LANCASTER – An armed man who allegedly robbed a bank in Saugus Friday morning was shot and killed by deputies after a high speed chase that ended on a dead end street in Lancaster.
The man, whose name and age have not been released, was shot multiple times on live television as he sat in a Chevy Suburban in the 45900 block of Desert Springs Drive.
“They did verbal commands, they deployed less lethal weapons, at which point he still brandished the gun at deputies,” said Sheriff’s Spokeswoman Nicole Nishida. “They feared for their lives and the deputy-involved shooting did occur.”
Television news helicopter footage shows the man’s vehicle surrounded by more than five patrol cars, before what appears to be a bullet trail comes from inside the vehicle and punctures the front windshield. Immediately after, the man’s vehicle is sprayed with bullets from surrounding deputies.
“We heard a whole bunch of gunshots, we just kept hearing gunshots and more gunshots, and they were telling us to move back,” said Lysa Webb, who lives around the corner from where the shooting occurred.
Webb said she heard two gunshots, which were followed by more than 15 gunshots in rapid succession.
“They could have done anything else besides shooting inside the car like that,” Webb said. “They could have shot a smoke bomb in there, and then he would have got out the car, and then they could have tasered him.”
Sheriff’s officials said the incident began about an hour earlier, around 9:13 a.m. Friday, when the man robbed a Bank of America in the 26800 Block of North Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus.
“He brandished a gun to the bank teller and left with an undisclosed amount of money,” Nishida said. “At that point he left the bank, and Santa Clarita Sheriff’s deputies went in pursuit of him.”
The high speed chase went through Agua Dulce and onto the 14 Freeway from Escondido Canyon Road. Traffic on the freeway was light around that time, and no deputies or other drivers were injured during the chase, Nishida said.
The chase continued for more than 30 miles into Lancaster, where the man exited on Avenue H, after Lancaster Sheriff’s Station deputies laid down spike strips along the freeway that punctured the tires on the man’s SUV.
The man headed eastbound on Avenue H before turning south onto 10th Street West. He then turned into the residential neighborhood, where he was boxed in on Desert Springs Drive.
Residents in the neighborhood said the man was tossing what appeared to be money out of the vehicle as he rode through the neighborhood. When the vehicle stopped and was cornered, the man got out of the vehicle and then went back into the vehicle right before the shooting, residents said.
“He went back inside, he was still not complying with the deputies’ verbal commands, and he pointed a weapon,” Nishida said, adding that deputies tried less lethal methods, including stun bags, to subdue the man.
“They did everything to make sure that a deputy-involved shooting did not occur, unfortunately the suspect is deceased,” Nishida said.
As of 10 p.m. Friday, the man’s identity was not being released, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office. Deputies said he is an adult White male, and published reports indicate that the man is an Agua Dulce resident.
UPDATED 11/11/12: Detectives have identified the suspect as 60-year-old Steven Bowman. He was a resident of Agua Dulce.
(View television news footage of the moment when the man was shot below (which one of our readers directed us to on the Internet.)