An unemployed Lancaster aerospace worker described as an odd loner led authorities on a three-hour, 160-mile pursuit Thursday morning, then died after putting a shotgun to his chin and pulling the trigger.
It began when a sheriff's deputy spotted 39-year-old John Anderson wearing a ski mask in a car in the Lancaster Wal-Mart parking lot, with binoculars on the dashboard.
Thinking the suspect planned to rob the store, which is open 24 hours, the deputy ordered Anderson at gunpoint out of the car. When Anderson refused, the deputy attempted to open the car door but found it locked, officials said.
Anderson began to curse the deputy and said, `Shoot me, shoot me, go ahead and shoot me,' and then took off,'' sheriff's Sgt. Kim Ruppert said.
After a pursuit by Highway Patrol Anderson drove his 1987 Ford Thunderbird onto an off-ramp in the northern San Diego County city of Carlsbad shortly before 7 a.m.
Anderson got out of his car with a shotgun, opened the trunk and loaded a shell into the gun, placed his chin on the barrel and pulled the trigger.
Officers fired two shots at Anderson as he knelt down with the shotgun after ignoring orders to drop it, but authorities believe both bullets missed.
``We don't think the bullets that the officers fired hit the man,'' Carlsbad Police Lt. Joe Hasenauer said. ``But we can't be certain until an autopsy is complete.''
When he came out of the car, Anderson was wearing tennis shoes, a shirt or sweater, and underwear, but no trousers, officials said. He had taken off the ski mask during the chase.
Anderson had been arrested five days earlier after a citizen spotted him acting suspiciously while parked in the 43700 block of Fig Avenue.
Residents told deputies Anderson had been sitting in the parked Thunderbird for several hours and ducked his head down whenever a vehicle passed by.
``He was acting irrationally and wouldn't (be) cooperative with the deputies,'' Ruppert said. ``They spent 20 minutes talking to him through the window before they were able to get him out.''
Found inside of his vehicle was a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic pistol.
At the time of the arrest, Anderson also told deputies to shoot him, Ruppert said.
``He said that all cops want to take away his gun and all the people's guns,'' Ruppert said. ``He said that he would get another gun even if he has to buy it from a crack head.''
Anderson was cited for carrying a loaded firearm in a public place and released about five hours later.
Residents and staff at the apartment complex where Anderson lived for five years before moving out several months ago said he lived alone with a cat.
``It just doesn't surprise us,'' said Mary Lou Sanicola, community manager at Montecito Apartments in the 800 block of West Avenue L, said of the news of the chase and his death. ``He was different.''
Sanicola said Anderson was an unemployed aerospace worker, kept to himself and didn't talk much.
``We never saw him,'' Sanicola said. ``He would never let anyone into his apartment to fix things. He would answer the door with a shotgun.''
Scene from Banned From TV (1998)
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