Two Los Angeles deputies are out of surgery and in critical condition Sunday after being shot multiple times in Compton, California, while in a patrol car.
The department tweeted that the man and woman had been ambushed as they sat in a parked patrol vehicle on Saturday evening. Officials said the suspect remained at large.
The department tweeted security video of the incident, saying, “The gunman walked up on the deputies and opened fire without warning or provocation.”
Deputy Morgan Arteaga said the attack was reported about 7 p.m. at a train station in the city of Compton. The sheriff’s department has a unit that patrols Los Angeles Metro trains; it’s also contracted to police that city.
“They are still alive,” Arteaga said.
The Metro Blue Line train station where Deputy Eric Ortiz said the attack took place is near the sheriff’s Compton Station.
Moments ago, 2 of our Sheriff Deputies were shot in Compton and were transported to a local hospital. They are both still fighting for their lives, so please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. We will update this thread with information as it becomes available.
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) September 13, 2020
Homicide Capt. Kent Wegener told a late-night news conference that the suspect approached the deputies from behind in their patrol vehicle and acted like he was going to walk past.
Then he raised the pistol and fired several rounds inside of the vehicle, striking both deputies, Wegener said.
As the suspect fled, the deputies were able to radio for help, he added.
“We have a very, very generic suspect description of a dark-skinned male and that came from one of the deputies, one of the victims,” he said.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that the two deputies graduated from the sheriff’s training academy about 14 months ago.
“One is a 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy,” he said. “The other is a 24-year-old.”
The deputies were ambushed”in a cowardly fashion,” he said adding that they were both shot multiple times.
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The deputies were taken to the nearby St. Francis Medical Center, where they underwent surgery, Villanueva said.
At the hospital, the LA sheriff’s office said a group of protesters were blocking the entrance to the emergency room. Police arrested a reporter for NPR at the scene.
The FBI offered resources to the sheriff’s department Saturday night as authorities searched for the suspect.
Villanueva said the shooting is “a sober reminder it’s a dangerous job.”
President Donald Trump tweeted early Sunday that whoever shot the deputies are, “Animals that must be hit hard!” and again saying, “If they die, fast trial death penalty for the killer. Only way to stop this.”