Sunday, December 1, 2002
Pursuit of Stolen Vehicle Results in Officer-Involved Shooting After
"Pursuit of Stolen Vehicle Results in Officer-Involved Shooting After Suspects Fire Multiple Shots at Officers"
Los Angeles - - Today, shortly after 8:00 a.m., two Foothill Area patrol officers were on patrol in a marked black and white police vehicle, in the area of Mayal Street and Burnett Avenue, when they observed a suspicious looking vehicle. The vehicle, a blue, 1990’s, Ford Ranger pick-up truck, was parked. A check on the vehicle revealed that it was a reported stolen from Santa Clarita. The officers observed two suspects (28 year-old Rys Stevens and 22 year-old John Castleberry, both male Whites, from Mission Hills) enter the vehicle and drive away. The officers requested the assistance of an airship and back-up units. Upon the arrival of back up, the officers activated their emergency equipment and attempted to stop the vehicle in the area of Sepulveda Boulevard and Chatsworth Street. The suspects refused to stop and instead attempted to elude the officers, resulting in the initiation of a vehicular pursuit.
The pursuit continued, on and off for approximately three hours, traveling through portions of the San Fernando Valley, Calabasas, Glendale, West Los Angeles and back to the San Fernando Valley. At some point as the officers were pursuing the suspects northbound Colette Avenue to eastbound Tupper Street, the suspect(s), from their vehicle, fired multiple rounds at the pursuing officers. Those officers veered away from the gunfire and another pair of officers took over pursuit of the suspects in the vehicle. The suspects continued eastbound on Tupper Street to Haskell Avenue, bringing the vehicle to an abrupt stop. As the officers exited their police vehicle and took cover behind their respective doors, both suspects began firing multiple rounds at the officers. Officers Eric Reade (Serial No. 30918, 35 years old, 8 years with the Department) and Rigoberto Vasquez (Serial No. 33703, 28 years old, 5 years with the Department), in fear for their lives, returned fire at the suspects, using their service pistols.
The suspects resumed their attempt to elude the officers, traveling on surface streets and then on to the eastbound 101 Freeway. As the suspects exited the freeway off-ramp at White Oak Avenue, the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle and drove down the embankment, colliding with a rock. Both suspects exited the vehicle and ran from the location with officers pursuing them. The suspects ran into a nearby apartment complex in the area of Yarmouth Avenue and Killian Street, where they were both taken into custody.
The driver of the stolen vehicle, Rys Stevens, was struck by gunfire. He received a grazing wound to the facial area. The passenger, John Castleberry, was not injured during the exchange of gunfire. A .38 caliber revolver and a .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun, along with a stun gun, were recovered from the vehicle driven by the suspects.
No officers were injured however, the police vehicle, driven by Officers Reade and Vasquez, was damaged as a result of the suspects’ gunfire. Both the driver side spotlight and the right front passenger door of the police vehicle were hit by the suspects’ gunfire.
The investigation into this incident is ongoing and is being handled by Critical Incident Investigation and Robbery-Homicide Divisions. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is also conducting an investigation into this incident. Charges pending against the suspects include Attempt Murder on a Police Officer, Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Police Officer, Car Theft and Felony Evading.
This press release was prepared by Lieutenant Horace Frank, Officer in Charge, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.