LOS ANGELES (AFP) - US police shot an armed suspect as he brandished a gun in a San Diego movie theater, where he had taken refuge while trying to evade arrest, a spokesman said Sunday.
Wielding a handgun, the 20-year-old fled after allegedly attacking his girlfriend in a California shopping mall parking lot Saturday, and was eventually tracked down to a nearby multiplex cinema.
Theater-goers were evacuated from a number of screening rooms as officers searched the building, before one located him sitting with other patrons watching "Les Miserables," reports said.
"As the officer approached the suspect, the officer gave the suspect verbal commands to determine if he was armed," said San Diego Police Department spokesman Ernie Herbert.
"The suspect initially complied by raising his empty hands, but then lowered them quickly into his lap. The suspect raised a handgun and turned it toward the officer.
"The officer shot the suspect and the suspect was taken into custody," he said, adding that the other film-goers were able to get out safely.
The suspect was shot in the arm and the chest, and taken to hospital. He will be booked into the San Diego County Jail when released from hospital, on so-far unspecified charges, said Herbert.
Last week a judge in Colorado ordered 25-year-old James Holmes to face trial over the alleged massacre at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora last July, which killed 12 and injured at least 58.
The incident revived America's perennial debate about gun control, re-ignited again last month by the shooting in a school in Newtown, Connecticut which left 26 people dead, including 20 young children.