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ONTARIO, Calif. (AP) _ Two men on parole died after a shootout with a police officer that began with a routine traffic stop for an expired vehicle license tag.

The passenger, Carlos Omar Meza, ignored orders to stay in the car during the stop Sunday and emerged with a shotgun and began firing. The driver, a 36-year-old man who was not identified, was killed in the cross fire between the officer and Meza, 23, police Det. Mike Macias said Monday.

Meza, who had fired at least five rounds from a pistol-grip 12-gauge shotgun, jumped into the officer's patrol car for an attempted getaway, Macias said. About a half mile away, the patrol car crashed into a big-rig truck while turning a corner.

Meza was fatally shot after he emerged from behind a trash bin and pointed the shotgun at officers, Macias said.

``We don't know why these guys were so desperate,'' Macias said. ``We don't know why they were so intent on killing our officers.''

Both men were on parole from previous felony convictions.