Man kills himself in fast food parking lot during police chase

A short Baton Rouge police pursuit turned fatal Wednesday morning when a Gulfport, Miss., man fleeing police in a reportedly stolen pickup pulled into the parking lot of a fast food restaurant and fatally shot himself inside the truck.

The chase began on Interstate 12 near the Millerville Road exit shortly before 11 a.m. when police officers tried to stop a westbound silver truck that was following the vehicle in front of it too closely, said Cpl. Don Coppola Jr., a Baton Rouge police spokesman.

Officers soon discovered through the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office that the Ford F-150 pickup had been reported stolen, Coppola said.

Police followed the pickup as it exited the interstate onto South Sherwood Forest Boulevard and took one of the first opportunities available to pull off the road by entering the parking lot of a Taco Bell. As the pickup appeared headed for the restaurant’s drive-thru window, the police heard a single gunshot, Coppola said.

The pickup soon came to a stop after hopping a curb and striking a tree, Coppola said.

Without ever drawing their weapons, police found Jeremy Damarol Anderson, 28, unresponsive inside the pickup with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. No one else was inside the truck, Coppola said.

Police on Wednesday did not know what motivated the apparent suicide. Attempts to reach Anderson’s family members Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

A man working at the Taco Bell said company employees were prohibited from commenting on the matter.

Police ask anyone with information to contact the Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869.

Follow Ben Wallace on Twitter @_BenWallace.