Pittsburgh police shoot driver, mother during chase
\Scene in Pittsburgh early Sunday Jan. 13, 2012 after police shot at car during chase, wounding driver and his mother / KDKA-TV/CBS
PITTSBURGH Police say a man and woman are in serious condition after officers fired shots at their car during an early morning chase in Pittsburgh.
Police chief Nathan Harper told reporters Sunday that the driver ran a red light shortly after 1:30 a.m. Sunday in the Homestead neighborhood.
Pittsburgh told CBS Pittsburgh station KDKA officers tried to use road spikes to slow down the driver's vehicle, but he was able to avoid them
Harper said five off-duty officers shot at the car after it began driving into cars in the city's South Side area. He said the officers believed the use of deadly force was justified because the driver was using the vehicle as a weapon.
Harper said the car finally stopped when it rear-ended another vehicle. The 37-year-old driver and his passenger, identified as his mother, were hospitalized in serious condition.
Both were both hit by bullets, KDKA reports.
Police told the station the scene was chaotic, since the incident happened around the time many of the South Side's bars were closing. Officers from several zones were called out to control the unruly crowd -- at one point, close to two dozen officers lined the perimeter of the scene.
One witness said he saw police officers shoot the driver through the window of the car after it crashed and claims police never told the driver to put his hands up or step out of the car.
"I had just left the bar on the South Side and I heard a car crash and I turn around and as I was turning, I heard two gun shots," the witness told KDKA. "And I looked and a police officer had ran and jumped right on top of a car and fired into the window of the vehicle that had just crashed four times, it was pop, pop, pop, pop and after that it was dead silence."
"All of a sudden, the cops came over, pushed everyone out of the way," he said. "There was lights, sirens coming from both directions. It was craziness, something I'd never seen before."
Harper said no weapons or drugs were found in the car.
Officials say the five officers who shot at the car are on administrative leave with pay.
The District Attorney is currently investigating the incident.
It's not clear where the man and his mother were hit, or what injuries they sustained.
However, one woman who witnessed the shooting from a nearby cafe says the man in the car was alive when authorities pulled him out, but was not moving his right arm. She also says the woman in the car was shot through the right eye. Police have yet to comment on the woman's account.
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