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Officials: High-speed chase involving murder suspects ends in Kern

Chase started in San Luis Obispo County
Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office Pat
Posted at 6:38 AM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 16:04:35-04

KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KERO) — A multi-county high-speed chase that reportedly started in Paso Robles and ended in Kern County Wednesday evening left one of two suspects dead.

Officials in San Luis Obispo County say the two suspects were wanted in Santa Barbara County on several charges, including murder.

Deputies from San Luis Obispo tried to pull the suspects over but they drove away leading authorities on a high-speed chase. California Highway Patrol's helicopter spotted them around 5:30 p.m. on Highway 46 heading towards Kern County.

A statement from the Kern County Sheriff's Office says when the vehicle came to a stop two suspects abandoned their car and ran into an orchard just south of Highway 46.

"California Highway Patrol unit was already overhead when the suspects fled from the vehicle but due to heavy tree coverage, they lost sight of the suspects," says KCSO spokesperson Lori Meza. "So this is where Kern County Sheriff's Office responded to assist the other agencies in looking for the suspects. Kern County Sheriff's Office SWAT team, K9 unit, air support unit were requested to begin responding as well."

Authorities then set up a perimeter around the two suspects and as ground units approached, they arrested one while the other was found dead from a bullet wound.

The Lompoc Police Department confirmed that the deceased - a 20-year-old man - was the same person responsible for a liquor store robbery in Buellton on Wednesday afternoon, as well Sunday’s shooting on North K Street in Lompoc that left one person dead. Authorities later determined that Kittipong Kuanbooncharn, 20, of Lompoc, died from suicide.

Officials with the Anaheim Police Department also said the blue BMW involved in Wednesday’s pursuit matches the description of one stolen at gunpoint by two male suspects in Anaheim on Tuesday.

Grace Norris, a spokesperson with the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office reflected on what it was like working with numerous California agencies in their pursuit of the two individuals.

"There’s definitely some challenges when it comes to crossing county lines and working with different jurisdictions, different law enforcement entities, but luckily we were able to come together and work together well, establish communications and assist each other as best as possible to ensure the best outcome possible in a situation like this."

The suspect that was taken into custody, a juvenile, was arrested on a warrant while the identity of the deceased male is still being withheld.

The Kern County Sheriff’s PIO said that their coroner will release more information as it is made available.