PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A man and his mother are in serious condition after being shot by five police officers in the South Side early Sunday morning.
The incident started around 1:30 a.m. when the 37-year-old man ran a red light on 8th Avenue in Homestead, with his mother in the car.
Police then followed the car and chased the man at high speeds through Homestead, West Homestead and eventually down E. Carson Street on the South Side.
The man, who was wanted on traffic violations in Georgia, drove at high speeds and hit numerous parked cars along the way, according to police.
KDKA Exclusive: video of police responding after car is shot and crashes:
Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper said officers attempted to use road spikes to slow down the driver’s vehicle, but he was able to avoid them, continuing toward the densely-populated South Side at a high rate of speed. Harper also said officers tried to call off the chase twice by backing off, in hopes that the driver would slow down or abandon the vehicle.
The chase eventually stopped when five off-duty officers working detail at the nearby bars shot at the car and it slammed into another parked car near 13th Street on the South Side.
The driver and the mother were both hit by bullets. Both were transported to the hospital and are in serious condition.
Harper said the police officers believed their use of deadly force was justified because the driver was using his car as a weapon.
Police say the scene was chaotic, as the incident happened around the time many of the South Side’s bars were closing. Officers from several zones were called out to control the unruly crowd — at one point, close to two dozen officers lined the perimeter of the scene.
One witness said he saw police officers shoot the driver through the window of the car after it crashed and claims that police never told the driver to put his hands up or step out of the car.
“I had just left the bar on the South Side and I heard a car crash and I turn around and as I was turning, I heard two gun shots,” the witness said. “And I looked and a police officer had ran and jumped right on top of a car and fired into the window of the vehicle that had just crashed four times, it was pop, pop, pop, pop and after that it was dead silence.”
“All of a sudden, the cops came over, pushed everyone out of the way,” he said. “There was lights, sirens coming from both directions. It was craziness, something I’d never seen before.”
Harper said no weapons or drugs were found in the car.
Officials say the five officers that shot at the car are on administrative leave with pay.
Watch Ross Guidotti’s follow-up report:
The District Attorney is currently investigating the incident.
It’s not clear where the man and his mother were hit, or what specific injuries they sustained.
However, one woman who witnessed the shooting from the nearby Dee’s Cafe says the man in the car was alive when authorities pulled him out, but was not moving his right arm. She also says the woman in the car was shot through the right eye. Police have yet to confirm this information.
Stay with KDKA for more information.