A man whose behavior was described as "erratic" died at a McDonald's in East San Gabriel after being restrained by deputies who responded to his alleged theft of a parking enforcement vehicle in Rosemead early Thursday, authorities said.
The incident was first reported about 4:45 a.m. in the 8700 block of Garvey Avenue.
The parking officer was going to give a ticket when a man, possibly in his 30s, confronted her and hit her in the head. He then jumped into her car and took off, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lt. Steve Jauch.
The owner of the vehicle that was being ticketed came out of his house, saw the injured officer and alerted authorities, according to the lieutenant.
While driving the stolen car, the man was making radio broadcasts, he added.
The man then left the car at a McDonald's parking lot at Duarte Road and Rosemead Boulevard in the unincorporated East San Gabriel area, walked inside screaming, took cookies from the counter without paying for them and sat down to eat the officer's lunch that he had taken out of her vehicle, Jauch said.
An employee in the restaurant called 911. Deputies arrived at the scene and surrounded the man inside.
“In the process of trying to take him into custody, he lunged at least one of the deputies," Jauch said.
Deputies then took him to the ground, handcuffed him and secured his legs, he said.
"There was a use of force," Jauch said.
At some point the man "became unresponsive" and was declared dead by firefighters who responded to the scene, the lieutenant said.
This is not something we encounter every day. ... It certainly could be considered erratic," Jauch said, referring to the man's behavior.
The man was described only as white and in his 30s.
Homicide detectives and officials from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office also went to the scene to investigate, which is standard when someone dies in police custody.
"There's going to be a lot of levels of review on something like this," the lieutenant said.
It is unknown if the man had any weapons with him during his confrontations with the woman and police. Jauch added that unconfirmed reports indicated that the suspect hit the officer with his fist.
Late Tuesday detectives said they had determined that the suspect approached the parking officer while she was writing a citation, yelling at her before knocking her to the ground with a punch to the head. He then entered her vehicle and fled.
She was taken to a hospital but her injuries were not serious, Jauch said.
Video from the scene showed deputies interviewing possible witnesses at the McDonald's, which was closed amid the investigation. The stolen vehicle remained at the scene with its lights on.
Jauch said the deputies and the parking enforcement officer had not been interviewed.
Detectives were also at the scene where the car was first stolen in Rosemead.
KTLA's Alberto Mendez contributed to this story.