Naked Pursuit Suspect in Custody After Rescue Off Redondo Beach: Police

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A pursuit suspect had to be pulled from the ocean in Redondo Beach Thursday night after he fled his vehicle, ran into the water, removed all of his clothing and fought off rescuers, authorities said.

The incident began when officers in the area of Catalina Avenue and Emerald Street observed a driver running a right light, according to Sgt. Beck of the Redondo Beach Police Department.

Officers turned on their lights and sirens, but the driver did not pull over, Beck said. The driver made a turn onto Torrance Boulevard and continued driving in the direction of the beach.

After hitting and damaging a curb near the lifeguard tower south of Redondo Beach Pier, the driver got out of the vehicle and fled on foot toward the water, according to Beck.

The man was fully clothed when he got out of the car but starting stripping his clothing off when he got into the water.

Police went in the ocean after the man, whom rescuers said weighed about 300 pounds.

As they caught up to him and attempted to get him out, he appeared to become combative and resisted their rescue attempts, aerial video over the scene showed.

Redondo Beach police officers, with the assistance of the Harbor Patrol, were able to get him out of the ocean and bring him to shore after a struggle, according to Beck and video from Sky5.

Two Harbor Patrol officers who fought to bring the man ashore said they'd been performing rescues for 20 years each but Thursday night's incident was something new.

"We've never seen anything like that," said boat Capt. Chris Lubba. "He had an unreal amount of energy. We each grabbed an arm and tried pulling him out of the water, but he kept pushing off our boat."

Along with his partner, Harbor Patrol Officer David Poirier, Lubba spent 40 minutes on an operation that would normally have taken 5 minutes. Poirier got in the water to rescue the man.

"He kept swimming out to sea,"Poirier said. "I clipped him into our rescue buoy, and he just kept fighting that, and kicking and fighting."

The man was found to be an uninjured when he was taken into custody. He was later hospitalized and was reported to be under mental evaluation, Beck said, adding that the man was not found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.

He was expected to be charged with hit-and-run.

Police have not yet released his name.

His mother, who was in the passenger side of the vehicle during the pursuit, was not injured in the collision.

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KTLA's Alberto Mendez and Melissa Pamer contributed to this story.

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