A fire broke out while fleeing from WBR officers, killing three people. The suspect was armed and wearing a bulletproof vest.

FORDOCHE – A group of crime suspects crashed a stolen vehicle into a tree while fleeing from deputies in West Baton Rouge early Thursday morning, killing three of the suspects.

The pursuit began shortly before 4 a.m. when deputies spotted a suspicious vehicle while patrolling I-415 in Los Angeles, a stretch known for car break-ins and thefts, according to the sheriff’s office.

Officers determined the vehicle had been reported stolen the previous day in Alexandria and attempted to stop it, but the driver refused to pull over and continued north on I-415 before entering Pointe Coupee Parish on US 190 at speeds exceeding 100 mph.

Police lost sight of the vehicle during the pursuit, but it was soon found on LA 77 after crashing into a tree and bursting into flames.

The incident happened on the front porch of resident Dennis Going, who said he was woken up by the loud noise and that such incidents are common in the area.

“I’ve been here seven years now and this is not a bad curve, but if you’re not expecting it it’s hard to bounce back,” Going said.

Rescuers were able to save two passengers from inside the vehicle but were forced to call off the rescue when shells began exploding inside the vehicle. After the fire was extinguished, rescuers found the bodies of two other passengers inside the vehicle.

“While we stood [in the yard] “I heard shots being fired inside the car, pop, pop, pop, lots of loud bullet explosions,” Goinde said.

As deputies extracted passengers from the wreckage, they observed the suspects wearing bulletproof vests, Sheriff Mike Keys said at a press conference later that afternoon.

“They were bad guys, but they were wearing bulletproof vests. Luckily they stopped, got out of their car and didn’t ambush my guys. We got there and they administered first aid,” Kays said. “They were up to something bad.”

Three of the suspects were pronounced dead at the scene, while the fourth was hospitalized with serious injuries.

Authorities have not yet released the names of those involved in the pursuit.

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