A man who chased a purse snatcher for several blocks was shot and killed Sunday after he tried to retrieve a woman's handbag from the man, Santa Ana police said.
The dead man's identity was not immediately known, police said, and the gunman remained at large.
Police said the suspect was within arm's reach when he stopped, pulled out a gun and fired several bullets into the chest and head of the man chasing him on South Shelley Street.
The man died at the scene. The woman's keys were found next to his body.
The 61-year-old woman had been walking in the 1300 block of South Center Street at about 3 p.m. when a man grabbed her purse, police said.
"She was screaming and carrying on. One resident started chasing after him [the purse snatcher]," Santa Ana police Lt. David Petko said.
The pursued man ran south on Center Street, then east on Wilshire Street until the man chasing him got within arm's length. That is when neighbors heard shots, police said.
"I saw it happen through the blinds. I got really scared," said one resident.
"We thought it was firecrackers until we looked out the window and saw the body," said another.