UPDATE, NOV. 3, 11:13 A.M.: The Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) has identified the men killed by Huntington Beach police gang unit officers after a traffic stop in Westminster Tuesday afternoon as John Andrew Torres, 26, of Fullerton, and Erick Catalan, 20, of Long Beach.
The officers and a woman who got out of the car the cops fired into have not been identified. And the sheriff's department is backing off from its previous statement that the lawmen were investigating Halloween's Queens Lane gang shooting in Surf City that left two men hospitalized.
The sheriff's department made that link in a statement released Wednesday (see previous update).
Now, shooting investigators are saying the gang unit received a tip that one of the dead men--they do not say which one--was armed, so they followed him and the other two people in the Lexus into Westminster, where the car was stopped.
After the woman got out of the car and the officers were approaching the vehicle, they heard a shot inside that prompted them to fire at it for their own safety, according to the sheriff's department. Torres and Catalan were pronounced dead at the scene. A loaded .40-caliber handgun that had been fired was said to have been found inside the Lexus.
The Orange County Register, citing Orange County Superior Court records, reports a man with the same name and birth date as Torres pleaded guilty in 2009 to felony gun possession, misdemeanor street terrorism, misdemeanor battery, vehicle tampering, vandalism and a sentencing enhancement for being a member of a criminal street gang.
UPDATE, NOV. 2, 2:17 P.M.: An Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) statement on Tuesday afternoon's fatal shooting of two men in Westminster by Huntington Beach police officers still does not identify any players involved, but it does reveal the gang unit cops have more than 20 years of experience each and have been placed on administrative leave, as per policy.
They were investigating Halloween's Queens Lane gang shooting that left two men hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the statement after the jump that also reveals the woman taken away in handcuffs had gotten out of the car before officers heard gunshots coming from inside it.
ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 2, 10:04 A.M.: Huntington Beach police officers pulled a car over just before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, a shot was fired from inside the vehicle, and two cops fired back. Now, two men who are not peace officers are dead, and a woman was led away from the car in handcuffs.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
This account, brought to you by the Huntington Beach Police Department, is based on what went down not in Surf City but on Hammon Place north of Westminster Boulevard in Westminster.
No names have been released. The officers were unharmed. The Orange County Sheriff's Department is conducting the investigation, as is routine in officer-involved shootings involving Surf City cops.
However, before the results of that are in, the Huntington Beach cop shop adds its officers were uniformed, in a marked car and that it is routine for them to perform stops in such over-the-city-border locations.
An undisclosed type of weapon was found in the suspect car, the department adds, but no information was released on what prompted the stop or how many shots were fired.