A gunman and woman died and a 12-year-old boy was wounded in a shooting in Hawthorne Wednesday that occurred in front of a police officer who returned fire, killing the shooter, authorities said.
The incident took place near the intersection of Kornblum Avenue and West Rosecrans Avenue (map) at about 12:30 p.m., according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which was helping local police with the investigation.
Hawthorne police at first said a traffic officer rolled up onto the scene and witnessed a car-to-car shooting, and then opened fire, but details provided later Wednesday indicated the woman was seeking the officer’s help right before the gunfire.
“She had informed the officer that she thought she was being followed. The officer asked her to move her car to the side of the road,” said Hawthorne Police Department Lt. Gary Tomatani.”That’s when the suspect vehicle pulled up and the shooting occurred.”
When the second vehicle stopped alongside the woman’s car, a man got out and opened fire on the woman and her passenger, according to a Sheriff’s Department news release sent out Wednesday evening. He fired off two handguns, authorities said.
“Gunshots … frequently, one after another,” said witness Eli Millian.
The officer got out of his patrol car and returned fire, killing the gunman, the Sheriff’s Department said.
The female driver of the gray Mercedes-Benz was declared dead on scene, as was the shooter. The 12-year-old boy, who told investigators he was the woman’s son, was able to get out of the car and away from the gunfire, authorities said.
Video from the scene showed the gray Mercedes-Benz with several windows shot out, and a white Cadillac stopped alongside it, with the man’s body on the ground between the vehicles.
Two men were inside the Cadillac with the gunman when the vehicle pulled up next to the Mercedes-Benz and gunfire erupted, authorities on scene said. The two men — the driver and back-seat passenger — were taken into custody.
The 12-year-old boy was hospitalized with gunshot wounds and was cooperating with investigators before going into surgery, police said.
He told investigator he and his mother had passed the Cadillac, which then began following them for unknown reasons. The shooting occurred just minutes later, authorities said.
It was not initially clear who fired the gunshots that killed the alleged gunman, the female victim and injured the boy.
Several people who arrived at the scene said they were family members of the shooter, whom they identified as Robert Washington, a 37-year-old resident of San Bernardino with two children. Authorities did not confirm the man’s identity.
The 1994 Cadillac was registered to a Robert Washington, DMV records showed. The 2010 Mercedes-Benz was transferred from CarMax to a new buyer in late February.
Washington had left his home in San Bernardino Wednesday morning, relatives said, adding that they did not know why he was in Hawthorne. His mother, aunt, uncle and cousins arrived at the scene.
“I know that’s his car,” said uncle Eddie Washington. “That is him lying on the ground.”
Eddie Washington said he did not know the female victim.
The Sheriff’s Department reported it was not known if there was any relationship between the victims and suspect.
Update: an HPD Officer on patrol interrupted a shooting in progress . 2 subjects deceased , a juvenile was also shot by the suspect
— Hawthorne Police (@HawthornePD) April 1, 2015