On Wednesday, a suspected car thief drove into the Port of Los Angeles' West Basin Shipping Terminal and climbed up a ship-to-shore crane. The Los Angeles Police Department attempted to rescue the man from his perch, but despite efforts to talk him down, he fell onto the deck of the container ship YM Milestone and perished.
The LAPD has identified the suspect and told the press that he had a criminal record. The agency has not yet released his name to the public.
The incident began at 1550 hours when the police responded to a report of a car theft at a dealership in San Bernardino. Local police chief Lt. Mike Madden told the Press Telegram that the suspect had somehow taken the keys. The car was fitted with a tracking device, Madden said, making the task easier for the police; Madden said that "we were never in pursuit of it." Officers followed the vehicle through Mid City, Carson, Long Beach and Wilmington, eventually reaching the gate at the Port of Los Angeles' West Basin Container Terminal.
The suspect went past the security booth and out onto the dock, where he drove erratically in circles. The port shut down the terminal for safety.
After these maneuvers, the suspect abandoned the car and climbed the stairs of an STS crane. He walked out onto the crane's structure, where he began to behave erratically, undressing, performing calisthenics and suspending himself from the crane's cables. LAPD crisis negotiators arrived on scene and attempted to talk him down from the structure, but he refused. He fell to his death before they could intervene directly. It was not immediately clear whether he fell or jumped, but a police spokesperson said that the intervention team was not within reach at the time.