose and use non-lethal force to extract the suspect, Lopez said.
Dramatic video of the standoff from OnScene.tv shows officers approaching the vehicle from behind and shattering a passenger side window. Within seconds, a powerful hose starts spraying water into the minivan’s cabin.
The man is seen fleeing to the back of the vehicle to seek refuge, but the hose follows him. He later bails out his driver’s side window with blasting water propelling his exit.
The video, posted by KTLA News, shows the shirtless man slip to the ground as an officer tries to apprehend him.
Shouts of “Knife! Knife! Knife!” are heard shortly before the sounds of shots fired, KTLA reported.
Lopez said the man “reached back and grabbed a knife and armed himself,” leading to the officer-involved shooting.
The man was transported to a local hospital and pronounced dead.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the incident with the assistance of the Orange Police.
Orange County coroner officials did not immediately identify the deceased suspect Monday morning.