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LA Police Fatally Shoot Robbery Suspect Near SAMOHI

By Olin Ericksen
Staff Writer

Feb. 24 -- A 35-mile chase ended in a hail of bullets near Santa Monica High School early Monday morning when Los Angeles police officers fatally shot a lone robbery suspect in his vehicle.

The chase began at 4:40 a.m. when the California Highway Patrol joined the Lost Hills Sheriff’s department in the pursuit of a white male who allegedly robbed a Mobil gas station in Agoura Hills at knife point, tying up the clerk and making off with approximately $180 in cash.

It continued on Highway 101 East and I-10, with the suspect -- identified as Nicholas Hans Killinger, 23, of Malibu -- at times “going the wrong way on freeway lanes,” according to LAPD.

Police sources said the chase came to an end at around 6 a.m. near 6th Street and Pico Boulevard after the suspect crashed into a slow moving police vehicle, then tried to back-up, prompting three police officers to fire several shots in self defense.

Televised footage of the shooting showed the suspect open his car door and spill out of the older white Ford Tempo after he was shot.

Killinger was rushed to Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at about 7 a.m.

Santa Monica police came on the scene to assist Los Angeles police around 6 a.m., but did not participate in the chase or the shooting, said police spokesman Lt. Frank Fabrega. Los Angeles police said no one else was injured in the pursuit or shooting.

Residents who live near the school said they awoke to the sounds of helicopters and watched on television as the suspect drove up and down city streets trying to elude police.

“I was definitely concerned when I saw it on TV this morning,” said Lareesha Foster, whose 17-year-old brother is a junior at the school. “This whole area was turned into a war zone while this car chase and shooting was going on.

“We live over on 6th and Strand and I could hear the helicopters above us. I was worried because my little brother usually has to enter (SAMOHI) right where a lot of this went on. I was shocked because usually we don’t get that around here.”

Foster said her brother usually shows up at school at 7 a.m., almost one hour after the shooting reportedly took place.

Karen Kolter, whose daughter attends the school, said she also was worried about the car chase and the shooting’s close proximity to the campus.

“I was concerned because of the guns and the kids,” Kolter said. The incident “was so close to the high school, and the guy was headed the wrong way on Venice Boulevard.

“Also, it was pretty close to when the school was scheduled to open,” she said. “In fact, buses go right by the street” where the shooting happened.

At the school, yellow police tape cordoned off a large swathe of street directly in front of the main entrance and police directed all traffic to the rear and side of the school.

On a grassy median along Pico a section of gating had been knocked down, with tire marks leading over the embankment. Close by, several police vehicles were still parked in the area when school let out around 2:30 p.m., while officers conducted an investigation of the incident.

Lost Hills Police Sergeant, Ken Scheurn, provided some additional details about the robbery.

The suspect allegedly “brandished a six to eight inch, kitchen type knife to the Mobil station clerk” and demanded the clerk open the registers, Scheurn said.

Before leaving the scene, the suspect tied up the clerk with a “nylon flex strap” and threatened his life if he called police,” Scheurn said.

When the suspect fled in a White Ford Tempo, the clerk managed to free himself and call the authorities, he said.

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