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Video Shows Seattle Cops Gunning Down Driver After 'Grand Theft Auto' Crime Spree

Dashcam footage from police cruisers shows the suspect headed the wrong way on a one-way street, crossing over a median, and generally driving like a madman before he dies in a hail of gunfire.
December 8, 2015, 7:35pm
Immagine da YouTube/Seattle Police Department

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The Seattle Police Department has released a video that compiles dashcam footage from multiple police cruisers during a lengthy high-speed pursuit through the city that involved the driver firing shots at the cops and ended with the suspect dying in a barrage of gunfire.

The incident began at around 12:35pm local time, when employees at a coffee shop in the tourist hub of Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle called 911 to report a man acting suspiciously and "manipulating a handgun in his pocket," according to a police account. The suspect — described by police as "a 35-year-old violent felon" — then went to a nearby restaurant, where he brandished a handgun at the owner before fleeing on foot.

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Police say the man ran into two other stores nearby, flashing two handguns before fleeing into an alley and carjacking a red Volkswagen Golf by ordering the driver out at gunpoint. He then reportedly took a short drive north to the University of Washington, where he entered an athletic center and "confronted a man in the lobby of the center and forced him to relinquish his red minivan."

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Apparently unsatisfied with the minivan, police say he pulled into a nearby gas station and tried to carjack a woman's Mercedes at gunpoint. When the woman ran away, he reportedly drove the minivan to a nearby car rental lot and upgraded to a black Chevy Camaro, stealing it at gunpoint from two employees.

Police began their pursuit after the Camaro theft, and the dashcam footage shows the suspect headed the wrong way on a one-way street, crossing over a median, and generally driving like a madman. At one point, a police cruiser rams the Camaro from behind — a collision that put the cop car out of commission and left the officer chasing after the Camaro on foot as it sped away.

The chase continued through residential areas in north Seattle. Police can be heard saying at one point during the video that the driver is firing shots at them. The pursuit ended when cops rammed the Camaro head-on, also colliding with random motorist's gray SUV. A young female motorist can be seen scampering away from the scene in a panic, apparently unharmed.

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In the video, cops quickly surround the Camaro and take aim. Authorities said they opened fire after the suspect "pointed his gun at officers and began maneuvering the Camaro" toward them. A hail of gunfire can be heard in the video. "SWAT officers approached the suspect and fired," the police account said, but this approach is not shown in the video released by police. The suspect died atthe scene. His name has not been released.

One the handguns allegedly used by a suspect in a high-speed chase in Seattle on Monday. (Photo via Seattle Police Department)

Police said that two handguns were recovered from the Camaro, along with a number of shell casings from shots that were apparently fired during the chase. Two officers sustained minor injuries, but no civilians were harmed. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is reportedly investigating to trace the origin of the guns.

Related: The FBI Director Says Cops Are 'Under Siege' from Viral Videos

The Seattle Police Department was the subject of a 2011 civil rights investigation by the Justice Department that found officers used "a pattern or practice of excessive force." The department was ordered to implement a number of reforms, and is currently under the watch of an independent monitor appointed by a federal court. Twelve officers were reportedly placed on paid administrative after Monday's incident per standard policy, and police said "all force used in the incident" is being reviewed as required by the agreement with the Justice Department.

The Seattle Times quoted Mayor Ed Murray as saying that the incident appeared to be unrelated to the recent spate of terror attacks, though he presented it as symptomatic of the larger problem of gun violence in the United States.

"Regrettably, this is a reality of gun violence," he said. "Seattle is pretty safe compared to most places, but we're not immune from it."

Follow Keegan Hamilton on Twitter: @keegan_hamilton