HEMET – Police chased after a car suspected in four separate shootings on Sunday, but a high speed crash early Tuesday morning killed two women and critically injured another passenger.
Speeds during the chase reached at least 100 mph, said police, who chased the car through city streets. The vehicle, said Hemet police Lt. Eric Dickson, matched the description of a car that was used in drive-by shootings in San Jacinto and Hemet. Shortly after 2 a.m. on Tuesday, a police officer spotted the vehicle in the 400 block of South Alessandro Street. Police conducted a traffic stop of the car and were questioning the three female occupants when the driver fled, leading a trio of law enforcement vehicles in pursuit. The speed opened up to 100 mph once the suspects reached Whittier Ave., a long and straight road.
After chasing the suspects for several miles, the car eventually struck a tree, caught fire and the driver died at the scene. One of the passengers died at the hospital while the third was listed in critical condition. Dickson said the officers had backed off the pursuit, and were judged to be about a half-mile behind the suspects before the crash. Dickson said the suspects nearly struck two people.
On Sunday, reports of shots being fired had included a description of the suspect’s car, but police said five males had been seen inside the car, reportedly firing shots at three Hemet houses and another in neighboring San Jacinto. Six total shots had been fired from a shotgun, according to reports by Riverside County sheriff’s deputies. During the shootings, which took place on Daisy Way, Azalea Way and South Harvard St. in Hemet, deputies reported that vehicles were struck by gunshots and another passed through a kitchen window, but no one was reported injured.
Police did not say if they had connected the women with the occupants of the Sunday shootings. Police were awaiting notification of next of kin before releasing the names of the dead women.
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