Stolen vehicle suspect fatally shot during altercation with officer in Garden Grove

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A stolen vehicle suspect died following an altercation with Garden Grove police that prompted an officer to open fire Wednesday morning.

The incident occurred shortly before 1:30 a.m. when officers saw a Dodge Challenger crash into a pole beneath the 22 Freeway near the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Trask Avenue, Garden Grove Police Department Lt. Carl Whitney said.

An officer contacted the vehicle’s driver and there was a brief struggle before the officer opened fire, Whitney said.

It was unclear what prompted the dispute but Whitney later confirmed the Challenger had been stolen from a Santa Ana dealership just south of the scene.

The unidentified suspect was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Whitney said. He has not been identified.

Investigators are looking into whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident.

No gun was found on the suspect, Whitney said.

The officer, who has been on the force for less than 2 years, was hospitalized with injuries that were not life threatening.

Whitney said the officer had just arrested someone for auto theft and was headed back to the police station to do paperwork when the incident occurred.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is assisting the Police Department in the investigation.

Body camera footage was taken and will be reviewed, Whitney said.

The intersection of Harbor and Trask was closed for several hours during the investigation.

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