Police fatally shot a motorist as he began reversing his car over a man who had just been pulled out from the vehicle in Costa Mesa Friday, witnesses and officials said.
The shooting occurred around 10:30 a.m. outside a La Quinta Inn at 1515 S. Coast Drive, off Harbor Boulevard along the 405 Freeway, according to Costa Mesa police.
Officers were on patrol in the area when, for unknown reasons, they made contact with the vehicle’s three occupants.
The officers wound up pulling a man and woman out from the car, police said.
Authorities did not provide information on why they detained the pair. Witnesses say the man was placed in handcuffs on the ground behind the car.
A third person in the driver’s seat began driving toward officers, at which point at least one officer opened fire, according to officials.
Witnesses say the shots were fired as the car was halfway over the man handcuffed behind the vehicle.
Witness Ricardo Inocensio says his family and his aunt’s family were staying at the hotel after they lost their apartments in a Fountain Valley fire Thursday. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the families recover.
The families had left their room to head to breakfast when they witnessed the shooting feet away.
“He was going to run him over, and then the cops were behind (the car),” Inocensio said. “As soon as they noticed he was running him over, they went one behind, one on the side, and started shooting in both directions.”
The driver then “dropped” and stopped driving, Inocensio said. The officers then pulled him from the car and tried to revive him.
The man run over looked relatively OK afterward, according to witnesses.
Both he and the driver were taken to the hospital, where the driver succumbed to his injuries, police said.
The man run over was listed in stable condition.
No officers were hurt.
Costa Mesa police and Orange County district attorney’s investigators were still processing the scene Friday afternoon.
No further details were available.