Los Angeles: On February 23, 2004, at about 5:15 a.m., Hollywood Area Patrol Officers Arturo Ramirez, 1 ½ years with the Department, and Manuel Solis, eight years with the Department, monitored a radio broadcast from a Los Angeles Police Department air unit of a vehicle pursuit in Hollywood Area. Air unit officers said the suspect was wanted for an armed robbery with a knife and was being pursued by a lone California Highway Patrol (CHP) unit westbound on Santa Monica Boulevard. Air unit officers observed the suspect throwing items from the vehicle during the pursuit.
Officers Ramirez and Solis intercepted the pursuit at Wilcox Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard and, at the direction of the air unit and became the primary pursuing unit. The CHP officer dropped out and Rampart Area Patrol officers Francisco Murillo, 7 ½ years with the Department, and Carlos Ocegueda, 1 ½ years with the Department, subsequently assumed the role as secondary unit.
The pursuit continued on surface streets through West Los Angeles and Pacific Areas and the cities of Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, with the driver of the vehicle, later identified as Nicholas Kellinger, 23 years of age, travelling at high speeds on rain-slicked streets. Numerous times he drove on the wrong side of the roadway and driving at high speeds. Travelling east on Pico Avenue in the City of Santa Monica, Kellinger made a U-turn at 6th Street. He drove across the sidewalk into a driveway and stopped. Officers Ramirez and Solis stopped about 35 feet behind the suspect’s car. Believing Kellinger was going to exit his vehicle and run away, the officers immediately exited their police car and deployed behind the doors, drawing their service pistols. As they did so, Kellinger placed the transmission in reverse and backed toward the officers.
In the interim, Officers Murillo and Ocegueda had stopped their car in the roadway east of and generally parallel to Officers Ramirez and Solis’ car. As Kellinger continued backing, Officers Solis and Oceguero believed the suspect was attempting to ram the police car. In Immediate defense of life, Officers Solis and Ocegueda fired numerous rounds from their service pistols, attempting to stop the backward movement of the suspect’s car. The suspect’s car continued in reverse and collided with the front of Officers Ramirez and Solis’ car with enough force to cause the driver’s door to slam shut. Officer Ramirez moved backward to avoid the door from hitting him and heard shots being fired, which he believed were being discharged by Kellinger from inside the car.
Kellinger opened the driver’s door with his left hand and twisted counter-clockwise. Officer Ramirez saw the suspect’s right hand clenched at his center waistband area and believed the suspect was holding a weapon. In defense of his own life, Officer Ramirez fired numerous rounds from his service pistol at Kellinger. Kellinger fell prone on the ground and was taken into custody. Responding paramedics transported him to Santa Monica Hospital where he died from injuries sustained during the officer-involved shooting.
Detectives from the Santa Monica Police Department conducted the criminal investigation, assisted by criminalists from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The knife Kellinger allegedly used during the commission of the robbery was not recovered. Detectives from Critical Incident Investigation Division are handling the administrative investigation.
This news release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section, at 213-485-3586.