Officials at the Port of Los Angeles said Thursday they are reviewing security procedures after a desperate driver being chased by police in a stolen SUV was able to speed into a secure terminal area, climb hundreds of steps near the top of a giant crane and then dance, delay and take off his clothes before jumping or falling to his death.
“At the direction of Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka, Los Angeles Port Police, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Police Department, have launched a full investigation into all circumstances regarding Wednesday evening’s incident, including the security breach at the container terminal,” the Port of Los Angeles said in a statement. “This thorough review, including protocols necessary to address improvements, will be completed as soon as possible.”
Authorities identified the dead man Thursday as James Llamas. The 23-year- old died at the scene from his injuries, said coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter, who said the man’s home town was not known.
The incident began about 3:10 p.m. Wednesday, when officers with the LAPD’s Wilshire Division began chasing the white Subaru SUV.
Authorities tracked the suspect as he raced along streets and the Harbor (110) Freeway, driving on the wrong side of roads and scraping the SUV against K-rails along the way before heading into the harbor area.
The suspect, wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey, drove through the terminal area before bailing out of the still-rolling vehicle around 6:15 p.m.
He climbed a gantry crane and perched himself several stories above the piers and channels on the waterfront, where at various times he danced around and lounged on his back before stripping off his clothes.
Law enforcement officers and firefighters positioned themselves below and crews, including divers, waited in boats, ready to attempt a rescue or recovery if the suspect jumped or fell into the water.
About 8:10 p.m. the suspect plunged about 160 feet and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Amy Bastman of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The SUV reportedly was taken from a dealership in San Bernardino.
–Staff and wire reports