An officer opened fire on a male driver who allegedly drove in reverse toward him during a search for a stolen vehicle in Claremont Monday morning, police said.
The officer-involved shooting occurred in the 500 block of West San Jose Avenue (map) shortly before 3:30 a.m., according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Officers initially responded to the area around 3:00 a.m. to check for a vehicle that had been reported stolen the day before, a separate release from the Claremont Police Department stated. Upon arrival, an officer discovered a vehicle fitting the description and drove closer to investigate.
At that point, the vehicle started to drive way at a high rate of speed through a dead end alley, police said. When the officer located the vehicle again, it appeared to have been abandoned.
However, when the officer walked up to the vehicle, the man suddenly drove it in reverse toward the officer, according to police.
Fearing for his life, the officer opened fire on the man, striking him in the chest, deputies said.
The man, whose identity has not yet been released, was treated at the scene by the Los Angeles County Fire Department and later airlifted to a local hospital, according to authorities. His was in last reported to be in critical but stable condition.
The officer was not injured.
One woman who lives in the area said she was woken up by the gunfire.
“I actually heard the gunshots, that’s what woke me up. And as soon as that happened, I woke up my husband and I was like, ‘oh my gosh, someone’s shooting outside,’ and he’s like, ‘get down, get down,’” Melissa Gijon said.
Gijon added police later knocked on her door.
“They wanted to make sure that no bullets got into my house,” she said.
The shooting was being investigated by Claremont police and the L.A. Sheriff’s Department.
KTLA’s Jennifer Gould contributed to this report.