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Standoff with armed suspect on 91 freeway in Anaheim ends in fatal shooting

Driver of car causing 91 freeway closure is communicating with crisis negotiating teams
Driver of car causing 91 freeway closure is communicating with crisis negotiating teams 02:41

An hourslong standoff between an armed pursuit suspect and police that caused a full closure of the 91 freeway in Anaheim Friday ended around noon as the suspect lay on the roadway with a fatal gunshot wound. 

The suspect died by suicide, according to the Corona Police Department.

The eastbound lanes of the 91 freeway at Imperial Highway reopened shortly after, with the westbound lanes remaining closed until 3:38 p.m. as police officials conducted their investigation. 

The standoff was preceded by a police chase, as the driver was wanted for an armed stalking incident in Corona around 8 a.m. The suspect led police onto the 91 freeway, causing its closure and a traffic jam for miles before drivers began turning around and driving the wrong way to clear out.

A blue sedan involved in a police chase earlier is wedged between two law enforcement patrol vehicles as the person inside remains in a standoff with officers on the 91 Freeway in Anaheim on May 24, 2024. KCAL News

For hours, the suspect sat inside a blue sedan wedged between two black law enforcement vehicles in the middle of the highway. Caltrans announced the freeway closure at 9 a.m., and the standoff continued until sometime around noon.

A crisis negotiation team from the Corona Police Department Police spoke over the phone with the suspect, who police said was considered armed and dangerous.

The freeway closure extended from where the 91 freeway meets the 55 freeway to the area around the Lakeview Avenue exit on the 91, Caltrans officials said just before 9 a.m. 

Around 10 a.m., some people stuck in the jam started turning around and the highway was pretty much emptied out by 11 a.m. California Highway Patrol had assisted drivers in getting off the closed highway, authorities said.

More than a dozen law enforcement officers, some of them holding up guns pointed at the car, and two K-9 units were involved in the police response.

Two elementary schools in the area — Orange Unified Pre-K and Crescent Elementary School — placed students under a shelter-in-place order due to the incident, school officials said. At Orange Unified, parents and buses were able to pick up students early.

Traffic jammed up on the 91 Freeway in Orange County following a police pursuit and ensuing standoff on May 24, 2024.

From 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., aerial footage showed cars packed tightly together on the highway behind at least a dozen patrol vehicles.

CHP confirmed the end of a pursuit, and an ensuing criminal investigation led to the closure.

There appeared to be a traffic collision in one area of the traffic jam, where a semi-truck was parked horizontally on the highway.

"Please avoid the area and use caution while driving," Caltrans said in a traffic alert.

Caltrans provides drivers with traffic updates made in real time through a map that can be found here

Mark Liu contributed to this report.

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