A man who was shot by police while witnesses said he was trying to flee the scene of a Laguna Beach crash was identified today as Colby Joshua Koenig, a 25-year-old man from Foothill Ranch.
He died hours after the shooting in Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, authorities said. An autopsy will be conducted today.
Meanwhile, authorities today released few additional details as to what prompted the shooting in a busy Laguna Beach intersection Tuesday morning, minutes after a man was reported driving erratically, speeding on the wrong side of Pacific Coast Highway.
Koenig crashed his 2006 Mitsubishi at the St. Ann’s Drive intersection. According to police and witnesses, Koenig began to drive his smashed 2006 Mitsubishi away from the scene when police shot several times toward the car.
But police would not comment on what prompted officers to fire at the car, mortally wounding Koenig. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office, which investigates all shootings involving officers, is investigating the case.
Officials said they received many reports of a man driving recklessly just moments before the crash. Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department first received a call about a driver in Dana Point, where the black sedan was seen headed north in the southbound lanes of PCH.
At Wesley Drive, two officers who were directing traffic there because of a malfunctioning traffic light saw the car driving on the wrong side of the road, said Lt. Jason Kravetz of the Laguna Beach police.
Witnesses reported the car hitting speeds of 80 to 100 mph.
But despite reports of the driver’s speed, authorities said the car was not being pursued by a patrol car. Deputies and officers received reports about the driver’s behavior, but they did not see the car until after it crashed at about 8 a.m.
The loud crash sent business patrons and employees out into the street, where they saw the mangled Mitsubishi, along with five other cars that appeared to have been hit as well. Two people suffered minor injuries.
“I heard the collision right at my door here,” said Tim Manriquez, who ran outside from his job at a window-tinting business. “It happened so fast, I just ran out to try to help people.”
Witnesses said they then heard the car being started, and the driver appeared to be trying to turn on St. Ann’s Drive. Police officers were heard shouting at the driver, telling him to stop the car.
Several witnesses then said they heard about five or six shots being fired into the car, bringing it to a stop.
According to DMV records, the four-door Mitsubishi is registered to Koenig.
Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, said the office is investigating the case, but would not comment on any details.
Meanwhile, detectives with the Laguna Beach Police Department are looking into what happened with Koenig before the crash, and why he was driving recklessly before the crash, Kravetz said.
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