Justice

Watch Video: Suicide By Cop? Hostage Records Gunman's Goodbye

  • by: Alan Duke

When a southern California high-speed chase ended with a crash the armed driver ran into a diner where he held dozens of customers hostages as a SWAT squad moved in. One of the hostages used a cell phone to capture Eddie Tapia's last words -- a farewell message to his family -- before he was fatally shot by police.

The drama unfolded inside the Chris & Pitts restaurant in Downey, California, on Friday night, September 11, 2015.

As his expected death approached, Tapia, 41, is heard blaming "bad luck and bad decisions" for his demise. He let most of the hostages go, but Pedro Mata and three friends -- all recovering addicts -- stayed behind and tried to talk him into surrendering.

"It's hard. It's hard. I can see the whole thing replaying, replaying," Mata, who recorded the video, told Los Angeles' KABC-TV. "I tried to give him encouraging words. Maybe he didn't hear them too much. He talked about his kids a lot. He talked about being in jail a lot, being away from his family."

"I've always tried to be a good dad to you guys, even though I'm going to be gone I want you guys to know that I love you," Tapia said near the end. He admitted he was high on meth, he said.

Orange County deputies said they opened fire on Tapia after he reached for a gun he had been clutching in his pocket.

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