UK & World News

  • 18 December 2013, 5:52

Police Chase Shooting Officers 'Heard Gunfire'

Police in Los Angeles are investigating whether officers shot and killed an unarmed man live on television because they mistakenly thought they heard "unfriendly" gunfire.

Brian Beaird was shot by officers after an hour-long car chase through LA on Friday night. He died in hospital shortly afterwards.

The shooting was broadcast live by one of the local TV stations which had been airing helicopter images of the pursuit of Beaird's silver Corvette.

The chase had only come to an end when the 51-year-old military veteran broke a red light and ploughed into another car.

The LAPD is now investigating claims that, when one officer fired a non-lethal "bean bag" round, another mistook it for gunfire and opened fire with a real weapon.

Chief of police Charlie Beck has promised a thorough investigation to establish what happened. He has cautioned people not to jump to conclusions based on TV pictures.

Beaird's family is taking legal advice. They say he phoned his brother in a panic during the chase, wondering why he was being pursued.

John Beaird said: "We're pretty angry. There didn't seem to be justification for what happened."

Neighbours of Mr Beaird, in Oceanside, near San Diego, have spoken of their shock.

Yolanda Orozco said: "It is really surprising and shocking. I was born and raised in LA so I know back in the 70s, when I moved away, what used to go on. It is sad."

Flowers and candles have been placed at the scene of the incident. A handmade poster carries the message: "Shame on LAPD. Unnecessary use of deadly force."

A few hours after Mr Beaird's death, four people died when their vehicle overturned during a police chase in the Compton area of Los Angeles.

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