EMERYVILLE, Calif. (Alex Savide/KTVU) - Police shot a homicide suspect to death on Wednesday, after he gave chase across three counties, causing a traffic nightmare along Interstate Highway 80 between Emeryville and Richmond, which extended into the far regions of the Bay Area.
In a joint release, Fairfield, Richmond and Emeryville police said the suspect was killed because he "failed to yield" and fired on officers during an extensive negotiation that began about 8:40 a.m. Officers returned fire, the statement said, and he was struck and died at the hospital. Police have not yet identified him, or said which homicide he is allegedly connected to.
California Highway Patrol Officer Matthew Hamer told KTVU that by 10:30 a.m., the standoff near the MacArthur Maze had ended, and an hour later the eastbound side of I-80 had reopened.
Westbound I-80 opened around 5 p.m.
Witnesses told KTVU they heard 50 to 60 shots fired about 9 a.m. and said they saw officers fire.
"Oh yeah," said a woman who spoke to KTVU. "I heard shot, after shot after shot." She said she saw the suspect exit the vehicle with a gun and officers fire at him.
Emeryville Police Chief Jennifer Tejada said there was up to 40 witnesses. Richmond and Fairfield officers wore bodycams and cell phone video captured the scene.
Earlier in the morning, Richmond Police Lt. Felix Tan said his department was called to help because the suspect, who was armed and dangerous, drove through his city.
As the suspect neared the freeway, CHP officers placed a spike strip on the shoulder of I-80, which the dark Chevy Suburban SUV ran over at the the University Avenue exit, Hamer said.
The car collided into a concrete barrier on the right shoulder then crashed into the center median and came to a halt as a result of the spikes near the Powell Street exit in Emeryville.
Traffic was backed up for miles well into the afternoon and commuters were more than frustrated.
"It cost the company money," said Adrian Ramirez, a delivery driver who didn't get to where he needed to go. "One person's mistake affected all of us. Thousands of people lost a day of work, you know?"
Emeryville Police says they will be looking at who fired first as part of their investigation. Some crime scene technicians were late getting to the scene because of the traffic.
KTVU's Rob Roth, Lisa Fernandez. Allie Rasmus and Sal Castaneda contributed to this report.