LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A 46-year-old man was charged Tuesday with murder for allegedly killing a Los Angeles International Airport police officer by stealing his patrol car and crashing it as the officer was dragged from the vehicle.
William Sadowski, a transient who lived in the city's Venice area, also faces two counts of carjacking and one count of attempted carjacking, said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Prosecutors filed special circumstance allegations that would make Sadowski eligible for the death penalty: murder of a peace officer during performance of his duties and murder during carjacking. The district attorney's office will decide later whether to seek the death penalty, Gibbons said. If convicted with the special allegations, the minimum sentence is life in prison without parole.
Sadowski, who was held without bail, appeared in Superior Court on Tuesday but arraignment was postponed to May 26 while the public defender's office appoints a new attorney.
Officer Tommy Edward Scott was killed Friday after confronting Sadowski, who was walking along a street near the airport. The two struggled and Sadowski allegedly took control of Scott's sedan with the officer hanging partly inside. The car slammed into a fire hydrant.
Scott, 35, died of multiple traumatic injuries, said county coroner's office investigator John Kades.
Police were trying to determine why the officer stopped Sadowski.
After crashing Scott's car, prosecutors allege, Sadowski then tried to carjack other vehicles, and successfully took a sport utility vehicle. He sped away but hit a curb and flipped the vehicle onto airport property. He underwent surgery for injuries following the second crash.
Scott's death was the first in the 59-year history of the airport police department, which is a separate agency from the Los Angeles Police Department. Funeral services were scheduled for Friday in Los Angeles.