Update 7:50 p.m. A carjacking attempt and alleged homicide in the high desert town of Yucca Valley led to a 65-mile pursuit Thursday through the San Gorgonio Pass and ended with a shootout in San Bernardino, leaving one suspect dead, a CHP officer and a second suspect wounded, authorities said.
Here are details of what happened in Yucca Valley, recounted by people who were at Town Center Mall before noon May 9 on Twentynine Palms Highway:
"Two guys pulled up in the parking lot, in a gray sedan, a newer Malibu or an Impala, looking to carjack a car," mall manager Dan Letourneau said at the mall Thursday afternoon.
"They had jacked a car . . . I heard," Letourneau said. "They were trying to jack another car, the girl wouldn't pull over. Nobody saw a weapon at that point.
"They went to the gentleman's car, pounded on the window, tried to get him to open the door and he wouldn't open it, so they shot him and drove off."
Karrie O'Brien, general manager of 5 Star Gym at the mall, said she was inside her business when she received calls about trouble in the parking lot.
"First I got a call there was a fight in the parking lot, then I got a call there was a shooter," O'Brien said at the mall Thursday afternoon.
"So I yelled at my staff to lock the gym down and lock the mall," she said. "I came outside and by that time they were already gone. I didn't see it. There was a very nice lady that ran to the car, she saw the whole thing."
An off-duty police officer in the parking lot during the shooting called in to dispatch with a description of the suspects' vehicle, O'Brien said.
More than four hours after the carjack attempt and shooting, the victim's car, a white sedan with a bullet hole in the driver's side window and the victim's body still inside, sat perched on an embankment at the edge of the mall parking lot next to the highway.
"The sad part is we're not sure who that gentleman is," O'Brien said. "We have our gym closed in respect to his family. . . . We don't know where he came from. He may have been in the gym and he may not have. That's not really important. It's just very sad."
Letourneau said the 88,000-square-foot Town Center Mall is home to a charter school, Hope Academy, for students from 1st grade to high school. Deputies were on scene within minutes of the fatal shooting and further locked down the mall and the school, Letourneau said.
Law enforcement at the mall told O'Brien deputies or CHP officers spotted the suspects' vehicle in Morongo Valley and the pursuit headed south on the 62 and west on the 10 Freeway from there.
San Bernardino County sheriff's officials said shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday the deceased attempted carjacking victim's name would be released once his next of kin was notified.
The suspect who died and the suspect who was wounded in the shootout in San Bernardino were not identified. The name of the wounded CHP officer was not released.
Update 2:50 p.m.:
Officials on scene in San Bernardino tell Patch that the CHP officer who was shot is expected to survive— while one of the suspects in the chase has died at the scene, and another is now hospitalized with a gunshot wound.
Cindy Bachman, public information officer for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, told reporters at a briefing that the two suspects opened fire on officers after they stopped in a parking lot in San Bernardino.
"The suspect vehicle traveled into this parking lot here at Carnegie, and it appears that this vehicle may have collided in the parking lot," she said. "At that time, both suspects exited the vehicle, and at least one of the suspects engaged the Highway Patrol officers and the deputies in gunfire."
At that time, the officers returned fire on the two suspects, ultimately shooting one of them fatally.
"One of the suspects was shot and pronounced deceased here at the scene," she said. "The second suspect is believed to have been shot, and at this time he is still alive and he has been transported to a local hospital."
The unidentified California Highway Patrol officer — stationed out of the San Gorgonio office — was expected to survive, according to CHP Spokeswoman Sylvia Vargas, who said she could not elaborate further on his injuries.
Update 1:50 p.m.:
Our Patch reporter on scene in San Bernardino has learned that one person was killed in a shooting with law enforcement Thursday afternoon.
A covered body lay in a parking lot off Waterman, as investigators work on scene.
It's not yet clear what condition the other suspect is in.
Patch has also learned that the CHP officer who was shot, who is based out of the San Gorgonio office, is expected to survive.
Update 1:25 p.m.:
A man who spoke to law enforcement at the scene of a shooting in front of a Yucca Valley business gave the following account of what preceded the pursuit and shootout that recently ended in the city of San Bernardino:
"There were two guys in a stolen car, gray," the man said in a phone interview, on condition that his name would not be published.
"They tried to carjack a guy in a white car, he may have just come out of the gym," the man said. "They failed in the carjacking and shot the guy."
The man said the victim may have come out of the 5 Star Gym, which is at 57725 Twentynine Palms Highway, also known as State Route 62, in Yucca Valley.
San Bernardino County sheriff's Cpl. Randy Naquin confirmed there was a report of a shooting at 11:41 a.m. Thursday May 9 at the same address.
"It was a report that someone shot a victim in a car at Town Center Mall," Naquin said, speaking by phone from sheriff's headquarters in San Bernardino.
Update 1:15 p.m.:
Two suspects that were in the vehicle chased along Interstate 10 from Yucca Valley and into San Bernardino were also hit in the shootout, Patch has confirmed.
CHP Officer Darren Meyer says that two other people — in addition to the local CHP officer — were shot Thursday afternoon.
The area remains closed as police are on scene.
Update 12:49 p.m.:
CHP Officer Darren Meyer tells Patch that an officer stationed out of the San Gorgonio office has been shot in the incident.
"One of our guys took a bullet," he said.
More details were not immediately available. Stay with Patch for the latest.
Update 12:30 p.m.:
CHP Officer Alex Scott tells Patch that gunfire was exchanged between both law enforcement officers and the suspect driving the vehicle.
The pursuit ended at 12:25 a.m., after starting around 11:48 a.m., he says.
The chase ended on Carnegie and Hospitality, off the 10, in San Bernardino. It's not yet clear if the suspect is in custody or if he or she has been shot.
Hospitality Lane is closed in the area as police conduct their investigation.
Original story as posted:
Dozens of law enforcement officers are chasing a person suspected of shooting a person to death in a vehicle this morning in Yucca Valley, CHP officials tell Patch.
The alleged murder happened around 11 a.m. on State Route 62 and Warren Vista, according to CHP Officer Alex Scott.
"I know rounds were fired inside a vehicle, and there is a deceased person inside," he said.
Scott tells Patch that a vehicle description — a grey Chevy Impala — was sent out to agencies shortly after the incident, and a CHP officer spotted a vehicle mating that descriptions.
That vehicle then took off down the 62 and onto the I-10 westbound, headed through the Banning and Beaumont areas, and through Redlands into the San Bernardino area, Scott said.
It "sustained speeds in excess of 100 mph" he told Patch.
Gina Tenorio reported from San Bernardino, Renee Schiavone reported from the San Gorgonio Pass, Guy McCarthy reported from Yucca Valley. Stay with Patch for updates on this developing story.