Port of Los Angeles Terminal Shut Down After Police Standoff, Man Falls Off Crane

Screenshot via KABC TV Los Angeles

A man who climbed a huge gantry crane at the Port of Los Angeles after he jumped from a stolen SUV at the end of a lengthy police chase fell to his death late Aug. 16.

After an hours-long standoff, TV news reports showed the man had fallen to his death about 9:20 p.m. PST.

Earlier, the man had removed all of his clothing while perched atop crane 87, which skies more than 100 feet high inside the West Basin Shipping Terminal. The port terminal was evacuated and shut down shortly after the man drove through a security gate at the entrance to the terminal, said Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield.

The vehicle was first spotted by LAPD officers in the Wilshire Division. The chase came through Torrance on Hawthorne Boulevard; Torrance police spotted him at 238th Street and gave chase south over the Palos Verdes Peninsula at high speed toward the ocean.

Torrance police called off the chase due to dangerous conditions. The man was driving on the wrong side of several roads and scraping the SUV against K-rails along the way before heading into the harbor area. The rear bumper was badly damaged, hanging off the vehicle during the pursuit.

Long Beach police picked up the fleeing motorist and the chase moved through the city, returning through Wilmington into San Pedro and, ultimately, into the Port of Los Angeles complex.

The man, wearing a Kobe Bryant No. 8 Jersey, was seen on television driving up and down the cargo terminal as dockworkers looked on.

He then got out of the SUV — it was seen rolling away — and began climbing the large crane complex, at one point passing two workers on the way up. Sanfield said the man was perched on a part of the infrastructure without railings above the water.

At various times he was seen dancing around and lounging on his back before stripping off his clothes.

Law enforcement officers and firefighters positioned themselves below and crews, including divers, waited in boats, ready to attempt a rescue or recovery if the man jumped or fell into the water.

After he fell or jumped from the crane, he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Amy Bastman of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The SUV was reported stolen from a San Bernardino dealership Wednesday morning.

“It was stolen from Mitsubishi of San Bernardino this morning around 10:30,” San Bernardino police Lt. Mike Madden said. “It is a new car. The suspect somehow got the key and just drove off in the car.”

Madden said police don’t believe any force was used when the vehicle was taken.

“We were never in pursuit of it,” he said. “It had a tracking device alerting authorities to it’s whereabouts.”

City News Service contributed to this article.

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