When suspects fleeing police kill themselves, it’s usually in a gory fashion.
If it isn’t a gun, usually it’s a knife or some other object that can mortally wound them in some fashion.
That wasn’t the case when police in Ventura County, California found Jonathan Hanks dead in his car.
According to KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, the 33-year-old rape suspect was found dead in his car from drinking a poisonous mixture after leading police on a car chase.
Hanks was wanted in connection with the rape of an underage individual when his car was spotted by undercover police in the city of Oxnard on Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles police had earlier attempted to serve a warrant at Hanks’ home, but the suspect had fled. The CHP were called in by the undercover officers to pursue Hanks’ vehicle, a black Nissan Versa, at about 7:30 a.m.
Hanks, a resident of nearby Camarillo, refused to obey officers’ commands pull over and a chase began, California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Denharder told the media.
The slow-speed chase lasted for six miles on the Interstate 101 before Hanks’ vehicle veered across all three lanes. Hanks’ car then hit a median and stopped.
Police would pronounce Hanks dead at the scene.
While Hanks’ death may not have been surprising — the CHP says the rape suspect had communicated to them that he was suicidal — the cause of death was.
Denharder noted that during the chase, Hanks was seen drinking something. That substance was later determined to likely be a mix of sodium chloride and potassium cyanide, KNBC reported.
“He drank something he had concocted,” Denharder said, noting that the suspect died of “self-inflicted poisoning.”
Thankfully, no officers or other individuals were injured during the pursuit.
Few details were immediately available regarding the crime Hanks was accused of committing. KNBC reported they could only determine it happened in January, while Los Angeles police spokeswoman Officer Rosario Herrera said it happened in the West San Fernando Valley area. The Associated Press reported the victim was 14-years-old and had been lured to a motel.
Southern California is no stranger to bizarre police chases, but this is one that definitely boggles the mind, especially when you consider the crime that Hanks was accused of combined with the fact that he was able to obtain and use what police think is potassium cyanide.
While committing suicide during a police chase isn’t necessarily an admission of guilt, it’s about as close as you can come. Sadly, Hanks’ alleged victim won’t ever have the ability to confront the man she says raped her. That’s the real tragedy here; while Jonathan Hanks may have made news by his dramatic method of suicide, it’s still worth remembering that there’s someone out there who is grieving her inability to obtain a modicum of justice for this alleged crime. Our thoughts and prayers are with that individual — whomever that may be.
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