One teenage driver ended up getting fatally shot on Sunday after he was pursued by undercover California Highway Patrol officers part of a task force investigating illegal street racing.
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Coroner’s Office, the suspect who was shot has been identified as Pedro Villanueva, a 19-year-old male from Canoga Park, California. He was declared dead at around 10:30 p.m. on July 3 when the shooting took place.
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, two undercover officers from California Highway Patrol were observing pick-up trucks and off-road vehicles pulling into the Santa Fe Spring parking lot on Sunday evening. They were to attend an illegal car rally, where it was estimated that almost 80 vehicles gathered. Seeing this, officers requested marked cruisers to break up the event.
When marked police units arrived, a red Chevy Silverado pickup truck suddenly decided to flee the area. California Highway Patrol Lt. Charlie Sampson said the vehicle hit side streets at nearly 90 mph. The undercover officers pursued the pickup for five miles before coming to a stop at a dead-end street in Fullerton.
The pickup truck then made a U-turn and made its way towards the officers. In response, the officers opened fire on the vehicle. Villanueva was said to have been the one driving the pickup truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Villanueva was also said to have been accompanied by an 18-year-old passenger who sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The passenger is said to have sustained a gunshot wound in the arm.
Following the incident, the Orange County district attorney’s office is now reviewing the incident. The two undercover officers who pursued Villanueva and his passenger were said to have worked with the California Highway Patrol for six and 15 years, respectively.