A 19-year-old Cal State Northridge student was killed early Thursday when the car he was driving was struck by robbery suspects who were being pursued by police, authorities said.
It was the second fatal collision during an LAPD pursuit in recent weeks.
About 12:30 a.m. at White Oak Avenue and Roscoe Boulevard in Northridge, officers attempted a traffic stop of a vehicle that was wanted in connection with a suspected robbery, according to Officer Drake Madison, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department.
The vehicle instead continued west on Roscoe, prompting police to pursue.
The suspect vehicle ran a red light at Lindley Avenue — about half a mile down the road — and crashed into another vehicle that was heading south on Lindley, Madison said.
The driver of the second vehicle, identified as Erick Barbosa-Guardado, 19, of Reseda, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to authorities.
“I’m so mad, so mad, because it’s not right what happened with my nephew,” said Socorro Barbosa in an emotional interview with KTLA at the scene of the crash. “He had good dreams.”
The 19-year-old was an employee at the Tarzana TJ Maxx store and a Cal State Northridge student studying civil engineering and theater, the school said.
“We were devastated to learn of the untimely passing of our store Associate Erick Barbosa-Guardado,” TJ Maxx said in an emailed statement. “We send our deepest condolences and sympathy to his family and friends, as well as to the many store Associates who worked closely with him.”
“While he worked at our TJ Maxx store for only a brief period, he made a tremendous impression on those who knew him,” the company said, adding that it was providing counseling to employees.
In the May 6 incident, 14-year LAPD veteran Sgt. Ruby Aguirre allegedly ran a red light and struck a sedan.
The two occupants of the suspects’ vehicle fled the scene on foot. The man suspected of driving that car was later apprehended, but his passenger had not been found as of Thursday morning.
Identities of the man arrested and the outstanding suspect were not immediately available.
A loaded rifle was found in the suspects’ vehicle, according to Madison.
Madison said he could not identify the make or model of the vehicles involved, but video from the scene showed a dark-colored sedan and SUV, both heavily damaged.
Two bystanders were killed when a pickup that had been reported stolen and had been pursued by police crashed into a parked Honda Civic in Panorama City.
Thursday’s crash comes a bit more than two weeks after two bystanders were killed when a black Toyota Tacoma pickup that had been reported stolen crashed into a parked Honda Civic in Panorama City.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said afterward that officials would examine whether the Jan. 31 high-speed pursuit followed departmental policy.
A Los Angeles police sergeant was also charged Friday with one count of misdemeanor reckless driving causing injury following a crash that occurred during a pursuit last spring.
On May 6, 14-year LAPD veteran Sgt. Ruby Aguirre allegedly ran a red light at Jefferson Boulevard and Western Avenue and hit a sedan. One person in the sedan was hospitalized with serious injuries.
A previous Times data analysis found that 1 in 10 car chases initiated by the LAPD from 2006 to 2014 resulted in injuries to civilians. Afterward, L.A. County’s civil grand jury issued a report finding that police chases were “causing unnecessary bystander injuries and deaths” and that officers needed better training to reduce the risk of crashes during high-speed pursuits.
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Luke Money is a Metro reporter covering breaking news at the Los Angeles Times. He previously was a reporter and assistant city editor for the Daily Pilot, a Times Community News publication in Orange County, and before that wrote for the Santa Clarita Valley Signal. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arizona.
Christian Martinez is a Metro reporter covering breaking news at the Los Angeles Times. He previously wrote for the USA Today network of newspapers including the Ventura County Star, where he covered the Thomas and Woolsey wildfires and the Borderline mass shooting, the Spectrum & Daily News in Utah and the Lansing State Journal in Michigan. He was born and raised in Southern California and attended Saint Mary’s College of California.
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