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Man Shot by Police in Redondo Is Identified

October 10, 2002|ANDREW BLANKSTEIN and RICHARD WINTON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

A Native American man from Minnesota who had lived in California for six years was identified by authorities Wednesday as the unarmed car chase suspect accidentally shot to death by a Redondo Beach police officer who mistook a shotgun for a beanbag gun.

Nathan Lee Rossbach, 40, of Red Lake, Minn., was fatally wounded Sunday evening, said David Campbell of the Los Angeles County coroner's office. Family members said Rossbach, who had a prior assault conviction in Minnesota, worked as an independent commercial fisherman.

Officer Michael Strosnider, 30, shot Rossbach on Sunday at the conclusion of a high-speed chase through three South Bay cities.

A preliminary investigation found that a senior officer at the scene ordered the use of a beanbag shotgun when Rossbach at first refused to follow orders to get out of the vehicle, according to sources. Strosnider was handed a weapon by Officer Mike Martinez, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation.

That weapon did not have the yellow tape the Redondo Beach Police Department uses to distinguish those carrying beanbags rather than live ammunition, according to sources.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday October 11, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 5 inches; 197 words Type of Material: Correction
Police shooting--A headline in Thursday's California section said a fatal police shooting occurred in Redondo Beach. The shooting, by a Redondo Beach police officer, occurred in Los Angeles at Imperial Highway and Sepulveda Boulevard.

Reached at her home in Minnesota, Rossbach's sister Mamie Rossbach said that family members were considering hiring an attorney.

"I feel like he was shot in cold blood, because he wasn't a dangerous person," she said. "They [Redondo Beach police] haven't provided any answers when we call down there."

Redondo Beach city officials said they would not comment on the shooting until an investigation is completed.

The shooting, which was recorded on a police videotape, is being investigated by the district attorney's office and the Los Angeles Police Department.

The incident began when Redondo Beach police received a call at 6:50 p.m. Sunday about a reckless motorist on Pacific Coast Highway in a 1992 Ford Bronco.

Police said Rossbach led police on a high-speed chase north through El Segundo. He then turned west onto Imperial Highway and crashed into the curb, leaving the Bronco disabled.

The Ford Bronco was involved in a hit-and-run incident Sunday morning in Hermosa Beach. The Bronco rear-ended a Mercedes and then drove away, police said.

A witness reported the license plate, and when police contacted the Marina del Rey owner, she realized her vehicle had been stolen.

Mamie Rossbach said her brother was the youngest of five children and had worked as a logger as well as a fisherman. He moved away from the Red Lake Indian Reservation after his father died following a lengthy illness.

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