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High-speed chase through Los Angeles ends with hostage situation

Los Angeles police engaged an armed carjacker in a 45-minute pursuit that crossed several area cities before the man barricaded himself inside a barbecue restaurant.

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    Released hostages are seen at the scene of an armed hostage standoff in Downey, Calif., on Thursday. Several people were being held hostage in a Los Angeles-area restaurant late on Thursday after a suspected carjacker barricaded himself inside the building following a police chase, law enforcement and media reported.
    Bob Riha/Reuters
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An armed man involved in a hostage situation in a Los Angeles barbecue restaurant was shot dead on Thursday night, authorities said.

Police stormed the Chris' & Pitt's restaurant in Downey, outside of Los Angeles, to end a two-hour long siege, according to Cmdr. Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Several shots were fired by police and the armed man. Further investigation will be needed to show if the man was killed by a police bullet or his own.

The hostage situation followed a night of carjacking and high-speed chases.

Police began chasing the man after Lo-Jack, a tracking system for stolen vehicles, detected his stolen car at 6:30 p.m. While the vehicle was being monitored by helicopter, police saw the man leave the first car and carjack a silver sedan at gunpoint, Commander Parker told the Los Angeles Times.

The subsequent chase spanned several cities and lasted nearly 45 minutes. Speeds during the chase reached upwards of 80 mph and it was broadcast by KCAL-TV Channel 9.  The footage shows the armed man engaged in reckless driving, nearly striking a bicyclist, running red lights, and dodging several close encounters with oncoming traffic.

While passing between the cities of Montebello and Monterey Park, the suspect struck at least one vehicle, Parker told the LA Times.

The high-speed chase ended when a California Highway Patrol SUV knocked the vehicle into a spin, which caused it to crash. The man ran out of the vehicle, firing at least one shot.

The man entered the Chris' & Pitt's barbecue restaurant during the dinner rush around 7:45 p.m. At least 80 patrons and employees fled the restaurant, police reported.

The man hed remaining patrons and employees as hostages. Local media reported the number of hostages at a half-dozen. A crisis negotiator was present at the scene, but the situation soon devolved and forced police to enter.

“You could tell by his driving that he had absolutely no concern for the public. He showed it between his driving a stolen car, carjacking a car at gunpoint, shooting his gun. This was a dangerous night for law enforcement and the public,” Parker told the Los Angeles NBC affiliate Channel 4.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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