Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were critically wounded after being shot Saturday evening in Compton in what authorities described as an “ambush” that was captured on surveillance video.
The video, released by the department, shows a man walking up to the deputies’ parked patrol car, pulling out a gun and firing several times into the front seat area from the passenger side. The assailant is then seen running from the scene.
The Sheriff’s Department reported that the shooting occurred about 7 p.m. near the Blue Line station at 275 Willowbrook Avenue.
“One male deputy and one female deputy were ambushed as they sat in their patrol vehicle. Both sustained multiple gunshot wounds and are in critical condition. They are both currently undergoing surgery,” the department said in a statement.
The department later said both were out of surgery. Law enforcement sources told The Times at least one of the deputies was shot in the face and the other in the head.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva (second from left) exits his press conference outside the emergency room of St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood where two L.A. County sheriff’s deputies are being treated for after being shot Saturday night.
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)
Speaking at a news conference at the hospital late Saturday, Sheriff Alex Villanueva described one of the injured deputies as a 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy and the other as a 24-year-old man. He said both deputies were sworn into office just 14 months ago.
“The two deputies were ambushed by a gunman in a cowardly fashion,” he said. “This is a dangerous job.”
He noted that sheriff’s detectives on Thursday shot and killed a man in Compton who they said opened fire on them as they served a search warrant.
“Every week across the nation someone is losing their life in the line of duty,” he said. “This is just another grim reminder of that.”
Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles), also spoke at the news conference.
“This was an unprovoked cowardly act,” he said. “The individual will be caught, and justice will prevail.”
“Tonight we must as a community condemn the act of the perpetrator,” he added. “More importantly we must come together and pray for the officers because they are heroes.”
LAPD Chief Michael Moore also offered his support.
“Tonight we pray for these two guardians to survive,” the chief tweeted. “I recognize and acknowledge we live in troubled times. But we must as a community work thru our differences while loudly and resoundly condemn violence. Blessed are the Peacemakers.”
No further details were immediately available, and it was unclear whether detectives had identified a suspect. The FBI is assisting in the investigation.
Detectives comb the scene where two L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies were shot and gravely injured Saturday night in Compton.
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)
Some local law enforcement officers took to social media to express their anger and disgust over the shooting.
“I hope this monster is caught soon,” LAPD Capt. Gisselle Espinoza tweeted. “I’m sick to my stomach. The deputies are in my prayers. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
Both of the deputies were members of the sheriff’s transportation detail.
Metro has split policing duties of its 1,433-mile service area — including 93 rail stations and nearly 14,000 bus stops — among three agencies: the Los Angeles Police Department, which patrols buses, trains and stations in the city of L.A.; the Long Beach police, who work at eight Blue Line stations; and the Sheriff’s Department, which patrols the rest of the system.
This summer, the Metro board approved a series of policing reform measures, including no longer sending armed officers to respond to nonviolent crimes, hiring unarmed ambassadors to work at stations and expanding fare discounts.