A suspected car thief was shot by police after a chase involving a stolen Mercedes and a stolen police cruiser through Falls Church Thursday afternoon.
Fairfax County Police Public Information Officer Lucy Caldwell says police received reports of a suspicious individual in the 2900 block of Westcott St. in Falls Church at 4:30 p.m.
Upon arrival at the incident, police say an officer approached a man, identified as Joseph Lawrence Michel, 50, of no fixed address in a Mercedes that police had been verified a stolen vehicle. A physical altercation between the man and the officer took place, the man then fled through the nearby neighborhood. A second officer came to assist the initial officer and joined in the foot pursuit.
The man was able to elude officers, running through yards and between homes, looping back toward where the officers had parked. He then got into one of the officers’ cruisers and fled. Officers pursued the man who ended up driving back to the Mercedes who police then say exited the cruiser and jumped back into the Mercedes.
A second pursuit followed. Officers made several attempts to stop the Mercedes using their vehicles, but were unsuccessful.
The pursuit continued down Graham Road where the driver encountered stop sticks that an officer had placed at Oakland Street in an attempt to bring the Mercedes to a stop. Police say the driver avoided the stop sticks and then turned his vehicle and headed back in the direction toward the officer. Police then fired shots at the Mercedes and struck the driver. The vehicle continued down Graham Road and turned westbound onto Route 50 where it came to a stop.
Police officers rendered first aid and the man was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he remains in non life-threatening condition.
Police have charged Michel with grand larceny; additional charges are pending further investigation.