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VIDEO: Fleeing Teen Said He Had a Gun--He Didn't

Police chased his car from Northridge to Woodland Hills.

A 19-year-old Winnetka man who was shot to death by police following a late-night chase through the western San Fernando Valley did not have a gun, but he called 911 during the pursuit and told a dispatcher he was armed and was prepared to shoot officers, police said Thursday.

The shooting occurred on the Ventura (101) Freeway in Woodland Hills shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday, triggering a probe by investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department's Force Investigation Division and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

The southbound lanes of the freeway were closed overnight between Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Winnetka Avenue while the investigation continued and remained shut down until about 8 a.m., snarling rush-hour traffic and leaving thousands of motorists stranded on the roadway.

The man's family identified him as Abdul Arian, a recent Taft High School graduate.

According to the LAPD, Arian called 911 during the chase and told a dispatcher, among other things:

  • "I have a gun";
  • "I've been arrested before for possession of destructive devices, I'm not afraid of the cops"; and
  • "If they pull their guns, I'm gonna have to pull my gun out on them."

According to police, the 911 dispatcher advised the suspect to stop, telling him, "I don't want you to hurt yourself." The suspect responded, "I'm not gonna get hurt, (expletive); (expletive) these police, they're gonna get hurt."

Police did not immediately release a full copy of the 911 tape, or a transcript of the call.

According to an LAPD statement released Thursday afternoon, the "preliminary investigation indicates he did not have a gun," despite his statements to the 911 dispatcher.

In the aftermath of the shooting, an uncle of the young man told reporters that his nephew both wanted to be a police officer and feared police, and questioned why police didn't use non-lethal force.

"I just saw a live (television) shot, they are showing over -- God knows how many casings of bullets," Arian's uncle, Hamed, told CBS2. "Did they have to shoot that much? Why didn't you use a rubber bullet? Why didn't you use Taser gun? Why didn't you use anything else?"

LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman told the station, however, the shooting was a result of "the suspect's actions."

"Running away from the police and going on the freeway and jeopardizing the lives of not only our officers but the public really led this to a really horrible ending," he said.

Officers from the LAPD's Devonshire Station first stopped the suspect's car around 9:50 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Plummer Street and Shirley Avenue in Northridge, according to Officer Karen Rayner of LAPD Media Relations. The man sped away from the stop and drove recklessly, running red lights, before getting onto the freeway, she said.

He exited the freeway at Topanga Canyon Boulevard and re-entered on the southbound side. The chase ended on the freeway at Canoga Avenue with the suspect fleeing through the passenger side door of his car, which was turned sideways across freeway lanes. A squad car was driven into the driver's side door.

The suspect could be seen in television footage pointing at officers as he ran, but it was unclear if he had anything in his hand. According to the police statement, the suspect "took what appeared to be an aggressive 'shooting stance' several times, extending his arms out and pointing an unknown object at the officers," causing them to believe he was armed.

The gesture was followed by police gunfire, and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Reports from the scene indicated that at least three officers opened fire. Dozens of evidence markers, most likely marking the locations of shell casings, were placed on the freeway during the overnight investigation.

Hamed Arian told Channel 2 he saw his nephew at about 6 p.m. Wednesday when he was on his way to a gym.

"As soon as he came out from (the) gym, he ran a red light," Hamed Arian told the station. "He panicked. OK? He panicked and he ran."

He suggested that when his nephew got out of the car, he was trying to tell police that he was on the phone with 911.

-- City News Service

mr. x April 12, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Well if he wasn't carrying a gun, what were those muzzle flashes coming from his hand?
Ron April 12, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Even if he wasn't carrying a gun, he was gesturing as if he was and just flat out running from the police after all the erratic behavior is bizarre. Parents, teach your children to not run of make any gestures with their hands. Hands up and STOP and follow directions from the officers, ALWAYS!!!!
Joseph April 12, 2012 at 10:21 PM
All preventable if he didn't run. Just stop and keep your hands up. Word is that he was on the phone with a dispatcher saying he was afraid he would be shot. Wonder when the audio will go public.
Tara April 13, 2012 at 03:12 AM
What the hell would you people do if you had cops after you???? None of you would sit there calmly! You would get the hell off your seat and run. Don't comment saying "follow officers directions" wow we got some nice officers too. Instead of saying teach your kids maybe we should teach the legal force to smarten up and not take advantage of the weapons they have and go shooting everyone.
Robert O'Connor April 15, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Running and gesturing is no excuse for murder!
Robert O'Connor April 15, 2012 at 06:14 AM
The LAPD Lieutenant admits he was killed because... "He was Defiant and Belligerent"... I call it MURDER! We need to take back our police forces and retrain them all! The changes since 9-11 have turned us into a Military Police state! The DHS must be disbanded or we will never see the America we love again, the Terrorist have won. The police forgot who they work for, now they just work for a fat undeserved full 100% pension at 50, and could care less how much this mess will cost the taxpayer.
Robert O'Connor April 15, 2012 at 06:22 AM
Running and gesturing is no excuse for murder!

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