LA police helicopter
A Los Angeles Police Department helicopter flies above LA International Airport in 2013 (illustrative photo) Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

US police shot and killed a suspect during a high-speed pursuit on a Southern California freeway on Friday (18 September). San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputies opened fire at the man, who was originally wanted in connection with a home invasion, on Interstate 215.

After fleeing police, the suspect had led police on a 100-mph chase down the freeway, in the opposite direction of traffic. It was not immediately clear whether the man had been wounded by gunfire or had died from other injuries, although TV reports showed multiple bullet holes in the vehicle's hood.

The pursuit began at around midday, authorities said. The gray Chevrolet Yukon attempted to evade police, finally travelling southbound in the northbound lanes of the freeway. The dangerous wrong-way chase prompted police to open fire from a helicopter.

"It's a public-safety issue," Deputy Olivia Bozek said. "Once he starts going the wrong way, obviously he doesn't care about passengers or pedestrians or other cars that are around."

"The suspect sideswiped at least one vehicle, and after that occurred, the helicopter unit used force to stop the vehicle," the LA Sheriff's Department's Deon Filer told KPCC. "As a result, the suspect jumped out of the vehicle and began to run from deputies, the ground units, and his vehicle continued southbound and collided with another vehicle."

After the driver exited the vehicle, it kept moving and was involved in a head-on collision with another SUV, injuring three other people who were taken to hospital. Local KABC-TV reported that one was in critical condition and two were in fair condition. The driver managed to continue along the freeway before collapsing a short distance away and dying at the scene.

Following the incident, the northbound lanes of the freeway were closed for several hours. The suspect was not immediately identified and an investigation is ongoing.