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Police Shootout at LAX, 3 Dead

December 1, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A drive-by shooting followed by a pair of gunbattles, a carjacking and car chases left three people dead, including a policeman. The trail of violence ended at Los Angeles International Airport, where scared holiday travelers ducked for cover amid gunfire.

The spree started Sunday night when Officer Brian Brown and partner Francisco Dominguez saw a drive-by shooting in Culver City that killed one person.

The officers chased the two gunmen a short distance to a street outside a mall, where the men peppered the squad car with assault weapon fire, police said Monday.

Brown, who didn’t have time to get out of the car or draw his weapon, was struck in the head and died at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center.

Dominguez and two other officers shot and killed one of the men.

The second man commandeered a taxi at a nearby convenience store, shoved the driver out of the car and led police on a five-mile chase to the airport, where he rammed several parked cars.

He bolted from the wrecked cab and ran about 200 yards before he was struck down by at least four bullets fired by police. Police Chief Bernard Parks said.

The dead suspect was identified as Oscar Zatarain, 23, of Rancho Cucamonga. The other suspect, whose name wasn’t released, was stable after surgery. The name of the drive-by shooting victim also wasn’t released.

The crime scene investigation closed a section of the Terminal One area for nearly eight hours in the waning hours of the Thanksgiving holiday passenger crush.

Brown, 27, was a single parent of a 7-year-old boy and had been with the department for three years. He is the third LAPD officer to die this year.

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