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Officer Wounds Suspect After La Habra Chase

September 16, 1996|JULIE MARQUIS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LA HABRA — A police officer shot and wounded a 49-year-old man early Sunday after he allegedly tried to run down the officer with his car, authorities said.

William Lynne Beacom Jr. was shot in the neck and chest after he led police on a five-minute chase through the streets of La Habra and Whittier. The chase began and ended in the parking lot of the La Habra 300 Bowl, at 370 E. Whittier Blvd., said Police Capt. Terry Rammell.

After driving erratically--at high speeds and in circles--in the parking lot and attempting to ram police cars, the man's car was boxed in by four cruisers, police said. As officers got out of their cars and ordered Beacom to surrender, Beacom allegedly accelerated toward one of the officers.

The officer, whose name was not released, fired several times at Beacom's windshield, striking the driver twice, Rammell said. Beacom then got out of his car. He was taken into custody on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Beacom was taken to UCI Medical Center where he was listed in fair condition Sunday. The results of a blood-alcohol test were pending.

The incident began at about 2:15 a.m. when an unidentified bar patron called police to report that a man had been involved in a fight with his wife and was leaving the bowling alley intoxicated with his two young step-children, Rammell said.

Officers who responded spotted Beacom's vehicle leaving the parking lot and gave chase for several miles through downtown La Habra, into Whittier, then back to the bowling alley.

Beacom, officials said, did not have his step-children, a 5-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy, in his car. The children reportedly had remained in the bowling alley with their mother, whose name was not released.

A team from the Orange County district attorney's office was called in to investigate the shooting, as is standard procedure. There was no indication Sunday that the officer would be placed on administrative leave, Rammell said.

Officials at the bowling alley and bar refused to comment Sunday.

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