A 35-year-old man linked by DNA to five sexual assaults in the Antelope Valley, including the rape of a minor, was shot by Ohio police Tuesday after a harrowing freeway chase.
Abram Bynum was fleeing officers from the Columbus Police Department when he drove head-on into a tanker truck on Interstate 70, police said. Bynum was pronounced dead after being shot by police when he reached for a gun, authorities said, but it was unclear whether he died of gunshots or of injuries from the crash.
Bynum had been the focus of an investigation into five rapes committed in Lancaster and Palmdale between 2004 and 2007.
When Bynum recently moved to Columbus, sheriff's officials asked local police for help in the case.
Local police persuaded Bynum to give a DNA sample to be tested against those collected from the crime scenes. "He made some statements. We did a special rush on the sample and the DNA came back positive," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Dan Scott said.
On Monday, rape charges were filed against Bynum in California, and investigators flew to Ohio to take him into custody.
"We were sure he was the suspect so Columbus authorities had kept him under surveillance," Scott said.
Bynum, however, sensed that he was about to be apprehended.
With sheriff's deputies en route, Bynum rented a moving van and went to a pawnshop to hock possessions and raise cash, police said.
Columbus police feared that he was about to flee and moved in to arrest him. Before they could reach him, however, Bynum fled his home in a white Cadillac.
A high-speed chase ensued in which Bynum crossed the freeway center divider and hit the tanker.
Officers surrounded the wreck and opened fire when Bynum reached for a gun.