CHP shooting triggers hours-long closure of 405 Freeway near Sepulveda Pass

A shooting involving California Highway Patrol early Thursday shut down lanes in both directions of the 405 Freeway at Skirball Center Drive for hours.

According to CHP, the incident happened around 2:45 a.m. when officers first observed a red Mustang on the shoulder of the southbound direction of the freeway. The car's airbags were deployed, officials said. 

CHP approached to check if the man was ok. That's when officers saw a man outside the car, who then reached in, pulled out a pistol, and allegedly started shooting at the officers. 

Get your top stories delivered daily! Sign up for FOX 11’s Fast 5 newsletter. And, get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.

Officers returned fire, shooting the suspect, CHP said. Officers then tried to deliver aid to the suspect, who was taken to UCLA Medical Hospital for treatment. The suspect was identified as 37-year-old Michael Northcott. 

Northcott was in critical condition as of Thursday evening.

The suspect's sister told FOX 11 that CHP's story is totally out of character for Northcott, a father of four.

No officers were injured, CHP said. The patrol car was hit with several rounds during the gunfire. It was unknown how many shots were fired, but images from the scene showed dozens of evidence markers on the ground near the Mustang, each likely indicating a spent bullet casing.

The shooting prompted an hours-long closure of the 405 freeway in both directions near the Sepulveda Pass. The freeway looked like a parking lot as traffic was backed up for miles, leaving people with nowhere to go. Drivers were stranded as they attempted to travel from the San Fernando Valley to the Westside. 

Los Angeles International Airport officials said FlyAway bus service that carries passengers from Van Nuys to the airport was delayed by at least 90 minutes.

Northbound lanes reopened just after 5 a.m., however, southbound lanes reopened just after 12:30 p.m. As of 1 p.m. the Sig Alert was canceled and lanes in both directions are open, but residual delays remain.

Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest Southern California news.